I don't even want to look and see how long it's been since I've blogged. I've been a bad little blogger, neglecting my faithful readers and shying guiltily away every time I saw my blog's link in my bookmark bar. Always something else to do, somewhere else to go, something else to write.
But now I've moved to part time at work (at my own request). I have a little more free time, although it never quite feels like enough. So, it gives me great pleasure to announce...I'm baaaaaaaack, baby! I've got new plans to share, new entries on all kinds of subjects (writerly and otherwise), and I'm sure lots of silliness and the general inanity that keeps me from falling into general insanity. 'Cause you know, NaNoWriMo is coming up...should be lots of inanity and insanity there. Fun!
Before we get to all that in the coming weeks, though, I'd like to comment on something that drives me a little crazy. And that is this: the utter shock, or at least eyebrow raising, that comes when someone discovers that--quelle suprise!--girls play video games.
I know, I know. However did they escape from the kitchen?
This annoyance was mostly brought about by two recent articles: This one, by the AP and published by CNN, which is so surprised at females--female teenagers, no less, who haven't known a world without video games--who play video games. So surprised, in fact, that the author feels the need to set that fact apart with em dashes, as seen below:
The survey found that while young Americans don't necessarily play the same thing, nearly all of them -- girls included -- play video games of one kind or another.Really? Are we so shocked at this? Did no one see this coming? But of course, we have to focus on the fact that the dainty little girls don't like the shoot-em-up, run-around-in-a-virtual-world-collecting-weapons-and-stuff, scream-obscenities-over-the-headset-at-your-gaming-buddies games.* They couldn't possible have found some girls that enjoyed these games, could they? I mean, they certainly don't exist out there in the real world, right? Because, you know, what 75% of a gender likes, the other 25% must enjoy as well.**
Disclosure: I don't much enjoy those games, myself. But that's more because they usually involve some sort of a map and a considerable amount of hand-eye coordination, and I am both spatially and directionally challenged.
The second article came out a few weeks ago, and really got my feminist meter fuming. "How to Get Your Girlfriend Into Gaming," published by MSNBC. It's about a panel at a gaming expo (Penny Arcade's expo, to be exact) in which many stereotypical, and sometimes just plain demeaning, suggestions were offered. Jezebel*** really said it better than I ever could, so I'll leave it at that.
No, actually, I won't. I'll leave it at this quote from one of the ALL FEMALE members of the panel:
There are no words I can say to combat that kind of patronization. Except this:
"Ask her to help you spot snipers," said Phillips. "Chicks like flattery. If she feels like she’s helping, then you’re making it a positive experience."
When my husband, in 2004, first brought home SSX Tricky, a snowboarding game for the XBox, I idly asked him if I might like it.
"Hm," he said doubtfully. "It might be a little tough for you."****
Well, that was it. I was unemployed at the time, and not writing, so the next day was spent proving him wrong. By the time he came home from work, my snowboarder was kicking some serious powder. And had beat all his high scores.
So maybe the way to get your girlfriend into gaming is to be a jerk and tell her she probably won't be very good at it. Worked for me. Although this probably isn't going to be an issue for vry much longer, since--gasp! shock! dismay! -- girls are already there.
*Or as we call it in my house, "Tuesday evening."
**These statistics are a guess on my part. I'm not actually sure what percentage of teenage female gamers prefer the more violent games, but I'm willing to bet the number would surprise male gamers.
***This site, and it's comments, frequently features NSFW pictures and commentary. If you're easily offended, I would steer clear. I quite enjoy it, though.
****Notice he said, "for you," not "for a girl." I think he was referencing my legendary clumsiness and general lack of coordination. He certainly knew better, by that point in our relationship, to imply that I might be in any way less competent than he due to my gender. Oh, to have more men like him in the world!