Hello, everyone, editor here! It has been a while. I hope you didn’t eat anything before starting to read this because the subject of this text is disgusting and induces nausea. I will be talking about #Gamergate controversy as someone who has tried not to follow all the speculation and dirt tossing – just closely enough to be annoyed by it – and who happens to be a woman. It won’t be a long text but I hope it encases two important points.
The controversy has dealt with a variety of things but the most visible side of it has been the demands for a zero tolerance policy for harassment of women. I will not start speculating whether the harassment actually exist because I don’t think it matters. Why? Because as a female gamer I don’t need people to tell me that harassment exists. I have been a gamer for years, and while I have gotten to experience the best of it – the thrill, the joy of getting better, and the warmth and kindness of the community – I have also experienced the worst.
The harassment in gaming community does exist. Despite my skills, despite how I act around others, despite my contributing to the community, I can still get harassed just because I am a woman. It doesn’t matter whether I suck or whether I’m the best of the team, there are always times when someone would like to “rape my sorry ass” just because I am a woman gamer.
I do realize that men get harassed in the community as well, and I have no wish to conceal or understate it. However, what makes the problem different for female gamers is that we do get harassed solely because of our gender – something that very rarely happens to male gamers. I will stand against harassment where-ever I see it, whether the victim was male or female, but in honor of those who are trying to turn #Gamergate into #Gendergate, I wanted to single this reason out.
This is a real problem and it should be solved, it should be talked about – which is exactly why the whole thing pisses me off so much. This has nothing to do with gender or harassment! It has to do with god-awful journalism and we need to change that.
I do my best to steer away from any conversation that has “gender” and “gaming” in the same sentence. I have talked the topic of equality in the community to death, and as these conversations usually end up in raised voices and me headbutting the desk I rather avoid them altogether. The same goes for male and female gamers: both sides have as idiotic arguments. “Girls can’t play for shit” is as outdated an opinion as “all men are pigs” is. I don’t want to waste my time talking about that.
When Aalt asked me to write about how I feel on the topic of “using women as shields in order to shift attention from the subject at hand” I knew exactly how I felt. Pissed off. It was a lot more difficult to try to produce more than those two words on the subject.
I don’t need anyone to get upset for me, nor use my voice for me. I find it appalling that journalists choose to use a part of the gamer community as their shields; a minority that seems easy enough to turn into a helpless, oppressed minority in desperate need of protecting.
What I find even more appalling is every time a female journalist, gamer or a developer stands against Gamergate and tries to speak for me. The reason the latter insults me more is that it does not only shift attention from where it should be directed at: it is trying to turn the female gamer community into a minority that “needs to be shielded” when, quite frankly, we don’t. We don’t need it, and we don’t want it. Ultimately, what we want is just to play the games.
Most of us also like the skinny female character models with “sexist” rack. Sarkeesian from Feminist Frequency would probably say that we all are victims of the patriarchal community. I would probably respond that as human beings, we are entitled to an opinion, and our opinion happens to be that we like to watch beautiful women on the screen while we play.
The title is a quote from a conversation I had with Aalt about the incident. I value journalism very highly and I am very fond of the gamer community. I am annoyed by how this incident concentrates on gender and sex instead of the actual issue here. I don’t want to talk about Gendergate, I want to talk about Gamergate. Not as a female, but as a gamer. As long as the conversation gets dragged away from the topic, we aren’t getting anywhere with this.
I have been very disappointed with journalism on the both sides of the controversy, which is the largest reason I haven’t followed the news on it very closely. Almost every text, news or entry meant for larger audience that touches the subject seems to embody the same problem: getting caught up with individuals who have controversial opinions and effectively avoiding talking about the journalism.
The gender of the journalists matters not – only how they do their job. And sadly I have to say that journalists of both genders have caused me to steer far from video game journalism.
#Gamergate controversy is about corruption and lack of objectivity in video game journalism. All these things have very little to do with equality or gender.
As a result of this shitstorm a change will happen, and I sincerely hope it will be for the better.
And as a gamer who happens to be a female and doesn’t want to be used as a shield for an agenda of corruption… Journalists, this is not about us, it’s about you.