TW: Mentions of misogyny, transphobia, misandry.
Note: While I still agree with the main sentiment of this piece, there are some parts that I no longer believe and that are not consistent with my current beliefs.
Back in late 2014 and early 2015, I was an avid GamerGate supporter, anti-feminist and anti-SJW. I decided to quit being an active supporter early on in 2015 when I had my first girlfriend and realized that there are more important things than being offended over video games. This was back before I realized I was trans and when I just so happened to be suffering from severe depression. I will say that a lot of my anti-feminist beliefs likely stemmed from unrecognized gender dysphoria. It is a lot easier to convince someone that it’s “ackshually men that are the oppressed gender” when one doesn’t identify with the label to begin with.
Despite the fact that I had questioned my gender countless times, I determined that I would much rather be a girl but was okay as a boy and I’m just a fetishist. Of course, Captain Hindsight is now here to tell me that I should have realized I was trans when I fantasized about being a shy timid girl at a lesbian bar and a strong confident butch type coming over to me to pick me up, cradle me, and take me home with her,” but I was under the impression that it was all just a social construct.
It did not hit me until I received a question on the now defunct Q&A site Retrospring asking me about what gender I identified. It wasn’t until asked that I really thought about it, and at first I didn’t have an answer, but I realized that regardless of what it was, I really DID NOT want to say male, I just couldn’t. After having come off of a relationship with a girl who was also trans, I knew firsthand that being perverted doesn’t mean you aren’t trans, as I saw how miserable and depressed she was because of her assigned gender. I then applied the same logic to myself, and the realization that I was trans occurred in a “eureka!” moment. I have identified as female since then, and even though I’m living in a society in utter chaos, I still feel more alive than I have in my entire life.
But of course, being trans ensured that my political perspectives would change when I felt what actual legit prejudice felt like. Granted, even in my most anti-feminist state, I was in passionate support of women and minorities. Yes, it is possible to be an MRA and also care about women’s rights, similar to how one can be a feminist and care about men’s rights without also needing to support “men’s rights” if you know what I mean. When I first quit GamerGate, I pretty much still held the same beliefs, I was just less vocal about them. Over time though, I started to meet more feminists who were actually really nice people, and they greatly broadened my view of feminism as a whole, and I wondered, where were all these people when I was a GG supporter?
The thing about GamerGate that a lot of outsiders won’t understand is that a lot of them never intended to harass people. There were constant posts on the TL of most GGers stating that they do not condone harassment or death threats and discouraged anyone from engaging in it. Yet, it never seemed to occur to most of them that what they are doing would be seen as harassment. Unlike most hashtag movements, GGers were very passionate about what was going on. The reason that people were known to mob anyone who uses the GamerGate hashtag in a negative post, or sometimes even just the word GamerGate itself, was out of frustration that they were being labeled as terrorists and misogynists for disliking far left nutjobs like Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, or Brianna Wu while overlooking the fact that many pro feminists have engaged in a lot of the same tactics. Some meant to just correct them, while others had a knee jerk reaction out of anger. On their own, it may not have seemed like anything, but there is strength in numbers, and the sheer volume often tends to speak louder than any individual remark, although they naturally tend to remember the rudest and most angry or immature ones the most.
But the thing that likely drove most of GamerGate was a feeling that I am still fully familiar with; that being the feeling of ostracizing or victimization. Most progressives are quick to point out that white men don’t face any discrimination other than from extremist minorities. However, gamers have often put a lot of stock into the gamer identity, and they feel as though they are often mocked by society. Even outside of feminism, there is the stereotype of nerds living in their parent’s basement, being blamed for every school shooting that occurs, and just being the butt of jokes, Not to mention that the online community is likely to draw in a lot of those who have autism, aspergers, or are socially awkward in any other way. Through games, many of formed a community and comradery.
For the longest time, I did not feel comfortable talking to people who weren’t gamers because I didn’t feel like I’d be able to relate or find common ground, and even if I did, it would depend on what type of games they did. And yes, I felt this way even in regards to rather mainstream series like Zelda or Final Fantasy since so many people I talked to IRL were CODfags. Hell, I never even so much as posted an online comment until 2012 even though I had been regular browsing internet forums, websites, and Youtube channels since 2007. Part of what got me into GG was just for the group mentality.
