The last post I wrote on here was addressed to geek culture at large (and GamerGate in the specific). It was a declaration of which FUCKING SIDE I AM ON (which should be the side of anyone with a shred of conscience and decency). But the forces of evil (and make no mistake, that’s not hyperbole, if you’re marching under the same banner as someone threatening to start shooting bystanders because women promulgate well-reasoned analysis of video games that is the team you have joined) have continued making my own little corner of the world an ugly place.
And the world is ugly enough.
But I’m not talking to them any more. This isn’t about them. I’m not talking about me either.
This is a thank you note. This is a thank you to all the women who stand up, when very real threats give them every reason to stop. This is a thank you to female creators, who strive to bring something different, to make the tapestry of experience in unwelcoming subcultures a little richer and a little brighter. This is a thank you to female critics, who make every creator better by giving them something else to think about. This is a thank you to female fans, who do brave things – like being themselves, like wearing their hearts on their (sometimes hand-sewn) sleeves – for no other reason than they truly, truly love something that they’ve experienced or created. And then are called frauds for it. And then go back out there and do it again anyway.
To those who have opted out, who have fled hobbies, who have made an assessment of their safety or their wellbeing and determined it is too risky to speak out, I thank you for what you were able to give, for weathering the storm as best you could, for your bravery, and for being kindred spirits and the silent mass that will bring the change we need to see. It takes more courage than I think I’ve ever had to display, and I hope, someday the situation is such you feel you can return.
Thanks to those non-obvious creators, game writers who the general public hasn’t heard of (I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Bioware writers pit, who have offered me as many hours of entertainment as any creator I can readily think of), but also editors, artists, composers, cinematic designers, illustrators and animators, RPG makers who give us so much without us necessarily realising or noticing it. Most of the things I love couldn’t be made without you.
Thanks to pseudonymous authors and creators who give us the benefit of your perspective – you know who you are, even if we don’t – you are the tutelary spirits of a better world, and we owe you a debt.
Most importantly of all (on a personal level) thank you to my female friends, both online and in person, who bear up under a monstrous onslaught with grace, humour and fortitude. You’ve helped me see things in different ways, and genuinely made me a better person, and I’m damn sure I’m not the only one. The world keeps trying to beat you down, and you keep getting back up.
Everyone’s been talking about how deplorable the situation is lately (and rightly so), but when the backwards and the reactionary and the downright malicious are arrayed against you: in politics, in pop culture, in medicine, in rights and basic human decency, you shine like fucking champions. We should be so lucky to catch a little of that light.