Tauriq Moosa did a thing. In a Daily Beast article titled “Hey, Creeps, ‘Compliments’ Are Harassment, Too”, he called out the bad behavior of men, whether online or on the street. He criticizes the excuses–“boys will be boys”, “it’s just a compliment”, “but they’re asking for it”–used to justify that bad behavior, and also tells men that we need to step up and do better.
He’s right; men need to do better. The vast majority of the time, harassment directed at women online or in meatspace comes from men. It’s not something women ask for–hell, they’ve been asking men to stop. It’s not something caused by clothing. Like rape, harassment doesn’t just happen. Someone has to make the choice to harass for harassment to happen. That person can control themselves. And because people can control themselves, the argument that “it’s just how men are” doesn’t fly. For one thing, not all men are like that. For another, men can change. They can adapt. They can be compassionate. They can listen to women when they say this shit pisses them off or frightens them. They can and they should stop acting so horribly.
Not content to stop discussing this issue, Moosa took to Twitter where he and others turned the discussion to GamerGate. That’s when something interesting happened.
This began the #ReaderGate hashtag, which started when one intrepid Twitter user wondered to Moosa, Hey, what if literary criticism never took into account a novel’s political and social context and themes, instead just relying on the very basics of what’s written. Well, as we’ve been learning for the past few hours on social media, it would be a weird, weird place.
#ReaderGate hashtag users have adopted the four most common arguments from GamerGate supporters — such as anti-GamerGate advocates are just professional victims, the real GamerGate platform is about ethics in video game journalism, and those against the movement are just ”social justice warriors” trying to push politics where there isn’t any — and co-opted them, pretending to build a case for readers taking on gamers’ GamerGate concerns.
The results? They were hilarious, yes, but then you have to remember that the arguments behind them are all too real for some people, and that’s just scary.
Here are a few of the bitingly satirical Tweets:
"Salman Rushdie was such a professional victim. Were any of the death threats against him proven?!" #Readergate
— James Lyon (@Senesense) November 6, 2014
That Jonathan Swift was especially vile, coyly pushing political correctness and hypocritically calling it satire. What a scam! #ReaderGate
— David K. March (@dkmnow) November 6, 2014
Huckleberry Finn is just a fun adventure story for kids! SJWs, stop making it about race! #readergate
— Greta Christina (@GretaChristina) November 6, 2014
Why are you talking in regards to politics, and social aspects?! Politics should be left out of books! Books should just be fun! #ReaderGate
— Veerender Jubbal (@Veeren_Jubbal) November 6, 2014
— end comment sections (@tauriqmoosa) November 6, 2014
What happened to judging books on their merits? Typeface, legibility, length. Objective measurements, not emotional agendas! #readergate
— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) November 6, 2014
The Handmaid's Tale? Get this SJW agenda out of my books. They should be objective and non-political, like Starship Troopers. #readergate
— THREE YEARS. (@CranBoonitz) November 6, 2014
— Bailey (@the_author_) November 6, 2014
I wish fake geek girls like Mary Shelley would stop trying to jump onto the scifi bandwagon. #ReaderGate
— Chris Benton (@ChrisJBenton) November 6, 2014
#Readergate Keep your politics out of my books, books are solely for entertainment and critique is agenda-pushing 😂
— Bailey (@the_author_) November 6, 2014
If you haven't read 'Doctor Zhivago' in the original Sanskrit…backwards, are you REALLY a reader?! #readergate
— Flixnut (@flixnut1) November 7, 2014
BOOKS SHOULD NOT BE WRITTEN WITH SJW AGENDAS. THEY SHOULD JUST BE "WHITE DUDE DOES STUFF, THEN SAYS STUFF, THEN SHOOTS A GUN." #readergate
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) November 6, 2014
I wonder if the GamerGaters understand satire…