Perspectives and Retrospectives: Vol. 4
The following piece is likeOMGitsFEDAY’s thoughts on the first year of FUoS. Series introduction here.
November 9, 2004. I had been looking forward to this day since the summer. I was a young, innocent, naive girl who was in love. With a game. On that day, Halo 2 was released, and came with a trial subscription to Xbox Live. I usually LANed with my buddies, spending countless hours sniping each other with magnums on Hang Em High, so I didn’t really get the appeal of playing online, but a friend from work convinced me to play with him.
Sure, I had played counterstrike online with some guys I knew that went to another school, but we had our own private vent channel, so I was used to friendly chatter and one of the guys beatboxing. So I figured I’d try it out. My buddy was working, so I hopped online to set up my account and try out some of the maps. For my handle, I settled on Fedaykingirl, after much debate of using Chani, Irulan, or Alia instead.
I jumped into my first free for all match on Ascension. I won by a landslide. In the end screen I heard people talking, so I piped in “Good game, guys!” My virgin ears were not ready for the barrage of insult I would receive. “Shut the fuck up bitch!” “Is that a girl? Fuck you, girls don’t play video games”. This would only continue. It used to make me so mad, I couldn’t keep the tears from welling up in my eyes.
Somehow I fell into a rough group of guys in a clan called the Trojan Killers. They took me under their wing, and while they hastled me and gave me light-hearted crap, the second anyone on the other team talked down on me for being a girl, my TK buddies would return fire with a barrage of much raunchier insults. One of my clanmates, FatCaddyDaddy, taught me everything I know today about talking smack and is the reason I have such a thick skin. No one’s mother’s honor was safe when he was on the mic.
Remember how I said I won my first match? Yeah, I’m good at video games. Really good. I started craving a higher competitive standard for myself, and discovered the PMS clan after they played a humpday challenge against Bungie. I tried out for a month and got in, and a few short months later on my 18th birthday, I was invited to join “Alpha”, the most elite division, run by two of the baddest bitches I have ever met, Boomst1ck and sliv3r. We were elite, we had ovaries, and we were in charge. We destroyed nearly every opponent, and didn’t take shit from anyone. We put competitve women gamers on the map.
After joining PMS I began attending tournaments and conferences, promoting women in games. I knew that what I heard every day online would discourage a lot of women, and PMS provided a safe environment for women to play in. Back then people were still surprised women even played games. Through my attendance I met members of the Frag Doll community, and my lovely friends, GTZ, Jaspir, and inklesspen.
Clearly, I’m a veteran in online gaming, I’ve had my share of war wounds, and when GTZ was so startled by the kinds of things one heard online, it caught me off guard. What I was even more surprised at, though, was the fact that no one had created a site like FUoS already! Back in the Myspace days, my girlfriends and I had albums of nasty messages we got, and we briefly joked about taking all the dick pics we’d received over the years and ranking them.
The site took off, way more than I think any of us imagined. Being an avid Redditor, I almost died when we hit the front page, and things got crazier from there. Podcasts, interviews, articles, and a very shocked gaming community. I’m still amazed that so many people were oblivious to what I’ve been dealing with for 6+ years of gaming. Granted, it’s mostly background noise to me now, with my arsenal of retorts at the ready (“Scoreboard, jackass. You can talk shit on me when you’re on top”), but not everyone can handle it like I do.
It was really amazing to have a panel at Penny Arcade Expo last year(a nerd fantasy come true), and I couldn’t believe we filled the room with people who wanted to hear what we had to say. I’m happy the site has made so many people aware of the issue, and I guess my thoughts are these.
Gaming is competitive, and talking shit will likely always be a part of that. God knows I talk mad smack. However, I don’t think gender based insults are ok. I have every right to play games, and I shouldn’t have to not use a mic or hide my gender. I’m not going to make you a sandwich, and if you tell me to go play with my barbies, I will drive to my parents house, find one in the basement storage and shove it up your ass. I don’t want women to be discouraged from gaming because it’s a “boy thing”. It’s 2012. Come the fuck on.