BlueMusings

BUT THESE CHARACTERS DON’T LOOK LIKE ME

Nope, they don’t. And they may have experiences not indicative of yours. So what? What do you think everyone who isn’t like you has been experiencing all this time? That same feeling. And yet they still read Batman or watch the same television shows.

Confession time: I’m a jerky white dude. I’m clumsy in my assumptions and preconceived notions and — hey, I acknowledge my privilege. The privilege of privilege is being blinded by it and blind to it. You can walk around all day, whistling like a happy asshole, completely unaware of all the toxic douchebaggery splashing all around. We step on flowers we don’t even notice.

Sometimes, though, you have your eyes opened to it, and it’s a real holy-shit-we’re-in-some-kind-of-sexist-racist-Matrix moment. Rape culture doesn’t seem like a thing until someone starts pointing it out and then it’s a really awful Magic Eye painting, except instead of seeing a dolphin you’re seeing how we ask rape victims what they did to deserve getting raped. Once someone tells you, “That Terrible Thing is really an actual thing,” it’s ants, it’s dust, it’s fingerprints-on-glass. Didn’t notice it before, but now you realize it’s freaking everywhere.

And one of those “it’s freaking everywhere” moments is when you realize, oh, yeah, okay, our pop culture has been speaking very directly to heteronormative middle-class white-guy culture for a long time. Comics, television, novels, whatever. It’s time to share the storytelling. Time to pass the Talking Stick. Besides, maybe if we saw more diversity on the page, we might be willing to acknowledge the diversity outside our doors. I often say that the most valuable multitasking we can teach our kids and express in ourselves is to dual-wield Empathy and Logic, and if this helps in that, so be it. If this makes people more open? More aware? How is that possibly a bad thing?

What about our fans? Are they privileged? Let me tell you about Anders. He was one of two male love interests in Dragon Age II, and the only one of the two that would actually make his intentions known to the player without the player expressing interest first. If you were nice to him, he would make a pass at you, and you could turn him down, and that would be the end of it. And some fans REALLY did not like that.

Some of them asked for a gay toggle; because in a game where there’s mature themes, slavery, death, and none of which we offer toggles for, encountering a gay character? OOH, beyond the pale. They didn’t want to be exposed to homosexuality.

And this one fan on our forums posted that he felt too much attention had been spent on women and gays and not enough on straight male gamers. For all of whom he personally spoke, of course. ‘It’s ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamers, when in the past I would only have to say fans.’ The purpose of the romances in Dragon Age II was to give each type of fan an equal content. Two romances whether you’re male or female, straight or gay.

How upsetting for this particular Straight Male Gamer to realize he wasn’t being catered to. This was not equality to him, but an imbalance; an imbalance of the natural order. He did not want equality, he’s not interested in equality. To him, from his perspective, equality means he’s getting less. Less options? Actually, no, the number of options we had in that game was actually the same number of options that he would have received earlier. What was his issue was the idea that there was attention being spent on other groups, which SHOULD have rightly gone to him.

Do ALL straight male gamers feel exactly the same as he does? Absolutely not. In the thread where this came up in fact, there was quite a few guys who came in and identified themselves as straight male gamers and said ‘I actually don’t have an issue with that, as long as I receive an experience I enjoy, I think other people should be able to enjoy that too.’ But if you think that Straight Male Gamer Dude is an outlier among our fanbase, you were not paying attention.

This is Anita Sarkeesian, she’s the author of the Feminist Frequency, a blog which examines tropes in the depiction of women in popular culture. You’ve probably all heard about this, it’s a matter of public record, she announced a Kickstarter to start a web series to look at the tropes in video games and she was subjected to a campaign of vicious abuse and harassment by male gamers. Why? Well, because she represents to these guys the loss of their coveted place in the gaming audience. Never mind that well all know Goddamn well that they’re still at the top of the totem pole. What they see themselves losing is sole proprietorship over their domain. That’s what it is.

Everything that is changing about the gaming industry to accommodate these players, to them, is diluting the purity of gaming which has belonged solely to them. That’s what this is all about. And here’s the thing, I’m pretty certain that our industry fears the scrutiny of those guys way more than the scrutiny of everyone else. Because those are the guys that scream at the top of their lungs, they spend their time on every internet forum, they spend their time making Metacritic reviews. Infuriate them, and you become a target. It’s so much easier to say “Well, that’s what our fans are like. There’s nothing we can do.” And that’s bullshit.

