Why I Oppose GamerGate

There are some things that cannot be denied:
-There are women on the internet who are being doxxed.
-There are women on the internet who are receiving threats of rape, violence, and death.
-There are women on the internet who are afraid of having that happen to them.

This. Is. Not. Okay.

Guess what. I, too, am a little scared. Who wouldn’t be? Guess what else. I’ve decided that, for me, the message is more important than the danger. I believe in something bigger than myself. I believe in equality.

So, I’m going to speak up. I’m not going to stop talking about this until things change.

It’s easy to tell people that if they don’t like something, to not play it. You know what, though? Women have been told variations of that their whole lives. So have those who are queer, nonbinary, and/or POC. You know how things change? By chaining yourself to the goddamn fence even if it means being clapped in irons. Again.

The truth is, the gaming world is not bad. It’s amazing, and I’m proud to be a part, even now. There are games I like for relaxing (Skyrim, Frozen Free fall, etc.). There are games I like for thinking (Mass Effect, Prince of Persia, Dragon age, etc.). There are games I like for killing shit (WoW, LotRO, Bayonetta, etc.). There are games I like when I just want something to do (Lego Star Wars, etc.). There are a lot of games out there, and many of them are awesome.

I don’t critique games because I hate them. Sure, a lot of them have room for improvement. It’s because I like them, enjoy them, and care about them, that I point out their flaws. I want them to be more equal. I want them to be all they can be. Because I care. And so, I criticize.

Because I love this community and care about it, I want it to be better, as well.

And so, I criticize.

Misogyny is not OK.

Sexism is not OK.

Elitism is not OK.

GamerGate is not OK.

Anyone who willingly associates with a group that is guilty of harassment, doxxing, and abuse needs to seriously rethink their position.

GamerGate is NOT gaming.

+5 to Sexterity Vest

The sexual objectification of women in video games, specifically MMORPGs, is an extremely divisive topic. The world of MMORPGs is vast, so I will focus on the two that I have played the most: World of Warcraft (2004) and The Lord of the Rings: Online (2007).

Case 1: World of Warcraft

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Not gonna lie, there’s a part of me that looks at WoW toons and thinks, damn, she’s hot. But, of course I do! If no one looked at the toons with the “damn, she’s hot” thought, then they wouldn’t be drawn/rendered the way they are. It’s purposeful. It draws people in. As one of my guy friends once said, “I always play a girl, because if I’m gonna stare at an ass, at least it’s a hot one.”

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If we don’t take a stand, though, who will? The exact same piece of armour looks very different on a male toon as opposed to a female toon.

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Sure, it can be nice to look at something attractive, but what kind of message is being sent? What kind of message has been sent for the last ten years?

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It’s one thing to give someone the option to dress their toon in revealing “armour,” it’s another to make it their default option.

Case 2: The Lord of the Rings: Online

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If WoW is about “how sexy does she look?,” then LotRO is about “does she look like she fits in?”

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Sure, LotRO has a pre-conceived world to play in. There are certain expectations based on the descriptions given to us by Tolkien. There are certain expectations from those whose only introduction to Middle-Earth was the movies.

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Unlike WoW, however, you don’t have to guess what a piece of armour is going to look like on someone. It’s the same, male or female.

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Without the “distraction” of tits and ass, the emphasis can be more easily placed on actual gameplay.

Yes, these games have been around for years. Yes, they’ve sported the same styles of clothing for their toons. Yes, our silence has provided consent.

Are we going to continue to stand by, and say nothing, however? Why are we surprised that women gamers, nonbinary gamers, queer gamers, and gamers of colour are looked down upon and objectified, when this is what they are presented with?

And why is ANY gamer okay with this?

Unfortunately, this is nothing new in the world of gaming. But, if we’re going to learn anything from the GamerGate fiasco (aside from some people are terrible excuses for human beings), it’s that there are important issues and we should stand for and accept nothing short of equality.

