#Gamergate—and what it means for gaming in education

IMG_3708.JPGGamergate originally began as a hashtag in social media after an independent game developer’s ex-boyfriend made public allegations against her regarding a close relationship between the developer and a journalist in exchange for positive press, which was later proven false.

Since then, the controversy has escalated to reveal what many in the gaming industry say is a bias against women in gaming, evidenced not only by death and other malicious threats made against female game developers and female game players, but also by the male-heavy themes in many of today’s commercial games.

Considering that more classrooms and educators are now incorporating gaming into education, never has the controversy surrounding Gamergate and the bias toward women in gaming been more relevant in education, says gaming experts. — eSchool News.


6 thoughts on “#Gamergate—and what it means for gaming in education

  1. On the article, just take this bit of impossible demands:

    According to Jones and Kae Novak, an instructional designer for online learning at Front Range Community College and chair of ISTE’s Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments, the solely-male experience in video games is often characterized by a male main character, by secondary female characters portrayed as victims in need of help, and by violence against women as part of game play [i.e. Grand Theft Auto].

    If you have violent video games – one cannot do both these things. They complain that there are not a better distribution of female characters – but your character is in violent conflict with most of the other characters it meets. In order to increase the number of female characters, you’d have to greatly increase your violence against female characters in the game. They then **also** complain about supposed violence against women in these games. But in these games, the actual reality is that your character has commited violence against male character after male character after male character. Then usually there’s no actual serious violence against women – the last complaint was in a game where after stabbing, slitting throats, shooting, impalling, and dumping man after man’s body into dumpsters, there was a point where you could drag around an unconscious woman’s body. I’m not sure if your character actually knocked her unconscious, or if she was unconscious already, but I know that if you chose for your character to take this course of action it penalized you heavily. In contrast, killing, maiming, etc to the male characters was something you got points for.

    The only way to “solve” this is to have an invincible main female character who attacks only male characters. Lol @ “equality”.

    • Portal was a creative solution… a female first-person protagonist, opposed by a computer with a female voice. I actually proposed Portal 2 as a summer “reading” experience for Seton Hill. The above quote is a comment about “the solely-male experience in video games”. That doesn’t mean that all games are solely-male experiences. If I set out to study what causes pet dogs to run away from their homes, I will naturally study the subset of homes with pet dogs, and the subset of dogs who are domestic pets; but that doesn’t mean I think wild dogs are unimportant or insignificant, nor am I trying to convince everyone that all houses have dogs, nor that all dogs run away from their homes.

      I have linked to Christina Hoff Summers before because of her approach to the “war on boys.”

      • If one wants to read a book on the topic, George Orwell’s 1984 talks about the technique that’s being used today called Doublethink:

        The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

        The article says that “male-heavy themes” are a problem, that one must understand gaming “in the context of an equal rights movement”, they calling gaming “another one of those fields that have long been unwelcoming to women”, “the reason most commercial games favor one gender [male] over another is because of the misogyny prevalent in the game design industry”, “Most games heavily favor the male experience because there’s this perception by game studios that most gamers are male and that this is what sells” – and that’s only from the first page, it’s not even getting into the second page.

        To claim that this article is **only** talking about **some** games – I don’t know what to say other than point out that Doublethink that would be necessary to make that possible.

  2. (rolls eyes) Lol, that description of GamerGate is like asking a conservative extremist about the Obama presidency. “Obama came to power by tricking the american people while his real goal was to turn america into a communist system like Russia, all the while he was in league with Muslim Terrorists!”.

    In reality games have included women more and more as time has gone on. Even “male oriented” games like Halo have multiple female characters, while trying to not cross the social norm that in gaming, violence against women is unacceptable, while violence against men is perfectly fine. In games like BioWares Mass Effect for example, Commander Shepard could be played as a male or a female character. There are a number of other examples I don’t have time to research or go into.

    A couple of years ago (right around the previous election), you started seeing a group of people who realized that they could say almost anything if they just attached “against women”, “attacking women”, “offensive to women”, etc to what they said, and a certain number of people would always turn off their brains and believe them. They bullied and harrassed a number of men before Gamergate started. A few of these guys deserved some flack (though not as much as they got). Aris Bakhtanians was the first one I remember – he was kind of an ass, but he was completely harrassed and bullied. He deserved some of it, but he’s was just the first. It escalated more and more into becoming apparent that these people were attacking anything male, anything remotely sexual or romantic, and anything gaming or nerd related.

