In her new book, "You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost),” the actress and devoted gamer encourages women to remain undaunted in the online world.
Felicia Day is well aware that not everyone knows who she is.
Those are the people who aren’t immersed in the gaming culture, who haven’t spent wide swaths of their lives playing World of Warcraft, or watching her Web series about it, called “The Guild.”
They’ve never seen her in Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or his Web musical, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” And they completely missed her on television shows like “Supernatural” and “Eureka.”
Discussion and Book Signing
Felicia Day: ‘You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)’
7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26,
University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 N.E. 43rd St., Seattle (206-632-5163 or brownpapertickets.com).
To remedy that, Day has written a memoir called “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)” to explain how she has reached the status of pop culture’s “Queen of the Geeks” — a smart, quirky, home-schooled girl from Alabama who found a community online and turned it into a following that includes 2.5 million Twitter followers.
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Many of them will be at her reading on Wednesday, Aug. 26, when she will appear at University Temple United Methodist Church in an event sponsored by University Bookstore.
“I’m used to being on the road and meeting fans,” said Day, a veteran headliner at events like Comicon. “But I am also seeing people who are new to my work. I wanted to distill my story into a permanent form so that new people can open a door into my life.”
Her voice in the book is a character she portrays — nerdy and offbeat, with lots of UPPERCASE WORDS and (parenthetical digressions). It reads not so much like it was written, but dictated.
But on the phone from Boston recently, Day was all business, talking about how the online world has evolved — and how she and other women have paid a high price trying to find their place in it.
Day has been accused of getting where she has by using her sexuality, and some said she was responsible for the “downfall of gaming.”
So when game developer Zoe Quinn and vlogger Anita Sarkeesian were threatened and hacked in what’s become known as Gamergate, Day stayed silent.
“I was afraid,” she wrote. Instead of speaking out, she erased anything from her online accounts that she didn’t want to go public. And she watched as Gamergate turned into “A perfect, hateful digital gumbo that gave the gaming world, and me, a black eye not soon to be healed.”
Day finally wrote a Tumblr post called “Crossing the Street,” about avoiding two male gamers out of fear. Day mourned losing a community she loved.
Almost immediately after posting, Day was doxxed — personal information such as her address and phone number were posted online. That led to people sending her certified letters that said, “I know where you live” and phone calls from strange area codes in the middle of the night. She was even afraid to walk her dog.
“It’s scary,” she said. “There needs to be consequences for the actions of people. There needs to be a concerted effort when people are being attacked. It’s incumbent upon law enforcement and the platforms to warn people that there are consequences for their actions.”
Some platforms have been better about enforcement, Day said, and leaders in the gaming world are finally speaking out.
“As the landscape evolves, it will get better,” she said.
So what is the rap against women in gaming?
“For some reason, gamers feel very possessive,” she explained. “People who immerse themselves in worlds feel a strong sense of ownership. I even feel an extra investment in those worlds.
“And if you’re anonymous, it allows you to be yourself, but it also allows you to be the worst of yourself.”
It’s ironic, she said, because gaming is a culture where people who have long felt like outsiders feel included.
“But now it’s growing,” Day went on. “And people resist that change.”
Day attended the University of Texas in Austin, where she studied violin and math. Despite her accomplishments (she graduated with a 4.0), Day moved to Hollywood to pursue acting.
“It was always a thread in my life,” she said. “That sense of play that I found coming from a home-schooled environment led me to Hollywood.”
She considered becoming a professional musician, “but it was never something that I found meaning in. The only sense of meaning that I had found was performing.”
Day was only “checking the box of getting a real degree for other people,” she said. “That gave me the freedom to go to Hollywood and do something for myself.”
She made a living doing commercials for products like Cheetos and Diet Coke. She wanted to write a screenplay, and followed the adage, “Write what you know.” That led to “The Guild,” a Web series she wrote, based on her experiences as a World of Warcraft player.
Day promoted the show any way she could, and it gained a following, and was the seed of what would become Geek & Sundry, a digital network that claims 1.4 million subscribers to its YouTube channel.
A year ago, Day sold Geek & Sundry to Legendary Entertainment, and is developing scripted and nonscripted TV projects and digital series with them. The most recent is “Spooked.”
Day is encouraged to see more women who love playing and creating games, and in her book she is quick to urge them to forge ahead with their ideas.
“I want people to read the book and take the small step of doing something they may not be brave enough to try,” she said. “Creativity is something that is inherent and it takes a lot of bravery to finish something and put it out there.
“But in the digital world, it’s so easy, it’s the world we live in,” she said. “It’s about being creative, and not so much about the platform anymore.”