I made this so I can put it up on my wall. You fellow writers are welcome to do the same.
LOOK AT HIS DISAPPROVING FACE. WRITE. NOW.
Do I look THAT grumpy? I probably do. But I like the sentiment.
I made this so I can put it up on my wall. You fellow writers are welcome to do the same.
LOOK AT HIS DISAPPROVING FACE. WRITE. NOW.
Do I look THAT grumpy? I probably do. But I like the sentiment.
I was trying to think of a topic for a group I’m in that discusses body image, and Camren wanted me to talk about harassment in video games! So here we are.
Today, a topic a bit outside of the umbrella of body image: harassment in video games. This has become more of an issue as the industry as grown. And though the industry is typically thought of as male dominated, more and more women are pushing into gaming. Predictably, a very small but very loud part of the gaming community are pushing back. (Note: I should probably include a trigger warning, especially if you visit the websites. There is a lot of violent language, including rape and death threats.)
So who are gamers? The stereotypical image is of teenage boys scrunched up at their computers or shouting profanities at their television. Would it surprise you to learn that the average age of gamers is 30? Or that 42-47% of gamers are women? This should not be a man’s world, and the perpetrators are not little kids. This is a widespread problem wherein grown men are using violent and misogynistic language to create a hostile environment.
Jennifer Hanvier documents the abuse she receives on her blog, Not In The Kitchen Anymore. She gets at least one lewd proposal or violent comment a night, she says, and the comments are shocking. Her blog shows what just one gamer goes through, but the website Fat, Ugly, or Slutty shows that this is a widespread problem. Fat, Ugly, or Slutty is an attempt to collect and laugh at the bizarre and disturbing messages women receive. I recommend looking through these sites; even if you’re familiar with the language, it can be a shock to see them gathered up in one place, especially when you remember that these comments par for the course when a lady is gaming. One has to grow thick skin or take measures. Some women won’t use microphones or feminine avatars to avoid the abuse, and some walk away from gaming entirely.
Unfortunately, there is a perception that women are the magical unicorns of video gaming. Even worse, there is the perception that such abuse is just part of the culture.
That was the defense used by Aris Bakhtanians, a team coach in a Cross Assault fighting game tournament, when he sexually harassed team member Miranda Pakozdi (an article here). Bakhtanians, egged on by those watching the tournament, zoomed the webcam on and made comments about Pakozdi’s body, guessed her bra size, leaned in to smell her, and told her that she needed to be able to play while being harassed. Then he added, “take off your shirt.”
Pakozdi dropped out of the tournament, and the incident went viral. Baktanians’ defended himself by saying that sexual harassment is part of “the fighting community.” He said that one is essentially hanging out in a room full of guys and compared it to going to a strip club and complaining about the nudity. (Note: Baktanians has since apologized for his statements).
There are several problems with this assertion. The first is that the world of gaming is like a room of guys. It isn’t. It’s like a room of men and women who share a common interest, and two or three of the guys are shouting incredibly offensive things at all of the women. Then, when the women complain, a small chunk of the guys tell them they should suck it up of they’re going to hang out in a room of guys. The rest of the guys stand there awkwardly, because they aren’t really very comfortable either.
The second big problem I have is his assumption that guys are all assholes. One of the human sexuality professors at UC Davis suggests that people pay attention next time a group of guys are saying degrading things. Usually, she says, only one or two are really into it. The rest are just kind of nodding and going along. Many men are also uncomfortable with this language, but they don’t know how to speak up or they don’t want to be shut down. Giving gamers of all genders the tools to speak up will be integral to changing the community.
It is a community resistant to change, of course. Anita Sarkeesian, of Feminist Frequency, discovered just how resistant when she started a Kickstarter for a series of videos she wanted to make: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. There was an enormous backlash, and the videos hadn’t even been made. Sarkeesian talks about the experience here on TEDxTalks and on her website. I absolutely recommend taking a look. The abuse is astounding, invasive, and organized. Troubling.
I shall leave you with this:
They are tales of community harassment. There is a lot of reading there, but if you are interested in the topic, there are some good pieces on women and video games.
