Thursday, 27 November 2014

GamerGate 1 - Down with SJWs and that sort of thing

My twitter feed is packed with GamerGate tweets.  I'm not what some would call a 'hard core' gamer, but I have played PC games for decades and I can understand some of the issues, and being a wishy-washy liberal I can see arguments on both sides, but what I almost never see are good, evidence-based and rational arguments on both sides.  The GamerGate situation is very similar to that of Atheism+ over the past few years, and 'Social Justice Warriors' have been central to both.  GamerGate seems less one-sided than the Atheism+ situation, where (in my view) the Atheist+ers were on the wrong side, and I have criticisms of both pro- and anti-GamerGate supporters.  The next post will deal with the pro-GamerGate arguments of Christina Hoff Sommers.  This post is about the style of argument of anti-GamerGaters, particularly Anita Sarkeesian.

This tweet inspired this blog post:
Whatever side of the GamerGate you are on, I hope you agree that this kind of assertion is seriously flawed, and it illustrates one of the main problems with feminists like @femfreq (Sarkeesian) - this is a hugely question-begging claim with no supporting data supplied. There are 'if's missing here - 'if' depictions are sexist, and 'if' those depictions are harmful. Personally, I have no problem accepting that depiction of women in some games are sexist. But there is a considerable amount of evidence showing that games don't have significant influence on adult behaviour; for example the link between games and violence just isn't there. If this is the case, why should sexism in games be assumed to lead to sexist behaviour? 

So many games are set in fantasy worlds where things are bad, to give a sense of danger and excitement, not reality. Some games show women with big breasts; others show a plumber leaping tens of feet into the air.  You can't just assert that games which show a different reality can be harmful, even if that reality shows sexism, because minds are just too complex for such question-begging assertions.  Some people play games of inequality in their sexual lives, and there is no evidence that such shared fantasies do any harm at all.

I'd love to see better, evidence and thought-based campaigning for equality, not evidence-free assertions,