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  • Peking House is my family-owned Chinese restaurant in Willimantic, Connecticut,

  • where I spent nearly 20 years growing up, before we sold it.

  • My brother and I spent most of our time

  • in the room in the back called "the office."

  • "The office" was really just a storage room,

  • but it had our gaming systems,

  • and the game that we played the most was called Super Smash Brothers Melee.

  • For those who don't know,

  • Super Smash Brothers Melee is an older fighting game

  • made for the Nintendo GameCube.

  • My brother and I spent hours playing this game,

  • so much that we even challenged restaurant customers to matches.

  • Eventually, my friends dragged me out to a local tournament,

  • where I ended up placing 13th out of 33.

  • Not bad, but definitely far from the best.

  • After training with higher level players,

  • and taking notes on matches I found online,

  • I started to travel to national tournaments,

  • and before I knew it,

  • I was being whisked around the United States at the age of 17,

  • all because of a video game.

  • Totally living the dream life, right?

  • This is how I ran head first

  • into the competitive Super Smash Brothers Melee community,

  • a scene that I've been a part of for nearly ten years.

  • I'm sure that when I say competitive gaming,

  • you guys are imagining a room of people hunched over their laptops.

  • Sometimes it can look like that,

  • but more often it looks something like this.

  • (Laughter)

  • Because Smash Brothers Melee is such an old game,

  • it requires those big, boxy TVs to be played on.

  • Our players are so dedicated,

  • that they will actually lug these things onto their flights as carry-ons.

  • (Laughter)

  • The community is also absurdly diverse.

  • This is a photo of Apex, an annual tournament held in New Jersey.

  • In 2013, over 1500 people showed up from 16 different countries.

  • I feel like if 16 countries are flying out to New Jersey,

  • that's saying something.

  • Sorry, New Jersey.

  • (Laughter)

  • In the gaming community,

  • I was known by my gamer tag "_milktea,"

  • but in real life, I was still very much just Lilian.

  • When I was 17, I was shy and quiet,

  • and I was often bullied by my classmates for being different, for being Asian.

  • Some of them made fun of the clothes I wore.

  • Others asked me out on dates as a joke.

  • Another called me a Chinese prostitute.

  • But when I was "_milktea,"

  • I was part of a community that welcomed and accepted me.

  • Except what's missing from this picture?

  • Do you see any women?

  • When the gender imbalance is this large, social dynamics can become a bit skewed.

  • You get a lot more attention than you normally would.

  • [milktea is an angel]

  • At the time, I didn't understand why I was getting this attention.

  • I just knew that it was so much better than what I was dealing with at school.

  • [I love Milktea.]

  • Here's one of my favorites.

  • [Milktea chan you are really attractive.]

  • [If I had to rate you for beauty I give you a 8 out of 10]

  • [Only because I've been crushing on another girl for a long time]

  • (Laughter)

  • But then, things took a turn for the worse.

  • [Why is everyone blaming milktea lol?]

  • [She is a harlot.]

  • [She doesn't like Smash, she just wants attention.]

  • And then you started to see comments like this.

  • [coz you're only known in the scene for being the subject of nerdy fantasies]

  • [suck a **** in crappy smasher's dreams]

  • Over years, I began internalizing all of this,

  • and then I took these attitudes and projected them onto other women.

  • "Ew, why is she so girly? Is she even a real gamer?"

  • I felt my voice shrinking and the resent growing inside of me,

  • and eventually, I distanced myself from the Smash community altogether.

  • Fast forward a few years.

  • I landed my first job in New York City.

  • There, I realized that sexist behavior didn't have to be the norm.

  • But nevertheless, I stayed quiet and withdrawn.

  • Public speaking? Never going to happen.

  • (Laughter)

  • But then, this Facebook comment appeared in my feed.

  • [Stop chalking up the terror of the internet to the Smash community.]

  • [In general, we're very accepting of females]

  • I swear, at that very moment,

  • my inner wallflower spontaneously combusted.

  • I started writing blog posts that talked about my experiences

  • and issues I had faced within the community,

  • and to my surprise, they went viral within our scene.

  • A well-known fighting game website picked up one of my posts

  • and later on, Polygon, a gaming site, covered my future work.

  • All of this led to the creation of The New Meta,

  • a panel that I cofounded and moderated with the NYU Game Center.

  • We roped in tons of women from different gaming communities

  • to talk about issues of sexism within gaming.

  • But the entire panel's point was to raise awareness

  • in a way that did not shame male gamers.

  • As a woman, I was sexist,

  • and even misogynistic, against my own gender.

  • Sometimes, when you've been immersed in an environment for long enough,

  • it can be hard to differentiate between harmful behaviors and normal ones.

  • While some gamers are intentionally malicious,

  • some may not even realize

  • that they're perpetuating sexist behaviors in the first place.

  • Empathizing with these gamers is more productive

  • than outright dismissing them.

  • Initiate a conversation.

  • Deconstruct these behaviors,

  • no matter how obvious they might seem to you.

  • And please, leave the accusatory tone behind.

  • If I had been dismissed as a sexist neckbeard,

  • I wouldn't be on this stage talking to you right now.

  • And to my surprise,

  • I found that people were willing to change, and they wanted to help.

  • [As a guy, how to treat girls in eSports equally?]

  • [Trying my hardest, but advice would help.]

  • And whenever I had any doubts, I started to receive feedback like this.

  • [I got a few female Smashers into the scene because of you.]

  • This entire experience has shown me

  • that my silence only further enabled sexism within gaming.

  • Nobody is perfect.

  • Internalizing biases and becoming lost in them is deceptively easy.

  • By being vocal,

  • you force yourself and those around you

  • to reevaluate their actions and their perceptions.

  • Everyone in this room has a voice.

  • You have to use it, and you have to use it responsibly.

  • Not only can you provoke change,

  • but you can empower others to do so, too.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Peking House is my family-owned Chinese restaurant in Willimantic, Connecticut,

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【TED-Ed】How I responded to sexism in gaming with empathy - Lilian Chen

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    稲葉白兎   に公開 2015 年 06 月 17 日
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