Hooray for linkspam! Stuff you should see!
It’s Not Okay — Sexism isn’t okay, and we got a dude here to tell us this. As much as it irritates me that many men won’t listen until a man tells them it isn’t okay (did I rant about WFC 2011 yet?) I’m glad there are men willing to do this, very publicly. Thanks, guys!
Women in Gaming: Next Island’s Meg Stivison (Interview)
Why We Need Immoral Women — Basically the Madonna/Whore thing is kind of stupid and it would be nice for there to be more women who are still awesome despite their flaws (regardless of if those flaws are honest or are simply traits perceived as flaws a result of dumb social constructs).
Gaming as Women — A blog about, well, gaming as women. Specifically the non-video-game type of gaming.
Also, these slides happened in a panel at GDC about why initiatives to “get women in game design/programming” kind of miss the point. Which they do. I am a woman engineer who wanted to go into gaming and was really passionate about it — until I started hearing horror story after horror story about what the environment was like. You want minorities involved in gaming? When they complain about bullshit, stop telling them they’re “hypersensitive.”
Support the Good — Taking a moment to focus on things done right.
An Open Letter to DC Comics, from Lois Lane — Avoid the comments, IMO.
TV and FILM
Doctor Her — A blog analyzing Doctor Who from a feminist perspective.
Strong Female Characters — Basically “strength” too often means “masculine” when it really shouldn’t. There are many ways to be strong.
Emily Blunt on Superhero Films and Female Roles — “Usually the female parts in a superhero film feel thankless. She’s the pill girlfriend while the guys are whizzing around saving the world.”
How to Talk to Little Girls — Maybe a little less “look how cute you are!” and a little more “what are you like as a person”
The Wolves, the Pig, and the Retarded Bunny — A simple story you can link to people who do not understand what ableist language is and why it sucks.
A Subject for Debate: Are Women People — I normally try to avoid straying from the geekosphere, but well, we’ve come to this.
I’m so incredibly behind on everything, guys, you have no idea, I mean yikes. So here are the links that are currently sitting in my “shit to share” pile, which I wanted to talk more about, but I don’t have the time.
(If you’re curious: We’re nearing a deadline at work, so I don’t have time there to go over TeamV stuff, and now I have a literary agent so I’m going to sink most of my spare time into revising my novel so it can go out on submission and that’s on top of my teaching gig and master’s school. So, erm, yeah. That.)
Anyway, brace yourself, big backlog…
[comics] This Moment for Women in Comics — The moments in comics where writers and artists get it right about female characters.
[general] Body Bag Blondes: Why I Break Up with Stories — Seanan McGuire talks about the moment where a story, despite its other faults, finally crosses that line and makes her walk away.
[comics] Superheroines Talk About Superheroes The Way Male Readers Talk About Them — What’s important about male and female characters in comics, and what order those things are important in. (Spoilers: Women are sexy and then maybe also have a story, men have a story and then maybe also are sexy.)
[gaming] The “Hey Sweetheart” Scenario: Deconstructing How Roleplaying Games Talk to Women — Why do we keep saying the same storyline of “dude is sexist, you know this because he calls your female character sweetheart, but it’s cool, he gets his comeuppance”? Why do people have to keep insisting that women are incapable, forcing women to show them otherwise? (The thing I wanted to write about this was simply to say: This is crap because it constantly shows that women have to fight against these stereotypes, that they can’t just be good, but they have to be better, and really, why can’t women be just as good as men and recognized as such? And please to replace “women” with any other marginalized group, because the point stands across the board.)
[books] Gay Romance Not Ok in this Contest — So this went on for a little while, and here’s the basic tl;dr: a chapter of the RWA has a contest, and they said all forms of romance are cool, except when it’s two dudes or two ladies kissing, because ew, and as it turns out, last year’s winner was two dudes kissing, so we can’t have that anymore, can we; Internet got mad; said chapter of the RWA took their ball and went home, cancelling the contest in a massive case of the butthurt.
[conventions] Positive Discrimination — Apparently demanding gender parity on panels at conventions is discrimination. Because, you know, entitled neckbeards?
[comics/tv and film] Comics Alliance Reviews Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men — We all caught this kerfuffle, right? Where SteveDave basically flipped his fucking lid and proved everything everybody has said about this show to be absolutely correct? Ok, cool, just checking.
[tv and film] Hollywood Sexism Watch: Gender Disparities in Actor Salaries — I would also like to see salaries analyzed in terms of racial disparities as well, and how those two intersect.
[tv and film] To Certain Bronies — Welcome, white males aged 18-26, to the horrifying reality of not being considered the target demographic for something you enjoy. Don’t worry, though! Women, people of color, quiltbag folk, and the disabled have been here awhile, so we’ve got a pretty sweet camp set up.
