Something happened in roleplaying this weekend, what with the misogyny and the internets. I’m not going to go over it again here. Edited highlights can be read on this lovely blog post of Patrick O’Duffy. This contretemp, like most things on the internet, was full of ugliness and stupidity that just made everyone feel awful. So allow me to offer a ray of hope:
Some of the triggers of this event were a few books published about ten years ago. They were pretty stupid and awful books then. They are equally stupid and awful books now. Gamer sexism was godawful then and remains godawful now. We had the internet then, and although we’ve gained a bit more social media and protest sites, not much has changed there either. But there wasn’t a row then, and there was a big row now. So what has changed?
My guess is what changed is gamer women.
There are more of them, and they are better organised and more than anything else, they are sick to the back teeth with it. They are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. They’re sick and tired of the rape threats and the rape culture, of the whore tables and pimp cardgames, of the chainmail bikinis and the porn tracing, of being the ball-and-chain, the victim, or the whore, of the endless equivocating and poor comparisons, of being ignored or diminished by the entire industry, and mocked and denigrated by the entire hobby, and of being told to shut up and get back in the kitchen when they say a single word of complaint about any of this. They are sick to death of it all, and they’ve got a voice, and they intend to use it, and nothing and nobody is going to stop them any more. They are going to call everyone on their bullshit, and demand that it gets better.
And this is excellent goddamn news. For rpgs, for video games, for gaming in general. Not just because the hobby needs it the way the Augean stables needed a hose, but because we need more voices, and we need different voices, being heard and being loud and making things different. Because that’s the only way a medium can progress and evolve and stay interesting.
So. That’s the upside. Maybe it’ll let a little sunshine in if you’ve been facepalming through too many trainwrecks of late.