Lord Help Me, I’m Weighing in on #Gamergate

Well hello there first time visitor that wandered over because I dared reference a controversial hashtag! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Please, stay a while. Peruse my archives. Get informed. Check out LabRat’s and Popehat’s posts on the subject. Or, you know, skip straight to the comment section and tell me how I’m wrong, dox me (heh*) since I’m a girl and a gamer with an opinion, or write me off as a “Social Justice Warrior**”. It’s really up to you.

Seriously, why is this still a thing? Yes, there is a real and needed conversation that needs to happen about ethics in game journalism. Hell, all journalism. Hanging this around a non-controversy about a positive review that never happened of a boring game that no one wants to play because the developer’s jilted ex wrote a screed about said game developer whoring herself out for a review that never happened is not exactly the place to start. While some well-meaning people are trying to have a rational conversation, this particular hashtag has brought out a subset of bonafide misogynists the likes of which have been quite rightly run out of the rest of polite society.

Don’t like Anita Sarkeesian? Great, me neither. I think the vast majority of what comes out of her pie hole is whiny tripe, and most of the time she should be laughed off the stage. Which would be the rational response. Threatening her? Publishing her home address? Yeah, not cool. Seriously, we’re dealing with the kind of people that think a reasonable response to a woman complaining about sexism in gaming is to design a video game where the player gets to punch a woman in the face. Classy. You know what would have been a completely reasonable response to her asking for money to make feminist videos? Not give her any money. I sure as heck didn’t. Other people did. That’s how the free market works. No one is forcing you to support her.

Observant readers will have caught that I only said most of what comes out of her pie hole is whiny tripe. That’s because some of what she says is true. There is sexism in the gaming industry. But honestly, we’ve come a long way since Atari had a game about raping Native American women and Nintendo created a strong female character only to have her flaunt her pixelated body around in a bikini as a reward for finishing the game.

Also, Gamergate itself has shown the world that women are unjustly targeted, bullied, and harassed in gaming. Fine, so I’ll agree that Anita Sarkeesian intentionally stirs up the masses with her diatribes. And yes, I believe she has fabricated some of the threats she claims. But Felicia Day? She wrote one post (which has apparently been taken down) lamenting the ugliness surrounding the Gamergate controversy and was doxxed herself.

You know what, I like some of the tropes in gaming. I like the idea of teaching our sons that if they learn of a damsel in distress that they should battle demons to save her. I also want to show our daughters that there is no shame in being rescued. At the same time, I want our daughters to know that they are allowed to kick some bad guy(or girl) ass and save themselves too. Also, I like strong women portrayed as sexy. I don’t want to feel like I have to make a choice between being strong and capable or sexy and feminine.

Gaming is not being invaded by women. We’ve been here all along. Must I show you my Atari 2600? How about my Magic deck? Oh right, just tits. The perpetually offended social justice warriors will continue to be perpetually offended. It’s what they do. What aren’t going to be able to do is drive young white men out of gaming. Game developers will continue to make games that sell, and young white men are a good chunk of the market share. For everything wrong that Anita Sarkeesian says, she’s right that women are a good chunk as well, and we’d like to be marketed to. Really, people are mad that there are women saying, “Hey! I have money here that I’d like to throw at you if you’d just not kick so much sand in my face.”

Is it really too much to ask for women to be treated like people? Why that such an offensive to request to a subset of the gaming community is beyond my comprehension. What’s even more baffling is seeing otherwise mature, rational people defending the behavior of that subset. Or at the very least, affiliating themselves with them.

I point out: even 4chan has banned gamergate discussions. Why? Because those threads have extensive doxxing and coordinated harassment planning in them. Which is one of those few things 4chan doesn’t permit. When fucking 4chan has disavowed you because of your shitty tactics, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices and choice of allies in particular. –LabRat

It’s time to disavow gamergate. Give the hashtag over to the trolls and let it collapse in on itself. If we need to talk about the issues it has brought to light, fine. But really, I just want to go shoot zombies in the face.

*I’m not skeered of you.

**Does that come with armor and a big sword? Bet it shows lots of skin. Chainmaille bikinis are so 1998.

The Operating System Cage Match!

Friday! Friday! Friday!

Welcome to our strangely hexagonal ring! In this corner we’ve got the bane of cubicle dwellers, the honey to hackers, the over-bloated (now with a shiny new start button) Windows!

*The crowd would applaud were it not for that ctrl-alt-delete injury flaring up*

And in this corner, it’s shiny, it’s sleek, it knows what you really need better than you do, it’s Apple!

*crowd applauded back before you’d heard about the fight.*

And last and possibly least if you happened to compile it that way, the champion of true geeks, the networking powerhouse, iiiiiittttt’s Linux!

*crowd is too busy with the free (as in beer, not free as in freedom) coffee and donuts to applaud.*

Today’s minefield is the Operating System wars. But it’s not here, nope. Your minefield is in another castle.

It’s For The Children

Or, why Jennifer was never invited to teach Sunday School again.

I believe the statute of limitations has expired and so I can tell the story.