[tv and film] Academy Award Voter Statistics — Why does it seem like mostly old white-dude movies are nominated for Academy Awards? Because apparently the voting body is mostly old white dudes!
[tv and film] Big Bang Theory — Guess what! Jim Hines hates this show for the same reasons I do! Except unlike me, he can stomach an entire episode, even multiple episodes.
Whew! My backlog there is clear!
I don’t have the ability to write up about things intelligently at the moment. Or the time, really. So I’m going to give a linkdump of interesting links that I want to share. This isn’t everything I want to share, some stuff I want to expand upon. But it’s a list.
[STEM] Feministing: What’s the deal with Facebook’s new ‘Women Connect’ campaign?
[Gaming] TheMarySue: Stay Sharp at Age 100 by Playing DS, Like this Woman
[Comics] TheMarySue: The Watchmen Prequels: Allow Us to Explain
[General] Lament of the Delicious Librarian, one woman’s experience with being constantly mistaken for a booth babe, despite being a representative of her company.
[General] The Felicia Day Moment, discussing that turnover moment of realizing the importance of language, especially the casual and dismissive use of language which normalizes violence against women.
[Books/General] Requires Hate: Data of Interest, and the realization that it’s totes okay to bag on women for their fail, but neckbeards get pissy if you bag on men for their fail.
[STEM/General] Geek Feminism: I Was Crippled by Impostor Syndrome
Okay, no whining, you’ve been warned: it’s a Cracked link. Wrap up whatever you were doing because you’re not getting back to it anytime soon.
So, Cracked has a post up about sexist superhero costumes, and there’s Power Girl and Starfire which you would totally expect to see, but there’s a few others discussed which may have slid under your radar. And the last one? It’s amazing.
The ridiculousness comes from people who justify the superpowered strippers by pointing out that men are just as unreasonably objectified in comics.
High five, sir.
So some broface neckbeard decided he hates girls who are geeky — especially girls who are recently geeky — because apparently girls can’t be real geeks and blah blah blah. Thankfully, he got pretty promptly torn down, and one of the teardowns is particularly epic.
Folks, please. Can we stop drawing lines in the sand about what a “real” geek is? The only thing I give a shit about is how passionate you are about your geekery. I’m more recent in my comic book geekery than in other branches of my geekery. Does that make me less-legit? It shouldn’t. There should be no question about a person’s geekery except to the extent that they love their genre. Let’s get over these persecution complexes and go have some fun already.
Well this took a turn for the awesome. A quick aside, I’m pretty sure I’ve reblogged Apple Cider Mage before, and I’m doing it again, and ACM you should know I’m making you a friendship bracelet, and I hope I can finish it before summer camp is over, it’s got really pretty colors and everything.
So, like, we all know what the term “slut plate” is describing — the super-skimpy armor that the female characters don, while the male characters get reasonable head-to-toe coverage that might actually keep them alive in a fight. Allow this video to explain what this is, and why this is a problem:
But where you might think ACM is going to say “get rid of this skimpy armor, it’s awful!” she takes a different approach that requires more nuance and makes me much happier.
I’m not here to talk about abolishing the many, many sets of evocative armor in World of Warcraft. I’m here to talk about getting rid of the disgusting language and thoughts that surround them!
Calling it “slut plate” even mean in jest or in a seemingly positive way, or even just as a “neutral” descriptor implies that being scantily clad indicates a certain character point, one which is tangled up a very harmful word from our society. A harmful word that reduces a woman’s expressed sexuality into an ever-shifting, very narrow definition: one that has little to do with her feelings or choices in the matter. Using it in a negative way or expressing that people that choose to dress like this need to cover up is one facet of that narrow definition of feminine sexuality. Both opinions basically reduce the choice to wear such armor to a simple message: “This isbad, except when I feel it is good.”
Instead, ACM proposes something else: let people dress how they want! (Shocking, I know.) If someone wants to wear head-to-toe plate, let them! If someone wants the chainmail bikini, have at! We’re here to have fun, aren’t we?
File Under: I have opinions.
After reading this bit on piracy over at ComicsAlliance, I feel like I want to talk about piracy.
So, look, first off, as someone who is creative, and has made some spare change in her creative efforts, and hopes to transition that phrase from “spare change” to, at least, “supplementary income,” I have a budding vested interest in the topic of piracy. Second off, as a consumer, who consumes a lot of stuff I mean sheesh, I have a different vested interest in the topic of piracy. Reconciling these two isn’t always easy, but I try.
