Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Before I begin, I want to acknowledge my privileged status. I am a Jewish (White in appearance) college-educated male in my mid-twenties. Opportunities in all walks of life have been wide open to me in comparison to people of color and women. My voice, for good or ill, is treated as more valid than women’s voices by society in general. Many women have written about misogyny and sexism in gaming in particular. I recognize that since I have never personally been a victim of sexual harassment, I can’t claim to speak for them. Hell, I don’t want to speak for them. Therefore, I encourage women (and men) to make their voices heard. If just one woman is inspired to fight against the patriarchy by my article, then I’ll have succeeded. I want to use my privileged status to help others find their voice and start a dialogue, so please feel free to leave comments below. That said, let the post begin! Preamble Video games and gaming culture have gone mainstream. From its humble beginnings in the ’70s, this medium has exploded. Last year, the global gaming industry took in more than $91 billion. As of 2015, there were 1.8 billion gamers in the world. However, many people aren’t aware that over half of all gamers are women. In addition, most of society isn’t aware of its own sexist attitudes. READ: To combat sexism, you must first know it’s there. Read this article on sexism in DEADPOOL to find out more. This is particularly the case in gaming culture, where misogyny and sexism are rampant. Recent flare-ups like GamerGate are just the most visible form of this discrimination. And they’re not always private or covert: this summer, the feminist Anita Sarkeesian was publically harassed at a Vidcon Panel. These are not isolated incidents. They are indicative of a regressive culture that is harming women and girls everywhere. Everyday Sexism And Sexual Harassment Every day, innocent women are verbally harassed during multiplayer games. They are sent lewd messages, questioned constantly on whether they’re “real” gamers, and barraged with date asks. As if this weren’t enough, whenever they defend themselves, they are ridiculed and dismissed with comments such as “go back in the kitchen” or “make me a sandwich.” The idea that gaming is a space solely for white males is ingrained in our culture. No matter how many times someone points out that more women own game consoles than men, there will be those who simply ignore them. If they’re women, it’s because they’re obviously SJWs and self-serving attention whores. If it’s men, it’s because they’re beta level cucks who are obviously screwing a feminazi. And female gaming journalists get the worst of it. If nothing else, GamerGate showed that as a woman, working in gaming is hell. GamerGate For those not in the know, 2014 was a bad year to be a woman in gaming. By bad, I mean worse than usual. That is, women were getting death threats instead of “only” nude pic requests. This all culminated with a female game designer and her ex-boyfriend’s blog post. Zoe Quinn was and is a well-known game developer. In 2014, her ex-wrote a tell-all blog post detailing how she cheated on him. He then shared it on the site 4chan, which is notorious for its subgroups of sexist chat rooms. I won’t supply the post or the author’s name since I don’t want to give him another platform. However, I will summarize it. He alleged that Quinn cheated on him with a gaming journalist for a popular site. A game Quinn had been working on got a lot of good press. However, none was from Nathan Grayson, the aforementioned journalist. Nevertheless, according to Quinn’s ex, they were sleeping together because he said so. Zoe Quinn at XoXo Festival When Quinn saw this post, she naturally was quite upset, describing it this way: “It was very precise and deliberate…I fully believe it was there to ruin my life. As soon as it hit 4chan, they [harassers] went into ‘get this bitch’ mode. They started doxxing me immediately, asking who had hacking skills.” Doxxing is a very, very serious issue. It is the practice of posting a person’s contact info such as their phone number, email, and address on social media. This allows trolls and sexual harassers to flood the doxxing victim’s email and voicemail with hate speech and even death threats. This security issue plagued Zoe Quinn for months. Sometimes victims of doxxing find it impossible to stay in their homes for fear of actual assault. Journalistic Ethics As the controversy grew, the smarter trolls realized being called sexist isn’t great for one’s image. Therefore, they banded together in an attempt to reframe the narrative. Instead of a misogynistic spat against a female game developer, these GamerGate advocates claimed the spat was all about journalistic ethics. After all, impartiality is important in journalism. These sexist commentators alleged the whole argument wasn’t about women in games, it was about journalistic integrity and honest reviewing. Zoe Quinn refutes the argument that GamerGate was about journalistic ethics: “I have 16 gigabytes of evidence [of harassment], I’ve got massive amounts of screen grabs. But proof doesn’t matter, logic doesn’t matter – the fact that the review they’re propping up as the excuse for their crusade doesn’t exist and has never existed, that