Thursday, October 30, 2014


I've been meaning to blog about "Gamergate," but of course, it's just one of the many things I never got around to. So I'll just post these two video clips, instead.

I'm a gamer, though I don't own a joystick, and I don't actually play any of the games mentioned by Stephen Colbert. Still, as a man and as a gamer, I'm hugely embarrassed by the threats and other harassment Anita Sarkeesian and other women get.

Similarly, as a man and as an atheist, I'm hugely embarrassed by the misogynists in the atheist community, too. In both cases, they're a minority, but a very loud, angry, and bullying minority. They make the rest of us look bad.

Whether you agree with Sarkeesian or not is hardly even the point. The anger, the harassment, the threats of physical - and often sexual - harm, well, that just shows that we've got a real problem here, whatever you think of the details.

After all, reasonable people can disagree about specific features of specific video games, but these misogynists aren't even close to being reasonable people. Even if I disagreed with her - and I've played enough computer games to understand her point, just as I've seen way too much misogyny online - she should have the right to say what she thinks.

As a man, I'm hugely embarrassed by other men - boys, at least - who seem so threatened by intelligent, outspoken women. But men - white men, specifically - have always had a privileged position in America. When that is threatened by equal rights for women or racial minorities, many of them seem to be terrified that they won't be able to compete.

What losers!


Chimeradave said...

This is one of those stories that had already gotten really big by the time I heard about it. One day it was all over my Facebook newsfeed and I had to figure out what it was about. It started as a simple thing that women should be better represented in games and more games should be made with them in mind. This makes a lot of sense to me as I've known lots of women gamers. Seems like videogame companies would be stupid not to sell to two markets (men and women). But the story evolved into the disgustingness of trolls giving out death threats. Anyone who looks at comments on youtube or yahoo should be surprised. Trolls are like rats they seem to be under every rock and they carry diseases (stupidity in this case). Also i point to the recent study that found a link between trolls and sociopathy. But the point I wanted to make is that the original message is unfortunately getting buried under the second message about harassment .

Chimeradave said...

i meant shouldnt be surprised. It's hard to proofread on my phone

WCG said...

John, it reminds me of 'Elevatorgate,' in that the original comments hardly justified the intense flame war that followed.

This wouldn't have been a big thing at all if misogynists hadn't jumped all over it with both feet. Certainly, their hysteria wasn't justified - in either case. And many of the claims they make simply aren't true.

Yes, trolls are common and intentionally disgusting. It's seems obvious that most are just desperate for attention, and it's easy to dismiss them for that very reason.

But they include some very disturbed people, and no one should just assume that their death threats and rape threats are just talk. The harassment is very real.

In fact, it's the reaction of Sarkeesian's opponents (and those of Rebecca Watson and every other woman who speaks out) which more than anything convinces me that they have a valid point.