As a brief aside, let me define piracy: it is the free sharing of material. I’m not talking about the assmunch who takes your eBook and sells it on their site. That sort of thing is not okay and totally not what I’m talking about here. If you are the creator in that situation, please to engage Orbital Friendship Cannon. But no, I’m talking about your ebook being in the wilds of torrentville.
So, I haven’t been fully convinced that piracy steals anything from creators directly. I’m not saying it doesn’t, I’m saying I haven’t seen a single study which has actually convinced me of this. And I’m also not saying that, as a result of this, piracy should be left to run unchecked. When a creator sees their work being pirated, they have every right to send a takedown notice, or to go to their publisher and sic their lawyers on the pirate. Seriously, more power to you. High fives, all around.
However, I feel like anti-piracy actions thus far have really been a game of PR chicken. Pirates have a bad rep. Your average pirate is an entitled neckbeard who preaches that the data wants to be free, yo. So media corporations have no problem attacking them. But then suddenly, there’s a several-million-dollar lawsuit against a twelve year old girl who likes Britney Spears and who’s the asshole now?
And in the end, I think creators and honest customers suffer the most, because they suffer unnecessarily. The big megacorps don’t really deal with the brunt of the bad PR, not in the same way. For instance, I didn’t get mad at Warner Brothers, I got mad at Metallica.
When I was younger, I was that person who got pissed off about buying CDs for the one awesome song, only to be hit with twelve tracks of shitty filler. So, what did I do? I went and downloaded the one damn song, made myself a mix of good singles, and hit the open highway. I’d already been doing this by recording songs off the radio, so really, how is this so different?
Then the iTunes store came along, and I could buy that one song. My choices were: waste a half hour finding the song, wind up seeing the full album, downloading the entire stupid album anyway, delete it all for that one song (pending I was lucky enough that the download is correctly labelled), add the one song to my iTunes; or, one-click download. I could choose between ninety nine cents or half an hour of my time. And almost invariably, I chose the ninety nine cents. Now it’s a buck twenty nine. Still acceptable. The point is, it’s one-click availability for the one song I want. It’s so easy, why would I want to go through the hassle of doing this any other way?
The takeaway from this is give customers what they want. Make it simple and people are more likely to pay.
Another reason for piracy is regional availability. When most people think of piracy — at least, in the bulk of the arguments I’ve read — it’s always been envisioning this middle-class American who simply pooh-poohs the idea of paying for something when they can get it for free. They don’t consider that there are regions to which things will be available long after they’re available to those of us in the United States, nor do they consider how hard it can be to get these things once they finally do become available.
The problem is, when a game comes out in Europe in May, and then comes out in Russia in September, what do you think devoted gamers in Russia are going to do? But release it in Europe and Russia on the same day, and what then? Then, piracy drops to something near 25% of its original numbers. I’m not making this example up. I wish I could grab the citation (my google-fu is weak), but this is what Steam did, to much success.
And combining the two concepts — difficulty of acquisition and regional availability concerns — is this essay from Charles Tan, describing what it is to buy books in the Philippines. Worth your time to read it. Good to get a perspective on piracy that isn’t limited to American borders.
So, yeah. Make things more available, make them available everywhere at once, and make them easy to obtain. Then the only people who will be pirating are the real entitled assholes. At which point, I say hey, go on ahead and open fire.
A Lee Martinez discusses copyright on his blog, and how it’s detrimental to creativity, and to original creators:
Certainly, not every character is timeless and a character or a concept might have a great appeal for a limited time. But some ideas and characters are so transcendent that they can stick around for a really, really long time. Batman is a great example. While he’s had his ups and downs, he has never really disappeared from the public consciousness. That’s because he’s pretty damn flexible as a concept. You can do goofy Batman stories, dark Batman stories, sci fi Batman stories, noir Batman stories, and so on. While he hasn’t always been a cash cow, he is certainly unlikely to be replaced anytime soon. He’s a product without an expiration date, one that can be repackaged and sold over and over again. This isn’t so bad if his creator and owner is mortal. But once that owner is an immortal corporation, you end up with a real desire not to innovate. If you doubt me, I can only point out that DC has created a new version that starts with his origin all over again. Because we haven’t seen that enough.
Via MsMagazine, a series of images advertising basically the same thing, except while one ad is at “people in general” the other is “specifically women.”
The problem: This makes being female a “weird” thing and being male is normal. EVERYBODY is male. Oh, except when you’re female. Then I guess we’ll have something just for you awkward things.
(You may want to ask, why did I paint this as male vs female when gender really isn’t that simple? Well, because let’s have an honest moment here, the common perspective on gender is not that sophisticated. I think if it were, we may not see this quite so much.)