Effraeti's RP

One Woman, Two Timelines, Two Destinies.

Gamer Girl and Non-Feminist

Let me preface this post with the fact that against my better judgement, this post – written in that dark time period of it’s so late it’s early – was transferred to my blog nearly verbatim from my notebook.  I figure a blog is like a journal and a journal is like a stream of conscious and this is more like a mind dump than anything.

This is no term paper.  I have no thesis statement or points or conclusion – though I suppose that might make it easier to follow.

But anyway, very rarely do adamantly state an opinion, and though of opinions I have many, I am no debater.  So take my opinions as you will.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So in a very strange turn of events, I have discovered I am spending far more time reading about WoW (mostly via my ever-increasing Blogroll) then I am actually PLAYING WoW.  Now, I am quite happy either way, and never have I shied from expanding my gamer knowledge, but the pendulum has swung so far from center and its normal place, that I find myself feeling slightly unbalanced by the change.  But the plethora of information, and great information at that, in just the WoW Blogosphere is almost overwhelming.  So much so, I find myself hesitant to add some really great blogs I have recently discovered, for fear I cannot give them all the attention they are due.

It makes me wonder how others manage all this information?

The reason this balance is currently plaguing me is some intriguing reading material I have apparently been missing out on has come to my attention.  I spent a good portion of the wee hours of this morning trying to catch up on Google Reader and some of the various stories and poems and such inspired by Mr. Bear.

While doing so, I came across some posts that led to other posts and brought me from shortly past the end of raid (just before 11pm) up to about 2:30am.  (My schedule is so horribly out of whack right now.  I have almost convinced myself that an all-nighter is in order to make me sufficiently tired enough to get back on track.)

This reading material that captivated me well into the wee hours was a tangent of thought that spanned weeks it seems as well as multiple smaller topics, different but intermingled, and all leading to some of the same basic ideas – sexism, feminism, girls in games, and the ideas of social norms and how healthy they are or are not.

I, myself, will readily admit I feel an unconscious shiver of discomfort upon hearing or reading the words “feminism” and “feminist.”

I think I am disappointed with the fact that feminists feel the need to label themselves, when it seems the whole point is the create a utopia of less distinction and more focus on the person instead of names and labels and differences.  Isn’t it working in the opposite direction to say “I am a woman and a feminist, therefore the rest of you are all on that side of the line over there”?  Or am I somehow missing the point?

From many of the posts I read this morning, I dare say I usually sit more on the side of those “nice guys” who think feminists are all angry men-haters and are of the opinion, “Hey, now, not EVERYONE is a creep.  So isn’t it a little unfair to lump ‘men’ into this huge ball of sleaze just as much as it is unfair for some to try and stereotype women?”

Now, add to this that I AM a woman and I read all of the posts I have listed at the end of this post and I do not care to be treated differently simply because of the body parts I happen to possess.  Also add to this that I have spent most of my life not living within these socially defined stereotypes of “a woman’s place.”

I am a nerd and a tomboy.

I built my computer, I play video games, I spend the majority of my personal interactions via gaming and the internet.  I also get along better with “nerds” than I do others.  I talk better with guys, because I could care less about gossip and hair and shoes.  In fact, it has only been within the last few years that I have begun to carry a purse (and do I ever despise that thing), I only own maybe four pairs of shoes, and my idea of getting dressed in every second I can get away with it is jeans, a t-shirt, and my flannel if it is chilly enough.

In my school years, I was more interested in G.I. Joes and Ninja Turtles than Barbies (in fact, I sold all my Barbies to my friend to buy G.I. Joes – boy, was my mom pissed); I spent my time catching frogs and getting dirty rather than in gymnastics or cheerleading; I took Auto Shop instead of Choir or Home Ec.

As I got older, I worked in auto parts stores, oil change places, full-range auto shops.  Even after I finally moved into an office setting, I got along better with the IT people and my male co-workers than fellow my Admins and women.  In fact, at my last job I was our unofficial “onsite” IT, because out two IT guys worked in different offices and I was the only one they trusted.

Never once have I been told I cannot do something.  Actually, that is not entirely true.  My mom admitted she did not think I could ever make a living writing, and I suppose in the sphere of fantasy and fiction writing, like the next Tolkien or Rowlings, she was probably right.  But as far as cars and computers go… Sure, I have certainly earned my share of funny looks and incredulous glances.

Right or wrong, I take some amount of pride in shattering the preconceived notions of others.  I think it pushes me forward.

Story time!

My very first office job, I started out as a phone customer service rep.  I still do not entirely understand how things progressed from Point A to Point C (and yah, I am pretty sure I skipped at least one step there), but a few weeks later, I was interviewing for the position of the company president’s personal assistant.  I think it had something to do with one of those silly personality tests.

He was a very particular man, but an outstanding salesman and a great business mind, and once I learned those particulars and how best to assist him, we became a very good team.

I remember a Saturday morning (usually the one day of the week he was in town and available enough for us to have a one on one to discuss the prior week and how best to conquer the coming one), we somehow got onto a more personal note and he happened to ask me about my previous position before coming to work for him.  I am nothing if not honest, and had no reservations telling him that I had previously been an assistant manager at an oil change shop.

I will never forget the look on his face – it was almost cartoonish how much his jaw dropped.

And honestly, that kind of sums up how people tend to perceive me and then are forced to change that thinking when they discover the “real” me.

Now, I am not so conceded as to say I am an awesome auto mechanic or a stellar computer tech – I am not.  :)  But it is just the plain fact that I feel I should be competent enough to change my own tire, change my own oil, or diagnose my car at least enough so that I seldom worry of being taken advantage of.  (I still hate the damn dealership – I think those guys are out to screw everyone, male or female, because they feel they can.)  <grumble>  At the same time, I feel I should be competent enough to clear a printer paper jam or change a freaking toner cartridge or even walk through more serious diagnoses over the phone with someone more knowledgeable.

And I admit, I get giddy over small compliments in regards to these things.

Now, perhaps in an ideal world and an ideal society, I would not take such pride in my knowledge and being recognized for it.  But then again, recognition is usually the difference between doing your job and enjoying your job.  We all want some kind of recognition, even if we do not admit it.  Otherwise, why bother doing anything if no one is going to appreciate it?

BUT consider this…

Every other girl I went to high school with had the same choices of what classes to take as me.  They could just as easily taken Auto Shop or a computer class over something else.  Just as I could have taken Band or Choir or Theatre or Home Ec or whatever.  I made the choice to expand my knowledge in the way I did.

Similarly, every woman I know could just as easily get a job at an auto parts store.  Over my course there, I knew several.  Anyone has the opportunity to pick that form of retail over something else like JC Penny.  I have worked in clothing stores, and they did not suit me.  <shrug>

I do not fault anyone for doing what they enjoy and making choices based on that.

Heck, men work in clothing stores and take Home Ec over something auto or computer related.  I have met guys who know far more than me – and I watch, I listen, I learn.  On the other hand, I have met guys with absolutely no computer or automotive knowledge, and if they have any interest in learning something I have the ability to give – I do.

Now, admittedly, whereas women are more likely to have knowledge of certain things over others, out of preference and individual decision, I might add… so are men!

How often do we assume a man can change a tire?  How often do we assume a man can fix an electrical outlet?  How often do we assume a man knows football or basketball or baseball?

How can we as women justify ourselves in saying we do not want to be stereotyped, when we are often guilty of the same?

Now, on the flip side, I like to cook, but I am awful at sewing!

On that note, time for another story!

The only thing I have ever trusted myself to sew was my dog’s stuffed cow.

She is historically brutal on stuffed animals, especially those containing squeakers.  She is quite systematic about ripping the throat out of them and finding said squeakers and rendering them plastic confetti.

For a long time (in puppy-time, that is) Ender had a stuffed cow that she acquired through nefarious means but was allowed to keep after sufficiently “marking her territory” with her drool.  Over time, a leg or horn or such became torn, but mildly enough that some “skillful” intervention on my part prolonged the life of the poor thing.  My feeble sewing skills and my even more feeble “emergency” sewing kit came to the rescue many times, so many in fact, I eventually named him Frank (short for Frankenstein), because each time I fixed him I had to use a different color string, since my sewing kit only contained a tiny spool of each color, which was enough to enact the appropriate first aid once.

Poor Frank.  I wish his story had a happier ending, but alas, eventually Frank lost all his innards across my living room and kitchen and bedroom and Frank went to stuffed animal heaven.

All I am saying, is it is not a matter of “I am a  girl, so I need to learn girly things.”  I have every opportunity to do whatever the hell I damn well please.  I could go become a circus cowboy.

Whether I am any good at it or decide to make my future of it, is another story.

I can read books and webpages, I can take classes, I can practice my skills – and in the end it is up to ME to decide whether I am any good at it or not.  Or whether or not it is what I want to do with my life.  Cars?  I love cars, and I like knowing that if something goes wrong with mine, I can usually tell my repair shop what it is, but I have made the conscious decision that it is not what I want to do with my life.  Computers?  I love computers!  I love gaming, I love researching online, I love the internet, I love my blog, I love my online friends.  And there are definitely certain aspects of computers that I enjoy enough to consider it as a career.

The only thing stopping me – is ME!  I have not taken the time or effort to properly expand my knowledge to a point of comfort in doing it as a job.  A side job?  An unofficial duty?  Sure!

I am far more limited by own insecurities and plain laziness than anything else.

I know this because I have seen more dedicated women prove stereotypes wrong.  Women are astronauts and scientists and wrestlers and any number of other things that they just did NOT do before that first woman stepped up and said, “Why not?”

We are not where we were 50 or 100 years ago.  When I hear feminists talk about stereotypes and discrimination, I feel like they think we are.

If you want to be a girl gamer – go do it.  If you want to be bull-rider – rock on.  If you want to be a grease monkey – have at it.  But just remember, if you are the minority in that profession, there WILL be people who will question.  There WILL be people who will look at you funny – male and female.  There WILL be people who will use you as a basis for their judgements.

If you were black or Hispanic or Asian and in the same position, it would be very similar.

I am not saying it is right, I am just saying it is fact.  If the Draenei landed on Earth today, they would go through the same horrible process of proving themselves.  Like the TV show Alien Nation.  (Yay!  Nerd reference!)  They were accepted into human culture, but they were always treated different.

That is human nature, boys and girls.

