Why I stand with the SJW crowd, even though they get it wrong sometimes.
Disclaimer: I have always had a bit of reflexive distaste for the SJW movement. Complaint as performance irritates me, and there is a thread -- maybe a real one, maybe one I perceive -- of that running through much of the SJW movement on the social media where the very most recent SJW movement took its roots. I have even fairly recently been more inclined to laugh at the antics of /r/tumblrinaction or to nod along in vague agreement with parts of the MRA manifestos, or to observe the circular firing squad of the left line up more violently against its nearest allies instead of focusing on what I thought were common enemies.
I can't do that any more.
Those movements are toxic at their core, and I thank GamerGate for showing me the full breadth and scope of it. If people who claim to have the same motivations as I do are turning them into these assaults on women in gaming, then perhaps I need to reexamine the principles that led them there. I am not a misogynist at heart, although I'd be willing to bet I've said misogynist things before.
And maybe even the performance aspect is worth revisiting. Is it performance art when a drowning person flails their arms for attention?
Last night I watched another game developer driven from her home by explicit threats of violence. I saw a prominent gaming magazine give a platform to one of the originators of the GamerGate hashtag, one who openly participated in attempts to drive Zoe Quinn out of her home and to suicide. Another interviewee wrote articles in defense of rape. Outside of this interview platform are other high-octane trolls who in some case are literally tattooing swastikas on their chests.
Every time I tweet about this, I am guaranteed a response or two from some (and thanks, John Scalzi, for the reminder of the term) useful idiot who will tell me:
@offby1 You claim the movement is toxic, so it's your job to prove such.— TW: Spooky (@dylaer) October 11, 2014
Too late; you stand with rape apologists, literal nazis, threateners of murder. The burden of proof is on you.
I drifted a bit from my core point here, which is this: Even if SJW as a movement is sometimes guilty of excessive zeal, I would rather stand beside them than opposed to them, because the core aim is a valid one, and moving slowly and haltingly towards the right place is where I want to be. I can try fix the worst excesses from the right side of the fight.Tweet