Monday, December 1, 2008

Virtually Walking the Walk

so, i am a gamer geek girl. unabashedly most of the time. and in my geekdom i was playing WoW (that's World of Warcraft.. or Warcrack as we like to say in my house) and chatting with the group i was playing with. in WoW it's very common for several players to group together to accomplish a particularly difficult task, and that's what i was doing. we were waiting for another group member to finish repairing his gear, and during the down time another player said they were going to go get a snack since he was due for lunch but we were about an hour from being done with the task. so, more down time... which usually leads to chatting in game. the three of us left started comparing time zones and where that placed us in the greater world. eventually the first group member came back from getting repairs done to his gear (in game repairs to in game gear, not to be confused with actual equipment) and asked where the second player had gone.

"he's being fat." responded one of the three of us that had been chatting. and my fingers flashed out, seemingly of their own volition.

"that's not a cool thing to say. how do you know he's fat?" and i swear i hit return before i quite knew what was being typed. it just happened. and i waited for this to explode in my face, to have my group tell me to back off and not be so sensitive, to have the player react all insulted... because these were not people i play with regularly. these were people i just happened to find who needed to do the same thing i needed to do. there was no personal context in which my comment might be received. and yet the person on the other end of that comment was surprisingly cool in their response.

"i'm sorry," i'm paraphrasing here, "it just means he's eating here in australia, it's just slang."

and i wanted to have the conversation i could feel was coming, the pointing out how icky it is to associate any kind of eating with being fat. to point out that eating is needful for human life to keep living. that we shouldn't have this kind of association... and yet there were some less than mature members of the group that i just didn't want to deal with, who could have very well turned the potentially awesome conversation into something really ugly. and so i left it. i just told this other player i didn't mean anything personal by it, but that i believed very strongly in size/fat acceptance and felt it was a really mean thing to say. and they kept apologizing.

which totally blew my mind, because i couldn't hear their voice but they seemed really genuine. at least in type, which is all i have to go on in that setting. and it surprised me too that i spoke out like that. it's not something i would have done even a month ago. sure i'll eat cheesecake in retaliation, but opening my mouth to a complete stranger? not so much. until that moment. maybe this is the first few steps of walking the walk... cause i still find it hard to talk about these things with some of the people i'm close to. like my mom. but that's a whole other post.

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