Dear gamer culture,
Yes, “gamer girls,” that is, people who play video games while having two X chromosomes, DO, in fact, exist. It turns out, people don’t typically use their genitalia to manipulate controllers or keyboards, so women are just as a capable as men at playing and enjoying games. We really mean it when we say we like games. It’s not something we pretend to like to get attention, impress boys, or entertain our boyfriends.
“Gamer girls” may occasionally play games in various states of dress within the privacy of our own homes, just like boys do. However, we don’t typically lie around naked in our own beds, using only miscellaneous console controllers to cover our bits. That’s a fantasy, and a silly one. Sure, you’ve probably seen images of women posing suggestively with video game accessories, but you can blame the industry for it, not us. Using women to pander to immature, sexist males is nothing new in advertising That is to say, marketers think male gamers are stupid. You should be as insulted by it as we are.
We would like the industry to recognize our existence. You shouldn’t be afraid of this. When we say that we want game developers to recognize us as a demographic, we are NOT demanding that game companies put out Barbie games. We already like the games that exist pretty well.
We don’t want every game to feature female protagonists, or protagonists with selectable genders. But SOME would be nice. Why should every story be about the same kinds of people, right? It would be nice if at least a FEW “Game of the Year” titles reliably passed the Bechtel test.
We do have an issue with sexism in games (see earlier commentary about advertising ) and so should you. Games shouldn’t be insulting to their audiences, and if games weren’t so frequently hostile to women, the existence of “gamer girls” wouldn’t be such a surprise. Addressing this issue can only lead developers away from lazy design and on to better games as a result.
Watch these videos. Shut up and do it.
Alright, let’s be serious. The other day, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about things I “regret” about being childfree. This was in response to a troll in a childfree group, a grandmother who showed up one day and never left, who insists that childfree people regret our decision and secretly envy her for having bred.
Finding this assertion absurd to the point it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, I wrote a list of things that I “regret” about being childfree. My list included things like not being woken up at 3am by screaming babies, not having to change diapers, and not suffering the bodily harm caused by pregnancy and birth. Obviously, this list is sarcastic. I don’t actually regret any of what I listed, and that’s exactly the point. Most people who read it, got it. A number of people even wrote their own list of fake regrets.
But it seems some people just didn’t get the point. It flew right over their heads. A few people on Reddit complained that they were hoping for an honest list of pros and cons. Actually, it kind of was, but more on that later.
Childfree people are often told that we will regret being CF. Some of the less secure among us find this possibility a source of doubt. Most of us just dismiss the notion, sure we won’t regret a thing. However, few us us seem to question the notion that there is even anything to regret at all. I feel like I’m explaining a joke here, but that’s the point of my list of fake regrets.
What is it, exactly, that I am supposed to regret about being childfree? Living in too nice of a house? Spending too much quality time with my boyfriend?Am I supposed to regret being too healthy? Too successful? Too financially-stable? Too happy? Too free? Too satisfied? Really, what is there to regret about not having kids? I feel like I’m being told that I will regret running a marathon without a ball and chain shackled to each ankle. The idea is laughable. It doesn’t even make any sense. I am clearly better off without the burden.
The truth, as I see it, is this. For one thing, not only do I not now, nor will I ever, regret being childfree, but I contend that there is nothing at all for me to regret. In the list of pros and cons of being childfree, I can not for the life of me think of one single “con.” Likewise, I see no real “pros” to parenthood.
My second realization, however, relates to those who insist that the childfree will regret being so. None of them can name a single thing that I should regret missing out on. It’s more likely that they claim that I will regret being childfree, not for my sake, but for their own. Maybe they feel insecure about their choice, perhaps even regret becoming parents, and as a result, they think that believing that I am the one who regrets living my own life differently than they makes them feel better. Too bad for them that reality doesn’t play along.
This is what I really regret about being childfree: Absolutely nothing!
So this list was originally written as a response to a rather persistent troll on another website, who tried to insist that the childfree (namely, me) are envious of her life as a grandmother (by her own admission, breeding is about all she ever did with her life,) and secretly regret being childfree. I won’t go into details on the attention-seeking troll who is clearly projecting, because it really doesn’t matter. My list of “regrets” was well-received among a few CF communities I’m part of, so I’ll post it here. (Warning: Snark.)
I regret that I know what I want out of life, and what I don’t. I regret that I have the ingenuity, intelligence, and courage to set my own course in life. I regret that I make solid plans and responsible decisions. I regret that I have and the motivation and will to do the right thing. I regret that I don’t just mindlessly follow the herd like any lazy, unimaginative cow.
