And so another year has passed. It can be hard to tell from year to year if one has accomplished anything. It feels like everything that matters is going so slowly or makes no progress at all, while everything else flashes by at lightning speed. That’s why it’s important to look back and see where we’ve been and where we’re going. I’ve undergone a lot of changes this year (such as embracing the mantles of feminism, atheism, and a child-free life), although I fell short on many of my 2013 goals. I’m still not especially good at handling time on the internet and depression has sunk it’s claws in even deeper. Still, I’ve accomplished more than I thought I would.
An enormous thank-you goes out to all of my readers, commentators, and followers! As of December, 100 people are following The Cat’s Cradle. You have my deepest gratitude, and I hope you’ll continue reading and sharing my entries! I literally cannot thank you enough.
In light of recent developments in the comic, gamer, and cosplay worlds, I’m doing a series of entries about “fake fans” and how established fandoms treat newcomers, women, and minorities. This entry is the Gamer Edition, wherein I focus on the gaming community. You can read the companion Comics Edition here.
How do you decide if someone is unworthy to be part of your fandom? How do you label someone a poser, a noob, or a fake? Whom do you invite into a fandom and why? Whom do you reject and why? What are the criteria to go from noob to knowledge-master? How does someone graduate from being a “fake geek girl/boy” or “fake fan” into a “true fan”? Is such a thing even possible?
I’m not sure if I want to write this entry. I’m not sure if it’s safe for me to write this entry. In the wake of #GamerGate, it’s become more obvious how dangerous it can be to be a woman online and have opinions. Especially if you are a woman involved in games, and particularly if you have some level of popularity. Granted, my profile is no where near as high as the targets of GamerGate, but the very fact that I’m nervous about posting this also makes me mad. I shouldn’t be afraid to have an opinion, provided I try to express it respectfully.
If you don’t know what GamerGate is, I’ve provided links below to various journals, news articles, and individual blogs that talk a lot more about it. To summarize, GamerGate is the outpouring of misogyny in the gaming world that people tend to ignore, disregard, or minimize. It is the systematic anonymous attempt to destroy women in gaming, be they game developers, journalists, critics, or just outspoken fans. This hate has spewed forth in a fashion that cannot be covered up or explained away (although lord knows that GamerGate tried.)
I’m going to tackle some stereotypes present in modern fiction that I think are dangerous when used irresponsibly. Any entries part of this series will be labeled as “Dangerous Stereotypes.” The previous entry on this topic is about the Scientist stereotype, which can be read here.
People have interesting ways of coping with scary things. Some deny their fear. Some avoid what frightens them. Some seek it out. And many people, often women, seem to be taking what should be scary and try to make it cute.
I’m talking about the “bad boys.”
There are so many villainous characters out there with cute, sorrowful, gentle, loving, or chibi-fied pictures of them out on the internet. Sometimes they are anti-heroes like Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z or Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sometimes they are villains like Voldemort from Harry Potter or Loki from the Marvel Comics. Sometimes they are someone who flickers in between like Mr. Gold from Once Upon a Time. And sometimes they are like Alucard from the anime and manga Hellsing. Alucard is the opposite of cute. He’s one of, if not the most, badass, psychotic, murderous vampire in modern literature. He’s fucking terrifying. He’s murdered and drunk the blood of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, human and vampire, and enjoyed it. The only think that keeps him under control is the special spell that binds him to the will of the leader of the Hellsing Organization. And he’s one of the GOOD guys!