Thursday, May 29, 2014

Eclipse Phase Bans MRAs From Forum, Receives Cookies

It's only been about a year, maybe two years since I tearfully left my internet home, a delightfully geeky roleplaying forum, because I was simply too tired to deal with the aggressively anti-feminist, casually sexist bullshit of even the kindest members of the geek community anymore. It was one of the saddest things I ever had to do, leaving another place I loved because the price of admission was just too high. So believe me when I say I feel amazed, suspicious, elated, guarded and carefully ecstatic when I begin seeing signs of change.

Change such as deeply geeky forums not putting up with the most egregious of bullshit anymore.

Here's our stance: If you self-define as an MRA, please fire yourself as an Eclipse Phase fan. We don't want you. We want our forums to be open and inclusive, and we don't see the point of debating with you anymore. You have other places on the internet where you can wallow in the awfulness of your male privilege.

The comments, of course, are awful. I, of course, am feeling happy and thankful and a little bit better about the world. If you do too, go give Eclipse Phase some love any way you see fit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gendered Advertising Mashup

I could talk for hours about gendered marketing and advertising towards kids. Literally, hours. Shouting will happen. Phrases like "cultural indoctrination" will be used in earnest. But why talk when I could just show?

All videos and audio courtesy of the Gendered Advertising Remixer. Go try it out. It's a hoot and a half.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Natasha, Pepper, Jane, And The Importance of Not Settling For Less

Privately, I've been very critical about the roles assigned to the womenfolk in the Marvel movie universe. I've been publicly critical on one occasion about the upcoming Agent Carter show. And I have a complicated relationship with the Marvel movies. On the one hand, I think they are the most kick-ass thing since Tony Jaa lost his elephant. On the other hand, I am constantly and persistently frustrated with how safe these movies play it with their cookie cutter villains and tame, boring, setpiece-oriented plots with holes the size of S.H.I.E.L.D. carriers. On the third mutant hand, I think Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger could easily crack my top fifty movies of all time. At the end of the day though, it's a movie series I have given a lot of thought. I dare say at least as much as Gavia Baker-Whitelaw has when she talks about Black Widow and her treatment by the critics.

(Content note: heavy spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers and Thor: The Dark World)

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Day One and Two)

Before I start part two (part one being right here) I'm going to start by repeating two very, very important things to remember throughout:

  1. Neither of the leads has any idea that the other is horrible. As far as they know, they are emotionally manipulating and abusing an innocent person.
  2. Andie is not just being generically horrible to get Ben to dump her. She is writing a piece about common mistakes women make that drive men away.

I'm going to be banging that particular drum a whole lot, and it will get old soon enough, but I'm going to do it anyway. Because it's so very important to remember how loathsome these people are and how hollow, creepy and downright depressing this comedy is. Off we go. How do we lose a guy in ten days, Andie?

Change Your Mind About Consenting to Sex


Holy shit, movie.

Ho. Ly. Shit.

(Content note: slut-shaming, brief mention of rape and consent issues, Ben and Andie are loathsome.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Privilege Check: a Funny Card Game (But You Wouldn't Get It)

(EDIT 4/6/2014: I encourage you to read the comments, where the creator of the game explains their position.)

(EDIT 10/1/2015: also this)

Sometimes, when the planets align just right and the sun is out and my dog is being the cutest, I find myself thinking that this whole social justice thing is going to be alright. People are speaking up, laws are being passed, ground is gained. Give it another, oh, let's say 200 years and maybe we'll get somewhere. My teaspoons are helping! Excelsior!

Other days, I get emails from my favorite Indie RPG site advertising this shit:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you cannot win an argument on the internet. This common presumption is, however, incorrect. It is perfectly possible to win an argument on the internet, not by being right or by using evidence, but by the simple expedient of being more oppressed than anyone else. 
Not oppressed in the actual meaning of being oppressed, but rather how many minority groups demographics you can cram yourself into. If you're the most oppressed, nobody can hope to challenge anything you say or think without being a horrible bigot. 
Privilege Check is a game that recreates this phenomenon by setting the players against each other to compete in order to be the least privileged person at the table and, thus, to win while the most privileged person at the table is dubbed the 'Shitlord'. These cards can also be used to create random Tumblr profiles. 
All the fun of a knock-down, drag-out, 'social justice' argument on the internet, even when you don't have access to wifi!

And I kind of want to quit this whole "advocacy" thing and make a life for myself farming beets on Jupiter. I'll have a funny little star pet named Dirk and we'll be best friends and wear matching sweaters and be so happy far away from the fuckery of these earth beasts.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Introduction)




Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the "How To" beat for "Composure" magazine and is assigned to write an article on "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days." They meet in a bar shortly after the bet is made.


