Over the couple of weeks, #GamerGate has been raging. As far as I can discern–from the men trying to mansplain in to me–it involves men feeling sad that games they liked got bad reviews due to some sort of Evil Feminist Conspiracy, and also sometimes women who write about games have sex and somehow this is bad. It’s possible there’s an actual real point to be made about the cosy relationship between games journalism and the gaming industry (as there is with any marketing of consumer goods), but these chumps aren’t making it because they’re a little bit overexcited about getting all misogynistic to respond to complaints about misogyny.
Evidence has emerged that this “movement” is a hell of a lot less organic than it purports to be, with 4chan steering away behind the scenes, although of course those involved deny this. And maybe it’s true. Maybe some of them really have been played, and they truly believe in a shadowy feminist illuminati coming to take away their toys. Whether there’s anybody who truly believes this to be legit or not is beyond the point, though. What #GamerGate shows is something a lot of us have known for a while:
Men are pathetic, fragile creatures who massively overreact to the tiniest things.
Men are pretty fond of saying that women have “hysterical overreactions” to things, but ultimately, look at how these men are behaving when video games are critiqued. They swarmed to try and smear the women who did this, they tried and tried to make it into a political cause on a par with Ferguson (yes, seriously), they screamed and shouted and stamped their feet… all because a lot of people were mean about their favourite computer games.
I remember once upon a time, when I was innocent, and I used to get bees in my bonnet over trivial shit. Like, once I wrote a fanfic where Tonks got it on with the entire Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team because she was so clearly a massive slutty lesbian despite what JK Rowling would have us believe. However, even in my disproportionate reactions to things which are ultimately pretty petty days, I didn’t behave in the way men do when they have things they liked challenged. There was far less of the RAGE, far less of the OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.
Let me be clear on this: pop culture isn’t completely irrelevant: it means something, and it’s a reflection of the society that created it. That absolutely means that we as fans should be critical of it, to want it to be better. And that is the exact opposite of what #GamerGate and similar outcries are about: those are men wanting to keep things as they think they’ve always been.
People who face oppression have to grow a thick skin. We need to, to keep ourselves safe. We need to, to keep ourselves alive. It helps us deflect the daily blows that are dealt to us. The demographic to whom the gamer identity is sold, the ones who proudly wear that mantle and flip a shit every time something looks like it might change, they don’t have this armour, because they never needed to develop it. They’re the ones who are playing life on “easy” mode, and still suck at the game. So I don’t doubt that to a lot of these men, this feels like an attack, because they’ve never been attacked before.
They’ve thrown their dummies out of the pram because their precious little manfeels have been hurt.
I am anticipating a lot of whiny comments from men on this post, so I’m going to say right now that I won’t be approving them, because this is another special snowflake feeling men get. They feel like their tedious, limited opinions are important and that therefore everybody should listen to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just the same old boring thing, again and again, and each one of them thinks he’s a free thinker when he’s just parroting the same old shit society spoonfed him without any critical thought at all.
So, instead of commenting, why not maybe play some of those computer games you claim to love so much? Instead of moaning about generalisations, why not spend a bit of time trying not to be the sort of guy this pertains to? Instead of stagnating, why not learn and live a little?