Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Being Pretty

"No way, I couldn’t do that."

Such was the voice of my internal gut reaction when I was first invited to come on board with Pretty Gamer. While I have long been a professed gamer, it was the first word, “pretty," that threw me hard.

Like a lot of geeky kids, being “pretty” was something I could sometimes truly obsess over. More specifically, I obsessed over my failure: failure to obtain fashionable clothing, failure for being so fat and awkward, failure for not relating to all those other girls in my classes... in short, failure at being girly.

Having long since grown out of that world and into one where other traits - intelligence, motivation, and creativity - tend to take precedence, I haven’t thought about being pretty for a long time. But upon receiving that invitation, I did begin to think of it again. It hung in my mind heavily, the weight of those childhood shames pulling it down. “Pretty” still was some unattainable quality, one that imaginary past demons would always seek to deny me.

But it shouldn’t be that way, and moreover, I shouldn’t allow it to be! And neither should any other woman. Pretty is not a fashion, size or a shape with boundaries within which we must fit. To be pretty is to have confidence and style, to accentuate the good in ourselves and to encourage it in others.

The truth is that pretty gamers are everywhere, and many don’t even realize it. Often times, we are so shackled by what others say and the echoes of those negative thoughts we give ourselves that we cannot see how interesting and beautiful we truly are. What’s worse is that when we do realize how these things influence us, it makes us angry at companies, industries, and the media for portraying and perpetuating the stereotypes that so entrap us, especially the ones in our favorite hobby.

To me, though, it’s far past time to stop spending energy on shame, anger, or resentment. It’s time to start shaking off that which brings us down and encourage ourselves to celebrate both our wonderful shared gaming culture and our unique sense of femininity. I think we owe it to ourselves.

So I accepted the invitation to Pretty Gamer. I am here because I know I owe those things to myself as well.

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