Web Crush Wednesdays: Let’s Play Social Justice

When we get bored online, we all have different things we turn to. Some people reload their Tumblr dashboard until something interesting happens, some get lost on TV Tropes for hours, and some people turn to YouTube videos. While I’ve only briefly made it known that I do partake of Let’s Plays here and there (a Let’s Play being people on the internet recording themselves playing through a video game), my love for them goes much deeper than I’m willing to say. And sometimes that’s because these beloved Let’s Players are extremely problematic. In a over-saturated sea of content, it’s all too easy to run into players who make triggering statements or are just plain racist or sexist—apparently believing that if comedy isn’t “edgy”, it’s not comedy at all. Luckily, this is where Michael and his blog, Let’s Play Social Justice, come in.

Formerly known as Feminist Rooster Teeth, Let’s Play Social Justice encourages fans from all parts of the Let’s Play scene—from Game Grumps to Yogscast to AttackingTucans—to come together in a safe space when they may be told to silence themselves because they’re being “too sensitive” from other fans and the Let’s Players themselves. As Michael states concerning the purpose behind the Tumblr:

Let’s Play Social Justice is a blog that posts content regarding social justice & the Youtube Let’s Play community, both together & separately. It is a critical blog that posts/discusses worries, concerns and opinions from the fandoms of popular let’s players. LPSJ also posts trigger warnings, general fan posts/gifs and general social justice content.

LPSJ is a place for those who might otherwise feel ostracised in the let’s play community to be fans in their own way. It is a place for fans to come and find some solidarity where they otherwise might be told to shut up, or be sent hate. Anonymous asks are always on so that people can share critical opinions without fear of community backlash. LPSJ is a place that advocates that it is possible to be a fan of something without excusing oppressive content & slurs. It is possible to be a critical fan.


When YouTube's biggest star is an Let's Player, it might be time to give these things a closer examination. (Art by KyuuNatsuki @ DeviantArt)

When YouTube’s biggest star is a Let’s Player, it might be time to give these things a closer examination.
(Art by KyuuNatsuki @ DeviantArt)

In an era where the phrase “your fave is problematic” has become little more than a joke, it’s so important to keep reminding people that problematic things shouldn’t be shrugged off with a laugh. For fans, this means accepting that your fave probably is problematic, and what that actually entails. Fans need to know how their comments can hurt others, and how negligence of a deeper understanding of these issues only serves to hinder the community as a whole. As a fan of Rooster Teeth myself, I know full well the desire to want to just brush problematic things off since I do like most of them as people, but I also understand the hurt and discomfort that comes from hearing sometimes downright disgusting things come from their mouths. For content producers, LPSJ gives a good representation of things fans should look out for, and even just a basic way to go about figuring how and what to trigger warn for. Content is not produced in a bubble, and for those LPers with widespread audiences, it’s imperative to know exactly what kind of message you’re sending out to your audience—your audience will emulate you, and it’s up to you what kind of precedent you want to set.

Michael and the people who respond on LPSJ are incredibly helpful from the social justice side of things. It’s typical to see reasons why something is problematic (if asked) instead of just saying that it’s so. Given the general climate of the gaming community—which is really boiled down when it comes to LPers—having a space like this for educational and safety purposes is a huge undertaking, but one that is sorely needed. I definitely recommend giving this site a look if you want to know which LPers to watch out for in terms of problematic content, or maybe even just getting in touch with other fans who want to watch with a more critical eye. Check it out on Tumblr or Twitter.

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