Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gamers, Feminists, Misogynists...oh, my!

I've said it before:  there are certain feminist issues and viewpoints that I support, but nobody who knows me would label me a feminist.  Anyway, these days, the term brings with it a truckload of cultural baggage that means different things to people.  I am a woman with some very traditional views on things and some very radical ones.  (Many would call me 'right wing', but I have an intense hatred for that sort of boxing in.  There are things I both agree with and disagree with on the right and on the left.)  However, I am a woman who loves traditionally 'boyish' things.  I am a woman who loves traditionally 'geekish' things.  Comic book movies.  Star Wars.  Spock.  Die Hard.  Jim Cameron sequels.  I know well that special look people get on their faces when they find out these things about me.  I don't believe that a love for these things, any more than for gaming, should belong to one or the other sex.

This week's...I'm not sure what to call it.  War?  Brouhaha? Eruption? Scandal?  Let's go with the gaming world has had plenty of coverage, so I won't set it all out again here, but I will say that it has affected me, and not in a way you might think from the above paragraph. 

I cannot and will not deny that sexism has been rife in the gaming world.  I cannot and will not deny that certain women misuse women's rights issues as a platform to further their careers.  Women in the industry have done stupid and horrible things, and have been the victims of stupid and horrible things.  Men in the industry have done stupid and horrible things, and have been the victims of stupid and horrible things.  For me, the real horror in all this is not corruption or misogyny.  The real horror is the way that people - people, not men or women - treat each other.  My horror is at the language and the abuse people throw at each other online.  

'Welcome to the internet,' I hear you say.  'Where have you been the last 30 years, you naive ****?'  But that's exactly my point.  Being online seems to give people a licence to say things they would never say to someone face to face.  Or would they?  I don't know anymore.  In the name of free speech and moral crusading, people lower their own moral standing (completely collapse it, in my opinion) by resorting to this kind of abusive and, frankly, downright disgusting behaviour.

If you dislike someone's actions or opinions, how about not supporting or buying their next product?  And yes, you do have the right to say why you are not supporting them.  BUT you can do that without using the names I've seen spat out in the last couple of days and in other, similar situations in the past.  You can pull your support from someone without putting their personal information online - which is illegal, I needlessly add.  'Oh, but it's about getting the truth out there about what they've done.  They deserve it.'  How about what you've just done?  How about taking care of your own immoral or hurtful behaviour first and foremost?  How about being kind to one another, no matter who the other person is or what they've done, as we can never know everything about them and their situation?  How about not lowering yourself to 'their level', whatever that may be?

It's a very, very old-fashioned notion (thanks, Nick Fury), but if we all took ten seconds to monitor our actions by thinking 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' or, if you prefer, Wil Wheaton's modern translation: 'Don't be a dick', the world would be a completely different place for men, for women, for gamers, for people.  And that would be the kind of revolution I could truly support.