April 4, 2013

Everything’s neutral until isms are thrown in.

Posted in life tagged , , , at 3:37 pm by riulyn

I don’t usually think about a person’s gender, sexual, or ethnic identity when I see them posting on websites. It’s only when I’m trying to talk about the person that I sometimes think about it. Still, I usually don’t care and just refer to their avatar name.

It’s when I look at blog posts or discussions on sexism or racism that suddenly it feels like tons of posters are making assumptions about other posters. Everyone is so riled up and ready to debunk other people’s arguments with what they believe are the fastest putdowns ever. If you are a male, you can’t have a legit opinion on sexism! If you are a white person in a white-dominated country, you can’t talk about racism! If you are straight, you can’t talk about LGBTQ issues!

I’ve played RPGs and some other games for a while, but it’s only recently (past year or so) that I’ve become more active on forums and websites about my interest. Gamers are usually pretty kind to each other. Normal trolling or put-downs tend to be game-related. I didn’t see any indications of gender, sex, ethnicity, etc. in those comments. So how do all these people suddenly think they know these things just by reading these statements?

Even with a slightly gender-biased name (“lyn” is a common suffix for female names, at least in English), it appears that plenty of the internet believes me to be a male-identifying person. Okay, I don’t have my gender listed on most of my website profiles (I think I used to but I try to keep my profile pages short and more anonymous) but I don’t really understand why people decide to refer to me as “he” when they don’t know. My name isn’t that long, is it?

Or they could take an educated guess and refer to me as “she”. Oh wait, if my observations from the internet and elsewhere are correct, the worst thing you can call a male-identifying person is a “girl”! I should never advocate for that mistake, right?

I haven’t seen any indications of what people assume my ethnicity and sexual orientations are yet, but I’ve seen plenty of other posters get assumed to be white and straight, so I’m sure if I didn’t open my mouth in a discussion with a long preface of “As a X, Y, and Z person…” I’m sure I’d receive that. Because if I like boobs, I’m a straight male and totally into sex…

I haven’t even touched age-ism. This post is already a spiraling mess.

Anyway, I don’t know if all this stuff makes me annoyed, angry, or confused. Probably all 3. It’s just…okay I really don’t think I understand.

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1 Comment »

  1. Joseph said,

    I was just talking to a friend about the difference between our “real” lives and our “digital” lives and how sometimes it feels like neither is completely real lol. Nothing like the digital age to give us all identity complexes hahaha. But yeah, assumptions about whats behind the avatar is kind of not the point, right? I like having a safe place to talk about games with people who enjoy the same. Thankfully I usually meet pretty cool people in the gaming community.


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