Hi, welcome to my blog!
First things first: the reason why I’m here e-talking to you today. A few years back, I discovered the insightful and remarkably honest writing of Monica Bielanko. Now divorced and co-parenting, Monica supports feminist views and wants the world to be a more welcoming and progressive place. Across many high-profile websites and her own blogs, she has detailed the trials that come with being a modern parent, going through a divorce, and her stance on feminism. Her views and helpful articles inspired me to create my own blog that documents my experiences.
I hope to fill this website with articles which discuss progression and feminism in the world through my personal experiences and how my interactions relate to the greater scheme of things. But never fear, this website won’t be a droning scroll of lectures on how the world should be, it’ll address key topics of interest as well as give you insights into my everyday life, which will hopefully provide you with some form of comfort or even a counter-argument to your own beliefs.
Along with my inspiration, Monica Bielanko, my desire to live in a progressive world will fuel this website and my blog section therein. I realize that I can’t change the world by myself, but I know that even if my blog touches just one person, it has helped to spread the world and hopefully inspire more progressive thinking. I found that Monica was able to open dialogues into rarely discussed topics, and I hope to do something similar here.
As an atheist, I personally view religion as a possible sticking point for a progressive world when its views are taken at their extremes. I see the many problems caused across the world due to a clash of religion as a real problem, but by way of wanting to be progressive, I am very accepting of those who have chosen to lead a religious life. Religion has proven throughout time to inspire people to do great things and to, overall, be good to one another, and it certainly has its place in a progressive world, but you may notice my atheist beliefs come through on this website from time to time.
The main focus, however, is on progression, particularly through feminism. I’m not an all-out, bra-burning, hardcore feminist who may have an underlying desire to make all men atone for the ways of old, but I do want to live in a world where men and women are thought of and treated as equals, and this is my little way of helping the efforts of the cause.
I hope that you enjoy the website, find some interesting articles, and help to make the world a more progressive place.
As I discussed in a previous post, Gamergate of 2014 was a terrible time for women involved in the gaming industry. However, as reported by Wired, the biggest event on the 2015 gaming calendar, E3 2015, brought with it a sense of change and a feeling that the industry had hit a turning point. I, along with my fellow female gamers, hoped that the numerous articles praising developers for increasing female representation in games would only increase in the years to come.
As shown by Feminist Frequency, a website which has been tracking female representation in gaming since Gamergate, the number of female protagonists in games has fallen since this potential turning point. In 2015, nine per cent of video games showcased at E3 featured a female protagonist. That number took a nasty tumble in 2016 to a mere three per cent. Luckily, in 2017, those numbers looked to be getting back on track by hitting seven per cent and then eight per cent in 2018. But in 2019, it all went downhill once again.
Once again, male protagonists greatly outweighed the number of female protagonists showcased at E3. The yearly expo saw a mere five per cent of games exclusively featuring female protagonists, per Polygon. That said, there was a stark increase in the number of games which allowed the player to select their gender. Previously, the highest percentage of games which allowed the player to select which gender they wanted to play as was 52 per cent in 2017.
Giving players a choice is an increasingly popular option, and one which is enjoyed by players – myself included – but this doesn’t help to increase the appeal or experience of gaming for women as the games aren’t being tailored to us, just the general audience. Not only does this not help to give more women and girls the chance to play as their same gender, but it also doesn’t ask other players to take on the role of a female and experience a turn in a woman’s shoes.
Any woman who has ever wanted to play a triple-A game has often been forced to do so as a male character. Male gamers will always have a wide selection of male protagonists to choose from and rarely have to go through the experiences of a woman which, in my experience, has made some male gamers somewhat insensitive to females or the struggles of women by seeing us merely as supporting cast members or even objects in some cases.
Admittedly, the gaming industry is in a difficult position as more games are becoming more inclusive through the use of character select and character creation mechanics, but there is a need and demand for female-led games. You don’t need to look any further than 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn to quickly see how successful and loved by the whole gaming community a female-led title can become if given the proper attention.