I kind of made a deal with myself when I started these chick flick deconstructions, and indeed this blog. I wanted to be positive, highlight movies that are sold as dippy crap but have a real core of worthwhile messages and characters underneath. I wanted to shine a light on the fact that just because a movie is for women doesn't mean it's vapid and toxic.

But this movie keeps coming up in all the lists of Top However Many Chick Flicks Of All Time, and it certainly does fit my three criteria, down to the unofficial fourth rule that its another one of those movies that critics hate but people love. So I decided to give it a go, hoping to be pleasantly surprised, as I often am when it comes to these movies. I ended up regretting every single solitary second of it. This thing is vile. It is actively malicious. It is hateful. As I watched it, thick black poison oozing from the DVD drive, I became keenly aware of the minutes and brain cells burned from my life like warts from my ass, and it was no less painful. This movie is so socially backwards I suspect it is secretly a magic incantation to bend time and kill Susan B. Anthony. It is so anti-feminist I went to the kitchen and made a sandwich. So why am I deconstructing it on my happy blog of butterflies and unicorn farts? Because I had to watch it. I suffered. And I'm taking you all down with me.

Gender Essentialism: the Movie. It's about how women are like this and men are like that and what about them airline peanuts? Coincidentally it is also the exact combination of sequential images and noises evil scientists implanted in my subconscious to trigger my secret superpower as a hulking rage-beast. I had to watch the entire thing in five minute chunks, because I saved up a lot of money to buy a nice laptop and punching it would be financially irresponsible. It didn't help, because even when it wasn't playing I could hear the movie mocking me from the confines of the disk.

"You like shoes," it whispered. "You love them more than pink ribbons and shiny things and boys. You shameful cow."


Let's go.

(Content note: everything. Just... everything. But mostly gender essentialism, fat-shaming, internalized misogyny in women, gendered slurs, swearing, shoddy journalism, Pussy Golem.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Love Letters: Colonel Samantha Carter

It seems like everyone in the world had childhood heroes and role models except for me.

I hear people talk about the characters that influenced them as children, the characters they looked up to and couldn't wait to see again and again, and I feel so left out you guys. Partially because I didn't grow up with the media the internet typically associates with the early 90s, but mostly because it just didn't work out that way for me. I just don't remember sitting down in front of the TV for one specific character and my candy-addled brain popping an aneurysm every time so-and-so appeared on screen. Except maybe Lisa Simpson? I also had an abusive dickhead brother who everyone liked a lot more than they should. I related to her, I guess. But only in the sense that I desperately did not want to be like her.

But looking back now, as an adult, there was one other character that did it for me. Whenever my mother would let me (which wasn't often, she really doesn't approve of forehead-prosthetic sci-fi silliness) and whenever the Belgian networks deigned to air the shows they actually scheduled to air (even less often), I would watch Stargate SG-1. 

If the theme song isn't playing in your head right now, we can't be friends. Oh, we'll be civil and
pleasant. But we won't be friends.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Give me an O! Give me a B! Give me a J.E.C.T.I.F.I.C.A.T.I.O.N. O.F. F.E.M.A.L.E. A.T.H.L.E.T.E.S!

I've always had a complicated relationship with professional sports. Growing up in a country where the national sport was soccer didn't help.

On the one hand, I like to gather round the TV in face paint and cheer for our guys while eating snacks as much as the next person. I like looking at people in peak physical condition and admiring them for it. As a person who was never any good at anything that requires me to move away from my keyboard, I always had a lot of respect for people who had it in them to train and train and work and work until they become exceptional at something. Go Patriots.

These people are objectively better at the American rugby game than
whichever guys you support! Woot!

But then again, it's... a bit of a boy's game, isn't it? And I don't just mean that in my country I was discouraged from watching and participating in sports because get back in the kitchen. Professional sports is more brutally gender-segregated than Summerisle. For strength-based sports, that maybe makes a modicum of sense perhaps. (Although not much more than that. How big is a modicum? Like, pea-sized? That seems about right.) But with endurance- and finesse-based sports like soccer and tennis and gymnastics and golf and the other 95% of all professional sports, I don't see the reason. Other than hur hur, girls can't dunk.

But throughout all that, there's was one group of professional athletes that I could turn to just to feel good about the whole affair: cheerleaders.

These people!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Damn Unpretty

Good morning, the internet.

Do you like old stuff? The nineties? Sure you do.

TW: eating disorders, medical coercion

TLC and their alien techno-temple never fully made it to my neck of the woods, but this was back when MTV played music videos, like, all the time. So I sure do remember this song. And, not gonna lie, it ruled my life for a brief window of time in 1999, which is 15 years ago, and I'm old, and so are you.

