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Confessions of a Gamer Girl: What’s in a Name?

By November 16, 2016 Geeky, Kayllisti, Personal Posts, Video Games

These days, most people play video games– from Pokemon Go to Call of Duty to Overwatch– games and their players are more diverse than ever. Despite the increasing diversity of games and gamers, our image of gamers has remained static.

I am a gamer. It’s an identity and a loaded one at that. I identify as a gamer because I game. It’s how I spend a lot of my free time, and it’s been that way for many years. Games relax me. They pick me up. I meet new people in games. Games give me experiences outside of myself and my reality. They are an escape as much as reading. They are an art form, though so often misunderstood. Amazing stories play out in video games, and you. the gamer, are the star. Gaming is so many things to me, and I have never shied away from calling myself a gamer.


Me, in my natural habitat

However, when I call myself a gamer, I am met with either disbelief or a challenge. The challenge usually comes from male gamers while the disbelief tends to come from people who think that my femaleness, level of education, and the way I present myself is incongruous to their image of a gamer. The problem is not that I am an unconventional gamer but that our image of gamers is outmoded and based on hurtful stereotypes.

Nearly half of all adults in the United States report playing video games, but only 10% of people who play games identify themselves as gamers. While men and women play video games in equal numbers, men are twice as likely to call themselves gamers. Why do we hold such a limited view of who can be a gamer?

While gamers have evolved, our concept of gamers has not.

Think about the stereotypes surrounding gamers. Here are just a few examples of how gamers are depicted in media:

These sources send a clear message of how gamers are perceived in our culture. 

Of course, there’s also the “gamer girl” stereotype:

gamergirl gamergirl1

As you can see, the gamer girl is seen, primarily, as the perfect girlfriend to the gamer. When I tell people that I game, I inevitably get the question, “Does your boyfriend love it that you game?” They are usually surprised when I tell them that my bf really only games when I do, and there are few games in which he can hold his own against me.

Gaming, like being a geek, was originally an alternative masculine identity intended for men. Men who didn’t identify as jocks or who didn’t meet the traditional masculine values strove to find other masculine identities for themselves. Geekiness became a way for beta men to establish themselves in a new set of “manly” interests such as gaming and sci-fi. These identities became a safe space for the beta male. It was a different way of defining their masculinity. So, when women began to establish themselves in these spaces, they threatened the maleness of these identities. That women’s inclusion in geek spaces and interests so threatened this idea of masculinity is no doubt why so many female gamers face so much vitriol when they dare to talk about gaming. It’s this history that leads many people to see gamers as strictly male.

This is why it surprises people when I call myself a gamer. I am active. I am a high-achiever. I am clean. I am healthy. I am a woman. These things clash with how people think of gamers. Yet, most of the gamers I know don’t fit either the gamer or the gamer girl stereotypes. In my in-game guild, there are mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers, lawyers, writers, military personnel, waiters, programmers…We are as diverse as any other hobby group. We are united by our love of video games.

It’s popular these days to say that the gamer identity is dead. In a world where most people game, maybe we don’t need a separate identity, especially one so wrapped in stereotypes. And yet, I still feel the need to identify as a gamer. It’s part of who I am. It’s not my identity that needs to change; it’s the stereotype behind it. There’s nothing anti-feminist about calling myself a gamer. There’s nothing radical about it either. 

It’s time that we change our idea of gamers. A gamer is someone who games. Like a hiker is someone who hikes, and a writer writes.

I am a gamer– not a gamer girl. It’s not a surprise that I game. It’s not against the type. I am not a special unicorn. I’m not a geekboy’s fantasy. I’m not a basement dweller.

I am a woman with a passion for games.

I am a gamer.

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19 Feminist Quotes from Your Favorite Fandoms

By October 19, 2016 Books/Literature, Geeky, Nerdy, TV/Movies

1) Anne Elliot from Persuasion by Jane Austen

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

Persuasion, Jane Austen Quote

She may have lived long before feminism was a thing, but Austen fans know where she stood.

2) Tris Prior from Divergent by Veronica Roth

“But I will find new habits, new thoughts, new rules. I will become something else. I will become dauntless.”

Tris Divergent Quote

Tris defies her own categorization and becomes something new.

3) Rose Tyler from Doctor Who

“You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand! You say no! You have the guts to do what’s right, even when everyone else just runs away.”

Rose Doctor Who Quote

Don’t be silent in the face of oppression. Oppression hurts everyone.

4) Stella Gibson in The Fall

“That’s what really bothers you, isn’t it? The one-night stand. Man fucks woman. Subject: man. Verb: fucks. Object: woman. That’s okay. Woman fucks man. Subject: woman. Object: man. That’s not so comfortable for you, is it?”

Stella Gibson Quote, The Fall

Be the subject of your own sentence.

5) Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy

“Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here, and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. There are no teams here, no buddies. You’re on your own. Be on your own.”

Christina Yang Quote, Grey's Anatomy

Giving and getting support is important, but sometimes you have find it in you to be an independent force of nature.

6) Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“So here’s the part when you make a choice. What if you could have a power, now? Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Quote

That time when Buffy literally empowered thousands of girls by sharing her own power.

