I was cruising r/KotakuInAction (KiA), one of my favorite subreddits on Reddit, when I saw someone defend the idea of “gatekeeping.” The more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but agree wholeheartedly.
The concept of gatekeeping is often talked about negatively. Usually, it’s seen as people who belong to a certain subculture setting the bar for being accepted into the said subculture abnormally high, or absurdly thinking only they are the true representative of the subculture.
These “subcultures” could be anything. I’ve seen gatekeeping in both gaming and even motherhood, with absolutely ludicrous claims about what constitutes being a member of both.
But while that can be as annoying as it is stupid, gatekeeping can keep the integrity of a hobby.
The post on KiA demonstrated “gatekeeping” well with a single photo. During a round of “Among Us” — a game where you must complete tasks on a spaceship while an “imposter” attempts to murder the crew, while staying hidden among them — a person took to the chat and asked everyone what their pronouns were with a “pronoun check.” Most of the players responded with hostility immediately and chose to boot the player from the game by labeling her the imposter.
Even if this player wasn’t the imposter in the game, that person was certainly an imposter in the gaming world.
The gaming community, in particular, has managed to keep the social justice and hard-left community from taking over the hobby. Its most famous battle against this takeover was known as #GamerGate, where gamers of every political stripe, culture, and background united against the social justice imposters that infiltrated gaming culture and wormed their way into the gaming press and consulting professions.
The battle was a net loss for the hard-left, and they’ve never forgiven the gaming community for it. Sites that were dominated by the activist press and ideological tyrants are now either dead or dying to this day.
The #GamerGate movement was a perfect example of how gatekeeping can be done to good effect. While it’s not completely devoid of the social justice infection, the gaming community has managed to stop it from taking over completely, as it has done to so many other things.
Other mediums, such as comic books, movies, and television, have become so rife with hard-leftist thought and social justice messaging that they’ve become worthy only of being avoided. Other subcultures have already fallen, such as pro-sports. The NBA is so infected with the social justice disease that it’s not nearly bringing in the viewers that it used to, and it’s already starting to backpedal. The same can be said for the NFL, which didn’t learn its lesson during the kneeling controversies a couple years ago.
You can see other subcultures going down this road as we speak. NASCAR is one, in particular, that is slowly caving to the hard-left crowd with the Jussie Smollett-ish Bubba Wallace controversy, that was largely proven to be a fake attempt at some people to put those in the hobby on the defensive and make them obedient to the political whims of political activists. NASCAR fans are already fighting back and letting themselves be heard.
Sometimes very much in person.
Gatekeeping is an activity that Americans could indulge in a little bit more. The key is finding out exactly what constitutes belonging to a subgroup. It definitely doesn’t mean attempting to keep people out who have an interest, and there are definitely varying degrees of acceptability whether it’s light participation or heavy.
However, there are definitely those who would seek to subvert a hobby for personal or political gain. Oftentimes, it’s a mixture of the two.
These people definitely need to be kept out and their complaints ignored. They aren’t really fans of the subculture. Anyone who wants to fundamentally change something could never be considered a fan. If you told your significant other that you loved them but you wanted to fundamentally change who they are, then you truly don’t love them.
The same could be said about a hobby.