I regret that I have done amazing, worthwhile things with my life. I regret that I’ve served my country proudly, gotten a pilot’s license, competed in and won art competitions, traveled the world, and generally do all the things most people only dream of, and all by the age of 24. Similarly, I deeply regret that my future remains bright and open, such that I can continue to do even more with my life. I regret that my life is one of freedom, accomplishment, and potential rather than conformity, monotony, and resignation.
I regret that I can say more about my life and how I lived it than “I bred.” I regret that I don’t have to desperately try to convince myself that breeding, which any rat can do, somehow counts as an accomplishment, that I haven’t just wasted my only life.
I regret having a healthy, fit, thin body, complete with perky (though admittedly small) breasts, an unmarred abdomen, and a tight vagina that has never been ripped apart. I regret that I maintain a youthful appearance, rather than appearing a full decade older due to the ravages of childbirth and tedium of parenting. I regret that I can dress fashionably, rather than in spit-up encrusted sweats, and that I can sport attractive hairstyles rather than “mom-cuts.”
I regret that I have the intelligence to figure out how birth control works, and therefore never had to go through pregnancy. I regret that I have never looked nor felt like a bloated whale. I regret not puking my guts out or pissing myself. I regret not being a burden on my employer or co-workers. I regret not having my insides ripped apart. I regret not shitting myself in a room full of on-lookers. And I regret not having nasty vaginal discharges before and after the delivery, just like I regret not pissing myself every time I sneeze or cough. I regret not looking or feeling like a deflated balloon.
I regret not being covered in the bodily fluids or wastes of useless sacks of human flesh. I also regret enjoying peaceful slumber every night, not interrupted by screeching shit-factories. I regret that I never have to listen to stomping feet, annoying babbling, stupid questions, constant demands, inane commentary, screaming, crying, or slamming doors. I regret living peacefully and unburdened.
I really regret having an actual healthy and happy relationship with my boyfriend, which I don’t have to blatantly lie about for the sake of appearances I regret that all of our sexual escapades are real, rather than fabricated for boasts that no one actually believes anyway. Yes, indeed, I regret that our relationship is not strained or destroyed by children, just as I regret the fact that we’re together because we want to be, rather than resentfully being stuck together “for the children.”
I regret having a well-paying, agreeable job, the earnings from which I actually get to keep rather than waste on children and their needs. I regret too that I actually get to work where I want, when I want, rather than having to structure (derail) my schedule and career path around children. I regret that I don’t have to take crappy jobs I don’t want due to the restrictions having children would inflict upon me, or their financial burden.
I regret that I live in a nice, large home, in a nice part of town, rather than having to settle for a smaller, less-appealing one due to budget constraints brought on by children. Yes, I regret being a home-owner at 23, and that I do not have to share my home with anyone, child or adult, other than my partner (no room-mates, like you have.) I also regret that my home is clean, and quiet, and that I can own nice things without worrying about them being broken.
I regret that I now type from my custom-built, high-performance gaming PC, which is neither covered in childen’s boogers, nor needs to be shared. I regret too that I keep my PC in my own home office, which has not been converted into a nursery. I regret that while all computers and capable consoles in our home connect to our wireless network, I only have my boyfriend to compete with.
I regret that I have a hot tub in my yard instead of some garish, plastic kinder-crap. I regret that my typical free-time resembles what other people consider a rare vacation treat. I also regret that I drive around in a classic sportscar, which enthusiasts often try to buy off me, rather than some ugly, mess-UV. I regret that I can just get in my car and go whenever I want, without having to deal with the hassle of kids and their accessories, or deal with their whining.
I regret that I never get calls from school about bullying or being bullied, about grades, or about attendance. I regret that I never have to pretend to care about lame school functions. I regret that my day doesn’t have to revolve around a school I don’t attend.
I regret that there is no one around to smash all breakable objects in the house, attempt to feed inappropriate items into disk drives, draw all over the walls, hit baseballs through my windows, flush toys down the toilet, or scratch up my car. I regret that there is no one around to steal my things or my money. I regret there is no one around to cause my car insurance to skyrocket in cost or to actually crash my car while borrowing it or “borrowing” it. I regret that I do not have to hide or lock up adult items in my home. I regret that I have no one for the police to return to my front door at 3am.
Yes, I regret that I’m not forcing new people into an ultimately doomed existence, perpetuating the cycle of misery, suffering, and death, to people I would, supposedly, love. I regret that I’m not forcing new people to live, knowing full well that they will die. I also regret that I’m not placing further burden on the world, hastening its destruction, for the sake my petty whims.
I regret that I actually have a life. I am productive and happy. I regret that I have friends and family, and that we get to talk about things that are actually interesting instead of tedious child news. I regret being successful. And I regret that I don’t have to troll pages where I clearly don’t belong just for attention.
