GUEST EDITORIAL by Kat Yarborough
The toxic Anti-GamerGate rhetoric from people like Anita Sarkeesian has infiltrated the media to an alarming degree. All it takes is a quick Google search, to find the evidence. A myriad of mainstream publications treat Anita as a Goddess of political correctness, who champions the female gamer against an army of venomous males that seek to destroy the intellectual beauty she supposedly radiates. Anita, and the women like her, are themselves painted within the narratives of these publications as the ideal heroines they claim aren’t being represented in games. The more they play the victim fighting this supposed establishment of misogynistic male gamers, the more they seem like a brave heroine archetype simply for speaking out; it doesn’t matter what tactics they use or what actual words they say outside of their glossy magazine spreads and carefully planned TV appearances. They have themselves become, in their own minds, what they are fighting for. That is the ONLY game they are truly playing.
Ms. Sarkessian herself describes a game idea in which the princess saves herself from the tower, without the help of a white knight. That is how she sees herself, the champion of the female who is trying to break out of a women’s prison. Anita, Jonathan McIntosh, and the rest, promote a female victimhood, not inclusion, because they have turned themselves into supposed champions by redefining the meaning of what “should be offensive to women.” That way, they can imagine that all women feel a certain way, and convince the population that they need to conform to a certain standard “for their own good.” Sarkeesian and her counterparts are not trying to build bridges, or find inclusion outside of that imaginary prison they perceive as real. Instead they go to war with what they perceive is the big, ugly, misogynistic monster, that they feel suppresses the ideal world that their “feminine brilliance” can bring about. The problem is, this monster is as imaginary as the prison of male objectification and ridicule that they claim women are stuck in.
Women with genuine interest in the gaming industry have every opportunity to be included. But what people like Anita really want to do, is destroy the industry they claim to like. They see gaming as a giant, misogynistic cesspool, with little redeeming qualities. When you read Sarkeesian’s, for example, you can see that she feels women are simply props for the visual amusement of men within games, even the heroines. But when I look at vidya, I’m not seeing very many male characters who aren’t evil, that are visually unappealing. I’m not seeing almost any character in any game that we’re supposed to like be visually unappealing. It’s just the way media works.
Have men been more likely to be skeptical of my interest in video games? Sure, they sometimes are, because it is an observable fact that women are more likely to be casual gamers than men (despite the claims of many Anti-GamerGate figures such as Ms. Sarkeesian). However, they almost always love including me once they see the appreciation I have for the games. I have respect for their own perspective of the game, and not just a willingness to share mine. That is because it has been my experience that the love for gaming transcends boundaries in ways that almost no other form of media does. It brings together every type of person on Earth that appreciates a good game. The perspective of each unique person, including women, is shaped by that…the quality and/or emotional impact of the game itself.