On Fangirling, Social Media, and Positivity

Recently, a writer seemed to conflate fangirling with praising other women and pegged these gestures, especially if made in public spaces, especially online, as disingenuous. Later, she adds that in the past, when contact information or an address for celebrities and other known individuals was harder to find, sending a letter of praise actually took some work, so it meant more. This is the old “I walked three miles to school in the snow, up seven hills, and barefoot” cliché. Just because something took longer or was more difficult to achieve doesn’t automatically give it more worth. Social media isn’t a throwaway for most people. The argument comes off as a dismissal of the modern instead of realizing that people often simply find new ways of doing the same things. We’re social animals, and just because we can reach out to those we admire more easily and openly, it doesn’t devalue the statements within.

An example cited in the piece was a tweet by actress Anna Kendrick talking about shaking at the unforgettable moment of meeting Beyonce. Now, putting myself in that position, I would also be shaking at meeting Beyonce. None of this effusive praise is new; it’s just the format has changed, grown, and widened.

I was sixteen when I attended a reading featuring Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez, whose work I devoured, related to, found traces of my own family within, and from her work, even drew inspiration. I was a poor girl and didn’t have the money to buy a copy of her latest book, but I joined the line at the public event in the hope I could just get a moment with her. My turn arrived, so I approached the table, probably stumbled over some words or spoke too rapidly, forgot to inhale, communicating just what her work meant to me. She took my hands, a kind, steadying gesture, and one I won’t forget. She thanked me, and I told her I was also a writer, that I loved her work, and she asked about me too. Finally, she wished me luck and even signed notebook with “Suerte” and a heart.

This was before social media, but fangirling has been around far longer than widespread internet, if by other names. These moments may pass unregarded, sentiments tweeted or expressed in comments on Instagram or in a Tumblr reblog, may be ephemeral. Yet, being interested in someone’s work or having shared interests, especially if those interests elicit similar emotional responses, these are the types of connections that, with some degree of luck and circumstance, may last long term. For an artist, a show of support may be more meaningful than a fan will ever know directly, and there’s nothing lost in expressing it.

There’s nothing like meeting someone else who was a total stranger to you yesterday, then discussing a shared interest, fandom you both follow, your tears over a death or development in the series that made an impression on both of you. Sometimes that ends in a hug and staying in touch. Sometimes these very interactions expand your whole universe. Devaluing the rich variety of channels we have these days to connect with one another comes across as extremely shortsighted. Criticizing positivity and happy messages, even simple supportive posts and tweets of approval, which can be very gratifying, just seems like sour conduct. This isn’t a case of sycophants, but mostly seems like harmless positive expression and declaring someone or something they have done is valuable.

It’s certainly better than a slew of articles suggesting women hate one another. We’re individuals, and some of us like to express our positivity. Would I still be a writer had Julia Alvarez not been so kind to the awkward teenager before her? Yes, I think so, but that memory, the positivity of that experience stays with me. So does the support I received from some friends I met who, shortly after I joined a shared online group, listened to and helped me through an issue that took months of frustration to resolve. It was an unexpectedly strong treasure to find at that time in my life, and these friendships have lasted.

So, yes, I’m on the positivity train. If someone is hurting or going through something, I try to offer words, at minimum, but sometimes gushing openly about how awesome someone is could lift both of your days. Even tweeting to someone you respect, engaging with them, might lead somewhere. You never know. Being excited about things, feeling joy, gratitude, and inspiration, these are some of life’s finest moments. Should receiving them intersect with moments of despair, loneliness, or loss, there’s a special kind of hope in these connections that is likely as old as humanity.

Sometimes it feels like joy is looked down upon, shamed, or discouraged. When something is clearly meant to be enjoyable, it’s often disparaged as being of poor quality or not meaningful. Down with that. Meaningful doesn’t have to take huge effort and because of that, tell someone she’s awesome today. And tomorrow. And so on. It will feel great.

We Have Always Been Here

This anonymous Ask over on the Why I Need Diverse Games Tumblr has already received strong responses from many, but I felt strongly enough to add a short one of my own.

“Geekdom is the only place where socially shunned males can be save and be themselves [sic]”, it begins. Then, the asker attempts to utilize concepts like “safe space” in order to, ultimately, justify attacks and harassment with language that takes a militaristic tone. Couching the defensiveness of a growing mainstream audience in such language is a glimpse of how some folks feel – that broadening the reach of certain types of media belongs to some finite pool of attention that will be bestowed upon those who share their taste. “So when women,” the asker continues, “who exclude them outside geek culture, invade those save spaces and force the scene to conform to their wants and rules they leave the men with nowhere to go. Where can they flee?”