Power to the [Male] Players

“Can you give me some game recommendations?” I finally ask the employee. He’s been ignoring me.
“Uhhh… what are you looking for?” He gives me a look that says I’m bothering him.
“I want a game that has a female protagonist and is third person.” I pause, then look pointedly. “I’d rather blow shit up than play volleyball on a beach.”
I’m met with a blank stare, before he turns and grabs a game from the shelf. “Do you like fantasy?”
“Sure.” I’m open to most things as long as they meet my requirements.
“You should play Skyrim, then. You’ll like it because you can spend all your time customizing your character and make them look how you want…” He proceeds to start going into great detail about character creation.
I wait patiently for a moment. “And what’s the combat like?”
“Oh, you can use swords or magic, or whatever, but, what you’ll really like is that you can pick what you want to wear…”
I try not to look frustrated. “Do you have other recommendations, as well? I’m collecting ideas right now. I already have Mass Effect, Dragonage, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.”
He stares at me. “Um, you really won’t find games with women in them… we don’t really have any. Are you sure you really want to play a girl?”

This is not unusual treatment in game stores. This is also the twenty first century. Women earned the right to vote almost 100 years ago. Why, then, must women still face misogynistic treatment whenever they walk into a game store?

As a friend of mine, Kiery, said about their trips to GameStop: “I’m walked up to and addressed in ways that feel like I’m either being flirted with or need to prove my gamer cred. Sometimes it’s almost like I’m the only female bodied person that they’ve seen and that just feels…gross.”

Once, when checking out, the clerk noticed I had a copy of Aragorn’s Quest. He immediately suggested Shadows of Mordor to me. I explained I was not interested, as it wasn’t lore consistent, whereupon his attitude turned condescending. He acted like I was a child and began to tell me how it was just like Lord of the Rings, and you got to find out who made the One Ring. I blinked and told him that Sauron forged the Ring. He got defensive, and told me yes, but, not the other rings. Oh, of course, I agreed with him, those were made by Celebrimbor. He looked flustered, and then tried to tell me how you would find this out in the game, and you would meet familiar characters from the movies. I smiled and explained I had read Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, the Unfinished Tales, and all of the Histories of Middle-Earth save Children of Hurin. He dismissed my explanation and continued with his unsubtle implication that I didn’t know what I was speaking about.

I have faced experiences like this nearly every time I’ve been to GameStop and other game stores. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Los Angeles, Virginia, or New England. There is a correlation between how I dress and whether someone comes up to me in a store.

This is wrong.

This needs to change.

Women are not somehow “lesser” than men when it comes to video games. Women should not feel unsafe when visiting game stores. If it truly is power to the players, that means all players, not just the men. A customer deserves to be listened to, regardless of their gender.

It’s time that GameStop, game companies, and local gaming stores started a dialogue with women and nonbinary customers.

We’re players, too.

Not an Important Demographic

“You’re not a large demographic.”

“You’re unimportant.”

“You’re not what sells video games.”

Dear world, wake up. It’s 2014 and single white men in their parents’ basements aren’t the only ones who play video games anymore. It’s 2014 and the word “gamer” no longer applies to unwashed, unsocialized “freaks.” Being a “gamer” is not an exclusive club with membership available only to those who can properly execute the Konami Code.

Unless you’re a woman. Then things get tough.

Dear world, it’s 2014. Why do I receive blank stares when I enter a game store and ask for recommendations for my console that happen to feature a female protagonist?

Yes, it is true. There are games that feature females, or the option to play females. Games like Mass Effect, Skyrim, and Dragonage present the exact same options for male characters as for female characters. MMOs like The Lord of the Rings: Online, World of Warcraft, and Rift do the same (some are better than others, but, that is another discussion). Games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 offer female characters as options. And there are a handful of games where the protagonist is actually female, like Bayonetta.

These games don’t even fill a whole shelf in a game store, however, and game stores have a plethora of shelves.

How women are presented in video games is important. Whether you like it or not, women are now a part of the game industry, both as developers and consumers, and they are here to stay.

As a consumer, I have a right to speak up about how people like me are presented in video games. I have a right to be offended by the treatment given me. I have a right to demand that the products being offered are more inclusive and equal.

