GUEST EDITORIAL by Hayley Conway (@haylenore, previous editorial)

A few weeks ago when I was playing a MMO called Neverwinter, I had an incident with a fellow guildmate, a female. This guildy and I had played together for months. I was in the guild, as the only female, long before she joined. I was thrilled that she was another female to game with. We both played the same class (control wizard), and we shared tips and pointers about how to play our characters. She went with one build, I went with another. We helped each other out. We talked every day, and we had some good times. We even gave ourselves a nickname: the Control Sisters.

But then this girl started doing PVP and became a competitive player. I don’t do PVP; I have no interest in trying to best other players. I don’t play to compete ā€“ I’ve always played to have fun. She made new friends who liked to PVP, and I made new friends who did not. We were still okay and joined together to run dungeons and get our daily quests done.

Little by little, she turned bossy, controlling, and competitive ā€“ especially when guys were around. She was promoted in the guild to the rank I belonged as an officer, and the power, well, went to her head. We ran together less and less, but then when we were together, she was critical of me and of others in the party. There is a line between constructive criticism and telling people what to do. She blew up that line with C-4 and left a smoldering crater.

When my other guildmates got offline, I started running with another guild. I enjoyed their company because they were all friendly and welcoming. They didn’t lecture me about how I should play my character. They didn’t brush me off when I asked for help with quests. They didn’t bail on me to run dungeons with other people.

Our guilds formed an alliance, and it mostly went over well. The other guild’s leader asked me if I’d like to help them with some stuff in their guild stronghold. I thought that would be a great way to build more friendships between our guilds since ours was smaller, so I switched over to see what information I could bring back to aid my guild.

My guild founders were fine with the idea and even temporarily switched over to help out. The only person who wasn’t fine with it was my fellow female guildy. She made a terrible scene in a party chat with my a-ok guild founder and the other guild’s founder and senior members. She made herself look horrific, she attempted to make me look stupid, and she shit on everything I tried to do that would have been beneficial for everyone involved.

Suddenly I was a threat to her dominance. I was competition. I did something that she couldn’t take credit for, and she didn’t like that one bit. I’ve never been competitive. I’m happy to just be included. I play support roles. Numbers on a leaderboard mean nothing to me.

Long story short: I left that guild because I wasn’t going to subject myself to the whims of an unapologetic bully. Later I found out that guild fell apart because of her garbage attitude and behavior.

Thankfully, I’m in a better guild now, with people who don’t treat others like trash. I still talk to my friends from the old guild and do stuff with them. However, I’m flabbergasted about the entire situation because it’s just a video game.

Right? It’s just a video game.

People I’ve told this story to all say the same thing: some women who play MMOs are terrible. They fight each other, they lie and backstab, and they tear guilds apart.

Ladies, we have a problem. Women are not pushed out of tech/gaming/whatever by men. Women are pushed out of tech/gaming/whatever by other women. Most dudebros are happy to have females play vidya with them, and they treat women pretty well with all that free stuff they give away.

Within the last year and a half, a lot of us have discovered social justice and third wave feminism. We’ve seen all kinds of internet slapfights between #GamerGate supporters and social justice warriors. We’ve seen the women and minorities of #NotYourShield silenced and erased by the supposedly “tolerant” progressives.

You’re the wrong kind of queer.

You’re the wrong kind of ethnic minority.

You’re the wrong kind of woman.

I’m writing this because I’m the wrong kind of woman. I’m not a feminist. I love video games. I love bouncing breasts on sexy redheads. But goodness me if I’m also not the right kind of woman for GamerGate too.

When I say this, I’m not talking about every single woman in GG. I’ve not met every single woman who supports ethics in games journalism and wants to fight censorship. But many I have seen on Twitter are really kinda insufferable. (Insert fake geek girl meme here.)

Envious. Competitive.

On whom or what do we blame this competitive nature? Is it feminism? Did feminism instill inside us women some kind of need to tear other women down because they have the wrong ideas or because we’re jealous of them? Does this go back even further to Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera? To Eve and Lilith?

Where is this mythic sisterhood? Where is the solidarity? Why do women have to be fake and disingenuous? We’ve seen feminists and SJWs eat each other alive for wrongthink, but what about those women who don’t follow the cultish behavior of so-called progressivism? What about those women who love video games and aren’t in this social media slapfight to be somebody’s perceived competition? (I’d say this about men as well, but women are far, far worse.)

Many female GG supporters have unfollowed me, and I have muted and unfollowed quite a few as well. (But yet, for some reason, the amount of male followers I have grows daily. Must be the lewds!) This is not a competition. We’re here for our love of video games.

I think about Clementine Ford who relishes in getting men fired over calling her a slut but then also calls plenty of other women she doesn’t like sluts. What is that helping? When you go behind someone’s back and tell loads of people that you think a newcomer is a sock puppet even though you have zero proof, you’re not helping. ” When you “leave” a hashtag, making as much of a scene as possible, and then continually talk about the hashtag and get your tits out because your YouTube following has bombed [EDITOR’S NOTE: Example], you’re not helping. Go on and tell everyone how SJWs nearly drove you to suicide if it makes you feel better, but that’s not helping either. What this DOES is give ammunition to some women to use against others they don’t like. I’ve seen it happen to my friends, I’ve had it happen to me, and it’s goddamn infuriating.

Stop being bitches, okay? It’s not attractive or endearing at all. Let’s not tear each other down. I’m not going the “muh PR” route, but I am asking for women to back off and be kinder to each other. Be nice. Be genuine. But have fun too because we’re in this together.