Thank you Chicago & AERA. It has been indescribable. Looking forward to DC next year! Hopefully the weather will hold out just a titch longer & I can extend my stay next year to include Smithsonian days. Unfortunately I barely viewed Chicago’s wonders beyond a comic book store, a few queer bars, & the park with the giant metal bean.
Currently I am warming myself in a Chinatown cafe before boarding my bus back to New York City. Games for Change begins on the morrow & I know I am ill prepared. Hopefully the bus ride provides sufficient time to process the wonderful research I was exposed to over the last week. Special thanks to Dr. De La Vega, Vanessa Folds, GLSEN researchers Emily Greytak & Joe Kosciw, Dr. Meyer, Jake McWilliams, Dr. Stevens, James Gambrell, Catherine Kemeny Gambrell, and all the others that I can’t seem to hold in my head. You made this a great event.
My Vlogging broke down and I have yet to edit today’s video (yesterday did not happen) but feel free to check out my vlogs listed below:
Just ’cause it is pink doesn’t mean it is for girls.
I walk into a game store and…
No one comes up to me asking what I want. No one questions my interest in Halo. No one smirks when I coo (yes, I cooed) over the new Zelda game. In fact, gaming stores and comic stores are one of the first places I realized I could display non-normed behavior someone perceived to be male. If I accidentally squealed in excitement as seeing a new Final Fantasy release on the demo stand someone might smirk a little but it would be with understanding. Games are exciting. Gamers are geeky. Squealing might get you mocked in the locker room but at GameStop you are accepted and respected as a member of the club. If you are male.
I identify as outside the gender binary. BUT my transgressions against my biological sex actually help me fit in deeper with the gamer and comic book crowd. These places were staked out by scrawny geeks looking to have a bit of territory safe from harassing elements that viewed their interests with disdain. Now the male behavior in this space seem extremely territorial. If you do not fit into the geeky male archetype you are viewed with suspicion. Someone biologically female actually gets a double whammy of alienation and harassment.
Many women go into one of these spaces and suffer overly attentive clerks when they just want to browse. My friend related the story of buying Grand Theft Auto and being asked who she was buying it for. She seems to have suffered the swath of prejudice and suspicion that I never experience. She sighed over the Legend of Zelda game she was buying for me. The sigh was probably because she knows I think Link is hot. Apparently someone in the store guffawed. Her word, not mine. If she had squealed over the Sims (something she bought for me) would they have treated her with increasing hostility?
Why should she have to prove her gamer cred? Why should anyone? Yes, gamers get territorial but that doesn’t mean it is right. In fact I find the fact that male gamers behave in these ways very distasteful. Uncouth. Disgusting. I get that membership in a group of privilege often causes blindness to the benefits. I have my own privileged blind spots to figure out as well. Hopefully my friends and colleagues continue to graciously point out when I start taking someone else’s struggles for granted.