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Anti Bullying with Frags and Beer

VivianJames

Vivian James

With convention season in full swing, and our own visit to C2E2 coming up in a few weeks, I want to talk a little bit about bullying and harassment at conventions.  These events attract a lot of people.  In 2014, C2E2 alone boasted about 63,000 attendees.  It’s only natural that a few bad eggs will show up in a batch that large.  Just this year at MagFest, a cosplayer was harassed for dressing as Vivian James, a sort of mascot for The Fine Young Capitalists as well as the online consumer revolt against corrupt gaming journalists.  This is just the most recent case of problems at conventions around the world.  Taking this in perspective, conventions receive a great deal of scrutiny because they are supposed to be a place where people gather to share interests, fun, hobbies, and build a network.  In reality, it is like a small city descending on an area, sometimes no bigger than a city block, policed by staff who really aren’t police.  I’ve been going to conventions for years now, and despite the size, scope, and all the horror stories, they tend to be relatively safe, but that doesn’t mean we should take the atmosphere of a convention for granted.
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Don’t stand in the green stuff and heal the tank…

When you first approached me about the topic the idea sparked a lot of immediate emotions. Both as a gamer and a game developer it kind of angers me a bit that women still aren’t really ‘meshed’ into the community just the same way men are.10514580_869880693025644_7412229315058129210_n

For a guy to come into any game room and start playing is no big deal, depending on their skill level. For a woman to pop into a game room, they are unfortunately faced with a vast array of reactions. Everything from neutral, ‘hey, sup?’ reactions all the way to the creepy stalker gamer who tries to follow them out of the game and onto Facebook and from there potentially in to real life. It’s a really scary thought process.

As a guy, when a woman comes into a game I even still do my own analysis. Primarily my reaction is to sit back and watch how others react. I of course offer a general greeting, but I’m automatically on the defensive FOR them. Not that they need it, but more so that I don’t want a community where I spend a lot of my time to turn into a sandpit of 2 year olds throwing dirt at the girl in the boys club – it’s ridiculous. Of course I’m assaulted with male reactions of, ‘oh wow, finally, a lady joins the fray of insanity!’. I think that the initial thought process anyone has when a male OR female joins a game is entirely naturally theirs, but how they voice it or express it – is a choice.

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Damsel in Distress

Awhile ago, I asked on our Facebook page if there were any blog posts that our fans wanted to see. One fan mentioned the representation of female heroes in video games. Considering that I made that post months ago, I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. I’ve kept it in the back of my mind. You see, this one particular thing stuck out in my mind so well for a very specific reason; a reason I haven’t shared with our fans or followers until now. Well, now I’m sure you are very curious as to that reason, so I’ll tell you. I’m 8 months pregnant and I’m going to have a baby girl.

So, now I am sure you were going to go into this post with one mind set, but shift gears with me for a moment. I love video games, obviously. I have played games where the female character wanted to be a supermodel or an actress. She was the damsel in distress. She was raped at some point in her past. Funny thing is, I’ve never played a game where a male character wanted to be a supermodel, an actor, was in distress or raped in his past.

Now, to point out how I think about it. I want to share my love and passion for this amazing art form with my daughter, eventually. As does her father. Do I want her think that the only way she can become a hero is if she wants to be a supermodel or an actor? That she needs to play the damsel in distress to win? I can’t even think of the last part.

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Understanding the question

Gaia LogoSo many times I have sat and had the same conversation with Vanri the Rogue and that conversation might surprise you. It’s a conversation that I am sure happens a lot; a conversation that should happen if you don’t understand the topic.

I didn’t understand feminism. I didn’t get it. I innocently thought it wasn’t for me in any way, shape or form. I thought, like so many others, that it was a bunch of – pardon the phrase – feminazis who were demanding everything in the world be un-girly. We honestly have such screwed up views as to what it actually is because there is no positive explanation of it in our everyday lives. When it’s brought up or portrayed, it is always given a negative undertone or worse (to me), chalked up to ‘girl power.’ *shudder* Not everything females do can be summed up in a Spice Girls song.

Well, Vanri sat me down and schooled me. She did this after I had said for the millionth time, ‘I’m not a feminist.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, dear, Crymson but you are.’ Ok, maybe not just like that, but you get the gist. She sat there and listed off all of the feminist things that I do on a daily basis. You know what #1 was? If you guessed Real Women of Gaming, you’d be right. Talk about a wake up call.

This is what she explained or, more importantly, how I understood what she explained.

Feminism is the right to choose, to decide. She explained that it isn’t unfeminine to be a stripper (which I totally assumed), it’s oppressive to not have the ability to decide if you want to be a stripper or not.

I was seriously floored. Was it really that simple? Yeah, apparently it is. When we lack the ability to make those decisions, the same ability men have, then it is oppression.

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Why I need……

Gaia LogoMy name is Crymson Pleasure of Real Women of Gaming and I need feminism. I’ve been an avid gamer since I was a child and I am sick and tired of being told to prove myself. As a gamer, as a geek, I am more hardcore and passionate about my D&D characters than most people are about anything.