(Content note: discussion of unfair beauty standards, gendered slurs)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Just So You Know

There is a sexy vampire romance movie in the world currently, in which Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play said sexy vampires.

I'll be in my bunk.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

NBC's Constantine Trailer Promises More of the Same

So the trailer for the new NBC series Constantine is out:

Now I need to be clear here: I hate every second of it. Just everything, from the fact that we're getting yet another genre show about a Very Important Dude and the incompetent lady Muggle he drags around right up to the bit where I yell at my screen that ECT does not work that way! You hacks!

Chick Flick Deconstruction: Practical Magic (Part Three)

Last time on Practical Magic: the aunts are evil, sisterhood happens, and an abusive asshole gets killed. Twice. It was lovely.

Wait, isn't this a romantic comedy?

So it is!

(Content note: partner abuse, gendered slurs, Jimmy gets killed some more, and wouldn't you know it, even more magical removal of agency)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Continued Adventures of Agent Carter: Elite S.H.I.E.L.D. Administrative Assistant

I didn't talk about it here, but recently there's been some angry murmurings about the new star wars cast looking for all the world like a hearty English breakfast of white bread and sausage.

And so the rule of one woman and one PoC per trilogy continues. That's understandable. I don't like it any more than you do, but the law is the law.

And while I'm personally inclined to keep my opinions to myself until we get to see the finished project, even I had to offer an emphatic COME ON.

So with that on my mind, I was a lot less disappointed than I would otherwise have been when this short synopsis of the new ABC show Marvel's Agent Carter fell into my inbox:

It's 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life--Steve Rogers.

That sure is a lot of sausage in my clambake.

Necromisogyny: A Thing That Exists

Have your friends and family grown jaded to your feminist terminology? Do they make like the comment section and just gloss over terms like "rape threats" and "systemic oppression" and "kyriarchy" because yawn, over it? Sure they do.

I suggest a new word be added to the feminist lexicon, courtesy of Tauriq Moosa:

Well, I say "new", but it really isn't. That tweet was a comment on the cover of the February 15, 2013 cover of the tabloid The Sun.

(Content note: discussion of objectification of female victims of deadly violence, links to the same, screenshots from TV shows to illustrate)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Hot 100 Wants to Fuck Me

TW: racism, cultural appropriation, misogyny, so rapey, literally every other offensive thing you can think of, it's a goddamn train wreck is what it is   

I mean, the internet is filled to the brim with feminist critiques of all sorts of entertainment, but unless it’s horrifically blatant, pop music always seems to get a free pass. Is my viewpoint coincidentally limited? I mean, that’s absolutely possible. Is there actually heated debate going on all over the internet that I am just not seeing? Because I feel like there should be.
(I’m still not over Blurred Lines, by the way. I mean, it seems inconceivable to me that the person who wrote it wasn’t aware of rape culture, because it is a 100% perfect representation of it. More than offensive and painful it’s just downright weird to me that you can get it that perfect without knowing that you’re doing it. That requires chaos theory levels of random cosmic happenstance. Like, I literally need to involve metaphysics to justify for myself the fact that I came to live in a world where the lyrics of Blurred Lines are not the solemn opening narration in a documentary on date rape. Every single day of my life I expect to wake up in a world where Blurred Lines wasn’t the summer jam of 2013, it’s a collection of scattered cue cards from a seminar on rape culture. And Pharrell’s Get Lucky might just be one of my favorite songs ever, and he’s got a #1 hit that I like, but damn… That song. It’s just not something I can ever forgive the man for.)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

Nothing! Nothing at all is wrong with this picture! Look at all these beautiful happy things!

What could possibly be wrong with this? Well, let me just type out real quick what is pictured here: we've got a chick, bitch, cougar, fox/vixen, cow, bird, nag, babe...

Completely unrelated to my beautiful nature collage though, here's an essay about animal metaphors for women in English and Spanish.

If feminism is indeed the radical notion that women are people, the English language could use some radicalizing.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gabourey Sidibe Talks Cookies, Confidence, Being the Best

If you haven't had your daily two-fer of fist-pumping inspiration and heartbreak yet, Sidibe's speech at the Gloria Awards and Gala should fix that. Please do read the whole thing. But while you're here, enjoy some highlights. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Joys of Feminism: Loving Women

Feminists are an angry lot.

I mean, that's common knowledge, right?

And it's presented as a sad, degrading stereotype a lot of the time, but the devil is that it's not untrue. It's just a shame that a lot of people think that we're angry because we're feminists, instead of the truth: we're feminists because we're angry.

(Content note: internalized misogyny, video discussing anti-choice legislation)
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