A manifesto for female identifying gamers (or more simply “gamer girls”)

A couple weeks ago I posted a video that I had been working on for a LONG time. About nine months actually. I had the idea for it when a friend of mine posted this article on my Facebook wall. Basically it’s about the experience that many women have when playing video games online…they are sexually harassed simply for being female.

This is an experience I myself have had, and why I tend to shy away from MMOs. I’d rather have fun, without being asked what I’m wearing thank you very much. And for me, simply muting my headset and not listening to that garbage isn’t a solution. But stopping this behaviour all together…now that would be something.

SO, I wrote a script that addresses this issue and I sent bits of it to women of all ages around the world who I met through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. And they sent their videos back. It was a slow process, but eventually I was able to gather all the pieces and edit them into this:

I am incredibly proud of my work, and I fully stand behind the message presented in this video. There is no excuse for the kind of sexist, racist and homophobic behaviour that goes on in the world of online gaming. It is unwarranted, uncalled for, and unnecessary.

I understand “trash talking” when you’re in competitive mode…but let’s not get personal. No one benefits when other people feel excluded, especially when gaming. After all, you need TEAM PLAYERS in order to game.

I understand that not everyone agrees with me, my message, or my means of expressing it in a video. Some people have commented on the “irony” of this message coming from an account called “SexyNerdGirlPresents”. Some people think that I am just sexualizing female gamers myself, and perpetuating the stereotype that all girls who game are conventionally attractive objects of male fantasy. To this I say  I chose the monicker ‘Sexy Nerd Girl’ for myself a little over a year ago. I wanted something direct, no bullshit, and that expressed how I feel about myself.  Not how I want other people to feel about me. People can think what they want… but I feel sexy, and happy, and confident. So yay.

Other people think that by making a video about this that I am being “an attention whore“. (this I find HILARIOUS btw) I suppose people who spoke up for civil rights were also attention whores? And people who make PSAs about the dangers of smoking? To be honest I never thought I’d have to fight people to get a POSITIVE MESSAGE into the universe. I was very surprised to see what a backlash there was to this video, and I ask myself why would anyone have a problem with people who have been abused standing up for themselves?

It disturbs me that so many people have the opinion that it would be better to be silent and accept the status quo, then to campaign for positive change. Women especially were angry about this message. There were a lot of people who said: “just deal with the abusive comments, and stop drawing attention to female gamers.” I’m happy for some people who don’t have a problem with being harassed, but not everyone is like that. Some people would rather that negative attitudes changed, and that women could play and be themselves without having to worry about having their XBL inboxes bombarded with sexist remarks and come-ons.

Also, to the people who think this video was about simply “drawing  attention to women who game”, maybe you missed the point and you don’t know what abuse I’m referring to? If that’s the case, please check out the articles/websites I’ve linked to above as well as a few others. There are a LOT of examples out there of the kind of hate speech that I’m hoping will come to an end.

Some viewers have suggested that I’ve “made a video to hide behind”. This just baffles me. Hide behind? My face, my name, and all my social media platforms are connected to this video. People have the freedom of dissent… directly to my inbox. And the women who graciously donated their time to make this video – they also bared their identities for the public. I only hope that they aren’t attacked by trolls. I think the video made it pretty clear that they had had enough of being under attack.

Another popular opinion amongst comments is that “iphone games” are not in fact games. No? I would argue that iPhone is simply a new platform in the gaming market. You can already group-play on several iPhones with a Wifi network and in a few years, you’ll be able to play MMOs on your iPhone as well. I included iPhone in the list of “consoles” because I was incorporating the present gaming climate and looking towards the future…and it IS the future. That’s a Val guarantee.

And along the same lines as the previous comment, people have suggested that Atari should not have been included in the list. I’m assuming that people who suggested this are under the age of 30, or even 20. Gaming pioneers are not gamers? These trolls need to check their facts. Furthermore, I think this in-fighting amongst gamers is part of the same problem. Not everyone feels like they’re on the same team. There is the male vs. female argument (we’ve established), but there are console wars going on as well. Who cares if you play on PS3 or Xbox? This is just fighting for fighting’s sake. And what should be an inclusive community of nerds becomes exclusive and aggressive. Nerd on nerd violence. Gross.

But, as a positive response to my manifesto, this video by NewChallenger was posted. I’m really excited by the spirit of this video, although ideally women won’t simply have to “mute the dickwads”…hopefully the dickwads won’t be dickwads anymore, and they’ll mute this behaviour themselves with a little encouragement.

People have suggested in comments that if you don’t want to get picked on as a gamer girl or girl gamer, that you should simply hide your identity as a female, and don’t use a “sexy” picture or a “sexy” username. But the message in my video was meant to challenge people to ask for a world where it won’t matter what picture or name you want to represent yourself – people will treat you with respect…and not be dickwads about it.

It has become clear to me now that campaigning for change will result in backlash. Change is scary. Especially for the “privileged people” who will have to give up some of their privileges in order to accommodate the change. But just because something is hard, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for. And the change is happening already. The number of women gamers is growing rapidly, but of course not everyone has accepted this reality, or embraced it. This will take some time, but I’m confident that the future’s lookin’ pretty nifty.

Anyways, thank you to everyone who supports the pursuit of equality. :)

Rant over. End of line.

**And also, please feel free to leave a comment if you like!


an ally!

I went to the coffee shop again this evening – this time to bury the hatchet with that barista who I’ve made my enemy.

But…..(luckily for the coward in me) she wasn’t there!

I gamed in peace with a chocolate chip cookie by my side.