So what are the solutions? More women actively gaming as women. Soon, it won’t be a surprise to play with a woman on your team. People reporting abuse, even if trolls say it does no good. Companies have to know that it’s a problem. Men standing up and saying, hey, that’s not cool. If trolls don’t think they have their peers’ support, then sexual harassment can’t really be called part of the community, can it?
Let me know if you have any thoughts on the matter!
idk i think he’s working those thigh highs
I keep reblogging Hawkeye on my main blog.
I can’t help it though! It’s so fascinating. I think it’s one thing to know comic book images can be sexist, or to see an image and go, gosh, that’s absurd and unrealistic. It is quite another to see them gathered up in one place and contrasted with a man in the same position.
The real reason I’m reblogging this is because of the woman though. I just can’t get my head around the image. What is going on here? She looks kind of sulky and mad. She’s got this rose in her hand like she isn’t thinking about what she’s holding. But she’s also got her legs open and is pushing her breasts forward with her arms? To me it reads kind of like, “oh, fuck. fine, here. you have me,” which is actually a little bit disturbing. It looks like this character is trying to have a private moment of grief or anger or something, but she can’t even have that without putting herself up for the male gaze.
Now, I don’t know the context of this. It is entirely possible that her angry, provocative pose totally makes sense in context. But I doubt it. The trend here is that, whatever the context, these are images of women posturing themselves for the male gaze, no matter what their characters are going through or how their bodies twist to do it. It’s just all… really creepy. And thinking of it that way, it is… really creepy.
So when people are uppity or shocked about male characters drawn that way, it’s interesting. What’s the shock there? “Oh, the indignity! Such-and-such character would never carry himself that way.” That’s interesting, Generic Upset Person, because women in comics are almost always carrying themselves that way, so much so that people forget that it’s degrading until a male character does it. None of these lady characters can express herself in a way that isn’t designed specifically for somebody else’s benefit. This means we have a very limited, very unrepresentative range of expressions. Can you imagine restricting yourself only to “sexy” expressions of everything? From emotions to fights to mundane tasks? Female readers are supposed to relate to this? It’s alienating.
We need more women making comics. That is what it boils down to. We also need more people to understand the problem. One of the reasons I am so crazy in love with The Hawkeye Initiative is because of some of the support it’s receiving.
People write in saying things like, “I showed this to that person who never gets it, and that person’s draw dropped.”
Somebody else wrote in and said “as a white, middle-class cis man I am made to feel like an irredeemable enemy, and so disinclined to do or say anything about these important issues. This blog addresses these issues in a direct, yet polite way and it makes me feel like I can be part of a solution, not a permanent problem.”
So people really are connecting to it! They enjoy it as much as I do, enough to give a new perspective a chance, and that makes me hopeful.
I just really like reversing the roles here, guys. It’s so revealing (hah! revealing). Check these costumes out too. It’s the same idea. That Superman costume is definitely uncomfortable.
Okay. I think that’s it. The more I looked at that truly bizarre image of this angry sex woman, the more I could feel the words welling up in me. And it was high time I made a post on The Hawkeye Initiative. I’ve certainly been babbling about it enough.
In one of my frequent fits of nostalgia, Erika and I sent Tammy on a hunt for the Pajama Sam video games (we wanted Nancy Drew, but apparently that wasn’t doable). Naturally, since that evening, all of my leisure time has been spent playing these games. Not just the games, but the demos too. Freddie the Fish, Putt-Putt, Spy Fox. I always longed for a Spy Fox game. But Pajama Sam was the best, and now that I’ve replayed them, I must confess that I am seriously impressed.
I love that each game has a few different versions you can play so that it isn’t the same every time. I love that you can click on just about anything and silly things will happen. I love the absurdity of the characters and dialogue. Visual puns are not unheard of. But for what really impressed me… Well. Let me start you off with a little description of each of the games.
The first game is about Pajama Sam conquering his fear of the dark. According to Sam, Darkness lives inside his closet. I think that is adorable and perfectly childlike, but moving on. He helps others conquer their fears, but Sam ultimately realizes that he’s made a pretty rude assumption. Darkness isn’t a bad guy. A little lonely, perhaps, but there’s certainly nothing to be afraid of.
