Diversity in Gaming isn’t Only “People Who Agree With Me”


When the loudest voices in gaming start slinging shit because more women are writing about games, you know something is up.

If you aren’t aware, there has been a little shuffling of ranks over at ‘The Escapist’. The online news site for gaming recently lost Jim Sterling from Jimquisition and Bob Chipman from MovieBob. While I never watched MovieBob, I will say I was and continue to be a fan of Jimquisition. It’s sad to see these programs off The Escapist, but I also can’t help but feel the transition off The Escapist is a net benefit for gaming. Let me explain.

MovieBob and Jimquisition are both personalities/programs that extend beyond the Escapist. They have their own following, and I am sure a transition to their own platforms or onto YouTube will not only work out well for them but give The Escapist the opportunity to take a gamble and bring on some fresh voices and content. In fact, I’d argue that’s exactly what they did. The Escapist recently added Liana Kerzner (a contributor from Metaleater Media), Brandon Morse (a contributor from Rare), and Lizzy F (from her personal blog Feels and Reals) as content contributors. If you’ll notice, The Escapist lost two men and gained two women and a man which is a huge boost to diversity, no? And yet there was an uproar from the more progressive side of gaming.

The reactions to the new voices have been pretty negative from other members of the games press (dare I call them the “games press elite”?) and other random Twitter individuals:

The issue, it seems, is that the new voices on The Escapist are too right-leaning for the current state of games press. Brandon Morse, for example, makes perfectly clear in his Twitter bio that he leans libertarian. Lizzy’s bio on Twitter reads “Pro choice, not a Democrat. Pro gun, not a Republican. Pro equality, not a feminist. Pro bacon….yes, I am a baconist.” Liana, on the other hand, is a sex-positive feminist (different from Anita Sarkeesian’s brand of feminism) who has written about why Feminist Frequency almost made her quit writing about games.

There is certainly discussion by many about how this is a win for GamerGate. Indeed, news of these new contributors ranked high on /r/KotakuInAction, and Lizzy F wrote quite a bit about GamerGate on her personal blog, and there’s a perception (whether real or imagined I can’t confirm) that many members of GamerGate are strong libertarians. The thing is, however, that Lizzy’s already stated she won’t be mentioning GamerGate again ever, Brandon’s political views won’t necessarily be reflected in his contributions, and criticizing Feminist Frequency doesn’t make you an MRA or transphobe.

These new voices from a new perspective are being seen as almost threatening to the gaming space. While so many cry out for diversity, those same people react with anger and derision when actual diverse perspectives are added to the mix. That’s such an overwhelmingly improper way to react. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to disagree with Brandon’s tweet about Trans individuals where he said “If you want to be trans, then you go right ahead. Don’t force everyone to pretend along with you.” Hell, I 100% disagree with him on that and I would love to sit down with him one day and discuss it, but I also don’t believe that means his opinions on games inherently lack value, or that he shouldn’t contribute to anything games related. I also wouldn’t call myself a libertarian, but I don’t think people who identify as such don’t have interesting statements to make in the gaming world.

I have never been a proponent of diversity for diversity’s sake, but instead for diversity because diversity of opinions and voices is valuable. Having voices that disagree with yours is good because it either improves your position by making you think more critically about it, or shows you how your position may have been wrong or uninformed. Saying critics to your view don’t deserve a voice only shows you hate being disagreed with. Saying “I don’t want to read it” is perfectly fine, but encouraging developers to not even speak to them is absolutely outrageous!

And for the record, despite the fears that The Escapist will turn into “the gaming version of Fox News” or a mouthpiece for GamerGate, Liana is “excited to start work on a positive, fun, drama-free show about cosplay and cosplayers.”

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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