Gaming News

Why gamers need to stop being assholes to feminists if they want to be happy (updated)

A very sad story out of York, Pennsylvania: A 2-year-old girl died after being beaten with a video game controller by her mother’s boyfriend.

Already, many gamers are getting the “omgthey’regoingtooutlawvideogamesbecauseofthis” panics. Which is an extremely selfish, fucked-up response to the story–but none less than I would have come to expect from the community.

I’ve blogged about how feminism means less child abuse and death before, and I stand by those statements. And something tells me that the mom who didn’t intervene was probably doing so out of self-preservation, so the fact that she’s being charged as well isn’t passing the sniff-test so far.

But there are two important things going on here that gamers need to understand: This sort of “horrific” news story is nothing to be surprised at in a world where women and children are considered “property” to a man, and in a culture that hates and degrades women it’s not just the outliers who feel that they are allowed, entitled, and even encourage to physically abuse their partners and children.

More importantly: in a culture where a patriarchal structure based on misogyny sees a horrific crime that is beyond the pale of “normal” misogyny, every attempt will be made to prevent the blame for this crime coming back to the patriarchal, misogynistic structure that fostered the crime. Hence, gamers are (understandably) worried that this will fuel yet another backlash against games, when they know that games did not make this man murder his girlfriend’s daughter any more than dogs made David Berkowitz kill people.

These sorts of crimes will sadly not end anytime soon. So long as a child is beaten or killed in a household that even contains a console, the media will find a way to link that killing to videogames because words like ‘misogyny,’ ’sexism,’ and ‘patriarchy’ are forbidden in mainstream journalism. Our culture always goes out of its way to write off violence against women and children as anything but a systemic problem as a result of a culture that degrades women.

Update: I realize I didn’t make a good link back to the title of the post. What I’m trying to say here is: We all know that videogames are being scapegoated. But whenever someone offers up a scapegoat, it’s because they’re trying to avoid taking responsibility for the real culprit. The Media-with-a-capital-M has made millions off of the objectification of women (from using half-naked women to sell cheeseburgers to titilating rape-porn on prime-time TV). People raised in our culture are bombarded constantly with the message that women and children are “less than.” Some of us overcome that programming, some don’t, and it expresses it in varying degrees of violence against women and children… sometimes horrifically as we have seen here. These things keep happening — they are not just tidy isolated incidents that can be swept under the rug, and so the media is looking for something to blame and they’re chosing videogames. If gamers join us when we cry “bullshit,” we stand stronger together for it. But if we really want these things to stop and not just give the media time to find another scapegoat (and they will), we have to hold their nose in the real culprit… a culprit they themselves are likely responsible for.

Trolls be aware: I have zero sense of humor about women and children being beaten and killed and will not indulge you in comments.