A group of people who aim or are seen as aiming to suppress ideas that deviate from the way of thinking that they believe to be correct.
It is the end of year 2014, I look back on my blog and see only a few posts. Not as many as I would have hoped to publish. Reality has been very draining this year and maintaining even the faintest glimmer of positivity in the face of irrationality has zapped me of momentum. This truth revealed makes me feel guilty. I had so much more to say, much more to do. The Internet or really the Web, we just conveniently call it the Internet as it just stuck, is the Wild West of Humanity (WWH). Voices never heard before are heard. Fantastic innovation grows wild in the digital thickets of social media and alongside the cyberhighway of our vast and united consciousness. However, where there are flowers, there are weeds – hate, bullies, oppression, censorship, etc. Our on-line existence is not as a separate as we might think from what is to be human. The Web offers humans another playground not only to explore new ideas but to engage in old behaviors – ones of which we would had outgrown.
I am not going to lie. I love my smartphone. I love the connections I have made on-line. However, I see disturbing trends/behaviors that make me think “THOUGHT POLICE.” Many like the Internet because it allows them anonymity. However, this is not something granted by the Internet, and it can easily be stripped away by malicious individuals through Doxxing.
It’s More Than Gamergate
This year we saw the rise of GamerGate, a movement that was supposed to be about attacking game journalism ethics had turned into a movement synonymous with misogyny, disorganization, scorched earth tactics, threats, DOXXING, etc. Ethics are indeed an important discussion considering that journalism tries to operate in real time vs. engage in fact checking. There is less fact checking and too much editorial. I can understand the concerns of those who support GamerGate but the way it played out made it hard to support such a entity that preyed on females (harassing, DOXXing, threatening, etc) and carried out a scorched campaign against sites that didn’t agree with it’s cause. I don’t agree with Sarkeesian on a variety of things she said, but I at least believe she has a right to free speech and we have a right to engage her with our own ideas. What we need is civility not censorship, dialogue not hatespeak, threats, misogyny or misandry, etc…We need progress.
Feminism has become an epicenter of vitriol. How is Feminism defined? It’s dictionary definition is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Why is it at the center? Why is it under attack? In the case of GamerGate many male (there were some females) gamers felt their culture or interests under attack by ideas put from individuals who identified as feminists. They believed that various feminists were wrong about what these women perceived as inequality in the gaming industry.
I will be the first to say that I don’t call myself a feminism, even though I am a woman. I am happen to be a female, but I am a human being. The rights of all are important to me.
Feminism Isn’t The Problem – It’s Communication
This makes me circle back around to the description I made about the Internet being The Wild West. There is a sort of lawless quality about it. However, the decorum often found on-line seems to have spilled into our everyday lives. Groups that had no attention before get their attention now. We are inundated with so many voices yet a lack of leadership. Feminism of yesteryears does not work for societies where things have changed for the better and it has not completely exceeded in it’s goals in other countries. There still needs to be more work done to ensure that women are treated with equality. However, with the advancement of society for women, changes also affect men. There are a variety of issues that need to be addressed for men. The backlash to modern-day Feminism is causing an incredible strain on both genders. Gamergate exposes a current and undermining problem and it isn’t ethics. Feminism exposes a current and undermining problem which in the case of 1st World countries – isn’t the mistreatment of women. It’s communication.
The Influence of Political Correctness
There was an interesting editorial article published by the UK Newspaper The Spectator called “Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’.“ In it, it brings up the issue of how one group shut downs another group. The example used was a debate about abortion that was to occur between two males. The writer described, “A mob of furious feministic Oxford students, all robotically uttering the same stuff about feeling offended, set up a Facebook page littered with expletives and demands for the debate to be called off. They said it was outrageous that two human beings ‘who do not have uteruses’ should get to hold forth on abortion — identity politics at its most basely biological — and claimed the debate would threaten the ‘mental safety’ of Oxford students. Three hundred promised to turn up to the debate with ‘instruments’ — heaven knows what — that would allow them to disrupt proceedings.”
