I have to admit that I no longer expect anything from gaming culture.
When I started out as a developer and started poking at the issues we had – and in many cases still have – I somehow expected that people would listen and pay attention.
They did, in a way, but it was to tell me I was wrong, that the industry and culture had no issues at all and that I was imagining things.
I remember so many discussions where I was told I was wrong, that the evidence that sometimes took me weeks to collate and present was nothing more than my imagination.
I had these hopes that if I just showed people what I meant, they would listen.
Instead I was faced with a wall of disbelief. I had so many men dismissing me and the research i had done as baseless that for a while I thought they were right. And then something would happen that made me pissed off and I would think that this time, this time then would listen because the evidence what overwhelming.
My expectations would go up again, and no sooner than I had presented my reasoning would my expectations deflate like a sad balloon.
By now I’ve stopped having expectations. I barely think gaming culture will live up to even the most base expectations of human behaviour.
It takes other people’s hope to raise my expectations, to even realize that expectations can be more than the bare minimum.
“Gamers will be gamers” shouldn’t be allowed to fly. The fact that any new technology is a millisecond away from being used either as a tool to sexualize women or harass Black, Latina, Asian, indigenous, mixed race, trans or non-binary people shouldn’t be okay.
The first report about a VR game shouldn’t be that the developers had to implement protection for women who found themselves sexually harassed from day one.
I shouldn’t have to be afraid of playing online because I don’t want unsolicited dick pics in my inbox first thing. The truth is I have expectations. My expectations are that I will be disappointed, I will feel betrayed, I might even be harassed.
I know that there are men who are better than this but I’ve stopped expecting anything from them as well. I don’t expect allyship, I don’t even expect them to help me. I don’t expect anyone to fight for me anymore. I know that if I want a champion, I have to be that champion myself, no matter how they talk about wanting to protect me and stand up for me.
In the end, I am alone.
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