Felicia Day bravely speaks out about GamerGate and we love her for it
The swirling storm of GamerGate and it’s attendant misogyny and bullying has been wearing on all month. It’s exhausting and dehumanizing and it needs to end. Which is why we love Felicia Day for taking a stand against the ongoing harassment of women in the gaming industry in a long, smart, and heart-wrenching post titled “The Only Thing I Have to Say About GamerGate.”
Sadly, immediately (seriously, one hour) after she posted her essay, her personal information was leaked as a form of attack all over the Internet. That kind of harassment was just what Day feared, and spoke out about in her post.
“I have not said many public things about GamerGate. I have tried to leave it alone, aside from a few @ replies on Twitter that journalists have decided to use in their articles, siding me against the hashtag. Why have I remained mostly silent?” Day continued. “Self-protection and fear.”
While up in Vancouver shooting Supernatural, Day writes, she saw two men wearing Halo and Call of Duty t-shirts. And instead of recognizing a fellow aficionado, Day writes, she crossed the street without a greeting.
“Now in my life up until this point, that kind of outfit has meant one thing: Potential comrades. I love games, I love gaming. If it’s Friday night, I’m not out hanging at a club, I’m diving into a new game I downloaded on Steam,” she wrote. “So seeing another gamer on the street used to be an auto-smile opportunity, or an entry into a conversation starting with, ‘Hey, dude! I love that game too!’ Me and that stranger automatically had something in common: A love for something unconventional. . . A small voice of doubt in my brain now suspected that those guys and I might not be comrades after all. That they might not greet me with reflected friendliness, but contempt.”
Day’s fears were fueled by the online movement of gamers harassing female journalists, bloggers, and game developers, like the incident in which video game critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a speaking engagement at Utah State University after an anonymous gamer threatened a school massacre in retaliation for her talk. Other women in the industry, such as developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn, fled their homes after onslaughts of violent threats.
“I have allowed a handful of anonymous people censor me. They have forced me, out of fear, into seeing myself a potential victim. And that makes me loathe not THEM, but MYSELF,” Day wrote. “So I write this to urge any person, male or female, who now has the impulse to do what I did, to walk away from something they loved before, to NOT.”
“Games are beautiful, they are creative, they are worlds to immerse yourself in. They are art. And they are worth fighting for, even if the atmosphere is ugly right now,” she added. “So to myself and to everyone else who operates out of love not vengeance: Don’t abandon games. Don’t cross the street. Gaming needs you. To create, to play, to connect.”