My roommate Katie spends the majority of her year in a classroom. As a substitute teacher, she heads to the classroom mostly every morning, usually with little notice, to spend the day with students that could be in elementary school or high school. She’s heard and seen it all.
Yet when she comes home each day from her part-time summer survival job at Kmart, I am always astounded by the new lows she encounters. I have little patience with idiocy already, although I try my darnedest to love my fellow humans. But sometimes her stories set me on edge, get me fired up and indignant.
As of this writing, it isn’t even 10 in the morning, and I’m already angry for her.
She was having a conversation with a male coworker. Innocent enough. The conversation turned to Star Wars. One thing you should know about Katie is that she is a Star Wars superfan. She’s been watching the films since birth. She loves the games, books, and merchandise. She can name obscure characters. She even has a stormtrooper bank, for crying out loud!
But today she was told that she couldn’t be a “real” Star Wars fan because she enjoyed the prequels. Her coworker, she told me, admitted that he didn’t consider himself a Star Wars fan because he doesn’t really enjoy them. Yet he had the gall to tell my superfan roomie that she wasn’t a fan because she enjoyed all the movies, not just the original trilogy.
That wasn’t all, though. He then went on to try to explain “good” fantasy to her. One of his examples was Game of Thrones. And before you get all indignant, yes, GoT is good fantasy. A giant of the genre. A standard-bearer, even. But he went on to explain that only the GoT show is good fantasy, not the books. Because the books go from character to character too much, which is apparently dumb. In his explanation of “good” fantasy, he neglected Harry Potter….because he’s never read it.
What the hell, guys?
I’m tired of having to defend my hobbies. I’m tired of being told that gaming isn’t worthy of my time and attention, that I would be better off doing a million other things. I’m tired of being asked to prove my worth as a gamer or fan. And I’m tired of people with condescending voices and attitudes telling me that I’m not allowed to love something, do something, or be something. You want to know the kicker? Most of the time, I have to do these extra things because I’m female.
I’m tired of guys assuming that I’m not a real gamer because I don’t play Call of Duty or FIFA. It drains me when I get respect only after I’ve proven that I know the lingo. It makes me sick when anyone tries to explain something to me (that I already know), but it’s worse when it’s a guy who believes he’s stooping to a lower level to explain something to me, to impart his knowledge for my benefit. Who won’t let me speak up or be part of the conversation even if it turns out that I know more about that subject than he does.
Why is this still a thing? I want to love what I love, play what I play, watch what I watch, and read what I read. Then I want to go have conversations about those things. With women and men. With IRL friends and Internet acquaintances. I want to be part of a fandom with no regards to age, gender, or race.
This is 2015. Can we all stop with the superiority complex thing and just be friends?
…and just to put this out there, I liked the prequels too!