Like their identical cousins the Men’s Rights Activists, GamerGaters have a bizarre fondness for terrible graphics and “memes” and collages of blurry screenshots designed – if that’s the word for it – to spread their sometimes incomprehensible propaganda.
The graphic above, found on Twitter, is my favorite GamerGate graphic so far, I think, and not only because it looks like a famous old Windows screensaver gone wrong. No, this little graphic wins my heart because it so baldly, if inadvertently, reveals the sheer ridiculous hypocrisy of GamerGaters claims of victimhood, and the intellectual bankruptcy of their #NotYourShield campaign.
In the graphic, as you can see, GamerGate’s mascot Vivian James, the perpetually petulant girl gamer who wants to do nothing but game, tries to fend off an array of accusations and epithets swirling around her. “Cis White Male,” “Misogynist,” “Rapist,” “KKK,” “MRA.”
But Vivian James can’t be any of those things, apparently, because she’s a GIRL. NOT YOUR SHIELD!
While it’s certainly true that Vivian James is not a cis white male, or a rapist or a member of the KKK, it’s also true that she is COMPLETELY IMAGINARY.
If you’re trying to change the perception that your movement is made up of a bunch of entitled (and, FWIW, mostly white) manchildren who feel threatened by real women with opinions different from their own, you might want to think twice about using a manic pixel dream girl whose slogan is “shut up and play” as your, yep, shield.
Oh, I know, there are real women involved in GamerGate. But aside from Vivian James and the non-gaming “based mom” Christina Hoff Sommers, and perhaps our friend Cameralady, it’s doubtful even most GamerGaters could name more than one or two, if that.
EDIT: As several people on Twitter have reminded me, I forgot to mention one of the most creepy things about Vivian J. — the color scheme of her sweater is apparently a reference to a really creepy, rapey meme called “piccolo dick.” Which you can read about here, if for whatever reason you want to.
Also: the phrase “manic pixel dream girl,” a reference to the manic pixie dream girl trope, popped into my head partway through writing this. But after posting this I decided to google it to see if anyone else had used the phrase — it seems like a pretty obvious one. And indeed people have. Here’s a cartoon called Manic Pixel Dream Girl, an account of growing up as a female video gamer.