On being silenced through fear from speaking out on #GamerGate.
I thought about titling this post “Twee as Fuck” because I just spent an evening and the better part of a morning down a Google Hole about the music genre known as “indiepop.” That’s tangential to what I’m about to talk about, but I mention it because it’s also somewhat relevant. A brief history of indiepop: people who weren’t into punk or harder rock so much started making music in a softer, “girlier” aesthetic; “punks” and other rock fans deride the music as twee; fans respond by doing things like wearing shirts that say “twee as fuck.” (Yes, I just reduced an entire genre and three decades of musical history to three clauses. Deal with it.)
I’m a feminist and a gamer and I have spent the last three or so weeks (since I became aware of it) specifically not talking about #GamerGate. Not on social media, not on this blog, not anywhere I could ever be permanently associated with speaking. Because I’ve been afraid. Because I’ve been afraid that even though I’m not well known I would draw fire just for speaking. Just for being on the internet. Because I’ve seen the twitter mentions of women I know who are just as unfamous filled with violence just for tweeting support.
The problem with that, of course, is that not talking about it is what bullies want.
It’s like being back in school with a cool kids table and a nerds table. Only this time, a certain subset of the nerds have fashioned what they think is the cool table. And they’re now defending it with every ounce of vitriol they can manage, so that they can stay at the top of some imaginary social heap. The problem isn’t that Anita, Zoe, Brianna, and others are unreasonable. The problem is that they’re asking for change.
What’s hilarious to me is that the change we (feminists, social justice warriors, women gamers, etc.) want is the definition of what should happen in an ideal free market. We want more ideas to be out there to choose from, and then we want choice to raise the cream to the top. We’re saying, “have ALL THE THINGS!!” And #GamerGate trying to bully us back into having only the subset of things they want and approve of. While that’s what they accuse the “SJWs” of. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
I didn’t mention that free market thing by accident. #GamerGate rallies to its banner some rather big ticket conservative personalities, like Adam Baldwin and Milo Yianoppolous. The conservative ideation of censorship is something I’ve noticed coming up again and again in this conversation, and always it does so to criticize something they should be fully behind. To shut down the idea that there should be a free exchange of goods where the market is allowed to determine the value from all the options on hand.
And yet to admit that they were doing that would collide with all their personal narratives. Would be to admit that they think their choice of entertainments might not be worth what they think it is, or, that even worse, the other side which they’ve been seeing as a tyrannical threat might actually have a point or two.
This entire thing is such a preposterous house of cards, and has had holes poked in it from so many angles, and yet still there are people afraid to speak out about it. Afraid to say anything lest their home address get spilled on the internet and their emails become full of death threats. And so, in the last possible way, the bullies are still winning. And until recently, I was one of those people.
If you need any more evidence that this is about keeping those “evil SJWs who just want to take away the boobies and violence from my games” instead of anything real, think about this: Felicia Day spoke against #GamerGate and was immediately doxxed. And yet I have no knowledge of the same thing happening to Chris Kluwe, even though he insulted people who associate themselves with the tag repeatedly.
I’m done with being silent. I’m done with misogynist bullies. I want some games with PoC protagonists, with women, with a consciousness of the story they’re telling and the ways they’re telling it. I want more choices, and I’m not shutting up and going away about that. And until all the people who want more choices in games can feel safe asking for them, I’m going to be as loud as I possibly can about it.
Because ultimately? Being twee as fuck is totally punk rock.
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