#GamerGate, Feminism and the culture war

It’s a really odd thought to think that there is a culture war going on right now. Video game culture is under scrutiny this time because of a hashtag: #GamerGate. In a nutshell, many people have accused Gamergate of being a hate group because people using this hashtag have been targeting female journalists and game industry employees to send abusive messages and death threats.

What started off as some vicious rumour spreading about the validity of a game review, the entire thing seems to have grown way out of hand. After reading some awful tweets targeting @FemFreq on twitter, it is clear that people are lashing out at women “getting involved” in a traditionally, male dominated industry.

I understand that games are about fantasy and suspending reality and that sometimes that there might be a historical context for sexism that is relevant to the content. However, I cannot agree with this glorification that seems to be all too common in entertainment products these days. It is not sending the right message to young people – of both genders.

Girls can make games too you know! This teen duo from the US show the boys how it’s done…

Two Teenage Girls Have Invented the Most Powerful Video Game of the Year

Two Teenage Girls Have Invented the Most Powerful Video Game of the Year

I’m involved with making games myself. I’m not afraid to say that I love games and that I’m also a feminist. What these people don’t seem to realise is that there is absolutely nothing that we can do about the past, we can only change the future. Games like Grand Theft Auto are notoriously sexist but it is clear that these games were targeted at a male target market WITHOUT consideration of the female audience and it still sold millions.

What the game industry needs to take away from this controversy is to put the same money, energy and time into games that are all inclusive rather than exclusive. At the very least, consider that, in reality, the mainstream target audience is no longer “predominantly male”.

I mean c’mon! It’s 2014! Video games don’t just belong to boys – we’ve been playing just as long as you have!

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