Except that you still haven’t established that there is a recent incarnation in the first place. And while there is a very real truism that just because you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean that people aren’t out to get you, I haven’t seen any evidence supporting claims of a resurgence.

I may have already said this, but I teach an upper year course at one of the local universities, and as far as I can tell most, if not all, of my students are gamers. In teaching well over a hundred students thus far, I have never seen any evidence of an alt-right or MRA presence among them (and I get to see their resumes as part of the course, so I get a very close look at who they are). I also haven’t seen any evidence presented by anybody else that goes beyond “a student disagreed in class with something I said.” Somebody disagreeing with you does not make them an extremist by default — the supposed resurgent GamerGate has every characteristic of being a moral panic.

One of the worst parts of watching GamerGate play out was knowing that it would be the primary weapon of the next moral panic against the gaming community — and it would be a particularly potent one because this time it would have an element of truth. And, five years later, here we are.

GamerGate didn’t really invent anything — they just did what other communities had done to enforce ideological purity or wage a culture war in a public enough manner to get noticed by the mainstream (and I would point out that shortly after the flashpoint, the pre-existing MRA movement began to co-opt it and try to ride its coattails —the MRA movement wasn’t something born out of GamerGate). And, members of GamerGate were never shy about who they were or what they supported.

So, you claim that there is a resurgence or new incarnation of GamerGate, I say “prove it.” Show me activism that originates with GamerGate, as opposed to the alt-right, or the MRA movement. Show me videos from classrooms being discussed by a community identifying as GamerGate along with planning to de-platform the speaker or get them fired.

But stop waving around GamerGate as a boogeyman — the only thing you are accomplishing is vilifying the gaming community while making it harder to address the very real other issues that are being grappled with right now.


Robert B. Marks is a writer, editor, and researcher. His pop culture work has appeared in places like Comics Games Magazine.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store