Monday, February 27, 2012

The trials of loving oneself

I'm still very proud of my post about finally accepting and loving myself. Most of the time I can keep that attitude up. Then, days like today happen, and it crumbles all around me.

I take a belly dance class, which has been fun and exercise and socialization all in one, even if I'm usually the youngest in the class by about 30 years.  ;)  I majored in theater and dance in college, so picking up the movements wasn't too difficult. I get complimented by my teacher and classmates constantly on my grace and grasp of the moves. I feel good about it.

I've done two performances with my class so far, where I was one of five and in a full-coverage costume (when your teacher is in her 70s, there are no sequined bras, thank goodness!). It was an awesome time.

We have another performance coming up in March and my teacher asked me to do a solo, mainly because I had been talking about a song I'd been wanting to choreograph to. Awesome! A solo. Good times.

March is fast approaching so I decided to get serious about choreographing it instead of just having a few ideas in my head. I set up my webcam (after wrestling to get the mic working for about an hour) so I could video myself doing some improv dance to the song, and remember later what worked and what didn't.

So I worked on it. I replayed the video. And I nearly cried. I looked so fat and awkward and ridiculous. I could barely stand to watch. It's one thing to look at yourself in a mirror and be okay with what you see. It's a completely different experience to watch yourself in 360 degrees as others see you. It was horrible. It made me want to quit belly dance on the spot.

Every cool move I'd imagined in my head looked awful when I actually did it. It was a disaster. I know it was just improv, but I feel completely incapable of looking even remotely graceful. I was absolutely disgusted.

I know it will pass. I know I'll feel better when wearing a costume that covers my arms, and I've had some time and distance from this experience. But I won't forget how I looked. I can't come to terms with how godawful it was. Why has everyone been lying to me? Why did they let me look like that? I feel completely betrayed.

These are the days when loving your body is fucking HARD.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sexism in Gaming

Oh my. You ladies are gonna LOVE this one. Especially my fellow geek ladies. Brace yourselves. This is a doozy.

Behold, an email from Gamestop that was sent (not to me) with the subject line: "Send her flowers so you can game!"

(Click to enlarge)

Yes men, that's right. Don't worry about your pesky girlfriend keeping you from gaming on Valentine's Day. Just shut her up with pretty flowers and game away! Because you obviously have to choose one or the other. You can't have both. Silly men!


I don't even know where to start. The misogyny is ASTOUNDING.

I already hate GameStop. Amazon has much better prices. So boycotting them is a start, but it doesn't change much for me. I can't even begin to think of a proper way of punishing them for this drivel.

When I was single for the first time in 6 years, I wasn't sure where to start. I don't do bars or clubs. I didn't have a way to meet new guys. So, I turned to online dating. I wasn't ready to pay for a site yet, nor could I really afford it, so one of the sites I used was Craig's List.  I posted the following personal ad:

Hello! I'm a positive, confident, outgoing Wiccan woman. My religion is important to me, but I don't need to date another Pagan necessarily. I'm 4'11", curvy, long brown hair and brown eyes. I love singing, reading, computer games (WoW, D2, AOE, etc.), nature, animals (especially cats, rodents, and reptiles), and lots of other random stuff. I'm very easy-going and down to Earth. I'm looking for a guy with some similar interests, a good sense of humor, around age 25-35. I'd like a LTR eventually. So drop me a line, and a pic if you have one, just cuz I'm curious. =)

One of the responses (among the dozens of truly horrid ones) was my now-husband Simon. He was intrigued by our shared interest in gaming. After a few dates, the first time I came over his house was to play WoW together. We even had WoW-dates from our own homes where we chatted on Vent while playing. I guess you could say our relationship is based on gaming. TOGETHER.

There has never been a time where he's need to bribe me to "let" him game. I even went to a LAN party with him and was the only girl there. I had a BLAST. I may seem unusual. I may seem like a dying breed. I AM NOT.

If you visit my Twitter and see some of the ladies I follow, you'll find a WHOLE LOT of women gamers. We exist. We are normal. And we're AWESOME. So guys? Ask us to game WITH you. Don't bribe us, don't sneak off, don't exclude us. We're here, and we LOVE to game.

GameStop? Seriously, STFU. That email was so full of fail I can't even properly express my rage. Sexism FTL.


I sent the following email to GameStop:

I would like to complain about a recent email sent to Gamestop customers (presumably just your male ones) with the subject line "Send her flowers so you can game!"

This is the most sexist, misogynistic, and misguided email I have ever seen. It purports a number of fallacies:

1. Girls don't game.
2. Girls don't like it when their boyfriends game.
3. Girls have to be bribed to LET their boyfriends game.

Is that really a message you want to be sending? You do realize that almost half of gamers are female, right? Obviously you had no idea.

So on Valentine's Day, instead of spending ONE DAY with your significant other, you need to bribe her to "let" you play a game. Men aren't allowed to game WITH women? Men can't take a day off from gaming? Men need to ask PERMISSION to game? I'm not sure what kinds of relationships your advertising department has had, but they can't have been healthy.

My husband and I started dating because we both love to game. We are now married and continue to game together. There are also women who watch sports, drink beer, and do all kinds of "manly" things you think we aren't interested in.

Neither my husband nor I, nor many of our friends, will ever be shopping at your store again. You obviously don't appreciate your female customers, or even acknowledge that you have any. I am disgusted.

Sarah Nelson

P.S. - Feel free to read more of my rant in my blog, which is making its way around the internet so everyone knows how sexist your company is.