#Gamergate ‘TTGATE’ – The Curious Case of Identity Primacy

run-a-game

If there’s any scandals, censorship or ‘happenings’ in relation to tabletop gaming you’d like me to publicise (card games, RPGs, board games) then please let me know.

Convention Scholarship

Big Bad Con is a smallish convention in Oakland California, which looks like a fun little convention. They’ve instituted a scholarship policy to help “support individuals who would not otherwise be able to attend the con” to get there. Which is a great idea in and of itself, conventions are expensive and there’s lots of people – low on money – who could benefit massively from some help to get to a con and get a break from the harsh grind of daily life.

Except…

“To support diversity at Big Bad Con, these funds have been specifically set aside for gamers from POC, women, disabled, and lgbtqia+ communities.”

Identity Politics, not circumstances or need, not poverty, will determine who gets assistance. An overtly discriminatory policy. There’s no reason PoC, women, disabled or LGBT people must, necessarily, be poor and unable to cover their own fees. The only fair determination would be need.

Now, obviously, people will consider pointing this out, somehow, to be discriminatory towards the stated identity groups, but that isn’t the point here. The point is that it’s a policy that places identity (race/sex/preference/ability) over need and – as such, is patronising, self-defeating and ignores the most important factor – need.

Credit where it’s due though, their code of conduct is relatively sane – something rare for conventions these days.

Conan RPG Hirings

A call for more people to work on the new Conan RPG went out, the second call I believe, but whereas the first one to go out was a general, open call, this one was different – and Identity Politics was – again – the issue.

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Now, this is a second call and the aim is, perhaps, to ‘diversify’ the people working on the project, but let us not pretend that any similar advertisement going out stating it was only for ‘men’ would not be met with a wall of condemnation. This is a perfect example of a double standard at work in the gaming industry and like other ID politics shenanigans only ends up causing problems.

Are people now being hired because they have Conan expertise, or because of the contents of their pants (or their self-identification) as one interested fan asked. Is it not patronising to reduce someone entirely to their gender when considering? Could this have not been done better simply, privately, at the selection level, or could it not be an open call with a mere note that women in particular are being sought?

Why should it make a difference anyway? Diversity for its own sake brings nothing and prioritising it over talent and ability calls everything into question.

I do not think that this is what is occurring here, but it is worth pointing out simply to demonstrate the double standard, and that double standard extends to reaction.

For a rather polite pointing out of the issue:

This isn’t OK. We all know nobody will do anything about it, but I just want to register protest. This kind of hiring practice is also, frankly, illegal gender discrimination. Boo.

I was subjected to all manner of abuse, much of it presumptive and sexist itself, all manner of wild accusations and nastiness spreading from one part of social media to another and not improving. Again, this is a demonstration of the hypocrisy inherent in this kind of activity.

The culmination, perhaps, was this:

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People devoted to equality and diversity, using a person’s mental health issues in order to attack them, for the crime of pointing out sexist wording which, if the genders were reversed, these self-same people would be complaining about just as shrilly as they defend it and excuse it in this instance.

If there’s any scandals, censorship or ‘happenings’ in relation to tabletop gaming you’d like me to publicise (card games, RPGs, board games) then please let me know.

13 responses to “#Gamergate ‘TTGATE’ – The Curious Case of Identity Primacy

  1. Y’know, the deal with the Conan RPG strike me as one of those cases where damage control was worse than the offense itself. I mean, it’s one thing to try to reach out specifically for a certain kind of author if you want a different perspective on something, but the whole ‘clearly you think women write like shit’ kneejerk was out of hand.

    In any case, waiting until adding a female writer to a team is an afterthought and then going to Twitter for a casting call shows a lack of foresight.

    (And no, I don’t think your tweet at her was particularly egregious, though apparently it was quickly inflated as though hundreds had tweeted at her that she was breaking the law.)

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you – from my perspective as a woman.

    I would love to write for the Conan RPG for example, or the Gor RPG or the Red Sonja comic books series or Batwoman or … I would.

    But I’d want to be picked because I’m a good writer, a good storyteller – maybe with a particular perspective that’s influence by me being female. Maybe that changes the way I tell stories, write characters, etc.

    So maybe someone wants my particular style or perspective – a female one.

    But I’d still want it primarily because I’m a good writer, not “just” because I’m female while other considerations aren’t important.

    That I’d consider demeaning, insulting and certainly not aimed at bringing more diversity to a group that’s eventually dominated by one gender.

    And in cases of lending support to people who could otherwise not attend I agree with you as well. Saying that someone who’s disabled, female, homosexual, etc. would be more likely to lack the financial means is particularly insulting and shows a shocking view of these groups.

    So if it’s about diversity only … why not ask oneself for what reasons the groups people want to include maybe chose to stay away? Maybe there are other reasons than fiscal ones?

    Good post, Grim, I’m with you!

  3. Are we talking Conan the Barbarian here? I have the whole collection of Robert E. Howard’s original stories in my possession. Much as I admire his writing and influence on the fantasy genre, his work…isn’t exactly the kind that would please these activists to begin with. Kinda ironic to see this of all brands becoming the center of another diversity discussion.

  4. And nobody needs it to be.
    Let’s face it … most of these people (having been an activist myself I refuse to call internet bullies “activists”) don’t care about the actual subject and themes therein.
    It was just another excuse to bash on someone.

    I love Conan myself, as misogynistic as some may call it (although I wouldn’t) I don’t care. I love Gor as well and it isn’t exactly your typical feminst pamphlet either.

    Maybe that’s why nobody lets me write for this stuff … because I don’t bring that particular female perspective everyone is looking: the PC-perspective everybody assumes women now have to have.🙂

    A big problem of these people – even if they’re actual activists – is that oftentimes they don’t care about what the groups they believe they’re “defending” think. I know black people who love Conan, disabled people who love Conan and women who love Conan – poor and wealthy.

    And they love it just the way it is – wild, angry, violent, rough, … not wattered down, adjusted to and assimiliated by the ongoing PC-cleanup that’s in progress.

    And I know a lot of people from the groups mentioned above who’d strongly disagree with the notion that they are in need of special support. Simply being black, Hispanic, disabled, female, homosexual, etc. doesn’t mean you’re automatically disadvantaged and need to be pampered and it doesn’t mean you definitely need financial help simply because you’re a member of one or more of any particular group.

    And the last resort a lot of people go to, like in this case – nastily attacking someone on a personal level – is just so below the belt it doesn’t have any place in an argument!

    I’m glad you didn’t let yourself pulled down to that level and I’m glad you didn’t let it silence you!

    • “Maybe that’s why nobody lets me write for this stuff … because I don’t bring that particular female perspective everyone is looking: the PC-perspective everybody assumes women now have to have.”

      Please do not let me forget that you mentioned this when I get around to starting my Sword & Planet zine.

    • Short fiction in the vein of Andrew J Offutt, Leigh Brackett, Gardner F Fox, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber etc. (dashing space barbarians, swashbucklers & such heroic fantasy), as well as maybe some essays/retrospects on the subject and art. If all goes as planned, in a few months, I’ll be putting out feelers for contributors.

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