Okie, so it is now 4am, and my brain is finally shutting down.  I will determine later what my whole moral in telling these fragmented stories of myself have to do with anything.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So the moral and point of all this?  Stereotypes suck.  Discrimination sucks.  Perceived gender-roles suck.  The essence of humanity sucks.  Anyone who thinks otherwise has not read enough sci fi.  Because science fiction is based largely on science FACT.  When was the last time you saw a sci fi movie where aliens showed up and all the humans were cheering in the streets.  Never?  Correct, those humans were either terrified or ready to fight, or dissect the aliens…  Same thing with fantasy.  When the Elves or the Dwarves or the Orcs first show up – it is fight or flight mode for humans.  Suppress them because they are DIFFERENT.

Call this an invalid argument if you want.  It is an illustration, and largely the best one I can come up with.

Like I said, the facts do not make it right.  They are just the facts.

Human nature is shitty.

Humans as a whole are intolerant and scared of change.  OMG, that guy said the world is not flat, it is really round?  What a nutball!  Screw him!  OMG, that guy thinks that there is this gravity thing that keeps us all on the ground?  Absurd!  Laugh him out of here!  Humans flying?  Surely you jest!  Other planets?  As if!  Life on other planets?  Please!

I mean, think about it – how many times in history has someone been laughed at and labeled crazy for going against the norm?  We fight wars over that shit.

Hitting publish before I can stop myself!  Muahahahaha!

~ Effy

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For lack of wanting to try and figure out how best to insert these links amongst my early morning gibberish, I figure I will instead list them here at the end.  These are some of the posts that inspired this train of thought:

And finally, please leave your thoughts and ideas.  I do not bite, I swear, even if I am a bit crazy and opinionated.  :)

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107 Comments

  1. Awesome read from a different perspective. Loved it and bookmarking it :)

    • Thank you so much! I feel really good having gotten that out. :)

      ~ Effy

  2. Well, I read O’s post, too, and thought a lot of thoughty thought thoughts, and was thinking of tackling this myself, but damn, couldn’t quite find the right note.

    But thanks for taking this on. I am wary of any “ism,” because it puts of barriars instead of welcome mats, or at least that is the tendency.

    Wish I had known you as a girl. My Barbies wanted to be with those GI Joes, not Kens, and I only had a few neighbor boys with them. (My Barbies had very rich libidos, what can I say? Very liberated.)

    • Matty,

      Quote: I am wary of any “ism,” because it puts of barriars instead of welcome mats…

      Exactly! I think you just summed up in that 15 or so words what I was blathering on about throughout that whole post. <3

      And throughout all of your posts and our interactions, I too think we would have been great childhood friends! To each their own, though, as far Barbies and GI Joes go… I have never been able to date a guy shorter than me. ;)

      ~ Effy

  3. I love you. This is EXACTLY how I feel. I don’t get along with women very well – I have one friend left from high school that’s a girl. I play games, and cuss wildly, and have a total of 6 pairs of shoes, 4 of them being different colored chucks. Sure, I do some girly things too. I cry easily at certain things (you should see me blubber through part 2 of Harry Potter 7), I try my best to make my hair tame (doesn’t work).

    I’ve always thought if you don’t want to be treated like a stereotype, then don’t ACT like a stereotype. Stereotypes suck, but they exist FOR A REASON. If you can break out of a stereotype, by all means you should do it. Nobody deserves to be treated like crap, whether they be women, men, black, white, Hispanic, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, gay, straight, etc. Sure, there are some terrible men out there who think of women as objects, but there are women out there that do the same damn thing. It’s human nature, and like you said, human nature sucks. But that’s how we’re built.

    And hardcore feminists scare the fucking shit out of me. Don’t take away my boys! I won’t have any friends left! D:

    • Gneisha,

      I totally agree! I do not want to have all my friends labeled “bad.” I mean, I certainly do not hang out with the jerky guys!

      I am so bad too! I cried during Harry Potter! I cry to Animal Cops. Heck, I cry over commercials sometimes… ><

      ~ Effy

      • I watched a marathon of Animal Cops one day. 10 hours. I was a soggy, puffy-eyed, snotty mess. It was GREAT :D Nothing wrong with a good cry XD

      • Gneisha,

        Yah, Animal Cops really does it for me. But I also have this weird obsession with Law and Order: SVU, which tends to upset me almost as much. (Animal cruelty is somehow more inciting, though.)

        ~ Effy

  4. *1 Internetz

    Why is it so hard to look at the PEOPLE around us and see them for who they are instead of which bathroom they use?

    • Arioch,

      Right on! I feel like I run around treating everyone equal, and somehow that is incorrect too.

      ~ Effy

  5. HappyFace

    It’s a really nice post, (Nice doesn’t really cover it ) and I’m sure you aren’t alone out there. Atleast I am here, and I can put myself into most of what you are writing. I feel the same, in fact I’d say gaming has left a huge inpact on me, and my life, and on the person I am today. Your post has touched me in a great way, and I kinda want to (I don’t know why) to share my own story (I tried to keep it short) about gaming.

    However what kinda makes me extremely annoyed, are those girls out there, who concider themselves as “gamers” and are basically following the trend, and the only thing they play, and the only thing they’ve ever played is World of Warcraft, besides a few online FB games. I am not sure if I am the only one who feels that way? What makes a true female gamer? Is it the ones who are flashy about it, or perhaps the more subtle female gamers, who don’t really care wether they’re female, or alien or whatever – but only care about the game?

    Many girls have been out there, gaming since early 90s, if not even earlier. However, as a girl, I remember how I was never invited to LAN parties, just because I was a girl.

    Not because I was a bad gamer, not at all. In fact I spend long time online playing Diablo and Starcraft and I became quite good at it. I never cared about me, being a girl, in fact a lot of people I played together with, didn’t knew and never found out, I was a girl. I never really told any, not that I was afraid to, but because I didn’t really felt like it mattered.
    I remember a few times, I said I was a girl, and a lot just laughed and thought it was a joke. Obviously this was way before teamspeak, skype and more media were brought into gaming.

    Later on, I went up in the top 10 ladder in europe, playing Warcraft III Reign of Chaos, and I found myself leading one of the best clans as well, this was pretty much the first time in my life, I actually felt accepted.

    Because I was “different”, I started out being bullied at school in a very young age, because all the others looked at me very different. I was playing with the boys, such as you were mentioning in your post, you got along with guys a lot better than girls, and it was the exact same with me.

    However the girls found it wierd, started bullying me, and shortly after the guys started to do so as well, but in a more physical way.

    It didn’t help either, that I wasn’t following any dresscode. I was just dressing up in my brother’s old clothes and I was the first in the class to reach puberty. How nice!

    Not only did I get bullied by my own sexuality because of it, I was also sexually violated through some time.

    My childhood has pretty much sucked. Honestly, it has. But when I look back, I feel like I’ve had a really happy childhood. What makes it great when I look back? Gaming.

    Gaming was the only way for me, to get away from reality, get away from what pretty much always hurt me. Gaming was what made me smile and laugh. I tried extremely hard getting friends and I tried to be open thowards everybody, but I always failed finding friends due to my different interests, and people constantly sticking to what’s known and mainstream.

    In the end, when I started online gaming, a whole new world opend up to me. I could actually get in touch with people who had same interest, people who would listen to my problems and I could actually slowly start telling people about my childhood and what had been stacking up on up my shoulders for several years.

    Today I’m an extremely social person, I’m doing extremely well, I have a great life, nothing to complain about, and I don’t know where I would have ended if I couldn’t escape into the world of gaming.

    Just another story from a female gamer.

    • HappyFace

      And to add up on the feminism part. I highly dislike it. Fair enough fighting for equal payment or rights, however I find feminists to be very narrow minded and not really open to what’s different. What reminds me of my childhood, where no one liked me, because I was different. Obviously, kids are very cruel when it comes to when being different.

      But I’ve managed to get along in a “man’s” world quite well, and a lot of others have too. I don’t believe it is because those women are feminists, in fact, I believe they go far, and get sucess because they don’t give a s…. what gender they have, but they do, what they wanna do, and nothing can stop them.

      • i hate feminists too. i hate how they fight for equality for both men and women and combat a very misogynistic society. i hate how, when the entire world is against them, they band together and tell each other a very important: “you are not alone. there are others like you, others that accept you.” i hate how they fight against a world where THEY ARE SEEN AS DIFFERENT, as Others, as second-class citizens.

        i hate how you’ve taken their very real fight and compared it to kids being rude to other kids.

        it’s incredibly shitty of you to say “well *I* made it in a man’s world, why can’t these OTHER women do it”. you’re placing a horrifying standard in place, one where anyone who hasn’t faced the same outcome as you is Othered, including women who have it worse off than you have or ever will.

        as for this blog post in general: you do Applecider a disservice by linking her harassment post and and saying it inspired you in any way. you should honestly be ashamed, effraeti.

      • I linked AppleCider because I believe she is a strong woman who has gone through some horrible circumstances. I linked her because my thoughts were a direct result of reading that post and the others I listed.

        Never, anywhere in my post, did I say I am against feminists or any other group of people. I spoke my opinion. I told a small part of my tale.

        What I did not tell in my post was the fact that I have been the victim of rape, and though I blame the man who did it to me, I do NOT use him as a blinder to what others are. I do not use it as a flag to say “poor me.” That one moment has in some part defined me in every sense from that day forward, but I do NOT let it run my life. Alternately, if I were in AppleCider’s position, and still dealing with him daily, I cannot even imagine to guess how I might handle that. I cannot say I would handle it better, I cannot say I would handle it worse. Because I am not in that position.

        All I can share are my thoughts and my feelings.

        Shame on YOU for belittling the opinions of others. You are no better than the very people both I and your fellow feminists hope to eradicate – small minded and intolerant.

        ~ Effy

      • HappyFace

        As for kids. In my oppinion, my experiences prove that neither girls or boys treat anyone equal, wether it’s same gender or not, as long as somebody is different. Which starts by placing kids in boxes from age 0.

        So again, it is an equality between everybody, not only about women and men. I have been put aside by women just as much as men, but purely because that I’m not a stereotype, not because I’m female.

        I don’t see why all the hate, should be brought in, all of the sudden, I don’t think that defines people who are with, or against feminism at all.

      • HappyFace,

        Actually, children are not born prejudice, it is something they learn from their environment, family, and friends. Children are taught to view people of different colors as different, and that girls and boys are different. This is not something inherent.

        That said, it stands to reason that children also learn the concept of bullying. Bullying is usually an outlet for feelings of helplessness elsewhere and a way of dealing with feelings of inadequacy.

