Today is International Women’s Day, and I wanted to take a few moments to write down what that actually means for me specifically as a journalist in the games industry. My names Chelly, and this is my story.
Before I even thought about writing, I worked in the UK game store GAME. Thinking this would be my dream job, I was excited, and for the most part, I loved it. I was working around the things that I loved the most, video games.
Sadly, I very quickly realized this was not the dream job I had originally hoped it would be. I was the only female staff member in the store, surrounded by male colleagues and managers. I’ve always gotten along better with males then I have with females, so I thought this would be great.
I suffered discrimination from customers because I was female. “Can you ask that man behind you?” became a common question, and it was extremely annoying. I suffered borderline sexual assault from the men I worked with – men I trusted and called my friends. I won’t go into detail about that, but it wasn’t just one man that did this.
I was told I only got the job because I was pretty; that I was the store ‘trophy’; the one men wondered who could ‘get me first’ and would become the “victor”. Disgusting behaviors.
Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone I worked with was like this. Thankfully, it was just a handful – but even that is too much. And some was even from a managerial position. No woman should have to feel like they can’t stand up for themselves and say no because their job would be in danger.
I worked my way up within the store anyway (Mainly to prove people wrong), and 6 years later I was Deputy Manager of a store that now featured more women employees than men.
Sadly, the damage had been done, and I had been unhappy in this job for a good while, even causing me to have a breakdown at work where my manager at the time told me I should go to the doctors because it “worked for him”.
I needed to get out. So I did.
This is where I made the decision to start writing about video games – and believe me, I was so skeptical and scared about doing this, because so far the industry had not been kind to me. But I’m so glad I did this, because it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I have been welcomed by so many amazing men and women. I have been made to feel wanted and worthwhile by so many people from the websites I write for, which I had not experienced before. My writing gives me a purpose, and I can only hope that one day, it will be my full-time job.
To all those people that have been kind to me and welcomed me, thank you. You have shown me kindness I didn’t know existed.
I guess what I’m trying to say is never, ever be afraid to speak up and make something known. I only wish I had that strength to do so when I was going through what I was. People can be so judgemental, be kind. Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do no matter the consequences or fears.
And overall, do what makes YOU happy.
Happy International Women’s Day from us at SwitchWatch, and thank you for reading my ramblings. ❤️