End of the line.
By Tim Colwill on August 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm
When it comes time to make a point about an important issue the tool I usually default to is humour, or satire, because I find it’s easiest to change people’s minds if you can make them laugh along with you. A lot of awful things have happened this week, and in the week before, and I’ve tried a few times to think of a clever way I could write them up while still getting the point across that, hey, things are really bad. I can’t. So here we are.
This week, Anita Sarkeesian had to leave her home after receiving horrific death and rape threats online. Her crime? She made a video that suggested maybe, just maybe, video games could treat women better. Game developer Tim Schafer linked to the video on his Twitter account, urging people to watch it, and in response people literally told him to go and kill himself.
Last week, indie developer Zoe Quinn had her personal life spilled over the internet in its entirety by a jilted ex-boyfriend. Now she’s being chased all over the internet and out of her house by more death and rape threats, subjected to a barrage of public condemnations of her private sex life, and being held up by angry human garbage as an example of how feminism is destroying video games. Fez developer Phil Fish had his website hacked and his entire life, his social security numbers, his financial details, everything, dumped online. His crime? Speaking up in support of Zoe Quinn.
This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened, of course. This crap just keeps going. People who proudly call themselves “gamers” everywhere have been harassing and trying to exclude women for the last ten years, citing every pathetic excuse in the book from a “feminist agenda” to “gamer culture is under attack”. It’s disgusting and it’s awful, and it doesn’t even make sense. What are these people even afraid of?
The terrible future
Literally the worst possible thing that can happen here is equality. That’s the worst outcome, that’s the nightmare scenario. If, today, every AAA publisher said “We will start to include women more in our games and represent them better”, the only actual difference this would make to anybody shrieking about how feminists are destroying games is that they might have to pick their gender in the next Call of Duty game. Terrifying, isn’t it. Stuff of nightmares.
The problem here is that these squealing man-children, so desperate to keep women out of their precious games, want it both ways. They want gaming to be taken seriously as a culture and art form, while at the same time throwing an unbelievable tantrum when subjected to serious criticism. This is ludicrous and immature on so many levels. Gaming isn’t for you, anymore. Gaming is for everyone. Everyone gets to have their say, to make their criticism, and gaming doesn’t need you to defend it.
(Isn’t it weird how AAA publishers with their nine-figure marketing budgets aren’t out there fighting against the destruction of video games? It’s almost like there is no actual war on gaming.)
The only thing left for these people to do is put their toys back in the pram and huddle together as the tide rises against them, until they wake up in five year’s time and realise that Assassin’s Creed 7 was actually a pretty good game, even though they had to waste three precious seconds flicking the gender over to ‘male’ on the character creation screen so they can feel comfortable again. Change is inevitable, especially when half of the freaking gamers in the country are women and actually want to play some games that don’t treat them like disposable trash.
Here’s the door
So, here’s another change for you: if you really think feminism, or women, are destroying games, or that LGBT people and LGBT relationships have no place in games, or that games in any way belong to you or are “under attack” from political correctness or “social justice warriors”: please leave this website. I don’t want your clicks, I don’t want your hits, I don’t want your traffic. Leave now and please don’t come back.
I’m asking politely. You’re free to think whatever you like and to complain about whatever you like, but do it somewhere else. Comments are closed on this article, because this isn’t up for debate. I’m not seeking any input on this, or any carefully worded thoughts on how we need to take these concerns seriously or to hear “both sides of the story”. As long as I am in charge of this ship, I will happily admit to pushing an agenda: I want better representation in games. That’s my agenda. That’s our agenda.
I hope you’ll stay. I hope you’ll be part of a glorious future where a game that treats women and LGBT groups with respect won’t be held up as some weird oddity to praise and encourage. A future where female gamers don’t have to disguise their voice on raid chat, where game developers won’t be threatened with rape. Where people won’t be asking for a “gay filter” on their games because homosexuality makes them uncomfortable. I hope you’ll stick around for that.
But if you’re not on board with that, leave. If you’re not on board, find another ship, and good luck to you because that ship will be sailing against the wind.
Social Justice Druid
Header image courtesy Lauren.