I don’t particularly care about gaming or gamer culture. I work with computers for a living and try not to let screens also be a significant portion of my extra-curricular activities. But when the petulant mob of manchildren calling themselves “GamerGate” blew up last summer, I was disgusted. I don’t care about games, but I sure as hell care about women’s lives being torn apart by a vindictive mob of assholes.
GameGate tried to pass itself off as about “ethics in game journalism” but I saw very few people buying that narrative outside of its rabid supporters. Livio De La Cruz decided to tackle the narrative that there was something approaching parity in the perception of GamerGate in his exhaustive Almost No One Sided with #GamerGate: A Research Paper on the Internet’s Reaction to Last Year’s Mob:
I’ve had GamerGaters tell me that most people don’t equate GamerGate with online harassment and that most people (or at least, most gamers) are actually on GamerGate’s side… The results of this project suggest that the vast majority of people do in fact equate GamerGate with online harassment, sexism, and/or misogyny. More people see GamerGate as a toxic mob rather than a legitimate movement worthy of respect.
I love the conclusion, where De La Cruz argues that GamerGate has actually promoted the very things it detests:
The Week compared GamerGate to a soccer team that has only ever managed to score on its own goal and responds with self-congratulatory remarks on a job well done. Their efforts to silence feminist and political critique of games actually ended up inspiring more of it. Their efforts to convince journalists to stop critiquing gamers for their sexist, bigoted behavior has only amplified people’s awareness of society’s misogyny problem. Their efforts to discredit Zoe Quinn, Leigh Alexander, Anita Sarkeesian, and Brianna Wu have led to them becoming some of the most respected voices in games, as more people are inspired by their work against abuse and their advancement of the medium itself. Their efforts to scare women out of the games industry actually led to more money, time, and talent being dedicated towards fixing tech’s diversity problem.
More heavily researched and linked things like this on the internet, please.