I expect that those providing the commodity will listen to me, and to others like me, about what we want. I expect that my fellow gamers will support me and other women in taking a stand.

A woman is not an object for sexual gratification. A woman is a person. You are a person. I am a person. We all hold the potential to be capable of equal things. We all deserve to be treated with that equality, whether in real life or in video games. Our interests are just as varied as our male counterparts. We have every right to expect to be able to play a woman in Halo, as we do in an RPG.

We will not be silent until our voices are recognized.

We are an important demographic.

Ready Player 1

Thanks to both lifestyle changes and medication, I am able to start doing things again that I haven’t done in sometime. One of these things is gaming. And, since I’m currently not on speaking terms with the MAKO, it’s time to turn my attention to new and better things.

Despite some altercations (mainly sexist) at my local GameStop (that’s for another post, and believe me, there will be one), I managed to emerge rather triumphant on Sunday.

Most notably: A long-awaited *RED* 360 controller. And it’s not even shiny. And it has black accents. Can we say made for Mara? On the plus side, I believe that brings us up to four controllers now, so we can have a full game of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2…

I also walked out with 3 games for the Xbox 360 and 1 game for the Wii. I’m a little hesitant about the Wii, as the only games I’ve played have been WiiFit and Mario party games. Oh, and bowling.

The Wii game is “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest.” It has received mixed reviews, but, sword-fighting, and 3rd person action as Aragorn? Plus, if the partner wishes to join me, he can drop in as Gandalf. We’ll see how this one turns out.

Next, the games for the 360:

-Watchmen The End is Nigh Parts 1 & 2: Another game with mixed reviews, but, the partner and I are still arguing over who will get to play Rorschach. I guess Nite Owl just isn’t quite as interesting. ;) This game is mostly for when we want to try something new together, and aren’t back to making progress on Lego games.

-Skyrim: Late to the party, but, fashionably so. I’ve clocked about 4.5-5 hours of gametime so far, and feel like I haven’t made much progress, other than lying to some poor girl about a letter and accidentally following the guy who thinks I should join the Imperials (they wanted to kill me without knowing who I was, I think NOT). Stay tuned for some Skyrim updates.

Aaaaand….

Bayonetta. A third person action game featuring a witch who relies on magic and firearms. Sounds like my type of game. This was suggested to me by the incredibly helpful employee-in-training at my local GameStop, and I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

Alas, the dulcet timbre of a midterm is calling my name, so, I will have to wait until later this afternoon to rev it up.

visi BI lity

Today is Bisexual Visibility Day.

Part of me wants to hide in a corner, because I feel about as bruised as the Bi Pride flag can look. Part of me wants to stand up straight, proud of myself and those like me.

It’s hard to hear that you don’t count, that you’re making it up, that you just want attention, that you’re just trying to be “special.” It’s hard when you get excited about where marriage equality is passing, and in response to you using the term “we,” you get snapped at by another person who identifies as LGBTQ, because you’re currently in a relationship with the opposite gender, and so are “basically straight.”

It was months ago when that happened, but, I still remember the sting as if it were yesterday. I came into work, very excited about the passage of marriage equality, and came up to my lesbian coworker. “Did you hear that we can legally marry in [state] now?” I wasn’t prepared for the vitriol of her reaction: “There is no we, it doesn’t apply to you. You’re dating a guy, you’re basically straight, so why should you care?”

No, I didn’t argue that day with her. It was something I’ve heard from family and friends and acquaintances before. I get tired of defending myself; it’s easier to nurse wounds on my own.

My sexual orientation has nothing to do with whether I am monogamous or polyamorous. My sexual orientation doesn’t change based on with whom I am in a relationship.

I am bisexual.

All that means is that I don’t care about your junk, I care about you. I like you, regardless of how you identify, and regardless of what “equipment” you do or don’t have.

I still remember when I first admitted to myself that I was bisexual. It made sense. It was like a weight had lifted off of me when I did so. It put into perspective how I just really REALLY admired these women, and clearly just wanted to be like them… or be in them.

