Some weeks ago a number of ridiculously bigoted pieces appeared in the mainstream gaming press declaring that “Gamers” were over. This took a small press scandal and turned it into the raging firestorm that is #GamerGate. The shaming language, the accusations of being misogynists, racists, homophobes, non-inclusive, loser, nerd, bitter, basement-dwelling neckbeards, it was all there and visited on the gaming community for having the audacity to note a minor tawdry scandal. And soon the whole catalog of shaming tactics was applied to not just men but also to a huge mass of men and women whose only crime was to question the status quo. One of the coordinated hit pieces declared that “Gamers” are over and “Gamers” don’t have to be your audience when creating or writing about video games. An anonymous parodist wrote a brilliant response that likely has more to it. Whoever wrote this, we want to shake their hand. In the meantime, all we have is what we got from this Pastebin. We present it here so more people can see it. –DE
‘Feminists’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Feminists’ are over.
I never said I was a feminist culture writer, but lately I feel I need to say something. ‘Feminist culture’ as we know it is kind of embarrassing — it’s not even culture. It’s whining about things, reporting memes and in-jokes repeatedly, and it’s getting mad on the internet.
It’s young women writing on tumblr with blue/purple hair and collecting non-binary pronouns. Blogging passionately for hours, around the world, to cry about all the things that feminists want them to fear. To find out whether they should feel offended or not. They don’t know how to dress or behave. You browse these listless posts, and often catch the expressions of people who don’t quite know why they themselves are writing there.
‘Feminist culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘gender journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of ‘justice’.
Lately, I often find myself wondering what I’m even doing here. And I know I’m not alone.
All of us should be better than this. You should be deeply questioning your life choices if this and this and this are the prominent public face you presents to the rest of the world.
This is what the rest of the world knows about you — this, and headlines about hundred-thousand-dollar youtube videos or those junkies with the overpriced t-shirts. That’s it. You should absolutely be better than this.
You don’t want to ‘be divisive?’ Who’s being divided, except for people who are okay with an infantilized cultural desert of shitty behavior and people who aren’t? What is there to ‘debate’?
Right, let’s say it’s a vocal minority that’s not representative of most people. Most people, are mortified, furious, disheartened at the direction conversation has taken in the past few weeks. It’s not like there are reputable outlets publishing rational articles in favor of the trolls’ ‘side’. Don’t give press to the harassers. Don’t blame the entire humanity for a few bad apples.
Yet disclaiming liability is clearly no help. Social media websites with huge community hubs whose fans are often associated with blunt Twitter hate mobs sort of shrug, they say things like ‘Holocaust? Women have it much worse’ and ‘those people don’t represent our community’ — but actually, those people do represent theircommunity. That’s what their community is known for, whether they like it or not.
When you decline to create or to curate a culture in your spaces, you’re responsible for what spawns in the vacuum. That’s what’s been happening to feminism.
That’s not super surprising, actually. While feminism itself were discovered by strange, bright haired pioneers — they thought social justice would make conventions more fun, or that social media would make for amazing cross-cultural meeting spaces — the extremist arm of the form sprung up from marketing scams to ‘media critics’. You know, young white women who gets their income from Patreon, who are ‘harrassed’.
Suddenly a generation of lost women had marketers with hula hoop earrings whispering in their ears that they were the most important oppressed demographic of all time. Suddenly they started colouring their hair and started making echo chambers that sold the promise of diversity to kids just like them.
By the turn of the millennium those were echo chambers’ only main cultural signposts: No fun. Have issues. Get a Patreon and then a bigger Patreon. Be an outcast. Celebrate that. Block anyone who threatens the narrative. You don’t need cultural references. You don’t need anything but the narrative. Public conversation was led by an echo chamber press whose role was primarily to tell feminists what to buy, to score products competitively against one another, to gleefully fuel the “oppressed gender” atmosphere around creators and companies.
It makes a strange sort of sense that white men of that time would become scapegoats for moral panic, for atrocities committed by “cis white male shitlords” in hyperfeminist America — not that the men themselves had anything to do with tragedies, but they had an anxiety in common, an amorphous cultural shape that was dark and loud on the outside, hollow on the inside.
Yet in 2014, the narrative has changed. We still think angry young women are the primary demographic for echo chambers — yet average block-lists from the social justice space have grown massively year on year, with only a few sterling lists enjoying any success.
It’s clear that most of the people who drove feminism in the past have grown up — either out of feminism, or into more fertile spaces, where small and diverse thoughts can flourish, where communities can quickly spring up around diversity, self- expression and mutual support, rather than upholding the narative. There are new audiences and new thoughts alike there. Traditional “feminism” is sloughing off, culturally and ethically, like the carapace of a bug.
This is hard for people who’ve drank the kool aid about how their identity depends on the aging cultural signposts of a rapidly-evolving, increasingly broad and complex world. It’s hard for them to hear they aren’t needed, anymore, that they aren’t the world’s most special-est oppressed demographic, that equality and incusivity is ubiquitous.
We also have to scrutinize, closely, the baffling, stubborn silence of many media outlets amid these scandals, or the fact lots of stubborn, myopic internet comments happen on tumblr and social media sites. This is hard for gender feminists who are being made redundant, both culturally and literally, in their unwillingness to address new audiences or reference points outside of their tumblr- and twitter-echo chambers as their traditional domain falls into the sea around them. Of course it’s hard. It’s probably intense, painful stuff for some young kids, some older women.
But it’s unstoppable. A new generation of egalitarians and humanists are finally aiming to instate a healthy cultural vocabulary, a language of community that was missing in the days of “feminist pride” and special interest groups led by a product-guide approach to conversation with a single presumed demographic.
This means that over just the last few years, the real world focuses on personal experiences and independent people, not approval-hungry obeisance to the demands of a loud minority. It’s not about ‘equality’ anymore. It’s not about telling people what to think, it’s about providing spaces for people to discuss what (and whom) they want.
These straw man ‘social justice’ conversations people have been having are largely the domain of a prior age, when all they did was negotiate feels and Patreon and scraped to be called ‘oppressed’, because they had the same powerlessness complex as their audience had. Now part of an equality feminist job in a creative, human medium is to help curate a creative community and an inclusive culture — and a lack of commitment to that just looks out-of-step, like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘social justice’ as the flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion.
Men and women alike want interactions about more things, and interaction with more people. We want — and we are getting, and will keep getting — tragicomedy, vignette, musicals, dream worlds, family tales, ethnographies, abstract art. We will get this, because we’re creating culture now. We are refusing to let anyone feel prohibited from participating.
“Feminist” isn’t just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Feminists are over. That’s why they’re so mad.
These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-victims, these childish internet-arguers — they are not my audience. They don’t have to be yours. There is no ‘side’ to be on, there is no ‘debate’ to be had.
There is what’s past and there is what’s now. There is the role you choose to play in what’s ahead.