So, a year or so ago, Berlynn Wohl pitched a panel we did at Geek Girl Con, called “Maybe an All-Women Gaming Group is Right for You.” The panel began with all five of the panelists recounting some of the bullshit we had put up with in gaming when we first started, or over the years. One woman was kicked out of her group because the dudes felt she’d be uncomfortable playing with the convicted sex offender they’d just invited. My first gaming session involved my character being gang-raped, with no warning and without asking me if it would be ok. Other women had similar stories. In the audience, we had a 13 year old girl who was in tears because the boys she’d been gaming with since they were 9 or 10 suddenly kicked her out because she’d started developing. That one made everyone in the room cry.
At one point, though, one of the women on the panel said something to the effect of, “How can guys say we aren’t true geeks, or aren’t dedicated? Look at all the crap we have all put up with to pursue this hobby, and we’re still here!”
Constantly being hit on, in and out of character. Constantly being talked down to, regardless of our skill or knowledge level. Constantly being cred-checked in a way that never happens to dudes. Constantly being turned away from games because our presence could ‘make things uncomfortable,’ or having our concerns about dudes behaving in creepily predatory ways discounted.
I seriously doubt if any dude would stick around Gaming, Comics, or any other geeky hobby if he caught half as much static from the people who should be our peers, as we do.
The whole reason I started a women only gaming group a bazillion years ago was because so many women had come to me saying, “I always thought I’d like gaming, but the only gamers I know are guys who…” were intimidating, condescending, creepy, rude, had been doing it for years and claimed they didn’t want to have to explain…
And it doesn’t end with being a consumer. Gail Simone and Kelly Sue De Connick have had their cred-checked by asshole dudes, repeatedly. The most recent being after a male comics author said that, “Yes, Wonder Woman is Queer,” and Gail was celebrating it on Twitter, and this douche tried to cred-check Gail, who FUCKING WROTE WONDER WOMAN FOR HOW LONG??
If Gail Fucking Simone cannot go about her daily life without being cred-checked by some knuckle dragging shitheel, then what chance do the rest of us have?
Geeky girls and women put up with so much shit on a daily basis that geeky dudes do not see or understand.
Wait, let me be more specific.
That geeky cis het white dudes do not understand. Queer people of all stripes, anyone not cis-gendered, POC, they all get it, too. It just happens exponentially more often if you add “woman” to any of the above words or combinations of words.
Here’s the deal, no one owns fun. NO ONE. And there isn’t a finite amount of fun in the universe. Everyone can have fun without decreasing the overall “fun quotient” of the universe. If I have fun, it doesn’t pull from a limited supply of fun that you are also drawing from. So could you all quit acting like it does and anyone who isn’t playing like you or doesn’t look like you is stealing your fun?
And just, please, do not make me explain why the friend zone is not a thing, why no one owes you sex or even their attention, and why making assumptions about someone based on their perceived gender is bullshit.