And not only was I left to my gaming…but I was given the thumbs up by another barista. A nice gentleman barista who smells of vanilla beans!

His name: Josh. His game of choice: Word Scramble.

We talked for awhile about games (which he fully supports!) and he even gave me a free hot chocolate. Okay, this place is the best. Well – will be the best after I deal with my nemesis….

hatchet burial?

Okay – I feel kinda bad about insulting that barista on the internets before even talking to her. Maybe she didn’t even realize that she hurt my feelings when she asked me to leave?

Did you ever think of that, Valerie? Well, did you?!

Uh…yes. I did. Just now. Thanks, me.

Suit up!

After a long internal debate I’ve decided to stand up for iphone gamers in coffee shops everywhere! No more getting disrespected!

I’m sneaking into the belly of the beast this afternoon on my break to game! (Hopefully my nemesis, angry barista lady, won’t be there)

…or hopefully she will and I’ll give her a piece of my mind!

Time to suit up, and take a stand for justice.

warm hands, warm heart

Ugh. Was still feeling weird about my red pill/blue pill conversation with Guy and so I wanted to get out of my house for a bit and be distracted.

I’m at the coffee shop right now, feeling much better with a yummy chai latte in my hands on this cold and snowy day. (btw, snow at the end of March? wtf? Pathetic fallacy much?)

I’m blogging away at the moment, and will soon settle into a relaxing time with my phone and some platform gaming. Yum…distractions…nanaimo bars

Video Mashup Challenge #1

My first Video Mashup Challenge. The goal is to name the sources of the clips in the video below. Guy managed to get all of them in 4 viewings. He’s what my mother would call “a smart ass.”

The answers are below in special Sexy Nerd Girl invisotext.

1 Akira
2 Mogo (Green Lantern)
3 Harvey Pekar of American Splendor
4 Astonishing Xmen (Joss Whedon’s run – AMAZING!)
5 Avatar the Last Airbender
6 Bane Breaking Batman’s Back (BATMAN: KINGHTFALL)
7 Batgirl:Destruction’s Daughter
8 Joker trying to break Comissioner Gordon (BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE)
9 Blade Runner
10 Carnage & Venom (SPIDER-MAN)
11 Cowboy Bebop
12 Cowboys And Aliens (Can’t wait!)
13 Dark Night Returns (Frank Miller at his finest)
14 The New Frontier (DC – AMAZING!)
15 District 9
16 Doctor Who (The End of Time)
17 Doom
18 Dragon Ball Z
19 Final Fantasy XII
20 Freaks and Geeks
21 Fringe
22 Ghostbusters
23 God of War I
24 Half Life 2
25 Halo
26 Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1)
27 He-Man
28 Hellblazer
29 Highlander
30 Indiana Jones III
31 Iron Man 2
34 Moon
35 Mortal Kombat
36 Star Trek (2009)
37 Ong Bak I
38 Pokemon
39 Powers (Bendis & Oeming)
41 Pride of Baghdad (AMAZING!)
42 Quantum Leap
43 Resident Evil 5
44 Sailor Moon (Tuxedo Mask)
45 Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Toronto never looked so good!)
46 Serenity
47 She-Ra
48 Spider-Man 2
49 Spirited Away
50 Star Trek: First Contact
51 Star Wars Episode 4
52 Sucker Punch (Babes kickin’ ass – this is gonna be great!)
53 SUPER MARIO BROS. (Nintendo Entertainment System)
54 Superman’s Funeral (Spoiler alert!: Doomsday did it!)
55 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the movie – still holds up surprisingly)
56 The Fifth Element
57 The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (the movie)
59 The Matrix
60 The Road (the book was better)
61 The Sims (Livin Large)
62 The Wrath of Khan
63 Thor (sooo many muscles)
64 ThunderCats
65 Tomb Raider: Underworld
66 Total Recall
67 Optimus Dies (Transformers: The Movie)
68 Tron Legacy
69 Twin Peaks
70 The Walking Dead
71 Watchmen (possibly the best comic ever written)
72 World of Warcraft (Cataclysm)
73 X-MEN (the 1990′s cartoon – so good!)
74 Y The Last Man (Mmmm Yorick)
75 Zombieland

Done and Done

It’s over.

There I was, sitting in my jim-jams, thinking of what exactly I was gonna say to Coffee Boy, when lo and behold he materialized at my front door, like I’d summoned him just by thinking about him or something (imagine! I’d probably get to attend Hogwarts!). I meant to do it right then and there, just get it over with, but before you know it he’s sitting on my couch ‘showing me how its done’ in Meat Boy once again. And man, as I watched him jump over razorblades and make those tricky jumps, I was seduced again. I mean, I’m not Ben Grimm, I’m not made of stone!

But then, just as I was getting set to jump his bones, it started: ‘did you know the real term is Expresso, not espresso?’. That was all it took, and I realized that he just ain’t for me! I did it quick and all at once, like tearing off a Spiderman band-aid. Anyway, I think he’s ok with it, I told him that he needed to meet a girl who shared his interests. I like coffee as much as the next guy, but hey, I bet there’s a girl out there who’d share his love of a good French roast! Anyways, he left, and I told him I’d see him around at the Coffee Zone. What we had was too good to last. The best part of waking up…was Coffee Boy, for a night or two anyway.

Oh, and guess what? I beat Super Meat Boy, all by myself. Looks like I just needed a bit of practice and self-reflection. Next up: working on 1 credit clearing my extensive collection of Cave shmups! Onwards and upwards!