Girl. Gamer. And?

It’s like we’ve regressed while evolving. A month ago when I went to Otakon, I met a transgender individual who shared that some of their female friends who game have gone through some pretty negative experiences with the male gaming community; to the point where they now hide their gender on forums and social media, and are treated fine until somehow the bomb drops that they’re female. When I was growing up, gender in gaming was never a thing, so why is it now?

As a casual gamer, it’s been amazing to ride along the gaming world’s journey. I started out with my very own Sega Genesis at age 7. ALL of my cousins gamed, boy and girl. And when their friends came over, we all gamed together still. There was never any “Girls can’t play” or “Boys club” nonsense. We practiced Mortal Kombat finishing moves on each other, sped through Sonic levels, and bullet-barraged in GoldenEye as equals. We chainsawed Tediz in Conker, helped snag difficult stars in Super Mario 64, and woke up rubbing the crust from our eyes first thing bright and early to grab the controller and take down Wizpig in Diddy Kong Racing.

Going through middle school, gaming was definitely still considered a nerdy hobby, so it wasn’t really broadcast much. We stayed under the radar so as not to become targets. I kept it hidden behind the scenes, indulging with my family and my bestie, who could be counted on to marathon Super Mario World with me in one night, being overly cautious not to accidentally nudge the glitchy console in any way, lest the save not work properly after having played for hours. I quietly played my RPGs in the safety of my room and found gaming companions in AOL chat rooms. I ducked my head in my GameBoy in isolated corners of the school yard.

In high school (and I admit, the fact that my H.S. population was 75% Asian could have something to do with it) it became much more socially accepted. Dedicated teams set up YuGiOh and Magic rounds religiously every day after school in the cafeteria. I encountered my first IRL Zelda fan who loved to share tips on Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. I got invited to a birthday party where we each built our own mini-Gundams to take home (Deathscythe, baby). Gamer T-shirts and swag became more widespread.

College came and my love of Smash Bros. continued to blossom. I formed a purely battle relationship with a dude who’d come around to visit his girlfriend down the hall, and always dropped in just to play a few rounds and demolish me. In fact, there were quite a few Elite Smashers in college, and I was surprised at how many others loved it too! I befriended another girl who beasted in Smash and we took down our friends in Team Battles. And then there were other gamers still, happy to lend their assistance to the excruciatingly tedious puzzles of Prince of Persia or MarioKart training, or collaboratively get back to Funkatron in Toejam & Earl.

The gamer’s life had become a breeze of approval. Twitter wasn’t even a thing back then. Is that why everyone was so nice and accepting? Because in-person, things are different? Because a lot of people gain that web-courage, when they’re behind a screen? Or because the younger generations are more likely to be douchebags now?

Once again, I may have been caught in some kind of bubble (I’m starting to believe myself to be a unicorn in life). I was never once called out for my gender. I was never once interrogated, scrutinized, laughed at, harassed, or belittled for being a girl and having this hobby. It wasn’t considered a “cool” thing to do or pretend to like. It wasn’t a trend, as nostalgic things tend to be now. It was strictly a hobby, done for your own individual entertainment. A gamer was a gamer.

It’s interesting to see a hobby I once kept on the low explode into something that can make you Internet-famous now. But it’s also great to see how much more open and accessible the gaming lifestyle is now. I LOVE that I can find controller earrings on Etsy, Triforce handbags on Amazon, support indie artists geeky tee and hoodie designs, actually be a part of a gaming community on social media, connect with Smashers just by logging into the network on the WiiU, and pop up on the Tetris Friends site for a bit of mind-numbing block-dropping. I love that bars are incorporating arcades, Nintendo World at Rockefeller Center is a thing, Pokemon is still going strong, “It’s dangerous to go alone, take this,” has become a meme, and retro-fans recognize and appreciate the question-mark tattoo on my shoulder.

20170928_231443As a casual gamer, (and I’m not speaking for the industry side of things) I don’t feel like women are marginalized any more so than anywhere else. Are there hypersexualized characters in gaming? OF COURSE. Hypersexualization of women is everywhere in the world. We can’t expect it to magically not be in this particular medium. Grand Theft Auto is not meant to be a respectable game (you are absolutely an asshole protagonist), Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball does nothing anime doesn’t already do, yes, Lara Croft is known for having large breasts in the Tomb Raider series, that was their thing, and also seeing Valentina’s boobs jiggle when you attack her in Super Mario RPG is hilarious (because they do jiggle in real life sometimes). But how can we forget about the numerous other female roles over the years? Easy-going Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. Calculating Bellena from Skies of Arcadia (which also happened to have two female co-protagonists). Battle-worthy warrior Marta from Tales of Symphonia 2 (because Lord knows Emil needed to grow a pair) as well as the power-hungry, pint-sized sadistic Alice who put fear in even the largest man’s heart. Xelha from Baten Kaitos was one of my least favorite female characters, mostly because I didn’t find her cute at all. Yeah, sounds horrible, but I like my characters to be cute. I much preferred Mizuti with her crazy mask and garbled voice, who everyone was shocked to find out late in the game that she was a girl anyway. Because if a character is not going to be cute, they should at least be cool and have some depth to them. I see Twitter highly in favor of the fact that Twintelle from Arms has an ass. Sexualization or adaptation of the latest fit and trendy body-type?