Several years ago at a church we no longer attend, I was asked to teach a Sunday school class. It being the Sunday before Christmas, the regular teacher was out of town visiting family but had left the lesson plans. I’d never done it before, but why not? I can talk about 3 wise men and a star to a room full of 4-6 year olds, right?

The way this particular class worked, there were 3 stations, the craft station, the music station, and the actual lesson part (me!). The children were split into 3 groups, each starting at a different station. Each group contained about 7-12 kids.

My station was actually located inside a classroom so as not to be disturbed by the noise of the craft and music stations. I sat in a chair and directed the children to make themselves comfortable on the carpet squares arranged in a semi-circle around me so I could tell them a story.

Twelve little girls wearing the fluffiest, laciest, pinkest Sunday dresses settled in with wide, attentive eyes. They listened to every word as if I had magically morphed into a Pixar creation. They raised their hands and didn’t speak until called on.

I am a rock star, deftly explaining everything from mangers to frankincense and why sometimes telling a lie to a king is the right thing to do. This is pretty alright. I start thinking I should maybe do this more often. The bell rings and the little girls each insist on hugging me before moving on to their next station.

The next group takes a little more time settling into the semi-circle. They are more animated than the first group and are exuberant about the crafts they have just completed. They interrupt more than the first group, but they are still paying attention. I only have to confiscate one macaroni manger.

Alright, I think to myself. I handled that nicely. Maybe I really could do this. Fewer hugs at the bell this time, but we’ve run a bit over time and they need to hurry to the next station.

I open the door to admit the final batch of children. They are loud and boisterous, but I get them settled on their carpet squares.

And then the blond came in. He’s a cherubic looking boy with one shoe untied and Popsicle stick behind his ear.  He has taken a running start. He bursts into the room with a wail of a scalded banshee, targets an unoccupied square of carpet, pounces on it and rides it across the linoleum to the opposite end of the room. I congratulate him on his dramatic entrance and tell him to join the other students.

He starts an epic Popsicle stick war with the felt Jesus on the wall. I have lost my audience. I explain that there are probably more appropriate ways to address our Lord and Savior than as a ‘dirty landlubber,’ but at least now I understood the game. I confiscated his Popsicle cutlass and directed the littlest swashbuckler back to the story circle.

He followed my directions with gusto! And by gusto I mean taking a running start and riding the carpet square to the other side of the room while challenging the other students to race. I abandoned the lesson plan and had them race in groups of three pretending to be wise men desperate to see the baby. Work with what you can, right?

Oh but this was not enough chaos for our tiny pirate! No!

I’m not entirely sure what happened next, but I do know that no macaroni manger made it out unscathed. I have now physically restrained the demon spawn in the grown up chair and am threatening to tie him to it before I hang him up by his toenails. I am speaking in that sharply accented whisper that we learn in super secret mom school. My mother’s voice is magically coming out of my mouth. His eyes are now the size of dinner plates and for one glorious moment he knows fear. My nose is one inch from his. Tears are just beginning to well up.

Yes, my precious! I have introduced discipline and nearly broken his will! Perhaps his future will not contain an orange jumpsuit and an ankle bracelet after all.

I am on camera.

It’s a live feed.

His parents are at the monitor.

Heh.

They didn’t thank me. But I have yet to receive either a summons or a bill for his therapy, so I’m calling it a win-win.

Oh right, this is supposed to be a minefield Friday post. We’ll call this one the parenting advice edition. Well disciplined children have nothing to fear from Sunday School teachers.

Even The ‘Beautiful People’ Have Body Issues

As promised, we are venturing into the minefield of body issues! (There’s going to be a lot of Daily Mail links here because I’m lazy and they hit on several points.)

Would you believe this woman

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From her Dark Angel days (pre-motherhood)

was so self-conscious that she wouldn’t wear jean shorts? Yes, the same actress we’ve seen in her underwear as The Invisible Woman and as a dancer in Sin City didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin until after she’d had children. Which strikes me as particularly funny since around the time the picture above was taken, my neighbor insisted I looked just like her, and I was right at my personal goal weight/fitness level.

I know. She’s gorgeous and had no reason to feel self-conscious about her body. But she did. Sometimes, our body issues are trivial.

And then there is Trina Hall.

TrinaHall

A friend of hers was afraid of being known as “the fat yoga teacher.” So she did something stupid. Instead of being supportive of her friend, she decided to defy societal norms with an experiment in gaining weight.

‘I thought this would be an experiment in empowering people to love their bodies and not try to fit society’s mould.’

Instead of her usual health-conscious diet, she told US News she began to eat exactly what she pleased – which included plenty of Mexican food

At 5ft 5in, Trina’s weight soon rose from around 130lbs to about 170lbs, a move which she admits might be thought of as ‘career suicide’.

‘I want to slay the notion that people who do yoga need to look like the beauties on the cover of magazines’ Trina explains.

However, rather than the reaction of others to her changing shape, which Trina says was minimal, it was the effect of the weight gain on her own sense of self-worth that had the most impact.