        Once again, it does not make it right. But one thing that helps me push ahead is learning why.

        ~ Effy

      • HappyFace,

        Thank you for the heartfelt reply.

        I am not trying to say that anyone who has been picked on or teased or told they could not do something is in the wrong for stepping up and fighting back. I do not think anyone should ever have to deal with bullying in any manner.

        I also do not fault those who do not fight back. Because honestly, what difference is mouthing off to one bully going to make. There will be more bullies. There will be more hurtful words said.

        I was teased a lot as a kid, too. I was never “popular.” But as I got older, I came to accept that kids are just freaking mean, and it is a vicious cycle. I regret to admit that there were kids I picked on, likely, just because it was done to me all the time. I think being bullied was where I constructed my force field of sarcasm. Make fun of me, I shrug it off with sarcasm. Make me uncomfortable, I will use my sarcasm as a shield.

        The important part in all of this as developing our own feelings of self-worth. There are things to this day I do not think I can do. For example, I am scared to death of rollercoasters I am not sitting in… legs dangling? standing up? No thanks. And that particular example is not even something I was told I cannot do. It is something I have told myself I cannot do.

        I think my underlying message in this post was meant to be just that, and I touched on it briefly, but sometimes getting the words right and right where you need them is the hardest part. But basically…

        More than anything, I think we are limited by what we think we can do. Others can state their opinions, and heard enough, yes, we start to believe them. But ultimately it is OUR choice to decide to listen or to push on.

        ~ Effy

    • HappyFace and Zhiana,

      I also wanted to comment on the questions about the definition of a Gamer Girl.

      I use the term somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as I think like other labels… nerd and tomboy, for example… it is more of a matter of how we define ourselves.

      I had to giggle a little when you, Zhiana, mentioned painting your nails. I may have more male than female friends, I may like cars and getting dirty at times (less so than when I was younger), but I also engage in some more feminine past times. I always have my toes painted in the summer, because I prefer sandals to anything, and I like the dots of pink. Hey, there we go – for that matter, I like pink! I love pink!

      I have been a gamer all of my life, though. As for a Gamer Girl, I think it is kind of a silly term. It is no more than exactly what it says – a girl who games. Beyond that point it becomes a matter of opinion. Just like nerd. I hold some sort of pride in labeling myself as such, even though it had its start as an insult. Now, it is a badge of honor in many ways.

      People tend to hate on what they do not understand, and those who possess qualities the hater lacks. It is shitty to deal with, but I just try and remind myself that if I did not threaten them in some way, they would just go about their own business.

      ~ Effy

  6. “But just remember, if you are the minority in that profession, there WILL be people who will question. There WILL be people who will look at you funny – male and female. There WILL be people who will use you as a basis for their judgements.”

    The problem is, that often those people are still in the majority. The examples I gave in my post were just examples of the many many others I could have included and they are just my own personal experiences. When added together with other people’s, the picture becomes uglier and uglier.

    I am well aware of the fact that I chose not to pursue my childhood dream and at the of the day, that choice was 100 percent my own. Sure, it was based on the options of a variety of others, including my father who didn’t think that it was wise that “a girl who looked like me should be in a 99.9 percent male environment”, his commanding officer who thought that I would “probably be sexually harassed as a minimum but probably raped and would I be capable of dealing with that without causing a fuss (I suspect that’s shorthand for not telling anyone, especially the police)” and a female officer who served with my father and had some pretty awful stories of her own to tell.

    That is my issue. Not that as an 18 year old I chose a different path but that someone actually mentioned rape and not making a fuss in the same sentence when giving careers advice to an 17 year old. I don’t want to be a Feminist (to borrow from the Imp… “can’t we just all get along?”), having endured a term reading studying “Gender, Feminism and Sexuality” and being told on more than one occasion that I was a “failure as a feminist” by my Professor, but the world around me has pushed me down that path. Yes, the world is a “shitty place” but when I read the new headlines, I sometimes think we’re going backwards not forwards.

    I’ve always hated people trying to define others based purely on gender. My husband and I could almost be twins in our likes and dislikes (apart from the fact he loves peanut butter and I think it’s disgusting unless baked into cookies). We’re both aggressive (drivers and gamers), we both like fast cars, we’re both excellent shots (me because I grew up on military bases, him because he’s a redneck at heart). So much more goes into defining a person than their gender and I’m hoping that one day everyone will see it like that, until then, I intend being as rude as possible to everyone who tries to throw the fact that I’m a woman in my face.

    Also for my tenth birthday I got some action man figurine, a plastic AK 47 which made a semi realistic noise when you pulled the trigger and a My Little Pony castle set (diverse tastes, what can I say :P). Looking back, my parents were fairly awesome at being absent minded present givers, although I think my mother was just glad I was willing to settle for plastic gun.

    P.S if this comes across as ranty, sorry, that wasn’t my intention, it’s just once I got going…. I guess it’s something I care about more than I thought.

    • Erinys,

      Please do not take offense to what I wrote. I wrote this early this morning, and upon laying down I actually had your post open on my browser, which I did not read until just before I started typing it. I cried and I almost scrapped this entire post. The whole time I was typing I thought about that absolutely infuriating and inappropriate moment that I believe would have shattered my hopes in that regard too. I think it was those thoughts that ultimately sent me off the deep end in my wrap up.

      I am once more crying fully reading your comment, as I was able to only glance at it during the whole nuclear explosion that was Twitter, my phone and my blog during that short time period.

      There was no malice aimed at anyone – except maybe society in general. And I do not think less of you or think that it was your fault for not going off and doing what you loved anyway. I think you put far more of yourself out there in your post than I did in mine.

      I do not pretend that inequality is right or fair, or that judgements based on gender are appropriate or acceptable. Maybe my opinions are merely what allows me to get through the day. I refuse to become a pessimist. I believe people as individuals are ultimately good. I do not know if I could ever leave the house otherwise.

      ~ Effy

      • I’m not offended or upset with you (or any one else in the thread). Finding the “courage” to write my own post had brought back a lot of bad memories that I thought were buried forever, leaving me feeling somewhat fragile.
        I suppose there is always a sense of what if, that perhaps I think a little less of myself because I wasn’t willing to fight an uphill battle, that deep down I’ve always hated myself. Reading over parts of your post/a few bits of the comments coalesced that self loathing into something external and I got a bit “ranty”.

        I wish I believed in the intrinsic good of people but my own experiences make me wonder. My husband was at company party last night, one of the first things he told me when he got in, was about a conversion he had with a couple of clients. They were bragging about their female “blow job lips” recruitment policy. Doesn’t matter how rubbish you are at your job as long as you have “blow job lips” and big breasts. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not convinced I’d want to work for them.

      • Erinys,

        O.o

        I am quite convinced I would not want to work for them!

        I do apologize for bringing more unpleasantness to the surface for you. My comments were just as much directed at myself, though.

        I cannot help but think of the junior high-ish saying that when you point a finger, you are pointing four more at yourself. And it is true. The things we get passionate about are usually those that sit in the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves. I do not write this in an attempt to convince anyone that I am in some way better. Heck, most of the tail end of that post was me kicking myself in the pants. I know I could accomplish more. I know in many ways I am lazy and anxious about reaching for something better. But at the same time, I know I could… I know I do not have to sit here and feel sorry myself… I can go out and get many of the things I want.

        ~ Effy

  7. Zhiana

    I’m a nerd, but I’d hesitate to call myself a tomboy. I like to gossip, buy shoes and go shopping with my girlfriends, frolic in the waves and flirt with the lifeguards at Bondi Beach. However I also like to go paint balling, play shooting games, watch dramatic series on TV (I despise Gossip Girl, The O.C etc) and I get along with guys far better than girls.

    Does that mean that I’m less of a “Gamer Girl” because I paint my nails and spend twenty minutes getting ready to go out?

    I’d hasten to suggest that a lot of other gamers would say yes. There’s a lot of predefined stigma associated with being a nerd and a girl at the same time – everyone knows that the stereotype is socially thought of us ‘unattractive’, so when a “hot gamer girl” comes along, the boys might go wild but they’re automatically reduced to being a pair of breasts and an airhead; because, of course, any girl who likes to party and wear high heels has zero intelligence and has nothing of interest to offer. Therefore they also can’t have any skills when playing a game, because all their memory storage is being used up with useless information on how to look pretty, they couldn’t possibly have any “real skills”, they’re just being carried by the raid because the RL wants a naked pic.

    Don’t tell me that this isn’t true – I know that I’ve looked at pictures of ‘hot girls’ on guild forums and I automatically dismiss them as being a bit useless, which is horribly hypocritical, but it’s reality. It sucks.

    So, at the end of the day, I agree with Gneisha :P. Stereotypes are uselsss – they define a majority when applying to a single person, which is ridiculous!

    I’m a girl, I play games, I own about thirty pairs of shows and I’m not ashamed :).

  8. nope

    • Feministrex,

      Though I appreciate the comment, I have to admit I find some amount of confusion as which part you are referring to. Or perhaps just all in general, which is suppose is fine too, as you are as welcome to your opinion as the next person.

      ~ Effy

      • just nope to your whole post.

  9. HappyFace

    Maybe it’s just me, but the word “hate” is being used a bit too much for my liking in all these reponses, which isn’t fair thowards the this topic. But that’s just my oppinion anyway.

    • HappyFace,

      Indeed, I hate the word hate! ;) I think we should replace that word with something less offensive… like heck and frack and jeebus.

      Okie, I think I got that sarcasm thing over and done with for now. But seriously, I agree that is a very strong word, and I am sure we can maintain an engaging conversation with words more productive.

      ~ Effy

  10. My previous post was meant to be a reply to Arioch’s first one, but it seems everyone else types faster than me.

  11. Totally random thought – why is a “feminist” for equality and a “racist” against it? Anyone know the history of the development of those words?

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ism

    “In Late Latin, the -ismus suffix became the ordinary ending for names of religions and ecclesiastical or philosophical systems or schools of thought, thus chrīstiānismus (whence 16th c. Christianism) in Tertullian, a trend continued in Medieval Latin, with e.g. pāgānismus attested by the 8th century. From the 16th century, such formations became very common in English, until the early 18th century mostly restricted to either root words of Greek or Latin origin (heroism, patriotism) or proper names (Calvinism, Lutheranism).”

    No idea of how accurate it is, supposedly Feminism was first used in 1894 as an insult none the less.

