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If you know Felicia Day, you probably know a LOT about her.
That’s partially because if you find one thing of hers that you like, there’s probably a few more hours of content where that came from. She’s known for her roles in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Supernatural" and the miniseries "Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog," where she starred across from Neil Patrick Harris.
But she wears a lot of different hats. She’s a writer, producer and low-key violin virtuoso. She’s also a big-time gamer, and she’s created her own YouTube channel/production company called Geek and Sundry. In some corners of the internet, she’s hailed as “Queen of the Geeks.”
“It’s a title I reject personally, but when someone else uses it, I go ahead and enjoy it as a compliment,” she writes in the introduction to her new memoir, ‘'You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)." “Because who doesn’t want to inherit a dynasty just because of their gene-stuffs? No work, just
As you might guess, the book is a celebration of weirdness.
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She writes about growing up as a homeschooled kid, going to college at age 16, moving to Los Angeles after graduation and starting out in Hollywood by filming her webseries, "The Guild," in her house. Through all of that, Day weaves in stories about being an early adopter of pretty much anything that has to do with the Internet, from some of the winners (like Twitter) to the losers (like GeoCities).
Unlike many celebrities who need to be trained to use the Internet and social media, Day is at home there. She says one of her favorite things about the Internet is that is allows her to reach across borders and physical limitations to reach people with similar interests.
There are a lot of cultural pressures on us every day to conform, either physically or mentally, because we don’t fit into our physical surroundings,” she says. “The great thing is that cultures are so diverse that one person can be accepted as something in one country or region that would not be accepted in another. The Internet allows us to jump over those barriers and be ourselves and connect regardless of what we want to be in this world.”
About a year ago, a group of video game fans began openly harassing women involved in the gaming world, in what’s now being called Gamergate. A few months after the initial releases of personal information about women in the gaming community, Day wrote a post she published on her Tumblr, entitled “The Only Thing I Have To Say About Gamer Gate.”
Day writes in her new book that she had already been called by hackers to let her know that she was on their list of targets, but users used this opportunity to pounce. They posted her home address in the comments after finding it on a 2013 forum where a group had already tracked her down. A disturbed fan had even gone to her house around that time.
But regardless, Day says the Internet is still a good place for women.
“The gaming world I know personally is extremely inclusive and accepting of men and women,” she says. “Unfortunately you do have some people who can’t seem to understand that with a broadening appeal, there needs to be a broadening of voices and representation. That’s one of those things that seems to be very upsetting to some and give rise to instances like [Gamergate].”
When Day first joined the gaming world, she was 14 years old. In her book, she says that it’s hard for her to imagine the same 14-year-old finding a place in the gaming world that exists today. But at the same time, she says, there is also an ocean of positive voices online.
“There’s so many more women, and minorities and people of different sexualities who are very proud to stand up and say ‘I love gaming. I love the culture.’ They’ve found a community that makes them feel strong in the face of any negativity,” she says.
Even outside of the gaming world, Day says there is a lot of work to be done in terms of how women are treated in our culture. In the way Hollywood treats women, for instance.
I think the best way is for women to be creators, behind the camera ... Obviously, men can write amazing female characters, but a lot of the time female characters aren’t given an emotional arc. They aren’t an individual unto themselves. They’re in service to other male characters, which is fine,” she says as she laughs, “but I think it’s a little bit tired. We deserve different voices.”
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