Posts Tagged ‘female’

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Soapbox 13: My Experience As A Female Gamer

October 27, 2015

I have heard of many people who decry the unfairness of being a female in gaming. They say that as soon as someone knows you are a female in a game, they will discriminate against you. I wanted to see if this was my own experience.

I have played many games, including but not limited to, League of Legends, Puzzle Pirates, Legend of Zelda series, the Halo series, Bastion, XCom: Enemy Unknown etc. You may have noticed that I have played some Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. These are the games that get the most grief. Because Puzzle Pirates is more focused on female gamers and cooperation, I am going to focus on League of Legends instead for the purpose of this article.

League of Legends is what is known as a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Other games like this include Smite, Heroes of the Storm (HotS) and Defense of the Ancients (DotA).1 ­When I started playing, I played with my husband and his friends only. They were really nice and did not mind when I completely messed up. Usually, their skill could compensate for my newness and I was able to get better quickly by following their advice and their lead. From here, I was able to play with my husband as a duo2 on a five player team. They treated me with respect and the skill that I showed while also expressing their jealousy that their own spouses/girlfriends did not accept their gaming habits, let alone play with them.

From the beginning, I did not choose my name based on my gender, so no ‘Puffy Princess’, or ‘Pink Pixie’ screen names for me. Even with this, I did not hide my gender either. Many times when getting the option to choose my character (known as a champion) I would say honestly that I wanted to play next to my husband and label him as such. I never once got any negative feedback about this. Not once. Nada. Never. I did have people who would swear in chat, would rage3 in chat and be generally uncooperative, but it was always a result of the game itself, not because I was a girl.

With all of my experiences, I do not claim that women are never demeaned simply because of their gender. It does happen far more often with male-centric games like Call of Duty, but we need to look at what they are doing to the men in those games, too. When the men playing those games get angry with each other, they type nasty things at each other that I refuse to repeat here. When they get angry at a girl, they do the exact same thing, but spin it to reflect the gender they perceive the player is. Regardless of which gender you are, nasty, hateful, spiteful things are said to all people in those games. I believe that we need to differentiate these occurrences to see how prevalent the problem truly is.

All in all, I believe that the thought that video games are for boys is a dying point of view among all gamers, providing a far more welcoming atmosphere for everyone to share the joy of gaming together. I hope that this trend can keep going and that we stop saying that girls do not belong in gaming.

 

References:

  1. League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients have long been argued as the best MOBA among gamers. Here is a video that goes over the two and lets the audience choose their own favorite.
  2. A duo is when two players together are matched with the rest of their team.
  3. Raging: When a player gets extremely angry to the point of clouded judgment. Usually symptoms of this is infighting among a team, leaving the game in the middle of play, feeding the enemy team, refusing to cooperate with anyone else, blaming others for their own losses.
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Soapbox 12: What Every Woman Should Know Before Taking Hormonal Birth Control

October 13, 2015

Hormonal birth control. It is this magical pill that stops heavy periods and extreme mood swings, but at the same time, prevents pregnancy. What could be better?

This is the convincing logic that is used to push young women who plan to become sexually active into using hormonal birth control rather than contraceptives that do not trick and change the body. I myself was convinced that this was the way I should go when I got married, so without hesitation, I jumped on ‘the pill’ bandwagon.

For the first year, I was severely depressed and I thought it was caused by other things in my life. I was lucky and switched birth control after the year and discovered that with the lower dose of drugs, I could be generally happy again. This is one of the first things that my doctor neglected to warn me about. Taking the birth control can cause depression. If you are on the pill and find yourself unhappy, ask your doctor about changing your medication.

For the second and third years, I enjoyed the benefits of the pill. I had barely any bleeding, I did not have to worry about having a baby and I did not really have mood swings. At the end of the third year, something terrible happened. Regulation forced the company making my birth control into releasing the formula, allowing generics to be made, but instead of making the drug up to the point when the generics would be released, they cut off supply 3 months early, so they would not have any drugs left over and lose money. Because of this, I was up a creek without a paddle.

Rather than going to my doctor, I decided that it might be a good time to get off hormonal birth control. I went off of it cold turkey. This was a terrible decision. My body had been used to drugs regulating it for so long, it had basically forgotten that it could make the chemicals I needed for itself. I fell into a severe depression where I did not want to do anything for days. Simple tasks that normally were no big deal were overwhelming. My world felt like it was crumbling and I could do nothing about it.

My periods came back, but they are not as regular as they were before and my mood swings are far worse than they were before. It took me a full year to get back to where my body created enough correct hormones that I do not go on a long rollercoaster of depression before every period and I could feel normal again.

This is what they don’t tell you. When you get off the pill, be prepared for withdrawl. Your body is changed because it no longer creates the hormones your body needs to self-regulate. I can’t even imagine what type of hormonal rollercoaster I would have been on had my body gotten pregnant in that time.

The bottom line is that we need to be told ALL of the risks of birth control when starting out, not just the good ones. Everyone talks about the risk of stroke, but no one talks about the risk for depression or getting your body back to normal after deciding to go off the drug. Hormonal birth control is not a symptom free cure all. I do believe that the hormonal therapy this causes your body to go through is a huge blessing and even necessary for some, but it is not right for everyone. If you have any history of depression in your family, I highly recommend not taking this drug because coming off of it will make your depression worse.