    • Erinys,

      Hmm, so feminism is a religion? No wonder it makes me uncomfortable. heh

      ~ Effy

  12. Aralosseien

    I am no expert on feminism/neutrality/anti-feminism, nor am I some wise thinker with a sure point to make. But bear with me. I think the point of contention for people here is the (possibly accidental) implication that because almost everyone experiences unfairness, feminism as put here is a disproportionate response because we should be going for a broader view, i.e. think of racism, ableism, religious persecution, men being mistreated, too.

    I see where that idea comes from, but some of the articles linked at the end are focusing on specific areas of awful things because that is what is within their sphere of experience. Yes, there is racism in society too – perhaps those writers are white and haven’t had that to deal with – and there is ableism – again, perhaps not something they’ve dealt with. Men are often stereotyped and treated unfairly by both other men and women, yes, but these writers are female (to the best of my knowledge).

    Some of those writers, and others like them, have dealt with being a woman, and being mistreated by a man. Horrifically, in some cases. So that’s what they’re focusing on, that’s how they’re contributing to the broader aim of making people more decent. I think it’s less about saying “Hey guys, all women are constantly trodden into the ground and we should all be feminists” and more about saying “Hey, you know, some women are mistreated in godawful ways. We want all women to have lives where this doesn’t happen, so we’re going to push for this change by exposing what has happened and letting those that are suffering know that this isn’t right, that it isn’t their fault, that other people are here for them”.

    Campaigning for one aspect of a better society isn’t taking away the importance of the other aspects. Ultimately, everyone commenting here wants a world where all people are decent to all people – don’t let someone’s width of approach devalue the intention behind their actions.

    • Thank you for so eloquently explaining my feelings on the subject.

      I’ve struggled to express them tonight because I suppose I did feel criticised by some of the comments and parts of Effy’s original post (what can I say, bringing up the past always makes me feel fragile). Writing personal stuff is hard for me, as is talking it about with anyone, because I’m so used to being told I deserved it, that it was my fault, the way I dressed, smiled, wore pink socks, insert useless excuse here. The sad thing is, I missed out the really horrible bits from my post, only including the U version and so to be told basically “oh but you have it so good” is hard.

      On a personal note, If it wasn’t for that weird Isle of Conquest, I wouldn’t have written my post at all and what helped spark that post, someone having a go at me because of my gender. Bad things happen all the time but the only bad things I’m qualified to talk about are things that happened because I’m female. Does that mean I don’t care about all the terrible things which happen to others, of course not.

      • Aralosseien and Erinys,

        So many of the thoughts expressed explain many of my reasons for almost not hitting the Publish button.

        I think this put things into perspective very well:

        Quote: “Hey, you know, some women are mistreated in godawful ways. We want all women to have lives where this doesn’t happen, so we’re going to push for this change by exposing what has happened and letting those that are suffering know that this isn’t right, that it isn’t their fault, that other people are here for them.”

        I believe in that, but I believe in that right for everyone – male, female, brown, black, blue, horned, biped, quadruped, furred, hunched, tusked, whatever.

        In a lot of what I said, maybe I did come across as callous and uncaring. But I am not pro-feminism, nor am I pro-racism or sexism or any other -ism. All the -isms seem to point more toward creating a bigger issue than actually trying to solve anything.

        Maybe I am brainwashed by the idea that “everyone wins a ribbon just for showing up.” But I truly believe that anyone can do whatever they put their mind to. If you want to be a transgender multi-colored sheep astronaut who knits Persian rugs – I will stand up and defend your right to do that to the best of your ability with my last breath.

        ~ Effy

      • Aralosseien

        Nested comments! This reply is to Effy’s reply /confusion

        Everyone here believes in that right for everyone, I should think, and labels of -isms may not be the most helpful thing. I think that a lot of people apply -isms to other groups of people because of the innate human need to categorise behaviour. Some people adopt an -ism because they identify most strongly with that set of ideas.

        While I support anyone’s right to be anything, sometimes all the support in the world won’t help if it doesn’t come from the people erecting those barriers. Everyone has the potential, but not always the freedoms. As someone said above, we are all privileged, having access to the internet and this blog, being able to speak these thoughts without worry. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that those people also mentioned above, the ones who are oppressed for a characteristic others don’t like, can’t do what they put their minds too – this is the bigger issue that needs fixing, after all.

        So I just meant that if someone focuses on improving things for women, don’t worry. Other people are focusing on making things better for men, coloured people, animals, other religions etc. Together, we are all working on facets of the same big idea – a better society for ALL people regardless of any defining characteristic. I get that some feminist stances rub people up the wrong way (they do to me sometimes) but I don’t want them to stop. They should keep fighting their fight, and I will fight mine (whatever I choose to tackle), and you can fight yours (whether that’s one facet, or a wider approach to all), and eventually we’ll have obtained equality, together.

        It’s good to see that a majority of people here are willing to discuss without judgement and malice. There are some who consider themselves on a side, but I’m not one of them. We need more talk like this.

      • Aralosseien,

        Well put!

        I think that sums up my frustration here, currently.

        I do not wish to label myself. Any label I have or do use, is mostly tongue-in-cheek – nerd, gamer, tomboy. Because ultimately they really do not mean anything. Because what they mean today is not what they meant yesterday, nor what they will mean tomorrow. Similarly, I do not want to label myself as a democrat or a feminist or a pro-lifer or an atheist. Because they are just words. And whereas they may coincide with my beliefs on some levels, on others I may not agree.

        But then, how do I refer to myself? Even calling myself a girl/woman I am labeling myself. But, you know what? It does not matter.

        I agree with Erinys that the conversations she has recently been pulled into in PvP are asinine. Who cares if someone calls everyone “dude” or “guys”? The reason I hate writing term papers comes down to the ridiculous argument of whether to use “them” or “you” or “he” or “she” just in an effort to be grammatically correct and politically correct at the same time. And do not get me started on PC. ;)

        ~ Effy

    • Aralosseien

      On a slightly different note too, to say that women can get wherever they want if they have the strength to push for it is optimistic, but not really true. Which is so sad, but it IS true. It’s the same poverty of aspiration that holds some bright kids from low income families back at school, or causes people to set their aim for life by their skin colour. When society has been set in a certain way for generation after generation, anyone who is not at that point on top of the food chain will have to struggle past preconceptions and prejudice (not just others, but their own too) to get to the places that they have every right to reach. But it isn’t easy, and it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people will never push past the barriers that other people put up. Some don’t try hard enough. Some make it, and find the acceptance everyone should have. Success by some, even a seeming majority, doesn’t eliminate the problem for the others. I guess what I’m trying to say is that finding acceptance in your life doesn’t mean that anyone saying they can’t, who’s feeling genuinely disadvantaged, is whining. They are just fighting a battle that you aren’t.

      • Aralosseien

        Augh, my reply was to myself, before Erinys reply. At least your comment system is more flexible than Blogger, Effy!

  13. You seem to be falling into the “not like other girls” trap. The girl who gets to play with the boys as long as she plays by the boy rules. Have you read this “In Which We Teach You How To Be A Woman In Any Boys’ Club” ? Highly recommend it.

    http://thisrecording.com/today/2011/2/22/in-which-we-teach-you-how-to-be-a-woman-in-any-boys-club.html

    If it’s not too personal a question (and please don’t feel any obligation to answer my nosiness if you don’t want), how old are you?

    • Dysmorphia,

      I am 32 years old, though, I have absolutely no idea what that would have to do with anything relevant.

      I have read your comment and I have read your link, and it has brought to light some more items I wish to say.

      First of all, that was the most difficult read I believe I have ever attempted. I have to firmly congratulate myself for reading it in its entirety. It immediately struck me as propaganda – a word I rarely use. It was like a angry woman’s guide to showing up men. It talks about how to join the “boy’s club” like it is some kind of tree fort with a scrawly “No Girlz!” sign taped to the door. It talks about men like everyone of them is a selfish and conceited rapist out to oppress women.

      Just where does the author hang out?? And if these “boy’s clubs” are so offensive to her, why would she even do that to herself in the first place??

      I cannot help but notice that all of the illustrations to her point are pictures that look to be taken in the 50’s. Which is exactly where I think her entire article belongs.

      I have lots of male friends, far more than female friends for some of the very reasons that have come up in this discussion of my opinion. And you know, in 32 years, not a single one of my male friends has ever made me feel as dirty as some of the responses to my honesty in this post have.

      Speaking of which, what is this BS about me falling into a trap that I am “not like other girls”? Really? Do you listen to yourself? I am a woman, and I am also an individual with individual thoughts.

      I do not want to be the type of woman you elude to, nor the one created by following this manifesto of MALE oppression you have linked.

      Sorry to say, but after all my thoughts and ideas and opinions, I am still a woman. Sorry that you have no control over my thoughts.

      ~ Effy

  14. This post reminds me of a talk I had with a friend a few week back about this topic. Our conclusion : women have the same potential as men but our different set of mind (and / or society) push ourselves in different direction.

    Nice posts and good comments too :)

    • Jehjeh,

      Thank you very much for the response. And I agree that is a excellent conclusion.

      Men and women (uh oh, I put “men” first, someone call the anti-woman brigade) are equal. Period. It is only the social roadblocks that we create that cause these perceived differences.

      And as an aside, the men that I choose to associate myself with are of that same mind.

      ~ Effy

  15. I could have written this post myself a couple of years ago. Why put an “ism” on myself, when I don’t really get what it’s all about? “I don’t consider myself a feminist”, I posted one day.

    The truth that I learned was that feminists only fight for equality between the sexes. We fight against a society where women make less money than men, where we can be told what to wear, how to act, what we can be.

    It means fighting against a culture that looks at traumatic events like rape and turns it on the victim. “What were you wearing”? “Have you ever had sex before”? None of these things matter, but we still teach our daughters “don’t get raped” instead of teaching our sons to respect fellow human beings.

    It means realizing that a woman can be anything a man can be, if she wants to. It means that we need to band together against the society that tells you to “be sexy, but not too sexy, or you’re a slut”, and calling it on its bullshit. It means fighting for equal healthcare coverage for women- something we’re still working for today. It means protecting a woman’s freedom to do exactly as she wishes.

    It means realizing that society fills girls’ lives with pink and tells them to be princesses, when we should be teaching them how to rescue themselves. And it also means that, if a woman wants to be a princess and wear fluffy pink skirts, then it’s no one’s place to question it.