7) Fionna from Adventure Time

“I don’t need to feel like I’m waiting to be noticed…I know who I am.”

Fionna, Adventure Time Quote

Fionna doesn’t need your external validation.

8) Cookie Lyon from Empire

“You lose your soul when you feel like the world’s forgotten you.”

Empire, Cookie Lyon Quote

Cookie knows the pain of systemic marginalization.

9) Miss Grotke from Recess

“Fight the power!”

Miss Grotke, Recess Quote

When you realize Miss Grotke is your feminist hero.

10) Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black

“By all means, attribute my legitimate feelings of sadness to menses.”

Piper Quote, Orange is the New Black

Don’t be that person.

11) Kingsley Shacklebolt from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

Harry Potter Quote

The goal of feminism is equality among human beings.

12) Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Jane Eyre Quote, Charlotte Bronte

Spread your wings.

13) Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones

“I will answer injustice with justice.”

Game of Thrones Feminist Quote

This is our new feminist mantra.

14) Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons

“The whole damn system is wrong!”

Lisa Simpson Quote

We feel you Lisa. Smash that patriarchy!

15) Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek Voyager

“One voice can be stronger than a thousand voices.”

Janeway Quote, Voyager

Sometimes you have to fight the tyranny of the majority.

16) Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation

“I am a goddess, a glorious female warrior, queen of all that I survey. Enemies of equality and fairness, hear my womanly roar!”

Pawnee Goddess Oath, Parks n Rec, Leslie Knope

Where were the Pawnee Goddesses when we were kids?

17) Olivia Pope from Scandal 

“If she was a man, you’d say she was formidable, or bold, or right.”

Scandal Quotes

Encourage bossy girls.

18) Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

“I don’t need a boy to pay attention to me, I’ll pay attention to myself.”

Tina Belcher Quote, Bob's Burgers

We can learn a lot from Tina.

19) Wonder Woman from Wonder Woman #170 by Joe Kelly, Phil Jimenez

“If the prospect of living in a world where trying to respect the basic rights of those around you and valuing each other simply because we exist are such daunting, impossible tasks then what sort of world are we left with? And what sort of world do you want to live in?”

Wonder Woman Quote

Live as if you already live in that world.

Which fandoms and characters inspire you? 

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60+ Empowering DIY Halloween Costumes for Women

By October 4, 2016 Cosplay, Geeky, Holidays, Nerdy

Halloween is my favorite time of year. Why? Because I love costumes, and I love making my own costume. So, if you’re like me and DIY is the only way to go, here are 60+ ideas to get the ball rolling. Sure, you could just use some eyeliner to paint on whiskers and wear black lingerie, but let’s aim a little higher, shall we?

When I search for costumes, I have a few simple rules…

I look for costumes that: 

aren’t just “sexy” versions of real costumes. If you want to wear a sexy costume, that’s great! There’s a lot of options out there for you. “Sexy” Halloween costumes are now so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to find any other options, and some girls feel pressured into wearing a sexy costume. I just want to suggest some other options for people looking for something different.

aren’t of animals or objects. Once again, wear what you want, but there’s something about this that never sat well with me, something to do with literal objectification.

don’t make fun of real people. Come on, don’t be that person. You can honor a real person with a costume without being disrespectful.

are culturally sensitive. Let’s all say this together, culture is not a costume.

don’t involve difficult makeup techniques. If you like makeup, check out my Pinterest board full of Halloween Makeup Ideas for Women.

can be put together from items in closet or from a thrift store. This is DIY for people who aren’t that skilled in DIY. These costumes do not require cosplay levels of crafting.

– you can eat, sit, walk, see, and talk comfortably while wearing. Giant angel wings seem like a great idea until you whack a few people in the face with them and realize you can’t sit comfortably.


The pun costume that needs to be explained to each new person at a party.

-aren’t based on a  pun. I know, it’s probably really funny and you’re really clever, but I never liked the thought of having to explain my costume all night long. If you want to be Reigning Cats and Dogs, that’s cool. You do you.


Old Hollywood

Audrey Hepburn 


A classic costume for a reason.

Silent Movie Star


Gilda – Rita Hayworth

1946: Rita Hayworth (1918 - 1987) plays the sexy title role in the wartime film noir 'Gilda', directed by Charles Vidor. (Photo by Robert Coburn Sr./John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

If you just happen to have a satin evening gown lying around…

Diana Ross


Diana Ross had so many iconic looks.

I Love Lucy 


Marilyn Monroe


Birds -Melanie Daniels


Wizard of Oz – Dorothy


Read More

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10 Things You Should Know About Your Character: A Questionnaire

By August 30, 2016 Short Story Prompts

10 Things I Know About My Character

Forget those character questionnaires with hundreds of questions. There are only 10 things you really need to know about your character to get your story started.

1) What is the most notable feature of their appearance?

You may know that the character’s eyes are the color of the sea and they have a strong straight nose and peach colored skin and hair like golden wheat…and blah blah blah. The point is, laundry lists of features bore readers. Think of their most notable feature and a unique way of describing it. Short stories rarely demand full physical descriptions.

