#GamerGate: Attacking Gamer Girls or Saving Ethical Journalism?

by Sydney Schulte

Photo courtesy of Marco Arment via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Marco Arment via Flickr

The real world can be a nasty place for people. For some people, escaping reality for a few hours in a video game may give them some peace of mind.  But as the online movement #GamerGate spews anonymous threats to opposition via social media, the virtual worlds of video games might become even worse than reality.

#GamerGate gained momentum when independent game designer Olivia Quinn released a free game called “Depression Quest.”As a non-traditional game with a more “choose your own adventure” feel, “Depression Quest” received mixed reviews. Some critics weren’t sure if it was a video game or just a new form of storytelling. Some gamers felt this was not a game at all; others saw it as a possibility to change the face of video games. This potential change is the main argument of the #GamerGate controversy.

Things fell in #GamerGate’s favor when Quinn’s ex-boyfriend claimed she slept with men in the gaming industry to get ahead. One of the men happened to be a reviewer for a popular gaming news site called “Kotaku.”

With that piece of information, #GamerGate supporters turned its main focus to media ethics. If the reviewer slept with Quinn, she received favorable reviews return. How can media be fair or unbiased when people give favors?

But another movement began to call out #GamerGate for its misogyny.  This development strengthened when feminist video game critic Anna Sarkeesian canceled her speech at Utah State University.  School officials received an anonymous threat, claiming to commit “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if Sarkeesian spoke that day.

Other examples follow the feminist gaming movement:  Actress Felcia Day’s blog post resulted in #GamerGate supporters publicly leaking her personal information with the intent to cause harm. Game developer of #GamerGate Brianna Wu fled her home after receiving threats for speaking against #GamerGate.

There’s two sides to every argument.  It’s time to pick yours.


6 responses to “#GamerGate: Attacking Gamer Girls or Saving Ethical Journalism?

  1. I think this is one of those fields where it’s just so engrained in society that women do not belong, and that doesn’t seem right to me. I don’t think we can put any credibility to the claim that she slept with someone to get ahead. Women offer a unique perspective to every field and the video game industry will likely prosper with their increased involvement.

    • I agree. I’m a little biased towards the attacks on women. Whether or not people want to admit to it, more and more women are getting into video games. I read somewhere that women are now 40% of the video gamer population. New groups need to start marketing towards gamer girls, which is frustrating when there are so many more men in the industry making the rules.

  2. I agree that the world of video games seems to be associated mostly with men. When it’s so engrained in people’s head that it’s a man’s field it makes it that much harder for women’s voices to be heard. It certainly doesn’t help the situation if favors are being given either. Women certainly deserve a place in this world and perhaps if more were involved in the creation of video games more women players would get involved too.

  3. I hate that there are so many stigmas attached to things, and gaming is one of them. It is sad to see how people are not only threatening with verbal abuse, but threatening physical harm is taking it to a whole new level. It’s easier to say “Let’s make a change,” than to actually go about making a change in the way gamers are viewed. I hope that gender roles are erased, not only in gaming, but all other areas of life as well.

  4. I wrote an article about GamerGate in last week’s Times-Delphic. I was waiting to write a comment here until it was posted online so I could link to it, but that either hasn’t happened or I just can’t find it, so I figured I should just post the comment before it gets too late.

    GamerGate is a terrible thing. When you say, “There’s two sides to every argument. It’s time to pick yours,” you’re somewhat wrong, because there’s really only one side to this argument if you are a functioning, rational human being. I know that sounds harsh, but the things people are doing under the banner of “journalistic ethics” are absolutely despicable (and certainly not ethical). I hate that this is happening right as the “gamer” stereotype was beginning to dissolve. I hate that people think it’s okay to threaten people behind the comfort of assumed anonymity online in the year 2014. And I’m not sure if I hate that the people behind all of this are getting too much attention, or not getting *enough* negative attention, or both.

  5. I think that one of the reasons woman are so into video games, are because they are created for the male population. Woman love he violence, because we are supposed to hate it. We are supposed to only like princesses and cleaning. So, I don’t think that games need to be totally changed to fit the female population. GamerGate and the abusing people who are posting threats need to realize that there is nothing to feel threatened by. This is the 21st century. Woman are becoming more and more amazing, verbal and prominent everyday. And if they haven’t realized that yet, than they have been sitting under a rock. The gaming community is just one place where men are being threatened by females coming into power positions. But they need to realize that this isn’t a bad thing. It’s good.

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