Here at Pretty Normal Me we are often overwhelmed by the support we get on Facebook and Twitter for the campaign. We feel like we have really got to know some of our Pretty Normal People over the last nine months and have formed great friendships as a result, and so when we received this story from an amazing supporter of the blog, Victoria Hughes, we were mortified to hear of her experiences and we feel very blessed that she wanted to share her story with us.
Victoria often plays X-Box online after a long day at work, something we think is totally bad ass by the way, and has recently been receiving some vile messages online, this is what she had to say:
As promised I am sending an email with regards to the pretty crap message I received last night whilst trying to kick some ass on GTA V.
I wanted to run it passed you before I wrote something because I think it would be useful to have this sort of information out there, either on your blog or on mine. I know there are a lot of horrible people out there...especially girls belittling other girls as proved by your retweet of Em Ford's powerful video.
But this message that I received last night got me thinking - it's not just girls that are horrible to other girls...it's boys too. I mean, I have been playing video games since I was physically able to hold a controller...I don't know there is something about pretending to be a special agent or a getaway driver after a long and stressful day at work- it's my glass of wine if you like! I love it...it de-stresses and it's good for the soul! Anyway...since I have been playing online (which admittedly isn't as much as I would like as I don't usually have the time for hours of gaming) I have noticed a trend whereby the male population seem to get up in arms over a female playing such games.
I have noticed I get either one of three responses: 1) Hit on...there seems to be something about a girl dressed to kill with an AK47 and a heavily modified car 2) Talked to as if I don't know what I am doing or I become an avoided player and 3) Abusive messages.
It's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last time I receive a vile message from someone on Xbox Live. You can only imagine the sort of messages I have received over the years...usually involves sexual content or messages telling me to fuck off! Nice...
I find if I ignore their messages, the vile abuse starts and if I ignore their advances it also happens.
I have thought about being a little more inconspicuous but why should I? I am proud to be female and I like my online character...she is a reflection of me (an ever so slightly more bad ass and sultry reflection of me!!) and does what I am not able to do in real life...kick the crap out of people who annoy her!
The point that I am making is that boys/men seem to feel threatened by me and I don't know why. They lash out for no reason, they question my motives and before I have even done anything they are already suggesting that I am not going to be any good at the game. It's a scenario that I find odd to say the least and one which I don't see getting any better.'
We were really sad to read this message to be honest and think it's extremely unfair that Victoria is receiving messages like this online. We really thought the boys were getting there! There is no doubt in our minds that they are intimidated by Victoria, not least of all because her online character is every bit as brave and beautiful as her:
We would love to hear your views on this, whether you're an online gamer or just a supporter. Oh, and to any men guilty of this sort of thing reading this remember: If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.'
Thanks for sharing Victoria! xxx