I've decided to take a step back from book reviews and cover reveals to talk about a very important topic that has been plaguing my mind since I first heard about it a few weeks ago.
That topic is gamer gate.
While many have still not heard about gamer gate, those of us who game (whether hardcore or only occasionally) have most likely heard something about it in our diving of social media sites.
For the longest time, I was unsure what the gamer gate scandal was all about, so I kept quiet and read all the blogs I could find about it, heard all the opinions and waited to see how long it would take before it died down and everyone moved on with their lives once again.
But, that hasn't happened.
In the few weeks since I first learned about gamer gate, I've seen several women being harassed because they dared to speak about women inside the gaming world. It began with a woman named Zoe Quinn, who created a game and received a decent amount of positive feedback. Soon after, an ex-boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, posted a piece about their relationship, claiming Quinn had cheated on him with several people, including a gaming journalist. This caused a severe uproar in online forums that led to threats against Quinn, which eventually led to Quinn having to flee her home.
After the controversy over Quinn, a game developer named Brianna Wu made several posts about the scandal and the blatant sexism in gaming, which ultimately led to threats and Wu also having to flee her home.
Since then, Anita Sarkeesian, who was supposed to speak Utah State University on women in gaming, was forced to cancel her appearance after a massacre was threatened if she appeared.
And, now we have poor Felicia Day, an actress who is also an avid gamer, who came out and gave her opinion of the gamergate scandal, only to be doxxed within the hour her post was published.
I think what surprises me most about this situation is the lack of outrage. I've seen outrage in the gaming community, obviously, especially by women, but what about everyone else? If this was about women who were being forced out of office jobs or retail stores, etc., there would be newspaper articles everywhere, people calling for boycotts and lawsuits. And, while I understand it is a small group of people making the threats, it is still a serious issue, because that small amount of people are being heard.
A friend of mine recently asked how we be a community of modern gamers while still carrying a 15th century mentality? It's a valid point. Too often women are looked down upon in the gaming community because they are women. I've been through it myself.
I used to LARP (live action role playing) when I was in college. I was the only girl for the longest time. Many of the guys saw me as nothing more than a player with boobs and would sometimes make inappropriate comments. And, the girls dating those guys weren't any better because they would often make comments that I was only playing to get with someone. I continued because I loved it. I had fun and I still do, even when I tell someone I like to play Magic: The Gathering or Zelda games and they tell me I can't be a girly girl and a gamer also.
It's disgusting what we're doing to our own community. Something needs to change. They times are changing and women are stepping up and taking over in what was once looked at to be a man's community. Those small groups of people who believe something else need to take a step back and look at themselves and stop threatening the women in this community.
We are not male gamers and female gamers, we are just gamers.
Christy Howell is the author of the Eloquentia series