GamerGate exposes sexism in gaming world

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Carter Glace, Contributing Writer

What is now being called GamerGate began late last summer as a crusade against corruption in video game journalism — a reaction to the accusations that game developer Zoe Quinn had cheated on her boyfriend with a journalist in order to gain a positive review for her game “DepressionQuest.” That is what those using the hashtag have argued, anyway. Yet, as anyone with Internet connection and a semblance of objectivity can tell you, this is a complete lie.

GamerGate is a campaign of terror against women and progressive gamers by a collection of misogynists. These gamers say the current male-dominated version of gaming is best, and that gaming has always been this way. Any suggestions of change and progress are seen as unnatural and dangerous.

The gamers involved leaked personal information online and harassed female gamers on social media. Despite these acts of cyber-terrorism, the gamers presented themselves as freedom fighters by accusing journalists of misusing their ethics.

There are many angles to take on this nightmare, from the continued acceptance of violence toward women in gaming culture to corporations allowing a demographic to become convinced of its significance. But amid the darkness, three women stand as beacons of bravery and hope.

Quinn, caught in the center of this maelstrom, has been unflinching. Despite threats of all kinds, harassment and emotional distress, she has continued to fight, going undercover on 4chan servers to show how GamerGate has been a long-coordinated attack on her and her colleagues. She also correctly pointed out the journalist accused of corruption has never written about her work.

Before GamerGate, Anita Sarkeesian became a target for her YouTube series “Tropes vs Women,” which questions the portrayal of women in video games. She has worked with the FBI to find the ringleaders of the group making threats and continues to engage in public appearances despite death threats.

Despite the negative actions and implications of GamerGate, there are women taking a stand, ensuring the industry will continue to push forward while challenging the patriarchal culture that fuels the hate. In the words of Quinn, “If video games have taught me anything, it’s that if you encounter enemies then you’re going the right way.”

A version of this article appeared in the Fall 2014 Arts Issue. Email Carter Glace at [email protected]