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Hello? Yes, Girls Exist. Are You Listening, Video Game Industry?

Dear gamer culture,

Yes, “gamer girls,” that is, people who play video games while having two X chromosomes, DO, in fact, exist. It turns out, people don’t typically use their genitalia to manipulate controllers or keyboards, so women are just as a capable as men at playing and enjoying games. We really mean it when we say we like games. It’s not something we pretend to like to get attention, impress boys, or entertain our boyfriends.

“Gamer girls” may occasionally play games in various states of dress within the privacy of our own homes, just like boys do. However, we don’t typically lie around naked in our own beds, using only miscellaneous console controllers to cover our bits. That’s a fantasy, and a silly one. Sure, you’ve probably seen images of women posing suggestively with video game accessories, but you can blame the industry for it, not us. Using women to pander to immature, sexist males is nothing new in advertising  That is to say, marketers think male gamers are stupid. You should be as insulted by it as we are.

We would like the industry to recognize our existence. You shouldn’t be afraid of this. When we say that we want game developers to recognize us as a demographic, we are NOT demanding that game companies put out Barbie games. We already like the games that exist pretty well.
We don’t want every game to feature female protagonists, or protagonists with selectable genders. But SOME would be nice. Why should every story be about the same kinds of people, right? It would be nice if at least a FEW “Game of the Year” titles reliably passed the Bechtel test.

We do have an issue with sexism in games (see earlier commentary about advertising ) and so should you. Games shouldn’t be insulting to their audiences, and if games weren’t so frequently hostile to women, the existence of “gamer girls” wouldn’t be such a surprise. Addressing this issue can only lead developers away from lazy design and on to better games as a result.

Watch these videos. Shut up and do it.

Damsel in Distress: Part 1 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games

The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

 

 

Blacklist: Walk On Women Sponsors

The “Walk For Life” is anything but. This demonstration/fundraiser is an anti-choice attack on women’s rights, health, and our very lives. The money raised benefits Life Network, which is an organization that attacks reproductive justice and funds FAKE CLINICS to deceive and endanger women. They’re a sick organization with a lot of blood on their hands, with the nerve to call themselves “pro-life.”

Colorado Springs will be the site of this misogynistic spectacle on June the second. It’s 2012 and people can still get away with blatant bigotry and people act like there’s nothing wrong. Not only is this event allowed and with no notable opposition, at least to my knowledge, but local businesses are openly supporting this attack on women without care.

Well, I care, and so should you. Please share this list and don’t do business with those who would oppose reproductive healthcare, STD prevention and treatment, accurate sexual education, contraception, and abortion care – all of which are necessary for healthy men, women, and children.

Here is a list of proud, corporate sponsors of this battle in the ongoing war against women:

Andrew Wommack Ministries  Academy Women's HealthcareFocus on the Family

Also listed were:

Big Air JumpersChick-fil-A, New Geneva Theological SeminaryRoss Electric,ServiceMaster of Colorado SpringsStarbucks, Well Groomed Ground Maintenance

Drive-By Thoughts: What Feminism DOESN’T Mean

No, contrary to popular belief (of mothers,) feminism does NOT mean worshiping the mother-goddess or giving women who breed special privilege above everyone else. It just doesn’t! You do not get to just call yourself feminist, then declare everyone who doesn’t let you have your way at all times anti-feminist. Feminism means equality, not special treatment just for you/whatever group you happen to belong to. Deal with it.

What About Him?

I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but something I’ve read recently brought this back to mind. Something like a year ago, I was on a pro-choice, feminist (there’s no such thing as an anti-choice feminist) blog. I forget why it came up, but I remember mentioning that I was planning on getting sterilized. It was then that I was reminded that not all pro-choice people actually are, but many are only pro-choice to the extent that it is still assumed that every woman will and must eventually have children at some point. For it was in a response to my comment where I received one of the weirdest bingos I’ve ever heard in my life. I have yet to be able to locate the post in question, my comment, or the comment of the bingoer. So, here I can only paraphrase what was said.

“You shouldn’t get sterilized. Maybe you don’t want kids, but what if one of your gay friends needs a surrogate?”

Even after all this time, I’m still just astounded by this particular bingo, and not because it’s sensible or convincing at all, far from it. Whereas other, more common bingos are stupid in predictable ways, this one takes a completely different, yet none-the-less ridiculous , approach to reducing me to a mere person-factory, rather than an actual person.

Well, this person first assumes that I have gay, male friends, which it just so happens that I do, not that this person would have had any way of knowing that. The following assumption is that my gay male friends would, first, want children, and, second, view their female friends as vending machine wombs for such a purpose. Not only am I expect to actually consider such a person as a friend at all, but I, as a woman, a friend to gay males, should agree that I am, indeed, a vending machine, and keep myself open for business just in case. The sexism on display is astounding, and especially so when coming from the keyboard of someone who claimed the title of “feminist” who, evidently, didn’t see the glaring problem with his/her words. That is just sad.

I am no stranger to vending-machine-type bingos. I remember that the first time I spoke with an OB/GYN about getting a tubal ligation, he made a point of asking about my partners. I write “partners” plural because he wanted to speak both about my actual boyfriend, as well as a hypothetical “Mr. Right” who could not have been my boyfriend. I was insulted that any man, real or imaginary, should even be considered at all when it came to my body. Yet, I was asked if I was married, then, when the answer was “no,” if I had a boyfriend, “yes.” “And how does he feel about this?” As it just so happened, by boyfriend doesn’t want children either, not that it matters, as it isn’t his decision what I do. Then the OB/GYN asked “What if you meet the right guy, and he wants kids?” As if someone who wanted kids could ever qualify as “the right guy” for me in the first place.

In these bingos, it’s always what he (whoever such a “he” might be) wants that matters most, and I’m a silly girl for not considering him first. The presumption was that what a man, any man, real or not, wants to do with my body is always more important to consider than what I want with my own body. Worse still, this argument is handed to me smugly, as if I really should agree with such a sexist denial and dismissal of my own autonomy. It’s bad enough when this bingo is offered with the man being a hypothetical partner of mine, but now I’m even expected by the bingo first mentioned to find even a hypothetical man who is only even a friend to have more right to my body than I have myself. As a woman, I am to view what I want for myself as less important than what any man wants to do with me, even in the case of men who aren’t even real.

What an awful, misogynistic world.

Edit: My boyfriend read and shared this post. When he and I discussed it, we talked about how to accompanied me to an appointment with another OB/GYN (not the one spoken about in this post.) He was expecting this doctor to ask him what he thought about me getting a tubal ligation. He supports my decision, but would have firmly told the doctor, had he been asked, that what I do is entirely my own business not his (my boyfriend’s.) Happily, this doctor never did asked and was the one who ultimately provided the tubal ligation procedure for me. 

Choosing Pets Over Kids? (MOVED!)

Woops! This blog post has moved. You can find it at its new home HERE.

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