Woman Of The House

The old joke, when women stopped going to college to become teachers and nurses, but to become whatever they wanted to be, was that what a husband earned was theirs and what a wife earned was hers. It wasn’t a very feminist view, but then, we were still able to make jokes back then, so everybody laughed at it.

Brianna Wu of GamerGate notoriety has announced that she’s going to run for Congress.

By “all of us,” she means all of her.

While Wu hasn’t officially started a campaign, she posted a promotional Facebook picture indicating that she would run, and confirmed her intentions in a statement to VentureBeat. Her policy platform will include an emphasis on women’s rights and “a bolder Democratic party” that addresses the gap between supporters of mainline Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and more left-leaning primary candidate Bernie Sanders.

Some may not be aware that Clinton was the “mainline Democratic” nominee, instead reading her as the champion of a couple marginalized identitarian tribes at the expense of the interests of America. Wu hopes to be the champion of fewer people.

“When I started speaking out about harassment, I thought something would change. But it hasn’t — every single system failed us,” Wu wrote on Twitter earlier today. “We’re getting diminishing returns on writing and speaking out about harassment. I think next step is running for office and passing laws.” She referenced a recent Washington Post article by journalist Sarah Jeong, who has drawn connections between Gamergate-related harassment and the present-day “alt-right” white nationalist movement, as well as the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.

The goal is to champion her personal self-serving cause and vindicate her personal self-serving butthurt against the “alt-right,” which has expanded, according to Jeong, to be everyone who isn’t her. Or, to put it in less savory terms, she wants you to shut up and do only what she allows you to do.

So is it wrong for Wu to run for Congress? No. Not even a little bit. That’s the nature of politics, that anyone can run and should. And if voters agree with her, and decide she’s better than (or not as bad as) the alternative, she will be elected. To prove the point, consider that the nation just elected a man as president who demonstrates no capacity to do the job because the uncertainty of what he would do was preferable to the certainty of what Hillary Clinton would do.* Rather than grasp Trump’s election as a rejection of the progressive agenda, Wu is running on the premise that it wasn’t progressive enough. The voters will decide.

Without inviting a rehash of GamerGate, Wu’s elevation to digital poster girl arose out of women in gaming. Not being a gamer (‘Roids was the last game I played with any regularity), it raises a question of whether gaming is a microcosm of societal sexism. Reliably, the New York Times is on it:

Last week, after a wait of almost a decade, the world’s most popular video game series, Super Mario Bros., finally came to the world’s most popular video game machine: the iPhone.

Unfortunately, despite Nintendo’s history and reputation, Super Mario Run is not a family-friendly game — or at least not one my wife and I will be letting our 6-year-old daughter play. The game is rife with stale, retrograde gender stereotypes — elements that were perhaps expected in 1985, when the first Super Mario Bros. was released in the United States, but that today are just embarrassing.

On the one hand, it’s “the world’s most popular video game series” that “unfortunately…is rife with stale retrograde gender stereotypes.” The disconnect here goes unnoticed by its writer, Chris Suellentrop, a former Times op-ed editor. Popularity is organic. People play what they want to play. It’s a video game, not propaganda for gender stereotypes. They tried that with Ghostbusters and the new Star Wars flicks, and it turns out that people really aren’t keen on socially engineering their fun time for identity politics.

This sense of identification gives video games an enormous capacity to create empathy for other people. There are video games in which you play as the parent of a dying child, as a transgender woman beginning hormone replacement therapy, as the son of an alcoholic. But it also presents more conventional game designers with an opportunity to create games in which young girls, and not just young boys, actually become heroes themselves.

If video games are fun, people will play them. No one stops women from creating video games that are loved. Then again, no one can force gamers to love a video game because its hero is a transgender woman. It’s not that the game isn’t available to be loved. It’s that it’s not loved. You can’t make people love it just because you do, just because it comports with your idealized vision of society.

And more importantly, it’s just a game. It’s played for fun, not as a weapon of gender hegemony. Just as humor has been politically outlawed, together with what used to be called speech and is now called harassment, games are on the chopping block.