First of all, women have always been a part of geek spaces. A woman is considered the inventor of computer programming. A woman wrote what is regarded as the first sci-fi novel (Frankenstein). Women have been gaming and creating games for decades. One year, a comics shop opened next to my local movie theater. An afternoon matinee and time in the comics shop, especially if I had a few bucks from babysitting in my pocket, was a wonderful way to spend the day. Star Trek movies were even on the marquee at times. I attended dressed in a Starfleet Academy shirt as yes, a socially awkward teenage girl. I liked other awkward geeks, for friendship and romance. We had shared interests, just enough to make it interesting, and just different enough to learn from one another.

After a couple of decades playing video games, growing up with sci-fi and fantasy, and counting Star Trek as an influence on my life, I’m not seeking to ‘qualify’ or gain any sort of geek cred, but others in my life who also enjoyed many of these things were other girls. We have always been here. We’re not invaders, anonymous, and I understand the perception and socialization that leads to ostracism and feeling alone as a geeky person, but try stepping out and defining yourself outside of products you consume.

But anyone, regardless of gender, should have safe spaces, real ones, and using the idea of gatekeeping to attempt to justify harassment just falls apart in the doing. Gatekeeping is simply never okay. It’s a much richer experience to have broader, more inclusive, and more diverse options.You might discover something unexpected or even meet some good, kind, and talented folks with a more open mind. Might even surprise yourself.

There is also no limit on how much art can be created. Only so much of it is commercial. Seek out new experiences, enjoy the art, games, and writing created by other fans whose creative energy presses against their mind, fingers, or very selves, and must simply get out into the world and be born, shared, and lived.  Put down your weapons, including your pride.Art isn’t finite. No one is invading anything. The more variety and more choice we have is a good thing.

Salma Hayek, Sci-Fi, and Diversity: Still More Promise Than Reality

México en el ❤️! Felicidades #Sub20 @miseleccionmx

A photo posted by Salma Hayek Pinault (@salmahayek) on

Salma Hayek appeared at the Cannes Film Festival recently, promoting her new fantasy-horror film, Tale of Tales. However, she made another important appearance at a panel at the Women in Motion talks in France, where she spoke about Hollywood’s double standards not just for women, but for minorities as well. One thing she said, about an unnamed director who really wanted her for a part (which sounds like Sandra Bullock’s role in Gravity), but caved to the studio in order to get the film made, resonated with me. The studio’s repeated rejections were a hurdle because executives expressed  incredulity at the concept of “A Mexican in space?”

Rodolfo Neri Vela, the first Mexican in space, blasted off 30 years ago this year. A Cuban named Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez was the first Latino and the first black person ever in space. An astronaut from California, Ellen Ochoa, was not only the first Latina in space, but she is the current director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Franklin Chang-Diaz, Sidney Gutierrez, Joseph Acaba, John Olivas, Jose Hernández. Those are just some of the astronauts of Latin American origin or descent, including, yes, of Mexican heritage. The studios could’ve easily looked to reality to see that not only have Latinos been to space, but so have non-whites from other countries. Whoever the studio executives were,  their inability to see a Mexican as someone who could convincingly play the part of a woman who, under some circumstances, traveled into space, that says a lot about the work that still needs to be done in both Hollywood and in our society, given who we picture in certain roles.

A report from USC released last year says that Latinos had just 4.9% of the speaking parts in the top 100 films of 2013. Latinos do, however, make up around 16% of the US population, and about 25% of movie ticket buyers. In fact, audiences heading to Furious 7, a film with a very diverse cast, were 75% POC and half women, which was named as reason for that film’s great box office success. In the US, the percentage of high school graduates going on to enroll in college is now greater than the percentage of white students. With Latinos and demonstrated buying power, as well as growing population and educational attainment, the idea of a Mexican in space shouldn’t be so far-fetched.

