For a while now it’s been the common thought that toxicity in gaming is just this weird vocal minority. A small group making trouble harassing woman, poc, and others and general acting like assholes but now – now it seems that’s not exactly true. The US election has shown us all this isn’t true with a huge number of people voting for, and by proxy, supporting a ignorant, angry, misogynistic racist. They are showing they don’t care about these elements and those they affect or worse, actively embodying these beliefs themselves. I am honestly rather shocked and appalled at that huge number right now and even if Hillary did the win the effects of Trumpism were going to be long lasting.
One of its core tenets seem to be this apparent war against political correctness that the gaming menimists have been chanting for some time now. The ability to access every platform out there, to say whatever very you want, to whoever you want without recourse. That anyone attempting to showcase diversity in the form of women, poc, lgbt, and other minorities is merely pandering to the so called SJW movement. That attempting and aiming for progress, for change is some kind of abhorrent ideal. Like… How dare they, and this is what I see when I watched those results pour in. A backlash against change. Against Progress. Against the other.
That’s not something they want to see, or deal with. They want their quiet little bubble back and fuck everyone else creating this division we currently see yet forgetting just how much they have tormented, ostracised, and discriminated against these poeple for years. Those feminists corrupting the media with their fancy critiques and game analysis. How dare they maybe.. possibly.. get a few percent more female characters. Them damn blacks are getting AAA protagonists now too – like 2 this year is so fucking unsettling. And of course it’s all about ethics in gaming journalism right. So sexism, racism and a distrust for media – or hate against the other, the founding pillars of trumpism and something that has been highlighted as much larger than we thought.
And then there is the hate. I’ve felt it, I know many others have around me as well and we see it each and every day amongst twitter, youtube, twitch, reddit, and elsewhere around the gaming community. Even then, with the tirade of toxicity I held the idea that it is still a small group of toxic assholes being as loud, obnoxious and obvious as they possibly can to make their position larger than it is. To make it seem more important and powerful, and I was comforted by the fact that only the most dejected, lonely, loser could possibly think like that. I mean how could people not believe in diversity, and inclusivity? How could people be so filled with hate? But they can, and are for mostly misguided reasons believing they are being forgotten and ignored when, by and large the majority of gaming, the culture at large, and western civilization is still overtly focused around them and their experience.
Why, because intrinsically many of these poeple consider themselves and their view more valuable than others – that’s plain to see, and become angry when the situation even slightly changes. You look around at the industry and we aren’t even close to parity when it comes to representation. The majority of our characters are still white males and yet even the slight changes we’ve seen are enough to threaten this. Enough to make it feel unequal to them, to make it feel like they are less…. no… equal to those around them. That is abhorrent to them after feeling so entitled over the years to the entirety of what this medium creates. And thus we see the lashing out with hate.
Now of course there are larger ramifications with this election than gaming right now, or likely to be results of it anyway. Changes that are going to possibly affect many people’s livelihood and I am so deeply perturbed by that as well. I actually cried watching it last night and still tear up thinking about the pain, anguish, and fear it is creating and will create. I’m not american though, and I don’t know there political system. I can’t rally and fight for those rights from abroad that well but what I can do is speak up for the mediums I do know, the communities I am present in and fight this change. Because make no mistake, this is an issue for us to fight as well. A culture of hate, ignorance and toxicity that has been growing for some time now has just been legitimised to a certain extent and I expect the emboldened assholes will creep out from their holes louder, and in greater numbers than before. But that just means I too will be more vocal to contest that – to offer an alternate view.
I don’t intend to let twitter trolls derail a conversation anymore, or misinformed youtube idiots to spread their idiocy. I won’t just fall back to silence when entering voice oriented games I enjoy, or stay quiet around the misogynistic monologue we so often here in our daily gaming lives. Fuck that, and fuck them. This isn’t their space alone. It is meant for everyone.