Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I hate girl clubs... but not this one.

I've never been a fan of women's career networking groups, women's conferences, sororities, etc. I espoused a 'suck it up and play with the boys' attitude for the vast majority of my life. Most of my friends in life are/have been guys, and its been that way for as long as I can remember. I firmly believe that by creating a special group, you make yourself more different, not more equal. Besides, girls can be bitchy and irrational. How can you be friends with people like that?

That said, I've learned in the last year that not all girl groups are bad. I think this comes from the fact that I've seen crappy things happen in the workplace to insanely smart, hardworking female engineers that were just not fair - and without a network of women to ask the advice of and share experience with, these women would have been totally isolated in dealing with the situation.

QUICK DISCLAIMER: So you'll see on the con calendar that I've listed the Executive Women's Forum in Information Security - which might make no sense now that I've broadly bashed women's conferences/organizations. Here is why I think EWF is cool: having been to a ton of conferences, EWF is different because everyone is trying to build each other up (and I don't mean self esteem but skills, business opptys, etc). I've never seen so much positive group energy and trust. I've only been to EWF once because the typical attendee base and content really isn't an applicable fit for my role in 'the industry' but it was still a good experience overall, and a conference I've recommended to a few colleagues. And if you are wondering if an all women's conference is boring in the evenings after the malls close, let me just say that unlike men, women don't need members of the opposite sex around to party their asses off until all hours of the night.

The reason this post started to begin with is that this weekend I found another all-girl group that not only merits a 'not bad' rating from me, but is getting added to my fave sites list.

Yes, thats right, FragDolls. Girl gamers don't have to be dumpy nerds or ecclectic comic book addicts who start gaming to hang with the geek boys. Girl gamers can be hot. Some might say that they are objectifying themselves, using their bodies to get ahead/noticed... well DUH. But 'so what' I say! Being hot, knowing you're hot, and *appropriately* leveraging that advantage is not a crime and doesn't make you a bad person. I'm sure professional women in uncomfortable business suits and sensible shoes are likely horrified by this statement... :)

But here is why I think FragDolls is a great thing for the feminist movement (whatever the hell that means): if hot, smart girls are gaming - and maybe even beating the pants off the boys - it starts becoming socially acceptable for girls to get into gaming and technology. If this catches on, maybe someday it will be cool for chicks to have badass code-fu instead of being varsity cheerleaders, and go to college not for psychology or social work or english lit but for computer science or electrical engineering degrees.

That and I don't have to feel like quite so much of a dork for being a hard core PC gamer. My last job I'd come in to work on Monday and co-workers would ask about my weekend - when I'd tell them (with great enthusiasm) about how we played Age of Empires at a LAN party until 3am every night they'd look at me like I was a freak of nature. One of them asked once "you know you're a girl, right?". Damn right I'm a girl. I'm a FragDoll.


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