There’s a culture war happening right now. It’s happening in games, in film, in journalism, in television, in fiction, in fandom. It’s happening online, everywhere. And everywhere, sexists, recreational misogynists and bigots are losing.
I think it’s true. There are ways in which some kinds of bigotry, particularly sexism, seem to be getting worse, but this is only because it’s being challenged in places where it hasn’t been before. And because the fact that it happens is more widely recognized as a problem than it might have been in the past.
I’m talking about the whole thing – not just hounding individual women, hacking individual celebrities’ nude pics, trying to trash the reputations of women in the public eye according to outdated double-standards with less and less relevance to our real lives. I’m talking about gender itself, sex and sexuality itself, as a game you can play and win by ‘beating’ the other ‘side’ into submission. A game where the other ‘side’ isn’t really human at all. Shoot to kill. Destroy the brain. Move on.
Games and pickup artistry gave a formal structure to that mindset for this generation, but it’s older than that. The gamification of misogyny predates the internet, but right now, in this world full of angry, broken, lost young men convinced that women have robbed them of some fundamental win in life, it’s rampant.
The trouble is that treating other human beings like faceless opponents doesn’t work in the real world.
Gender isn’t a game you can play and win by brutalising and harassing and shaming and hurting the other ‘side.’ Ultimately, there is no other side. Gender oppression is structural. Everybody loses, in the long term, because everybody has to live in a culture where it’s normal to hound women out of their homes for daring to demand fairer treatment, normal to shame girls and queer people into silence for suggesting that there might be other interesting stories to tell. There is no way to win this game, except by not playing at all.
So they can’t understand why they’re losing.
I wish I had something great say on this subject so I’d have a post that was my own instead of one that’s more quote than original, but I don’t, not right now. But I still felt like I had to say something anyway.