Thoughts on Mercedes Carrera, #notyourshield, and anti-Gamergate

Originally posted via Twitlong, 25 Feb. 2015

I’ve noticed an uptake of “criticism” over the past few days regarding women supporters of Gamergate, whatever perceived attractiveness according to traditional standards of beauty they may (or may not) have, and what (if any) impact that may have on how seriously they are taken by their male compatriots and the level of signal-boosting they have received.

I thought I would make a brief post on that. I mention Mercedes Carrera in this in particular, as an adult performer and quite outspoken on these matters — and as such, quite popular with Gamergate — she has become a lightning rod for these allegations.

Let’s unpack these statements, first by examining the argument being made at face value: that male Gamergate supporters would not care if these women were unattractive, that we seek attention and validation from these women, in hopes of scoring sexual brownie points or whatever. No, anti-gamers don’t get to weasel out of that by making some “your biases are showing” statement. That’s the argument that is actually being made, whether or not they are honest enough to admit it.

The connection is easily-understood and inferred by anyone with the slightest understanding of informal logic. If attractiveness is a sufficient condition for attention among male Gamergate supporters, there must be a reason for it; that is to say, attractiveness must be somehow valued. Value, in this case, is only relevant if these interactions are fundamentally transactional — attractive women leverage that asset for attention from men, who hope in turn to receive attention.

In either case (women leveraging attractiveness for male attention, and engaging in quid pro quo), this is a statement reliant upon — and reinforcing — traditional gender norms, particularly in regards to interactions between men and women, and traditional standards of beauty. The underlying assumption — and hidden premise — is interactions between men and women supportive of Gamergate must be transactional.

Completely lost, then, is any notion male Gamergate supporters may simply agree with or appreciate what these women have to say of its own merit, nor that the women involved may be persuasive divorced from physical attractiveness, nor that the women involved may have come to their own conclusions and are voicing genuinely-held belief.

Demeaning women by trivializing their speech, regardless of content, is still demeaning women. It is, at its heart, a patriarchal argument based upon patriarchal assumptions, and any statements emanating from it can be said to be of the same nature. The funny thing about “subverting the system” as I am sure many Gamergate opponents would now retort they are doing, is one must do that from within.