On her blog she explains: ‘Guilt from eating foods I typically considered bad for me were constant companions in my thoughts.

I want to point out that it was not society’s idea of beauty that tore her down, rather it was the disconnect between her own self-image and what she was seeing in her mirror. As I’ve said before, don’t ever let someone else’s standards tell you what makes the person in your mirror beautiful. Trina decided to let her rebellion define her rather than her own self image. She wasn’t comfortable in her own skin and has no one to blame but herself.

‘The stories I made up about what people thought of me were changing and I was emotionally affected. Suddenly, my self-worth was proving to be connected to how good I looked wearing spandex – something I completely denied caring about before this experiment – and that pissed me off.

Tina admits: ‘My most shocking discovery through the process is that I’m afraid of not being loved. I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface. I feared no man would want me this way and that I would die alone, probably from choking on a potato chip.’

Trina doesn’t mention how her friend felt about her little experiment, but I can bet it wasn’t gratitude. How would you feel if a friend dramatically changed themselves to more closely emulate you and then saw themselves as ‘unlovable’ and lacking in self-worth? Yikes! Instead of showing solidarity with her friend, she became a magnifying glass to her perceived flaws. She did nothing to show her friend that she thought of her as ‘beautiful, fit, and trim.’ Maybe rather than turn her friend’s struggles into her own personal crusade, she should have helped her.

On the flip side, we have Victoria Elizabeth that had a wake-up call in the form of a photograph. Her body didn’t match her self-image and so she went and did something about it. Bravo!

The fashion industry isn’t helping people to have healthy body issues. Particularly when they take naturally thin, beautiful women and drive them to anorexia. It’s no wonder people will destroy their health and their bodies in a pursuit of excellence.

To someone, you are the most beautiful creature they have ever laid eyes on. Don’t destroy that either to prove a point as Trina did or to conform to impossible standards like Georgina. I’m not saying you shouldn’t address any personal body issues you may have, that would be awful hypocritical of me. Just do it to be the best you that you were created to be, neither in spite of or because of some arbitrary definition of beauty.

 

 

 

 

No Sweetie, He Doesn’t Like You Because You’re a Bitch

I’m starting to think maybe ‘minefield Fridays’ should be a regular feature around here. It’s good for traffic, anyway. And I am an evil capitalist, after all. (Oh look! Ads n’stuff over there to the right. That’s an Amazon affiliate link too.)

Captain Capitalism has a couple of posts up today that I would like to highlight. The first is the story of Quin Pu. A lovely young girl that acted out after her latest romantic interest dumped her after just two dates. The nerve! He’s obviously ignored all of her glorious qualities like writing a blog and having tow published books. He was clearly trying to ruin her 26th birthday and didn’t dump her because she was the kind of level-headed mature woman that would proceed to forward his sexts to his employer.

You know, because that’s the reasonable response.

Surely he didn’t dump her because she’s a narcissistic bitch that has written not one, but two self-published auto-biographies by the age of 25.(Hmm, who else do we know that wrote two auto-biographies before having anything in life worth writing about?) Couldn’t possibly be because he sensed the oncoming petty drama that is her life and wanted off that ride.

Nah! Obviously a chauvinist that needs to be taught a lesson.

Quin, sweetie, you are a self-centered princess. The sooner you figure out that you are not entitled to the attentions of men, the better. Set your mirror down for a minute. The world does not revolve around you.

Which brings us to a story that Dustbury pointed out a week ago. This one is the story of Kate Mulvey, who is apparently too cleaver to keep a man.

For me, this is stating the blindingly obvious. I’ve lost count of the times men have rejected or insulted me simply because I was brighter, wittier or cleverer than they are.

They have called me ‘intimidating’, ‘scary’, ‘difficult’ and ‘opinionated’. Translated, that means: ‘You are too clever and I don’t like it.’

Right. Because it’s got nothing to do with the fact that you’re a condescending bitch.  You know, if you were half as clever as you think you are, you’d realize that it’s just plain rude to flaunt your perceived superiority and belittle your date. They aren’t dumping you because of your mind, they are dumping you because of your caustic personality. I promise you, you are not smarter than every man out there. It’s just that those men are smart enough not to date a self-important, narcissistic bitch. You see, intelligent, confident women don’t need to wear their superiority like some kind of show-girl’s headdress. Nor do they need to tear people down to feel better about themselves.

Women like these are why some men are checking out of the game. (That’s the other Cappy Cap post.) Can you blame them, really?

Yes, there are chauvinistic boys out there pretending to be men. These boys deserve to be ignored and even ridiculed when necessary. But the fact that they exist is no excuse to be a self-centered bitch. Playing petty games just lowers you.

You want a high quality man? Be a high quality woman. The reverse also applies. No one is looking at your resume or your IQ score. This is talking about who you are. If you are super awesome, I’m going to make the assumption that anyone worth your time is super awesome as well and maybe once in a while you should notice that.

You know, I think my husband is great. And he married me, so he must think I’m pretty alright too.

Join me next Friday for another venture into the minefield! Maybe I’ll talk about body types/issues again.