2014 was a rough year for Geeks. So much ugliness reared its head over the last year, from racism tied into the casting of popular characters in movies, to the misogyny of Gamergate, 2014 showed that a group of people who have a history of being targets, ridiculed, and picked on, have no trouble doing the same to their peers.
Geeks, we can be better than this.
Let’s look at the things we fan out about. A good portion of our fandoms preach about acceptance, tolerance, and treating other better. Star Trek shows a bright future where things like racism and misogyny are things of the past. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic shows the power of friendship and community. Yet, Geeks will still attempt to be “gatekeepers” to their beloved properties. They can not accept that the entire idea of being a Geek is now widely accepted. They are the ones who throw out the “fake Geek girl” stereotypes, or shame someone for not having the build of an anime character when they’re cosplaying. They’re the people who feel empowered because they’re sitting in front of a computer, longing for the days where comic characters were defined by assets other than their super powers.
This year, these “gatekeepers” and “gaters” need to realize their favorite things are not under attack by women, or by the politically correct squad, or any of the targets of their twisted conspiracy theories. Their attacks and campaigns have absolutely nothing to do with ethics in games journalism, and they just need to stop.
I’ve had friends, over this last year, afraid to write. They are good people. Smart people, smarter than I. However, despite the fact that they are good people, strong in their Geekdom, they are also women. For some god awful reason, this makes their opinion less valid, and it makes them the target of these online trolls who seem to take great pleasure in threatening their lives, digging up and posting personal information, and just generally being jackasses because hey, it’s only the internet.
I have no answers on how to stop this, but come one. Geeks are smart, resourceful people. If nothing else, we need to start speaking up, even more. We also need to listen to ourselves. How are we speaking to people? It’s not “politically correct” or overly-sensitive to actually care about other people’s feelings. It’s not bad to think about what lasting impression you’re making on someone. That little girl who’s grinning over a Tiny Titans comic, that you make some off-handed remark about? She’s going to remember that. Seriously, you are all making me worried about ever bringing my little Geekling to anything, and she loves Geekdom. She loves Star Wars, she loves Minecraft, she loves comic books, and she loves video games. However, the current state of affairs is showing that, if it continues at this pace, she’s going to try sharing this love when she gets older, and she’s going to be mocked, ridiculed, and when she stands up for herself (and she will, the spitfire), she’s going to get threats of rape, hate, and death.
This is not, on any side, good.
Geeks, we can do better. Watch out for each other. Be good to each other. Stop this.
This can be our year. Will it?