“What Makes You Think It’s a Boy Thing?”

The amount of women playing video games, and playing them proudly can be exemplified in one statement; I only know of two women who play games as a passion. Not a person who plays a casual round of of “Mario Kart Wii” at a party, but would actually consider themselves gamers. So I interviewed one to get her perspective as a girl gamer on various topics surrounding the gaming industry, and what it’s like to be a girl gamer.

Emma Jarvis is a senior, communications and social interaction major with an English minor at SUNY Oswego. I met her in an English class, and you wouldn’t know she was a gamer just by looking at her.

“I had a group of friends in high school that…had typical ‘girl’ interests,” Jarvis said. “They really liked rom-coms, and they didn’t play a lot of video games so I was kinda worried to show that side of me to them because…they know me as this certain Emma. It’s almost like I’m acting like a different person to seem more girly than I am, but I don’t even know why in retrospect. I don’t know why playing video games would make me seem not girly, but I just felt like I had to hide that part of myself so I could be more girly and fit in better with them.”

Jarvis considers herself a girl gamer, but struggles to use that specific term to define herself, as most women who play video games do.

I hate using the term‘girl gamer’ because it has a lot of connotations, but I don’t know, there’s a lot of them out there,” Jarvis said.

The term ‘girl gamer’ has become somewhat of a negative claim in the recent years. In a BBC article on various women Twitch.tv streamers, Leahviathan says the term ‘girl gamer’ is “the stereotype of a gamer who isn’t there because she’s good at games or enjoys games; she’s just there because she’s trying to impress guys or something. It’s not true.”

Because of that stereotype, women who do play video games are cautious to call themselves ‘girl gamers’ because they don’t want to deal with the negativity surrounding the term. Gaming culture, and specifically men in gaming communities, can be especially vicious to girl gamers, according to an article by Upfluence. Oftentimes, men will challenge women who claim to like video games by throwing random and obscure trivia questions at them, just to try to catch their gaming blind-spot in order to have the satisfaction that gaming is for men and men only.

But, like many negatively-coded feminine words, girl gamers are attempting to take it back. The Reddit subreddit, r/girlgamers, has over 63,000 subscribers. Their bio states, “‘Girl Gamer’ — One of the most controversial and polarizing terms for women who game (and, sure, maybe one of the cringiest) This is a community space for ladies to hang out, talk about gaming, and game together. We also discuss topics around women in geek culture and debrief about experiences that occur as a result of their gender.”

“Especially now that you can go on subreddits and Tumblr and stuff like that where you can talk with a bunch of different people about it, it’s become easierto feel like you’re not weird for liking something someone your gender isn’t supposed to like,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis said she doesn’t play many online multiplayer games though, and if she does, she doesn’t talk in voice chat channels. Some of her reluctance stems from her gender.

Part of it actually does stem from ‘I don’t know if I’d be taken seriously’ especially because, I’m not going to lie, I’m not that great at Overwatch,” said Jarvis. “I play it for fun, not for glory. So I don’t know if they’d be like, ‘Oh this girl sucks and she’s a girl’ so it’s like double whammy almost.”

Jarvis spoke about this inability to be taken seriously as a gamer, as it’s something she’s experienced her whole life.

“I remember when I was in elementary school I would try to talk to the boys about Pokemon because when I was a kid, Pokemon was all I thought about, like day in day out, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon,” she said. “And I would try to talk with my peers about it and the guys would be like ‘You don’t know anything about that, you’re a girl” and the girls would be like, ‘Why do you want to talk about that, that’s a boy thing.’ And I was like, ‘There are so many female characters in the Pokemon games, what makes you think it’s a boy thing?’. That was a source of frustration for me when I was a kid.”

This would be something Jarvis would continue to notice as she grew up, as she noticed the games she liked to play wouldn’t be taken seriously, or weren’t considered “real games” by some of her peers.

“Especially when I was in high school a lot of gaming was centered around Call of Duty and stuff like that,” Jarvis said. “And I considered myself a gamer because I played a lot of video games but everyone only wanted to talk about Call of Duty or whatever sports game they were playing and I was like, ‘Well don’t you guys play Zelda or anything like that?’. But if you go up to one of those dude that are like, ‘Oh, I’ve got this level in Call of Duty’ and you say ‘Have you ever played Animal Crossing?’ they’re like ‘Oh that’s not a real game’ but what is a real game then? What do you define as a real game?”

Jarvis also spoke about the double standard women face for liking games that are not traditionally thought of as “real games” by the gaming community.

“There’s this stigma around that if you’re not playing something super intense with hyper realistic graphics that it’s not worth discussing in the gaming community,” Jarvis said.  “It was weird it was almost like a double standard like, I’m a nerd for liking these video games but you guys obsess over these video games and it’s socially accepted because it more like, a social thing because you’re talking to your friends.”

Yet, as more and more women play video games, the gaming community is seeing a strong, yet smaller community of female gamers come together to fight the stereotypes, and show other girl gamers that they aren’t alone.

That’s why always whenever I see someone wearing [something], like someone with a key chain on their backpack, or some sort of video game merchandise I always, especially if it’s a girl, I try to go out my way to say ‘Hey, I like that!” so they know they’re not alone,” Jarvis said.

Because that’s what it’s all about in the end; coming together as women to discuss, theorize, and most importantly, play video games.

Peas in a Pod

Episode 1 is an interview with senior Melissa Lee. We talk about the do’s and don’ts of rooming with your best friend, and how to coexist with your roommate living off-campus.

