Veteran games journalist Liana Kerzner has launched a Kickstarter for her new initiative, Lady Bits; a series that picks up the baton to explore the very charged issues Tropes v Women left unresolved. As with her acclaimed previous series A Gamer’s Guide to Feminism, Lady Bits will ask tough questions about women in gaming, explore a wide range of views, then leave the answers up to the audience, emulating the player choice found in video games. These questions include:
What’s healthy sexuality in a video game and what’s sexually objectifying?, Is the Lara Croft reboot truly more feminist and How Do Games Benefit From Having Women On The Development Team? How important is a female playable character? Should Game Developers Care About Complaints of Sexism?
The Lady Bits Kickstarter runs until the end of May, with plans to premiere the series on YouTube in the fall. It will approach these challenging topics with humor, honesty, and Liana’s gamer cred. She’s been a gamer since she was three years old, thanks to the arcade version of Pac-Man — or as she called it at the time “bucka bucka”.
“Video games made me a feminist.” Liana insists. “I remember seeing Roberta Williams’ name in the King’s Quest credits when Judy Blume was being crammed down my throat. In video games, the player helps the female main character win. Video games gave me hope when other media was telling me that I was doomed by my gender. Accepted feminist literature like The Handmaid’s Tale is pretty bleak.”
Video games also taught Liana resilience, a quality that served her well during the Gamergate controversy. In leaked chat logs, Zoe Quinn called her “literally the devil.” Alt.right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos told his acolytes to “bury her.” It didn’t work: Liana sent Milo off with his tail between his legs when he blocked her on twitter!
“Everyone hated me!” Liana recalls with a laugh. “Because I did my job and listened to all sides! I learned a lot from Gamergate. It definitely made me better at what I do.”
In fact, Lady Bits was inspired by that divide. “Everyone in gaming feels like the underdog right now.” Liana explains. “Everyone feels like the ‘other side’ has the power. Video games tell gamers that the world may mock them, but in games they have value. Gamers won’t accept a series that doesn’t respect that truth.”
Lady Bits seeks to reward viewers for engaging with these issues instead of getting the “right” answer. By backing Lady Bits, gamers get to be part of setting the record straight about what gamers really think and feel about these issues, rather than the negative depictions often found in media. As Liana says: “Being a gamer has nothing to do with gender or anything else like that. A gamer loves games. Really loves games. That’s all!”
To make Lady Bits a reality, check out the Kickstarter at http://goo.gl/HFbWhb