I’ve always been a proponent of people being comfortable with themselves. Whatever the case may be, an individual must face who they are and perhaps who they want to become if ever to feel “comfortable” with themselves. Unfortunately, whether or not that path is an easy one isn’t always solely the work of an individual. Negative peer pressure is a cancer; sadly, one young gamer has his father unreasonably placing his “comfort” level at risk.
Kristen, who maintains the blog sweetupndown.tumblr.com, wrote about a situation which occurred in her workplace. Essentially, the story chronicles a situation in which a boy wanted to grab a purple controller to complement his purchase of Mirror’s Edge. The boy, about 10 – 12 years of age, insisted on playing a game with a female lead character and also asked for controllers which had “girl colors”.
The boy’s father insisted that the he pick something more “manly” and ended up creating a scene – a scene in which the father threatened to physically chastise the boy if he didn’t change his mind. Thankfully, the boy’s older brother (about 17) stepped in and illustrated two points to the father: 1) The father wasn’t the one purchasing the game. 2) If anyone was to be chastised for the purchase, it wasn’t going to be the younger brother – suggesting a rather rough ultimatum.
Usually I’d leave such a topic alone, mainly because how parents decide to raise children is a personal affair (yet that can be greatly debated). I’m pointing it out because the father made a scene of it. Did the father ask why the boy wanted to play a game with a female main character? Did the father ask why the boy wanted a “girl-colored” controller? That’s where the glaring error occurred. If the father asked “why” instead of lashing out, perhaps a greater truth could have been acknowledged. Perhaps there were flaws in the son’s reasoning (such as bullying, you never know), perhaps it was suggested as a fun experience by peers, or perhaps he simply just likes everything purple and trying different things.
The boy’s brother was awesome in the moment. I may be biased, as I only have are two brothers, but no love is greater than a brother’s! When it comes down to it, it’s brothers vs the world – even parents. He defended his brother from undue chastisement and more importantly, the bigotry against being different.
Enjoy Being Different
I enjoy my pink 360 controller. Though truly irrelevant, my reasons for liking my pink controller are that I like pastel colors and that it perfectly stands out in my apartment. I never lose it like I do with my phone and remotes – I’m in dire need of glasses. What a joy it is to not have to look for my controller! But pink isn’t a “girl” color, nor is my using it “unmanly”. To label them so is ignorant of the unique preferences or appreciations that we have.
Last time I checked, there isn’t anything wrong with seeking out or playing a game where the star is a female. Last time I checked, there was nothing criminal about using a “unmanly-colored” controller (and I use that very loosely).
I applaud Kristen for handling the situation the way she did. She didn’t have to get involved, but I bet those brothers still appreciate her for it. Her story resonates with what this site is about. Being different is perfectly fine. You don’t need to be a copy and paste individual. Your gaming tastes also can vary without being penalized.Stand up for it.
Her story also speaks to a greater problem: the peer pressure gamers feel from inside the home. It’s already tough enough to tackle the issues out in the world, but an even more daunting task in the “safety” of one’s own home. If anything, I hope her story brings greater awareness to this issue and that dialogue begin to open on such asinine abuse. After all, if such abuse is so blatantly apparent with just the decision of buying a game, it may go beyond verbal abuse in the home. Respect uniqueness. Gamer, it’s cool to be yourself.