3 years ago
uberwren
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GamerGate and Brianna Wu
This is a really complicated, messy, volatile collection of issues so let’s break down some facts about what everyone’s talking about with this #GamerGate business. Brianna Wu is a game developer for Giant Spacekat who worked on Revolution 60. Being a woman involved in the video game industry is always a risky business, and when she chose so speak out against sexism in video games the hoards descended. Wu’s comments were in response to the harassment of Zoe Quinn, a fellow game developer who worked on Depression Quest, and who’s ex-boyfriend made numerous unsubstantiated allegations of of unethical journalistic practices. This is the part where GamerGate comes in. After Wu made these statements, members of the widespread disparate group began harassing her as well (they had already been going ten rounds with Quinn and several other prominent female game developers and feminists). This harassment escalated into some very real threats (picture 2), and at that point Wu and her husband decided to call the police and leave their home. GamerGate has not claimed credit for the threats, but they also aren’t doing anything to disassociate themselves from extremists like this, nor have they spoken out against the threats made to Wu. An important thing to keep in mind is this is not NEW issue. The harassment of Zoe Quinn started in December of 2013 and GamerGate has been around and making noise for 2 years already. One reason GamerGate is maintaining steam is big name support including actor Adam Baldwin (yes, Jayne from Firefly), and frankly when Seth Rogen, the man who thought making date rape a joke in Observe & Report was a tasteful choice, when even he tells you're a “f***ing idiot” (picture 3) you’re doing something wrong. This is an issue that I care deeply about on a very personal level. I am a woman and I love video games. I also love freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and I really love freedom of the press. What I do not love are man-child idiots making threats against women for exercising freedom of speech in calling out sexism in video games. Whether sexism is an issue in gaming is a topic that can be debated, but harassment, hacking, and threats are not debate they are criminal. I’ve included some really good (but very biased) articles that I highly recommend to learn more about the historical context and ongoing issues that have lead to the #StopGamerGate2014 campaign. Inqisitr article on the threats made against Brianna Wu and Adam Baldwin’s defense of GamerGate - http://bit.ly/1oa1JCh VentureBeat.com’s GamesBeat article on Brianna Wu - http://bit.ly/1vZLyIH The Verge urges people to stop supporting GamerGate - http://bit.ly/1tEnjLm And
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Let me clear things up before I make my stance. I am against making claims about someone's personal affairs, what happened to Zoe Quinn was unfair. I do not condone threats and trolling of these various people involved, but we know this isn't unique to gamers; there are idiots in every walks of life that say and do terrible things. That being said (next comment)=>
There have been numerous SUBSTANTIATED reports documenting collusion and other unethical journalism practices by many (MANY!) video game journalists. They have gone so far as to create a Google thread with nearly all game journalists that detail when they will release a story and about what. For instance, 11 articles were released with the same title on the exact same day from all different sources, "Gamers are dead" they said. Here is why I support gamergate: to uphold journalist integrity among one of my favorite hobbies that I spend A LOT of money in. I'm not a sexist, misogynistic woman bashing lunatic, but when I am told I am because I play video games I'm going to get pretty pissed.
Okay, now I'm really sorry about adding an additional comment. Women should be represented in video games just like men are. There is no reason there isn't more female main characters or female characters that add more to a story line then just a pretty body. That's definitely on the creators themselves. However (and I will probably catch flak for this) both men and women are often portrayed with overtly sexualized body types, and I don't think this is the work of sexualization of women only but both genders.
@hunahuna my issue is that the people who, like, you, are concerned with journalistic integrity (which I'll get to in a moment) are not the ones being heard in the movement. The ones being heard are the ones attacking women and being bullies and assholes. That doesn't mean they're the majority of the group, but they are a significant portion of the group and it's the responsibility of everyone who disagrees with their approach to call them out and actively segregate them from the movement. GamerGate has become about attacking women, not the very valid and real concerns about journalistic integrity. It's like the difference between feminism and humanism. Yes humanism is the more correct term, but feminism has become a movement about equality for ALL genders, so that's the movement that I associate with, not humanism. Likewise, when someone who claims to be feminist attacks someone else (such as a "feminist" attacking someone for being straight or white or male etc.) I will not refer to that person as a member of the movement I associate with. If the GamerGate movement is meant to be about journalistic integrity it is the responsibility of those in the movement to deny associate to those attacking women and being assholes. If you or any other GamerGate supporter wants the cause to be taken as anything other than internet terrorism you (general you) need to call out those using the name of the movement in a way unbecoming of the movement.
@hunahuna and as a separate note regarding your last comment, I actually agree completely. It's the actual problem is patriarchy and the male gaze, it's not something that only impacts women it impacts men as well. Men are informed by these games and the culture about them what it means to be male and to be masculine. Muscly action hero types who are designed to be attractive. It's not a matter of it being meant to appeal to women, it's also meant to show men what a man is because you look at it and go "Wow he's such a bad ass." And the sexualization is actually an interesting issue, because in my opinion it's really not about the clothing characters of all genders wear in games, it's the way they're written. That's a slightly tangential issue though so I'll leave it for now, my main point was I actually agree with you that the representations of ALL genders are skewed and tend to be detrimental in video games and it's something that needs to be addressed as an over arching issue in games, not only where female characters are concerned.