If you’re a social justice activist and we’ve been having an exchange on social media, it’s probably ended in a number of ways. If you’re reading this then you’ve not immediately labelled me a variant of misogynist/bigot/racist/homophobe and blocked me. I applaud you for that and being more open to dialogue than some.
I’ll limit this response to one possible context: you’ve told me that I should read more before I reply to you or express an opinion on our topic of discussion. This is usually based on one of two assumptions:
1. I hold the opinions I do because I am ignorant of the context/issues involved and if I simply read more I would see the world and the topics discussed as you do. Because, what reasonable, caring, intelligent person could do otherwise?
2. You haven’t quite worked out where I am coming from and are one step away from labelling me a misogynist/bigot/racist/homophobe at worst, or a cold-hearted, privileged, white he-devil socialised into prejudice and hatred of women and minorities by the colonial patriarchy. One slip, misunderstanding, or inconvenient fact will, of course, see me blocked. Disparaging comments about me may, or may not, be exchanged about me behind my back with others sharing your world-view, after-the-fact.
If you’re an SJA and have read this far, count me impressed. I’d like to offer a third possibility: I am not completely ignorant or uncaring regarding social and economic disadvantage facing some individuals and sections of society because their life circumstances are less favourable than some of mine. Nor am I a vile person without morals or an ethical/ideological framework through which I perceive the world and act. It’s just my viewpoints and beliefs differ to yours. Continue reading
Miracles do happen: I finally managed to get to a showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens without being exposed to any major spoilers , despite my young son having watched the film before Christmas. What I’d seen were articles online claiming the film was a social justice/’progressive’/diversity/feminist tour-de-Force Awakening and avoided reading every one. It was clear that many in the regressive left wanted to claim the movie as their own, even going so far as to state Kylo Ren is the ultimate white, dude-bro geek, the last gasp of a dying breed of archaic white, patriarchal male gamers. But, predictably for ideologues, what they saw was filtered through the lens of their ideology. So, who is Kylo Ren, and what does he represent?
NOTE: Harassment and ethics are issues that are important to many, but NOT the focus this post. Agendas and concerns elsewhere, please.
This is about looking at allowing gamers of ALL sorts enjoyment of an inclusive hobby. Gaming is easily big enough for everyone. My suggestions for moving forward are:
1) When considering gaming and the community of gamers, drop the history. Leave it behind. Stop investigating. Stop shaming.
2) Social Justice types: stop trying to ban games.
3) Gamers: stop seeing the development of games that prioritise story and character interaction as threatening. Let those that enjoy ‘gentler’ or casual games do so without attacking them.
4) Devs: be aware the market contains a huge diversity of consumers. Follow your artistic vision for the game you wish to make, targeted at the audience you think will most enjoy it. Do not cave in to pressure to change your game by anyone who is not in the target demographic.
5) Devs, Gamers & Social Justice Types: stop attacking & trying to dismantle each other’s identities and sub-communities. Create safe and unsafe gaming spaces, and trash talk, or not, in an a place where it’s accepted.
6) Gamers & Social Justice Types: don’t be an idiot and make a nuisance of yourself in someone else’s space. Stick with your own and enjoy yourselves there.
What did I miss? Any suggestions/critique/agreement in the comments below. And we’re trying to look forward here. Can we think past the current gamergate ‘scandal’ no matter our affiliation?
‘Mansplaining’, One Definition: a word often used by social activists and radical feminists to label someone’s opinions in such a way that they can be disregarded, based solely the gender of the holder.
Being neutral is about either not caring or it’s about asking questions. Why is there a fuss about a Storm Trooper’s colour? Why should Katniss Everdeen have been black? Why are the current sexualisation and depiction of women in games ‘bad’? And why are those who support gamergate feeling under attack from some radical feminists and social activists when it’s women who’ve been abused and threatened?
Gamergate was birthed as conjoined twins: the harassment of some women and the issues around game journalism ethics, or lack thereof. One side wants to say it’s all about the former, that the gamergate tag has no legitimacy except as another label for misogyny. The tag should be condemned and buried. The other side are crying out to be heard as they use the moniker ‘gamegate’ as a touchstone for the shared values of gaming culture, and even community. On both sides there are those who say their gamergate is the definitive one. I’m neutral and have to disagree. Gamergate is as messed up and mixed up as discussions about the value and nature of religion, and arguing exact definitions as pointless as debates over which gender is better. Continue reading