The second game is my favorite, just out of pure nostalgia. That was the one I owned. It also comes with the best demos. In this game, Pajama Sam has climbed through his attic and up to the sky, where he breaks the weather. Yes. He breaks weather. He wants to stop it from storming, but he accidentally ends up pushing The Red Button (gotta underline that key shit), and some parts of the rain bottling machine, wind bottling maching, sun canning machine, and snowflake packing machine go missing. The part that amused me most was how, interspersed through the game, we get a few perspectives on corporate life and workplace issues. One task involves walking into an office, being told you need to make an appointment, being told that appointments must be made over the phone, and seeking out the number so you can make an appointment from the lobby. The receptionist is not allowed to give out the phone number as per company policy. Sam: Doesn’t that seem a little odd to you? Receptionist: Not after my last job. Then there is the stapler in charge of office supplies. He never gives any out so that they will always have enough, and he is incredibly paranoid that the staple eater next door is trying to catch him in a weak moment. The Snowflake Inspector, one of the missing parts, refuses to go back to work because he feels underappreciated. My favorite, however, is the return of Carrot. In the first game, he was working for vegetable liberation, but now he’s received a degree in economics and has infiltrated the company to learn about their economic exploitation of workers. Those are his words, not mine. I was so delighted.
Then I played the third game. I had never played this one when I was little. I was certainly surprised. Here’s how it starts out. Pajama Sam is eating cookies, until they run off and he follows them into the pantry. There, he gets ambushed and taken to a party hosted by SSAM, or, Sweets and Snacks Aggressive Majority, which turns out to be a radical political group. They get offended when Sam wants to go home for dinner (his mom made all this broccoli!), and they throw him in jail. There is some broccoli in their too, and the first words out of her mouth are “Hi! Are you a political prisoner too?” Now, at this point, I was already freaking out about how awesome this is. So you break out of jail, and Floret (the broccoli girl) takes you to the food pyramid. She is a delegate for a peace conference between the six food groups. There we find Carrot again, who explains that the sweet and snack population has grown dramatically, and the other food groups are having problems with it. General Beetroot wants to declare war, but they’ve organized a peace conference instead. The problem is that all the delegates but Floret and a lollipop (who tells us that the views of S.S.A.M. do not reflect the views of most snacks and sweets) are missing. So in the third game, Pajama Sam helps a political prisoner escape a group of foodist radicals and is then called upon to hunt down four peace delegates so that they can prevent war.
Well, that got intense. Some ways to rescue delegates include: settling a strike, sneaking onto government property, and dance lessons! Seriously though, these games are excellent.
On a related note, I totally want to write children’s shows. I think it would suit me. For some reason, people think I mean Bob the Builder when I say that. Because Bob the Builder is a totally compelling show. I was thinking more along the lines of Korra, Adventure Time, or Gravity Falls. Shows that are a little different or have more to them than most other kids’ shows. We’ll see.
I had two reactions to this.
The first was that Romney still doesn’t get it. Obama has responded to some the concerns of women and minorities, and which undoubtedly drove his victory. Calling Obama’s positions “gifts” demonstrates to me that Romney doesn’t see these as important political issues. He recognizes that women and minorities need to be appeased, but he doesn’t acknowledge that our concerns are legitimate.
My second, more vehement reaction is that we should not know that he said this.
It was a private call … and I think he treated it as such.
Well, no shit, Sherlock. I would too. She makes some points about why that was a foolish thing to do, and they are valid points, but that does not make this okay. The reality is, it was foolish. The reality is awful, and I protest it. Obviously something like this isn’t a shock or surprise. It is still a little disgusting though.
I think in this day and age we’re learning that, for better or worse, there is nothing such as true privacy and truly off the record.
And that’s the crux of it, isn’t it? I think that what Romney said is revealing and bad, and I think that we should be a little miffed. I also think that everybody, even powerful people in prominent political positions, are entitled to a little privacy. Nobody can be camera-ready all the time. Sometimes, you need to get something out of your system (and after that big loss, who can blame him for a bit of bitterness?).
I’ve got homework to do, and I would like to figure out why this room suddenly smells like oranges, so I am done with that little rant for now. I believe my views on the inescapable connectivity and the loss of privacy are well known. But here is a blog post. It still isn’t about food.
