Geek Life

Proud to Be a Gamerwife

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about my experience as a female geek and shared stories of sexism and general assholery in geek culture. So of course, the video above for the Doubleclicks song “Nothing to Prove” hit a cord with me. Recognizing there’s a problem is the first step to fixing it, and I think songs and videos like this are another good step in the right direction. But, it’s also gotten me thinking about how I represent myself, both as a geek and more specifically as a video game blogger.

In her post sharing the video, Geeky Hostess Tara spoke about why her website is pink and why we shouldn’t be ashamed to be both feminine and geeky.

“…I’ve found that people don’t often get that someone can be feminine and geeky at the same time, so when designing the branding for my site, I decided it needed to be pink. BRIGHT pink”.

As I’m in the midst of a HUGE design overhaul for Gamerwife, visual presentation is very much on my mind right now, and I wonder if I’ve been doing myself a disservice by not incorporating a little pink into my colour scheme. When I was younger, pink was reserved for my younger sister, the more traditionally feminine sibling with the Barbie doll collection and the affinity for dresses.

I was a bit more tomboyish, carrying a Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox (until I was mocked for having a “boy’s” lunchbox) and including Transformers and Erector Sets on my Christmas wishlists (which I never got, which I blame for why I never became an engineer, so there, MOM). But, as we grew up we both became more girly and more geeky. STTNG was a Sunday night ritual in our house and I dragged my sister to nearly 5 Star Trek conventions before she was out of high school.

Nowadays she might be even geekier than I am, playing board games, and video games, and miniatures with her boys. But I also still think of her as the girlier one, despite my hot pink nails and my recent affinity for high heels. I guess what I’m trying to say is that being a “girl geek” has changed. You’re allowed to be feminine and geeky, whereas in my day if you wanted to play with “boy’s toys” you had to identify as a “tomboy.”

I wasn’t much of a gamer when I started working in the industry 6 years ago. In fact, I’d actively shunned video games after a bad experience dating a gamer in college. So I am still a little self-conscious about labeling myself as a “gamer.” I play video games, sure. But it’s not as much a lifestyle for me as it is for Rick, which is really what I started Gamerwife to talk about. Since then, other interest such as how women are represented in the video game industry and in games, and how the independent game movement is driving creativity in game development have also become interests for me. And yet, I still use a female moniker to identify my blog.

Kari at Indie Gamer Chick brought up a good point about this when talking about the flack she received in the wake of her hand-picked branded Indie Royale Bundle:

“The rule I guess being that girls that play games are not allowed to say they are girls. I’m not sure if the rule applies to other forms of entertainment. I’ll ask Lady Gaga is she gets shit for her stage name”.

There’s something about geek culture that seems to dictate that one can’t be girly and geeky at the same time, and it’s the smashing of this barrier with R2D2 princess cosplay that probably has all those sexist jerks up in arms. So I’m giving up my fear that being too girly will mean I won’t be taken seriously. I started this blog as a housewife, which has its own socio-political baggage. I’m done worrying that having the occasional fashion post means my essays have less weight.

I’m a Gamerwife. And I’m fuckin’ proud.

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