Also one element that probably attracted me more than anything was that there were, in fact, several women that were GG supporters. I didn’t realize I was trans at the time, but I felt strongly about them. As such, the mere existence of female GG supporters, as well as discovering that other perverted women exist (a lot of GG supporters were also perverts, and likely played that part up to spite 2nd wave prudes that they saw all feminists as), made me feel drawn to it, and it was likely because of my dysphoria that I was.
Even now, as an ardent feminist, I still instinctually feel warm inside seeing that there are sex positive anti-feminist women. It is probably because I assume that they are opposed to second wave feminism and sex negativity, and in general, I don’t really mind what people label themselves as long as they aren’t an asshole, but otherwise I’m unsure why. They are just as likely to be easily offended by petty things as equally radical feminist women, so I don’t know why I see them as special.
So yeah, I am willing to bet that I’m not the only one who had a personal investment in GamerGate. I am still friends with a lot of people I first met since then, and a lot of them have come to regret GG as well, one of them even being a fairly well known Anti-GG figure on Twitter. Of course, some do still support it and insist that the media unfairly slandered it, and I do admit there were people with good intentions, but you know what they say about the road to hell.
So to answer a question, was Gamergate really about ethics in video game journalism? kinda yes and kinda no. Both hate towards feminism and game journalism were building in the gaming community for a few years by that point. Feminism only became prominent when Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter showed up, but gaming journalism has been corrupt for over a decade. Gamers already knew game journalism was shady as hell even by journalism standards, and when DoritoGate first became a thing, everyone just laughed at it. It wasn’t until that infamous Zoe post that shit hit the fan.
Here, we had an incident of a developer LITERALLY in a relationship with a game journalist and reviewer and this was exposed via a lengthy blog post made for the purpose of outing Zoe as a domestic abuser… that most people didn’t read and thought it was about her cheating on him with five guys because of memes. Furthermore, because Zoe was a feminist, that angle was played up by journalists to distract everyone from the recently discovered GameJournosPro site, and most gamers, including myself, took the bait.
A lot of gamers hated game journalism, but hated feminism even more, which is why a vast majority of posts about it were related to SJWs instead of game journalists. If gamers would have ignored the element of feminism and focused only on game journalism, then this mess would have never happened. Unfortunately, this also drew the attention of right wing dipshits like Milo Yiannopoulos who never cared about gamers or games before and even mocked them and claimed they were responsible for the Elliot Rodgers incident, to co-opt what was supposed to be about game journalism into a political movement that attracted all the far right nutjobs to support it and all the far left nutjobs to demonize it. The irony of the journalism aspect is that several of the same gaming websites that still continue to demonize GamerGate have updated their ethics policies and have started acting in accordance with the criticisms Gamergate put forth.
On top of all that, journalists have used the intense hate towards GamerGate to cover their own asses in cases of ethics violations that have NOTHING to do with feminism, and the SJWs bought into it. As a result, these sites are now inserting social justice into their content much more often to appeal to the SJWs because they already alienated the core gamer audience, something I covered backed in 2015 when I was beginning to distance myself from GamerGate but was still in my anti feminist phase (hence the cringe worthy AIW terminolgy).Since then, most people moved on from GamerGate except for a select few who still passionately support it. But there is also the question of “did GamerGate really play a roll in putting an orangutan with small hands and an even smaller dong into office?”
In the page’s own words, he
‘Offers to help Quinn make games, offers to assist with a Let’s Play series, multiple comments on hanging out or a desire to hang out, a statement on worrying about being “Zoe-biased”, and just makes general comments that question how distant the writer is from the subject being covered.’
Yet he somehow brushes this off and tries to compare it Reggie signing his Pikmin, and takes the chance to make a pathetic plug to other shitty journalists.
I should note, that I can at least understand why some would be skeptical when watching a video by someone like Sargon of Akad who dedicates every moment to trying to uncover corruption and doing various types of research on the general stupidity of GG opponents. With me, however, it took me about five minutes to figure this out.
Despite this, Destructoid’s readership of ignorant SJWs were quick to join him in his mockery by acting as if he has a legitimate point here with sarcastic remarks about how they need to disclose everything. But I thought GamerGate was all about misogyny and they didn’t actually care about ethics in journalism?
