Every semester, I search for new icebreakers for my class, and one always catches my eye: share your most embarrassing moment. I’ve never used it, but when thinking about how to introduce myself in this post, it seemed like a good time to try. So, here it is: my most embarrassing digital moment.
Although unlike any other videogame I play, I really like Destiny. It’s scary and violent and time-consuming, but the gorgeous graphics drew me in anyway. The biggest challenge for me has been that although you can play both multiplayer and solo, you make the most progress playing with others.
I’ve always been hesitant of gameplay that requires you to identify beyond your username and avatar, and in this case, use your voice. Last year, I was explaining this to family of a friend, who was understanding and encouraged me to join his friends sometime. Although I was nervous joining a group of men, who I perceived as better gamers, it was going well, and with this larger team, I was able to complete missions that were previously inaccessible. This was also the first time I had played since the addition of several new levels and features, and I noticed one of my teammates had a weapon I’d never seen before. And that’s when I said it: “Oh, cool sword.”
Ooooh, cool sword? Did I really just say that?
I knew I’d misstepped instantly — even before the laughing, even before the “Hey, did you hear that? She likes your sword!” If I’m being honest, I think a lump had gathered in my throat before I’d finished speaking.
That moment made me so uncomfortable, but I’m also upset at my embarrassment. I didn’t do anything wrong, but because a girl said it, it wasn’t possible for my words to only be a comment on the game.
I’ve taken a lot of missteps in digital spaces not built for me, and as a scholar, I’m interested in the ways communities find and build digital spaces for themselves. This year, I hope to facilitate conversations about this, especially on digital rhetoric and gender. If you have any thoughts or ideas you’d like to see on the DRC this year, please email or tweet me!