globeandmail writer Tabitha Southey has written a brief lexicon for those curious about the GamerGate community and what they really mean when they tell women that they need to lighten up.
Originally published by The Globe and Mail on October 17, 2014. Written by Tabitha Southey.
This week, feminist video-game critic Anita Sarkeesian chose not to speak at Utah State University after she learned that the school would allow concealed firearms despite threats against her, including one promising a “Montreal Massacre style” attack if she made her presentation. Thus Gamergate (a long-simmering “controversy” involving a minority of hard-core gamers who are convinced their way of life is under attack by uppity interloper girl gamers, media traitors and corporate overlords) became international headline news.
Some ideas surrounding Gamergate may be unfamiliar to those not immersed in video-game culture, but gaming culture is a sometimes not-so-funhouse mirror of wider culture, and Gamergate should be examined. Several of the words used in the Gamergate discussion may be new to some; other words, while familiar, such as the word “discussion” itself, have acquired entirely different meanings. I’ve therefore compiled a Gamergater’s glossary.
The highly credible theory that a game developer named Zoe Quinn cheated on her boyfriend, thereby gaining dominion over the gaming press. Quinnspiracy holds that, short of her having slept with swaths of the gaming press corps, there can be no plausible explanation as to how Ms. Quinn’s novel indie video game, Depression Quest, about living with depression, garnered the attention of people who critique video games and who are understandably drawn to innovation in the often risk-averse field they cover.
According to Quinnspirators, irrefutable evidence of this sleeping your way to success (if one considers success posting a video for free on your own website) took the form of a rambling WordPress blog by said cheated-on boyfriend. That decisive WordPress evidence is being suppressed by these same now-sexually-sated gaming journalists. These journalists won’t report on this incontrovertible proof (WordPress blog) because of the truths it holds about their own sexy wrongdoing, the evils of womankind, and the unfair advantage women developers can achieve with all of the sex they’re not having with their perfectly nice boyfriends (who have WordPress blogs) if such women are allowed to roam unfettered in a corrupt gaming industry.
A hilarious word (like wombat!) to be used whenever you find yourself in an argument with a woman. You don’t even have to wait for an argument. Is there a woman attracting attention of any kind on the Internet? Consider threatening to rape her. Later, suggest she needs to lighten up.
An actor best known for playing a lovable jackass on Firefly who now plays a significantly less loveable jackass on Twitter. Baldwin coined the term Gamergate, which replaced the much-less-likely-to-be-taken-seriously-even-on-the-Internet term Quinnspiracy, and keeps it, and several foundling libertarian conspiracy theories, alive.
Only a man bold enough to tweet questions like, “What hard evidence is there that Obama doesn’t want Ebola in America?” can frame the debate around game-journalism ethics without drawing distracting parallels between the arrangements and sympathies occurring within that industry (free games for preview, camaraderie) and the relationship that exists between film critics and movie studios, or between the travel industry and travel writers, about which there’s little hysteria and no threats. (See “Rape.”) How it is that Adam Baldwin is as huge a jackass as he seems to be without being one of the infamous Baldwin brothers remains one of the great mysteries of this whole affair.
Awkward things. Like, say, the threat of a “Montreal Massacre style” killing at a lecture given by a woman who still insists on making videos analyzing tropes in video games from a feminist perspective, despite numerous requests that she die. Clearly this threat and the plethora of other threats directed toward women involved in gaming are part of a massive covert opp designed to distract from the most pressing concern facing humanity: video-game reviews with which Gamergaters disagree.
The last line of defence against the feminist dystopia we all know is coming if women are allowed to make YouTube videos in which they question the wisdom of going into battle wearing a chain-mail bikini.
Balrogs of Morgoth, but scarier.
Forget all you thought you knew about feminism: that the movement is schism-ridden; that if you put two feminists on a desert island, they’ll find something over which to split the movement; that feminists can’t agree about anything; that they’re practically economists.
Gamergate has the truth: Feminism is a slick international conspiracy single-mindedly dedicated to seizing control of the gaming industry in order to deprive men of the digital boobs of sexy princesses in perpetual peril that define games as a medium and without which video games would surely cease to exist.
Social-justice warrior. A pejorative term for anyone even slightly nicer than you.
Any anger, no matter how legitimate, I do not personally feel.
Criticism, no matter how legitimate, of anything from which I derive pleasure.
You agreeing with me.
Me shouting. You listening.