The Pokémon Life

Good afternoon all! This is me typing to you from the warmth of my bed because even though I can see that the sun out there is shining, my house has NOT gotten the memo to stop being cold yet. Probably I should go for a walk…

I’ve been wanting to do a little follow-up on the post I shared last week about why we as women (and some men, of course, but seemingly to a quieter degree) find rape jokes to be problematic.

Now I mentioned in my post that I’ve been playing a bit of Pokémon Go lately and that I came across some guys making rape jokes in one of the groups that I had been chatting in. I was very taken aback, of course, but then I did remind myself that sexism within gaming communities is known to be rife. Why should I be so surprised by a cliché that is so obviously a cliché for a reason?  It’s just that… Well… Pokémon (Or Pokey Mans as my mother likes to call them) are these cute little animated creatures, man. Like for reals. It’s so tame. You catch them with little balls and the cute ones make you go aaaahhhhh cute and there’s nothing particularly “bro-ish” about any of it. A PoGo chatroom feels like it should be the last place one would expect to find rape jokes. Right?

Yes. Right…

I didn’t really talk about the PoGo community aspects of my experience in the last post because as far as I’m concerned they were irrelevant to my point. But in the spirit of acknowledging Not All Pokémon Players I thought I should share with you what happened in the aftermath of me leaving those groups.

I was part of 3 groups (no idea why – I joined one and next thing I was in three – and guys that’s a LOT of gamer references for a permanent n00b to take in) and after the jokes I left all of the groups because I didn’t know whether the jokers were in the other two groups or not.

I didn’t complain. I didn’t report anything to the admins. I just left. It wasn’t my scene so I was gone.

And then a strange thing happened. I got a message from a stranger wanting to know if everything was ok. I told him that yes, I was fine, but I didn’t really want to be in the sort of space where rape jokes were tolerated. He agreed fully and expressed his own frustrations at the situation. The next day after writing my post I shared it with him in the spirit of not wanting to feel like I was sneakily gossiping about the topic of the conversation we had shared.

The next day it seems that all the admins from all the groups had one huge meeting and decided to remove the offending parties and not long after that I was issued with a formal apology.

Now, like I said. I didn’t ask for anything from these people, who I still haven’t even met before. But I cannot help but be kind of touched that they actually stood up for me. It’s no small thing to be stood up for. And especially more so when you haven’t actually asked for help. It is a decidedly unfamiliar feeling, especially coming from a group of (mostly)men. For this I am truly grateful. It means something and it means a lot.

Of course there was some post-kickout nastiness delivered to my Whatsapp from one of the offenders, but, I suppose thankfully, a childhood of bullying has kind of prepared me for those sorts of men so even though his threats had my heart racing at alarming speeds I was actually able to calm myself down and remind myself that I was quite safe. And by the time this happened I was quite comfortable enough to screenshot it all and send it straight back to the admins who I now felt confident had my back.

So thanks, PE Pokémon group admins. I really do appreciate the backup. Perhaps we will be fortunate enough to meet IRL someday. Until then…? *insert gamer appropriate reference here*

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