Sultryminxzoe's Blog

“Nobody is talking about”…discrimination in Geek and Gaming Culture June 23, 2014

Filed under: Geek Rant,Personal — sultryminxzoe @ 8:02 am
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I spend a LOT of time discussing discrimination and equality in geek and gaming culture (more so; this past weekend amid conversations of sexism in fandom and the lack of playable females or characters of differing race or ethnicity in gaming). I have been hearing the same statement again and again: “Nobody is talking about…”

1.)    Please do not say this TO ME. As a bi-racial woman, these are issues I deal with in every aspect of my life. I am having these conversations on a daily basis.

2.)    Ask yourself, honestly: are making yourself aware of the conversation? Each of us is surrounded by people of a different gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, capacity, and/or religious background. I assure you these issues are being discussed.

3.)    If you are not hearing the discussion, START THE CONVERSATION YOURSELF! If you are not willing to stand up, neither can you expect anyone else to do so. No one wants to be met with confrontation, derision or be dismissed off hand. It takes a certain amount of strength and courage to raise your voice amid silence.

4.) REMEMBER, SILENCE HAS POWER. To paraphrase an audience member in a panel on which I participated at Arisia this year, “everyone hears silence differently.” You may remain silent out due to a fear of opposition or because you feel it isn’t your place to speak up. Silence communicates no intention and can often be seen as acquiescence or an excuse to marginalize the need for social progress – if people do not voice opposition, it must not be an issue of concern.

While discrimination exists in our society, there is no excuse for anyone to say they are not aware. If you are feeling underrepresented, misrepresented, especially if you are feeling discriminated against, RAISE YOUR VOICE! Do not allow your silence to lend credence to the belief that no problem exists. As the saying goes, “if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

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Geeks or Geeklitists? July 24, 2012

Filed under: Geek Rant — sultryminxzoe @ 11:47 pm

I recently read the post “Booth babes need not apply on the CNN Geek Out! blog, as well as many of the comments posted in response. While I agree with the ideal this blog post is hoping to convey – there is no need for fake in the geek community, this post neglects a few points.

 

What follows are my personal views.

 

For instance, why are we hating on the cosplayers? Look, I have some not so nice thoughts about booth babes. The women who dress up in skimpy outfits with no concept of the brands they are paid to represent SHOULD NOT be confused with talented individuals with a flare for performance art, or a passion to play. The “pretty girl” geeks may be few, but they exist and dare I say, in larger numbers than anyone would like to acknowledge. What right does anyone have to judge their level of passion?

 

Secondly, I have a problem with the implication that women are involved in the community due to the “broadening content.” Some of us are geeks through and through. We did not need Twilight, an Apple product, comics finally adapted into films that actually see a return on investment, or The Big Bang Theory greenlit for primetime television to realize we were card-carrying members of the L33t Squad. Some of us have been teaching ourselves to program, watching subtitled anime and geeking out over experimental tech since we were hammering away on our Commodore 64.

 

Third, I would echo a point made by one who submitted a comment to the blog. When did the community develop a litmus test to keep out the “cool” kids? I have been patiently waiting to receive my Star Trek communicator badge, but until we can all proudly pin those on, what criteria should we be using to identify our fellow geeks. Who gets to be in charge of deciding who makes the grade?

 

Finally, I simply want to say this sense of the torch-bearing mob out to burn impostors, is not the community I know and love. I consider the geek community family for the very reason that, as a community, we come together to support one another. We may wave flags of different fandoms or represent different segments of nerd culture, but together “we are mighty!” I do not have to play your RPG to understand your attachment to something that gives you such joy. You do not have to watch the Syfy Original Movies I love so much to respect my inclusion in the group.

 

THIS IS NOT THE SCHOOL PLAYGROUND! We are geeks and we run the world. When did we become so elitist? Surely, we do not mean to say there is nothing of value to be gained in associating with the non-geeks of the world. I refuse to believe that a community, of which so many members struggled, hoping to one day be accepted, now refuses to accept others due to a perceived lack of status. Instead of worrying so much about whether or not someone has enough geek cred to join the club, perhaps we should start seeking out and encouraging those elements in the people around us; thereby, cultivating a more expansive community.