Feminist blogger Penny Red has a breathless announcement everyone: Feminists are fighting a culture war and they’re winning!
This is a culture war. The right side is winning, at great cost. At great personal costs to people like Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and even Jennifer Lawrence, and countless others who are on the frontlines of creating new worlds for women, for girls, for everyone who believes that stories matter and there are too many still untold. We are winning. We are winning because we are more resourceful, more compassionate, more culturally aware. We’re winning because we know what it’s like to fight through adversity, through shame and pain and constant reminders of our own worthlessness, and come up punching. We know we’re winning because the terrified rage of a million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists is thick as nerve gas in the air right now.
Ms Red is writing in response to the various fallouts from the events collectively known as #GamerGate and #TheFappening. For those unfamiliar with either, the former relates to a circle of corruption uncovered within gaming journalism, when it was discovered that the aforementioned Quinn may have used her feminine wiles to gain positive reviews of a game she made. It’s fall-out has extended to 4Chan, which users say has seen an intense restriction of speech wholly alien to the chaotic image board, and has lead many to declare that 4Chan is dead. (We’ll come back to this shortly.)
#TheFappening was the celebrity nude leak earlier this year, including leaked nudes of Lawrence and a number of others. That incident lead to a story in which The Daily Caller claims an “advertised” nude leak of actress Emily Watson (Hermione Granger from Harry Potter) was actually a PR stunt to try and exert the government to shutdown 4Chan outright. According to the DC, one of the websites that people were redirected to contained a letter addressed to the President:
DEAR BARACK OBAMA:
We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also a clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature – and will be (a) step closer to shutting down http://www.4chan.org
So just keep in mind that killing free speech and outright calls for censoring the Internet are part of the fallout from #GamerGate and #TheFappening.
Back to Ms. Red… You see, according to her, those “million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists” are actually the ones looking to limit free speech:
They believe that they are justified because freedom of speech- except not freedom of speech for women and queers and people of colour, because those people don’t really speak, they just whine, shriek, scream, like animals, because really that’s all they are, animals.
To be honest, I’m unaware of any gamer types calling for the end of free speech. But, as we can clearly see above, Ms Red and her ideologically aligned opponents are more than happy to call for the end of dissenting speech. LOL.
Ms. Red also notes that again, these “million mouthbreathing manchild misogynysts” are guilty of making her, and her SJW comrades, into “faceless opponents,” :
The gamification of misogyny predates the internet, but right now, in this world full of angry, broken, lost young men convinced that women have robbed them of some fundamental win in life, it’s rampant.
The trouble is that treating other human beings like faceless opponents doesn’t work in the real world.
Gender isn’t a game you can play and win by brutalising and harassing and shaming and hurting the other ‘side.’ Ultimately, there is no other side.
Enough with that for now though. Ms. Red is absolutely correct that there’s a culture war going on, and her assessment that one side’s war can be characterized as a string of Pyrrhic victories is also correct. The problem is, as we see, that she thinks it’s her side that’s actually winning the war and not just gaining those Pyrrhic victories.
No, in reality, her side is winning because of institutional power and the unique decentralized networking that characterizes leftist activist politics. They are winning because they can exert a level of force that their opponents can’t. One of the signs of their victory that she pointed out is telling regarding the institutional power they have access to:
They can’t understand why, just for example, when my friend, the games critic and consultant Leigh Alexander, was abused and ‘called out’ as an unprofessional slut, a lying cunt, morally and personally corrupt, just for speaking truthfully and beautifully about all of this, it was Alexander who was invited to write her first piece for Time magazine, Alexander who got to define the agenda for the mainstream, who received praise and recognition…
(Hint: Those organizations are ideologically aligned with you, nothing more, nothing less. The “rightness” of your perspective isn’t confirmed by their ideological predisposition to your politics.)
The thing is, in this Culture War, the left is the one winning Pyrrhic victories. They may be self-congratulatory with each scalp they take, but people remember. People will remember it wasn’t the Footloose preacher archetype that invaded an already existing culture and browbeat it into submission, it was people like Quinn and Ms. Red who destroyed something that wasn’t theirs just because it had a habit of hurting their feelings. It wasn’t a Christian Evangelical calling for the complete shutdown of the Internet phenomenon known as 4Chan, but rather celebrity elites and feminists.
As already mentioned, Ms. Red is absolutely right that a full-blown Culture War is underway right now. But, if one looks around to different parts of the world, and even here in the U.S., Ms. Red may want to hedge her bets on which side is winning. Like the old adage says, “be careful what you wish for.”