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.
TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of rape/ sexual assault.
Due to the recent publicity of the Steubenville rape case (and the horrific way it has been handled in the media), I have decided to write a blog series about rape culture to better explain how it is upsetting yet unsurprising that this rape happened, and that it is being addressed so callously in the media (as Hannah Graces articulates so well). In this series, we will explore what rape culture is, and the qualities that define ours as one.
There are certain rules that women abide by to remain safe. Some were taught to us, and some have been learned and internalized. As women, we know to never walk alone at night, in an alley, or to our cars. We know that we must always carry our keys in our fists, to check the back seats before getting in the car, and to always lock the door as soon as we’re inside. We’re taught not to wear anything too revealing, so as not to give anyone the wrong idea; not to put our drinks down, lest someone have the opportunity to slip something in them; and to never leave without our friends, because if someone abducts one of us, at least there will be someone to call the police. Continue reading
With the recent publicity regarding the UNC student who has spoken out about her sexual assault, there has been a spotlight on the way that the University has handled her attack, and the consequent discussion that she had led about it. Because she hasn’t used the name of her attacker in her public outcry, it is difficult to imagine why she is being threatened with expulsion for intimidating her nameless attacker. This is a particularly harmful form of victim-blaming, which not only makes victims of sexual assault feel powerless to face an attacker with whom they still have to share a space with, such as a campus environment, but also discourages victims from speaking out when they are assaulted.
It is absolutely true that accusations of sexual assault should never be taken lightly- by those who hear them, or by those who make them. However, it seems that we are culturally attached to this idea that someone accused of sexual assault is the victim of slander until proven otherwise. Though I adamantly believe that no one should be accused of an action they were not responsible for, I ask you to take a look at the statistics before you accuse a victim of crying wolf. According to rainn.org, 54% of cases of rape and sexual assault go completely unreported. Of the cases that are reported, 97% of offenders are NEVER convicted. Already, the odds are intimidatingly stacked against the victim who wants to speak out about his or her assault. There is also a note-worthy stigma facing men who speak up about being assaulted, shaming them for being queer and therefore emasculated for being a victim of a sexual crime. 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
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
I’ve never been one for activist groups. I remember sophomore year in high school a teacher horrified and enraged all of my friends and I at the atrocities being committed in Darfur. Under the idea we could actually end it, (yes we did actually believe we could,) we began holding awareness meetings, which turned into a club, which turned into bake sales and t-shirt sales, which then turned into benefit concerts and more. Eventually though, we all met a reality that no matter what we did, there was some other obstacle we had to climb, a constant up-hill battle that seemed to not only get steeper but more slippery as we ascended. The club eventually dissolved the following year after we lost our hope and drive in our impact.
Most recently I came across several male activist organizations that advocate stopping sexual assault of women and sexual discrimination in general. While I knew many activist groups against rape existed, I didn’t know of ones that were focused on men’s roles and reforming men. Not only did the majority of these explain the depth of injustices our patriarchal society have caused, but also the breadth in men’s ability to change the world around him for the benefit of those oppressed by the patriarchy.
I am a radical feminist.
And I always hear the sounds of a happy parade when I read that sentence, complete with fireworks and elephants trunks blasting towards the sky. I really LOVE being a feminist!
I doubt any of this surprises those of you who have been reading my blogs for three semesters, but for all of the newcomers, I feel like I owe a bit of an explanation. I jumped right into writing about some really intense subjects like enlightened sexism and natural childbirth this semester, with no explanation of where I was coming from or where I am going. Obviously I wasn’t born with a copy of bell hooks in my hands, and some of you may be wondering, how did I get like this? What are my feminist roots? Continue reading
In the weeks following the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s decision to lift a near 20 year ban prohibiting women from serving in combat, a wide gap has formed between those for and against this this equal opportunity measure. While many arguments have been brought up and counter argued from both positions, I’d like to highlight some of the prominent ones that continue to reoccur in the discussion. Continue reading
When trying to decide what to write about for this Friday’s post, I went searching through the depths of the internet. What I found was an unnerving reaction to a recent assault report at the University of Missouri.
The report reads as follows:
A woman said she was walking to Ellis Library when a man she didn’t know passed her, then turned around and grabbed her from behind, wrapping his arms around her in a “bear hug,” police said. She said she struggled but could not get away. The man eventually released her when another person approached on the sidewalk; the man let the woman go — saying “I thought you were someone else” — and ran off.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I had some serious beef with The Breeze last year. But lately, Breeze, I’ve been really optimistic about our relationship. Especially after you published a fantastic editorial about empowering sexual violence survivors a few weeks ago.
So when I looked at the front page of your paper this morning and saw this article about yet another sexual assault in the area, I thought it might actually be a good article. How very, very wrong I was.
How many times do feminists, do women, do doctors, do PEOPLE have to reiterate that sexual violence is NO ONE’S FAULT BUT THE PERPETRATOR’S?!?!?!
How many times do feminists need to explain to people that victim blaming is NOT OKAY? That it doesn’t matter what you are wearing, where you are, or how well you know how to punch? It is NEVER someone’s fault that they get raped or sexually assaulted.
Here’s a thought: instead of writing an article encouraging women to take self-defense classes, write an article encouraging people to stop sexually assaulting other people.