In fact, Hayek also emphasized women’s spending at the talks as a way for the industry to start paying attention. “The minute they see money, things will be instantaneously different,” she said at the talk. Given that women already buy over half of movie tickets and are still treated like a niche group in an industry where top executives are still mostly white men, making our mark with financial backing of films and TV is sending a message, but more needs to happen. Like the old adage about women ourselves, we have to work twice as hard to get the same recognition. Maybe our support of creative works has to be twice as loud or as financially successful to impact future decisions. Yet, even if women are being hired into prominent roles more openly, that doesn’t mean people of color are too.  Salma Hayek isn’t an unknown in Hollywood, and so the argument couldn’t be made about a lack of name recognition, even internationally. Not casting Salma Hayek because she’s not right for the  role is something I can understand, but if the director wanted her and believed she fit the part, but the dismissal came down to her ethnicity, that is a huge disappointment, especially since the film was sci-fi.

Genre fiction, especially sci-fi, through imaginative analogues, explore some of the toughest issues and difficult questions we face. Sci-fi can reflect a future where understanding and tolerance grow and reign, or bleakness and harsh treatment are the norm. Sci-fi can explore the strange, the weird, and the difficult, filtered through characters to identify with, empathize with, root for, hope alongside, be scared with, and even grow to feel almost like a real friend might. Sci-fi is a genre of potential, and for many of us, especially those of us who grew up as nerdy kids, especially nerdy minority kids, searching faces and names for people like us on our screens, in our books, or even in our games, it was one of the few genres to feature them. Although, even sci-fi and fantasy films aren’t always as diverse as we might have hoped, throughout the years, and often especially on television, there were opportunities for nerdy girls growing up between cultures and languages could see others who might bear resemblance to us or our family names.

Sci-fi, for many of us who don’t always see ourselves or anyone like us, represented in movies or on TV, or even in books or comics, was always a place of hope. Maybe that future someday will include someone like me. Maybe we’ll have those leadership positions in our own future. For geeks like me who grew up with well-meaning parents who taught us “You can be whatever you want to be”, to see stats like 4.9% of speaking roles in the top 100 films when we’re all adults now is disheartening. That’s not even saying anything about the quality of those roles or their adherence, or not, to stereotypes. Casting women and people of color in visible roles, including those of scientists, doctors, politicians, and yes, astronauts, helps show kids growing up, those kids who still search in our ever-connected, screens everywhere age, for people with names like theirs, heritage like theirs, and who look like themselves. Sci-fi still has the potential to break new ground, and casting a Latina in space would be a great step forward, and—a reminder—one that already reflects reality.

Why Not “Imagine” Non-stereotypical Games Instead?

Member of the FragDolls and Ubisoft employee Valkyrie posted a rant on her blog regarding the reception of the company’s Imagine series of games, which are aimed at young girls. What follows are my comments on the matter that I posted as a part of the discussion happening over there.

And lets not forget that before these games are even produced the companies set up focus groups to find out exactly what their target audience wants in a game. So it’s not like these companies are pushing these games on girls; they’re creating a game based off the little girls wants, feedback/suggestions.

A few of these games are localized versions of games that have already come out elsewhere. And also, one point that this argument doesn’t address, is one brought up by Alice Taylor over at Wonderland Blog:

Research is a funny thing. If you say to someone, what’s your favourite food, they’ll list three things they love. If you then say, you didn’t list chocolate cake, don’t you like chocolate cake? They’ll say, oh SURE! I love chocolate cake! I just didn’t realise you were asking about chocolate cake.

I’m curious just what these focus groups are like. Are they suggestive, or do they let girls just name what they like? I used to say things like lawyer, pediatrician, and president when I was little and asked about careers. Where’s Imagine:President?

As a woman who got into gaming very early (around 3-4) and loves playing to this very day, it’s almost a slap in the face to even try with these games. They’re so stereotypical. Where’s our Imagine:Science Teacher? Imagine:Archaeologist? Imagine:Lawyer? And whatever happened to just making good games, games that will appeal to those who are interested in the genre they represent, games with good stories, strong characters, or just overall well-made games? Why should there even be an artificially created “need” to plum this niche other than pure $$$? Telling people to blame society is a cop out. Sure, these stereotypes are a product of society, but there’s no need to reinforce them. It’s the same whether it’s Imagine: Babyz or the toy mop and vacuum set that my cousin received as a gift.

The problem is with society, but we are free to speak out on the things we feel might be contributing to the problem. Why artificially separate and  [i]other[/i] young girls by basically saying these games are for you and by doing so, sending the implicit message that ‘these other games are not’?

After all, we did just fine finding our love for gaming without everything being cherry-picked and separated out.

