Being Feminist is one of those terms, that different people have differing stereotypes for. To me, a feminist, is someone who is:
- for equal rights in ALL aspects for women as men
- but also slightly SEXIST, as in being a female chauvinist
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist is a "person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism."
So clearly you can see that my definition of feminism differs to the dictionary version. And the reason is because I think the term Equalist, or Non-Sexist, being a better term, implying that both sides are equal.
O wrote a post recently, titled Pressure, which was about how she felt there was pressure to perform better because she was female. And Kat from Shaman Nebula (who wrote a guest post on World of Matticus) talked about being bullied and harrassed because she was female.
...you can’t just be a woman and be good at what you do. Someone let you win. You cheated. You got lucky. A man can take a defeat from another man much more easily.- Oestrus, The Stories of O
Now I can't say that I have ever had those things happen to me. Of course being female, people try to crack on to you, but nobody has ever said to me that my game play was substandard because I was female. Or that they let me win because I was female (though I have had some sneaking suspicions during some duels - I hate people letting me win). And I have never felt pressure to perform better or felt like I had anything to prove because I was female. This might be because I have an equalist mentality, where I think both sexes are equal. And I really do believe that. Girls who are passionate about computer games will perform as well as boys who play with equal passion. It's the same in my workplace. I am successful because I work hard. I don't work as hard as the boys I work with, but if I did, I would earn as much as they do. Nobody at work says I got any of my promotions or authority roles because I was a female. I got them because I am good at what I do.
Kat's post really struck a chord in me. She was accused of being "guaranteed" a raid spot because she had boobs. Umm.... What?? Kat writes heroic 10 man strategies for shamans. I'm no shaman but some of the healing tips are vaguely relevant to me and she does write well, because she knows what she is talking about.
Who SAYS things like that?? Clearly, it was said by a male. And a jealous male at that. It looks like he was taking a stab at the only thing he could really, that he thought was a weakness. Being female. I mean, really, who says things like this:I was accused of having the privilege of being a girl. Whatever special effects our sex brings to the table has helped me climb the ranks of standard raider status for my guild’s raiding team. That I was offered numerous perks, contrary to what a man would ever imagine of receiving as fast and as efficiently.- Kat, Shaman Nebula
His exact words were “I wish I had your pair of to [breasts] to guarantee me a raiding spot and a whole guild raving about my skills and people constantly trying to get my attention for doing absolutely nothing else but existing, rather than ignore me when I log on”.
Clearly, a sad, and jealous douche. Now, I as I said before, I have read Kat's blog. She SOLO heals a lot, as shamans are terribly OP (Voe!!!) and you can't do that if you've "climbed the ranks because you're female". You get there because you're goddamn awesome.
I have known females who DO use their feminine wiles to get places. One of them, who is a close friend of my guildies (and was in this guild briefly), was guilty of this. From my point of view, she flirted a lot, she was attractive in real life, and she was not a great player, but she was an OK player. Nothing to write home about, but she was passable. She also dressed her character provocatively too, and unfortunately was called a "slut" by another of my guildies which she told me about and told me to rectify, which I did. Now being called a slut is another thing and I'll get onto that later. But going back to topic, she is now in one of the top ranked guilds of our server, but she doesn't raid with them. She had also gone along to my friend Cymre's guild for a run, and one of the boys who had brought her raved about her, but Cymre didn't think her performance was anything particularly flash. But this is what I mean - she used her feminine charms to get her way, but those sorts of things don't work on other females. I wasn't against her, in fact, I was excited to have another female to raid with, but her raid performance let her down, and I was disappointed. But not ONCE did I think it was because she was female.
Now I can move onto the "slut" comment. I have used the word slut many times, when I'm referring to "slut plate" or "slut leather". I realised, I used the term to mean "provocative" or "come and get me" but in that silly fun way. But slut is not a fun word, really. Apple Cider wrote about how hurtful it was to be called a slut. And you know what? I have never been called a slut, not to my face. So I thought long and hard about how I would feel if someone called me a slut. And my conclusion? I think it would depend on who was doing the name calling, and if everyone was calling me a slut. But in reality, I couldn't imagine why people would call me a slut, I think I would just think they were silly.
I think that people often use the word slut out of jealousy. Who are the people who get called "sluts"? It's the sexily dressed, good looking girls. Or the girls who have multiple sexual partners. Those sexily dressed girls, other girls call them sluts because surely it's because they're jealous of how good those girls look in those clothes. Or jealous of the daring that those girls show in being able to carry off an outfit like that. And boys... they use it out of jealousy as well! If a nice looking girl knocks them back or gives them the flick, the girl becomes a slut if she's seen with another guy. Or if a nice looking girl ignores them after a pass, she's a slut. Jealousy. Plain and simple.
So how can you avoid this? Act with decorum. Act mature. Don't play on your feminine wiles to get you out of trouble. If you use your sex to get you ahead, then you may find that it may backfire on you and people will use it against you. But remember that NOBODY should have the right to make you feel small and insecure. Degrading someone, even if you think they deserve it, is never right.
So all this sexist abuse that goes around, comes from insecurity or jealousy, I've decided. And I thought that clamping down on derogatory statements should not just extend to girls they should extend to EVERYONE. To quote Kat:
Next time you feel like making fun or degrading someone in your guild do yourself a favour and think about it twice. Discrimination, abusive behaviour, violence of any kind should never be tolerated. It’s my belief that the gaming community is purer than any other community in the world. And if you feel that you can’t make a difference think of this. Change starts from within and in this age, never before has a single voice sounded louder.