Toxic Geek Masculinity
IMPAKT x Dutch Media Week 2020
Location: Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Moderator: Shay Kreuger
Was fantasy entertainment an influence on the toxic landscape that has been fertile ground for the alt-right? For the Dutch Media Week (3-11 October), IMPAKT organises a special evening with talks, screenings and debates to explore the ideological influence of fantasy entertainment. The programme is a collaboration with Beeld en Geluid.
Fantasy holds a strange but enduring fascination. Just look at the popularity of films such as Lord of the Rings, series like Game of Thrones, and long-running games like World of Warcraft. With its depiction of a fictional, medieval-like past with often more ‘traditional’ gender roles, a marginalisation of people of color, heavily leaning on white saviour narratives and an escapist nostalgia for a more authentic life, it creates a troubling contrast to our changing world that particularly challenges the predetermined authority of white men.
The controversy of #Gamergate, in which female game journalists (a.o. Anita Sarkeesian and Zoë Quinn) challenged sexist game tropes and subsequently suffered horrible online attacks, proved foundational in the rise of the alt-right and the manosphere. It turned out to be the result of a long period of recruitment of disaffected young men by white nationalists. Steven Bannon allegedly even viewed gamer culture as a fifth column in the Trump insurgency.
Was fantasy entertainment an influence on the toxic landscape that has been fertile ground for the alt-right? It has become clear that digital fan culture has been shaped by these nostalgic stories of fantasy, which have been echoed by the ideological programmes of the alt-right. Now that a new post-truth style of politics is blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, a critical re-appraisal of the role of archetypes and tropes in 21st century fantasy is necessary. Before we suddenly find that this world of fiction has become our reality.
Due to the new recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Toxic Geek Masculinity will place online. You can watch and participate to the discussion via the live stream. Attendance is free, but registration is recommended through this registration form.
See also programme on the Dutch Media Week website
Shay Kreuger― Moderator
Energetic, talented, experienced, eager to learn and a bit cheeky: That’s Shay! As producer of a documentary, as a reporter, as host or as an inspiring speaker. She started her radio-career in 2007 with FunX. On her Radio2 show ‘Wat een week show met Shay’ she discusses the highs and lows of the past week. In 2016 Shays dream came true: she made a documentary. In collaboration with VPRO Dorst she created the documentary ‘Brieven van Pancho’, a three-part docuseries about writing prisoners, inspired by her written contact with a detainee. Television and radio are not the only media where Shay can expose her talents. She travels throughout the country as a stage host as well.
Linda Duits― Speaker
Linda Duits is a social scientist specialized in popular culture, gender and sexuality. She is a geek and podcast creator (Onder Mediadoctoren, Geeky Dingen), and affiliated with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) of Utrecht University.
Dan Hassler-Forest― Speaker
Dan Hassler-Forest works as Assistant Professor in the department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. He has published scholarly books and articles on science fiction, cultural studies, media theory, anti-capitalism and popular culture, and writes frequently for more popular platforms like The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He has recently completed two books on the work of Janelle Monáe and the intersections between race, gender, and sexual identity in capitalist media industries.
Lennon Fokkens― Speaker
Lennon Fokkens is a board member and former chairman of BIJ1. Since his early years he has been involved in LGBTI+ activism and mainly focuses on LGBTI people of color. As a black man who himself is a member of the LGBTI community, he believes it is important that children who do not see their identity represented in the media now have someone they can support themselves in in the future.