I hate bullies.
Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s as a fat nerdy quite kid with Glasses I was basically the target of every bully and harresser in a ten mile radius. I couldn’t even escape it at home, with my mothers boyfriend telling me to “get my head out of the clouds and be a man” and all that wonderful bullshit.
So when I see things and hear things related to the idea of Gatekeeping, Harassment, and Bullying in gaming, I get rather aggravated. Tweets like this one are fairly commonplace for example and show a serious issue in this hobby that needs to be dealt with.
First, let’s define what Gatekeeping is really. Gatekeeping is a concept where, through hateful remarks, treatment, and general bullying, a person attempts to prevent others from entering their hobby or fandom. Why do people do this? Its usually related to keeping their fandom or hobby “Pure” from people they feel do not belong.
From men claiming that “Women do not belong in gaming!” to people being super passive aggressive to others cause they don’t play a game “the right way” this is a hugely commonplace and prevalent culture that needs to stop.
All Gatekeeping does is stop the growth of your hobby or fandom. All it does is prevent people from experiencing what you love. Why would you not want to share your passion with the world? Does keeping it secret and holy somehow benefit you?
By the way the answer is no. Hell, Gatekeeping is why I don’t play Warmachine anymore in fact. Me and friend didn’t want to play it at the same point level as everyone in the community here so we got constantly made fun of, being called names and being told that “real gamers play at the 50 and 75 point level!”. Shit like that. I refuse to touch miniature wargames now in my town because of these sort of people. Oh and they shit on the first and only miniatures I ever painted. This is them by the way and I no longer have em as I sold em when I stopped playing.
Additionally, I want to talk about the idea of dismissal. Lots of times the general response to any statement showing gatekeeping or harassment happening is “Well I have never seen it happen!” implying that because you did not see it, it never happened. Here is the thing however: Just because you didn’t see a person robbed, raped, assaulted, shot, harassed, bullied, ect doesn’t mean it did not happen.
You see, none of us are omniscient. Not a single one person on this planet can be in every place at every moment experiencing every single thing in the world. It’s not physically possible. So trying to explain away another person’s experience because YOU didn’t see it happen is one of the dumbest things you can possibly do. I don’t care how many years you have been in the hobby, how many places you have been, nothing. We each experience life our own way and are shaped by those experiences, simple as that.
What I really want to see this 2018, more then anything, is more acceptance. Try to welcome newcomers into your hobbies. Help people understand what you love and why you love it. Telling people they do not belong does nothing positive, ever, and does nothing but make your fandom / community look like a shitshow.
You are not the Gatekeeper Maggot! You do not get to decide who likes what, and why.
So stop pretending you are. Do you really wanna be like this guy? I don’t think you do.