Identity politics surround us these days, and gender politics is one of the larger branches, but growing up outrageously geeky myself there are a few things that stick out when I see feminist/social justice critiques of gaming or geek culture, and how men treat women therein.
- I’ve never met the guys they are describing, in almost 40 years of active geekiness. The popular PC blogger narrative is that men have a vast, insular geek culture that amounts to a “no girls allowed” club, and that women who are interested in their hobby are often quizzed or tested to establish their geek credentials, and then maybe, perhaps grudgingly, let in.
Now here’s the problem: In the real world men and boys who are geeks are probably the complete opposite of that. As a kid, as a teen, as an adult, my reaction to women passionate about fantasy/sci-fi/geekdom has always been the same: OMG she’s a rock star. We LOVE women who share our passion for these things, and I would bet secretly every geeky guy wants to marry one.
2. Passion speaks for itself. Women who rail about how women are treated in the game industry tend to NOT BE GAMERS IN THE FIRST PLACE. It is the classic critical fallacy- peering in from the outside on ANY activity that tends to be male dominated (which in the case of geeks/gamers isn’t even accurate with half of gamers being women), and pronouncing judgment AS IF you yourself were in the know and part of this culture- when in fact you’re interested in the politics far more than the hobby. This type of critique is no different from food critics who don’t like food, or a film review where the author couldn’t be bothered to finish the movie.
Passion for fantasy/sci-fi/video games is its own reward, and millions of people (male and female) understand this. It is its own private paradise, something you can scarcely even put into words except around people who are passionate about the same things. So my heart goes out to any woman (or man) who feels the need to tow the line and talk about how sexist gamers and geeks can be… because it sounds to me like they don’t know any. Geekdom is probably the most inclusive lifestyle there is, and we welcome all comers- all you need is an irrational obsession with your geek poison of choice- be it anime, Star Wars, Harry Potter, World of Warcraft, cosplay, Magic cards, Doctor Who or anything in between. You don’t need to be a certain gender to meet peers who have the same geeky love you do, all you need is the interest. And if you bring that, they’ll love you for it. I promise.