There were many exciting games on show at E3, with Planet Zoo, Cyberpunk 2077, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 being among my personal favourites, but the percentage of female protagonists dropped off of a cliff edge after the industry looked to be back on the up. One of the best revelations that came from E3 2019 was that so many online outlets, including myself here, have picked up on the findings of Feminist Frequency to show how much the gaming industry has backtracked in this category.
I wish that the percentage of female protagonists in gaming was on the rise, but unfortunately, video gaming remains in the past. Hopefully, the backlash of the lack of representation at E3 2019 will usher in a new wave of increased female-led gaming experiences.
Through their dominance of western entertainment and the nation’s immense wealth, the United States of America holds itself as the epitome of civilization. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that for the women living there, the lies and propaganda can only go so far.
The United States is rife with problems, including ingrained racism, ignorance towards global warming, nationalism, its medical system, obesity, corruption, and a great deal of sexism.
Now, I already knew that the USA is a rather sexist place to live despite holding itself in such high esteem. If the presidential race between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump didn’t prove it, the Harvey Weinstein case and #MeToo movement certainly did. Of course, these are just a couple of the most recent, high-profile examples, but what took me by surprise in a study published last year is that women in the USA can’t escape the influence of sexism.
The study by Charles, Guryan, and Pan (2018) sought to explore sexism in the USA. Not only was it found that sexist attitudes are most prevalent in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia, but that the levels of sexism in the state where a woman is born will influence their lifelong earnings and amount of work, even if they move to a different state.
I now know that the study caught some headlines later in 2018 closer to its publication, which I missed, but that doesn’t make its stark revelations any less shocking. Worse still, the treatment of the rights of women and girls has also come under scrutiny by the Human Rights Watch under the Trump regime.
As a feminist and someone who seeks progression in the world, reading the stats and facts of what is happening in this large and wealthy nation is infuriating. My anger rises knowing that I can do nothing to help this problem on my own and that there’s very little being done at the highest level in the country to amend these flaws. After these reads, I just needed to cool down; after all, I have a life to lead.
Many women will have this feeling of helplessness and rage in their lifetimes when considering similar issues, and while it is important to spread the word, it’s also important that you don’t let it affect your everyday life to the extent that it ruins your enjoyment of the day. I like to turn to gaming to alleviate my worries and bring me back down to a more balanced and happy level.
On this occasion, I thought of switching on the PlayStation and continuing my quests in Horizon Zero Dawn’s expansion The Frozen Wilds, but I was at a point where getting to another nice stop would likely take hours that I didn’t have, so I turned to my guilty pleasure. First, I had a few spins of Starburst to see if I could land any of the wilds to reel in a nice win. After a few minutes of play, I found myself up, so I decided to roll my luck and see if I could land the big one on another of my favorite games.
Much like with the lottery, you’ll hear all the time that someone has won the mega jackpot of the game Mega Moolah, which is what certainly earns it my attention from time to time. When I booted up the progressive slot, the mega jackpot was ticking past the ten million mark. In the end, I came out on top thanks to some timely lions and elephants landing along the paylines but didn’t make it to the jackpot spin – this time.
After some easy going play on the slots, I had cooled down a bit, but knowing the findings of the Charles, Guryan, and Pan (2018) study has given me a more realistic insight into the daily struggles of women in the USA that I cannot shake. Hopefully seeing the problems that have come with voting in someone like Donald Trump and the campaigning of the #MeToo movement will help the evolve the nation into a more progressive place to live.
As a child, I wasn’t very keen on video games as they didn’t appeal to me or my parents didn’t see them as optimal gifts. But, in my young adult years, I discovered the many joys of playing video games; escaping to a new world and becoming the hero became a favorite pastime of mine. Unfortunately, I found myself often having to play as a male protagonist. This isn’t to say that the games weren’t extremely enjoyable, but I struggled to immerse myself in the games or get the same level of entertainment out of the games as my male friends would enjoy.
I strive for progression in this world, which is fuelled by what I deem to be a realistic dose of feminism. I don’t want the times to change and to put men in the position that women have been in for hundreds of years, but I do want clear-cut, transparent equality where societal norms change to see both men and women on a level playing field. I think that many people are at the very least wanting the same thing too, if not striving for it as much as I do.