Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breaking Down Gender Barriers. Well, Sort Of...

This blog of mine must be getting pretty serious, as I am now providing up-to-the-minute post on events that just happened. Yah, this probably won't last very long!

Anyway, as a PCV, you try to predict everything that is going to happen as a result of your actions. How will the community react? Will this project be sustainable? What challenges will I face? What risks does such an initiative entail? What are the negative and positive consequences? I even ask myself these questions before doing the most simple of tasks, like going for a run in shorts, or buying a beer at the store 'cuz I just feel like it! But in such a foreign country, while introducing such foreign concepts, you simply can't predict everything. Truthfully, you can't predict most things!

Today's happenings came out of nowhere!

It's a problem all over the world, discussed ad nauseum by teachers and parents alike. Video games!
"They're a waste of time." "They're melting our minds." Personally, a game of NHL 2010 was a perfect way for my roommates and I to decide who would take out the trash that week, but that's just us. 
Here, the problem is just a prevalent as it is anywhere else. Boys spend hours on end, sitting in internet clubs sucking in cigarette smoke and playing Grand Theft Auto or Counterstrike until they can't see straight. The internet is relatively cheap (40 cents for an hour), but they spend every last penny they have killing Nazis and selling crack in these virtual worlds that have taken over reality. In general, I thought this obsession, this sickness, seemed only to plague the adolescent males of the world (and yes, I know this is quite a generalization). Did females bypass this craze? Does their femininity make them immune to the desire to maim and destroy? I thought this was the case.

As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs (Why I Love Maine), the internet club in town agreed to close for one-two hours per week for girls only, so that they too could utilize this resource without risking their reputation by being harassed by boys at a place the is usually understood to be a strictly boys only hang out spot. I had envisioned that the girls would all enter the club and immediately start blogging, thoughts flowing from their minds to the keyboards, writing pages upon pages about the topic we chose the day before (what they love most about their country/region). The only risk I had envisioned was that they may tend to glance at their Facebook profiles and Google images of celebrities a little too often. No problem I thought, we have time. Let girls be girls, let them have some fun. Well, of the 10 girls that showed up, only one of them wrote a blog today! 
I offered to close all of the games that had been in progress when the boys were kicked out, so that they could begin blogging. All, save for one, declined. They didn't want to write, they refused to write.  They wanted to play the games that the boys had been playing. They wanted to shoot RPGs at enemy tanks and run over civilians with Hummers.
So, that's it, there I was at "blogging club", helping Samira and our one boy Muslim write their blogs while 9 other girls broke down gender barriers like I had never seen before, killing zombies and becoming the crime kingpins of a virtual Baku. Little Xacay and Diana might not be so scary if you pass them on the street, but give them virtual AK47's and an unlimited ammo cheat and watch out!

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