Hello, friends. I write you with a heavy heart. I know you are tired of reading about this subject, but it needs to be repeated until it is actually heard. There is a world I want to be a part of and that place is one where I am accepted because of me and not judged because of my gender. Bear with me please. I am one of those women who was afraid for a while to call herself a feminist based on the stigma that is (unjustly) associated with it. I tried out other terms such as “humanist.” Until I realized that wasn’t helping anything I was appeasing people and hiding behind a name out of an irrational fear that that tricky “FEM” would cause such unbearable trouble. One day I woke up and was like “FUCK IT.” It was like a weight was lifted. Until I was approached and asked if I was a lesbian or if I hated men. Of course not. When I dislike people it is not based on gender, skin color, sexuality, or religion. Most of the time it’s because that person is an asshole. I know you are wondering why is she rambling about this. Well, due to the fact I was born with a vagina, I have encountered some disturbing things when it comes to my hobbies. Particularly in the gaming world.
Let me give you a few examples of what I mean based on my own personal experiences:
More times than I can count, when I have told people of my passion towards gaming, the responses have been off-putting. “Is this because you are trying to find a new way to get closer to men?” “ What games do you EVEN play?! Farmville? Candy Crush?” “OOOOOhhhh that makes sense. RPGs are for girls” “So was your favorite Final Fantasy the one with all the girls? You know where they had multiple costumes?” This is only a fragment of what was thought to be appropriate to say to my face. Never have I thought to ask someone “Oh, because you have a penis that means you are really into racing games, sports, or cars? Right? Because those are your only interests?”
Online I have joined discussions on games in public forums and been dismissed because of being born a woman. I have had people send me personal messages finding it appropriate to degrade or sexually harass me. Luckily, I haven’t been violently threatened (as many women have) with rape or physical harm. My opinions have been dismissed with “What do you know? You’re a girl!”
I avoid cosplay because I have a fear that if I dressed as some of my favorite characters people would take that as an invitation to cat call or, WORSE, touch me. Only because I dared to show my cleavage, legs, or stomach. Let me be clear IT IS NEVER OKAY TO TOUCH ANYONE OF ANY GENDER BASED ON HOW THEY ARE DRESSED. I have a male friend who was harassed based on a how he chose to cosplay. No deserves to be groped because you have the hots for the character they are portraying. Nor is it okay to slut shame anyone because they altered the costume to what made them feel was more to their taste. It isn’t Slutty Whatever, it is a personal twist on a favorite character.
I could continue on for pages… but no one needs that either. So what I yearn for more playable heroines. How is this harmful? Women gamers take up 48% of our culture that’s a lot of ladies “pretending to attract men.” Shouldn’t we be heard? Why is it so easy to dismiss us?
I’ve also been so lucky. I have friends who support my hobbies never judging me based on how I look. I have a father who never held me back because of being a daughter. I have a partner who encourages me to be myself. I am truly blessed in this aspect. As well thank every one of them for seeing me as a human. I love you. Is it so much to wish and hope for a world full of more men like them? I don’t think so.