The Alice Taylor blog I was referring to is located here.

As the FragDolls are Ubisoft employees, I don’t think it’s really allowed for them to speak badly of their company’s games, so I doubt that a truly honest discussion can take place over these Imagine titles they had to shill at GameX.

But I’m willing to be proven wrong. While I don’t doubt that playing a game that caters to a girl’s interests (or a boy’s, for that matter) can be a segue into gaming for life, but the question is how do these Imagine games reflect those interests? Is it a checklist, are they suggested to the girls in the groups, is it the matter of the neglected chocolate cake? And if they do such a good job as they claim, why are the subjects they cover so narrow and stereotypical in scope?

All this said, I don’t think that games aimed at girls or boys specifically are necessarily bad. However, being well-made and progressive, without falling into the pit of stereotypes would help. HerInteractive tends to do a good job. I also fully understand that video games are a product, and that they need to sell. And in a world where so many are safe bets and sequels, I know it’s a lot to ask, but I believe good games that don’t stereotype and appeal to young kids are possible.


Sony’s Marketing Dept. Gets it Right in PS3 Ad

At the gym last night, I settled onto the elliptical with a magazine from the community rack. I’m not a regular People Magazine reader, but as I was flipping through this issue from late September, I saw a PS3 ad. The ad features a teen boy who looks to be enjoying himself and a middle-aged woman as his mother next to him, also looking to be enjoying herself. Both had controllers in their hands and looked to be having fun playing.

The tagline that accompanied the ad referred to the recent price drop but also served to be really inclusive. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the exact content, but I believe it was something about the PS3 being at a price that suits everyone.

People‘s demographics skew very female, and range through various age groups, so this was a pleasant surprise. To see gaming not only marketed as something women of any age do, but without the usual attention being called to her as a female playing games. (See the PSP’s recent lavender release with its ill-considered “Girlz Play Too!” tagline and obvious lineup of Hannah Montana and other similar games). Surely there would be some sort of division in the games, right?

Nope. The game selection at the bottom wasn’t even divided into obvious gender targets like so many other ads are. The games were titles like Batman: Arkham Asylum and others. Not a puzzle game or fitness coaching game in sight.

Even though that lavender PSP stuff is still fresh in our minds, kudos to Sony’s marketing department for this great ad!

Band Hero Features More Female Vocalists

When reading through gaming news on Monday afternoon, I read that the whole setlist of the tracks in the upcoming Band Hero game had been released. I went to take a look to see what songs had made the cut, and was pleasantly surprised to see names of female singers or bands with female vocalists over and over throughout the list.

About one third of the songs in the game are sung by women, and they represent a variety of musical styles. Corinne Bailey Rae is there, as are Janet Jackson, No Doubt, Pat Benatar, and Taylor Swift, among others. While I enjoy playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band, most of the default songs in the game have always been from bands with male vocalists. But in the past few years, these titles have been at the forefront of social gaming, and found fans among both genders. Yet it wasn’t until now that there was a respectable number of songs there from female vocalists. Before, it felt a bit like tokenism. Perhaps seven or eight tracks out of fifty or sixty would feature women. It made it more difficult to find something in one’s vocal range if singing that round.

Maybe they realized the game appeals across gender lines. Maybe it was developers realizing that adding more songs by women wouldn’t alienate or weird out the male players. Maybe licensing came more easily this time around. Whatever the reason, I consider it progress and look forward to playing the game.

“Women + PC Gaming: BFF”

I was reading the latest issue of Games for Windows magazine today (October, the one with F.E.A.R. sequels on the cover) and came across this "advertorial" near the back tech section. Ugh, I know Microsoft features these as part of its sponsor partnership with Ziff-Davis, but this one was particularly close to home.

It begins – "Women who play Games for Windows: It's not a myth, and  it's not a publicity stunt."

Wow, Microsoft. Thanks for telling me that I play games. I had trouble believing it before, but now I am assured that this activity of mine is not a publicity stunt.

Wait, it gets better.

"That's right–there are real, everyday ladies playing computer games (even hardcore favorites such as Age of Empires III [Microsoft, Rated T] and Shadowrun [Microsoft, Rated M] the entire world over this very minute!"

Once again, thank you Microsoft, and writer Christa Phillips for letting me know that the mysterious creature known as the female that plays games is not a rare local species and is found throughout the world. Even sometimes playing hardcore titles. OMG!