Episode 2 is an interview with senior Katie Short. We talk about how you can work through roommate issues so you both come out with your friendship intact, and how having a college roommate can be a big adjustment for an only child.

Intro Music: Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/37792 Ft: Airtone

How Social Media Causes Activism Among College Students

Lorie Shaull photo

Inspired by this year’s Media Summit topic (Digital Advocacy) and the panelists, I decided to look into how college students use social media for activism, and how they move from social media activism to the real world. Dr. Latoya Lee, a professor at SUNY Oswego and a media summit panelist, brought up the concept of “slacktivism”, a term used for people who don’t actively participate in social movements. These are the people who you see on your timeline retweeting or liking posts that encourage activism, but they don’t put their money where their mouth is. Other panelists, like Gina Iliev, brought up how people need to go beyond their screens and actually go out into the world and make a change. And I do have to admit, I participate in a fair amount of slacktivism. Because of this, I wanted to see if other college students go beyond slacktivism on social media and bring their activism to life, so I could try to do the same.

Researchers Nolan L. Cabrera, Cheryl E. Matais and Roberto Montoya from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado have done research into slacktivism on social media. They found that slacktivism isn’t a new concept, and that it can actually lead to some change. The researchers found that actions that could be considered slacktivism actually helped bring awareness to issues. For example, they found that a Facebook campaign by the Human Rights Campaign’s Facebook that encouraged users to simply change their profile picture to add a red logo in support of gay marriage helped bring the issue into public discourse and bring further awareness. The researches found many other studies that showed that people who participated in forms of slacktivism, such as sharing videos online, were more likely to participate in activism offline as well. They came to the conclusion that the digital age we’re in can play a central role in student activism, and lead them from their screens, to the streets.

In 2015, Janel Davis from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on black college students from Atlanta who rallied together to stand against racial injustice. How did they do this? By using hashtags on social media, like #AUCShutItDown and #ATLBSU (Atlanta Black Student United), they formed a community that would stand together in the battle against racial injustice. Students from different colleges all over Atlanta could connect in ways that they couldn’t before because of social media. And they got students to move past their screens and actually come out and rally for their cause. They got students to move past their slacktivism and participate. Students involved believe that social media is the new door-to-door petition. They feel that they share the same passion activists from the 1950s and ’60s, but show and participate in new ways due to the influx of social media.

Kristin LaRiviere, Jeanette Snider, Alison Stromberg and KerryAnn O’Meara researched activism and social media use at the college level in their article “Protest: Critical Lessons of Using Digital Media for Social Change”. They gave the example of Sharon Joy Showalter, a woman unhappy with the 2010 Virginia attorney general’s stance on rescinding sexual orientation from nondiscrimination clauses at Virginia Commonwealth University. Showalter created a Facebook page on March 6, 2010 called “VCU says NO to Ken Cuccinelli’s Discriminatory Letter” to express her concerns and rally those who felt the same way as she did. The researchers found that within hours of Showalter’s first post, people were already commenting on the page, and roughly 48 hours later, she was updating the page with news of forums being planned to discuss Cuccinelli’s statement. By March 10, 2010, students were holding rallies and protests against Cuccinelli. In just 4 days, Showalter was able to move students from Facebook, to rallies. The researchers attribute this rapid move from online to offline to social media. They say that in the 1960s, student activist groups had to communicate their ideals with leaflets, newspaper articles, and face to face meetings. But with the rise of the Internet and social media, what could take weeks in the ’60s now only takes a few hours. In the case of VCU and former Attorney General Cuccinelli, the instantaneous nature of social media allowed students to directly comment on Cuccinelli’s social media pages and join Facebook groups with people who felt as strongly as they did about this issue.

I think students want to be actively involved in the world around them. We can see and recognize when there is injustice in the world, and we feel compelled to do something about it.  We want to be activists and participate in rallies and protests, but we can also see the impact social media use has on causes. It allows us a space to gather and spread our message across the world. By using social media, causes can inspire people hundreds of miles from them to make a change in their own community. We use social media for so many other things in our lives; why not activism?

Home Sweet Scales

 

Scales Hall recently underwent renovations in the summer of 2017.  The renovations added new features such as handicap accessible doors to all dorm rooms and a main lounge with a wall of windows. Scales Hall was built in 1961. Walking up to Scales, you see the exterior has become more modern. Walking in, the main lounge is directly to your left, housing hall events, homework sessions, and more. Going up the stairwell leads you to the dorm rooms, housed by Scales roughly 200 residents. The renovation was sorely overdue, and breathed new light into one of Oswego’s older dorm buildings.
I chose these three photos because they represent some of the most drastic changes to Scales. The outside has been updated to look more modern, and match it’s neighbor, Waterbury Hall. I like the colors in the sky and grass, so I tried to take it at an angle where I could see both. My second photo is of the main lounge. The wall of windows provides a large amount of natural light, and is honestly one of my favorite things about Scales. My final picture is of the second floor hallway. It’s looking down the hallway, and I like the way the light shines from the window at the end.

Mackenzie Lynch

Name:  Mackenzie Lynch     

Year: Senior

Major: English/Journalism

Hometown: Ilion, N.Y.

Mackenzie Lynch is a senior at SUNY Oswego, majoring in English and Journalism.  In the past, she has interned at the Frank J. Basloe Library in Herkimer, New York, where she focused on social media and programming. She is currently a newsroom intern at The Palladium-Times in Oswego, New York with a focus on digital media. Mackenzie plans to graduate  in December, and continue her education with a master’s degree in library science.