Having that knowledge dropped on me at Otakon, that one would have to hide their gender orientation around the community they love to participate in, left me surprised, even though I’ve heard stories before. Over the Internet. I’ve just never heard a real-life story from twenty-somethings in person. I was certain there’s the chill, accepting, mature generation of gamers who love the hobby in person (because don’t Millennials accept everything accept right-wing conservatism?), and then there’s the Internet-thugging 12-14-year-old virgins experimenting with cursing behind their headsets and safety screens because they’re not ready for the real world. And I’m not threatened by children. To my fellow gaming ladies who have experienced such nonsense as this, I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I’ve been told I can come off as intimidating. Let some little ignorant troll come at me for being a chick who games.

I would skin them. (And trust me, you could probably take them too).

Just saying.


I Won’t Be Your Sub

No, not referring to foot-longs or role-play in Fifty-Shades situations. Someone on Twitter once DM-ed me asking that I subscribe to their YouTube Channel. This happens pretty damn frequently if you follow the gaming community in the Twittersphere, but in this particular instance, I could tell it wasn’t the widely-hated “Auto-DM.” This one was a real Direct Message, so I felt he was worthy of a real response: “Who has time to sit around watching YouTube channels like that?” To which he responded, “EVERYONE LOL.”

He’s right.

Somehow, EVERYONE has the time to do this, and because of it, YouTube gaming personalities, Let’s Play and Twitch have exploded into a streaming marketplace. Back on the ascent of streaming popularity, I remember investigating the Kaceytron debate: was she the ultimate cleavage-bearing troll or nah? I watched a few of her streams to see just what the Twitterverse was bugging out about. What made it interesting was the hilariously obnoxious interactions she had with others. I knew nothing of the game she played (I THINK it was League of Legends, or something very League of Legends-y) and pretty much glazed over the gameplay. My boyfriend plays League of Legends and I can’t fathom how anyone would want to watch a stream of that unless they were hardcore, watching other hardcore players and looking for tips to improve their own gameplay.

Once upon a time, as a young’n, I loved watching my older cousins play video games for hours. But once I got a controller in my own hands, that all changed. Because I could be watching someone else play, or I could be playing myself. Maybe it’s the type of games I go for. I adore RPGs and vast adventures. But I sure as hell wouldn’t watch someone else play Tales of Graces for an hour, unless it was strictly battling and they were showing off flashy, ridiculous combos, and even then, I wouldn’t last an hour. I tried watching a stream for Super Mario RPG once. I love that game with a passion, but struggled to make it through 15 minutes listening to the guy pretty much walk the viewers through what he was doing. Now I CAN watch a good Smash Brothers match on YouTube, but let’s be real, a match lasts about 7 minutes or less. And I’m sure non-Smashers wouldn’t be interested; but since I play seriously, I’d be looking at technique and be super impressed by an amazing recovery or a battle waltz ending in a sick spike KO.

To me, Twitch should be more for showing us something unusual, crazy, that we haven’t seen before. Or eSports. From what I’ve gathered on the Internet, it’s become a bombardment of mediocrity and tactics to gain more “subs.”

Auto DMs:

“I wanted to thank you PERSONALLY for the follow. AlsopleaseseemyYouTubeChannelHere” – But this is an Auto DM. Everyone got this.

“OMG your Channel is AMAZING! I subscribed by the way. 🙂 Here’s mine if you want to take a look.” – I don’t have one you filthy liar.

“Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel here. And follow us on Facebook here. And also add us on Snapchat. Then retweet our Pinned Tweet and send us a screenshot of you having done these things as proof–” GTF outta here.

“I know no one likes these Auto-DMs, but I promise you’ll only get this one. Check out my channel?” ……………………..

Let’s not forget the chicks in thongs getting up to get something from the kitchen and “forgetting” they’re still streaming, or the chesty, low-cut-wearing find-some-way-to-show-some-skin-but-not-actually-watch-my-gameplay girls that Twitch had to make rules of appropriate-ness for. Or the ones shouting out “nigger” in a momentary rage.

