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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

#INeedDiverseGames: How the Queer Backlash to GamerGate Enables Nonbinary Coalition

By Sarah Beth Evans and Elyse Janish, 2015

Abstract GamerGate, the online hate campaign that violently threatened and harassed prominent feminists in gaming, claimed that feminists were destroying gaming culture through their alleged influence on game journalists and industry professionals. We position GamerGate as an incendiary reaction to the changing (no longer overwhelmingly white, cisgender, heterosexual and male specifically) demographic of game players. We argue that GamerGate supporters operated under a false binary of identity: either one is a true gamer (male, masculine), or one is a feminist woman trying to be a gamer. Yet myriad intersectional identities continue to queer game space, and we propose that the hate campaign #GamerGate is an acknowledgement of and reaction to this queering of game spaces, not just feminist criticism. Tweets using anti-GamerGate hashtags, such as #INeedDiverseGames evidence the many identities that came together in solidarity, resisting GamerGate harassment. To examine the resistive solidarity of anti-GamerGate backlash, we draw upon feminist, queer, social movement, social media, and gaming literatures to cultivate a theory of nonbinary coalition, and argue that this is a tool for agents of change in gaming culture.

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