Well, I will say that it unintentionally kickstarted the anti SJW backlash that resulted in Trump getting elected. The more shitbags that got attracted to either side of GamerGate, the more media attention it got, and the media tried its damnedest to demonize it. Hell there was even a Law and Order SVU episode portraying gamers as ISIS level terrorists. Unfortunately, no one ever fucking remembers the Streisand effect; the more you try to suppress something, the more attention it will get. A lot of these same people saw what despicable and abhorrent lengths the media will go to for their own personal gains, and were so appalled that they voted for Trump because he stood against them. Trump’s campaign was funded entirely with his own money, while Hillary’s campaign was dependent PACs and Super PACs and all that shit, likely meaning that there were connections between her and the media.
This is not just with Trump either, media coverage was ultimately what screwed Bernie Sanders over as well. No, Hillary did NOT win “fair and square” she had the most amount of coverage given by the DNC, who also tried their hardest to make sure that most people didn’t even know who Bernie was. When you factor in possible voter suppression or lost ballots, Bernie never had a chance. He never had a chance, and his supporters figured that out the hard way after they had given him their hard earned money for his campaign! When you throw in the fact that Hillary exuded so much corruption that she can bathe in it, and was pretty much the quintessential “corrupt politician” with no convincing arguments other than “I’m a woman” or “vote for Hillary as you’re told or else you get the Donald” a lot of Bernie supporters either stayed home, or voted for Johnson, Stein, or even Trump.
I’ve seen many peopled who were heavily opposed to voting for Trump at first, but ended up picking him as “the lesser of two evils” after seeing how shitty both Hillary’s campaign (Pokemon GO to the polls anyone?) and the media in general were. Yes, the media was telling everyone that Trump is Hitler 2.0, but let’s be real here. Media distrust right now is higher than ever; it has been increasing ever since Watergate and most of us no longer trust them. People now have the ability to look into things for themselves with the internet; the government can’t just stifle information anymore (and before anyone says anything, that’s a good thing since the government also used it to silence Women’s Black and LGBT Rights campaigns).
The Streisand effect hit the media harder than the joycon hit Jed Whitaker’s prostate; they created their own worst enemy. If they would have just stayed silent about Trump instead of using him for ratings, he wouldn’t have been president. Hell I think he tried to run back in 2000 but nothing came of it then for that exact reason. It’s as the misattributed Gandhi quote went; “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I had this quote in mind throughout the election, but was severely hoping it would be applied to Sanders and not Trump.
On top of this, Trump clearly knew that a lot of his newer supporters were likely Bernie supporters previously, which is what he tried to invoke a lot. He specifically mentioned in one debate that “Bernie Sanders said you have poor judgement” despite knowing that Bernie was advocating for Clinton because he didn’t want Trump to win, rightfully so.
But then why did so many people switch to Trump if Bernie was so adamantly against him? It’s quite simple; most people saw Trump as a wild card. They know that almost anything could happen with him, and that for better or worse, change would start to occur. Trump promised to drain the swamp and ran on anti-establishment principals. Regardless of one’s thoughts on him, he certainly came across as far more genuine and actually got his audience engaged. Adding to the fact that he knew how to effectively use social media and Hillary didn’t.
Unfortunately, when elected, he couldn’t deliver on the things he promised. What likely happened was that he found out that even once he gets into office, he can’t do much if the entirety of congress, both Democrat and Republican, already hates him. This resulted in his running mate and cabinet members being chosen based on their loyalty to him rather than how fitting they are for the job, and you can’t exactly drain the swamp when your cabinet is filled with Gators. Either that or he’s just a dumbass…it’s probably both.
Furthermore, he realized that he needs to keep people involved in order to win 2020, and he can’t just slack off now that he’s in office. He now needs to work harder than ever to try and get people to like him, and I’m sure we all know how effective that has been. He figured out the hard way what happens when you pander your way into office, and is trying his hardest to continue to appeal to his core voterbase while also not coming across as the bigoted misogynazi that most of the country thinks he is.
But anyway, this wasn’t about Trump, but was about GamerGate and if it got Trump into office? If one didn’t guess, what inspired this article were a few tweets by Zinnia Jones stating how she was so appalled by GamerGate and what it wrought that it would have been better if games never existed to begin with. Note she said this even though she does play games herself, and I almost agreed with he.r Even if it was true that not everyone involved in GamerGate or not even most GamerGate supporters were women hating terrorists who went on to put this orange buffoon in the white house, it still was the start of something bigger that DID create those who supported him. It was what fueled most of the hostility towards the media and towards social justice activists.