I need it so men will stop asking me if my breasts look as nice as my avatars. So I stop getting asked to send pictures to prove I’m not a guy playing a girl character in World of Warcraft. That is not my husband whooping someone’s ass in Halo with me on the headset. Bitch, I’m just that good. That I don’t play trading card games because my husband asked me to. Goddess forbid I actually enjoy something on my own or have my own thoughts, opinions, ideas or *GASP* interest.

Because I’m not some 400 lbs hermit with 50 cats playing a game, who has never had a boyfriend or sex. Nor am I a whore/slut that will date/have sex with you just because I happen to be female and playing a game. Also, saying no doesn’t make me a cold frigid hateful bitch; it makes me a human being with a choice. I didn’t pick up my boyfriend/husband/brother/friend’s controller and, no sir, I’m buying this video game for me, not the man of the house. Promptly and quickly shove it up your ass.

I’m not a man hater. I’m a troll hater. I want the same praise that you’d give anyone for doing well. I want to not fear talking over the headset because I know the second I am recognized as being a women, I am instantly a target for sexism/hatred/some weird fantasy. I also expect the same shit talk without my gender being brought into play.

I want to play without fear of being outed or targeted. I want to play.

So shut up and play.

~Crymson Pleasure~

Coexist

Can’t we all just game along

 

Get AlongSomething very interesting happened to me the other day and I want to share it with you now. As much as I don’t want to say ‘I hope you see the lesson here,’ I really kind of hope you do.

I play League of Legends.

I started playing League of Legends at the suggestions of some other page Admins and a few fans of the page. I won’t say I’ve never been into PVP (Player Vs Player) because I enjoy it to an extent and sometimes I get very carried away with it. I either stream curse words about the match or I am extremely quiet. If I’m grouped with people I will attempt to help them as best as I can. However that usually comes out as me screaming, ‘There is some F&^K WAD BEHIND YOU.’

I play a healer/support character in LoL (League of Legends). Now don’t give me that ‘girls make the best healers’ crap because, I swear to Sylvanas, I will come to your house and kick you in the nuts so hard that squirrels will cringe for your pain. As I was saying, I play a healer. Why? excellent question. I’ve always played warriors, scrappers; they wade in and beat the crap outta everything until it’s dead. One thing was brought to my attention. A little bit before WoW (World of Warcraft) a friend made a joke calling me Leeroy Jenkins* and I didn’t get it. My husband laughed because he did and I was informed that was an accurate description of my play style. Even after I learned what that name meant, I still did it. I was famous for running out of a battle screaming in Vent (Ventrilo) ‘Oh shit Oh shit Oh shit…..’ cause I was about to be owned. Even better were the times I forgot I was a squishy (easily killed character, i.e cloth wearer). I would be running away from something screaming ‘I am NOT a level 70 Warrior, I am NOT a level 70 Warrior’**. I always waded in, be damned everything else, and tried to take things out. Hell I STILL do it. I really don’t care either.

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A Feminist Review of Fable III

The reason why I love Fable III so much may be fairly obvious already. While I appreciate the comedic themes throughout the story and the allusions to the previous two Fable games, the thing I like the most about Fable III is the fact that you can choose to be a strong, independent woman. The female Hero can be dainty and elegant (a spell caster who prefers dresses, maybe) or strong and aggressive (a melee fighter who likes armor). Either way, she’s exactly the way you make her, which I think is a revolutionary concept. The level of customization in this game is absolutely superb.

While Microsoft Game Studios gives you an introductory story of a girl who’s under the control of her brother and almost forced into a hetero-normative relationship with Eliot, she has the chance to break away from the oppression and become a true Hero. She’s the leader that Albion has been waiting for; the Queen that can rule better and far more justly than her evil brother. So, after she comes to her senses, when her brother forces her to choose between Eliot’s life and the life of innocent townspeople, she escapes her own prison and sets out to overthrow King Logan.

While I know this is the same storyline for the male Hero, it is important that the female Hero’s storyline was not altered simply because she’s female. She’s a complete badass who is totally capable of overthrowing Logan and becoming the Hero of Albion. She has all the same choices as the male Hero and it totally fits. And the best part is that she’s not exactly the same as the male Hero, but with breasts. You see too much of the media trying to push the feminist ideal as women who act like men, when it’s not. The female Hero in Fable III can act like a man, sure, but that’s completely up to you, which is what feminism is really about. It’s okay to act really feminine. It’s okay to act masculine. It’s okay to act however you want to, as long as it’s your choice.

While I usually always choose to be with Eliot once I’m in the castle, I like the fact that you can choose to break that hetero-normative cycle. If I want my Hero to be a lesbian, she totally can be! I think it’s important to have that option. It teaches the people playing the game that this lifestyle is not a bad thing, and thus promotes love. I think it’s awesome that one of my best friends always plays as a gay man, every single time. Well… except for the one time that he had his character marry mine for the Xbox Live Achievement. He cheated on me with Eliot, though…

My point is that this video game doesn’t force you to play in one constrictive male-dominated storyline. Sure, we’re all completing the same tasks and dealing with a lot of the same people, but we’re all making different choices and ending up with different outcomes. While playing any other video game over and over may seem repetitive, I could play Fable III a million times and continue to be amused and delighted by it. Until I find another game with this much customization and freedom with my female character, I think it’s safe to say that Fable III is and will remain my favorite video game.

-Vanri the Rogue