I’ve been giving this one some thought the past few days. In my involvement with Gamergate, one of the things that I notice is how unwilling some feminists are to acknowledge successes or celebrate victories. When reminded of the many stellar women working in the video game industry, they seem to lack a proper response.
It’s my personal belief that a lot of modern-day feminism in tech isn’t in response to actual injustice, but rather, it is something that fulfills a need: Self-actualization.
If there are people reading this who’ve been unemployed for a long time, you probably know what it feels like to lack this actualization. No job and no prospects of a job can make it look like your life is stagnating. Days get strung together without any reason to go on to the next. I myself am certainly no stranger to this type of depression.
In a way, modern-day feminism offers a solution for this by inventing injustice to fight against. It feels good to combat injustice, as it gives a feeling of purpose and accomplishment. I’m familiar with that as well. When educating people about Autism, there’s no greater joy than to see the penny drop. It is an immensely satisfying experience to leave a group of people better informed than they were when you came in.
It’s very satisfying to fight against injustice. After all, great men/women are forged in fire, right? When the world is at its worst, the greatest people step forward. Except what happens if there is no fire? Do the great people stop coming?
Perhaps it’s something that terrifies. If the fire isn’t burning, there’s one thing you know for sure: you’re not getting forged in it. Cheapest fix? Light the fire yourself.
Well, with that as an explanation as to why modern feminism seems hell-bent on making mountains out of molehills, I want to offer a new theory as to why it was specifically the gamers that stood up against them.
What I’ve seen of Gamergate, people are tired of this fear mongering. This culture of seeing or even creating injustice around every corner. This fear mongering itself is, of course, an injustice to fight, but there might be another reason gamers aren’t so easily swept up in the culture of self-victimization, why they’re less interested in creating injustices to fight against.
My theory is that it’s because they play games. Who needs to fuss about gender stereotyping of wrapping Christmas presents when you can be the savior of Hyrule? Why would you feel the need to be a brave woman standing up to the terrifying yet completely invisible patriarchy when you can be the one and only Dragonborn? How much does it matter that women are asked if they are buying a game as a gift when you can drive a ship to the center of the world’s core to stabilize it?
I don’t think the effect is flawless, as suspension of disbelief only works to a certain extent, but it’s my guess that gamers will, in general, be more likely to feel accomplished because they fight injustice on a daily basis in video games. Of course, aside from adventure games, you’ve also got the competitive nature, like Counter Strike, or MOBAs, or heck, even Puzzle Pirates!
(editors note: I just realized that this is made by Sega >>)_
I think it’s possible that games help make people feel more comfortable with themselves and more satisfied with themselves, thus reducing the need for a real life “bad guy” to fight against.
We don’t need to fight invisible benefits of white men in gaming. We’ve got other, more important fights to win.
Like a teamfight at Roshan.