Wednesday, September 3, 2014

So, Here Is A Thing...: Abuse and the Men of #GamerGate

You may or may not know about the huge divide and other things going on in the gaming world at the moment. I do, because I like that sort of thing, but all you really need to know is that women are being attacked for talking about things as women, and men are trying to make it all about themselves.

Basic sexist bullshit.

Anyway, so there are the really disgusting harassers who are sending rape threats and doxxing women and scaring them out of their homes, right? Everyone agrees these are really terrible people, just like everyone agrees physical abuse and rape are bad. We don't know who these terrible people are, and they're certainly not US, but we all agree it is a Bad Thing. (Or we accuse the women of making up the harassment to play the victim, which is probably a good sign you or someone you know is doing the harassing. Just saying.)

On the other hand, there are a bunch of #GamerGate dudes who are distancing themselves from the /really/ awful people and are not misogynists, not even one little bit. They are the "cool-headed, rational" men who are fighting the good fight against "corruption" in the games journalism world. They want inclusion, really, but all the fun-hating Social Justice Warriors are trying to take away everything that is Good and Fun in games and ruin it for everyone. Or something. I don't really care enough to entirely understand what they are arguing, because it is a whole lot of justification and distraction from the real issue of sexism and misogyny because their privilege is being threatened. But they are clearly the ones being attacked, because people are all angry at them for some reason they can't understand and they are just trying to have an emotionless, rational discussion about what big babies they are that video games aren't a men's hobby anymore. You know the drill. "I'm trying to have a constructive argument here but you keep yelling at me because I'm saying really disgusting, hurtful things. Wah me."

My point is that they may not be the really, really awful ones actually making threats against women (though, I'm going to guess many of them are if they think they can get away with it), but it still reeks of abuser dynamics and so much bullshit.

Every time I see any conversation with one of the #GamerGate men, all I can think about is the friend who abused me telling me how "dependent" I was on him and how "problematic" it was for both of us. How I was in denial, and "violently so", when I disagreed with him (gee, maybe I was angry he was attacking me, no matter how subtle?). This idea that cool, distant rationality trumps all in any argument IS abuser dynamics 101. It is always used by people in positions of privilege and power to shut down any argument they don't like and direct attention to what they feel is the "real problem" we should be addressing.

Gamers are turning the spotlight away from the violent harassment of women and onto "journalistic corruption", because it serves their purposes to do so, their purpose being to protect their privilege and justify treating women as less than human. It puts people on the defensive, having to expend effort explaining why corruption ISN'T an issue, instead of continuing to put the responsibility of the disgusting behaviour where it belongs: on men in the gaming scene.

In my case, I was the "real problem", and putting me on the defensive meant I couldn't continue to try and hold him responsible for treating me like shit. I've stated it all before on this blog, so I won't hash it all out again. But it doesn't matter if he "truly" believed he was right or not. It doesn't matter at all if Gamers think they are honestly fighting against some sort of imagined corruption in games journalism. 

What DOES matter is that my friend's actions were abusive and harmful towards me. What DOES matter is that women are being abused and harmed by a section of the gaming community, no matter how large or small.

If anyone at all tries to distract from harm in any way, that is WRONG. And distracting from harm only ever benefits those perpetuating it.

The idea that emotional reactions to things makes you a bad person in some way is societal abuse culture, and it especially helps those who have the power and privilege to be able to react in an emotionless way. It is used to silence and oppress. It never, ever makes an argument more correct than anyone else's.

Most everyone I know agrees that the #GamerGate men are terrible people trying to frame a terrible argument in a way that others will swallow. They agree they are wrong.

So, why is it so hard to convince many of these same people that what I actually experienced was abuse? (Abuse that you will be hard pressed to make my abusive friend ever be sorry about, at that.)

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