Don’t Envy The Victim’s Shoes

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

While I believe in my own equality, I also believe I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I shouldn’t have to hold myself up under the pressure of perfect example.

Among other things, I’m a gamer. I don’t want to be the woman gamer that represents the other women gamers. We’re all just as similar to men gamers, and just as different to other women gamers. I am a gamer. I am a woman. I am a person. These are all separate things about myself. I don’t want to be ‘the woman’ anything. I don’t want woman to be the over arching word defines me, but since I am passionate about certain things that women are still a rarity in, it seems like it has to.

I am a person. I want to be treated like a person. I don’t even know what being treated like a woman exactly means to you, but I know I don’t want it, especially if you get to define it.

I don’t want to be an example, but I will be either way, because I just so happen to be a woman. I’m a minority, a rarity, a weird thing. In a world where over half the people are women, it’s so weird to so often be the rarity.

Rarity means special, extra value, worth more in economic terms. It doesn’t translate to people who are different.

But you know that men also can be the minority in communities based around certain activities. In my own experiences I’ve seen it in community theater and my current ceramics studio. Now that they’re the weird thing, wouldn’t you expect harassment or violence inside those groups towards men? Instead, it usually comes from the outside of those groups. It often comes in the form of accusing the men of being feminine, as if this is a bad thing. Beat up the theater fag. Shouldn’t Johnny be playing hockey instead? It’s not about these community groups that share interests, but symptoms a larger social problem. It’s not just about women, it’s about all people.

We need to make it clear that it’s not about blaming gamers or men when we see issues in the gaming community or with what some men do. I am a gamer after all. I also love men.

I also recognize that men face harassment as well as part of sexism. Patriarchy hurts everyone. This isn’t simply about men vs women. Women spout bigotry that holds themselves and men back. Men get beat to a bloody pulp for not being ‘man enough’. People are hurtful and being hurt, and gender itself or those that belong to a particular gender are not to blame.

When I read about victims who don’t report inequality, especially harassment or violence, I do feel sad that they didn’t push forward to help all of us have a safer world. I also realize that it’s not fair of me, or anyone, to expect or ask that any of these individuals put themselves on the line inviting additional violence, pain, or even death upon themselves. It’s easy for people to blame a victim for not stepping up, because we feel like our voices are needed to eventually make the world safer and make us equals.

It’s also easy to blame the victim who steps up for not being the perfect example, for what they were wearing, their sexual history, for not reporting it immediately, for using imperfect language, their tone, or for not having a perfect past. We want super heroes, but instead we just have people.

There are some people that just so happen to also be women. We expect too much of them when they’re down, and we expect not enough of them when they have all the potential to be more.

When the world fails us, we do the best we can, and try not to fail the world or ourselves.

I am a person. I want to be treated like a person. I don’t want to be a victim, but I also don’t want to stand in those shoes, be the example, and fight for what should already be.