Today there is a dark and serious matter that I want to discuss with you. Although I’d like to refrain from writing about serious political issues here, since this blog is initially aimed at girls (and guys should be aware of this too!) and I write about games, this issue cannot be ignored any longer. To give you a gist of the scale of this matter: on gaming websites, GamerGate is given as much attention as I.S. on regular news. Since this subject is extremely sensitive and complicated, I’ll try to write a brief overview to give you a main idea on this matter. More detailed articles can be found all over the web.
So what is GamerGate? Something like a nipplegate or the iphone 6 bendgate? I’m afraid not. It all started in August of this year. Gaming developer Zoe Quinn released a text-based game about her own fight against depression, called Depression Quest, on Steam. Around that same time, her ex-boyfriend posted a tweet about Quinn cheating on him with 5 other men, including Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson. This has led to a group of ‘gamers’ becoming outraged; they threatened to rape, attack, and even kill Quinn. Quinn was forced to leave her house. As she stated herself:
“the Internet spent the last month spreading my personal information around, sending me threats, hacking anyone suspected of being friends with me, calling my dad and telling him I’m a whore, sending nude photos of me to colleagues, and basically giving me the ‘burn the witch’ treatment”
#GamerGate was born. Why would this anyone do this? According to the movement itself, there are 2 important reasons. The first is to protect the integrity of game journalism. According to GamerGate, Quinn has slept with Grayson to get good reviews. GamerGate states that game journalists, bloggers and youtubers are too closely affiliated with game developers, resulting in corrupt journalism. The fact is however, that Grayson did never write a review of Quinn’s game.
The second reason is that GamerGate states that they are opposing a ‘anti-gamer’ movement. By the end of August, a great number of news websites stated that the ‘gamer-identity’ no longer exists. With that, they meant that the ‘traditional’ gamer population, that of young white men, is expanding to women, children, elders, and casual gamers. Games as Depression Quest would only promote this expansion. GamerGate sees this as a grave insult to the ‘core gamers’, as according to them, these news website and games are denying their identity.
While hiding behind these 2 ‘noble’ statements, incidents start to pile up. Feminist and game critic Anita Sarkeesian has been making youtube videos about the roles of women in video games and other media for the past few years. Her main point is that women in games are often objectified and that the game industry should focus more on their female audience. Like Quinn, Sarkeesian has to deal with major threats from GamerGate. In fact, she has been threatened far before the birth of GamerGate, but her attackers now have a name.
The most recent case concerns Brianna Wu, developer of Revolution 60 and a vocal opponent of the movement. Last weekend, after Wu retweeted some of her fans making fun of the movement, Wu’s personal information was posted online, including her home address, which lead people to threaten her and her family with acts of violence and rape. She reached out to local police and on their advice she is no longer at her home address. Additionally, Wu may have evidence that her company’s financial accounts are being tampered with and the FBI is investigating.
Does it seem like GamerGate is a movement that stands for integrity of game journalism and defense of the ‘core gamers’? No. GamerGate is a dangerous movement that hates women and wants the gaming industry and audience to be strictly male. As Anita Sarkeesian states:
So yea, a serious subject on a blog about media and entertainment, but an issue that shouldn’t be ignored. I wanted my readers to be aware of this problem. Like I said, this is only an overview on what GamerGate is and this information is not complete. Sadly, this is only a small part of everything that is going on. What is your opinion about this matter? Do you have any negative experiences as a female in a male community? Let me know in the comments.
Anita Sarkeesian’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/feministfrequency