    Feminism is this. It’s about expressing anger against how women have been treated, are still being treated, and not apologizing for not being demure. It’s about recognizing that women can be what they want, dress like they want, do whatever they want. It’s about standing together against that and saying “you know what, society? When you insult a man by calling him a ‘girl’? That shit ain’t cool. I was a girl- does that make me less?” It’s about supporting other women and creating a society that we’re equal in.

    • Outbirk,

      I could not agree more, and your eloquent words are exactly why I sit so precariously on the fence between feminists and everyone else.

      But you know what? There in lies part of the problem. There should be no fence. There should be no “us” and “them.”

      I agree that as a woman I have every right to do what every man does. I agree that as a woman I possess the same potential as everyone else. I agree that as a woman I have the right to not live in fear of being repressed or abused. I agree that as a woman I have every right to dress, talk, act, work, and play in any way I deem fit.

      But what I cannot bring myself to agree with is this whole concept of “us” and “them.” How is that equality?

      Perhaps it is true that men have some form of “privilege” (and boy, am I beginning to hate that word). But at what point does the pendulum of equality swing too far? At what point do women go from the oppressed to the oppressor?

      Because true equality means that it goes both ways.

      ~ Effy

  16. Calling Erica Jong! Help, Margaret Atwood! Help me You’re Our Only Hope!

    (Sorry – growing up and battling all kinds of judgments, and fighting the good fight, I don’t know folks – remember the barriar vs. welcome mat thing? Shit, people! Why don’t we put some of this energy towards women’s rights for those in the world who are truly being oppressed, harmed, and killed because of their gender, or sexual preference? Let’s use our strong voices and genuine passion for an important cause and fight that, not each other?)

    • …and, continue fighting to change minds and hateful attitudes in otherwise supposed “advanced” countries.

      • Matty,

        *puts out the Welcome Mat*

        And in doing so I fully except that I invite both those who agree and those who disagree.

        ~ Effy

  17. Navimie

    Now I have to leave a reply since you said you had so many replies. A great article Effy, and like you, I am a tomboy and a geek. I built my computer, I prefer talking to nerds, I am not ashamed to admit my geekiness, and nor am I ashamed to be female. But like you, I KNOW all these stereotypes exist – I am Asian and female, but I refuse to let anything stop me from doing what I want to do. I still think the term feminist does not mean equalist, and as Ancient once said to me, the worst behaviour that comes to me seems to come from women not men, so go figure…

    • Navimie,

      Indeed, and thank you for the comment on this topic, especially as the comment trail becomes more and more befuddled. :)

      I am not ashamed at being a woman, but at times, I will admit, I am ashamed to get lumped into the same groups that honestly do not want equality with men… let us be honest, many want to enact the same oppression on men that has been done to them. And I am sorry, take my Woman Card, but I cannot follow that line of logic.

      ~ Effy

  18. So, I really liked this post and it – and the comments – helped me to finally put my finger on why a lot of the feminism and girl-gamers posts make me so uncomfortable.

    The best comparison I’ve come up with is this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. I’m certainly not part of the 1% and I don’t believe I’ll ever be. But, you know what? I’m so far from identifying with the occupier’s viewpoints that I don’t want to be lumped into the 99%. They don’t speak for me and it makes me angry when I walk past my own city’s occupiers every day and see all their signs about how they are the 99%. Because they’re not. That handful of people doesn’t begin to cover all viewpoints.

    And I feel the same sort of way whenever I see most posts (not all, mind you. I thought Erinys’ recent one was a good one) about how being a female gamer is so hard. And how all the male gamers are going to put you down and belittle you or threaten you violence or whatever else.

    In my five+ years of playing MMO’s, I’ve been harassed for being a female exactly zero times. So posts that speak for all female gamers as having these horrible odds to overcome just don’t jive with me. They don’t get to speak for me, either.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t think they shouldn’t be allowed to speak at all, but each gamer’s experience is going to be unique to them and it’s not fair to anyone when one person’s bad experience gets extrapolated and applied to the whole gaming community. Just as it’s not fair for me to insist that no female gamer should ever have to be concerned about anything because I’ve never had to face any negative consequences for my gender.

    I think the other thing that bothers me in this whole issue, is that it seems as though women are often encouraged in subtle ways to go looking for instances of being discriminated against because of their gender. I feel I’ve been told that I should be hypersensitive to anyone addressing me with a word that could be either considered too masculine or as being derogatory towards women. And the simple fact is that I personally don’t care and when some other female gamer insists that I should or that I need to raise my voice in moral outrage… that seems oppressive to me.

    Lastly, I do wonder if we’ll see any real progress on this issue. Some people will always just jump in, immediately pissed off and shouting. I haven’t felt free to express my thoughts that, you know, not all men are sexist pigs for fear of OTHER WOMEN jumping all over me. And if I, as a woman, can’t catch a break for my more neutral opinions, then what hope do men have for ever communicating effectively with the more diehard components of the feminist movement?

    • Alas,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

      I totally agree that it is highly pretentious to say 1% of people feel/are this way and the ENTIRE remaining 99% of people all feel/are EXACTLY that way. It is kind of like the argument against using “always” and “never.” (Which I am sure I fall into myself when I get on a tangent, but I do try and avoid.) And I agree that your comparison is very appropriate.

      I cannot say that I have never been harassed in game, as I did deal with a psychotic stalker ex for a while, one who even took harassing my mom and deleting all of my characters when I played Dark Age of Camelot. That was a fun time period! /sarcasm But I do not feel that was game-related, nor oppression-related, nor sexism-related. He was just one psycho. And though that was a pretty scary time, I do not think that one psycho (and a previous comment’s one asshole) pigeonhole the entire remaining population of men.

      Because they are two men in literally BILLIONS, and all of my other interactions with men have shown me those two are far, far from the norm.

      I also think you make a valid point in fearing stating your neutrality. I honestly feel if there were such thing as a Woman Card, some of those who disagree with me would be vehemently tearing it to pieces right now. :) And if that be the case, I would be glad, because I certainly do not want to be labeled and lumped in amongst them.

      ~ Effy

  19. joyeuxnoelle

    You bring up two issues that I want to touch on briefly.

    First: imagine that you have two jugs, one 50% full of water and one 75% full of water. Now imagine that you want to make both of those jugs of water 100% full without spilling any. (It’s a flawed analogy, but bear with me.) You cannot fill both jugs by adding an equal amount to each jug.

    That’s the problem that equality-focused feminists are trying to address. Institutional sexism, even in the United States, is a well-established fact, and saying “I had the perfect combination of circumstances growing up that allowed me to sidestep institutional sexism in this particular way” does nothing to change that.

    We live in a world where Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are called “slut” and “whore” just for daring to be on a stage with powerful men, even though there’s no evidence that either of them has ever had more than one sexual partner. (Some of these people, incidentally, also thought Herman Cain shouldn’t have left the Republican primary race just because of a little marital infidelity. I bring this up for contrast.)

    We live in a world where Kathy Sierra, a prominent and gifted tech blogger, game developer, and author, was sent death threats for the crime of being selected as the keynote speaker at a tech conference. (I say “being selected as” because the threats were so serious and repetitive that she was forced to cancel her appearance.

    These are powerful women in jobs that women have not traditionally held who are being attacked because they are powerful women in jobs that women have not traditionally held. This is happening in the United States – iit’s not just limited to “insane” religions in other parts of the world – and it’s routine. It is part of the culture, which is, for example, why you only see female professional football players or baseball players or basketball players in their separate-but-“equal” women’s leagues that receive little to no coverage from sports broadcasters and that are attacked and made fun of on a regular basis.

    Nobody, nobody is upset that you had excellent circumstances or that you made the choices you did. The only thing asked of you is to recognize that not everybody has those opportunities, not everybody feels safe enough to make those choices, and that sometimes, the women who do have those opportunities and do make those choices are actively punished for it.

    Okay, that wasn’t as brief as I’d intended it to be!

    Second point, and I promise this one will be brief:

    Painting all feminists with the same brush is disingenuous at best, I think. Some feminists want equality between the sexes and nothing else; some feminists want to glorify women and don’t care about men; some feminists trade in social justice for social revenge and want to bring men down a peg. Some feminists refuse to put down a welcome mat until society is at a point where men won’t just promptly walk in and throw a kegger. While I’m sure you don’t intend it this way, “feminism is icky” and “oh, it’s a religion, that’s why I don’t like it” mock and belittle the work of people who are genuinely trying to solve a problem that they see in society.

    You’re not required to be a feminist or even to agree with any flavor of feminism, but when you decide to take them down a peg, please remember that by doing so, you’re going after people who are honestly trying to make the world a better place.

    • thumbs up, this is a great comment.

    • Joyeuxnoelle,

      Let me first say thank you for sharing your thoughts, I am appreciative of all the replies especially those that are delivered as respectfully as this one.

      Now, to compare my point of view by using your initial analogy…

      If I had two jugs of water (and in making my comparison I am assuming the that 50% symbolizes women and the 75% men) and I wanted both of those jugs to contain an equal 100% amount of water, then it seems to me I would want to add 50% and 25% – both for the purposes of math and the analogy. THAT would make both jugs equal. Adding an identical amount to each jug would indeed lead to overfilling one.

      But let me take this example one step further, to express my point of view better. It seems to me that while adding water to the 50% (women) jug, attempts are also being made to remove water from the 75% (men) jug. Now, if the filling and emptying process were somehow done at the same rate, though unlikely, there would still be a precise point where BOTH jugs would be equal. However, there is no happiness with a “women” jug at 62%ish, the goal is 100%. But given the illustrated trend of the two jugs, this would ultimately tip the balance far off in the other direction.

      (Hopefully that all made sense.)

      Basically, women are sitting currently at about half of where they want to be, and men are sitting at a higher spot. But the way I see things being handled, the intention is for women to be 100% of where they want to be, and knocking men down a few pegs in the process.

      I myself, do not see that as equality nor as equality even being the end goal.

      I agree vehemently that no one (not no woman, nor no man) should have to deal with threats or abuse. I am merely stating that I see it happen on both sides. Men are also attacked and threatened. Now, I will not say that there is an equality in the amount or the severity, because I have no numbers to back up such a statement. I only know men attack women, men attack men, women attack men, and women attack women.

      So far, that is the only equality I see in any of this. Unfortunately, this is a point where I CAN speak up, not with solid numbers, but at least with general ones.

      I count two men in my life who have wronged me… Adversely, I could go into great detail illustrating a far larger number of abusers from my own gender.

