I have always kept my Facebook friends list small. There are dozens of places on the internet where I’m comfortable interacting with new people and ideas, but for me, Facebook has been the place I reserve for quieter, less troubling conversation.
There are exceptions, sure. I have friends and relatives who have differing opinions, and I either scroll by or interact with respect. I’m not usually troubled by anything I read on Facebook.
That changed today.
An acquaintance was tagged in her boyfriend’s post of this article about women using feminism to manipulate the gaming industry. The headline was pure clickbait, and I fell for it. But hours later, I’m still troubled by it.
The thing is, I’m a closet gamer. To be sure, a casual one on the periphery of the action, but a gamer nonetheless. And it is the discomfort I feel—have felt since I was a teenager—in the presence of some of the gaming “community” that is exactly why I’ve felt comfortable only on the periphery.
I am not informed enough to comment on the specifics of the woman covered in the article. I only know that claiming that women lie or exaggerate threats or impact of violence against them is a mistake. When more than eighty percent of teenage girls have been harassed based on their gender, it is not a leap to realize that some of this woman’s harassers are not “injudicious respon[ders]” and that this is not simply “casual malice.”
What is casual malice? If such a thing exists, this is not it. This is a person who intends to inflict real fear, if not physical damage. This is a person who has chosen a target and taken premeditated actions to threaten and intimidate that target. No, this is not casual malice.
The Breitbart article I linked implied that these discussions of women in gaming distract from catering to the industry’s “bread and butter” (men). Its author is speaks of men as the video game industry’s “bread and butter.” If your industry is inhospitable—or in this case, openly hostile—to potential consumers, that bread has gone stale.
No, products are not required to be egalitarian. But there are pluralities of people that are underrepresented in a space that they genuinely love and have a talent for. Commenting on what we’d like changed—and better yet, creating our own –need not result in violence or threats.