Nov 9, 2014

A Depressing Coda on #GamerGate

With the obvious out of the way, everyone go grab your clutching pearls, because I’m going to say something vaguely sympathetic about #GamerGate.

Well, not #GamerGate--the movement and the ideas can go to hell--but the sort of gamer that comprises it.  The thing that I’m going to say is that they’re pathetic, basement dwelling virgins.  The sympathetic part is that that’s a low kind of place to be.

These are guys that by-and-large haven’t had any female attention in years.  Most of them tried real hard at one point, failed, tried again, failed again, and at the end of the trying and the failing either gave the whole thing up in triage or else ran out of people to try with.  Without commenting on the accuracy of the impression, this is the impression.

If you tell a guy with that kind of self-image about--let's say--the damage that male notions of attractiveness are doing to women, you won’t get a good response.  It would be like explaining to some poor redneck who just lost his job, his dog, and his trailer about white privilege.  At best, you might wind up with a blank stare; more likely, you'll get an inchoate snarl about the damage that female notions of attractiveness have done to him.  Without commenting on the accuracy of the gut response, this is the gut response.

I know this because, having once had that impression, I still retain that gut response.  A friend of mine recently posted the image at right of Amanda and her hairy legs; the first damn thought in my head was, “I should totally support this, for the sake of all the girls who overlooked my departures from conventional attractiveness ... oh wait there weren't any. People who lose the genetic lottery or flout the rules aren't found attractive the end.” In the context of talking about weight loss, Andrew Sullivan linked to this article.  The gist is that a girl turned down an unattractive guy; now he's finishing law school, slimmed down, and dating someone more attractive than her. My gut reaction? The first thing that my brain contributed to the conversation?

Not the word "justice," not the thought "justice"--literally that clip. As before, I'm reporting my reaction, not defending it. But it was my reaction.

I'm not entirely sure how to fix this.  As a brain-having person and self-styled feminist I absolutely get the harm that negative, stereotyped, and objectified portrayals can do.  And I get that we should accept and value everyone no matter their gender or orientation or attractiveness.  And I've still got that raw, ex-basement-dwelling-virgin part that responds, "You first."

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