does not matter – it still gets thrown at me constantly…People can just make shit up and you can’t debunk it, they’ll just replay it. This is used to terrorize my family and go after my boyfriend, to ruin his life too for the crime of being associated with me. Now tell me it’s about ethics in games journalism.” All this reframing, unfortunately, has worked. Many people are convinced that Quinn’s constant invocation of sexism is nothing but an excuse and a charade. Those who feel threatened by women encroaching on “their” space will be more inclined to seek out falsehoods that confirm their own negative biases. Seeing the fig leaf of journalistic ethics, they cling tightly to it. All the while, these (mostly white) male gamers support the movement’s leaders and all too many become participants in sexism themselves. That is, not just everyday sexism of harassing women gamers online. These GamerGate true believers will doxx people or post disgusting and hurtful things on victims’ Twitter accounts. Feminist Frequency Another victim of sexism in video game culture is Anita Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian first came to prominence in 2009 when she created the YouTube channel Feminist Frequency. The channel exposed (and continues to expose) sexism and bigotry in video games, gaming culture, and pop culture in general. In 2011, she launched her signature series TROPES VS. WOMEN IN VIDEO GAMES. This informative and engrossing series details many hidden facets of misogyny in video games. For exposing many of these things, Sarkeesian has been harassed and ridiculed relentlessly ever since. LISTEN: ComicsVerse celebrates women in X-Men comics! In June, Sarkeesian was provoked into verbally berating a group of YouTubers. While she has been a target of harassment before, this was a more clandestine and physical form of intimidation on the part of people opposed to Sarkeesian’s views. This included prominent YouTuber Sargon of Akkad (real name Carl Benjamin). While attending a VidCon panel, several anti-SJW (Social Justice Warrior) YouTubers, among them Benjamin, filled up the rows in front of the podium at which Sarkeesian stood. They were silent, but recognizing Benjamin and knowing his policies, Sarkeesian rightfully felt threatened. Anita Sarkeesian It was quite clear to Anita Sarkeesian (and most reasonable people) that Carl Benjamin and his followers’ presence was an intimidation tactic. Sarkeesian proceeded to lash out against this menacing presence by name calling and other reactions. It may not look great or be very nice, but lashing out at threats is a natural human reaction, and the feminist critic should be forgiven for her actions. After all, in her place, would anyone do anything very different? Sure, maybe a Gandhi or MLK would have. However, those figures are famous precisely because they were superhuman in their calm, collected reactions to both implied and actual threats. Knowing that Sarkeesian is merely human, Carl Benjamin and his fellow travelers got the reaction they wanted: reasonable outrage. By provoking Sarkeesian into reacting like a human being, these sexist vloggers claim victory over the dreaded SJWs. READ: Want more from ComicsVerse’s gaming gurus? Then look no further than our coverage of Momocon 2017! This is one of the many tactics misogynists and GamerGate-affiliated critics use to bully their opponents. Anita Sarkeesian is one of the few brave souls willing to speak out against misogyny in games and pop culture. She does a great job as her videos are not only engaging but informative as well. For all her good work, she still gets death threats and isn’t taken seriously because she is a woman. This is a shame. A Reoccurring Issue Sexism and misogyny are ever present problems. Every day, millions of women are victims of sexual harassment. Intentionally and unintentionally, millions of men victimize women simply because of their gender. In the gaming community, this hurt is just as acute, if not more so. Due to a misguided perception of gaming as a space for white males, many haters heap vitriol on feminists. Critics of sexism in video game culture are doxxed, harassed, intimidated, and threatened daily. Victims like Zoe Quinn are driven from their homes and often lose their jobs. This is a serious issue. Gender equality affects everyone. Therefore, everyone must constantly be on guard against sexism in its many forms. Fighting back against reactionary forces and people is the only way for compassion and equality to triumph. There is both reason to hope and reason to fear for progressive change in the future of gender relations. In gaming, more than half of all consumers are women. For better or worse, money talks louder than anything else in our market driven world. If women can make their voices heard more — and men finally decide to hear them — then video game companies will listen. As well, focus on gender issues has increased due to the pernicious influence of the Trump White House. This is a double-edged sword and provides both misogynists and feminists with ammunition. With movements such as the Women’s March garnering widespread support, there is hope that gender equality will improve in the future. Nevertheless, we must always be aware of the reactionary forces protecting the status quo and the Glass Ceiling.