I’m a gamer and damn proud.
You won’t catch me toting a DS waiting to update my Animal Crossing town or feed my Nintendogs. I won’t spend hours in front of my tv wasting the brilliance that is the outdoors. And I will never pass up time with friends, to finish that last level of Bioshock Infinite or play one more round of Zombies. However, I will keep up with the industry’s latest and greatest. I do long for that occasional heartwarming nostalgia that comes with replaying an old N64 favorite. And I will always look forward to the occasional follow-up or reimagining of a series like Zelda or Tomb Raider. Gaming has been ingrained within me since as far as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that I stumbled upon a daring vlogger who prompted me to reanalyze these pieces of my past with a new feminist perspective.
A month from yesterday will mark the one year anniversary of a bold concept that would later rock the gaming community forever. After being invited to speak to video game development company BUNGiE, vlogger and creator of Feminist Frequency Anita Sarkeesian felt satisfied with her involvement, but realized there was a lot left to be said for the industry as a whole. She decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of videos that would analyze the history of video games from a feminist lens and illuminate the iconic portrayals of women in these games. Little did she know the tidal wave of backlash, harassment, and vandalism that would follow her from arguably the most proverbial of boy’s clubs.
Last Wednesday afternoon, I sat down at my kitchen table to do some homework. Like any normal, procrastinating college student, I headed straight for Facebook, momentarily disregarding the mountain of work silently pleading with me to get busy. After logging on, my initial intention of posting stupid pictures with cryptic captions was immediately sidelined, as I came across a trending article in my newsfeed that nearly twenty friends had reposted. My spidey senses started tingling when I realized it was from Jezebel. I clicked away, and my heart sank as I read the opening statement of the article, as follows:
“A 16-year-old student says she was forced to withdraw from her prestigious Catholic prep school after texting a topless photo to two of the school’s star athletes, who shared it with the entire lacrosse team but received no punishment. Instead of using the incident as a teachable moment for both male and female students about trust and social media, the administration sent a clear message: girls are ungodly creatures who tempt boys into sin.”
I was immediately appalled, and knew right away that I wanted to write a blog post about this. As a graduate of a Catholic high school myself, I felt an instant connection to this story. To boot, the subject of the article, Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, VA, is my alma mater.
Oh, the plot thickens! In all seriousness though, the school got a lot of heat, and frankly, it’s totally understandable. However, I want to step away from the parallel of girls being biblically-proclaimed wily temptresses, and come at this controversy from a more religiously-neutral standpoint than Jezebel. Continue reading
Welcome to my fourth installment of Imposed Cultures, a series that takes a closer look at common societal practices and beliefs to reveal that what we often think of as “natural” is anything but! Today we are going to explore the popular idea that ”Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” While many people use the scientific “truth” that men and women have different brains to explain gender divides, there is actually a lot wrong with this theory – starting with the fact that I don’t even like chocolate. Continue reading
Sitting in the beautiful spring sun, a girl from my dorm and I were enjoying the welcomed breeze of fresh mountain air. We were on the subject of our perspective futures, brought up by the fact that our first year in college was drawing to a close and we were both considering switching majors. Emily (changed name) was upset by her parent’s disappointment in her decision to opt out of JMU’s prestigious nursing program for a major in social work. Trying to be a good friend, I listened and affirmed that her decision was good and could still prove a rewarding career. What occurred next would haunt me to this day as an spiritual awakening that would lay groundwork that turned me into a feminist.
She began explaining her thought process behind the decision, I expectantly listened, and when she ended her diatribe I turned towards her and asked if she could repeat her last statement.
Imagineherstory says she knows so many women who don’t seem to care, or want to talk about current legislation affecting women. For them it’s “just not cool” or “uninteresting” or have the mentality that since it’s not affecting them right now they don’t need to pay attention to it, but how much will women have to lose before young women have their wake up call? How many of our rights will have to be taken away until we say enough is enough?
HannahGrace was disgusted to see a tweet by The Onion during the Oscars calling six year old nominee Quvenzhane Wallis a “cunt.” Read this mom’s blog explaining why this type of sexualized negativity is so damaging to America’s children.
FemOnFire was shocked to learn that an Amazon.com seller was selling these t-shirts promoting rape, supposedly because of a computer-generated mistake. Though the shirts have been taken down from Amazon and the seller’s site after a flood of customer complaints, it is worthwhile to question why they were able to be marketed in the first place.
jgrand50 found an article by the ACLU about Women’s History Month. Though progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.
elfeministo found this article about “good” and “bad” feminism.
Kate asks, have you ever thought about how most podcasts are mostly done by men? Read this article from Bitch Magazine and see why people think this is happening.
Devystations says, no Seth Mcfarlane, YOU are a boob – as in a stupid and doltish person.
