First off, I should admit that I'm not a gamer. I have nerdy interests, but gaming isn't one of them. I decided to comment here only because I was on the internet during the 2010s feminist/nerd wars and have some thoughts stemming from that period. I don't follow games, so I can only assume that you're correct about the reactionary reactions that you describe. (Actually, I did hear about the negative reactions to the Lara Croft redesign.)
However much bad behavior may come from gamers, I think we should avoid attributing it to "the gaming community," for two reasons.
First, I find it hard to believe that the bad apples are representative. A gamer is literally just someone who enjoys playing video games. All sorts of different people play video games. Almost as many women as men play video games (not that women can't be toxic too). I'm not sure that it even makes sense to talk about a single "gaming community."
Second, and more importantly, calling out an entire community is counterproductive. It encourages more members of that community to align themselves with the bad behavior. Why did so many people join Gamergate? Because both pro- and anti-Gamergate media went out of their way to construct a nerds vs. feminists narrative. Suddenly, a bunch of apolitical or only mildly conservative gamers, anime fans, and fedora-wearers got the idea that progressives viewed them as the enemy, and decided that they might as well live up to their reputation.
It's like what happened to the American Muslim community after 9/11. The constant portrayal of Muslims as terrorists probably did more to radicalize American Muslims than al-Qaeda could have ever done on its own. Likewise, the "Gamers are Dead" articles and "basement-dwelling virgin neckbeard" rhetoric (which was morally wrong on its own terms, quite apart from its radicalizing effect) probably did more to push people into the Gamergate camp than Gamergate could have ever done on its own.
The reasoning of the radicalized is simple:
- The mainstream media is attacking my group.
- The mainstream media isn't attacking the feminists (or whoever it may be).
- This is unfair.
- Therefore, I'm going to attack the feminists (or whoever it may be) to even the score.
Yes, it's silly reasoning. But that's how the human mind works. Humans aren't rational.
Perhaps calling out the entire gaming community wouldn't have this unfortunate effect if gamers got the feeling that such broad-brush call-outs were being aimed at all communities equally. But, of course, they aren't aimed at all communities equally. As I noted in my earlier comment, mainstream media outlets don't say that the 2012 harassment of Laci Green and the 2015 harassment of Zamii070 reflect a deeply rooted toxicity within "the social justice community."
None of this means that we shouldn't condemn bad behavior. But it means that our condemnations should be about specific individuals, not a whole community. We need to show that these individuals are not
representative and that you don't need to be like them
in order to belong to the community and be welcome within it.