Underneath my yellow skin

The Politics of Art

So, I love to write. A lot. Prolifically. Garrulous. It’s the equivalent to a chatterbox who cannot keep her mouth shut. I can’t keep my fingers from banging away at my keyboard, and I have many broken keyboards to prove it. In fact, this one (on my laptop) is on its last legs, and I should replace it pretty soon. The problem is, people are reading less and less. Rather, they’re reading less of actual longform pieces and novels. I’m old woman shaking my fist at the clouds, but I also acknowledge that it’s probably not going backwards any time soon.

What’s the new big thing? Videos. Streaming. It’s all the rage with the kids these days, an it’s something I’ve thought about doing myself. The problem is, first of all, I hate the way I look on camera. Now, of course, I could stream a game without face-cam, but from what I’ve seen, you get more views with the face-cam on, especially as a woman. Which, therein, is my second issue. The world of video games is still a man’s world with a very bro-y culture. I don’t watch streams on Twitch (except Ian’s! twitch.tv/eenbou) because the chats are fucking toxic. I don’t use that word lightly, but it’s sadly true. Anything over ten viewers, and it’s ‘fuckbois’, ‘faggot’, and ‘i’d fuck that ass’ all the damn time. There’s a streamer I did watch occasionally when he wasn’t too big yet, and I already felt not included by dint of being a woman in my forties. I watched a vod of a recent stream, and he’d changed from being low-key and lovable to low-key and ‘fuckbois’, and it really disappointed me. I’m not naming  him because it’s not him–it’s the ethos of chat. I’m stil working on my Theory of Dudes in which the more dudes you have in one place, the grosser the culture becomes.

Anyway, I watched a podcast with four female streamers, and they were emphatic about not being just boob jigglers, but one of them is known for that, and another is known for being bro-y in her chat. They were all young and conventionally pretty, which is another double standard for women who stream. Dudes can be any age, shape, size, or look, but the women have to be young, not fat, and hot. In addition, most of the female streamers are even bro-y-er than their male counterparts as a way to overcompensate. It’s the same with streamers girlfriends/wives. They put down women, make sexual innuendos, and are pretty jerky. They also feed into the stereotypes of the nagging wife, which is annoying as hell as well.

I’ve said it before, but there are only a few women I enjoy watching stream. One is Chloe from IGN (Asian alto, low-key Dark Souls aficionado for the win! I’m actually watching her now as I play) and the other is Kay Plays (but only her Dark Souls stuff). She’s also low-key and laid-back, and I have to admit I stopped watching because she’s much better at the games than I am. Side note: I’ve had a discussion with Ian several times about my Dark Souls prowess. I maintain that the reason I’m good at the games is because I’ve played them so much. Dan Tack, the Game Informer Dark Souls expert, once said that nobody would take over a hundred hours to finish Dark Souls (the original). Yeah, well, I did. Well over it, in fact. Even taking into account the fact that I started over and had to do some major grinding in order to get Andre to forgive me for accidentally swinging at him, and it still was over a hundred hours.

Side note in the side note: Elite Souls players display the little-known side of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Most people know the Dunning-Kruger as some people who are incompetent overestimate how great they are. The corollary is that people who excel at something underestimate how much better they are than other people at that thing. For example, I used to talk in therapy about how frustrating it is to talk to other people about things because they didn’t seem to get what I was saying at all. My therapist said, “Minna, you’re on level eight or nine, and they’re at two. They literally can’t comprehend what you are saying.” I knew I was talking over their head, but not that much. I thought it was a matter of me finding better words, but it’s more like I’m speaking to them in Greek, and the only know English.

I’ve seen Souls players prattle on and on about how this boss isn’t that hard, even whhen  it’s the most notoriously difficult boss in the series. Chloe was asked if The Ringed City DLC is harder than the rest of Dark Souls III or on par, and she pretty much shrugged it off. She’s also over-leveled for the area, as was the other person I watched stream this DLC. I hated the DLC and the jump in difficulty, but I was at the minimum level needed (not according to FromSoft, but they always undershoot levels needed for the DLC). I also did my first playthrough as a caster because that’s what I always do, and I had my ass firmly handed to me. I actually cried during a certain section, and I hated it so much while playing through it the first time. That’s how I feel about the DLCs in the series in general, however, except Artorias of the Abyss, which I found difficult, but not heartbreaking. The DLCS for DS II, Bloodborne, and DS III, however, yeah no. They’re mostly fan service for the elite players, and it makes me sad because I’m such a scrub at the games.

Which brings me back to my main point. I talk about being mediocre at these games, and I need to clarify. If we’re talking gen pop (of video game players), then, yes, I’m good at Souls games. Obviously. I’ve finished them all, and my bona fides: I beat all the bosses* in the original, including the DLC solo. I’ve beaten most of the bosses in DS II the same way, but did summon for a few of the bosses in the main game and in the DLCs. I soloed all the bosses in the main games of Bloodborne and Dark Souls III, but I co-oped on a few of the bosses in the DLCs. So, I’m not a ‘n00b’, and I don’t need to ‘git gud’ is what I’m saying. But, of the people who have played and finished Souls games, ‘the community’ as it were, I’m mediocre. I watched someone one-shot most of the bosses in the Bloodborne DLC and apologize because it took him three or four tries to beat Lady Maria. For context, I was proud that I beat her solo in roughly fifteen tries.

In sports term, I’m the star quarterback of a high school football team, but I’m the third backup running back (couldn’t make it as a quarterback) on an NFL team. I would never stream a Souls-like game even if I decided to stream videos because they demand so much out of me. It’s too hard to comment at the same time as playing, but also, Souls can be the worst with giving advice, spoilers, and just being jerks in general.

Still thinking about what I might do for video if I decide to do video at all. Will report back to you if I come up with something good. Also, I have a tender lymph node right now.




*I’m including all optional bosses in all the games, except the Ancient Dragon in DS II. I never fought it.

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