Thursday, August 28, 2014
Seriously, Like, C'mon
Sometimes I get something annoying stuck in the back of my mind and it periodically returns to the forefront to annoy me further. That something has lately (a while ago now) been the situation with Mighty Number 9's new community manager. For those that do not know, basically, Comcept (or whoever is in charge of this part of the Mighty Number 9 project) hired a community manager, Dina Abou Karam, and after it was announced to the community, the community discovered that she(!) was possibly a feminist(!!) that might not be a huge Mega Man fan(!!!). For those that can't tell, those are sarcastic exclamation points (sarcasclamation points?) because, seriously, why does anyone care. So, let me explain exclamation point by exclamation point why it is that I don't care.
!. It would nice if I didn't have to explain this one, but given the way that "gamers" have reacted, I guess I do. You see, I have this crazy idea that women are people, and that they are capable of being community managers for videogames. This is one of many reasons I don't like to identify myself as a "gamer." On top if the general perception that "gamers" are dudes that spend their free time yelling at and shooting teenagers online, there are also people that identify as "gamers" that think it's cool to harass people for who they are. The subset of people that play video games is much larger and more diverse than the subset of people that fall into the subset of people that are actually like what the public perceives "gamers" to be. I consider myself to be a person that plays videogames, just as Dina Abou Karam is a person that is a woman. This comparison is starting to feel a bit forced, and I fear it may be unfair, as being a woman is quite a bit different than being a person that plays videogames. I'm not trying to lessen the importance of being a woman, just using a comparison to make "gamers" feel bad about themselves, which I'm pretty sure means that "gamers" will now consider me the great Satan. I'm making this too much about me. The point is there is a large amount of diversity in the people that enjoy video games, and the is no reason that diversity should not be present in the groups that make video games or manage their communities.
!!. Let's assume that she is the most radical feminist there is. What is the worst thing the most radical feminist could do in the position of community manager for Mighty No. 9? Is she going to manage all the men out of the community? Is she going to lobby the developers to put robot pants on all of the robot ladies? Come the fuck on. All of this is just people freaking out because they believe that Anita Sarkeesian is somehow destroying videogames. The thing about the Feminist Frequency videos is that they don't actually contain particularly inflammatory opinions. Most of the internet rage seems to be blatant misogyny disguised as rage about the money raised on Kickstarter. The way Kickstarter works is that if you want to support something you throw money at it. If you don't like something but someone else funds it, you're not out a god damn thing, so what are you mad about? It doesn't affect, unless of course the mere existence of a video series raising the issue of the media's problematic portrayal of women harms you in some measurable way, in which case you must be have some serious issues.
!!!. The thing about being a fan is that if you are not one, then you can become one. The whole idea that someone who is not a fan of Mega Man can't like Mighty No. 9 is awful. The fan base of Mega Man has been shrinking or drifting away for a long time now, and if Mighty No. 9 is meant solely for those that are left, then Comcept should just quit right now. Mighty No. 9 needs to get new fans, and who is to say that someone that is not already a fan of either can't become one? Quit trying to throw people out of their club and invite them in. It would be best for everyone. You are not the sum of the things you like and nobody is trying to steal or appropriate your identity (except maybe big corporations trying to sell t-shirts). Be nice to people that want to get into a thing because it is cool to talk to people that are interested in the same things as you, even people who don't look just like you and wear shitty fedoras with shitty t-shirts. Also, even if the community manager never cares deeply about Mighty No. 9, the developers clearly do, and that's what matters. Capcom currently has great community managers that love the company's history, but it is easy to get the feeling that the developers don't, and that is one of the reasons things seem so screwed up.
It's been about five months since I originally started writing this, and while I have to admit most of my reasons for thinking about this specific situation has been because I wanted to finish writing this, it still annoys me. Regardless, it was really just a jumping off point to write about my feelings regarding various problems with "gamer culture." I'd like to think that the furor of stupidity over the issue has calmed down, but it has likely just moved elsewhere. Meanwhile, Dina has been doing a fine job of providing info to the backers of Mighty No. 9 and has yet to find a way to properly destroy their millions of dollars/dreams.
It’s been about three months since the last rewrite, and the world is still a stupid place. People are still flatly stating their opinions and other people are responding not by simply explaining that they disagree, but by calling people fucking monsters. Of course, anyone is free to say whatever, but I just wish people would think about why it needs to be said and how it will have an impact. For example, I am writing this because it bothers me when people act shitty and I want people to be more considerate. This is coming from a place of anger and frustration, but not a place of hate. I want things to be better. I want people to be better. If you are arguing on the internet with someone you don’t personally know, personal attacks are really not the way to go. Maybe don’t call the person you disagree with a slut. Maybe try stating your opinion without being an asshole. Maybe try not having an opinion that another person is subhuman.