Once upon a time I was an upstart videogame critic and theorist. I wrote and wrote. I got paid in beer, and reviewed games. I went on did a Masters degree and continued writing.
I never gained fame or really anything, I did it because I loved doing it and at the time no one was writing anything I thought was remotely interesting. It was a world of product reviews, and I wanted something more. Eventually, I had decent but short lived column that maybe 10 people including my Mom read. Oddly, people are citing my work now and from time to time get people who ask "whatever happened to you? I loved your work!"
I got sick and stopped writing. In fact a lot things happened and I stopped writing. I had all these words and ideas, but I would blankly stare at the screen and nothing would come out. I was terrified.
At first it was my usual perfectionism, mixed with a sucker punch of self doubt. I need to be best, but I honestly suck at everything.
The other part was I had a hate site devoted to me. It wasn't for something I had written about games, but about something else entirely and the idea that someone bought a web domain to simply articulate what a fucking cunt I am, was a little scary.... Weirdly, I'm proud of it, because no matter what that person wrote, I was right. My assertion was right. I'm not gonna get into it, but it's not one of those I think I am right because of morals, it's one of those legally I was totally right because fucking over people and stealing their money is bad.
I think about writing again. I start for a bit. I write little posts, and admittedly getting posting privileges to group think has motivated me to start writing again. Small of course. I try not to hyper edit, or worry too much about style. I just need to get stuff out and try not to worry that it's utter crap like everything that I do.
I start to feel good, and think "Hey why don't I start writing under my own name again." And then stuff like this happens. (I've linked the analysis, rather than the hate stuff)
Basically, an ex boyfriend wrote a horrible blog about his ex girlfriend explaining that the only reason she had fame was because she had sex for press. And a bunch of people took this up and have harassed her, hacked her account, stolen nude photos of her, drawn a nasty comic about her, and hacked and done the same thing to any indie game developer or writer or anyone that supports her. They have done this claiming it's about ethics in journalism. That this is justice.
It's not justice. It's an angry boyfriend taking out his rage and getting other people to help under the guise of ethics.
These kind of attacks happen to women in games so often that it's terrifying. It happened to a co-worker of mine. It's happened to so many women I know through twitter. It's upsetting.
The good soldier in me knows I have to get up and fight. I know people will scream at me and tell me to fight. But I just don't want too. I've been burned, and it hurt more than I realized. I can't keep trying to explain to these fucktards that what they are doing is wrong and well illogical.
"RAWRRRR JUSTICE IS USING NO EVIDENCE TO ATTACK A PERSON FOR WHAT THEY DID IN THEIR PRIVATE LIFE!!! I AM SO REASONABLE TO ATTACK INNOCENT BYSTANDERS CAUSE JUSTICE AND ETHICS!!!! MY REASON IS BASED NOT FEMALE FEELINGS BUT ON EVIDENCE OF A SCORNED EXBOYFRIEND!!11!!" (end impersonation)
Because they honestly don't get that threatening to rape someone is wrong. They don't get that harassment is wrong. That 'free speech' doesn't make harassment acceptable. I assume that women to them aren't people, they just are 'some thing' for them to project their anger on.
A lot of us have started to ask, why bother writing or creating when you can risk having your private life thrown into the spotlight? That no matter what you do, you will always have some fucktard explain you only got there because you used your sexuality. That you deserved the abuse because how dare you do something in your private life. All of these are attacks activate internalized misogyny and generate shame in the hopes to silence the victim.
And it scares me.
I know that being attacked on the internet isn't the worst thing in the world. That this kind of misogyny is one that many of us face everyday. But it's so frustrating and exhausting to know that to do what I love I will be attacked. I could have my life destroyed over videogames. Yes, people ruin people's lives over entertainment. Entertainment that I have argued passionately for as culturally important. There's a part of me that thinks, wow, I could have my life destroyed and be humiliated over 1000s of things more important. I would rather build a robot and have it accidentally kill me. (that would be pretty cool). I could go and work in a hospital and get something horrible. But nope, I choose have an academic interest in a industry filled with people that humiliate other people because they didn't like inclusion. Because they need to protect their sameness, because they think they are oppressed! It's ridiculous, and it still scares me.
I'm a romantic. I thought the world could get better, I believed in the "it will get better" promise, but no, those assholes grow up too and they find you.
I'm sick of this hate. I could talk like an academic on it, but I am really just super fucking tired of this bullshit. I'm tired that part of the industry doesn't want to acknowledge that there's an attack on basically everyone who isn't a white straight guy. That there are people who are fighting against a broader perspective in games. That a community that says it's inclusive attacks people who say "This is my voice on the subject" or "Include my experience." That videogames have a problem with hate culture.
I'm sad because I know that if I want to go back out there, that I will face a world of hurt. That I'm not alone in it. I'll be gaslighted. I'll be shamed. That if I ever took I private picture of myself, I'll blamed if it gets shared, because how dare I woman choose to exist. But if I don't do it, nothing will change.
I use to be so naive and think that we had made progress but with all the news, not just in the videogame world, it's hard to see that we've made any at all. All I see is hate and fear. I don't want to be part of it.
I want to make things and I want to write, but I don't want to be harassed. It's a basic human right. Even though, I know I am insignificant and that I am a privileged person, the fear holds me back.
Even writing this post scares me. Because I am saying something. I'm annoyed with myself for being scared because I know it's worth fighting for. I know all those people are wrong. That there are great people in videogames. But the hate is so loud.
I know there should be a better conclusion to this post, but I am conflicted between my inner Iron Giant and Scaredy Bat.
Excuse me while I change all my passwords.
(the first image is of the Iron Giant)
(seriously, that bat has seen some shit.)
tl;dr : ahhh fuck.