There’s just too much streamer scheming. Unless you’re wildly humorous, or your skills are pretty fucking exceptional, you’re showing me something I’ve never seen before, or you’re moderately entertaining in some way, I’m not going to watch your stream. I’m not going to be your sub. How about we play together instead of me watching you do it?

To date, I have only subscribed to 2 YouTube Channels. One is Wilson Jimenez’s here (Wilson, the username XD). He’s not so much a “streamer,” as he is a genuinely funny guy who can pop out some very LOL-worthy videos of a length appropriate to one with an average Internet attention span.

Other video uploads that have captured my attention? The Item Abuse Mario vids. They had me legit holding my breath. That dude who beats Super Mario 64 in like 30 minutes exploiting glitches. That Smash clip of two Foxes battling on Final Destination and they NEVER TOUCH THE FLOOR. That Mario Kart troll video of the guy waiting at the finish line holding a shell for someone to run into and then still winning. The dudes who were going around pranking peeps in the Brooklyn hood. Not gaming-related at all, and my boyfriend tells me they’re completely staged but they’re funny AF regardless and I die when I watch them.

You, streaming average game of Overwatch and making a spectacle by gamer “raging so hard” on camera?

Pass. #SorryNotSorry

~Tael (Mistress of the UnImpressed)

Waxing Experimental

Nope, I didn’t try a Brazilian. I’m not THAT fearless.

I did, however, attempt an ongoing wax-only regimen at the start of spring to those other places we ladies regularly shave: legs, underarms, bikini.

I’m not a stranger to leg-waxing. My best friend started me out way back in high school, on her kitchen floor, with my face jammed in a pillow to muffle the screams so no one would think I was being murdered behind closed doors. Since then, every summer I’ve returned to leg-waxing in my living room, convinced that I was reaping the benefits that come along with it, then gone back to shaving in the cooler months.

Only, if you do a quick Google search on Waxing vs Shaving and why one is better, you’ll find that you are cautioned not to mix methods and encouraged to leave it up to the professionals. The jillions of blog posts on the subject overwhelmingly agree that if you shave in between waxing, you’re erasing your waxing progress, and that the ONLY way to reap full benefits is to stick to a strict waxing schedule year-round, even in the winter when you’re not showing off your skin. Harsh, huh? Welp, I decided to drop the razor for awhile and try out some professionals while adhering to a schedule.

Fast forward to September. I’ve abandoned leg-waxing.

The benefits don’t outweigh the effort put in or the stress endured. A full-leg wax is the most expensive single body part order on any waxing menu, and it also takes the longest. It doesn’t seem like it’s possible to really get…ALL THE HAIR…Yes, I know about differing hair-growth cycles and how it takes a few sessions for them to catch up to one other in perfect alignment for a clean rip-off, but when you think about it, extracting every individual hair from one’s skin surface is a tall order, even for an experienced professional. Sure, I had one lady with an offer that if you discovered any missed hairs to come back within a week for a free touch-up, but who really wants to do that? No one ENJOYS this process. We just want it over with.

Another thing. You will find a general consensus that waxing lasts about a month. Yes, the wax does last longer than a shave, BUT, your hair also needs to be a certain length to be waxed again.

Week 1, you’re smooth.
Week 2, the hairs are growing back in, lighter and finer, yes, but they’re still there.
Week 3, oh they’re THERE and there’s nothing you can do about it because it’s too early for the next wax but it’s blazing hip-hop & RnB out there in the summertime so unless you’re covering up in pants or leggings and risking a heatstroke the regrowth remains exposed to the world. Lighter? Yes. But still there. I asked my bestie what do seasoned waxers do during this period. Her answer, “Pray no one notices, lol.”


The last time I saw her, I observed her legs in the hair regrowth stage. After 10+ years of waxing, the hair growth is absolutely lighter and finer, but it’s still there. And going through a summer with halfway-hairy legs half of the time has not been an ideal experience for me, especially after sitting through an hour of rippage, coughing up a $125 bill each time, planning all your summer trips around your waxing schedule that you can’t break to shave, and hoping the guy across from you on the train can’t see your new growth under that florescent lighting.

I can’t live that life. Give me back my freedom of razor. I never had a problem with shaving. A Venus razor and shaving cream always gave me results that last a few days and no trouble with ingrowns. NO STRESS.

I WILL say that I IMMEDIATELY noticed a difference with underarm waxing and it changed my life. You barely notice the regrowth and even after 3 weeks you have to look closely to tell that it’s there. It also takes literally 5 minutes or less to wax and costs like $15. I will absolutely continue that, as well as bikini.

And I prefer this form of legwear anyway.

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