What makes it particularly hard to write is that I have nothing of value to say – or at least the value of what I say falls victim to oversupply in a market with mediocre demand. I fucking hate economics.
There’s a lot to say for improvement, though. Within myself and amongst my peers, opinions are changing. Ten years ago, celebrity nude photos or sex tapes being leaked brought mock upon the classiness of the celebrities involved. Now, and maybe this is just because it’s affecting our dearies like Jennifer Lawrence who is charming and talented and white, more people are asserting that we should not blame the person exposed, but the violators of privacy. There’s also the attached message that people should be more aware of the security flaws of where they’re storing such things, which is true but off track. The most important issue and moral lesson here is that pictures of the private lives of private individuals that are intended to remain private should always be respected as private. Celebrities are still private individuals when they’re off the job. Even people as public as politicians and royalty have the right to privacy. Whatever doesn’t affect their public duties is private business – from Kate Middleton’s topless sunbathing at a secluded beach house to J. Edgar Hoover’s wardrobe around the house. We all decry the morality of paparazzi who stalk celebrities for photos. The people who hack into personal accounts and steal photos are a different medium of paparazzi, along with intellectual property thieves having not taken the pictures to begin with. Fucking shameful.
This same line of thinking should be applied to the controversy around games journalism, about the sexual activity of an independent game developer and the people who review games for a living. I haven’t read deeply into the details. I don’t want to, and I don’t need to. I’m not deeply invested in video game culture and don’t read any games journalism, but since a lot of people I know and/or read do, I’ve gathered the basics. The official outrage is of corruption in journalism – but the blame is going to a woman game developer who is a sexual being. This misfocus has the “gamer” community eating its tail, with many vocal enthusiasts veering off course to get mad at women for playing games and having general opinions. If it were really about corruption in journalism, it would be focusing on holding the journalists accountable – and a good place to start would be in monetary payoffs, or free vacations, or whatever else large games companies can afford to do to get better publicity. It was never pushing that point, and even when it was trying to call out sexual payoffs it was still holding denial that people outside of stereotypes are genuine “gamers”. Like the Fake Geek Girl, a group of people who want to justify their ownership of a subculture are having a collective temper tantrum about the diversity that makes them feel insecure.
But the temper tantrum of a community that sets aside a lot of time to be alone at home on a computer to pretend they’re surrounded by violence and gore gets threatening. They’re generally anonymous in playing games, and that’s their modus operandus online outside gaming activity as well. With anonymity, they can use the same competitive tactics expected in violence-based gaming. This is how several women vocal in the video game medium are being threatened – anonymously, but criminally, to the extent of violence against these women and their families. Anita Sarkeesian is a cultural critic who wants to foster critical thinking and broadening of approaches to video games, but to the men who want the status quo this is enough to warrant threats of rape and murder – enough to motivate digging for details on where Sarkeesian and her family live. The response of local law enforcement, to whom she’s gone on several occasions so far, has been “Why do you keep making these videos, then?” Sigh.
It doesn’t even appear in the minds of most people flinging shit from the other side that this all comes down to embedded misogyny and a sense of ownership over women’s bodies and voices. The threat that this other side feels to themselves is…what? That perhaps they may have to consider the implications of their statements and actions? That their market share of a particular industry will shrink, and so no games they like will ever be made again? (I said I hate economics, but that’s a huge fallacy – video games aren’t a physical resource, so making more of one genre doesn’t necessarily require making less of another.) Some comments have actually been made that men who will never be able to “get with” celebrity women are entitled to nude images so they can at least have something to masturbate to. There is plenty of legal pornography out there, available for free or at a reasonable price for quality and security. Consider your options before supporting something illegal and terribly unethical. If that still doesn’t do it for you, consider yourself a terrible person. Yeah, that was my shit I just flung at you. Fucking monkeys.