      Therein lies my issue with the subject.

      ~ Effy

      • joyeuxnoelle

        Effy, I think what’s happening is that you see the efforts of one group of feminists, who believe that the only way to add to the women’s jug is to subtract from the men’s jug – in other words, who believe that empowerment is a zero-sum game – and, like I said, painting all feminists with the same brush. I want to make it absolutely, incontrovertibly clear that not all feminists believe that empowerment is a zero-sum game. In one very specific way the jug example is a bad one – because jugs have a finite size, and can be overfilled, and it’s my belief and the belief of many others that empowerment is not finite, and that you don’t have to take from one side to give to the other.

        Imagine, perhaps, a vast apple orchard, where if a man walks up he is given 10 apples, and if a woman walks up she is given 7 apples. It’s understandable for women who walk up to want to be given as many apples as the men, and giving more apples to the women doesn’t require taking apples away from the men.

        In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the “zero-sum” belief is actively damaging, and there’s no better illustration of it (if I may be allowed to open this unrelated can of worms) than the issue of gay marriage. Opponents who claim that gay marriage “violates the sanctity of marriage” seem to believe, in my experience, that LGBTQ people can only be given rights if those rights are first taken away from non-LGBTQ people.

        I want to touch on your point about attacks for a moment as well, because I think you’re looking in the wrong direction here. The problem of attacks – which is only a very visible symptom of a much deeper social and institutional inequality – isn’t from whom the attacks are coming; it’s why the attacks are being made. An attack made on a woman either because she is a woman or because she doesn’t behave in a way the attacker expects a woman to behave is a sexist attack, regardless of from whom the attack originates.

        For example: A woman who attacks another woman because the second woman was successful in a non-traditional way – for example, a housewife who disdains Michelle Bachmann for having a career instead of being a traditional homemaker – is still being sexist and playing into institutional prejudices.

        Yes, men attack men, and women attack women – but neither is necessarily sexist and prejudiced. Neither is a man attacking a woman or a woman attacking a man. The intent and the motivation behind the attack are the determiner.

        I’ll leave you with this: it’s tempting to think that we’ve made such great strides that we can tell girls that they can be or do anything they want, but what happens when the girl says, “Okay, I want to pitch for the Yankees”?

      • joyeuxnoelle

        One more thing – this is a complex and not-entirely-intuitive topic, and I don’t expect anyone to get it right away (I certainly didn’t) or to have an easy time with it. It’s one of those subjects where it’s hard to internalize the various arguments and positions – especially when nobody really seems to agree on what the “right” position is! I’m deeply sympathetic to your being exhausted just talking about it, and I certainly didn’t mean to add to your emotional burden. My goal is not to chastise but to educate and enlighten, and I hope that came across.

        I hope you have a good night and that things look a little brighter in the morning. :)

    • Aralosseien

      Thanks Joy, for making my point even better than I could.

      “Some feminists want equality between the sexes and nothing else; some feminists want to glorify women and don’t care about men; some feminists trade in social justice for social revenge and want to bring men down a peg. Some feminists refuse to put down a welcome mat until society is at a point where men won’t just promptly walk in and throw a kegger”

      The impression I am getting here is that the OP-agreeing commenters are rallying against a stereotype of feminists that is not true of all of them, something that is upsetting to them when this artificially combined group applies it to men to create a group of ‘rapist oppressors’ we should be fighting. I’ve not seen anyone write that they want to oppress a man. That they want to change how men are treated and make them suffer instead. They want to change how WOMEN are treated. Why does this mean men would suffer? I don’t see it, and maybe I’m missing something here.

      It seems that there’s a large amount of communication breakdown here. When you lump all ‘feminists’ together into one rigid mode of thinking, and lump all ‘non-feminists’ into a mode of thinking that objects to it, when you create two groups like that, any constructive discussion is just lost, sadly.

      I do not understand the outrage that feminism isn’t equalism. It goes back to what I felt above – some people come at it from a narrower approach. Not everyone can fight for everything. If you feel you can, go ahead (and go with my respect, frankly, because I couldn’t), but why does that make those who fight for one thing the bad guys? As Joy says, everyone here is trying to make the world better.

      Also, can we please stop saying “worse things happen and people are stupid to waste their energy on this”. If I feel sick, I don’t tell myself off because “other people have cancer”. If I’m hungry, I don’t guilt myself because “some people are starving”. So if someone is using their energy and passion for something they believe in (in their hearts and minds), don’t tell them that “worse happens elsewhere”, just accept that their battle is set.

      And Effy, no one is going to call the anti-woman brigade on you because you put men before women in a sentence. If you can find one person that that would genuinely offend, I’ll eat a large tub of tartar sauce (and I hate, HATE tartar sauce)!

  20. Oh my, I read this before going to bed last night but was too tired to comment and now I’m pretty sure every word there is has been said and I am not known for well thought out, reasoned comments anyway.

    I’m slowly working my way through a post that touches on this topic too, although I meander far and width as focus eludes me at times. Anyway, Tomboy Ancient /wave to Tomboy Effy!

    • Tomboy Ancient,

      *hugs*

      I look forward to seeing your further thoughts on this topic, my friend. :)

      Focus? What is that? Isn’t that what Hunters… oh shiny!

      ~ Tomboy Effy

  21. I spent most of my life being the tomboy. Being the awesome modern women who was beyond sexism and had gotten it right, all the guys liked me, and it was all those other women left behind in their frivolous female pursuits who had gotten it wrong. It’s easy to slide into a male-dominated place if you leave behind all the things that are generally regarded as feminine. If someone made assumptions about me because I was female, or thought I wasn’t capable of something, it wasn’t that they were consciously sexist, or that they were part of a whole sexist system, it was that it was all those other women doing it wrong, and giving me a bad name by association. It took me a long, long time to realize that it wasn’t women imposing bad expectations on me, but that it was society posing bad expectations on all women, and I just had the accidental temerity to wander farther outside the lines, and take the hits for not conforming.

    It’s lucky for you that you HAVEN’T been told you cannot do something, but that is rare. I’m glad you haven’t, but most women don’t have that experience. Even with a very similar backstory, growing up in a liberal state, I was still told I couldn’t because I was a girl. Your different experience does not invalidate someone else’s, nor does theirs say that there cannot ever be a case where a woman is not held back for her gender. Also, it usually doesn’t take someone standing up and explicitly saying “Oh you can’t be an IT professional because you are a woman.” Most adults are more socially adept than that. It takes the form of women simply not being hired to be IT professionals, discouraged from going into male-dominated fields, passed over for a male candidate that is believed to be more qualified based on his sex. It takes the place of women being paid less, promoted less, and so on. Women are told they’re paid less because they just don’t ask for raises. Repeatedly told that sexism is our fault. But studies have born out that even when women ask for raises, and ask for what they deserve, they’re still not paid and promoted the same as male colleagues.

    It’s important to know that this is a statistical generalization. This does not happen at every place of business, but it still happens at too many. Just because it doesn’t happen at your workplace doesn’t mean it never happens anywhere.

    As for making choices, Feminism is at its root about choice; about the right for woman to have all the same choices on the table as any man, and nothing stopping her from making them. In your high school class example, every other woman may technically have the same choices, but the societal pressures do not fall evenly. Maybe a high school girl who didn’t decide to take auto-shop (a choice, that you nor anyone else gets to decide is more right) because she had a mother or a sister or an aunt or grandmother who said that that’s not what good girls do. And she listened.

    The even more chilling part is that the goal of feminism is for every woman to not only have all the choices offered, but valued and accepted. That every girl should have the choice to do what they damn well please, and not have people pressuring them against it. Again – great that you didn’t feel pressure – not everyone does. The piece of feminism that you are absolutely missing here is that it also values women making choices to do “woman” things. What if a girl really does just like shoes? It should be her choice to like shoes and sewing and Home Ec and not face judgement from a tomboy who thinks that her tomboy choices are superior, and that she is exceptional and special for having done so. That’s another thing that too me a really, really long time to learn: That other women get to make choices that aren’t MY choices, and that’s okay.

    The insidious thing about internalized misogyny is that it makes you think that you’re fine, you’re good, you’re special, and all the other women have it wrong. But even Rick Santorum has a gay friend who supports him. When you internalize the misogyny, you look at other women with the same judging eye as the misogynistic men: that the feminists are mired back in time in some fight against sexism that doesn’t even matter anymore, like a bunch of tragic WWII vets still fighting it out on some uncharted Pacific island until someone comes and tells them it’s over.

    We are absolutely, totally, wonderfully in a better place in terms of equality than we were 50 or 100 years ago. And that’s on the backs of untold women who did what they were told they couldn’t, who fought every step of the way, who had to prove all the men and all the women detractors wrong. Women who broke into an industry and paved the way for more women to follow. There’s an interesting story about how NPR became a haven for women journalists: They paid so little that they had a hard time getting good male journalists who could get a better paying job elsewhere. Elsewhere, in radio and papers that wouldn’t hire women, or paid them so little they made NPR wages anyway. So the women went to work for NPR. And they hired more women. Supported them. And now, a woman journalist can walk into any company and think that sexism is gone and that they have every shot at it, and it’s on the backs of hard fought battles that they can’t even see.

    But it’s important to understand that while we’ve come a huge distance from you know, when we didn’t even have the right to vote, that sexism isn’t dead. Harassment isn’t dead, people fighting back against women being in places that others think they shouldn’t be isn’t dead. There’s women out there who had to protest for the right to take birth control pills int he 60s who are having to do so again, today, because equality, women’s rights, the world we have today is still under attack. Bold, bald-faced misogyny and sexism isn’t acceptable in society the same way. (And even that still exists) So sexism often goes undercover, gets more nuanced, hides better. It’s harder to see, but it’s still there. It finds its way into casual misogyny where women and femininity is still regarded as frivolous, emotional, and women should just be more like men if they want to get ahead. Where gendered insults and slut-shaming, and blaming women for any inequality they might still have slides in. There’s still work to do.

    We’re not yet at the utopia where labels are meaningless because there’s no difference between us other than the label we try to apply to ourselves. Labeling is what we do to define different concepts, to give names to ideas and groups and movements so that we can work with them and talk about them. But it’s not a perfect system. It’s just as easy to assume that ALL feminists are angry men-hating bra-burning killjoys that want to destroy men as it is to assume that all men are sexist harassing creeps who want to subjugate women. And both would be wrong.

