All About tempertress
Originally posted to AnotherSideQuest.com
I've been grappling for a while with what it's like to be a woman in the public eye because it's not as simple as being a video journalist or being a GameSpot employee. It's not as easy as it is for guys. I can't just focus on content creation and being good at my job because I have to consider a whole bunch of other things. Up until twenty minutes ago I thought these things were important, I thought they were proper considerations that I needed to be aware of ALL the time if I want to do this job. Now I think that's bullshit and I'm going to tell you why.
This morning SourceFed host Meg Turney posted up a picture of herself in a push-up bra (I KNOW you want to see this so here you go) and I reacted with disdain. I had such admiration for her as a bisexual, cool, gamer who hosted a fantastic show. She's laid-back and intelligent and a lot of the things I aspire to be in a video journalist. She's also drop dead gorgeous. When I saw that picture I jumped to the same conclusion that a lot of people who aren't men probably did - she's selling out, she's using her boobs to get attention and to garner Twitter followers etc. I went on a Twitter tirade saying she was removing all integrity from her career and proving that she's just another girl who will exploit herself to get male attention - what I said was stupid. Basically.
She reacted against these types of responses in two different videos and I received a well deserved smack in the face. The things I have come to understand from this industry are mostly things I have gathered as a result of males trying to objectify me or males trying to protect me. Perhaps neither is useful to me deciding who I want to be and how I want to represent that person publicly. I've been told not to tweet about my body in a way that might be misconstrued as sexual, I've been objectified for wearing a low-cut top and many, many more from both sides of the scale but you know what, I'm saying, "No". I'm calling bullshit.
Just because I'm a woman talking about video games to a large sect of grown-up, sensible people and a small sect of vocal sexist pigs does not change how I'm going to act. I'm going to be me. I now believe that as long as I'm not showing up to a bikini to work or tweeting propositions to my followers there's no reason I shouldn't be exactly who I am. I'll dress in high-cut t-shirts some days and others I'll wear the tank tops I'm usually more comfortable in.
I'm not buying into this "women need to act differently to men in gaming JUST because they're women" anymore. It's total bullshit and it's not fair. And, honestly, it's sexist. Whether it's people giving me advice for my own good or just a bunch of assholes objectifying there's no good reason to change myself.
Now I'm not saying I'm going to follow in Meg's footsteps but I don't think women who do should be crucified or be accused of selling out their integrity. Everyone has their own attitudes and personality. If she wants to show off her boobs which she's clearly fond of then who the hell am I to tell her otherwise? Just because she's a woman, she should be more demure lest she be objectified? How is saying that any better than telling women to take off more clothes in a video? I honestly believe it's not.
Women should be okay with talking about their bodies and showing them off if they so choose. Yes, there will ALWAYS be gawkers and weirdos but she isn't dressing that way for them. I never dress that way for them. I want to be able to tweet about my body in a non-promiscuous way without going "Oh but what will the men who follow me think? What if they think it's racy?", I want to dress in a way that makes me happy without a thought to what it might make some assholes on the internet think.
If men don't have to censor themselves I think it's complete shit that women are asked to, or expected to. As I've said, if it's in line with the company with which they are associated (should they be, and I say this regarding my role at GameSpot too) then there shouldn't be separate rules for how men and women conduct themselves.
So, screw it, basically. I'm done reviewing myself as a woman in this industry and I'm going to start just seeing myself as a person in this industry. Besides, that's always how I've seen myself outside of it so why should it be any different? I'm not a girl gamer, I'm a gamer. I'm not a female journalist, I'm a journalist. My views are my own and that is plastered on every social media outlet I find myself on so why am I putting myself and my personality in a box that's seen to be more 'sensible and polite' just because I'm a woman?
I'm really interested in what you guys think. Do you think women in the public eye need to be careful? Should we have different rules? Why or why not? Let me know.
Originally posted on AnotherSideQuest.com
So, lets get that out of the way then. As of today I work full time in my dream position at the online publication I've been following since I was a little girl. It's amazing and exciting but also inevitably terrifying in its new-ness and unpredictability.
Just three years ago I would have been in my first to second year of university. I had no idea this is what I wanted to do. I spent eighteen years of my life dead-set that I wanted to be an actress - I had trained professionally and taken every course and workshop I could get my hands on - then in 2008 I auditioned for full time study at a huge performing arts college in Sydney. They notoriously never took 18-year-olds fresh out of uni but I had to try - obviously I didn't get in but fortunately I gradually worked out that acting wasn't the path I wanted to go down.
In 2010 I had just switched out of a Psych degree which was going nowhere fast since I decided I was far more interested in the theory of psychology than the practice of it. Another big reason for me changing out of that degree was due to the fact I didn't think it would be easy enough to get a job in (I know, this theme of choosing ridiculously off-the-wall jobs carries through all of this).
