I can remember the first time someone told me they hated me. I was 17, in the Drama Studio of my Secondary School, and had refused to tow the party line with the rest of the Alpha Females. The result was a chair, thrown at my head. There were probably moments before, but history cannot recall them. Kids can be cruel, this is an inevitability of life, and it didn’t help being socially very awkward. However, that moment remains as reminder that like it or not, very little has changed in half a century.
If you don’t tow the line, expect there to be consequences.
For many years I have made my own way in the World for no other reason that there was nobody else whose interests meshed with my own. Even with a history of gaming behind me, there’s very few people met online to whom genuine kinship is felt. Sure, I’d argue this is the best its ever been in terms of like-minded outlooks, but as time goes on that is less about pixels and more around words. Amazingly, people enjoy what is written and slowly but surely, a new audience is being forged.
However, the hate that’s been felt during my time with the gaming community refuses to go away. It surfaces with worrying regularity, reminders that there’s still a number of clubs out there, many of which absolutely don’t want women to be part of the membership. The Alpha Females are still here too, and woe betide anyone who feel they’re allowed to tow anything but their official party line. I don’t want to return to Secondary School, yet there’s been occasions in the last year everybody’s been dragged back to that same situation.
One could argue a lot of this is a failure in communication, but the truth is undoubtedly more basic. Everybody has their space, and only wants decent people to be there. When an unknown quantity appears, more often than not, the capacity for conflict begins to rise. If you’re part of a Club, there will inevitably come a point where your loyalty and fielty will be tested, and if opinions significantly diverge, it’s normally time to leave. I’m very good at knowing when to go, and there’s no regrets when it happens.
In fact, the last time this happened was the moment when pretty much everything changed for the better.
Of course, I do care, rather a lot as it happens, but it is time to pick and choose the battles with far more thought than was previously the case. There’s no doubt that should I begin to succeed with writing, there’s a whole new bunch of Alpha Females and cliquey clubs that will need to be negotiated.
I’m ready for it all. Bring it.