It's not the content that I'm taking issue with so much as the presentation. The cutesy title and writing style makes me read the entire piece in this syrupy hyper voice in my head. It's also written in this patronizing way that I suppose is meant to speak to the mostly male readership of gaming magazines, but comes off as treating the female gamer as something of an exotic mystery, even while its aim is to debunk that sort of thing.

There are actually some on-target comments from some women quoted in the article, but the overall style of the piece just rubbed me the wrong way.

Part of the ending paragraph, "Women who love to game still look forward to the day when guys value our sniper skills as much as our crafting abilities. Until then we'll find safety and acceptance in female gaming groups like GamerchiX and PMS Clan…," also hit upon one aspect that I've thought about often. That is whether or not all-female clans and groups make further integration into the greater gaming community easier or more difficult.

But that's a topic for another day.

Ugh, Well, at least they’re honest about treating women like pieces of meat.

This piece of trash was even written by a woman:


May 27, 2007 — Gentlemen, stop your engines – before they overheat.

Three sexy speed demons are set to drive racing fans wild at to day's
Indianapolis 500 – and make history with more women behind the wheel
than at any other elite- level U.S. racing event.

Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno will heat up the Speedway, with
Patrick, 25, in par ticular having a shot at crossing the finish line

The Wisconsin beauty bolted David Letterman's Rahal
Letterman team for Andretti Green Racing. "For the first time, I'm
having fun with my teammates," she says.

Blonde bombshell
Fisher, 26, who in 2000 became one of the youngest drivers to ever race
in the 500, will be in the 21st position, and Duno, 35, is battling
back from a May 11 crash.


These women are making history and what is their record-breaking feat reduced to? A bunch of adjectives about their physical attractiveness. There's really only one sports-related sentence fragment in there that doesn't sound like it was written by someone covering a sorority party. Can you spot it? The three women are there to compete, and nobody writes stories about any of the male drivers in such a demeaning, body-focused way.

Unfortunately, this isn't anything new. It's happened throughout history as women steadily gained footholds in previously male-dominated situations. We're always held to a different standard. The important thing is to note their achievements, and to not be discouraged because a reporter writes a story about them in a titillating style. At least there are other pieces that cover them in a much more respectful way

“Get Your Significant Other into Gaming”

Note: This is a repost from another of
my blogs, which is sort of on hiatus and may undergo a design change
and relaunch shortly. I've decided to talk about video games on this
blog too, but that one is completely game focused.

Since this is now my main blog, I thought it would make sense to put it here as well.

January 1, 2007

I did a Google search for an unrelated issue I'm having with my browser, and came upon this article
from 2005. I'm sure someone, somewhere, has already discussed it, but
it's new to me. I generally don't go to Microsoft.com for gaming
articles, so I had to stumble upon it.

The article is written in
a gender neutral voice, but it seems that this is merely for
politically correct purposes, as the suggestions and style seem to
indicate that this is geared toward men looking to get their non-gamer
girlfriends or dates into games.

Part of the advice reads: "Do start slow.
Rather than opting for a date starring aliens or zombies, try picking a
title grounded in the real world." Most gamers are happy to show off
their games. They just jump right in and speak enthusiastically. If
it's a passion of ours, we're not necessarily going to tread slowly and
try not to startle our friends or romantic interests. We're going to
say, "Hey, I just got this great game, take a look!" and then proceed
to demonstrate. I'm not advocating intimidation, but you don't have to
treat your non gamer friends and lovers as if they're complete
neophytes that can't handle a little bit of imagination or something
not based in reality. That's like saying reading picture books full of
talking animals and trips to the moon to little children isn't a good
idea. It's all about the concepts and the presentation, not the
delivery method.

If I see something that looks fun to play, I'll
jump right in. Now, while I do enjoy casual games like one of the
titles Mr. Steinberg mentions, Bookworm, that doesn't mean that it's
exciting. Part of the reason why I've been gaming for so long is
because it remains fun and exciting. Now, not all games have to deliver
an intense adrenaline rush ( and plenty have, especially after a truly
arduous boss fight), but if you show me something that looks insanely
fun, I'll want to try it that much more.

