I've been tweeting a lot about feminism and gaming. My mentions have, to noone's surprise, been alight with all the dudes (and it's almost entirely dudes) who want to tell me how good I have it, how useless, how inconsequential, and how wrong I am. Like so many years ago at teacher's college when the entire discussion was shut down by one dude saying "Well I don't think that's true." ,it's impossible to have an actual discussion with someone who's world view is so incredibly skewed. Who needs feminism in 2015? Women have it SO GOOD. Dont' you have anything IMPORTANT to worry about? Why attack video games? You must hate them. I bet you don't even play. Women really have all the power! You don't even have to go die in wars. And if women are so horribly oppressed, why do men kill themselves so much? Why are men laughed at if they say they were raped? WHAT ABOUT THE MEN!?
How do you talk with someone who denies the moon landing? The Holocaust? Believes in reverse racism? Takes the Bible (or Koran or Torah) as literal truth? Absolutely cannot see the everyday sexism that women put up with? I say one thing and it comes back mocked or simply denied. "That's not true." How do you start a dialogue or change anything when someone is denying your lived experience? When they deny who you are? When they refuse to hear you?
Is an entire gender just lying? Acid throwing is lies? Child marriage? Female genital mutilation? Rape? Domestic violence? Being hounded out of jobs, off campus? Back alley abortions? We're all just lying for no reason? Because speaking up hasn't helped too much. The backlash has been bitter. We're all just lying for the fun of it, so people can laugh or say "But what about the men?!"
Laurie Penny wrote a thing that's worth sharing and re-sharing. It strikes all the chords with me. All of them. I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I too was struck the moment Rey picks up Luke's old lightsaber to battle her enemy on equal footing. I've been waiting my whole life for a female lead, not a background character, to do that, to be a Jedi, to fight with one of those beautiful, humming weapons. Stories matter. Who the hero is, matters. When I played Super Metroid as a kid and died for the first time, revealing that Samus is a woman, I was struck in a similar way except also completely surprised. This badass bounty hunter was clearing realm after dangerous realm on this hell world full of monsters completely alone AND she was a GIRL!? Like me?! Like me! It changed me.
I don't have to justify my love of games, any game, to anyone. I've been playing since the SNES and I'll probably keep playing until I'm old and grey and can barely hold a controller anymore. I also don't have to justify my existence to anyone; I'm a woman, a person. I hold up half the sky. I have all the same rights and responsibilities as any other person. This is a fact that's been affirmed not only by my country's laws, but by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It's not my job to hold some knuckle-dragger's hand and spell these things out, especially only having 140 characters to work with. But sometimes, just sometimes, I try anyway. You never know when you might change someone's mind.