If Wu’s complaint was that female game devs failed to achieve the success of males, even with the occasional bedroom tickle, the problem wasn’t misogyny, but that they just didn’t create games enough people wanted to play. And so she’s going to run for Congress in the hope that she can use the bludgeon of law to force gamers, people on the internets, society to play her game.

Gamers voted by playing the games they enjoyed. Voters will do the same. But the losers will not take away the lesson that people don’t want to play their game. Instead, they will huddle together for self-comfort and attack society for being deplorable. Society won’t care much because it’s too busy having fun playing Super Mario Bros. on their iPhone.

*Except for the voters in New York and California, who are entitled to disagree with the rest of the nation, but don’t win because the rules of the game don’t change if they don’t get their way.

16 thoughts on “Woman Of The House

  1. delurking

    “But it also presents more conventional game designers with an opportunity to create games in which young girls, and not just young boys, actually become heroes themselves.”

    Lara Croft?
    Faith Connors?
    Alex Oshima?
    Evie Frye?
    Emily Kaldwin?
    Zarya? (Overwatch actually has a whole bunch of female heroes)

    Yet another journalist who extrapolates incorrectly from one tiny bit of information.

    1. SHG Post author

      Let the voters decide. The only question is whether there will be a party that represents the interests of the 80% that can’t stand either extreme.

  2. Dragoness Eclectic

    Last I looked, the new Star Wars movies were doing quite well, so I don’t think mentioning them really supports your argument. Apparently all you need for a popular Star Wars movie is the “Star Wars” name, decent acting, a good script, and a competent director and film editor. No one but a few internet loudmouths cares what gender the main characters are (Did said loudmouths forget that Leia was a major character in the original movies?) Too bad the prequel series missed a few of those crucial elements.

    As far as video games go, the most insanely popular ones let you pick the gender of the player-character and it doesn’t matter in gameplay. So again, a few internet loudmouths are fighting over tiny niches at the fringes.

    1. SHG Post author

      What never ceases to amaze me is how you are the norm and everyone else is the outlier in your world, a constant theme of your comments. What makes it especially fascinating is your failure to grasp that, if your self-perception was accurate, no one would need you to inform them what they think, as they would already think it. Somehow, this always eludes you. There’s a psychological name for that phenomenon, but since I’m no psychologist, I’ll demur.

    2. James

      Super Metroid doesn’t let me choose the gender of the character.
      It doesn’t matter in gameplay either.

  3. Jim Tyre

    Rather than grasp Trump’s election as a rejection of the progressive agenda, Wu is running on the premise that it wasn’t progressive enough.

    Members of Congress theoretically represent their states (or districts). Though mentioned in the links, it’s worth noting that Wu lives in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. One of the few states, other than yours or mine, where a progressive agenda still resonates. ( I make no comment on her specific candidacy, should it actually become a thing.)

    1. SHG Post author

      Yes, she does live in Mass. She also says she’s going to carry Hillary’s baton. That’s because only girls twirl batons. And Hillary doesn’t live in Mass. Whether she can twirl the baton is anyone’s guess.

  4. Christopher Best

    So the NYT author is saying it’s great that Super Mario Bros. is finally on the iPhone but dammit why the hell do you play as Mario? I have no words to respond to him, only guttural noises of rage and despair.

    Is he really writing a book? If that article is an indication of how well researched it’s going to be, I’ll stick w/ Cracked (who I still say had the best analysis leading up to the election out of any publication).

    Brianna Wu gonna Brianna Wu. She figured out how to make money by being a SJW, which is more than most can claim. Can’t blame her for seeing how far she can take it.

  5. MarkingBad

    As yes.
    Sarah “I doxed a rape victim, but played semantic games to justify how it wasn’t REALLY doxing” Jeong.
    Sarah “I doxed a rape victim because I disagreed with her husband, but it wasn’t REALLY doxing” Jeong.

    If there’s anyone that I believe will serve as notice of where Ms. Wu’s campaign would take America, politically? Sarah Jeong would be one of her Horse… err.

    Horsewomen, I suppose.
    If we’re going to try and be all ‘politically correct’, and suchlike.

    1. SHG Post author

      I have no clue whether Jeong doxed anyone, but fail to see what a dubious collateral attack on Jeong has to do with Wu’s running for Congress.

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