Posted by: williamnewton12 | April 1, 2015

Gamergate the “aftermath”

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/03/that-life-is-over-zoe-quinn-looks-beyond-gamergate/1/

One thing that I noticed (or failed to notice) is how little discussion there was over the video game medium in the film Missrepresentation.  For me that was the field I was most interested in and the one I wanted to find out the most about so I was a little disappointed in their portrayal of video gaming and the culture around it in the video.  As such I wanted to bring up what is probably the biggest issue regarding them in video games in the past couple of years, Gamergate.
For those of you that don’t know about it (or for those of you that do but only found out about it later) Gamergate is a leaderless movement that started out when allegations were made about Zoe Quinn sleeping with a reviewer to gain a better review of her product.  To this day, over a year later, she still receives death threats about this.  And while this did start out just a mob anger issue those defending and attacking it have escalated it out of proportion.  Today the issue is not only about game journalism integrity but also is a feminist movement of sorts, looking to end sexism in gaming.  Many big names in the industry have made comments regarding the issue, many more refuse to comment.  There is now so much anger on both sides that’s it’s almost impossible to say who is in the right anymore.

Whats most important here is actually a pretty bright spot for the women’s movement.  There’s now a big eye on the video game industry and its portrayal of women.  What’s also interesting is how it contrasts to other forms of media, starting out as a very male centric form of entertainment, but is definitely having a movement towards a more equal center.  Granted its still not totally equal but there is reflection both in the industry and without about how they want to move forward.

What do you girls (and guy) think?  What is your understanding of the Gamergate movement?  Do you see gaming moving towards a more central view?  If gaming moves do you think that could force other media industries to move as well towards a more equal representation of genders?

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Responses

  1. I’ve never heard about Gamergate before, so it is interesting to learn and hear about it!
    I’m not a gamer myself. I play every now and then with my brother, who also plays on occasion (although he is into Call of Duty and PS3 games, not computer games). The gaming culture is very different than what I’m used to, so I’ll answer your questions to the best of my ability.

    I believe that Missrepresentation didn’t portray or explain much about women in the video game culture/world because women are not as involved in that culture as men are. Not to say that women do not play video games! They most surely do, it’s just that the culture is predominantly male. You can walk down any hall on CNU and just about every boy’s room (8/10) will have a gaming station, and maybe every 1/10 girls rooms will have a gaming station.

    My understanding of the Gamgergate is that it is a movement concerned with ethics in game journalism and gamer identity protecting. It’s really sad that Zoe received death threats, and that she still is to this day. From what you’ve said, my understanding is she slept with this man because she wanted to be recognized, and then experienced backlash from it because she is a woman. My questions are as follows…Was she not receiving recognition, originally, because she is a woman? She is very intelligent and well versed in the gaming culture, so the woman know’s what she is talking about when she posts her comments, so why was she being overlooked in the first place?

    Hopefully the gaming world can move to a more central view. In order for that to happen I think more women need to join the gaming culture, and that men need to help be supporters of such. Just like we learned in our leadership class, we need men to be our allies too. If this move works, I do believe media industries will recognize the equal representation of genders. After all that is what the feminism movement is about; equal representation. It is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

  2. I found this to be a very interesting read because, like Katelin, I never knew what Gamergate was until reading the article posted. I think the lack of female gamers represented in Missrepresentation can be attributed to the fact that most people don’t know the extent of female involvement in the gaming industry. I think that if the filmmaker were to make another film with more updated professions and statistics, the new information would probably include female gamers.

    In my personal experiences, gaming appears to be one of the last media institutions that is still highly genderized. While film and television both still possess a mildly dominant patriarchal, heterosexual bias, they appear to have made a greater transition in representing various genders and ethnic groups than that of the gaming community. I think that games like Grand Theft Auto that glamorize prostitution and the degradation of women (just going off of what I’ve seen when my brother plays), are the reason for the lack of movement to a more gender-neutral view. While I feel like this article does a good job of explaining that a centralized shift is possible, the popularity of games like GTA that continue to degrade women will rule over the majority’s opinion making it difficult to reach the gender-neutral opinion sooner.

  3. I am not an expert on videogames or video gaming culture, and before reading this blogpost, I did not know that Gamergate had happened.
    I am somewhat aware of sexism in the video gaming industry, but my understanding is limited to the existence of hypersexualized images of women in video games for teenagers and adults and of the damsel in distress images, which seem more prevalent in videogames meant for children. In reference to Gamergate, people, in all professions, have been sleeping with those in authority positions to gain advantages for a long time. I have no idea how often this happens, but based on the widespread societal understanding of this as a problem, sleeping with one’s boss seems like a fairly common pheromone. It seems like Quinn was attempting to bring awareness to greater social problem, in this case postpartum depression, to a wider audience that may not be as susceptible to more traditional educational mediums. Rather than understanding such illnesses through television programming, those most immersed in video gaming culture would likely find such messages more relatable when portrayed through their desired medium. In order to enlist more people to play the games, which it sounds like Quinn considered important, she did what she deemed necessary to reach a more comprehensive audience.
    I do not think that the video gaming industry will change to a more central field, because it is such a male dominated industry. Without female influence, I do not think that the movement will occur, with large enough force to actually create lasting change within the subculture in the foreseeable future. Further, I think that other media industries are more likely to change than the video game industry.

  4. I found this concept about gaming and the GamerGate situation with Zoe Quinn interesting as I’ve never own a Playstation or Xbox gaming station, and I have little knowledge on that culture. However, I can speak on experience from the form of watching other people play video games as it has become intensely popular online, specifically on YouTube. There is one gamer on that platform called PewDiePie who records himself playing different games and posts it onto YouTube. He has over 33 million subscribers, many of which of the female population. I think that this phenomenon actually is helping the GamerGate industry to have more equalized representation of women playing due to many originally watching these gaming videos on YouTube originally.

    On the other hand, I still think that is order for the video game culture to become more equalized, the type of popular games distributed and the mannerisms of dealing with women are going to have to evolve more. For instance, many games, like Grand Theft Auto depict women in ways that objectify women as these glamorized prostitutes and mere sexual objects. Additionally, these games often use men as the main character who have all the power and have women more on the sidelines of these games. With games that refer to women as objects in games and not as equal beings, it makes it more difficult for women to play as they often would rather play a female who isn’t expressed as “below” the males. Perhaps on other games, like The Walking Dead, who focus more on the main character being female and becoming a leader and an equal, may attract more female followers, however, I think those type of games that are more popular is in the minority. Furthermore, the language expressed in video gamers while playing these games maybe isn’t favorable to many women. Generally speaking, I see much communication online of games playing these games together to be often harsh and crude, and often women gamers experience sexualized remarks. For instance, this video (be aware that the language is quite inappropriate) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR-_xM53QLk&list=PLOyHiKn7jl9HEt2jERBGSmLYoBCRAwAdU&index=50] exemplifies these remarks that are made to women gamers. Maybe if the attitude towards women and gaming shifts from inside the culture a bit more, then more women will be susceptible to playing rather than just watching YouTube videos of it online.


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