The last few weeks have been a tough reminder that we live in a society where people are not allowed true equity or equality. It’s also been an even colder reminder that for all the talk of living in “the future”, our lawmakers and our society in general has not advanced to keep up with the societal change that the internet brings up. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Anita Sarkeesian was threatened (again) but this time, the man (or men) behind it managed to get a hold of her address, thus raising higher concerns than the usual rape/death threats that come with being a female media commentator on mediums perceived as part of “nerd-dom”, such as video games or comics. As well, Zoe Quinn was accused of having sex with a reviewer to get favorable reviews, even though this reviewer did not even work on any articles about Zoe Quinn’s work.
I’m a man. There’s no way around that, I don’t think. So normally, I keep my comments in regards to stuff like “Gamergate” (incidentally, a title that reflects how utterly entitled the people perpetuating this are) to myself or friends, because I’m afraid of screwing up or speaking out of turn. Fears that come from my own personal feelings on, say, white people taking up the fight for me or my own as a man of color. But while I’m always infinitely questioning of white people speaking on race, I constantly question myself while speaking on gender because I am heavily privileged as a man. In fact, I can write this article without fearing repercussions because why would I be attacked? Worst case scenario, people will question me and engage with me in “reasonable” dialogue (read: pseudo-objective nonsense meant to obfuscate) but I won’t get threatened or verbally attacked, probably.
But the fact is, that so many women in the business are (probably and righteously) angry and they can’t speak outside of appropriating their peers’ words, if at all, or in private conversation because of the nature of the internet (and the twittersphere specifically) as so widespread that it is no longer like shouting at the void. Or at least, not an empty void but a void filled with deafening misogyny. And I may be a man but I’m also a brown man from Colombia living in Canada. While I’ve been lucky and I haven’t been faced directly with the dangers that entails I am also acutely aware at every given moment that if I speak out of turn, that if I do something that society doesn’t deem right for me to do, I would be put back in my proverbial place. And that’s the sort of fear that women like Anita Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn have to beat every day in an environment where they’re constantly threatened by man-children who have access to resources that allow them to make veritable threats.
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