#FridayReads: A Reading List of Feminism, Queer Identity, Problematic Faves, & More Games

Mass Effect

In just five months, FemHype has published a total of 162 articles in 16 categories with 32 authors (and 1,122 spam comments 🎉). As we move forward, I thought it was high time we took a moment to appreciate the past. Today, I’m inviting you to help us celebrate how far we’ve all come in so little time and also to welcome your place with us as our new friends in this little community. The following works are some of our earlier, but no less insightful articles from the days where we were just starting out in the gaming blog space. Revisit these stories written by passionate woman fighting for their voices to be heard in an often unforgiving, exclusionary industry. And as you read through their incredible contributions, take a moment to consider submitting one for yourself. We’re a family here, and we’re always looking for new members. 💕

Another Look At Tali’Zorah: More Than Your Fetish [Ashe]

As a woman of color who struggles with her own mental and physical health, there is a lot for me to empathize with here. I’m used to people fetishizing my racial background instead of appreciating who I am as a person or my unique qualities as an individual. My being sick semi-regularly (mainly due to chronic anxiety/stress) isn’t cute or attractive, but cause for a lot of frustration, depression, and missed opportunities. People have and still sometimes interpret me according to their personal biases, regardless of whether or not the qualities they’re ascribing are actually there. Yeah, these parallels run almost uncomfortably deep at times.

One of the Boys: How MMORPGs Shaped My Young Queer Life [DocMartens]

Upon entering my teenage years, I was one confused girl/virtual boy. As I approached puberty, suddenly hanging out with the neighborhood boys in real life was frowned upon. My parents actually told me I couldn’t see them and would throw parties for me to meet the neighborhood girls and make new friends. A few of them and I got along so I would go with it, but the true test was lunchtime at school. As gossip flowed around and over me, I sat, head down, buried in a 900-page novel with a dragon on the cover, ignoring what I thought of as inane chitchat as best I could.  But online—online I was free. As soon as I logged in and saw the loading icon, I could get back to who I really was, not who I had to pretend to be to make everyone happy. Soon I had moved from Asheron’s Call to other games, to internet chat rooms, to anime, to fanfiction. As my digital self, I felt unencumbered by the trappings of femininity that everyone around me expected and I never felt comfortable performing.

Continue reading “#FridayReads: A Reading List of Feminism, Queer Identity, Problematic Faves, & More Games”

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Party Camp: Who Was the First Character You Identified With?

un0k8

There’s a singular moment for every gamer when the playthrough transcends simple mechanics to reach us emotionally. When we identify with our first character in a video game, it’s an experience that often leaves us reeling. Much like reading a book or watching television, we’re uniquely hardwired to seek deeper understanding of the symbols and narratives that surround us, and gaming is far from exempt. To identify with a character and, subsequently, to relate with their narrative is like meeting a part of ourselves we didn’t have the words to describe before that moment. It’s the kind of experience that defines a “gamer,” despite that connotation currently being jockeyed.

Let’s jump back in time a few years to relive the defining moments a few of our writers reminisced about. Don’t forget to share your first experience in the comments!

Jillian ()

For me, this moment came in Tomb Raider II. I’d played my fair share of games on the PS2 up to that point, though none of them inspired me to dream big the way Lara Croft’s narrative did. She faced down tigers and sharks alike with unflinching determination, exploring the farthest corners of my imagination with nothing but a pistol and torch at the ready. It was my first real taste of a female character who not only lead the narrative, but did so with all the agency a woman should have. At the time, I was just shy of my teen years, and for a confused queer girl trying to ignore very clear signs, meeting Lara meant the world to me. She helped shape my wanderlust and the confidence I needed in order to embark upon the journey itself.

Though the franchise has come a long way since the pixelated days of tricking your butler into a meat locker (it never gets old), there are still persistent, problematic themes that need addressing.

Continue reading “Party Camp: Who Was the First Character You Identified With?”

Choose Your Party: What It Means to Build a Family in RPGs

Mass Effect

Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect: What do they all have in common, other than being Bioware games? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to look at them and see. There’s one customizable main character of varying genders who has a mission. This character is widely considered to be a hero, but they face some big problems throughout the games. They have to travel, fight, and delegate. Not too different at all, really.

The most important similarity between these games is the companions. In KOTOR, you have to pick up a few beings of varying species and allegiances. In Mass Effect, this is even more involved, and there are many companions you can find throughout all three games. There are even DLCs with more companions and more fun to be had with them. The best example of this is the Citadel DLC for the third game, which is essentially a tribute to the companions and their relationship with Shepard. In Dragon Age (I’m only on Origins, so bear with me here), your companions are of the varying groups and species that should hate each other, but never seem to any more than Morrigan constantly insulting Alistair.

This is the real gift of these games: You get to make a family. 

Continue reading “Choose Your Party: What It Means to Build a Family in RPGs”

Party Camp: What Does Being a “Girl Gamer” Mean to You?

This year has come and gone, and with it, a full month of trying my hand at this whole running a website thing. (Spoilers: It’s harder than it seems, but well worth the effort.) With FemHype‘s successful launch and many new, exciting opportunities ahead, I found myself reflecting on what brought me—and really, all of us, readers and writers alike—to this point. As women fighting for our voices to be heard in a rather tumultuous industry, I wondered how each of us personally identified with gaming and how we saw our role in the bigger picture. Thus, I posed a question to our writers, which I will similarly pose to you to hash out in the comment section.

GAMERGIRL

What does being a “girl gamer” mean to you? To no one’s surprise, least of all mine, our little team of gamers had quite a lot to say on the matter—and no shortage of insight into what it’s like to carve a space for yourself in one that postures to have no room for you to begin with. Needless to say, I couldn’t be more proud of the team assembled here, and I’m committed to dedicating myself to this cause for as long as there are women (and men!) who need it. I welcome you to join us.

With all that said, from everyone here at FemHype, we hope you have a happy and safe holiday this season! I look forward to your responses after you’ve perused the following between your snacking and holidaying. Happy gaming!

Continue reading “Party Camp: What Does Being a “Girl Gamer” Mean to You?”

Women in Middle-Earth: Reviewing ‘War in the North’

In a little tribute to the recent release of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, I’m going to talk about the greatest Lord of the Rings video game ever. It’s called Lord of the Rings: War in the North, and there is nothing like it.

In the game, you have three options of a playable character: a male Dúnedain Ranger named Eredan, a male dwarf warrior named Farin, and a female Elf loremaster named Andriel. Needless to say, I always play as Andriel.

Lord of the Rings: War in the North

You can customize the look of the person you choose to play as, but the other character options just end up with their default look unless you swap your playable choice in order to change their appearance.

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