GamerGate and the Neofeminist Proxy War
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In Neofeminism & Hypermasculinity: The War We’re Stuck With, I explore the unhealthy struggle between polluted online gamer culture and the disingenuous neofeminist elite who position themselves as gaming’s new face.
In my BioShock Infinite review and elsewhere I make a distinction between a “hardcore” and “softcore” gamer, with the “softcore” driven by an overriding need for mainstream validation, while the “hardcore” simply demand to be catered to as the prime consumer demographic.
In Video Games In The Master Plan I theorize that gaming as an industry is not being controlled by special interests, and therefore isn’t allowed to penetrate into mainstream acceptance, creating a vacuum of authority in which honest gaming communities, self-appointed representatives, and cynical corporate media fight for mindshare of each other and corporate shareholders.
Now we have #GamerGate, Vivian James, and the Quinnspiracy. How does all of this fit into the bigger picture? You could watch the videos below to get caught up, and if you have an hour I suggest you do. (Warning: some harsh language)
Now, I don’t pretend to know if any of that is true, but it’s interesting to think about.
It’s a funny story beginning with an otherwise unremarkable and pretentious “indie developer” wannabe being exposed for her widespread unethical behavior. It was proven that she crossed professional boundaries, lied about harassment to get exposure from the press, and colluded with people in the game industry for personal gain at the expense of innocent parties. It was mostly about sleeping with journalists who wrote about her, and the conflicts of interest in the gaming media. But soon, the story of why nobody was allowed to talk about [DepressionGirl] and the corruption became even more important. The suppression of the scandals — much more than the affairs themselves — triggered an alarming reaction from the biggest gaming communities. But despite their ravenous hunger for stories, headlines, and controversy every other day of the year, this particular “scoop” was stonewalled, dismissed, and outright censored by every publication who was approached with it for days. No investigation was allowed, and those in the industry who wanted to discuss it were threatened with being fired. Adding to the suspicious reaction from the media, social sites like Reddit, NeoGAF, and other places aggressively deleted, insulted, and threatened anyone who dared to mention what was happening. They are still censoring the events under flimsy pretenses. Yet as more more victims of [DepressionGirl] began to speak up, and more people who have tried to expose her in the past have confirmed that she and her kind are specially protected, the outrage became bigger. GamerGate was born.
Predictably, online bullying and harassment became the “story” of the press instead, with the new angle being that [DepressionGirl] is actually the innocent victim of hatecrimes. After all, she’s a woman, an self-proclaimed feminist, and a self-proclaimed indie developer: she is the new face of gaming and can do no wrong.
As the cacophony of controversy continues to drag on before our eyes, there’s glee in my heart. I never thought I’d see such a perfect chain of events, so well chronicled and so transparent, culminating in a widespread coordinated public relations campaign literally demanding the public execution of the “gamer” identity. Brace yourself for this.
If there’s one thing these sensational articles make clear, it’s that hardcore gamers are subhuman trash in the eyes of the “progressive” press. Gamers are species fit for cultural genocide. This is openly stated in some cases, and the word “gamer” is now officially “toxic”, and must be abandoned immediately by everyone who wants to become part of the new inclusive (ie. neofeminist controlled) age of gaming. Just look at the headlines, all of which were published on the same day:
‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over. (Gamasutra)
We Might Be Witnessing The ‘Death of An Identity’ (Kotaku)
A Guide to Ending “Gamers” (Gamasutra)
The End of Gamers (Tumblr)
The Death of the “Gamers” and The Women Who “Killed” Them (Ars Technica)
Gaming Is Leaving “Gamers” Behind (Buzzfeed)
An Awful Week To Care About Video Games (Polygon)
Sexism, Misogyny, and Online Attacks: It’s a Horrible Time to Consider Yourself a Gamer (Financial Post)
There are more you can check out for yourself, all published on the same day. So, as of August 28th, 2014, if you call yourself a gamer, you are an online terrorist, a vile bigot, and a pathetic nerd clinging to an bygone era of oppressive privilege. Laugh as much as you want, but that is the new message, loud and clear. It’s time to pick a “side”, and those sides have been conveniently defined by neofeminists. Rationality is not welcome in this discussion. This is an emotional, social gender issue that transcends fact or logic, and that’s why it can continue to grow and gain traction despite the arguments that you or I could make. The fact that this is all being framed as an “anti-feminist” and “misogynist” issue (as opposed to anti-corruption and pro-transparency issue) is typical of the neofeminists, who make everything about gender inequality, and gender inequality alone. It’s a parry attack, dodging the question of accountability and ethics, and retaliating by saying that gamers themselves need to die or “evolve” into neofeminist culture puppets, or Social Justice Warriors.
