Last week at hot topic, I bought a Vault Boy tshirt.
I wore it to school last Monday, and it’s a goddamn nice tshirt. It’s not specifically meant for men but it’s not specifically meant for women either, so it’s relatively well-made. And the sleeves actually cover my armpits. Plus, Fallout is probably my favorite video game of all time. I was thrilled, quite honestly—I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to wear a shirt.
This boy came up to me in homeroom. The two of us never talk (he’s a self-proclaimed anti-feminist and to be honest I can’t stand him for more than a couple minutes at a time) but he comes up to me and he goes “Hey, Sophia, I like your shirt!”
And at first I thought it was kinda a cool bonding moment. I had no idea that he liked Fallout, and I always love to talk about the game if given the chance. I said “thank you”, figuring we’d just talk for a minute and move on with our lives.
But then something in his expression changed.
“Do you…know what the logo on that shirt is from?”
I was shocked. I’ve heard about this shit happening, particularly with music, but nothing like this had never happened to me before. I was honestly in denial up until then that shit like this still happens. It’s 2015, for goodness sake.
I could feel my smile freeze on my face. My whole body went cold. After I got over the shock, then I just felt angry.
“Of fucking course I know what my shirt is,” I said.
“Oh….” he looked a bit embarassed. “Sorry.”
I might be making this seem over-dramatic, but to me, it really was that dramatic. It was obvious to pretty much everyone listening that, if I had been a boy, there’s no way he would’ve asked me. Boys play video games—that’s just the assumption—but girls have to earn their way into geek culture. We’re too pretty, too dumb, to fragile for “boy stuff.”
I’m beyond pissed. Let’s just forget that half of “gamers” are female. Let’s just forget that FALLOUT of all things is a completely customizable RPG that has nothing to do with the stubbly white man antihero type. Let’s just forget that, hey, if someone wears game merch, they probably know what the fuckin merch is from.
Most of the time when a guy finds out I play fallout, he’s beyond ecstatic. The fallout games aren’t super-popular among teenagers my age (at least, as far as I’m aware) and fans are always really excited to find each other. The game has so many choices and paths and alignments you can follow, and its writing and characters are so amazing, that there’s pretty much no limit to the conversations you can have about the game—no matter who you are.
But that dumbass boy in my homeroom put a limit on our conversation when he decided to assume, by default, that I was just wearing a game logo as a fashion statement.
And I know, I know that I didn’t handle this as well as I should’ve. My mom always says—confront to educate, not to alienate. But I was so beyond pissed. I’m still pissed.
But hey, at least I have a nice tshirt.