One of the internet’s most beloved gamers, YouTubers, writers, actresses, and all-around swell human being, Felicia Day, took to Tumblr yesterday to gently express her sadness at the disconnect the Gamergate movement has caused in the community she has cherished for years. And also the fear she’s had of saying anything at all lest she be doxxed like so many other women who have spoken out against the misogyny and bullying that has proven to be the baseline of Gamergate.
And, unsurprisingly, her home address was immediately shared on the post by a user called “gaimerg8.”
Naturally, Gamergate supporters are outraged that people could think anyone operating under their name was involved with sending vitriol or abuse to Felicia after she spoke out against the “movement,” let alone the sharing of her personal information online. They insist it had to have been someone trying to frame them. Or rather, the mere possibility that it COULD have been someone not involved with Gamergate automatically absolves their group from any culpability.
Other GGers are upset that Felicia Day has allowed herself to be swayed by the media bias against them. That she is clearly uninformed and never bothered to do a lick of research about Gamergate before writing her blog post.
Never mind the fact that she knows enough to be terrified of what might happen for simply talking about Gamergate, which generally means you bother to get your facts right before you speak out.
Others don’t seem to understand what the big deal is, because Felicia’s information is supposedly readily available to anyone who bothers looking for it. As is true, they say, for all celebrities. None of them should have any expectations of privacy, therefore there’s nothing wrong with invading that privacy (that no public figure is entitled to).
Never mind that “celebrity” is a status placed on people by the public and not something you choose. Never mind that they’re still human beings. Never mind that the prior spreading of personal information within this movement was done to encourage others to deliver threats in an attempt to silence their dissenters.
It’s hard to have the energy to rehash everything that’s gone on with Gamergate. There has been so much, and it’s been so amazingly all over the place. They claim to be supporting women in games, yet they’ve threatened women endlessly. They claim to be fighting for journalistic integrity, yet they’ve bullied companies into pulling ads from websites that didn’t conform to exactly what they wanted to hear. They claim to be rallying against bullying, yet they themselves are bullies.
And then people involved in Gamergate immediately turn around and claim there’s no way to prove the people doing these things are actually involved in GamerGate, and that, well, THEY THEMSELVES don’t support it happening, and, in fact, make an effort to silence anyone who is participating in these things, so that’s really all that matters.
These are, undoubtedly, the same people who cry “not all men!” anytime a woman says she’s experienced harassment at the hands of a man. “Not all gamers!” they scream at everyone who dares decry the movement for the misogynistic mess it is. And yes, they are right. Not all gamers are assholes. Many of them aren’t. Some of the best, most compassionate people I know, men and women, are gamers. The problem isn’t with gamers, the problem is with this title they’ve rallied under. Gamergate.
Well, then, “Not all Gamergaters!” Sure. But how does screaming that at people solve anything? How does that change the fact that someone released Felicia Day’s personal information because of this movement? Forced Brianna Wu out of her home? Threatened Anita Sarkeesian into not speaking at an event? Made Zoe Quinn the focus of a war?
Ethics, they say. We’re doing this because, ethics. Though what exactly their idea of journalistic integrity is varies depending who you speak to. And why they feel entitled to journalism that conforms exactly to their standards and is some self-sacrificial public service — particularly why they feel entitled to this at the literal expense of the well-being of others — is a little beyond me.
But ultimately, the only thing that’s clear about Gamergate is what doesn’t matter to them: the fact that women feel unsafe. That they sometimes felt unsafe in online and gaming communities prior to Gamergate because, you know, an undeniable culture of misogyny, and that GG has only served to encourage those who threaten and harass. They don’t care. If they did, they would stop this movement because it has gotten beyond out of control.
Whatever your original reasons for supporting Gamergate, they pale in comparison to the terrible shit that is being done in the name of your movement. It has become poisoned…it is beyond repair. Please…we need moderate voices inside this movement to abandon it. It has become a sickness and it is tearing gaming apart.
Felicia won’t be the last woman in gaming to speak out against Gamergate. And she won’t be the last woman harassed or doxxed or threatened for it. Will it ever make a difference? Will Gamergate ever step out and realize that, whatever their initial intentions, this is what they have caused?
But that isn’t going to stop people from calling it out for what it is and the impact it’s having, either. And props to Felicia for doing just that.