Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Labels

I have a confession to make: I'm still a little uncomfortable calling myself a 'gamer'. It's not that I'm embarrassed about it; it's just that I've spent a very large portion of my life avoiding any type of label whatsoever.



That can be a relatively difficult task when you're biracial/ bicultural because everyone's always asking, "What are you?" The answers I would give never satisfied the asker, it always felt like an exercise where someone was trying to hammer in a square peg through a round hole. The older I got the more I resented the question and would, at times, just walk away. Now I've gone and accepted the appellation of 'gamer', reveled in it, even calling myself a 'gamer' and that change came about after I attended my very first convention--PAX.

I guess you could say that I've always been a gamer; since the moment my father brought home an Atari 2600, video games have always been apart of some aspect of my life. I was fortunate to have been born into a country, at a time, when all of my peers also played video games. It was like watching television or playing outside, it was a natural part of everyone's social lives. The Atari began my gaming pastime but the arcades hardwired it into me.

There were periods in my life where video games were put on the back burner, when other life events took the forefront but, without fail, I always seemed to return. Now that I'm an adult and living the west, it's been difficult to connect with other gamers, other than PAX and online gaming communities. I have coworkers who don't think it's strange to set a timer throughout the day to pick their crops on Farmville, but look at me strange when I confess to having spent my weekend doing nothing but play Demon's Souls.

One way I filled that void was participating in female gaming communities; and there are quite a few nowadays. Some of them are focused on some type of critical lens in viewing the female gaming experience and some of them are for younger female gamers. I liked reading and interacting in those sites but they weren't entirely what I was looking for. When eye-shuh tweeted about a new blog she was creating, I checked out the site and read the ensuing conversation regarding the name. And then I checked out the Contributors page and noticed the names of a lot of ladies I follow on Twitter. Women of various ages and backgrounds. Women who have strong opinions and aren't afraid to voice them. Women who have a multitude of interests and hobbies outside of gaming.

I think that's what Pretty Gamer represents for me. A coming together of various women from all walks of life to support, laugh, and geek out from everything to video games to fashion to relationship problems. So instead of trying to fit square pegs into round holes, it does away with the entire construct; be who you want to be and share it. Because we shouldn't hold with the notion that we are our labels, that the label of gamer or female gamer are ideas that are preconceived by the media or other people, we are who we want to be.

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