    Right before GamerGate, they finally ran out of topics that were remotely plausibly deniable. The last one I remember was Elliot Rodgers – he was a pschyopath who did a bunch of videos expressing his hatred that women wouldn’t sleep with him, his hatred of the men who were sleeping with them, and his hatred of everyone he thought might show him up – including his desire to kill his younger brother. Feminism started promoting the story as “See! Men are evil and trying to kill women! Here’s one example! Misogyny!”. Problem was, as more details came out, it became apparent that most of Elliot Rodgers victims were male. These same feminists rabidly (I don’t have any other word to describe it) tried to cover this up, getting very angry at anyone who (accurately) described his victims as 4 men and 2 women – and he started by killing his 2 male roomates and a guest of theres up close and personal with a knife. It didn’t fit with the “man == villain, women == victim” theme these feminists were promoting. When it started becoming more rediculous, they desperately tried to change the topic by promoting YesAllWomen to talk about how women are scared of men. They felt that 4 men and 2 women – was a great time to tell people to shut up about talking about that, and talk about how women are sometimes afraid and topics like (I kid you not) how men sometimes sit with their legs relaxed and open and take up to much space on public transit. (By the way, men are actually murdered 3x more often than women in the US).

    I realize that what I wrote above is not entirely convincing, because you would have had to been been watching the slow buildup between Aris Bahktanian to Elliot Rodgers to see it become more and more apparent that the feminists who were writing these numerous articles and outrage pieces in between – their motivation was more and more clearly to hate on men, hate on anything romantic or sexual, and hate on gamers.

    More and more of both women and minorities had become gamers at this point, and they were also tired of hearing this non-stop crap that pretended to be about morality as well. Combining that, with less and less plausible deniability that these kind of feminists were actually concerned about anything but just hating on anything male, romantic or sexual, or gamer related, was the time GamerGate started.

    At the same time, the “Gaming Press” had been known for quite a while to be horribly corrupt. Terrible games would come out and they would get amazing scores. Games would be incomplete, buggy, not fun to play – and game reviews would still say they were amazing. The “Gaming Press” also took a view in it’s articles of looking down it’s own audience. Making fun of gamers for being loser nerds who lived in their parents basement. At the same time you’d see more and more of an attitude of “Gamers Have A Problem With Women” or that women should stay away from gamers in gaming articles themselves. This was actually the exact opposite – more and more women had become involved and interested in gaming. Women had become more and more seen as might being a gamer themselves. And back on the topic of contempt, what was the last article like that – they printed an article titled “Gamers Are Dead” or something?

    Zoe Quinn (the girlfriend in the story who it’s not disputed was repeatedly cheating on and lying to her boyfriend, who apparently had said that all cheating in a relationship was “rape” before repeatedly cheating herself) was the kind of feminist who went with the “men are responsible for everything bad that’s every happened” theme. There was another different group of feminists who took a more “Let’s just create games that women also want to play, with a lot of women doing development, and get more gaming into women that way” approach. Before the boyfriend accussations, this other group of women had accussed with Zoe Quin of using her connections to undermine them and attack their own development efforts, and of incredibly manipulative things like Zoe Quinn attacking their servers and boards and logging into them, pretending to be part of their group in order to attack herself so she could accuse them of attacking her.

    Zoe Quinn sort of brought together all of these things in one event all at once, and people were sick of it.

    When it became obvious that a number of Gamergate supporters were women who gamed, and minorities who gamed, the feminists attacking it had to take another tack. Having alienated most of the people who had actually been watching what they were doing, they changed tactics to constantly repeating “death threats” over and over again. For that whole topic, I’d have to go into the whole Anita Sarkeesian thing, and I already wrote way to long of an essay already.

    But this group of people just basically points at men or gamers and says “bad”, then they add the veneer of sophistication on top of it. The people who had been watching them and had to deal with them for a while were sick of it, so now they reached out to other people to champion for them – people who aren’t familiar with what they’re doing and haven’t gotten to that point of rolling their eyes at them yet.

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