It also lead to more media outlets pretending to be progressive and feminist, which to them meant spouting inanely misogynist, homophobic, and transphobic horseshit while also claiming to be sex positive and pro LGBT because that is all they actually know about 4th wave feminism. Feminism, by its very nature, is a form of philosophy. Philosophy, by its own nature, cannot exist without critical thought, and critical thought is the worst enemy of ANYTHING mainstream. So by definition, feminism can NEVER be mainstream, or rather, the most important branches of it cannot be. In reality, mainstream feminism is just a conglomeration of whatever beliefs are the most common, without any form of logical consistency.
As a result, mainstream feminism is not that far behind trans exclusionary radical feminism in the shitiness scale. Hell, mainstream feminism may be even WORSE than TERFism if we are going by the total harm done to trans women. After all, TERFism is just mainstream feminism taken to its logical conclusion. Mainstream feminists are mostly manhaters who view everything a man does with the lens of sexism or oppression. Everything from spreading their legs because their bodies are different, to explaining things, or even looking at them funny. Considering that mainstream feminists are only ever trans positive because that is what they are told, it is only a matter of time before they go #peaktrans and continue to apply their same level of toxic idiocy to trans women.
Mainstream feminism is also largely responsible for tarnishing the name of feminism for their own profit, which in turn provoked more of these antisocial injustice warrior douchebags to be antisocial injustice warrior douchebags, and put an oversized oompa loompa with a Brooklyn accent into the oval office. Trust me, even a lot of the most stereotypical Tumblr feminists hate Sarkeesian due to her sex negativity and support of known SWERF (and accused TERF) Gail Dines. No feminist actually wants to be associated with “fart rape.”
So, does anyone notice the common factor involved in all of these? Well here is a hint. it isn’t GamerGate, nor is it feminism. It isn’t the left nor is it the right; it’s the media! This is why I realized that it is inaccurate to pin this all on Games; because if games never existed, we’d still have a GamerGate in some form or another in a different entertainment industry. Issues related to racism and sexism have always been a problem, but what could have prevented ALL of this was if our media (and also our government) was not so damn corrupt!
The fact that GamerGate got this big and it STILL was not enough to take down fucking GAME JOURNALISM tells a lot. Yes, gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, but they are still just games. It can be seen as a commentary on us taking our vidya geamz too seriously, but that goes double for game journalists. From what I have gathered, game journalists don’t even get paid that much. Hell, Jed Whitaker said that he was working without pay for a long time before he got fired if I recall correctly, so why are these jackasses so desperate to keep their jobs when they clearly don’t enjoy them?
In regards to the media, I can’t simply point a finger at a single source or outlet and say that they are to blame, as the problem is way too deep and extensive for that. Whether it is game journalists like IGN, Kotaku, Polygon, Destructoid, Gamespot, and the like, or mainstream media outlets whether they be Fox News, CNN, or whatever. All of these act independent of each other, but their goal is ultimately the same; to tell us what to think.
It’s almost impossible to tell whether any major corporate figures or politicians even believe the things they say. There is so much shit that goes on behind the scenes that we will never know the full truth. I hope I don’t need to go into why the media is a corrupt shithole regardless of one’s political position, mainly because I don’t want to right now and because it has been discussed to death. However, what we need to accept is that we will likely never know the full truth, so we need to stop believing everything the media tells us.
I would love to give a more simple solution, but there’s no way in hell someone of my status could ever hope to accomplish anything against these titans, so I’ll simply use what have always been my greatest strength; my words; and these words say that the media is to blame for all of this. It is often said that “not telling the whole truth is a lie” and the media by its very nature, is NEVER focused on the whole truth. They have distorted and omitted key facts from reports in order to create THEIR OWN truth, and most of us don’t know the difference. They have single-handedly manipulated and tore this country apart over the course of years by pitting us against each other. Families, friendships, jobs, and even lives have been lost as a result of media manipulation just for the sake of profit, and any time we are about to catch on, they derail us by turning our attention towards something else.
All I can ask is for anyone, left or right, to put aside their sheer animosity for either SJWs or Trump supporters, and instead take a look at who is actually responsible. These guys aren’t your allies; they don’t actually care about you. If they really did, they wouldn’t try to drive you all into a frenzy and panic. They wouldn’t be trying to set up scapegoats that they can use to distract us so we don’t focus on them. After all, if we were united against the corruption of the media, corporations, and politicians, then they’d be completely at our mercy.
And yes, it was this stream of misleading and disinformation that helped set up the Trump movement, and through their own hubris, they created their own worst enemy… it’s just unfortunate that they had to bring us all down with them.
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