It’s not just with gamers, though. Whether it’s a space about politics or atheism or science-y doodads or philosophy pontificating or any number of infinite possible topics, talk about sexism (or racism or homophobia or transphobia) and out comes the speech about objectivity.
Here is the thing that these guys are missing – the thing that I would like to shout from the mountaintops for all eternity:
OBJECTIVITY IS NOT AN ALL-OR-NOTHING DEAL. OBJECTIVITY IS NOT FIXED. NO ONE IN THE UNIVERSE HAS EVER BEEN 100% OBJECTIVE ABOUT ANY TOPIC KNOWN TO HUMANS.
When these dudes use the word “objective,” they mean, “not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice.” Well, what they really mean is “I will latch onto any excuse not to listen to what you have to say,” but the definition of objective is, basically, unbiased.
To anyone who thinks that they can ever not be influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudices, I say, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA get real.
Honestly, I don’t really blame people all that much for mistakenly thinking that they are aware of or can control everything that goes on in their brains. People don’t know how the brain works, at least not in the US. This is why, as dictator, I would institute mandatory psychology education in every classroom starting from fucking Kindergarten.
The first mistake of these Worshippers of the Objective is to demand objectivity where objectivity was never the goal. Striving to be as objective as possible has its place – in research papers, lab experiments, informational news stories, etc. The piece I wrote about sexual harassment in the gaming industry wasn’t meant to be objective at all. In fact, it was about my personal feelings on the matter. I explained this to the objectivity demanders multiple times, but this was ignored in favor of demanding objectivity some more.
What’s also fun is that the same people who would demand objectivity from me would not do the same toward an emotional piece that they agreed with. You never see commenters on pieces of writing that are railing against the latest perceived attack on video games (whether it be another study linking gaming and aggression or politicians mentioning anything about age restrictions) insisting that the author be more objective in their assessment of the situation. That anger is totally justified and okay. Mention sexism and any hint of emotion is grounds for immediate dismissal.
The second mistake they make is to assume that because an issue doesn’t directly affect them (or not in the same way that it affects you), they are objective observers and therefore better qualified to speak on it.
|I love this gif|
And no one is without prejudices. No two people interpret something exactly the same way. Each individual person has their own unique mind shaped by a unique collection of experiences. Our emotions affect our prejudices, which affect our interpretations, which affect our emotions, round and round again constantly each moment of our lives until we die. This is the human subconscious – the functions of the brain that happen without us knowing. If you don’t believe me, please feel free to consult any Psych 101 textbook.
|Such a good loop|
It’s also false to assume you’re ever not in some way affected by an issue like this. Privileged people are still affected by issues of marginalization, especially when things finally begin to shift away from their favor. The people who took issue with my lack of perfect objectivity then went on to talk about how men fear doing something that will be interpreted as sexual harassment and be unfairly fired. This fear would naturally lead to a desire, whether conscious or subconscious, to stifle conversation about sexual harassment that might lead to stricter rules, thereby increasing the chances that their fears come true. Their interpretations, prejudices, and emotions around the issue make them just as un-objective as I am.
So from here on out, I’m going to call out anyone who misuses the word “objective.” In fact, I’m just going to send them a link to this post. If you’re reading this after chastising me for not being objective, well, to be honest, I’m surprised you read the whole thing. Good for you!