Thursday, April 21, 2016

Confessions of a Female Gamer

I found this rant in my archives, which I apparently never actually posted. As it deals with some of the same things I just talked about in my other recent post, I figured I'd just add this to the mix.

One thing you should know before we get going is that I use the term "gamer" pretty loosely.

I specify this because the majority of the world hears "gamer" and thinks "video games". Which is not necessarily wrong. It's just that I happen to be manifestly terrible at most of the video games I've tried, with the exception of duck hunt, and a couple driving games. Weirdly, I'm not too bad at virtual vehicles.

I have always been a game player, though. Computer games, board/card/dice games, various athletic competitions... those three things almost exclusively defined my teenage years. Throw in books, movies, and church, and you've got my entire personality generally covered. The point being that, for the purposes of now, "gamer" refers to basically any type of game.

And so, with no further ado, I present to you my confessions:

- Did You Know that I once (in Halo 3) drove one of these across a gaping chasm on a piece of rebar that didn't even stretch across the whole gap?

(So explain to me why I'm so terrible at hitting things in Halo with anything smaller than a rocket launcher. Because I seriously have no idea.)

- Did You Know that I RPG?

I'm not the most experienced player ever, but I'm still kind of in love with them. I own a horde of polyhedral dice, three of which are giant and light up. I even made my own bag for them, and I'm kind of proud of how it turned out.

- Did You Know that I might be a little bit, kinda, sorta, maybe, hopelessly in love with Himura Kenshin?

(Hey, don't even be judging me because he's animated. Most of you were in love with Dmitri from Anastasia during our growing up years, and it was only because he was cute. He wasn't even awesome until the end.

Redeemed russian con man... redeemed best-swordsman-in-all-of-Japan who has devoted the rest of his life to protecting people and working to make up for the wrongs of his past... Pretty sure I have the high ground here. :P  )

- Did You Know that the very first time I held an actual non-BB gun, (9mm) the only training I had at all was "Hold it like this", and I still hit 12 out of 16 shots in an honestly not that shabby grouping on the middle of the target?

Well... technically 14 out of 16 if you count those two over on the far edge. But I'm not sure if I do.

(From this far away.)

So sure, it might not be the coolest thing that anyone's ever done, but it's something that I actually could do okay at with no previous experience whatsoever. And that's awesome.

- Did You Know that the second gun I ever held (that same day) was a .45, and with it I hit this target 2 out of 5? (Which, by the way, was more than several of the experienced shooters actually got that day.)

Do you even see it?

I didn't think so. Allow me to zoom in a little.

That's the guy. All one foot of him. If even that.

- Did You Know that swords make more sense to me than a whole lot of other stuff in this life? It's just a thing. I don't know why. They're one of the very few things in my life that I get really serious about. Do not mess with my swords.

(If you read my last post, you probably did know this. But it's as relevant as it ever was.)

- Did you know that I've made and sold over 600$ worth of Harry Potter wands?
- That I have successfully completed the rough drafts of five novels, polished two up to being publishable (so far), and am working on another six atop those, not counting short stories?
- That my high school record for shot put still hasn't been broken?
- That I once placed in the state track meet for throwing that distance?
- That I have never been unable to solve a sudoku puzzle?
- That I once carved an entire chess set out of wood, using only an exacto knife and pieces of sandpaper?
- That Puzz 3D's come easy to me?
- That I memorized the Christmas story out of Luke 2 before I was even old enough to go to school, and I still remember every word of it?

The point is that there is a lot of crazy cool stuff about me that I feel should be appreciated.

But Did You Also Know

- that I never played as a female character in a game until I was 28? And I only found out when the GM started calling my character 'she' and I was taken totally by surprise?

- that I have been called "sir" more often than some men have been?

- that I always got hot wheels instead of barbies at McDonald's when I was a kid? (yes, on purpose).

- that I hate skirts, and LOATHE dresses?

Okay, you probably all know that one. But did you know that the reason why has nothing to do with them being uncomfortable, like I usually claim? It is, in fact, entirely possible to find dressy clothes that don't cut off your air supply.

