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.

Game on.

  • Anonymous

    Love it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Messer/100000466081636 Ann Messer

    This made my eyes teary, but love it. Very inspirational. 

  • Anonymous

    This made me happy.

  • Erick Mattos

    I’m a male but I have played with female gamers since I started online gaming. On MMO’s, on PS3, on PC, it never ends! I defended them all the time but it got old! Going to new games, that didn’t end it and I own a skateboarding website where some of my staff are female skateboarders. People look down upon female skaters too and it sickens me! Why would a male, who is most likely not paying rent or bills or even have a job and plays stuff like MW3 all day, bash a female gamer who is doing better then them?  Ego? Cause they’re asses? Probably both. This website is amazing and I’m all for supporting it! I wish I could game with you but I’m on PS3 :( Though I prefer PS3 doesn’t mean I’m a fanboy haha.

    You go girls! Gender bashing is the same as race bashing. There are always people who are jealous, who envy another persons skills or fortunes. There are idiots who just think their **** don’t stink when in reality they have nothing to show in life as for you awesome women, have everything to show. Skill, passion and dedication! The haters can find a new hobbie if they can’t handle being owned by another gender.

  • Anonymous

    “Scoreboard, jackass. You can talk shit on me when you’re on top”
    Perfect.  I love how “jackass” is infused with so much contempt, but without any of the hate that usually accompanies it.  This response isn’t the reactionary back-lash that lets a shithead know he has gotten to you.  Instead, it lets the person know that he is a lower form of life than you, and that he is too impotent to wound you.  Just excellent.

    “…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.”

    Judging by some of these submissions, there will be plenty of folk who’d be into that.

  • Zidders Roofurry

    I grew up in the early days of gaming. My first videogame was pong. Back then, one of my best friends was one of the girls who lived next door, Stephanie. ‘Steph’ as we used to call her LOVED videogames. She’d hang out at my house every day. She dominated an entire neighborhood full of mostly boys. She’d have her tongue stuck in the side of her lip, her eyes focused, intent. It was like watching a pro athlete, she would get totally in the zone and woe be to anyone who tried to beat her top score. She was a legend at the local arcade, she had all the high scores. She wasn’t a tomboy but she wasn’t girly, either. 

    This has been my experience with females. Most of the ones i’ve ended up friends with have been gamers. Some casually, some hard core, all of them have loved games for the same exact reasons I have. I’ve never looked at videogaming as being a gender thing but then I don’t really pay attention to stereotypes, anyways. I’m a victim of enough of them (I’m gay) to know better.
    -Zid

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BMZ3QGQIZFPRDZ23O3NSZQCY2I MPP

    I’m glad there’s a woman out there with a thick enough skin to deal with their crap. I don’t have that thick of a skin so I’ll follow the difficult path made easier that was paved by your hard fought efforts. Game on!

  • Anna Kraemer

    Thanks for the story. I started playing online games when I was about 13 years old (day of defeat on pc) and have grown some thick skin, having 2 older brothers who played games. It is quite ridiculous how literally almost none of my friends who are gamers know about this problem. It’s nice to know someone is speaking up about it! I applaud your effort.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you about how “jackass” was so forceful.  I could hear myself saying that in my head as I read it!  I think this line is gonna go into my repertoire :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WIXYKIDD6S2HMCZSQV7ZBUUO4 Rence

    Sometimes i just dont get the members of my own gender (XY).  Maybe its because i was raised to respect women? Or maybe its just that i’m not an idiot, but ive never had problems with women gamers.  Sure some of them annoy me, but its mostly the ones that use the “but i’m a girl” line to try to get us to go easier on them, but its them as individuals that bother me and not women in general.  I used to lead a Freelancer clan, and we would gladly take women pilots, I was more interested in how well they could fly than i was about their anatomy.  Within the team they got no special treatment, they were just another pilot.  That being said, if someone from outside our clan made sexist comments bout them, it ended up going badly for them. (we were quite good) Some fool made the mistake of calling my fiance’ names because she could fly circles around him and kill him at will, more to the point he made said comments in my presence.  As a result, not only did we declare war on his clan, we obliterated them.  We wouldnt accept their surrender until they agreed to strike their clan tags and leave our server.  Normally i tried to avoid a scorched earth policy with other clans as we liked keeping the server population high, but those guys and girls were my family and i was very protective, more so of my fiance.  So this is all just to say that not all guys treat women gamers this way, and some of us simply dont understand why others do, so please dont let the fools bias you against us all. But most importantly, keep playing.

  • Mark Hargrave

    We all gamble and, it’s great fun. Connecticut gambles. I gamble. However, it is not a useful enterprise. It’s fiddling while Rome burns. It doesn’t put bread and butter on the table. We have become so efficient that 90 percent of us are now free to work for a better life. 

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