These are only the latest examples of female game developers becoming afraid for their physical safety because someone on the Internet doesn’t like their opinions. It hasn’t been anyone I know personally… yet. But it’s happened to people in the Boston game dev community that I’m a part of, and that hits close to home. I can’t help thinking that could be me.
Realistically, I know that I’m not famous enough to attract that kind of attention. Probably this post will never reach any of the people it’s aimed at, and all I’m doing is making myself feel better for having taken a stand. But I’m still a female game developer speaking my mind on the Internet, and right now that’s enough to get people death threats. Being scared to post this is exactly why I’m doing it, because the whole point of those threats is trying to silence women who express feminist opinions.
To anyone who still thinks GamerGate is about “journalistic ethics”: look at yourselves. Look at what this movement is inspiring. Can you really look in the mirror and say that you’re OK with someone threatening a massacre if a woman dares to give a speech in public? This couldn’t happen under the GamerGate banner without the tacit assumption that the rest of the movement would support this kind of threat. If GamerGate was really about ethics, then there should have been a backlash of outrage from GamerGaters that fringe elements were using it as an excuse for this kind of harassment. Instead, there’s a round of victim-blaming and then someone else gets a new death threat. Making death threats against people who disagree with you is not a hallmark of being on the side of truth and justice.
Geez, can you imagine if someone really gets killed over this shit? The media would be full of it, and everyone would be asking “How did this happen? How did they let it get this far?” It might be a wake-up call. But I don’t want someone to have to die to make that point. What I want is for all this to stop before anyone gets hurt.
You don’t have to agree with Anita Sarkeesian. No one is forcing you to like Depression Quest or Revolution 60. But you do have to respect that women have the right to make games, and to express opinions about other people’s games, without taking their lives in their hands.
Edit: Here, have a more articulate and better-researched post by someone else.