    Sorry for the essay, but it’s something I have thought a lot about, and had a lot I needed to say. When I read this blog post, I see a younger version of me.

    • Hi Effraeti,

      You and I have spoken about this post on Twitter and I just want to reiterate that I am very proud of you for writing this and for standing your ground against the waves of criticism that I’m sure you faced for writing this.

      Your post really reminded me how splintered the community is and I had been feeling this way for most of the week, but I couldn’t really put my finger on just how splintered we were, or that such divisions even existed. When I saw how people were reacting to this post, it made me realize how the community is not as united as people would like us to believe, and I really wish we would acknowledge more. I’ve been really tired of the phony veneer of unity that people have been propagating lately, and it was great to see some opposing viewpoints for once.

      The problem is that some people don’t want you to be different. They want everyone to be united – as long as you’re united with them. They’re not prepared to welcome you with open arms or befriend you, if you feel differently than they do. And that breaks my heart. I’m *more* likely to befriend someone if they don’t do what I do or feel the way that I do. I respect the hell out of someone for that. If we’re going to preach that everyone needs to get along and that everyone needs to respect each other’s differences, then we need to do just that. No loopholes. No exceptions. It’s either acceptance across the board, or it’s nothing.

      Thanks again.
      :)

  22. THANK YOU for this post Effy. I’ve spent close to 40 minutes typing then erasing my reflection and input because this blog post opened floodgates for me internally in a positive way. Simply put whether it’s in a game or in the workplace I want my strengths and weaknesses to be recognized for my character and work ethic ; not because of my gender.

    Just— thank you. :)

  23. tomaj84

    This is a great post. It hits a lot of points that can be extended into other areas of life. I just wish I felt more comfortable posting thoughts on something like this, as a man, without feeling like I’m going to get flak from it for being a man. This is not to say that I will or will not be on the receiving end of such, but it’s common stigma that no man understands what feminism is, nor should they have any thoughts or opinions on it, much less be vocal about them.

    I also would like to note that Joyeux’s comments above do hit some key counter-points; feminism is a matter of degrees.

  24. Amy

    I’m 32, have been a sci-fi geek all my life, have loved Gloria Steinem since I was in junior high, and am continually amazed that someone with my lack of coordination and gaming prowess manages to be at all progressed in WoW.

    I’m proud to be a feminist, and as I’ve gotten older, my focus has largely shifted to professional and family issues (these issues affect men too!) It hurt my heart to see so much of the dark, angry side of feminism in the comments of some recent blogs, but it hurts even more to see how many of you are scared off by it.

  25. Effy,

    First off, my hat is off to you on how you’ve handled the responses to the deluge of comments here. It can have been easy taking the time to type out calm, thoughtful responses to all of these comments, including some that have been a bit heated. Not sure I could have done it.

    As a man, I’m with Tomaj in that I’m a little uncomfortable posting here as I don’t have direct first hand experience with the issues that you’re all discussing here. I do appreciate the different points of view and as someone who works with, supervises and mentors the careers of a number of different women, I’m hoping that all the different perspectives that the community brings up can help me to be more sensitive and more supportive of the women that I work with and interact with, in game, and in real life.

    Ideally, I’d love if we can get to the point that we’ve achieved equality to the point that we don’t need the ‘isms, and the only differences we need to focus on is the differences in who we are as people and not differences in how we are treated. In the meantime, realistically recognizing that there are still a lot of issues to be dwelt with, I’m also glad there are plenty of folks out there that are willing to rally behind the feminism banner and fight to remedy that inequality and those issues.

    So thanks to you and all the commenters.

    -Joar

  26. Jen

    Like someone up there noticed, what you mean (and what I also feel) is that a lot of the vocal feminists display a hateful attitude. I’m sure there’s a more moderate feminism somewhere out there, where equality is truly the goal and not putting down men… but I haven’t managed to find it. I would never want to be associated with some of the feminists I’ve found in places like WoW_Ladies (where I was banned because I dared to tell a poster that maybe, just maybe, her long distance boyfriend yelled at her during a BG because of frustration and not because he was an abuser-in-the-making; on the long run, it was good for my blood pressure because W_L managed to make me angry at least once every 2 days.) Like you and others, I was a tomboy, I hate high heels (though I admire girls who can pull them off), I like pink shirts and nail polish and I’m somewhat geekier than my girl friends. I was one of the guys when I was growing up because that’s what I felt like – not because I changed myself to fit into the “boys’ club”. I was and still am perfectly able to hang out with the guys (and smack them when they talked crap about women) and perfectly capable of shopping for 5 hours with my girls. They’re just different sides of me.

    I’m rambling and this is not really related to your post, but I wanted to be just another example of a non-feminist “gamer girl”. I do believe in *some* of the feminist values, but I refuse to label myself as such because I don’t want people to think I’m one of the women who are offended by the mere mention of a man doing something they interpret as sexist. (I’m not that much of a gamer either, hence the quote marks; nowadays I only play WoW, though I’ve played more when I was younger.)

    So, hugs and support and don’t let the lovely people who commented brilliant things like “fuck you” get you down.

  27. To all who have read, commented, thought about commenting, agreed, disagreed, or perhaps are even still on the fence with their thoughts:

    I want to say Thank You for reading. Thank You for commenting. Thank You for posting responses elsewhere. Thank You for being inspired to think about what was said by myself, the numerous people who took the time and emotion to comment, and those who were further inspired to post a separate piece in response.

    Please do not take this all-encompassing reply as a cop-out. I have read each and every reply to this post. I feel I have mostly said my mind, and it has taken me a few days to remove myself enough from my emotions and those responses of the numerous repliers to sit down and compose a final thought.

    I stand by saying that I am NOT a feminist and that I prefer myself to not be associated as such. In saying this, I am not stating disrespect, but I am stating disagreement, even disappointment. I find the ideals of feminism noble and in line with what I want for EVERY person, male and female – equality. But I seek equality in all things – sex, race, religion, preference, etc. I also disagree with some of the means to an end sought by SOME (I in no way think every feminist thinks and acts in the same exact way, because that is silly). Because in no way do I ever think it right or justified to stomp on others in effort to advance my own agenda.

    Whether they realize it or not, some feminists do a disservice to their fellows. Guilt by association, for lack of a better phrase.

    One recurring theme in responses, one that matches my own observations in many ways, is a fear to speak up even in the vicinity of many feminists. I find this deplorable. And yet, I should be pressured to associate myself with this?

    I resent being told that I am a feminist, despite stating that I am not. My opinions do not suddenly pigeonhole me.

    I can have Democratic views, without declaring myself wholly a Democrat. I can believe in the sanctity of a woman’s choice to do what she wishes with her own body, yet not claim myself pro-choice. I can appreciate and love my fellows who pursue alternative lifestyles, and not be a lesbian.

    And finally, I can associate myself with male friends and colleagues without labeling myself as “one of the guys.” I detest being told that I only hang out with men to deny my own sex. Why is it impossible to believe that I hang out with guys purely because we share common ideals and interests? I cannot be both a woman and a friend to men? How does that work, or not?

    I imagine this response in and amongst itself may fuel more responses, of which I ensure I will read all of. But I am done talking myself in circles on this topic, and I feel I have sufficiently said my peace.

    ~ Effy

  28. I got the impression from the post that your source of knowledge about feminism isn’t coming from feminist sources.
    Then again, I read the post as being a lot more about your personal experiences than feminist issues anyways, in fact it wouldn’t take much editing and your post could be framed as political instead. So perhaps it’s more an issue of the title promising too much.

    I think one of the confusions about people stating that your views are indeed feminist is this: You believe the same = gender shouldn’t matter! But you disagree on why it still does. Your explanation is that there’s always an individual and personal cause, feminists would say it’s structural and cultural.
    You can see why stating the first can be provoking.

  29. As a man that is fairly good at sewing and cooking a registered Republican and currently taking care of 5 month old. I understand breaking lines.

    You give me hope for my daughter to be be anything she wants to be. And find happiness doing it.

    Keep following your own path you might be surprised to follows in you footsteps.

  30. mk

    I found this post today, which may help you a bit: http://notrichyet.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/whats-the-big-deal/ – it’s a long read, but a quite good one.

    The other thing I wanted to say: what stuck me, reading the comments and your replies to them, how much they remind me when I (an atheist) talk to my uncle, who’s deeply Roman Catholic – how many things I say will simply not penetrate, because he *knows* he is right. A lot of your answers remind me of him.

    • JD Kenada

      I see someone having a civilized discussion amidst two distinct sides of a controversial fence. I never once felt the author was right and those who disagreed were wrong (which is clearly not the case with all commenters here) or that she knew better. Instead, she gave her opinion and beliefs and was either supported or told SHE was wrong.

      Eye of the beholder and whatnot, I suppose.

      • Thank you, JD.

        I am becoming painfully aware that there is no “winning” of this argument. The funny part is, I did not realize I was making an argument in the first place. All this time, I thought I was just stating my opinion. But I am finding that opinion attacked and ripped into little pieces because many do not agree with me. I find I am backed into a corner and vehemently defending myself to people with whom I have no argument.

        Why is it so hard to believe that maybe, just MAYBE, I was merely writing out my thoughts, and I did not really care whether I had people agree or disagree with me? They are my THOUGHTS.

        I thought I was making a simple response to what others had previously stated. I thought I was getting those thoughts tumbling around in my head onto paper and then the computer screen to better organize them. I thought I was stating my opinion as my God given right in a free country (and beyond, thank you, internet) and under the tenets of free speech.

        I do not understand the difference between me stating my opinion about a favorite piece of WoW armor and then stating my opinions about my observations as a woman. I have had highly intelligent and engaged discussions about how to spec my Resto Shaman, both in agreement and disagreement, but never to watch them dissolve into finger pointing as this has. I have participated in political discussions with people with completely opposite views as me and found them more civilized and less degrading than this has become.

        I have opened myself before, in stating my disappointments regarding the circumstances of leaving my most previous employment. I stated thoughts on my professional harassment, leading to the decline of my mental and physical well-being and a prolonged feeling of hostility. But at least in that situation I knew who my “enemy” was. I knew the direction from which to expect attack.

        Instead, this time, I feel violated without a complete understanding of why.

        I can respect people being passionate about their opinions. There are many things I am passionate about. What I cannot respect is making a presentation of my thoughts and feelings and opinions, some of which were quite uncomfortable to share, and having them trolled.

        I am to the point where I would go so far as to say that I opened myself up only to be virtually raped by many of my fellows.

