Good afternoon! How is everyboddyyyy~?
It’s my favorite day of the week because we’re one day away from Friday, which means payday, and it’s also my day off! Back in the day I only wanted two consecutive days off on the weekend but nowadays I have appreciated this small blessing of being able to take a break in the middle of a week. That’s why I want to present Thoughtful Thursdays! Where I share some of my experiences from my time so far in the turbo-nerd community as a black woman but also as a gamer with a small hope that we can find common ground to relate with each other.
So let’s talk about gatekeeping. Possibly dating, too? They’re definitely separate entities but I always feel like for gamers, especially those who enjoy the more romance driven/cozy stimulation kind of games, always face these two issues at once. Unfortunately I’m one of the many who experiences it and for once – I actually want to get this off of my chest while the memory is still buzzing around my head like a fussy wasp.
Let’s take this back maybe 6-8 months ago back when Facebook was performing a few updates. I rarely use it aside to check in with distant family members but for some reason in the middle of the night, Facebook decided to throw me into the Dating section of the app. My phone was chirping way more than usual and when my lazy self actually got up to see what was going on, ended up finding countless messages of random people trying to talk to me.
I didn’t know how to delete it so I decided to just ignore/block the messages as they came through over time until someone actually reached out to me with a genuine message, that he was new in the area and wanted to get to know me since we both had the same interests: video games. I thought, “m’kay let’s see whatchu got” and decided to talk to shop about our favorite titles – for once I felt optimistic because even if dating wasn’t feasible, then at least I could make a new friend.
We immediately talk about the FF7 remake because it’s what I consider to be SAFE TERRITORY. It’s nothing wildly obscure and bizarre like some of my other favorites (COUGH HATOFUL BOYFRIEND COUGH) so it was easy to talk about. I off-handedly mention that I’m not fond of the new developments but happy that it exists in general, he asks me why, and I go into a pretty detailed discussion as to why yet made sure to keep everything neutral.
When I got done he immediately replied: Wow.
He continued to write while I had a self-induced meltdown: “Can I just say how hot it is for a girl to talk so passionately about this? You’re so cute and serious at the same time. Kinda intimidates me but in the best way, ngl”
It took me a moment to process that his statement really rubbed me the wrong way. If we’re looking at this on the surface level here .. and I’m talking like kiddy-pool barely filled up to the surface – it feels like a compliment because he’s acknowledging my opinion, right? Except it’s sammiched between fluffy pieces of condescending with added slices of patronizing. Calling my sincere contribution to a conversation with nothing but a “oh that’s so cute” just felt so degrading because I realized that he didn’t really care about my opinion, only that I passed his “gamer girl” test.
He was just one of many who’d treat me this way. I’ve had guys give me a smug look when asking, “oh I bet I know what kinda anime you like” as I walk next to them with my Sailor Moon purse, some question how many of the “Tales Of” games or “insert popular game series here” I’ve played in means to test how much of a true “fan” I am.. and you know what? I walk away. Doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of a date or eating with them, I’ll pay what I owe and turn my happy ass around to leave because I don’t have to prove myself to anyone that my hobbies are valid.
If I’m lucky the conversations fizzle out politely before either of us could be disappointed and since then I’ve figured out how to delete the Dating app, realizing that I neither had the time nor patience to really think about love right now. Yet it still brings a lonely feeling sometimes knowing that I can’t talk about my nerdy hobbies with an interested stranger without being reminded, time and again, that I’m a girl. Thanks, Captain Obvious. What would I do without you.
The truth is that women do play, create and participate in the nerd community. They cosplay, develop games, voice act, create concept art – they do it all! It’s not a foreign concept. What still remains to be an odd concept is treating these women with respect, especially women of color. We having to prove ourselves 110% more just to show that we’re capable like everyone else but risk so much if we ever slip up and dare to explore out of our niche. As a small-time blogger, I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for women in the industry facing this treatment not only professionally but also in their personal lives. It makes me want to support and appreciate those who participate even more, maybe even join them someday.
Has this ever happened to you, too? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences! Otherwise, thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your day. ♡