I’ve had a really hard time motivating myself to get back into video making, and talking about games. Some of it is imposter syndrome, some of it is not feeling good enough, a lot of it is feeling unnerved because it’s dangerous to exist as a human with boobs on the internet who talks about gaming, apparently.
While I haven’t personally been attacked (unless you count the trolls harassing me for some reblogs on tumblr) watching the internet go after more prominent female bodied and/or female-indentified gamers and youtubers, has worked in making me feel even less like using my voice again, when it should be spurring me towards it.
At some point all the complicated feelings I have start circling around into general feelings about gender, gender identity, misogyny, and feminism, and where I fit in.
And the truth is, I’m not sure. I don’t know where I fit, I don’t know if my voice is helping or hurting or neutral, I don’t know if I have things worth saying, and if I do, I don’t know if I can handle an internet mob.
I feel bad about claiming the title and experience of being a woman on the internet primarily because I don’t identify as a woman to begin with. It’s false to me, on the other hand, I am targeted as and treated like a woman on the internet, which is not…awesome. But being a female-assigned-at-birth, and presenting somewhere between femme and andro to varying degrees, while being somewhat out as a genderqueer/non-binary person is…. also complicated and feels more dangerous than it probably actually is.
It makes shorthand problematic, because talking about feminism and misogyny also involves explaining and talking about gender identity, and it’s complicated, because people love binaries. And I could just roll with it, but that feels increasingly worse because I feel like I’m erasing my own truths and identity to have a conversation, and it feels icky.
I feel oddly excluded from feminist spaces because I feel like because I don’t identify as a woman, my insanely sexist childhood and all that I internalized and everything that means just…doesn’t count.
Which, is why I don’t talk about feminism that much, probably.
People experience sexism and misogyny differently and to varying levels and degrees. So, this is justmy experience.
I grew up in an extremely sexist environment. My life was planned out since I can remember – it changed a few times, but started at going to trade school for culinary and arts and cosmotology (neither of which I had any interest in), because I was female. All of my life, everything that I did or didn’t do had more to do with my being born female than my actual interests and abilities.
I was told in no uncertain terms that my purpose was to become a wife and mother, that was it, that was all that mattered and all I was good for. I was denied higher math, and because of that higher science (which I did have an interest in), I wasn’t allowed to be in charge of “men”, always had to be working under a male, or under a woman working under a male (not that I was allowed a job, I was a campain intern for a while, and naturally, unpaid), was never allowed a true leadership role, my parents made me leave the one job I did have to take care of my siblings and pregnant mom.
I raised my increasing number of younger siblings for a decade, from the time I was 8 to 18 (when I left) and was told that was my job because it was preparing me for my future (because of being born female). When I had a moment of normal teenage feelings of wanting to be a person, I was berated and verbally and emotionally abused, told I was a horrible daughter and the fate of my afterlife hung in the balance.
I’ve written about all of this before (and likely will continue to) so I won’t rehash it all here, but my point is this: my pre-adult experience was so radically misogynistic and sexist that even though Idon’t identify as a woman, I still have that experience just because of how I was treated (and still am treated, quite frankly) because of my body.
Sexism and misogyny to me are dehumanizing. It’s not just objectifying me, it’s denying me the truth of my existence, and equating me to the presented sum of my parts. I feel less than and other and not-human when people make assumptions based on my body, or when people are just…openly sexist – not even to me in specific, but to other people, because of their bodies and presentation.
It’s confusing, and painful, and not really safe-feeling. I know what it’s like to be a woman on the internet, even though I’m just a person on the internet.
But the complicatedness of my existence sometimes makes it easier to be quiet instead of speak, and that’s sort of new for me and I don’t like it, I just don’t know what to say.