GamerGate, so depressing and destructive and … inadvertently hilarious?
Like the MRAs I write about so often here, GamerGaters have a certain fondness for the propaganda of the meme, attempting to win hearts and minds with elaborate infographics, repurposed propaganda, and basically any sort of graphic they can pull together in a few minutes with Photoshop or MSPaint.
They are, unfortunately for them, terrible at it. It’s not just that the amateur graphic designers of GamerGate lack a basic understanding of good design. They are also so completely lacking in self-awareness that they are unable to see when their graphics completely undercut the messages they are intended to convey.
So today, let’s take a look at the The Top Five Most Ridiculously Ironic #Gamergate Memes that I’ve found posted recently on 8chan and Twitter.
1) Vivian James, the Real Woman of Gaming
Why it’s ironic: Uh, because #GamerGate mascot Vivian James is … imaginary? GamerGaters, if you want to convince us that you represent “real women” in gaming, you probably shouldn’t use a cartoon girl who always agrees with you to make your case.
2) Gaming is as diverse as you are!
Why it’s ironic: Look a little closer at this colorful crowd of video game heroes — you can see a larger version here. The overwhelming majority of these heroes are white dudes, with much smaller numbers of women and people of color. There are as many dragons as there are black people, and more anthropomorphic foxes than either of those groups.
3) Anita Sarkeesian, feminazi
Why it’s ironic: Because when GamerGaters aren’t depicting Sarkeesian as a Nazi, they’re repurposing neo-Nazi propaganda in order to depict her as a greedy, scheming Jewish stereotype. Remember this picture from the other day? And there are a lot more where that came from.
4) Fat, Ugly and Slutty
Why it’s ironic: Project much? I’ve been following GamerGate since it started, and I’ve never seen any anti-GGers ever try to slut- or body-shame GamerGater women. But GamerGaters love to present the women they’ve dubbed their “Literally Whos” — Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu — as sexually voracious monsters.
Here’s a detail from one cartoon I found on 8chan, featuring GamerGate critic Arthur Chu as a virtual puppet controlled by monstrous incarnations of the the Literally Who three.
Even when they’re not depicting the Literally Whos as monsters, GamerGaters uglify them in nasty caricatures:
As for slut-shaming, #GamerGate began as #BurgersAndFries, the very name of the “movement” a reference to a crude meme designed to humiliate Zoe Quinn as a supposed slut. The internet is awash in shitty sexualized caricatures of Quinn; I’m not going to post any of them here.
5) Journalists versus publicists
Why it’s ironic: Yep, I actually found this on 8chan. New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm has written brilliantly about some of the central tensions of journalism. I’m a bit stunned that any GamerGaters have even heard of her.
What’s ironic here is that it’s GamerGaters, not their opponents, who want to turn game journalists into publicists. GamerGaters lash out at journalists who challenge their “blind self-absorption” while celebrating pseudo-journalists and ideological hacks who swallow and regurgitate their bullshit whole. Indeed, if the GamerGaters have their way, all games journalists will be reduced to little more than publicists for GamerGaters’ particular prejudices.