On this week’s Mashcast we discussed that Law and Order: SVU will have a Gamergate episode February 11th.
“THE VIRTUAL WORLD BECOMES REALITY WHEN A VIDEO GAME CONVENTION TURNS INTO A CRIME SCENE
Video game developer Raina Punjabi (guest star Mouzam Makkar) solidifies the launch of her first game amid a stream of online insults, intimidation and death threats from the male-dominated gaming community. When a female employee is assaulted at a gamer convention, Detective Tutuola (Ice-T) investigates the crime but Raina refuses to delay the launch, and the cops must “level up” to protect her. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Dominick Carisi Jr.). Guest starring Peter Mark Kendall (Steven Kaplan), Susannah Flood (Sarah Keller) and Griffin Matthews (Leslie Connolly).”
I was surprised, but I really shouldn’t be. Gamergate caught the attention of main stream media shortly after its inception, with well circulated journals like CNN and The New York Times writing pieces about it. More recently Sarkeesian has gotten face time on The Colbert Report and Nightline. Episodes on TV dramas capitalizing on Gamergate isn’t too farfetched, especially for a show like SVU which likes to take recent headlines and make episodes about them. So far the bulk of this coverage from the main stream media has shined an unbalanced, negative light on gaming and gamers in general. If you watch the segment on Nightline they bring up running women over in GTA, like the same can’t happen to men. An even bigger misrepresentation is when they bring up the “Stop The Crime” activity in Watch Dogs and insinuate that only women are used as a prop to get the player to stop a bad guy.
I’m not writing this to bring up this gross misrepresentation (again). I’m not writing this to blame Sarkeesian, or Polygon, or any other outlet for this happening. I’m writing this to ask those who were involved with the harassment and threats that went out to Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu if they are happy with their work. This is the fruit of your labor. This is the reaping we all get because of what you have sewn. Your inability to articulate your thoughts and feelings maturely have strengthened the perception that gamers and the games medium are immature.
It’s ironic because the people involved with the harassment are probably the same guys who want games and gamers to be taken more seriously. Gamers have had an uphill battle for quite some time in terms of perception, and most non-gamers (even ones that play games) don’t differentiate between asshole harasser and normal, adjusted human being in the gaming community in these instances. When they see something like this they group everyone together the same way they do with races, religious groups, and political parties. Your actions are making us all look bad. If that was your goal you are doing a stellar job.
The worst part about it for me (besides, you know, the fact that harassment and death threats are never acceptable) is that dialog between parties – not the harasser and harassed, but those who have differences in opinion about Sarkeesian’s coverage – has been shut down. This has turned into a for-us-or-against-us situation. Even someone reading this right now will probably think that I don’t believe there is any misogyny in video games, and that’s not the case. However, there are very valid arguments to make in regards to Sarkeesian misrepresenting games to strengthen her position. I mentioned two in this article alone, and if you sat next to me during a Feminist Frequency video I can guarantee a whole lot more. It’s one thing to have someone analyze a game you enjoy in a negative light, but it’s frustrating (to say the least) when moments are purposely taken out of context, or straight up lied about just to make a point.
There can be a mature, healthy debate about these topics, but not when someone from one side is making threats. This could be us, but you’re fucking up. Gamergate could have been a great movement to help fix some of the nagging issues gamers have with games journalism, or to prove that not all gamers are misogynist boys. Thanks to the harassers, however, if you put a Gamergate tag on you’re probably going to do more harm than good for whatever statement you’re trying to make. Gamergate is now, and forever will be, associated with misogyny and hate. It really sucks because the core of Gamergate is something I think all gamers would want to stand for, but a few bad apples (and by a few I mean small percent, because the numbers are actually pretty big) have ruined that.
Thanks to you, here we are. The damage that you have caused will take some time to repair and is definitely a setback for gamers as a group. If you could do us a favor and keep your mouth shut next time, we would appreciate it.