PAX South 2020: Meet the*gameHERS, A Community For Women Gamers
When I first got an email from the*gameHERS about an interview at PAX South, I was a bit confused. I had to wonder why an all-female gaming group would want me to interview them. The usual assumptions crossed my mind. Could it have been an email blast to the media list? Could they have thought I was someone else? After a followup email from them, I did a bit of research. What I found was enough to convince me. It was a good opportunity to help spread a great message. And to much delight, my hesitation was completely unfounded.
On Saturday afternoon, after a handful of game demos and a few hours in my vault dweller costume, I journeyed to the*gameHERS booth. The stylish retro logo drew attention from many attendees over the weekend, mine included. I was immediately greeted by the smiling faces of Heather and Laura (two of the four co-founders of the group), who was gleefully surprised to see me in full cosplay.
After introductions, our conversation dove into what the*gameHERS are all about. Four incredibly talented and passionate women put their heads together and saw that something was missing in our social landscape. They envisioned a community where all kinds of women and non-binary people could come together in celebration and support of one another. As a frequent wanderer of the wild internet frontier, the picture became very clear to me as Heather explained it.
This is a networking hub for positivity, a place to grow and thrive without the fear of… for lack of a better word, trolls. Heather and I talked at great length about the negativity on the internet and in the world at large. It is heartbreaking to think about how many people’s dreams are shattered on a daily basis… just because there’s some angry jerk out there that seeks to shut them down.
I have seen a fair share of both toxic and supportive social groups in my adult life, and I can say without a doubt that the*gameHERS is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. I am grateful that they chose me to help spread their message. They are building a community that will support not only female gamers, but developers, artists, and professionals of all types. This network is a stepping stone to something greater, a world where women and non-binary people can be free to share their ideas and help lift each other up. This group is really about the people involved. Gaming is only the road that brings them together.
Excited is an understatement when it comes to how I feel about this venture. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen women or non-binary people question themselves because of all the negativity and hatred in the world. It hurts me to see that conflict in them, that lack of confidence fostered by a world run on greed. This idea is a breath of fresh air, and to see it come to fruition would be an incredible win for those of us that truly care about the advancement of humanity. This world is for all of us. Learning to support and rely on each other is the only way we’ll survive.
To all the women, non-binary, and men who support this endeavor… you are good people. You are the hope for humanity and you have the power to help foster something truly special. To all of those unsure of themselves, this may be exactly what you need. I’m not saying that everything will be sunshine and rainbows, but this community is a real shot at something greater. And to those that would scoff at this idea, especially those that actively seek to put others down… I pity you.
the*gameHERS officially launches in March 2020. You can follow them on social media, or visit their website to sign up for their newsletter to learn more!