Obviously, if we're
referring to a novice gamer, or someone who doesn't game at all, then
it's worth it to find out his or her tastes first. Does this person
enjoy sci-fi novels or movies? Then break out Halo. Is an adventurous
drama or mystery more his or her cup of tea? Then maybe go for
something like Broken Sword or Myst. Political intrigue? Try Beyond
Good & Evil. It's just too hard to try introducing someone to
gaming without looking into the person's interests at all. There are so
many good games within all genres that it's easy enough to recommend
something once you have a sense of what the person might enjoy more.

touched upon the PC qualities of this article earlier, but this is
where it irked me a little. If it was written as another "introduce
your wife/girlfriend/sister/mom to gaming" piece, and it is, then
Microsoft should have just let it be. It's obviously written with that
point of view and directed at a male audience. Look at the advice and
game suggestions:

  • "Don't show frustration or gloat over victories.
    As with any activity, beginners may lack confidence. Take the time to
    help them learn how to play and offer positive feedback. It also
    wouldn't hurt if you let your loved one win once in a while. And for
    heaven's sake, be gentle: poking fun at gaming newcomers is a great way
    to turn them off the hobby permanently."

In other
words, treat her like an incapable child who needs to be duped lest it
hurt her poor, fragile juvenile ego. I attempted to cheat at board
games and ask my mother if she'd let me win when I was around two. She
told me no, and that I had to play fairly and honestly or we couldn't
play at all. It was an important lesson. I knew if I won, that I'd
actually won. That does a hell of a lot more for someone's confidence
than letting them win.

  • Do choose colorful, non-threatening activities. Lean toward the type of title that evokes fond memories of childhood.

look! More advice to treat this new [female] gamer like a child.
Colorful and non-threatening? Give me a break. And while you're at it,
a BFG and a chain gun.

The last section is almost equally air headed, especially the blurb about the Frag Dolls:

  • Lonely
    hearts should check out the Frag Dolls, an all-female team of
    professional gamers. Members Brookelyn, Eekers, Jinx, Katscratch,
    Rhoulette, Seppuku, and Valkyrie update their pages frequently and
    offer news on personal appearances. Meet up with one at a LAN party,
    and you just may find love.

So this guy is
encouraging other guys to read their site, their profiles, and hit on
the women there? As if the FragDolls don't get enough flak and
adulation from lonely gamer guys for being attractive women.

familiar with gaming press and blogs, and articles like this don't
surprise me at all. I'm also quite familiar with both gamers and
non-gamers, male and female. You don't have to baby new gamers, just
get them excited and curious to learn and enjoy themselves. Learn who
they are and what interests them. Treat them like intelligent, fun
loving people, and you'll both enjoy gaming a lot more.

Edit, October 2007: The article linked above is no longer accessible at the original location. It is available here.

“Strangers in a Strange Land”

"A woman paying $130 for a pair of shoes is one thing, but one paying $130 for the Legendary Edition of Halo 3 is something else altogether."

This is one of the best lines in Susan Arendt's recent piece in The Escapist. It's a perfect summary of how many non-gamer women see those of us who love to spend chunks of our leisure time blasting away zombies, solving puzzles, saving the day, and grinding out XP. Most of the women I know don't play video games, and such things aren't even on their radar. It can be difficult when I'm excited for a new MMO or a console release and can't really discuss it with them.

I've been gaming for most of my life. Our family got out first console when I was about two or three years old. I cut my gaming teeth on the classics on Atari and NES and haven't looked back since. I've had female friends that played games, but I was often the only one that was pretty hardcore about it. These days, I'm part of online communities aimed at women that play games, but in real life, outside of our niche, sometimes we get what Arendt deftly describes as "[being] constantly asked to explain and justify our hobby, a requirement
rarely placed on those who choose trips to the movies or pickup games
of basketball as their pastimes of choice".

Another point she touches on is the reaction of family to a woman that plays games. We're more apt to receive comments about "growing out" of games, where the males aren't expected nearly as often to somehow give up this particular hobby. When it comes to my family, they don't quite understand either, though they haven't been as harsh as to ask when I'd grow out of it. However, when all of my younger cousins received Nintendo DS systems one Christmas, and I got slippers and pajamas, as cute as they were, I was disappointed. Last year, my family talked about trying to buy Wii systems for my younger cousins. 'What about me?' I thought. But they don't consider buying me games or systems because I'm an adult.

Arendt's piece, which is highly recommended, goes into many other situations applicable to us female gamers,  and includes testimonials from several women. When I read it, I kept thinking "yes, that's exactly how it is". No one would bat an eye at a woman spending $130 on shoes, and yet that's something I probably wouldn't do. New Silent Hill release on the way? Sure.