Let's start this off with a quick rundown of what it means to be a feminist.
What Feminism IS NOT:
1. The belief that women shouldn't be sexy/shouldn't make an effort to look attractive
3. The fight to prove superiority to males
5. A hoard of angry women running around causing a ruckus
What Feminism IS:
1. The belief that women should be equal to men (and any other conceivable gender) under the eyes of the law, in society and under any and all social circumstances
Feminism is a collection of ideologies that should be considered a vital component of the overarching fight for human rights and nothing less.
Why, then, does it seem that feminists as a whole continue to be targeted and vilified for doing little more than advocating for their own rights?
#GamerGate is a "movement" unintentionally started by Eron Gjoni after he wrote a novel (a 9,000-word post) chronicling the supposed evils of his game developer ex-girlfriend, Zoe Quinn.
Such "evils" involved sleeping with Kotaku writer Nathan Grayson in exchange for a positive review of her new video game, Depression Quest.
According to the research of multiple publications, as well as the timeline of these alleged events, it's unlikely any of the above accusations made by Gjoni is factual.
Shortly thereafter, however, Quinn became "the Internet's most hated person," subject to mass harassment and hostility.
Gawker-owned Kotaku released a post from Editor-in-Chief Stephen Totilo, detailing the internal investigation of the so-called scandal, and completely debunked it as professionally as possible.
But the damage was already done; a steady stream of maliciousness toward Quinn remains, even months after Totilo's post.
So, long story short: This entire fiasco was born out of a man's questionable memoir of a bad relationship.
It seems that a notable allocation of GamerGate followers want little more in life than for women to separate themselves from the gaming community. They also want women to cease requesting that they be portrayed as equals (or even positively) in games.
Additionally, this applies to anyone requesting a diversification of race and sexuality. These are the same people threatening the lives of prominent female game developers, and coordinating full-on conspiracies to the tune of this pretty little number:
The campaign to destroy me professionally continues. They're targeting my game Revolution 60. Please RT! pic.twitter.com/ssQmgktgA1 — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) October 17, 2014
The other group (and what appears to be the majority) is benign, yet seemingly confused. They're still attempting to transform the GamerGate movement into a unified group gunning for "journalistic integrity in the gaming world," as well as equality among sexes.
The females who have had the bravery to speak out against GamerGate are unable to go home, let alone continue with their professional lives, due to fear of attack.
As we know, Brianna Wu, head of development at Giant Spacekat, has been forced to desert her home. Just last week, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel a speaking event at Utah State due to threats of "the deadliest school shooting in human history," should she go through with it.
What saddens me the most about Gamergate is that the same extremism that destroyed American politics has now come to videogames. — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) October 19, 2014
If #GamerGate-ers were alive in the early 1900s they would be the ones fighting against women’s suffrage. #sameshitdifferentcentury — Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 20, 2014
It seems no secret, then, that the movement has taken its own turn. Despite what defenders claim to have been the original intentions of the leaders who gave it life, it has been molded and used as an umbrella for people who want to frighten, harass and abuse.
That alone is reason enough for GamerGate to come to an unceremonious, abrupt end.
Even a cursory glance at 8chan, the site that has acted as a hub for the GamerGate community, reveals sexist, racist and generally disturbing memes, images and comments. Here's one 8chan post encouraging the community to "use" the biases of Fox News to its advantage:
Use Fox News as a pawn againt the Liberal Medias: I'm worried that the Liberal and General Medias are so ridiculously biased against us now that they'll poison the well of our potential support. We need to present a counter narrative. If Fox will do it for us, why not use them to our ends?
They repeatedly call the articles covering their actions false "narrative" in an effort to discredit accounts of the behaviors that are occurring as "biased." Here's another:
There is one simple problem in all of this and barely anyone gets on it, because people are scared of saying loud stuff like 'I don't wanna say conspiracy, but conspiracy!' Normal people, the generic public just do not understand what the hell SJWs do, talk about and believe in.
The "SJW" in question stands for "social justice warrior"; it is representative of anyone speaking out for equal representation and equality in games. SJW is a term that in any other context would be positive, but is, within this special community, derogatory.
Or, as one blog puts it:
Social justice warriors believe in an extreme left-wing ideology that combines feminism, progressivism, and political correctness into a totalitarian system that attempts to censor speech and promote fringe lifestyles while actively discriminating against men, particularly white men. They are the Internet activist arm of Western progressivism that acts as a vigilante group to ensure compliance and homogeny of far left thought."
A part of me just died.
To tie this up, here's one particularly telling 8chan comment:
We've also witnessed the uprising of better sites that have and continue to cover our side. Sites that are independent. Sites that depend on viewership. OUR viewership. Sites that don't sell their viewers short by pushing the latest 9+/10 CoD review. Sites that don't shame their viewers for being white, or straight, or loving the hobby that is gaming. Fuck people like John Walker. Fuck people like Nathan Grayson. Fuck people like Sam Bittle.
In statements like the one above lies the bottom line and the most egregious issue: GamerGaters truly believe that they are being demonized for being the majority (white, straight, male). They believe their gaming experience is being compromised in a way that justifies their behavior, which includes dishing out death threats.
They are making death threats because of the potential compromise of their video-gaming experience. Just let that soak in.
A message to the GamerGaters who do not condone what it has snowballed into: Time to jump ship.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It