It was too easy for me to be a little bit agnostic about the #GamerGate thing when it seemed to be a few friendless gamer bros venting their frustrations at the fact that they blame women for everything wrong with their sad lives.
And that was careless of me. Of course it wasn’t just about one or two isolated, indie female game developers. Of course it was about rampant structural misogyny throughout a nerd culture that I claim some fellowship with, or at least used to.
Which is to say, it’s all fun and games until a feminist video game critic can’t make a public appearance due to threats of a “Montreal-style” mass shooting:
“Cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian’s scheduled appearance at a Utah State University conference tomorrow has been cancelled due to terror threats. According to Ogden, Utah’s Standard-Examiner, an anonymous email sent to the school threatened ‘the deadliest school shooting in American history’ and a ‘Montreal Massacre style attack’ if the school let a woman talk about videogames. USU’s official Twitter account announced the appearance was cancelled a few hours after the Standard-Examiner first reported the threat.”
In the universal karmic struggle between Team Nerd and Team Jock, my sympathies generally lie with the former (despite riding the bench for my high school baseball team and playing rugby, quite badly, in college).
But the painfully rage-filled misogyny from gamer bros as of late pretty much makes me want to burn my lifetime membership card and wish I’d joined a frat in college. One of the nerdy ones, natch, but still — I have no sympathy for a gamer subculture that’s unable to put its foot down and root out the cancer of young men who feel entitled to disparage, threaten, rape, and/or kill women who want to be part of the club for once. Who, in fact, genuinely want to make positive contributions to said club in the form of new games and ideas and discussions.
But hey, you’ll bring some diversity to gaming culture only after you’ve snatched the Flamin’ Hot Cheetohs and 2-liter Mountain Dew from our cold, dead, blistered hands.
And isn’t that such an unfair stereotype — the sexless male nerd. But I’ve never witnessed a pack of imbeciles so eager to live up to the negative expectations of just about everyone else.
It’s sad and disturbing on so many levels.