“Geeks on a Mission” is a new Anomalous Musings blog series. Every week, I’ll introduce you to another intriguing blog or podcast. Be sure to check these geeks out!
FemHype. They’re Geeks on a Mission…
Hi, Jen here. I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts and blogs. It doesn’t matter to me who hosts the show or writes the articles; If the content is great and the creators are interesting, I’m in! But when I come across other Anomalies (women who break geek stereotypes), I can’t help but take a closer look at what they’re up to. What’s their message? Can I relate to them? Will you?
I first discovered FemHype through Twitter last year. When I clicked through the link on the profile page, I found a treasure trove of great articles all about gaming and written entirely by women. FemHype is relatable, they do have something interesting to say, and it’s too awesome not to share with you.
Today’s interview is with Jillian, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemHype.com. She told me a bit about herself and FemHype’s mission. She also talked about video games and answered some geeky questions from the staff that I mixed in for fun.
Can you tell our readers about FemHype?
I’d be happy to! FemHype is a safe space where women and nonbinary writers can blog about anything related to video games. We have a growing community of super supportive friends across many social media platforms who are as passionate as we are about the changes happening to games culture!
How did you get started?
So I walked through a bonfire with three dragon eggs … Just kidding! It’s not that interesting, I’m afraid. After working at several jobs with seriously toxic work environments (corporate office culture was never my thing), I started daydreaming about starting my own company with a positive atmosphere. It took quite a while before I felt brave (or reckless) enough to leave my job at the time in order to make the leap as a full-time entrepreneur. All of what you see on FemHype is funded by my savings, and any small donations we receive go straight back into building the community. I feel so strongly about what we’ve all built so far and where it’s going!
Exchanging ideas and meeting our audience have been some of the main reasons we are still kicking after eight years. What motivates FemHype?
The enormous response we’ve received after only seven months has really inspired me to re-double my efforts to reach as many friends in the gaming community as possible. Every day, I’m finding messages waiting in our inboxes from people who feel safe in the space we’ve created, and if that isn’t motivating, I don’t know what is. My sister has recently joined our core team as well! Her incredible creativity motivates me constantly.
If you could gender-swap any game character (male or female) who would it be and why?
I think it’s less that I want Nintendo to acknowledge that Link is ~a woman~ but more that I want their gender fluidity recognized. While I’m (obviously) passionate about more representation for women in games, I’d also love a gender slider to be an option for players!
What property would you like to see most as a game? Why?
This is going to be super overcomplicated, but bear with me! I’d really adore a Sherlock (BBC) game in the style of an RPG. For anyone who’s played the “Sherlock: The Network” app that rolled out last year, you know it had a lot of potential—but I feel like it was pretty limiting? An RPG would allow you to customize a character and choose different “classes” (Sherlock’s homeless network, Lestrade’s police force, Moriarty’s snipers, Mycroft’s MI6, etc), which then informs what characters you interact with and what side of the story you get to explore. I’m a huge fan of the show, but at the same time, I feel like it could use some very heavy tweaking to make it more inclusive. What better way to do that than allow fans to shape the story from their own perspective? Also: romance options, please.
If anyone actually wants to hear more of my ideas on this, you can send me an ask and I’ll tl;dr forever.
Which games do you think have the most compelling female characters? Why?
Oh, hands down, the answer is Dragon Age. (Sorry, Mass Effect fans! I’m not so good at space-y games.) Specifically, DA2 featured Aveline, Isabela, and Merrill—all strong women with incredibly complex storylines that I found myself returning to again and again. Marian Hawke is also my all time favorite fictional character, and no matter which dialogue options you chose, her complicated relationships with family and friends, and the political climate in Kirkwall make for an incredibly engaging story to play. I have so much respect for everyone responsible for putting that game together. I’m still crying about it.
Which modern games do you think could do a better job with their female characters?
Every game. No, really. All modern games have work to do in this regard, but they can start by hiring more women on their development teams.
If you could travel to any fictional game universe and live there, where would you go? (note: you remain exactly you… )
Ha! That last stipulation changed a lot of my potential choices. I’m gonna cop out and say Doctor Who because then, at least, I’d get to travel to more than one universe.
You are hosting a Christmas party and can invite three game characters to attend with all your friends and family. Who would you choose? Why?
Dorian Pavus, Cassandra Pentaghast, and Paarthurnax. I’m pretty sure that speaks for itself, but to clarify: queer power team + a dragon. That’s a party in and of itself.
What’s your favorite in-game skill to level up?
Stealth! I’m a big fan of creeping past people/things if I can help it. If there’s a way to avoid combat? I’m all over it.
Thanks for talking with us Jillian!