        ~ Effy

      • JD Kenada

        To play devil’s advocate, I can see how your selection of certain words and phrases in this response can/will get attacked all over again and that it comes off a bit as trolling the trolls as they would say in Trade. It could be out of self-defense, it could be passion about who you are. Either way, I don’t blame you and I’m merely making an observation.

        I stand by what I said in the first place and remain dumbfounded that you were attacked for what it was perceived that you said and how you said it…but how these same individuals responded was just fine.

        Before someone jumps on me notice that I referenced attacking the author. I said nothing about differing of opinion, because quite frankly every person on the planet is entitled to one and they can all differ from mine and yours. It’s respecting that’s a two way street that would make this world a better place for all (I swear that was the focal point somewhere in all this, rather than the author).

      • I find it troubling that you, and others for that matter, have framed this post and the subsequent comments as a war, as a battle about who is “winning the argument”. It’s not about winning.
        “Standing your ground” is good in some cases, but trying to engage in a discussion about the issues at hand is a learning opportunity that I hope -everyone- here seizes.

        And yes, you did just “state your thoughts”, but you did so publicly, freedom of speech also means the freedom to respond.
        Feminist issues (like religious, political etc) are contested material whether you’re a feminist or not, and whether they were “just thoughts”.

        I’m left to wonder – what did you expect, why did you post it, if not for people to discuss?

        I’m sad to read that you feel victimized, but as others have stated, I don’t see the extreme hatred in the comments either. Some, including my own, are trying to say something critical in the least brutal of ways. When there’s a lot and it gets overwhelming, I understand it can look like a wall of anger. I guess these conversations can easily hit us in a personal way – both for you, and for the commenters.

  31. Goodness. Effraeti, I don’t understand why it’s wrong for feminists to “hate” men, but it’s okay for you to hate feminists. That seems like a double standard to me. Even in your last post you were saying that feminists were all angry man-haters, despite the evidence of some non-angry feminists in this very comment thread!

    Hello! I’m a feminist. I also like puppies and wearing fancy hats in video games. I am romantically interested in straight men. I have a boyfriend and a father and a nephew and male friends who I love to pieces. Can you accept that your stereotype of all feminists as angry man-haters is not correct when taken on an individual basis? That you are making hurtful assumptions about human beings? And if not.. well, I guess I’d just ask you to consider why that doesn’t fit in your world view.

    I won’t be coming back here not because I’m not interested, but because clearly women like me … don’t exist in your world? It makes me sad that you would pass such harsh judgement on so many people simply because of a philosophical difference. Hey, don’t be a feminist if you don’t want to, but maybe stop the hurtful bashing of those who are. We’re people too.

  32. Oh heeeeeeelll to the no.

    Unless I’m desperately missing something here, unless there’s some other horrid backlash somewhere else on the internet that’s not reflected in the comments here, you have NOT been violated by the negative reaction you’ve received to this post.
    You have NOT been “virtually raped by many of [your] fellows.”

    That is ridiculous and hyperbolic and actually just wrong. Holy shit yeah people disagreed with you. But it’s not even all that’s been said here. I’m not gonna count but it feels like there’s a fairly even mix of support and disagreement. And the disagreement has rarely been personal to you. It hasn’t been abusive, slanderous, slurring. No one’s threatened violence against you.

    Like.
    I don’t even.

    I can’t even FATHOM how you equate being disagreed with fairly mundanely on the internet with being violated or being raped by your peers.
    No no no no.

    Holy SHITBURGERS I hope I’m reading that wrong.

    • Word, I am horrified as fuck by that implication. This seems to happen a lot wrt discussions of sexism, racism, ableism, etc. where there’s this fucked up confirmation bias of “ANGRY FEMINISTS” and responses of “omg, it’s just my anti-feminist opinion, why are you beeeing mean” and eventually the discourse breaks down into this, and people start to think maybe feminists ARE mean if everyone who doesn’t identify with feminists feel like they’re being harassed or yelled at or raped, for god’s sake.

      It’s a manipulative and shitty way to hold a discourse.

  33. I’ve been coming back and reading, re-reading, fretting, making angry noises, circling around and coming back to this post. I’ve finally calmed down enough to actually coherently form words.

    I’m exceedingly disappointed that this is what my blogging has inspired to have you write. Not only is it a completely dismissive, hurtful takedown of what you believe feminism to be, but you malign feminists as being scary, a religion, bullies or that you fear for yourself around us. That you’re not one, you never want to be one. That you aren’t affected by sexism. That you’re different from other women. The fact that my blog is linked down at the bottom and stands as inspiration for your thoughts makes me sad. It’s one thing to believe that sexism doesn’t exist and doesn’t affect you when you avow to living beyond it, to feel comforted and safe amongst men but when other women are sharing their stories of living in a sexist world and it still isn’t there? I’m sad.

    Internalized sexism is a pretty strong thing. It’s what we hear from day one, why wouldn’t we believe that other women are to blame? That men like US, not THEM, they are doing it wrong! You’re not girly at all, you’ve avoided the fate that befall all those other unlucky ones. That you just can’t grok other women. I used to be there, trust me. I didn’t let women in. I was a tomboy. I’m still a tomboy, I’m still not really big into presenting overly feminine or masculine. But trusting women, trusting in feminism has been such an integral part of my life, seeing it dashed on the rocks of public opinion, especially when that opinion isn’t even close to being based in reality? Heartbreaking. I can get not wanting to call yourself a feminist, even if I strongly disagree. But if you’re going to turn away from it, at least see what feminism is, not what the world wants you to believe it is. There’s a real right to being angry at the things that sexism have done for keeping me down, keeping other women down. Being angry isn’t bad. It is an emotion, an emotion a lot of us have very real reasons to feel. Becoming a better person and fighting for a world where everyone gets to be who they want to be is what I strive for. How is this bad? The problem is that women have had it badly for so long that we need to focus on that before we can rebuild things in a more equal fashion. The idea that caring about women means I don’t care about anyone else at all is so fallacious, it’s like saying that if you want to eat cake, your life is devoid of eating anything else.

    With feminism comes a larger entrance in the world of social justice issues and activism – learning to care about how other women were treated made me realize that women of all stripes have unique problems they face; women of color, women who have varying levels of disabilities or illnesses, women who are queer, women who are poor. Then in turn it opens up to everyone. The problems we need to fix though are a heavier burden on some more than others and things have been out of whack for so long.

    I guess this is getting way too long but I felt it necessary to finally communicate to you why I feel so terribly upset and disappointed that you chose to say these things about feminism especially after reading something as intensely personal as my post about being harassed. To go on and say that responses to your post have been akin to virtual rape is embarassing and upsetting – I don’t have to tell you that comments on a blog (especially ones that are as honestly tame as these, I will assume there’s been worse we haven’t seen) are nothing like being raped. You know it yourself. You’re a grown-ass woman. So am I. So I’m telling you that despite you hating what I am, or what I stand for, calling my kind of person a bully, in the same breath as you addressing me as a strong person – no matter what you say or what you think, I’m still going to try and fight for a world where you as a woman are loved, safe and allowed to be the person you wish to be.

  34. Mikkousha

    http://bailiwick.lib.uiowa.edu/wstudies/theory.html

    Even though you and yours probably won’t get it. I try to do my civic duty as a college educated prick. *shrug* I better still get my brownie points from Professor Adam. . . *Prof gives a thumbs up*

    Oh Yeah~

  35. E.

    Please, keep on keep on. There are more of us than you can imagine on your side of the argument, who are utterly fed up with being misrepresented among the female gaming community. Everything else that I could thumbs up or comment on has been stated. I just wanted to add my voice to the positive multitude.

    • Thank you so much for the support! Positive responses are so refreshing. It is good to know I am not alone. :)

      ~ Effy

  36. barrista

    Hmm. I’ve read through this as well as the comments and I have to say you are missing something. By seeing the word “feminist” in a negative light and then later in comments lumping it together as a religion, you are doing the very same thing you accuse them of doing. You don’t want to be lumped with them but you want to lump them together and degrade them?

    I think you and others need to realize that there are levels to anything. I might call myself a feminist in that I think I would never be happy in a “traditional” female role, but that doesn’t mean that I’m taking offense at everything a man says.

    You are very young. You didn’t live through what women did one or two centuries ago and you take your current freedoms for granted. That doesn’t mean you have to poke men with sticks and always be on the lookout for them to stab you in the back, but it does mean you are very spoiled.

  37. Jinx

    If you were a male writing about those issues, few, especially those feminists, would have even taken you seriously. It is only because you are female, that you are “allowed” such blasphemic words. So much for equality. Thanks for the good read.

    Jinx

  38. Gus

    Hang in there girls have no right to demand that You find ofense in the same things they do and to be honest some of this feminist girls Have hypersensitive skin and are quick to find offense where there is none

  39. barkbirch

    “Stereotypes suck. Discrimination sucks. Perceived gender-roles suck. The essence of humanity sucks.”

    A lot of feminists would agree with you on all those points except the last one. The kind of feminism I’m familiar with is less defeatist about what you seem to see as “human nature”.

    Also, being a feminist doesn’t exclude caring about racism, class difference, poverty, etc. Many feminists campaign around multiple, often intersecting issues.

    Your views seemed to be very much based on liberalism (in a capitalist, individualist sense, not a “liberal vs conservative” sense). If I’ve read your post correctly, you’re saying “I did things my way, and all women should. There’s no need to complain about the way things are because humans are like that.” No feminist I know would argue with you that women should be free to behave how they like. The difference between us is that I, as a feminist, believe that society is structurally and systematically unequal, and that affects everybody whether we like it or not. It’s great that you haven’t felt restricted by sexism. But many women (and men!) do. Not only by explicitly discriminatory or abusive acts, but by indirect sexism and generally-held views around gender roles. Yes, it is a fact that people think this way and it won’t change overnight, and that’s why many of us are fighting against it.

    Characterising us all as man-hating is intellectually lazy and also just plain wrong. However, I’m proud to be angry, because who wouldn’t be angry about injustice? I’m angry about a lot of things. Misogyny is one of them. If you don’t care one way or the other, that’s fine, and to be honest it’ll save you a lot of grief in your everyday life. Why blast us for giving a shit?

    (By the way, there are a lot of different kinds of feminism. It’s not a unified entity preaching one message. There’s a lot of disagreement between feminists, and between the different kinds of feminism: radical feminism, liberal feminism, socialist feminism, anarcho-feminism…)

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