Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Abundance of Monikers

I can’t help it. I’m fascinated by GamerGate, yet I wimped out of blogging about it a few weeks ago. I figured there’d be plenty of bloggers going to town (and there are). Plus, not being a gamer I figured I wasn’t really qualified to comment. But just imagine if GamerGate was called BullyGate or MaleSupremacyGate instead. See what I mean?
      Gamergate is such a cutesy name that even the people confronting the issue head-on have a hard time not trivializing it. The moniker was a huge roadblock in my attempts to write a serious blog on the topic. I'm beginning to think we need to stop assigning these ridiculous labels to everything. But in the world of Google keywords and Twitter character limitations, not to mention hashtags (don't get me started on hashtags), fat chance of that. Fat, fat chance. Like Biggest Loser Fat Chance.
     Anyway, when I was done with my unpublished GamerGate blog, I realized I’d basically advised all women to steer clear of the gaming industry because they’re better than that. Smarter, too. Who wants to make a ton of money playing silly games when they can toil away in legitimate businesses for half the pay? I mean actually getting paid well to propagate one’s passion would put us on par with, say, professional athletes. Before long, we’d be experiencing head trauma and committing crimes including but not limited to abusing our significant others. Okay, so we’d be millionaires, but is it worth the grief? It is not. That’s what I told women in my blog. Far better to stay on the sidelines and wait for the male riffraff to self-destruct. Eventually certain frontal brain areas will shrink away to nothing—and we’ll be there, brains intact, to take over the universe. Muhaahahaha. See, that’s my evil plot to take over the world. Wait till everyone else dies off. Cool, huh?
Am I the only one who sees the resemblance?
      Besides, we all know the gaming community is a bunch of seedy guys wanking off in dark basements, right? Alternating between their plastic joysticks and the flesh-toned one. No, no, that’s not fair! I thought. (First off, in actuality a lot of modern game controllers are shaped vaguely like the female reproductive system.) A-ah! How can I be writing this stuff? It’s like my hand has gone off on its own. Stop, hand! (Hey, maybe that’s how the gamers feel in their dark basements!)
      I stopped typing then, and made an earnest attempt to envision the subculture that might be behind GamerGate. (Pretty nice of me, seeing male gamers very rarely return the favor, according to this interview on Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.) This time my mind supplied the crooks from Point Break, the movie where Patrick Swayze spearheads a criminal band of surfers. I don’t know if
it’s because they wear the masks of ex-presidents while robbing banks, the Nixon mask cementing the Watergate connectionat least the -gate partor because the movie was directed by one of my film-making idols: Kathryn Bigelow, who happens to be a woman as well as a Kathryn (although I'm pretty sure she is not one of the Katherines in that John Green novel). Maybe it's because they were surfers, widely recognized as the notorious wave-riding slacker brothers to gamers. (Aw, fuck! I'm thinking skateboarders. Skateboarders are the land-dwelling parallels to surfers. And I had such high hopes for that allegory!) All I know is that the bad-guy group that Keanu Reeves infiltrates came up when I started scouring the ol' neuro-pathways in search of visuals for the cryptic GamerGate crowd.

     My subsequent lapse in typing gave me opportunity to reread my previous document—and thank God I did before I posted it. Through a furious blush, I sent the thing straight to virtual Timbuktu. WTF, Jen? I admonished myself. You can’t pigeonhole men like that. You certainly can’t tell the female youth of society NOT to game (Seriously, is that a verb?) if that’s what they live for. After all the time you’ve spent in advertising, you should know that gaming with the CDs and ACDs is the surest road to a quick promotion. It fills a need.
     I have a film background (which is why I’m always going off on movie tangents). When I was in school I had a prof whom I considered the personification of Evil. He was my Snape, in other words. But, here’s the thing, deep down—in my collegiate naivete—I figured he had to have some core of goodness, seeing that he had likewise chosen to study film. Had in fact devoted his life to it. Somewhere, locked within that stony heart of his, was a love of movies, enough of one to keep said stony heart beating.
     I’m not a gamer, but I imagine what draws people to that particular pastime (or *shudder* career) is a deep belief that good must conquer evil. Gamers like to see this perpetuated over and over again (which they do instead of getting honest work), right along with the stereotypes of women as slutpaper (slutty wallpaper, always in the background. How do you like them apples, all you professional moniker-makers?) Subject to mens' whims of either rescue or abuse.
      So, I appeal now to the gamers of the world, including the gang from the Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves surfer movie that if you dare to diss it, I’ll come after you with this little game controller I like to call a taser (Repeat after me: The movie is a classic and Kathryn Bigelow is a pioneer. *runs off to picket the opening of the remake*). Let’s all delve beneath our surfaces, straight into our nougat-ty centers, and remember why we love video games in the first place. They give us the chance to be heroes. Simple as that. United by that revelation, let’s not, finger muscles making nasty, anonymous threats to people. Let’s not tie up the resources of law enforcement (if you want to support real heroes, btw--not that you aren't real heroes in the darkness of your basement, I never meant to imply anything like that--you could always donate to your local police fund). Let's refrain from doxxing enemies (sounds way cooler than it is) and calling in false crimes. In short, let’s end GamerGate for good. Or for the love of all that is holy, give it a less cheesy name.
     And for young women: Follow your hearts, work where you choose, make better video games. Just remember, when all is said and done, the ultimate object of the game—male or female, hobbit or wizard, weird video game icon or other weird video game icon—is: Save Yourself.


  1. Great post, Jen. I haven't followed Gamergate for the exact reason you say: Because the cute name misled me into thinking it's just a videogamers' issue, not a feminist one.

  2. See and I live under a rock because I've never even heard of GamerGate, I mean now I do and I love your post!

  3. So many hours of potential productivity. So many missed opportunities to better the world for all of humankind. All lost to gaming. I will from here on out subscribe to your original theory, that the gamer brain will shrink away and the rest of us will be left to (muhaha) conquer!