I was deciding between being an archaeologist, and changing degrees to do so, or being a writer for video games. The former, again, sounded a lot better in theory so I switched to a Media degree to try and get myself some qualifications and learn a bit of writing - which I loved already - and a bit of programming. Programming didn't pan out so well. I remember attending the very first three hour lecture which started at 6pm and leaving at 7pm, calling my Dad and telling him I would be dropping that class. I hated it. So, video game design probably would not have been on the cards for me.
Fortunately I had also taken web design where I could be creative and make mini-games in CSS and I was loving it and also doing very well at it. This led on to a computer games unit which was run poorly and whilst it let me be around people who cared about what I cared about we weren't doing much of interest. Our major assignment was to create an educational game about Australian history - I'll let you make of that what you will.
I had been unemployed for a while by this point if you don't include doing the odd job at my Mum's office and, being an HR executive, she had been trawling Seek.com to try and get me off my ass and into a proper workplace. It may also have had something to do with how little I cared about doing her admin work. Fortunately she dug me up the Seek ad asking for a video games journalist to work casually at GameSpot.com.
The interviews went very quickly. I studied for them harder than anything I've ever studied for. I called in every favour from my friends to review my work and interview questions and went through more wardrobe options than I'm willing to admit. When they put me in front of a teleprompter I shook like a leaf but I followed it up with a joke and went on with what I had to do. I remember being asked to state three words that described me and one of the ones I chose was 'critical'. I remember cursing myself for it afterwards because I thought it was too negative, I wished at that point that I had said 'gamer' instead - I'm so glad that I didn't. For my second interview, I made a video feature about Chosen One's which I then emulated in a more professional manner in this video which remains to this day one of my very favourites.
When Randy called me and offered me the position I remember being polite and enthusiastic on the phone as I accepted and literally jumping for joy in my bedroom when I hung up.
I feel very lucky to be in this industry, working with clever and interesting people who are also close friends. Even when I had no idea what I was doing with my life I knew if I figured it out I'd be alright, I'd make a plan and get there. I'm not saying there wasn't a little luck involved but I honestly feel that people can get anywhere they want to go with a little effort and a lot of determination. Well, it worked for me anyway =]
Don't let the name fool you, this game is worth your time, and your dollars should you choose to donate them to this otherwise free game.
The aim of this game, from the developers perspective, is to spread information about dealing with depression. It is designed to inform, to provide a window into the mind of a person suffering from depression, and what a perfect window it is. I haven't read extensively on the developers or their previous works but I can only assume they are sufferers because they seem to understand the things that many people with depression cannot find the words to express.
I've been suffering from depression since I was very young. About 11 or 12, I guess. I always over-thought, over-analyzed and stressed myself to the point of chest pains and, in my later years, panic attacks. I never questioned any of it. Even when I was fourteen or so and I was at the worst of it I just rationalized it away as teenage melodramaIve always been quite the self-depricator even in my most arrogant moments. I am a lucky girl in a fortunate position, much like the protagonist in the narrative of Depression Quest. I have money, I don't go out a lot so I save more than the average person, though this is also because I dislike being outside intensely. I have a loving and supportive family, a kind boyfriend, a reliable best friend and even a few other close friends which is uncommon for a fiercely introverted person like me.
But I'm unhappy. It's not my lifes fault, it's not my parents fault, it's not my upbringing or a terrible thing that happened in my life. It's not even my fault. It's my brain chemistry, perhaps. But I too often find myself anxious, unwilling to go out, to work or even to do the things that I used to enjoy. That's depression, or so I was informed last year by a psychologist. That's also the narrative of Depression Quest, almost to a tee. This game hits home in the sorts of ways that you always imagine these games would never be able to grasp. I also played Actual Sunlight not so long ago which was another impactful indie game about depression but it wasn't quite as terribly connective as this one.
Depression Quest isn't just about the end like Actual Sunlight is. It's about making choices. Which are the right or wrong ones is up to you. It's about healing and working with your illness, not simply submitting to it. A particularly clever technique is graying out options which would normally be the most attractive because the player character is to depressed to act them out. These include pleasantly going to work or in many cases getting over their feelings to go about their day. For many depression sufferers these just aren't realistic options and the way this is illustrated in the game is fantastic.
I am posting this entry to my GameSpot blog and my personal blog because I feel as if people should be playing this game. I once said on my personal blog that Glee was the most important show on television for exposing issues like the suicide of gay teenagers and bullying (and much more) to a mainstream audience. I feel that this game is important for similar reasons. It's not so much for sufferers like myself who nod along while watching the protagonist grapple with decisions to medicate or seek cognitive therapy. It's for the families of sufferers, the friends and lovers and significant others, so that they might understand what is happening. So that they might have a window into such a convoluted and self-destructive illness that has so rarely been properly articulated through any medium least of all gaming.
This game needs to be played. If you have a spare hour or two, consider it: http://depressionquest.com.
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