This article is brought to you by the third Blaugust 2020 Promtapalooza topic presented by the awesome blogger Mailvaltar: What are some key sources of media (games/movies/etc) that have shaped your worldview?
That’s a no brainer for me! Video games have been a huge part of my life ever since I was 5 years old. Age 32 is coming up on me way too quickly at the moment, and I don’t see me ever ditching video games. Maybe if I have some kinda mid-life crisis thing soon? Who knows!
We are how we see things, if that makes any sense. Our worldview defines our personal ethics and heavily influences how we react with the things happening around us.
Video game characters and their stories were a big influence on my young developing mind, that’s for sure. My views and who I am today would not be the same without that influence.
First off, I have to give my parents a huge shout-out here. When I was a kid, they couldn’t have cared less about forcing me into a gender defined interest box. Very unlike all the other girls my age, I despised Barbie dolls and all that generally girly stuffs.
My parents 100% supported that and let me be true to me. They bought me action figures instead (saving the world while pretending to shoot stuff was much more fun than playing house), went out of their way to make sure I got the “boy’s version” of the toy in my Happy Meal at McDonalds (I remember crying when I got a lame pretty princess and my dad taking it back to return with a badass knight/dragon), and of course, they let me play my beloved video games.
Just so you know, I grew up in an era around these parts where video games were meant for “boys only”, or so I was frequently told by that popular group of mean girls who hated on me mercilessly.
But yeah, being the “different one” who didn’t fit in a gender defined interest box made for a rough path through the school system. It would have been much easier had I of been forced to fit the mould of the times, don’t get me wrong, but all that bullying and general misery was so worth enduring.
While it brought me past my breaking point more than once and left me with a ton of damage my adult brain needed a lot of help to repair, I’m so much stronger today because I had to endure all of that BS in the past.
It took me so long to say this and mean it but: I know who I am, I love who I am, and I don’t need anyone else on this planet to approve of me. I’m grateful for ending up who I did.
Whoops! Totally didn’t mean to go off on a personal story side quest there. Back to the main topic of viewpoints and whatnot, I remember losing myself in many a video game to cope with all my growing up pains.
I didn’t really care or pay much attention to the fact that all the video game characters I was controlling were male. But oh boy, let me tell you how freaking awesome it felt the first time I rented and played Super Metroid on the good ol’ SNES (my first console…. and yes, renting physical copies of games was a thing at one time).
The first thing young me did when I rented a video game was read the game’s manual, usually with the help of my parents (Yes! Manuals were a thing that came with physical copies of games that could be rented at one time… I feel ancient).
Right there on Page 3 when it explains the game’s protagonist…
“Bounty Hunter Samus Aran was commissioned by the Galactic Federation to eliminate the space pirates and do away with the dangerous Metroids. Samus landed on Zebes alone and carried out her mission with speed and precision.Excerpt from the Super Metroid manual
Wait… what? Her mission? Samus is a woman?? A badass woman who blasts things and works alone?? ZOMG!!
Yep! My young brain exploded with happiness and I remember my mom laughing at my enthusiasm. Samus was the first female protagonist I had ever played as, and she quickly became my very first shero.
I never got very far in Super Metroid, but damn, did I ever have a blast replaying the first escape mission over, and over, and over again. Samus inspired me and showed me that my gender doesn’t define what I can or cannot be. I loved pretending to be her!
That whole thing with Super Metroid was an incredibly powerful experience that formed the foundation of how I see our world today. If I see sexism anywhere these days, intended or not, I will bluntly condemn it without hesitation.
I just want all the goddamn gender barriers to go away already. Things have much improved in modern society, for sure, but there are still far too many invisible walls and asshats out there.
Side note: I am cranky with the new direction Samus Aran took in Other M (putting it nicely), but that’s a whole other post topic. Pre-Other M Samus is best Samus!
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