The author of the piece states that the college chose to shut the debate down. In further reading, the author discusses how ‘political correctness’ is undermining education and our ability to be critical. He refers to these individuals as Stepfords, which is just a reference back to the Stepford Wives. Others refer to these individuals as Social Justice Warriors (SJW), which is a term I hate and really is pejorative term that belittles activism that really serves for the betterment of the humanity. As the writer continues in his piece, he goes on to speak about his experience with students from Cambridge:
Their eyes glazed with moral certainty, they explained to me at length that culture warps minds and shapes behaviour and that is why it is right for students to strive to keep such wicked, misogynistic stuff as the Sunnewspaper and sexist pop music off campus. ‘We have the right to feel comfortable,’ they all said, like a mantra. One — a bloke — said that the compulsory sexual consent classes recently introduced for freshers at Cambridge, to teach what is and what isn’t rape, were a great idea because they might weed out ‘pre-rapists’: men who haven’t raped anyone but might. The others nodded. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Pre-rapists! Had any of them read Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novella about a wicked world that hunts down and punishes pre-criminals, I asked? None had.
Where once students might have allowed their eyes and ears to be bombarded by everything from risqué political propaganda to raunchy rock, now they insulate themselves from anything that might dent their self-esteem and, crime of crimes, make them feel ‘uncomfortable’. Student groups insist that online articles should have ‘trigger warnings’ in case their subject matter might cause offence.
SJW – The Misappropriation of Activism
This is what a SJW or rather I would like to call a bandwagoner or a person skilled at mass outrage. SJW is a term that strips the life out of meaningful protest. We should never let our emotions lead to extremism in the other direction. Activism shouldn’t be synonmous with the term SJW. A completely censored society is one that does not grow and can be easily manipulated. Shutting down debate is equally bad no matter your stance – Gamergate is just one example of the issue.
We have a problem. Of course, we don’t want hear people called ugly, we don’t want to be exposed to things that might offend us like Easy E singing “Gimmie That Nutt.” I don’t like that song. My husband likes to play that song to annoy me. I don’t tell him to shut it off. I could. I just ignore him. I know this essay is extremely long, but I am trying to say that we have ways to deal with offends, and I think we need to recognize what really deserves action and what really requires dialogue and compromise.
Be The Change vs. The Brick Wall
In the case of Gamergate, I don’t agree with the threats, the harassment, etc of the women who have been critical (not to say no men were targeted, but it seemed it was worse for the women) of the manner in which women are represented in video games. I don’t mind scantily clad women in video games. What I care about is that there’s not enough diversity of women in terms of looks, ages, and roles in video games. I think it is changing. However, instead of women and men trying to call for censorship – I think a dialogue needs to be on in which hope and diversity to be embraced. Women need to embrace gaming more or become programmers and leaders in game development. Men need to become part of of spreading that diversity and going so far as to be more diverse amongst their own representation. I know for me, I like to play GTA. GTA can be what you make of it. You can be violent in it. You can violent toward pretty much any character walking around. There are consequences such as person beating you and killing your character or the cops killing you. What I would have liked is having a female character to play or at least the option. I have hopes maybe the next incarnation will allow for one.
Dialogue we need it. Critical thinking we need. Change and Diversity we need. We DO NOT need threats from any group. We do not need censorship from any group. We DO NOT need bandwagoning, witchhunts, DOXXING, or attempts to destroy a person’s life. We have laws and a justice system that is designed to pass judgment on those that commit crimes. Let’s not become a mob that inflicts pain on others or a mob that decides to blind ourselves. Let’s not live in world of The Matrix, The Giver, or 1984. There are just causes for which to fight but there are things we must say no to else we shall disrupt if not destroy the progress of mankind.
If you read to the end, I hope my words are taken with consideration. My stand is on the side of critical thinking and knowing what I believe in versus banning ideas and knowledge.