The language in almost all of the articles is hyperbolic, one-sided, and fed up with even dignifying the relevance of the strawman they’ve been dragging behind them for years. Instead of declaring war, they declared victory; as if they have the clout to get away with that. They shouldn’t, right? Unless you remember that the whole controversy of the [DepressionGirl] revelations proves that neofeminists are happy to sell their bodies for clout, and certain people in the media consider that a good deal. Who can you trust? Besides that, they’re friends with PR experts, they have progressive media/blogosphere on their side.
The Real War
The real sides here are obvious to me. On one hand we have IGN, with its Mountain Dew, Doritos, Xbox, and hypermasculine repressive trash poisoning the male gaming culture. They have all the money, influence, and reach that they could want, and their agenda is to dumb down and discredit gamers. They’re highly successful, and they specialize in attracting repressed males who want to feel accepted somewhere in society. Unfortunately they have a lot of misguided males on their side.
On the other hand we have Kotaku, RockPaperShotgun, wannabe indie developers, and professional victims masquerading as feminist figureheads, all pushing the anti-hardcore gamer agenda in order to “save gaming” from the “broverload” created by, basically, IGN. Small media outlets are desperate to find an audience that can financially support them, and so they’ve targeted the opposite side of the spectrum. They don’t have any ethics either, but they don’t have the luxury of being owned by Rupert Murdoch, so they have to come up with new tactics. They push their lame agenda in the name of inclusion, liberalism, and diversity, not because they have ideologies, but because they want money without contributing anything of value. They have no problem sleeping around with each other, funding each other, destroying honest attempts at helping women in game development, and making as many connections as possible on as many unethical levels as possible, because they view themselves as the scrappy underdog and us as the sheeple who can be tricked into supporting them the rest of their lives. They are evolving, becoming more bold, and have become arrogant after seeing how much they can get away with. They are invited to conferences, serve as advisors at companies, and are leveraging everything can in order to build up their dirty little establishment. Well-intentioned and gullible men are increasingly siding with this softcore camp in order to reform the industry, as if there’s some big problem that normal consumer habits can’t fix.
Both side’s contempt for the ignorant readers who swallow their bullshit and adopt their carefully manufactured “lifestyles” are barely hidden.
The story of how [DepressionGirl] and her lovers destroyed the Mountain Dew-sponsored GAME_JAM event is a perfect illustration of where the real battle lines are drawn. It’s Bros vs Hos, and there are no rules. Was there really rampant misogyny and product pushing at the event? It’s very possible. The corporate “Bro” side would love to make a mockery of the indie scene and they’d assume indie devs are weak-kneed pushovers who would suffer through anything for some cash and exposure. They hate that crowdfunding and online distribution have allowed indies to rocket to the forefront of the gaming scene, and it might have provoked them into seeing how much they could publicly humiliate them. Or they could just be that ignorant and inconsiderate. I don’t know. But it’s also possible that [DepressionGirl] lied about what happened to reporters, and gladly screwed over and destroyed an expensive corporate event for the sake of publicity toward her own sketchy alternative. Considering that she lied about and destroyed TFYC’s completely innocent and non-profit contest, I’d say the latter is just as likely.
Caught in the middle, as always, are actual gamers, actual feminists, and actual indie developers. I hope its not hard for you to see just how stupid we all look in the eyes of both sides. We are sheep, predictable and harmless and perpetually invested in the bogus narrative being woven by these bullshitters. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, pretending be one of us while they provoke, polarize, militarize, bully, manipulate, deceive, and exploit us for their own profit. They want us to be divided into loyal, obedient camps. The “Death of Gamers” campaign is the most blatant attempt at a hostile takeover in gaming history, and #GamerGate is the rallying cry of concerned gamers who refuse to let these parasites, whores, and corrupt journalists get away with it. We’re not falling for it, even if we don’t see the big picture.
