Here are two names you need to know: Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian. Quinn is the creator of (among other things) the game “Depression Quest,” a role-playing game designed to help those who don’t suffer from depression better relate to those who do. Sarkeesian does the video series “Tropes vs. Women In Video Games,” which lays bare the amount of sexism and sex-based violence in video games.
Because the gaming world is full of morons and cruel people and idiots, naturally, there’s been backlash against these two women for trying to do things like make life easier for those struggling with depression and point out just how messed up it is that so many video games offer the murder of nameless prostitutes as an activity.
“Backlash” is really too tame a word for what’s been going on this month. Quinn has been subjected to having her online communication outlets hacked, her personal address published, and naked videos circulated by Adam Baldwin of all people. (I am officially off the “Firefly reunion” train because I don’t want to see Adam Baldwin’s face in anything ever again.) This was all sparked by her ex-boyfriend posted several blog posts alleging affairs she had while they were together, which is tacky and hurtful in all kinds of ways.
Meanwhile, Sarkeesian has simply been doing what she always does: addressing and analyzing the harmful patterns in how women are depicted and treated in video games.
Both women have been subjected to rape and death threats and had their personal information published online.
Worst of all, this is nothing new for them.
I don’t think any of those aforementioned morons or cruel people or idiots read my blog, but in case they do, this is for them:
1. Gaming isn’t yours. It never was. In the same way “A Song of Ice & Fire” isn’t yours, you don’t get to dictate the content of video games or who participates in them.
2. Women are not trying to steal gaming from you. We are only asking to be treated fairly in a medium we’ve been playing with, creating, criticizing, and participating in since its creation.
3. Yes really, we have been here the whole time.
4. When someone disagrees with you, threatening them with rape and murder and publishing their private information is not an appropriate response.
5. Female gamers and female videogame characters don’t exist to be your mascots, entertainers, or punching bags. Female gamers are humans and deserve to be treated as such. Female videogame characters deserve to have the full stories and varied characterizations that their male counterparts have.
Female gamers aren’t going anywhere. You can’t chase us out of your treehouse because it was never your treehouse to begin with. Responding to things that are different from what you’re used to with misogynistic bullying is immature and hurtful to the gaming community as a whole. As Victoria McNally wrote in The Mary Sue, “It’s very difficult to point out legitimate criticisms of Sarkeesian’s analysis when so many assholes on the Internet are using those exact arguments as an excuse to call women sluts and threaten to rape them.”
Besides, even Joss Whedon want you to shut up…
And if you won’t listen to us, you’ll listen to him, right?