So haven’t posted in a while (but what’s new-I blame the impending finals this time). And my dear friend ditched me in the middle of a crisis. A really important crisis. I’m trying to get my head wrapped around it because otherwise I won’t be able to move from my huddle on the couch while making pathetic dying whale noises. Thus this post will be a rant. A rant about my feelings about Grimm, so turn back now if you don’t want to be subjected to this.
Now, I like Grimm. I don’t think it gets nearly enough recognition. This show surprised me. When it came out, I was expecting to have an on-again off-again relationship with it; I’d simply catch it when I could and not worry if I didn’t. It came out around the same time as Once Upon A Time, which I was sure I was going to like more. That did not turn out to be the case. Even though I still enjoy Once Upon A Time, it’s Grimm that sent me into a mild panic attack over the mid-season hiatus (Community and Sherlock have already ravaged my soul with hiatuses).
Of course, mild panic attack, whale noises, obviously that means go talk to my best friend who hasn’t seen the show. Apparently, she was biting her lip trying not to laugh. Seriously? I think she failed to see the severity of the situation. (Although after calming down a bit, I can see that she might find a few things humorous) Either way, trying to get her to understand my emotions led me to recommending clips of the show. In turn, this led me down memory lane of my own first impressions of the show.
So the first episode of Grimm was cool and action-y, but I wasn’t really excited about the pretty-boy cop main character (besides, you know, the fact that he was lovely to stare at) or the partner whose name I could never figure out or even worse the fiance, whose name I did remember very quickly because I didn’t want her on screen. I really just wanted her there as a catalyst for the cop’s angst. But Monroe, oh god I loved Monroe from the very beginning. He’s so perfect; badass and snarky, a sidekick who can completely hold his own. Really Monroe was everything I wanted and more. If I didn’t completely adore the show, I’m pretty sure I would still be watching it just for Monroe.
Now I don’t know when it happened exactly, but when I actually learned the cop’s name (I just called him The Grimm) was Nick sometime before the third episode I think I was really hooked. But this show was something special, because I do not think I have ever seen a cast improve by such leaps and bounds. The “Monster-of-the-Week” format worked, and I would actually look forward to seeing what craziness was going on in Portland.
Now while Monroe was love at first sight, Nick really had to grow on me. He just didn’t seem really that engaging at first, at least for me. I honestly had no idea what his name was. But you actually see how far his character comes and how each encounter shapes him into the cop/Grimm he was meant to be. It’s kind of beautiful actually. It was soon after that his cop partner Hank really began to grow on me. Soon I found myself emotionally involved in almost all the characters(even the really minor side characters), especially as the plot progressed. This is another small but important point I need to make. The plot has gotten a lot more intense and complex, but never have I ever had issues with it going overboard (okay, so the amnesia trope wasn’t great, but what they did with that-oh I get chills) or wandering towards the point where disbelief cannot be suspended (something that Once Upon A Time seems to be inching toward).
But it wasn’t this that led to my near breakdown earlier. It wasn’t even the hiatus, though it probably spurred this forward. No, what made me question everything was sharing clips from the show. It was a dinner scene between Nick and Monroe, nothing super awkward like another dinner scene between the two of them. No, Monroe was simply complaining that Nick basically used him for his knowledge and didn’t every really try to get to know him. I watched it before, and it was great. However, I never noticed the ambient lighting of the scene. Or the mood setting music in the background. “Monroe what are you doing?” I wondered as I rewatched it. “Are you really trying to romance Nick??” And then it hit me that this type of chemistry? Yeah, I almost always ship that. Passionately and intensely. But I don’t for them. Nick and Monroe are my BroTP. Completely 100% purely bros. Until I realized ha, yeah, not exactly.
(As it’s getting pretty long and I haven’t even reached the main point I was making, this will be continued in another post up later today)
I have some Harry Potter feels right now.
The other day, I was hanging out with some friends. We were settling a dispute on the order in which The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Simarillion were published. One thing led to another, as it does on Wikipedia, and suddenly we were passing righteous judgement on various lists of Life-Changing Books. One list threw Harry Potter in there, and this was met with some mockery.