You may have noticed that IGN is nowhere to be seen in the [DepressionGirl] scandal. Those circles don’t mix, that’s why. I’ve loudly condemned IGN’s despicable and manipulative bro culture for being misogynistic and anti-intellectual, because I love women and want them to be included in gaming, along with everyone else, but they do seem to be free from this kind of corruption. They don’t need to sleep around and pull favors, because they have actual revenue and a massive readership. They’re not the good guys, they’re just another villain.
The Next Stage
Where is this all going? Are we witnessing yet another wave of hubris dash with full force against the monolith of hardcore gaming’s collective vigilance, or will the neofeminist cadre and their softcore press fuckbuddies finally manage to demonize the “traditional gamer” in a way that forces something to change? And if something does change, what will that change look like?
The only way things fundamentally change is if corporate shareholders get worried, and that isn’t likely. Even if the softcore sympathizers in the gaming community are successfully polarized and marshaled like obedient soldiers, we could see boycotts of companies, more banning of users in the online communities, and generally a change in the discussion around games. We could see disruption of services, organized campaigns against particular games that they pick, and pressure being put on companies too small to ignore the bullying. We could see an even bigger public awareness campaign to smear the gamer identity, with new bullshit hoaxes, and new levels of debauchery as they consolidate power. Even if all of these were to happen, the most they can realistically hope for are some token gestures of consideration from the big players, some small experiments in feminist demographics from those who can afford it, and some more attention. Not a big deal when the smoke clears.
So far, no amount of bad publicity, demeaning ads, drummed-up “epidemics”, and stigmatizing crusades have managed to stop game publishers and sponsors from more or less targeting the “traditional gamer” demographic (even if they don’t care to actually satisfy demand). Because no matter how much noise neofeminists make every week, political sensitivity doesn’t pay the bills; money does.
I need to point out, however, that there’s a magical idea being pushed by the neofeminists that begs to differ. I found this quote from one of them, and I suggest you brace yourself for it:
Keep looking at that image until you notice what’s wrong. Something in that sentence doesn’t add up.
Neofeminists and their softcore army have tasked themselves with convincing the most lucrative entertainment industry in the world that their entire business model is in jeopardy if they don’t change their ways. Isn’t that something? Maybe she took sociology instead of economics, but that’s a hell of a statement.
I’d say the only people “desperately in need” are the increasingly irrelevant professional writers like her, struggling to compete against YouTube personalities and hyperactive gaming forums. What does she contribute, really?
The anti-gamer conspirators thinks they can defy the demands of the market and still succeed. It’s strange, but it’s what they believe. Just as the Xbox One revealed itself to be openly anti-consumer and desperate to rid itself of the gamer stigma, most of the key figures in the gaming press hate their audience, and can barely hide their contempt on a daily basis. Characters like Ben Kuchera and Adam Sessler tried everything they could to control the discussion around Xbox One’s evil DRM schemes before it launched, mocking the huge outrage and treating us like spoiled children who need to eat our broccoli. Both were humiliated by the resulting trainwreck, along with Steve Ballmer and Don Mattrick who are now doing other things. It was another glimpse into the warped mentality around us, that we’re the enemy. They want our money and our pageviews, not our opinions or our standards, and sometimes they have to learn the hard way.
I don’t know how the #GamerGate backlash is going to go, but I know that it can’t rely on emotion to succeed. Emotionally, the neofeminists have the upper hand because they are professional liars who get paid to manufacture outrage, both for and against themselves. They want gamers to be furious, because furious people look stupid. If you want to fight corruption, you have to be able to do so dispassionately and over a long period of time. Calmly boycott the sites that are guilty, stay on top of events, and put as much pressure as you can on those associated with the guilty by spreading the videos, raising awareness, asking questions, etc. You know the drill by now. [By the way, if you’re into awareness and protecting innocent people from corrupt authorities, have you heard of CISA?]
The upcoming anti-gamer campaign is not about feminism or online harassment or even hiding corruption. It’s about influence. It’s about mindshare. It’s about filling your head with their agenda, instead of the competition’s. Everything from censorship to death threats is about becoming bigger in your eyes. To become a threat, if they can’t become your savior. To not be forgotten. To stay relevant. The neofeminists want your hate. They want you to be a bigoted IGN subscriber, bent on giving their mascots as much attention as possible so that they can convert it into funding. They want you to click on their stories, leave your comments, and “prove their point”, as is their mantra. They’ve both created degrading roles for you to fulfill, and it’s up to you to reject both.
Whatever happens, I’ll be enjoying the view from over here.
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