I want to start off this article with a tweet from someone I follow regarding gamers and their reaction about Obsidian’s new release, Outer Worlds.
And Casey pretty much nails it in that tweet, in that these gamers are looking for such a purity in their gaming that anything, ANYTHING, can be considered SJW.
It’s lead me to thinking about the past and other examples we’ve seen in our society with regards to a moral outcry and fear over the encroachment of elements seen as detrimental to our way of life. The most obvious examples are as Casey pointed out, the Christians that look for any sign they can interpret as teaching kids to embrace Satanism, but I’m also thinking of the great Red Scare of the 50s in America.
This was called McCarthyism and it lead to the creation of the House of Unamerican Activities Committee which would put people on trial to determine what their intentions truly were if any hint of communist-like activity was in their history.
What I find is the common link between the nigh-totalitarian response of the 1950s government against communism (which included a bill from Joe McCarthy that curbed civil liberties) and gamers who cry out against SJWs infesting their precious hobby is the fear over the loss of control.
And how that fear has manifested itself in hate groups forming and harassment campaigns waged against any and all targets they see as trying to take away their games.
It’s sad, in a way, to see because nothing will ever be good enough for such gamers ever again, outside of them personally seeing to the development of first person shooters, the only game that they appear to play. If there’s a hint of any woman with hair coloured in any other way that’s not natural to their body, any person with skin darker than a white person may achieve in the sun of summer, or the softest whisper of politics in the games’ story, they’ll scream and rage and boycott and harass those who do enjoy the games.
And it’s an attitude held by many such entitled fanboys (and some fangirls*) over a wide swath of fandoms, Look at the rage from Star Wars fanboys over the narrative being more focused on people of colour and a white woman, the creation of the Sad and Angry Puppies who tried to sabotage the Hugo Awards one year, and… well, at this point it’s only easy to google any news of them complaining, mashing their teeth, and believing any number of wild theories over Captain Marvel’s box office success.
My favourite from that last one, as it’s ludicrously absurd, is how Disney bought up ticket sales in order to boost sales figures, and it’s one that continues to find traction among the misogynistic/sexist hate mongers. After all, they’ve got to keep those patreon contributions coming!
Of course, I have concerns because to be a white woman, a person of colour, LGBTQ and in fandom is to be under attack for taking up space in a place that’s been deemed as belonging only to straight, white, cis dudes, and any news of any kind of diversity is almost always followed up by attacks. Remember the ‘fallout’ of Ghostbusters for daring to have a cast of all women?
On the other hand, it’s a sad, sad way to live, to constantly be fighting for and chasing a dream of a time of when there weren’t any politics in games. It’s as big a lie as the one any MAGA hat wearing bigot believes because, like the lie of there being a time that America was great, there being no politics in games is one that’s cemented in white entitlement.
Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Or, to take a rallying cry from second wave feminism and the student protests of the 60s, the personal is political.
Politics, and I don’t just mean what party we vote for, informs our way of life, how we think and feel, and the content of the entertainment we enjoy. To suggest otherwise is to live within that insulating bubble of white male privilege, an echo chamber that gamers often accuse those who are critical of entertainment of living within.
And I’d rather not go through life with such paint encrusted glasses on.
*Honestly, just look at how enraged white fangirls become when a character who was white is cast with a black female actress and is in love with a white dude, or any relationship between a white man and black woman on screen. Black female fans of Nu Who, Nu Trek, the Flash, Sleepy Hollow have talked about the scorn they’ve faced and the hate and anger heaped upon the characters for DARING to be loved by a white man. That’s white entitlement as well.