#gamergate isn’t about journalism. It isn’t about bullying. It isn’t about gamers or games.
#gamergate is about harassing women. It’s about targeting women who speak up and speak out. It’s about terrorism.
On October 14th, Anita Sarkeesian, an outspoken critic of sexist tropes in the video game industry, was forced to cancel her speaking event at Utah State University, due to threats of a mass shooting if her presentation went on.
Defenders of #gamergate are quick to distance themselves from extremism like this, at least on the surface, typically throwing up the “it’s about ethics in game journalism” shield to deflect criticism.
But as Newsweek is quick to point out, the targets of this “crusade” for ethical journalism have been overwhelmingly women, and hasn’t been isolated to game journalists, but anyone female attached to the game’s industry or critical of #gamergate.
#gamergate is unfortunately the byproduct of a longstanding issue the gaming community has suffered from: casual, consequence free harassment.
As Penny Arcade pointed out years ago, the nature of the internet makes it incredibly easy for the average person to spew hateful bile, using their keyboard as a weapon of hate and discrimination.
The real way to combat #gamergate, and hate campaigns like it, is to to engage the community as a whole, and demand that we behave better. Those targeting women and individuals within the gaming community are not representative of gamers as a whole — they just happen to be the loudest right now, especially considering that women make up a large portion of the gaming community.
These people can be stopped, if we make it clear that this is not acceptable behavior, that harassment is not okay, and that this is not who gamers are.