I proudly fly my metaphorical flag collection: my feminist flag, my nerd flag, my gamer flag, etc. I’m usually pretty outspoken, and yet I have hardly posted about the mess that called itself GamerGate—a terrible name and hashtag, but those who came up with it are not the deepest thinkers on the ‘net. The closest I came to it was over six weeks ago when by way of contrast I was celebrating the inclusive side of gaming, the one I can be proud to associate with.
I’m not going to tell you it was because I was scared of repercussions. It’s because I think it’s the whine of self-entitled jerks seeing the territory they have lost and keep losing. I’m not afraid, though I probably should be; I’m mad as hell, but when the hot lava of anger cools down, it hardens into contempt… and a curious glow of schadenfreude, because I can see how scared the whiny gits are.
Forty years ago, it was “normal” for men to grab or slap a woman’s ass if they felt like it.
Thirty years ago, it was normal to offer a higher salary to a young male engineering graduate than to a young woman with the same qualifications.
Twenty years ago, it was still so common to be harassed in tech and gamer circles that we women hardly even noticed it above the background level.
Ten years ago, I couldn’t get anyone in geekdom to even say the word feminism, it was something embarrassing to associate with.
Eight years ago, I realized that even guys I thought as reasonably enlightened in my gamer community were incapable of seeing the problem because they didn’t want it to exist; I gradually stopped posting on gamer forums because even moderated ones allowed dog-piling against women (while stopping it for race and sexual orientation topics!)
Six years ago, Michelle Lyons started trying to get women in tabletop RPGs to come together and be recognized; we compiled a list and it was gratifying, yet too short.
Three years ago, Rebecca Watson got terrible backlash and her name dragged in the mud for saying, and I quote: “Guys, don’t do that” after describing how a male attendee of the World Atheist Convention made her feel uncomfortable in an elevator late at night.
Two years ago, Anita Sarkeesian became a target of misogynist threats of violence for having a Kickstarter funding campaign to fund a new series of “Tropes vs. Women” videos.
As the behaviours of old become something to be ashamed of, something that is frowned upon when in public view, the reactions under cover of anonymity become more and more unsavoury. It’s clear that some blame women and feminism for everything they have failed to reach or accomplish in their lives.
This year, we’re finally reaching the point where a lot of men who until now were uninterested in the problem of misogyny are finally saying, “Whoa, that shit really does happen and it has to stop.” I don’t know if you grasp the importance of this; I’ve seen people who were part of the anti-feminist dogpiling on RPG.net some years ago, then blithely oblivious and thinking women needed a thicker skin, now open wide eyes at our GamerGate friends and say, “Wow, this is wrong.”
It’s like “I’m not racist but…” people who are so angry that a black man became president of the United States, and like people who are so afraid of other orientations that they will resort to any tactic to stop marriage equality from steamrolling across the U.S. They are so angry because the world does not conform to the image they want to cling to. All these people make life uncomfortable for the targets of their bitterness, and some make it dangerous, even deadly.
But here’s the thing, fuckers: even as you make me so angry, I still smile because I know and you know that you’re desperate because you’re losing. Hate on.