Ok, 2016, I get it. You’re a badass, getting in as many licks as you can before you’re out…
Yup, got rear-ended Tuesday night. So, yeah… I plan on taking a muscle relaxer, and as the Best Girlfriend in the World says, visiting “planet HOW DO PANTS WORK?” as soon as I’m done writing this.
Anyway, today I want to talk about Missing Stairs and the people who drive women and POC from the gaming industry, or make them afraid to speak up for themselves for fear of being labeled “difficult” or “problem children” and finding themselves “unhire-able” for the crime of daring to ask to be treated as people and peers rather than secretaries or decorations.
The fact is that the gaming industry is lousy with these guys, and the Best Girlfriend in the World has requested I not name specific dudes (nearly always dudes) because, “I would prefer you not bring hate crimes to our front door if you can avoid it.” And honestly, the specific dudes are not actually that important.
What’s important is that people in the gaming industry keep choosing to work with individuals who stalk, harass and intimidate other people, often co-opting the language of the oppressed to do it. (This is not the guy who is the reason I bailed on Monsterhearts 2. I’ll talk about him in a minute. I just want that to be clear. I also would feel bad naming him, but not the others, simply because I’m NOT afraid he’ll stalk or harass me. I think he’s well-meaning at heart, but doesn’t realize that belonging to an oppressed group on one axis does not, in fact, insulate you from making an ass of yourself on other axes.)
See, this is the thing. There are several of these humans who have attached themselves like leeches to projects that I would fucking love to support. Sadly, they frequently seem to remora themselves to other people I would like to see succeed and do well, often women and/or POC. So any time you call for people to hold the dudes accountable, there are tons of people telling you that you can’t possibly, because you’ll be punishing the women and/or POC they are working with.
This is a problem. Because by working with women and POC they are effectively insulating themselves from the repercussion of their actions. Whether this is purposeful or not, it is still the net effect. And the thing is, no one wants the majority of these dudes to quit making games. What they want is for them to quit being assholes, and/or pull their heads out of their asses and figure out where they fucked it up.
Also, several of them have mastered using the language of the oppressed to look like victims themselves, particularly to people who had the slightest bit of sympathy for them already. So you will find otherwise sensible individuals defending these guys with a documented history of harassing others.
But here is where the real problem lies. EVEN KNOWING WHAT THESE ASSHOLES HAVE DONE, PEOPLE KEEP HIRING THEM. Or collaborating with them.
What message does that send to the people who they have harassed out of gaming? Or to those who might have wanted to get into gaming, but are now having second thoughts?
It’s not a good one. It’s shit. It basically says that the gaming industry values cis het white dudes more than women, POC, Queer or Trans folk.
Once again the rest of us get told that gaming’s not for us. Often by well-meaning dudes who have never been harassed or stalked and don’t really get what the big deal is, can’t we all get along? After all, both sides have said some pretty nasty things… Now I am talking about the dude who is the reason I backed out of Monsterhearts. And once again, I and many others do not want him to quit making games. As one of my friends on G+ said, “I just want him to pull his head out so I can start buying his games again, because they are AWESOME!”
What I want is for dudes who have never been stalked or harassed or had thousands of death and rape threats sent their way, to maybe stop and think about what kind of effect that might have on the portion of our population most susceptible to sexual assault. When one of them fucks up, I want them to apologize sincerely: recognize what they did that was wrong, acknowledge it, promise not to do it again, and to try to do better.
That’s it. A real apology, followed by walking the walk and we’re good. Full stop.
But what I usually get is a litany of why women and POC are so MEAN to them, and they can’t be a sexist because they’re friends with this woman, or worked with that woman and you’re just over-reacting, it’s not a big deal. I mean what’s a little doxxing or outing of abuse victims over the internet? It’s not like it’s real life.