Changing the Face of 'Gamers' - Ladies of the Round Table Interview
Oh... you play video games?
The term "gamer" means a lot of different things to many people. Some stereotypes imply that everyone who is smart or likes 'nerdy' things should be ashamed of that. I guess I'm no exception; well into my 20's I hid my passion for video games from most people. My own brother had no idea until a few years back I was an avid gamer. That's not his fault--I kept it secret from him, and the same could be said for some of my closest friends.
Now we play games 'til the wee hours of the morning when life allows us to. Growing up, I found online communities struggled with being consistent, delivering any kind of positive messaging, or actually had ambition beyond just inflammatory remarks and slander.
These same tropes plague the gaming industry even today, but there's a movement in direct contrast to this. People are taking advantage of gaming and its capabilities from medical and psychological purposes, to the social and educational benefits.
I've recently been involved with different communities, and I have to say, finding one that's engaging, yet a safe space to share what's on your mind is difficult -- from sharing the struggles of being different, to just rambling on about some of your favorite passions and hobbies.
More and more people are accepting this culture, our culture, and we need a positive platform to show the good side of gamers.
There's hope for us after all.
Come December 4th, a group of passionate gamers with sound ambitions anyone could, and should, get behind will be launching a site named Ladies of the Round Table (LORT). And their first live show will happen via GoogleOnAir, December 13th at 9:30 EST. LORT is an exciting new venture I'm looking forward to being involved with. These women have admirable goals in their cross-hairs, which consist of a broad range of topics with scholarships and motivational speaking as long-term achievements for the site.
I was afforded the opportunity to ask Carmen (Shrivasta) a few questions about the site and what their goals are via email. I found her responses quite refreshing and inspiring. For starters, it's good to know who's behind this wonderful initiative. I asked:
Can you expand on who you guys are? What do you bring to the table that makes this such a unique experience?
Carmen: "Each of the LORT brings her own unique background and point view from their personal and business perspective of the gaming community
- Heather (Xia) - comes from the podcasting world, thesundering.net, worldofpodcasts.com. Her perspective and fan base speaks for itself in how we differ.
- Paige (DarhtPaige) - Is our resident 8-bit expert, paigebelmont.com. She also writes for barroomgamer.com, as well as guest spots on blankshowcast.podbean.com.
- Rebecca (Bonks) is the voice behind Sugar Gamers community that has gone strong for the last 3 years. Fronted by Kiesha Howard. @sugargamer, sugargamers.com
- Carmen (Shrivasta) Founder of GrievanceTotalGamingNetwork.org, PR/Marketing for N4gtv and operationsupplydrop.org. I have the vision and the drive behind LORT 'with all our powers combined resistance is futile!' lol."
Who are you empowering? Are men allowed to be involved in the community?
Carmen: "LORT is a format for us to discuss open topics in our gaming community freely without judgment or criticism. To be interactive with our fan base sharing their views and [opinions], without fear of flaming. As a matter of fact, all our behind the scenes people are men, (lol). We are not only empowering ladies, young adults, but anyone in the geek and gaming community who still feels shame or they need to hide being different because they are smart. Our focus is on ladies because we relate to them."
At first glance I thought the site revolved around feminism, but I was completely wrong. The following questions makes that very clear.
Is this a response to the under-represented women in the industry?
Carmen: "No, we as whole feel this topic conversation or movement within our community need a strong platform for our voice to be heard. This will in time allow for our long-term goal of scholarship foundation and motivational speaking."
How do you feel about feminism in gaming, is it misplaced or is there truly equality in the gaming culture?
LORT will not be a male bashing platform for those who feel things are not yet equal.
Carmen: "[I] do not support hardcore feminism. However I do feel there are some misguided perceptions of how females, within the gaming community are perceived. LORT will not be a male bashing platform for those who feel things are not yet equal. We will be the voice of a community united in inspiring, empowering, and guiding those who need it to realize they are just as important and valued as anyone else standing next to them."
I can personally say I agree with Carmen and hope these people can pull this off. Being a parent and a gamer, I find the desire to search for folks like those at LORT more and more prevalent. A site dedicated to making sure people, like myself and my own children, don't have to hide from their nerdy tendencies or interests from friends or siblings. I honestly feel as we continue down this path of open and honest conversations about gaming, both the pro's and the con's, we will prevail as a mature, civil, and equality driven community. And as a parent I understood why this was so important to Carmen when I asked:
What is the inspiration for the site?
Carmen: "My inspiration for the Ladies of the Round Table is my 12 year old daughter"
With such high ambitions and a team able and willing to execute, I have a good feeling these talented people will help shape and mold how culture and society may view us as "gamers." Whether that's male, female, young, old, or disabled; knowing there's other like-minded people trying to highlight the positive side of gaming, and other niche cultures, is a good thing. Giving people who feel suppressed a safe haven to speak their mind in a positive environment can only breed good results.
Be sure to show these guys and gals your support, and get involved with the site. Comment, share, and subscribing is the best way to do that right now. LORT is also looking to companies willing to get behind this endeavor to help this cause achieve success. All contact info can be found on their website and Twitter.