2) What is their age?

This is important in establishing tone. After all, we expect that a child, teenager, and an adult will have different ways of speaking and thinking.

3) What is something they are good at?

Everybody is good at something and your character should be too. This can be skill based– art, math, mechanics, video games..etc. This can be social– maybe they’re natural leaders or good at making friends.

4) What is their biggest weakness?

It’s not a résumé, be honest with your character. They should have flaws. Sometimes that’s the driving force behind the story, a severely flawed character. But in fantasy and sci-fi, where heroes reign, many characters suffer from a lack of weakness. Check out these 123 Ideas for Character Flaws from Writers Write.

5) What is their signature action?

This is often a physical manifestation of the character’s inner state. This can be a quirk, a physical tic, a habit. Examples: they can’t make eye contact in conversation, they wring their hands when they’re nervous, they fidget when they’re bored, they run their hands through their hair when confident…etc. Don’t be limited to the usual- a unique signature action can become the basis of a short story on its own.

6) What secret have they never told?

Your character should have a secret. One or two people might know this about the character, but it’s something that the character does not freely share. This can be a source of pain or triumph for the character. Keeping the secret or the reveal of the secret can be the basis for the plot. Maybe you don’t even mention the secret in the story, but knowing this about your character determines nearly everything about them. Check out author Angela Ackerman’s post on discovering your character’s secrets.

7) What is their fear?

beasadistListen to Vonnegut. You may have to do horrible things to your characters. Knowing your character’s fear allows you to exploit those fears for your plot. Test your characters. Push them in unfamiliar directions. Bring them right up against those fears.

8) What do they care about/believe in?

Everybody cares about something, even villains. Discover what your characters believe and care about. This is a great chance to think about their morality, their religion, their spirituality, the people in their lives that they love, and/or what they would fight for. Think about whether or not their beliefs challenge or fit the society in which they live. You can also use the differing beliefs of two characters to create tension.

9) Where do they live and with whom?

This will tell you a lot about your character, from their financial state to their relationship status and so much more. Get a good picture of their habitat and who they may share that with. Never forget to ask yourself why they live in that situation and what it says about them as a character.

10) What do they want?

Chances are, your character wants something, and that’s why you’re writing this story. Many stories begin with a character asking for something. They want adventure, they want to set something right, they want the big job, they want to get the girl, they want to win the race. What does your character want? How will they try to get it? Will you give it to them?

Bonus* What is their name? Names are only important when they’re important to you, the writer. Some writers choose names at random, and for other’s this is a painstaking process full of meaning. If you like to give your characters names with meaning, this can be an important thing to know about them.


This list has been adapted from a writing exercise developed by the author, Charles Baxter. 

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The Best Jane Austen Screen Adaptations

By August 13, 2016 Geeky, TV/Movies

If you like Jane Austen novels, don’t miss these great screen adaptations:

1: Sense & Sensibility (1995)

Stars: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet

Emma Thompson makes this adaptation of Sense & Sensibility the irrefutable best. Thompson not only plays the sensible Elinor, she wrote the screenplay.

2. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn

This was difficult. The 2005 adaptation has my favorite Elizabeth Bennet, but the 1995 adaptation has my favorite Darcy– though Macfadyen’s Darcy is quite good too!

3. Mansfield Park (1999) 

Stars: Frances O’Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola

While many people hate on this adaptation of Mansfield Park, I find it to be an excellent movie. All the characters are given a bit of a personality boost, and the scandals are exaggerated. It’s not a faithful retelling of the novel, but it doesn’t have to be.

4. Emma (2009) 

Stars: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Jonny Lee Miller

This is by far the most charming version of Jane Austen’s Emma thanks to Romola Garai who portrays the clueless girl in a way that’s both likable and accurate to the book. It’s not easy making Emma likable.

5. Northanger Abbey (2007)

Stars: Geraldine James, Michael Judd, Julia Dearden

The 2007 adaptation may not be totally faithful to the book, but those changes fit very well with Jane Austen’s tone. Felicity Jones’ Catherine is perfectly naive and sensational in just the way the novel demands.

6. Persuasion (2007)

Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alice Krige, Rupert Penry-Jones

My favorite adaptation of my favorite Jane Austen novel. Sally Hawkins perfectly portrays the anxiety and hopelessness of Anne Elliot, the 27-year old woman who has lost her bloom and is far too old for love.

7. Love & Friendship (2016)

Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel



This may be the only adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, but it’s also delightful. Perhaps more scandalous than Austen’s other works, it follows the scheming Lady Susan who is determined play matchmaker for both her daughter and herself.

* Honorable Mention: Clueless (1995)

Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy



Okay, this may just be the best Austen adaptation ever. Based on Emma, Clueless has not only cemented its place in 90’s culture, but it is also the perfect update to the 200-year old novel.

*Honorable Mention: Bride & Prejudice (2004)

Stars: Martin Henderson, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Nadira Babbar



Setting Pride & Prejudice in the traditionally more conservative India just works. It’s also just so much fun–Austen with musical numbers.

What’s your favorite Austen adaptation? 

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