Well there have been a few games released, some good, some bad and others just plain disappointing. Agent Carter wrapped up and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned to air which I’m behind on, some awesome movies came out and Joss Whedon quit twitter which is alternately because of “evil feminists” or needing to get in a writing head space and wanting “time away”. (I personally believe it was the later because if I had to deal with the craziness that man would have to deal with I’d probably hide under a rock except for brief forays to forage for food and drink.)
In short, not a lot has changed, and since nothing has really changed it means a certain Gated community continues to dominate many of the conversations about one of my favourite hobbies (and has in fact spread to infect Gencon as well as entrenching in Comic Fandom). Both those guarding the Gate and those trying to storm them and force them open have claimed victory but ultimately any victories either side has claimed are hollow at best and pyrrhic at worst. I’m not going to comment on any of these struggles in particular here because it is ultimately pointless and I have nothing to add. I can’t change the outcomes and I can’t add anything that has not already been said.
If you get the impression I’m tired of this, it’s because I am. If we strip away any Gates or loaded acronym based “movements” we really have a trilateral situation that remains unchanged over the ages. On two of the sides you have individuals operating out of fear. Either fear for themselves and the protection of their personal fiefdom and on the other side you have those motivated out of fear for the greater good and the quality of life of their community. Often both of the sides apply the label of greater good to themselves and self-interest to their opponents. Why? Because it’s easier to see yourself as the valiant warrior then the ignoble egocentric (hence the creation of various pejorative acronyms). But who is the third group? Everyone else, this everyone else is made up of people who are neutral or leaning to one side or another but are either unwilling or afraid to talk. A good example of this would be Felicia Day, Ms. Day for the longest time refrained from speaking about the nature of a particular Gated community but when she did (simply to discuss her fear of talking) within minutes of the article going up had the exact thing she feared would happen happen. (To the brain surgeon who did that to her, way to undermine your point and make your side look like bad people, I mean she’s twee as a Belle & Sebastian song holding kittens! Why would you do that you monster?! Do you kick puppies in your free time?)
One of the few thorough studies shocked even the analyst (Rosalind Wiseman) and her assistant in the collaborator Ashly Burch (aka Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2). Women in gaming are increasingly playing the same kinds of games that men are playing, harassment is occurring within the community towards gamers who are “different” (almost evenly divided between race, gender and sexuality) but the number of people who are not being harassed outweigh the number who are mainly because the harassers are in the minority. A majority of young gamers interviewed find the portrayal of race and gender and the sexualisation of women in video games disturbing, uncomfortable and something that should change on BOTH sides of the binary definition of the gender divide. In short, young people today generally agree on the fact that women are treated like crap and a majority of young men by high school want MORE young women to be playing games, they want more female protagonists and they want women to be portrayed as sex objects less. Basically, they are welcoming, inclusive and open if not in fact actively pushing for change. Essentially this is entirely counter the argument of the Gate keepers analysis of “real world” gamers. Sorry, numbers are numbers, and while Wiseman’s numbers are preliminary further academic study is going on to solidify the statistical analysis of this information and it’s looking like it will bear that out.
Ignorance does not imply willful malice, it denotes a lack of knowledge. Yeah, okay, Sea Lioning and bad faith actors abound but if we don’t take people at face value how can we expect and demand the same in return? We insist that people like Wu, Sarkeesian and Quinn are not “professional victims” or in it to get the mythical “injustice money” that people seem to imagine is raining down on them. If someone says they don’t understand something and come across as parroting a Gate keeper’s argument it’s probably because the keerpers of the gates flood the internet with them to the point sources you don’t even realize were Gate keeping are filling your mind with their misinformation. We need to nurture those baby chicks, wean them off the smack of hate and lies that was injected in to their veins with a methadone treatment of reality, statistics and facts… okay mixing metaphors there… sorry.
The end of the day it comes down to eventually this will all be irrelevant as they will be the vocal minority but I would hope the “Side of the Angels” would rise to the challenge instead of fulfilling some kind of Nietzchean self-fulfilling prophecy or in the contemporary internet parlance “Dude, don’t feed the trolls”! (Or as Wil Wheaton would say “don’t be a dick”.) Given these are the attitudes of young men and women coming out of high schools this will impact all the way down the line. We just need to keep up the campaign of truth and respond to the accusations with firm points and the day will be won.
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee."
~ Fredrich Nietczche