Last week we four lads had a discussion on Gamergate and later on in the week, I found Ashly (who is quite the follow on the Twitterverse) who was really into getting her words out at 140 characters (there is no such thing as “or less”) and, well, I asked her to speak her peace on here. Let her vent. Speak her mind. Because…you know? I’m a nice guy….:)
I really can’t wait until this whole gamergate BS is over and I can go back to being told that women aren’t REALLY harassed on the internet.
Please be aware: that is sarcasm. It is also true.
Despite being someone outspoken about especially this kind of topic, I have remained largely quiet on “gamergate.” It isn’t because I’m not paying attention, I can’t get away from hearing more about it. It isn’t because I’m not upset, I’m absolutely sickened by the behavior and deeply disturbed that this is all happening over the fact that women are creating and critiquing video games. And it isn’t because I don’t have anything to say on the matter, because I do, though it is mostly just an endless string of vulgarity that seems to be my reaction to 99% of what goes on in the world right now and is the constant soundtrack to my daily life.
It is because I am tired, because I keep seeing the outrage and yet I know that I will be this tired again in the future. Because I’ve been through all of this before, time and time again, have spoken on it and written on it before myself and have seen much more prominent figures in video game culture do the same, but I still know that in two months we’re doing this again. Same basic song, different artist and lyrics.
In short: I haven’t commented because I don’t have anything new to say and I don’t see how anyone has missed this up to this point.
Weeks and months and years of people in these circles and others (though there’s some discussion about how the vitriol of the gaming community is alarmingly unique) writing off the experiences that women have gone through, insisting it’s not about gender and maybe nodding to the fact that things suck for women pretty much everywhere almost all the time in some kind of “special interest” piece has left me cynical. Not fatalistic, mind you. Just less than trusting. It takes a woman being forced out of her home because of safety concerns for many people in the community to stand up and say “Hey, maybe we should start treating women like human beings!”
Thanks for your consideration, you couldn’t have done that three weeks ago when we were just dealing with gaslighting, name calling and implicit rape threats?
And even that aside: these are notions so deeply embedded in our cultural and social attitudes that the fact is nothing here is really going to change. The people who began this campaign of horrors against Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian as well as anyone who has dared show them the slightest bit of support? They’re not going to reconsider their actions, behave better in the future and realize a new-found respect for women. They’ll just try to figure out how they can get away with it again and not get caught. Because they’ve been taught by a wider scope of privilege that they have a right to get away with it.
And beyond even that is the fact that while it’s not exactly revolutionary to say “I’m against sending people threats of rape and gendered violence!” Even if it has at times been treated like it is. This is a “goes without saying” thing. Yeah, you SHOULD be against that. But you should also be aware that those things are like…okay, you’re allergic to tomatoes, so you pick the tomatoes off a sandwich you order. Then you bite into the sandwich and it is literally the most disgusting item of food you have ever put in your mouth. Oh, you took out the parts that are most dangerous for you, you’re not going to get hives or go into shock or choke to death, but you are still eating a sh*t sandwich. And here’s the “best” part: that is the only sandwich they serve at the only restaurant you can eat in, while you watch the guys sending you these threats dip easily into any place in town, order whatever they want and if they happen to see a warning sign about “some items may contain tomato” they freak out because who are you to bring up tomatoes to THEM?
Maybe that extended metaphor didn’t work for you. Point is: I’m the one here who’s going to be left eating a sandwich of microaggressions and crap attitudes that don’t get recognized as misogyny because they’re so low-key or “normal” and acceptable. You aren’t going to send me rape threats, but you’re also not going to reconsider the million or so things you could do in a single day that could, can and do make women uncomfortable, but if we speak up about them we’re just causing trouble or being picky or “feminazi” or even other women rolling their eyes at us because why haven’t we just learned to put up with the way men are yet? Don’t we know they have a right to be unquestionably offensive and we just have to live with it because…
…funny, can’t think of an actual reason.
Point is: thanks for the support, guys. That’s only partially sarcastic. I do appreciate seeing voices being raised to make people aware of the issue and I’d rather you choose to be an ally than the other option. On the other hand: Nice job polishing the surface of the issue. It’ll make it easier for us to see reflected in it all the other issues we don’t have the luxury to ignore.
Really, in the end, I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m confused and hurt. But mostly I am so. very. tired.
Ashly Nagrant is a writer, media-enthusiast and a founding member of Team Get Drunk, Slay Dragons. She is a regular contributor for LiveNation’s Always Summer tour site, as well as sporadically writing for DOOM! Magazine
. Her work has previously appeared on SubCultured, Pop Damage and other outlets. You can find her on Twitter @newageamazon
where she will talk about things. And stuff.
Do you agree with Ashly? Do you disagree? Leave it in the comments below.