By kalmia64 0 Comments
I am not a great writer. I am currently upset. This is a ramble-filled rant. I will probably try to edit this into more coherent thoughts later.
Today was a bad day for two of my favorite websites. Giant Bomb and The Mary Sue both received legitimate criticisms over the recent acquisition of new staff members. And then things exploded.
Like many other female (and otherwise!) members of the Giant Bomb community, I was excited about the prospect of diversity with the new hires. I'm not as brave as some other women, so I couldn't imagine putting myself out there to face the unfortunately guaranteed hostility that comes with being anything other than male/white/straight in this industry. Yes, any new hire would undoubtedly get undeserved grief from the audience (Patrick <3), but being different really rubs some people the wrong way.
A few women have been vocal about being disappointed in the lack of diversity at Giant Bomb. And they are right, diversity means more points of view, different perspectives. I'm sure Giant Bomb had a plethora of qualified candidates and they settled on two dudes that they thought were the best fit for what they wanted. This does not mean there weren't applicants who were both qualified and different from the status quo. It's just the way things worked out this round of hiring (which by the way, is SUPER exciting that Giant Bomb is finally achieving some of their dreams!) While I would have loved to see them hire someone who isn't already prominent in the game journalism field, I admit I am relieved that they didn't pick someone different from the norm of male/white/straight. Purely because I would selfishly hate the flood of sickening comments that would follow them every time they appeared. I can't bear that amount of negativity on a site that I frequent as much as Giant Bomb.
Some of the Giant Bomb staff has responded to the harassment of those criticizing the new hires. This is good. They did so on twitter in a concise and somewhat vague manner. This is not so good. I hope something is posted on the site, but I understand that it is generally the policy of the duders to say a few lines offsite and then sweep the matter under the rug.
The Mary Sue was an amazing blog with the tagline "A Guide to Geek Girl Culture". The posts ranged from recaps of Game of Thrones episodes to essays about prominent women in STEM fields. They recently merged with Geekosystem which resulted in nearly doubling their staff size and a redesigned site. The new site is ugly. It has big white spaces and lacks the tagline that drew so many loyal readers in. Two of the new staff members were male. Cool, more diversity. And then snarky tweets and non-apologies began to appear. Not cool. The site used to be an unique site, tailored for women with geek/science interests, and a safe space for everyone, but now it has devolved into a generic geek blog. Sure, they can now put out a lot more content, but the quality has plummeted to near click bait levels. And that sucks. I'll probably revisit The Mary Sue in a few months, but for now I think I'll keep some distance.
I'm disappointed. I'm sad that people can say such awful things without remorse, that others will dismiss it as "the internet being the internet", that Twitter has such a terrible reporting system, that I lost a safe place on the internet and that all of this has happened. And to those who say "I play video games to have fun, not listen to SJW agendas!", think about how easy it is to say that when the whole industry is tailored to you.