Gamers Need to Speak Out Against Sexism
And why shouldn't we?
Sexism in the game industry has become a hot topic as of late—and with good reason. The attacks against Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter project and the subsequent death threats towards her defenders and vocal critics of those attacks, have brought the issue of sexism to the fore.
It’s bad—but what can we do about it? This is the question that’s been on the mind of every person invested in the game industry, or at least every person who’s bothered to take up concern with the issue.
There have been calls to take up arms against the unwashed masses who threaten the integrity of the game industry—to take a stand against sexism and do battle with those who threaten it with their bigotry and their hate speech.
I amuse myself at the thought of this ‘call to arms’ looking like a North Korean propaganda movie made for children, in which a group of children standing in a line—all holding hands—step forward to answer the call and pledge themselves to the cause.
This call to arms doesn’t need to be based on propaganda, nor should it be a way for getting people to ‘step in line’ as it were. Instead of pressuring our peers into behaving as we do, we should ask them to think for themselves and to consider their words and actions—and ask them to consider how they affect those around them.
We as members of the gaming community (or the tech community, or any other geek enthusiast community) have an obligation to step up to our peers and speak out when their actions violate the bounds of civility. It’s our obligation to tell them to sit the hell down and shut the fuck up when they threaten others within or without our communities with rape, violence, or death.
As members of a larger community, we are obligated to behave in a manner that doesn’t infringe upon the happiness and liberty of others.
The freedom of speech is not a license to behave like a sociopath.
And beyond that, it’s imperative that members of the community understand that actions have consequences, and that—once again—the freedom of speech does not provide an immunity to criticism.