Yes, moms who think I’m jealous of you, I regret being childfree and envy your existence. You go right ahead and believe that if it makes you feel better. I’ll just be here, laughing.
To the childfree, tell me, what do you “regret” about being childfree?
• I’m terrible at drawing hands. I used to deliberately hide hands just so I wouldn’t have to draw them. Now, I force myself to draw hands so I can get better at it.
• I have trouble drawing men. I’m used to drawing the curves of women. My men tend to either look like women, or like they’re made of boxes.
• I tend to draw necks too long. I never notice until I’ve drawn most of the body and I can’t change it without undoing a lot of work. When this happens, I usually just leave it be on paper and then shorten the necks in Manga Studio editing.
• I waste a lot of paper. Most drawing that I start I quit on after a few minutes. Well, it’s not a total loss, I suppose. I have to start my fireplace with something.
• I can’t paint from life. Well, I can, but I’m never satisfied with it. I prefer to paint from pictures, using a grid to get my scale right.
• I hate drawing people head-on. I can never seem to get the eyes quite symmetrical, and they tend to look slightly cross-eyed. Usually, I just declare one eye a placeholder, then replace it in editing with a copy+paste+flip of the eye I prefer.
• Drawing armor is an absolute nightmare. And I tend to not even bother with helmets.
• Although I can draw faces, getting them to look like anyone in particular is challenging. I even have trouble keeping the same character recognizable between drawings.
• I can’t seem to get the hang of drawing side-profile faces.
• I draw with 0.7 mechanical pencils. On printer paper. I’m on a budget. No, really, I don’t need fancy-smancy one-million-piece art kits.
• I don’t need orange, green, or violet paint. I’m annoyed when paint sets include them. Waste of money. I have an absolutely obscene number of tubes of these colors in my paint drawer.
• I have my easel set up in my room, but I haven’t actually painted much in years.
• I trace my own drawings if I find I’ve sketched something I like well enough to re-use for something better.
• I can’t draw straight lines. Or circles. What’s up with that?
• I have very poor penmanship. My handwriting is so awful even I have trouble reading it.
• Some days I just cannot draw worth a darn. I try, but nothing good comes about. I don’t know why.
• I do some of my best drawings when I’m supposed to be doing something else like chores, homework, or sleeping.
• My sketchbook is a mess. I have a habit of picking a page to draw on at random, rather than just skipping to the next page. As my sketchbook fills, I have to hunt to find elusive blank pages scattered about the book.
• I practically run on soda. I can’t art without it. Also, chocolate.
• I star at myself in the mirror a lot. I try to look at myself from different angles. I do goofy poses, make faces, and talk. I’m not conceited. I’m studying myself. I am my own model. I know exactly what I want to see demonstrated. I’ve learned a lot.
• I sometimes ask other people to pose for me, but it can be a bit awkward.
• Although I have a tablet and some dandy imaging programs, I don’t like to use digital drawing as a starting point. I prefer to sketch on paper until I get something I like, then scan it. I then ink, add details, and sometimes color digitally.
• I want a Cintiq. Badly. Like how most people want a special car. You have no idea what I’d give…
• I have more ideas for things I want to draw than I have time or motivation to actually draw them. Most ideas never leave my head.
• Sometimes drawing something I’m not particularly interested in will give me ideas for other, more interesting drawings. I call it “free-sketching” (or just “screwing around,”) but I’m sure there’s a serious art-world term for it.
• When it comes to armor, vehicles, weapons, and complicated poses, I like to have visual references around. It helps a lot. I just can not commit that kind of detail to memory.
• I draw what I’m interested in. Lately, it’s Mass Effect. Yes, now that it’s pretty much over. It was the same with Knights of the Old Republic. I’m always late for fandoms.
• I’m bothered by typos, misspellings, and especially poor grammar. When writing dialogue bubbles for comics, I run it through a word-processer first.
• Noses. Why do people even have to have those? I can never draw those right. They either look like aliens or pigs.
• I have to be careful not to make women too curvy. Real people don’t actually look like hourglasses, at not in the way shown in cartoons.
• Clothes… I can never figure out the folds. It’s just so complicated! And patterns? Forget about it. The worst part? The part in the pants where the legs divide.
• Perspective is not my friend. In reality, all objects don’t sit parallel to each other.
• It’s not that backgrounds are hard, but they are really boring. I try to avoid them. The foreground is where it’s at.
• When I paint, I listen to music. The genre of choice? Metal. The result: Angry paintings, no matter what the subject.
• My office is a mess. Total disaster area.