- that the real reason I hate dresses is because I don't look like this in them?

(I'm seriously sad that I couldn't find a full shot of that Marian one, because it rocks.)

- Did you know that I am, in fact, manifestly uncomfortable around all things girly?

When you offer to give me a makeover, or teach me how to put on makeup, I know you mean well. I get that. But it makes me feel very awkward, and not at all appreciative. Sorry.

- Did you know that I love sweet costumes and halloween, but I don't do that much cosplay because I feel uncomfortable with the girls' costumes and feel stupid wearing the guys' ones?

I have been known to say "It's not fair. Guys in movies and history have all the best costumes. Women's costumes are stupid."

I here amend that statement: "Guys in movies and history have all the best costumes, if you hate dresses." Which I do.

- Did you know that I've only once, in my conscious memory, dressed up as a specific, very non-gender-neutral version of a female character for my halloween costume? And that it was one of the biggest flops of a costume that I have yet achieved?

Yeah, I tried to be River Song. It just... so did not work. On like 12 levels.

(I did Elphaba once too, actually, but let's face it. Black jeans, a cape, and green face paint do not Idina Menzel make. It was as neutral as they come.)

- Did you further know that I am very super definitely not gay?

(Because I KNOW that's where some of you were going with this. *rolls eyes* But the complications involved in that discussion are best left for another day.)


Why then, did I type this enormous introduction? Why did I spend so much time talking about all of the feminine things that I am terrible at?

Because despite all of the awesome things that I can do, and the cool stuff I've made, and the (hopefully) good friend I've been, I still have a very low idea of my societal worth, because of those things above.

Yes, even in the world of gaming and nerddom, where, theoretically (and imagine me saying that with the most sarcastic of tones), acceptance and being-who-you-are-ness is the order of the day.

Because I sit there and wonder "Gee, why on earth do I so oppose playing the women in these games? That's absurd and sexist."

Until I see this:

-Because when I'm choosing between people to play in an rpg, I hear "But she has to be this one. It's the only girl. She can't play a guy."

(That happened this week.)

-Because when a group gets together to go shooting, and a girl wins the contest, they make the announcement like this, "The Tri-ward Champion represented the 147th ward well! (She even beat the guys). Way to go (name redacted)!". 

As though, were it not for the specificity there, we would naturally assume that the winner was only the winner amongst the women present. That it had to be specifically stated (with an absurd measure of incredulity) that a girl actually beat out male competitors in a shooting match.

(This happened TODAY. 14 years into the 21st century.)

-Because people say phrases like "That was ballsy", "Man up, already", "He had some serious testicular fortitude", "Grow a pair,", "Nut up, or shut up".

As though being the weakest, most unprotected and easily stunnable part of a man's body is still better than being womanly.

(These happen from my own family.)

-Because nine out of ten Cosmopolitan issues have sex tips, quizzes, or articles advertised on the front. As though that's really the only thing women should care to learn about anyway.

(Google "Cosmopolitan covers". I was startled too.)

-Because scantily clad ladies are on the covers of men's magazines AND women's magazines.


but when men are on the cover...


As though men are the products of their career's, choices, words, and looks, but women are the product of how they look in a bikini.

I think you get the idea.

Don't get me wrong. There is good media out there. But it's so darn hard to find.

So why did I write this post, you still ask?

Because I'm tired.

I'm tired of feeling useless, because of the way that people see my not-supermodel shape.

I'm disappointed that it's such a rarity to find motherhood actually praised instead of downplayed in media. That in all the tv shows I've ever seen, there has thus far only been one with the message that being feminine and acting in the role of a mother in no way decreases your strength, worth, or ability to protect. That it, in fact, is very important and influential".

I'm tired of being surprised when a character is classy, beautiful, kind, sweet, wicked clever, and awesome in a fight all at the same time, and doesn't have to wear a steel bikini "to prove it".

And I am SO DANG TIRED of finally finding these characters, and then having the idiot fandoms do this to them:


And those are BY FAR not the worst ones I accidentally came across. But I'm not putting that kind of rubbish on my blog.

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