Brianna Wu Hot Take

I’ll freely admit- the only reason I initially attended was because of the offered credit. While I was aware of Gamergate the occurrence, I had never paid much attention to it. The games I play, online flash trinkets and Nintendo platforms, do not lend themselves to the types of criticism espoused by both sides. All of the my previous knowledge about Gamergate had come from widely disparate sources, Kotaku and the reactionary KotakuInAction subreddit. I peruse Kotaku for video game news, and am an avid user of reddit otherwise- I thought I could get both sides of the controversy. Boy, was I wrong. A simple search for Brianna on the aforementioned subreddit:Capture All derogatory, all personal. I found it interesting that not a single one refutes her points regarding diversity in the industry. Similarly, the relevant Kotaku articles all only address the death threats, and not her points about the industry. Horrifying, but again a personal and not substantive attack. But enough background. With respect to the actual presentation, I found Brianna to be cognizant and knowledgeable, and was impressed by how fair and balanced she appeared in the face of such adversity. However, I was troubled by several of her assertions, especially her metaphor that to avoid minimization we should treat people like Alzheimer’s patients. That we should believe “whistleblowers” like her no matter the circumstances, because to not do so would be invalidating their experiences. That while they might not have all the details or indeed facts, their underlying emotions must be true. By definition, a demented patient can no longer tell truth from fiction. Or, not going that far, one need only look at the recent Rolling Stone fiasco. What is best for the person in question is not necessarily the best for public consumption. In the beginning, Brianna spent significant time establishing her credentials, especially her job of software engineer. By doing so, she reinforces how she comes from the realm of game production, not game journalism. Because she is on the inside looking out, we should trust her expertise. Thus, I found it strange that her presentation lacked figures. The one provided, that there is a 20-to-1 ratio of males to females at corporate events held at bars, was unsubstantiated and seemed very situational. Instead, she spent most of the time talking about herself, and several of her friends. There was a striking disparity between the amounts of quantitative data and qualitative anecdotes. Maybe she thought that this would make it easier for us to relate. But personally, I find that it is the figures depicting the number of women in the gaming industry to be the most shocking and irrefutable indicator of inequality- not relayed tales that may or may not be true, according to the rationale in the previous paragraph. In the end, while I do not want to be falsely objective, I found myself skeptical of Brianna herself but not her message. Indeed, I found myself in the the position of those editors and redditors. Hopefully, this is because said message is already widely accepted to be true.

0 thoughts on “Brianna Wu Hot Take

  1. Although I agree that Brianna Wu presented her lecture in a very casual manner, I believe that this decision largely reflected how she views the videogame culture as very relaxed (although often misogynistic as well). While Amherst students might not be accustomed to hearing jargon such as “dude” and “chick” in an intellectual context, one must realize that this vocabulary is fairly commonplace throughout the gaming industry (and should not be viewed in haughty disdain).

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