They didn’t set the tone, did they? We set the tone. What we put out there, what we permit, whether it’s on our forums, whether it’s on Xbox Live, the things that we permit we are in effect condoning. What happened to Anita, we the industry, are partly responsible for. We’re in part to blame. And if the idea of moral responsibility doesn’t phase you, consider the idea that the time will probably soon come that this will also amount to legal responsibility.

BioWare EA Writer David Gaider speaking on sexism and sexuality in video games. (via lolitsgabe)

also known as “Why I Love And Support BioWare Games”

(via optimisticduelist)

Bioware ain’t perfect, but good gosh it does give me the warm fuzzies when one of their crew knocks it out of the park.

(via northstarfan)

This is my dad, from when he was in the Navy during WWII. He was born in 1921 in Brooklyn.
I recently watched Captain America I again and realized that in an AU, my dad might have known him from the neighborhood. Steve was a few years older than him, but he certainly would have seen Steve watching wistfully from behind the fence when my dad and all his brothers would play stickball in the lot behind their building. My dad was a big guy, even as a teen, but with older brothers, he definitely understood what it was to be picked on. With younger brothers, he had a sense of protectiveness. And he always believed in fair play.
So in my personal head cannon, my dad forced his sibs and the rest of the neighborhood kids to let Steve play stickball with them. And when he kept striking out, or flinched one too many times when a line drive whizzed past his head my dad gave the booing kids his death glare and stomped off the field with Steve, taking the ball with him.
I like to imagine, in the AU, that when I look through my dad’s cache of old baseball cards, there’s a newer card stuck in the collection and it’s of Captain America. Signed.

This is my dad, from when he was in the Navy during WWII. He was born in 1921 in Brooklyn.

I recently watched Captain America I again and realized that in an AU, my dad might have known him from the neighborhood. Steve was a few years older than him, but he certainly would have seen Steve watching wistfully from behind the fence when my dad and all his brothers would play stickball in the lot behind their building. My dad was a big guy, even as a teen, but with older brothers, he definitely understood what it was to be picked on. With younger brothers, he had a sense of protectiveness. And he always believed in fair play.

So in my personal head cannon, my dad forced his sibs and the rest of the neighborhood kids to let Steve play stickball with them. And when he kept striking out, or flinched one too many times when a line drive whizzed past his head my dad gave the booing kids his death glare and stomped off the field with Steve, taking the ball with him.

I like to imagine, in the AU, that when I look through my dad’s cache of old baseball cards, there’s a newer card stuck in the collection and it’s of Captain America. Signed.

weneeddiversebooks:

Submitted by Jess Lifshitz

This week I was engaged in a conversation about books with gay characters. Was there a grade that it was too young to ask students to read these books? Was it okay to assign a book to a child, essentially forcing them to read a book, if it had a gay character? Let me be…

Anger is powerful. And from a young age we’re taught that it’s a negative energy. To be avoided; to be feared; to be calmed. But sometimes it’s necessary. Not just appropriate, justified or excusable; not just any of the passive adjectives that see to take the edge of anger, sometimes, anger is NECESSARY. Vital to emotional and physical wellbeing. More so, it’s necessary that it is EXPRESSED. We’re taught anger is dangerous, but never is it more so than when it sits bubbling under the surface, just waiting to explode. But the main reason it’s necessary, is for our own self-worth. Feelings of anger arise when we witness something that goes against what we know or believe to be right and true. When this crosses boundaries and affects our own life, anger is what allows us to say this isn’t ok. Anger is what prevents us being quietly trampled upon. Anger, once spoken, is what allows us to move on and return to a calmer state of peace and happiness.
(via chiefnathanwuornos)

zeusyallday:

so airplanes officially banned tweezers. honestly i think anyone that can hijack an airplane with a pair of tweezers deserves the airplane

I’d love to see a Black Widow movie. I think it will [happen]. It has to. We’ll rally for it. We’ll get it started.
idiotta:

Night Vale dropping some truth

idiotta:

Night Vale dropping some truth

If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.

Jane Espenson (from interview with Advocate.com)\

I dunno how many which ways this needs to be said

(via alienswithankhs)

When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. “This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar” she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?

Sandi Toksvig  (via fleurlungs, learninglog) (via manicdaisies) (via justsingyourlifeaway) (via feministbuffy) (via resistanceisfertile) (via f0lklaur) (via zesty-heads) (via dreamliest) (via not-a-babe) (via earthanna) (via run-for-funner)

I cannot explain my love for Sandi Toksvig. Randomly, one of her daughters was in my class at secondary school.

(via fani-the-emet) (via ipreferbooks) (via ittakesgutstobegentleandkind) (via feelingsofthesecondarycharacters)

(via what-lovely-books)

(via wenchingwithshakespeare)

(via yahighway)