Bisexuals have to contend with negativity both from heterosexuals and from other LGBTQs. We are not out there cashing in on straight privilege. We don’t become lesbian and gay when we are with the same gender. We don’t become straight when we’re with the opposite gender. It doesn’t make us “non-practicing.”

When you go out, don’t assume someone is either homosexual or heterosexual. Take the time to educate yourself about bisexuality, and the issues that bisexuals face. Be aware of how you interact and what you say. Be an ally not just to L, G, T, and Q, but to B as well.

It’s easy for everyone to pass us over. Don’t do that. Help us see that we are visible, too.

It’s the Little Things

It really is the little things that count.

Rolled myself out of bed and dragged myself to university this morning. There was quite a bit of back and forth between Financial Aid and the Business Office, and then between Campus Security, the Registrar, and IT. Apparently (for the latter) a name change is a bitch when there is more than one system involved. However, after much patience was expended (and no tears… I am grateful I took an anti-anxiety this morning), I emerged successfully checked in, my tuition paid for between scholarships, grants, and loans, a new parking decal, and a new student ID proudly showing my new name (I opted to NOT have a new picture… Campus Security was making me grouchy and I wanted out of there).

I came home and my partner had french toast waiting, and swiftly added some maple sausage to that. We snuggled, we watched Phantom Menace, the kitties snuggled, and the cable guy came to bring us a new cable box. Turns out if we want to watch Outlander, we have to watch on the HD channel — which we didn’t know we got. At least we’re set for next Saturday…

Progress was made in the house. Several loads of laundry and dishes have been done. The hallway and living room have been vacuumed. The table is now in the hallway, as opposed to the (C)raft room, awaiting a clearing of space in the basement. My desk is set up in the (C)raft room, and I am awaiting one school book. I can register for classes after 10:30am tomorrow… I’ll be at work, then, but, am hoping to do so from my phone. Crossing my fingers. ;)

My poor sunburnt legs are getting better… I wore jeans today and they’ve only bothered me a little. Taco-seasoned hamburger is on the stove and a bottle of mead is opened. Soon the sound of rolling dice will carry me away until it’s time to sleep.

And yesterday was good. Yesterday, we built character’s for the D&D session that J is running. I’m playing a High Elf Sorceress. Acolyte background. It’s gonna be fun… especially since I talk Orc to the half-Orc in the party. I speak Common, Elvish, Orc, Sylvan, and Goblin. Let’s hope that’s enough… at least I’m proficient in Perception, at any rate.

Is it time?

Lughnasadh has come and gone, and I’m ready for the season to start changing. I can practically taste the crisp cool air of autumn on my tongue, but, it’s only ever just out of grasp.

I have my first batch of soup made and in the freezer. As soon as I’m not broke (which should be any paycheck now, I hope!!!), I’ll be buying bulk cheese and mixing up a batch of cheesy corn chowder to freeze as well.

The plan for today was to make some bread and freeze it, but, the world is singing to me and I cannot deny it long enough for bread to rise. The only reason I am inside now is that I am waiting for my time limit on the permanent crown to expire so I can EAT. I will probably bake some cupcakes just because in the meantime.

Sunday was a turning point, and I feel as though my soul is singing, despite the path ahead. But, that’s how it is with Her.

I’m busy combing other recipes for ideas to make ahead and freeze. The driveway at my house is akin to the opening crescendo of a roller coaster — we have no uninvited guests. ;) Still, with the cold weather coming on, even the thought of a little ice makes me uninterested in traipsing (let alone driving) down the hill, and thus, my hearth witch comes out in force.

I suppose it’s a rise in my motherly and naturely instincts. Either way, I intend to not let them go to waste.

I have a new job (I am so glad I am no longer unemployed–I hate that feeling!), university begins Wednesday next, I have a house I am ever so slowly turning into a home, I have a kitchen I can work in, three darling cats, and a wonderful partner.

Time to whip up some ginger sesame chicken and rice.

