When I was 19, I had the good fortune to work crew on an Ani DiFranco show.
Over the course of my life, Ani was the only person I have ever considered myself to be a true fan of. I hung out on message boards, I over-analyzed her lyrics. As a girl growing up in the rural South with few to no examples of empowered women, let alone empowered artists, I was enraptured by her.
So, there I was, working crew for her show. I was the only woman; the other men were hefting amps and lighting rigs around, and I was shuffling my feet looking for something to do. I made a catty remark about how no one would let me lift anything because I was a GIRL.
The head of Ani's crew sternly looked me up and down in a way that implied he knew my type, and immediately started giving me the heavy lifting.
I was definitely trigger-happy when it came to my sense of lady-power. I felt like the odd girl out, and I was, often: I knew my way around computers at a time when girls weren't officially aware of the internet, and more than once in a computer lab, a man would ask if I had been HIRED by one of his buddies.
Because I couldn't be a girl, and know things about tech.
I'm going somewhere with this.
I recently came across this Kickstarter
where a mom was raising funds to help her 9-year-old daughter make an RPG.
The internet rushed in to give support. Because the internet now has the same trigger-happy reflex about girl-power I once did. And though the Kickstarter had only set out to raise eight hundred, it has raised over twenty thousand dollars to date.
Due to some insane internet backlash
, the mom running the Kickstarter is now backing off the original ask. She doesn't want to use the money, it's too much, she doesn't know what to do with the excess.
And in my opinion? She should still use it to fund her daughter's game, as well as the games of other girls.
I suggested on Twitter
, "...you should use $829 of [the money] to send your daughter to camp, both for HER sense of empowerment, & sticking to what people signed up for. I suggest opening up the funding to [other] girls who want to make RPGs. Each girl gets $829, & each backer gets an additional game made by an awesome gamer girl. At current math, [that will fund] 26 games."
I won't get into the drama surrounding the Kickstarter (you can read here, if you care to
); but I can't help thinking about the 9-year-old girl. That the original intent of this small Kickstarter was to give a tiny boost to her self-esteem, and aim her a little closer towards her dreams.
Because the things that we are passionate about when we are young are insanely formative.
Because the opportunities we are offered in our youth forge our future selves.
And because the memory of a woman from a long time ago intensely shaped my future decisions and desires in ways I would never have guessed.