Friday, October 17, 2014

Gamergate - the Next Culture War

If we look back in history, many of the conflicts have been very social/cultural in nature. And it seems that one of the newest culture wars is taking place in the technological world. Many of you probably heard about Anita Sarkeesian's cancelled talk at Utah State University this past week (if not, info here).

Essentially, women comprise a huge segment of the gaming community and consequently are pointing out the rampant sexism typical in games. And within the past two months, a group called Gamergate has emerged, committed to keeping the sexism alive both in the games and in the real world. This article, The Future of the Culture Wars Is Here, talks all about this group and the momentum they are gaining. While at first glance this may not seem explicitly political, it reflects similar issues that we see when women, or any minority group, begin to become more involved in a typically homogeneous community. There has long been terrible harassment of women on the internet (and in general) for expressing their opinions or for merely existing, and this problem does not seem to be stopping soon. Gamergaters, through threats and slurs, are making sure that women are still being forced to the margins of this community. This is consistent with the political history of the United States, where women are told to know their place and stop speaking out on issues they are told they know nothing about.

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