Settling In

I received our new highball and double old-fashioned glasses this morning. Super excited about that… they look beautiful:

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As far as fitness goes, I’ve made it to day 2/30 for my 5-Minute Plank challenge, and just started my 30 day walk to run challenge with a 15 minute walk/run combo this morning. It was quiet and beautiful and worshipful. I am trying to focus more on cardio and HIIT to drop the excess fat and burn calories, whilst doing some basic upper body strengthening exercises, since I really need that for both work and pole dance.

My pantry cupboard is reorganized and that alone makes me happy. I need to spend some time tonight and tomorrow morning/evening straightening up the upstairs, but, there’s really not much to do, now that we got the dishwasher working again. I need to make a trip to Home Depot, maybe Sunday, to get the right plug for my dryer (rather than using the old dryer that came with the house) and lightbulbs for outside the house. Still working on cataloging the books and unpacking the rest of the boxes in the basement. I need to build some shelves/cabinets… I’ll probably turn the dresser in my craft room into shelves instead of drawers, for easier storage of fabric.

Assuming the rest of my order from Williams-Sonoma gets here tomorrow (or Saturday), I can proceed to making bread on Sunday. Since we got the chest freezer, I have ROOM and can freeze things. This makes me practically giddy.

DH and I have been playing cribbage every night this week without fail. It’s an alternative to Sentinels (which is still played frequently… I just tried out Parse and she’s really interesting) and xbox. Since we finished play-through of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 whilst the stepson was here, I’m not really keen on playing through it again. Unfortunately Bioshock: Infinite is only 1-player (still not convinced that FPS are that great, but the story is both intriguing and triggering), and Mass Effect only becomes 2-player when I’m ready to Hulk-Smash my tv because I hate driving the MAKO.

P found me a washing machine drum, which we are going to turn into the base for my firepit. I just need to be able to afford the stones, and I will turn part of my backyard into a nice patio with a firepit. I’m really really excited about this. I’m also trying to see if I can build my own porch swing for less than it costs to buy one.

It gives me something to write to my sister about, who is, alas, still stuck in Army rehab. Right now, we’re each averaging about 2 letters a week to each other and it’s better than nothing. Least amount of contact we’ve had in over 10 years of knowing each other, eesh!

The spiritual side of things is on the up-and-up I think. I feel really good about stuff. There’s been a lot of hard work, and there is even more yet to come. I started ADF’s Dedicant Path, and am posting about that on a specific journal, just for it.

Now that I’ve waxed long about my life, in which you are entirely uninterested, I may or may not have something to report in a couple weeks on the job front. Positive thoughts and energy are requested… I need a consistent paycheck.

I’ll Be His Mrs… My Own Damn Person, thank you

I have made it through wedding planning, through the wedding and the various debacles presented therein, through the trials leading up to the honeymoon, and through the honeymoon. I have emerged fairly unscathed, considering all that was involved.

 

Since I have a month before school starts up again, I’m working on getting my house sussed. Unpacked, organized, decorated, etc. I have some artwork up on the walls and some family photos. I’m looking forward to getting some wedding photos up, as well.

 

I have a desk to set up in my room — my goal is to get that done this weekend. I’ll be moving my table down to the basement and organizing that. Our new chest freezer has proved very useful. Next on the list is to create a list, and probably computerize it, of what we have in fridge, freezer, and pantry. Pantry reorganization is nearly complete.

 

My altar is set up and all my magickal things are organized. Just got hangers and will be doing costumes next — then finishing fabric.

 

Next on the list is transitioning over to clean eating. Mostly moved my pastas over to whole wheat, and tortillas are next. I am thinking of making bread once a month. I want to start acquiring smaller amounts of vegetables and fruits, but getting them on a regular basis. I want to get rid of as much canned food as I can. I’ve been cutting back on my milk intake, which is good, and discovered I don’t mind vanilla almond milk for smoothies.

Once the stepson leaves, I can really get on with my workout schedule and meal schedule, as well as chores.

 

My attempts at plants were rudely interrupted by the unknown entity who mows my lawn, but I shall try again next spring, and probably look into some raised beds. I want herbs, and vegetables.

 

A day in the life…