“Has Harry Potter really changed your life?” this foolish fellow asked.
I am, of course nowhere as vehement a fan as some others out there. If I, like Luna, had the characters names plastered all over my room, the answer would have been an obvious yes, but the question was asked with the expectation that I would have to admit that it hadn’t. Has Harry Potter changed my life?
I gave it due thought. And then…
What the hell, man? Of course it has! How can a person pour so many of her developing years into something and not be shaped by it? At the time, I didn’t even mention Hermione’s brilliance, my strong identification with my house, the increasingly complicated lessons Harry deals with through the books. No, I stared him down and said, “Do you know how many hours Kassidy and I logged on the third Harry Potter PS2 game? THOSE BOOKS CHANGED MY LIFE.”
That may sound dumb, but I think I’m exactly right. As another friend pointed out, those lists of life-changing books should have been chock full of children’s stories. When you’re an adult, The Stranger, however significant or scintillating,is not as likely to wildly alter your worldview. You’ve already got opinions on a few matters. Twilight, on the other hand, paints a pretty picture of romance, and young folk everywhere are going, oh, okay, so this is what love should look like. That’s a pretty big deal.
Additionally, when something is as big as Harry Potter, and you are part of it, that creates a fabulous sense of community. Heck, I’m on Tumblr here. Do I really need to spell out what fandom can do? It will change your life bitches.
Naturally, the foolish fellow had to rethink his position. This lead to a long, delightful conversation about children’s literature, and I was a happy Thorlock.
But the echos of that conversation have left me with a lot of Harry Potter feels. Now I keep thinking of all the ways it might have left an impact. What can we appreciate about these books?
It may be time to reread these books and dig into them with new perspective. I am sure I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. If that doesn’t qualify as life-changing, I don’t know what does.
This was my first election, and my mom actually picked me up and brought me home to vote. I walked into the new library of my old junior high—I had never been it, but it was oddly familiar—and the nice ladies gave me my ballot. One of the women was an old lady with a round, happy face, and she got very bubbly and excited when I told her it was my first time voting. She asked me if I had gotten a lollipop and said I could even take two if I wanted. While I voted, a man came in and mentioned that his wife had just had a baby, and the old women was so happy that she almost forgot to give somebody her ballot.
After I voted, I claimed my sticker. I earned my sticker. I also got a caramel lollipop. I was very excited about the caramel flavor. It was buttery with warm flavors. As we walked home through the dark park, I noted shades of cinnamon as well. The flavors were both surprisingly complex and obviously artificial. But because I voted, today, it tasted like freedom.
P.S. When we got home, Mom called Grandmama and they talked about voting. They said something about Grandmama voting when my mom was little.
For the first time ever, I thought, really thought, about my grandma voting. She leaves her five children and goes to the polling place in her little Nebraskan town. There, she casts a vote for President Kennedy.
Party food from yesterday’s post: success.
The sky is cloudy and gloomy today, so I figured I would write about my favorite upbeat song to make up for it. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say this is my favorite song that makes me get up and start dancing around the room whenever it starts up. But dancing without air guitaring-that honor goes to another song. I suppose it’s one of my favorite songs to work out to as well. I could even say that, if my life was a movie, I would want this song to be in some montage sequence. Really, this song is just makes me happy in so many ways.
“Come On Come On” by Smash Mouth in their Astro Lounge album (released in ‘99) is really amazing. The album itself contains a lot of my favorite songs of theirs (including two of their most popular songs, “All Star” and “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby”). Actually, I would recommend listening to the entire album when you are down; you really can’t go wrong with it. As for the actual song, “Come On Come On” really is my favorite to get moving. If you don’t start at least tapping your foot to the beat within the first few seconds, we can’t be friends. Seriously.
The vocals are catchy and easy enough to learn-this is crucial if your going to dance around the room (if you don’t understand, you’ll just have to take my word for it). The drums and guitar are great, but for me the keyboard in the bridge of the song really steals the show; it really is the perfect thing to dance to. My only complaint is that the song is over in two and a half minutes. It never seems long enough and to put it on repeat would take away some of the thrill of the song. But I always have this huge manic grin afterwards, so I suppose that short time works.