UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

GamerGate is simply a front for misogynists

Zoe Quinn, (left) has been the subject of vile misogynistic abuse from proponents of Gamergate

So, in a strange turn of events, there’s a war going on in video games right now, and it’s not being fought on TV screens. Over the past few weeks, select groups of gamers have been embroiled in bitter battles with prominent feminists and women in the gaming community. Some gamers claim that the online gaming press is not performing according to its prescribed standards, and are instead aiding in the takeover of the industry by feminists and women in general. Thus emerged “Gamergate,” a term used loosely for the blatantly misogynistic movement that sanctions death threats against women while hiding under the veneer of claiming to be a “movement” to defend hardcore gamers and games from feminist criticism in the media.

Most can trace the origin of the mainstream controversy to the actions of Eron Gjoni, the ex-boyfriend of female indie-game developer Zoe Quinn. After a less-than-amicable breakup, Gjoni proceeded to do what all reasonable jilted lovers do: write an 8000-word-long manifesto, claiming in it that his now ex-girlfriend was a lying whore who had sex with game reviewers for positive game reviews. This in turn sparked a massive online movement from “Gaters” against Quinn, culminating in all sorts of sordid language being thrown her way, with a few death threats sprinkled in for good measure.

Essentially, the entire Gamergate “scandal” is simply an unbalanced ex-boyfriend doing his very best to get back at his ex. Now the anonymous, childish, and unbelievably misogynistic sentiment associated with the movement is seeping into real life. Quinn—whose ex-boyfriend’s claims about her exchange of sex for positive reviews were investigated by Kotaku, the company involved, and deemed to be unfounded—hasn’t been able to live a normal life for the past few months because of the stratospheric levels of harassment she faces from the online communities, culminating in threats on her life.

Quinn’s video game, Depression Quest, is unusual because it involves no shooting. Instead, it’s an interactive choose-your-own-adventure game intended to provide players with an idea of the challenges faced by people living with depression. Gaters don’t like that. They claim that she and other “social justice warriors” are ruining the industry by attempting to be innovative. They claim that the game, and games like it, not only go against gamer tradition (big guns, a lack of female characters, and bigger guns), but prove their point that women and feminists have an agenda to take over the gaming industry. So at the heart of this entire movement is a simple case of xenophobia—a fear of the new or unknown.

These Gaters are like dinosaurs, clinging to life in the face of extinction. Threatened by the evolution of the industry, they resort to cheap tricks and harassment to stay relevant.

Anita Sarkeesian, another prominent feminist media critic, has had to cancel shows and even hide as a result of the actions of the Gaters. Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak at Utah State University earlier this month but had to cancel amid mass shooting threats. Yes: someone, most probably a proponent  of Gamergate, threatened to shoot students of USU if Sarkeesian spoke.

That’s the level we’re at right now.  To further understand the depravity of this group of people, chew on this: there’s Gamergate porn. A movement that’s supposedly fighting for the rights of hardcore gamers has, for some reason, a special brand of pornography.

Gamergate is an appalling movement supported by the very worst kind of people. The soon this is over and we can move on, the sooner the world will be a better place.