"Oh, it's a girl."
"Are you a girl?"
"Yo, it's another gamer chick!"
These are just a few examples of a few of the things I hear after getting back on a headset for another round of games. I'm pretty sure it's something else a lot of women hear, and probably for those whose voices don't automatically imply that they fit into the classic definition of a gamer.
Can they be tedious? Yes.
Do I usually brush it off and keep playing? Yes.
However, most of the time I just refuse to answer at all. Not because I find it annoying or tedious or just a plain waste of time...but because women never know what the next words out of that person's mouth are going to be.
Sometimes they just leave it at that one question and drop it at that, a few will say it's because they couldn't tell and simply move on with the game.
But it feels like things take a turn for the worst more often than not.
Complete strangers asking me if I'm single, telling me to do lewd and disgusting things, or just outright speaking over me or screaming sexist and sometimes racist quips at me whenever I try to make serious calls.
I'm not going to go too in-depth because I'm sure that all of us who dare to adventure in the world of video games and other media are more than familiar with these experiences. We know the risks we take whenever we turn on our consoles or PCs. We know what we could be subjected to whenever we turn on our microphones with one flip of the switch.
No, the only thing I have to say, the only thing I have to ask really, is this:
Why do people get so upset when they find out women and POC play video games?
Really, I want to know.
I want to know why you go out of your way to be so poisonous towards people you can't see? Why do you feel the need to belittle and harass someone? What is it about playing with women and people of color that makes you so upset?
The answer to these questions is probably obvious.
If you think it's the popular thing to do, then surprise, it's not. There are actually people on the other end of that headset just trying to enjoy something, and not only are you spoiling their day, you're also showing the world just how rotten you are on the inside.
If you're having a bad day or get easily angered when playing, then maybe it's time to take a step back and think about why horrible words come out of your mouth when you get tilted to begin with.
If you don't fall into any of these categories, then you're probably just racist and/or sexist.
And that's a you problem.
With the new year still just beginning, I for one will no longer just sit there and take whatever nastiness you throw at me or the people I play with.
I have found amazing communities like Black Girl Gamers, The Cookout and Blackwatch: Overwatch Gaming Community that allow me to find amazing people to team up with and remind me that I'm not alone in my experiences and passion.
I have learned that standing up for myself and others only makes the community better and safer for all those involved.
I have discovered that there are people like me who love to game and are willing to take the necessary steps to make sure others can do the same.
So guess what toxic schmucks.
We're here to stay.