Kelly J. found this commercial that she found to be very sexist and stereotypical. She takes offense to it because she says she knows that she has been assumed to be a bad driver just because she’s a girl. This commercial not only mocks women driving, but also the ways of a teenage girl. With the pink car, the cell phone and the pink sunglasses on, this commercial is assuming that all teenage girls are girl girls like that, which is definitely not the case!
I recently had a conversation with one of my male classmates in a feminist rhetoric course. We were discussing the broad topic of, you guessed it, “feminism”, and the subject quickly turned to the role men play in the movement. He seemed a little uneasy to pose the question, but finally inquired, “Even if I’m a dude, if I support feminism, can I call myself a feminist too?”
At first, I was struck at how timid the usually unabashed fellow seemed in asking this question. I’ve been aware of the controversy surrounding this question, but to me the answer always seemed obvious. We all know what happens when we assume, though, so I decided to do some research into the matter.
According to the Free Dictionary online, a feminist is “a person who supports feminism.” Alright, that was easy enough. The same source defines “feminism” as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Absent from this definition is a qualifier on the grounds of sex. Granted, if the debate were as simple as referring to a dictionary definition, it would hardly be a debate. Here are a few other points of consideration:
I’ve heard the concern that if we consider men to be feminists, then we’re running counter to the purpose of feminism in the first place. We’d be admitting defeat, in a sense—we’d be implying that we need men to make changes happen. At best, he can be a feminist ally. This is so problematic. This view implies that men are the enemy—indeed the antithesis of feminism—but they’re not. Yes, they’re in a position of privilege, though this is afforded to them incidentally through the institution of patriarchy. However, “man” is not inherently patriarchal. Our very own definition section of this page reinforces my point: “Patriarchy is not synonymous with men. Rather, it is a social system that both men and women participate in. It emphasizes the privileges of men and devalues the role of women. Patriarchy also reinforces the rigid social and cultural constraints on gender and sexuality.” If a man wishes to fight patriarchal oppression, how is he not a feminist? Continue reading
Fire is contradicting in almost every sense. While it brings warmth and comfort, it can also be destructive and deadly. Historically, fire was a sign for life and sustenance. Being so difficult to capture in its early discovery, fire was often sacred and used in ceremonies to appease Gods of all religions. Today fire is dangerous, often associated with wrath and pain. Fire is also figuratively seen as power, strength and will. A more befitting word couldn’t have been used to entitle Steig Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire; a novel that’s deadly to the core, but oh so delightful to behold.
Like its predecessor, the plot focuses on the two progressing storylines of its heroes, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Without any spoilers, the duo’s unrelated lives are interwoven beautifully, to finally unite in the Everest-proportioned climax and explosive cliffhanger. In this novel we find Lisbeth scornful of Blomkvist’s indiscretion, and hell-bent in shutting him out of her life for good. For Blomkvist, having restored his place in Millennium magazine, he is keenly interested in the mud raking potential a new story brought in by an aspiring journalist Dag Svensson. Dag presents several years of investigation into human trafficking and sexual violence that links many high ranking officials in government and the police force. It’s a scandal of monumental proportions that could not only set Dag on the map, but also bring Millennium up from the brink of bankruptcy. Continue reading
A man and his son are in a car accident. They are taken to the nearest hospital. The emergency room doctor says, “I can’t operate on this child. This is my son.” Who is the surgeon? Continue reading
The conception of this post was one part luck and seven parts desperation. Last week I experienced for the first time in my life, an extreme case of writer’s block. Having gone through seven drafts of ideas, each of poor enough quality or caliber to warrant dismissal, I was at my wits end. With hours to spare before my scheduled post was about to go live, I was about to write a cop-out “what would YOU, the reader of this blog, like to read” post when I was struck with an idea. While it was suggested early on to write an article reviewing a book, I had dismissed the notion because I limited my focus to outwardly feminist books like Manifesta, of which I have not touched. However, in my sullen desperation I remembered reading about domestic and sexual abuse of women and started to think about books that may be indirectly feminist. Immediately a whirl of storyline came flooding back to me in a memory of a personal favorite series known worldwide as the Millennium trilogy.
The trilogy, consisting of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, has become legend for challenging Swedish social practices and indirectly inciting a worldwide call for reform. As I thought about it more and more, the pro-feminist lifestyle author Stieg Larsson lead, along with the message his books echoed made perfect sense to blog about and share. I realized early on though that to truly capture the narrative of these novels and accurately analyze them with a feminist perspective, I had to break it up into a series of three blog posts. Each post will be devoted to one of the Millennium novels and will focus on the events that occurred and how they mirrored Larsson’s own life. I hope to illuminate his social commentary and in the process explore the feminist implications of his final work. Let’s begin by exploring more of Larsson’s personal life before diving into his flagship novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Continue reading