Tonight I saw a picture on Twitter that really caught my attention. A new blonde and blue eyed female has joined the ranks of anti-gamergate. Her name is Lillian Woods (a play off of Literally Who), a character based off of Vivian James (Video Games). When I first saw the picture, I was upset. I commented on the picture that it was the most insulting thing that I have seen come from anti-gamergate, ever. I thought of how I would cover this in a blog post, pointing out all of the reasons why Lillian stood for everything that was wrong with anti-Gamergate.
And then I started talking with Nightwulfe1, the creator of Lillian James.
We weren’t particularly friendly at first, which is reasonable considering I was insulted by the picture and he likely felt I was criticizing him. However, he then did an amazing thing. He apologized. And it was over, just like that. I apologized myself and we started talking.
After we set things straight, I found him very easy to talk to.We agreed that anyone can become jaded after being on the receiving end of insults/harassment for long enough. And that people’s willingness to think the worst of others was one of the worst effects of Gamergate. I’m thankful that he reminded me that despite the insults and harassment, that’s not everyone in anti-gamergate. Isn’t that the exact same argument that gamergate has been making all along? That the harassers shouldn’t count for everyone else in gamergate?
Instead of pointing out the supposed flaws in Lillian (anti-gamergate), I would like to instead point out the similarities between her and Vivian (pro-gamergate). With the help of Fridgeworks1, we were able to come up with a similar Vivian picture to reflect pro-gamergate’s views.
The rift between Vivian and Lillian is almost like a sitcom between rivals. Something bad happens, but rather than trying to talk it out they believe the worst and blame each other. After a series of wacky misunderstandings and plot twists, they eventually come to the realization that they were more alike than they thought.
Both sides believe they are fighting for the same things. They both believe in equality and want to support women and minorities. They believe that there should be a variety of games available for all demographics. They are individuals who want to be seen that way.
Perhaps if more people focused on what they had in common, then we could avoid a lot of animosity between groups. Maybe we should let down our guard and start getting rid of the line between pro and anti, even a little. At the end of the day, the majority of people on both sides are just trying to support what they believe in. There’s no agenda. At the very least, not from the vast majority of people that we see and talk with on Twitter.
If you’re talking to a pro-gamergater, chances are they’re legitimately concerned about ethics and do not condone harassment. Many of them are minorities. Many of them are even feminists. Don’t call them names and accuse them of harassment.
If you’re talking to an anti-gamergater, chances are they’re convinced that gamergate is responsible for the harassment of women. Many of them aren’t SJWs and may not even know what that is. They hear that women are being threatened and are concerned like any sane person. Don’t assume that they are uninformed.
Basically, everyone is a normal person with normal concerns. It is up to each individual to represent the best of their sides. Have your facts ready, but be willing to hear the other person out. Try to keep to one topic at a time to avoid confusion. Give credit where it’s due and admit to any mistakes. Don’t let pride get in the way. Most of all, respect the other person. If you do not, you will not only lose them but possible make it impossible for anyone else to reach them also.
Now, there are obvious trolls out there. Do NOT engage them on any level. They’re not going to feel bad or stop. It’s not worth your time and energy. But don’t assume the worst of everyone and keep your calm. Eventually, at some point, this craziness will all be over. Don’t let it take your humanity in the meantime.