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Category Archives: Companies Behaving Badly
I’ll freely admit it: I’m a bad activist. I don’t write letters as much as I should, and I don’t promote things when I first hear about them. I do personal boycotts, but (as I’ve stated before) I don’t think … Continue reading
I’ve made the case more than once that Blizzard has made a choice (conscious, I’d say, by the rate that they ignore the opposition voices) to create a sexist environment that’s hostile to women in Word of Warcraft. In doing this, they have lost a portion of women (and continue to lose, as players pass their tolerance levels and decide that quitting is the only answer) for an imaginary gain of men and boys who wouldn’t play their games if not for the ability to masturbate to Night Elves who pole-dance in skimpy outfits. I am not the first woman who has left WoW in disgust, being fed up with having to deal with misogynistic asshats who objectify and degrade women vocally, and I will not be the last.
My mother and her partner still play, although they might be moving on to another game soon (for unrelated reasons). Knowing my stance on Blizzard and their choice, they pointed me to a 30 page thread on the matter entitled Female Armor Art Design (it seems to be part of a larger debate, but I’d rather not seek it out at this point given the size of this one). Ever since I saw a thread where a player wishing to find a GLBT friendly guild on his server was lambasted by 75% of the commenters, I’ve viewed the WoW forums as kin to Barrens chat: a dumping ground for bile, idiocy, and word vomit. A quick skimming of this thread yields much the same, but itâ€™s always a good time to pull together threads that Iâ€™ve ranted on in the past. Continue reading
By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about the so-called War on Christmas. Because, you know, Christians in America are an oppressed group. Unlike Jews, Muslims, pagans of various stripes, or atheists. It’s not like their God is in the pledge that children have to speak every day… oh, wait, it is. Well, it’s not like the majority of their religious holidays are national holidays… oh, wait, they are. Uh. Er. They’re oppressed, really! I mean, prayer in school has been outlawed, evolution is taught in science class, the god-given commandments are not allowed to be in public buildings, and now… now they have to put up with “PC” phrases such as “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” being said alongside “Merry Christmas”. If this continues, people of other faiths (or lack of faith) might start thinking that their beliefs are equal to those of the God Warriors!
I, myself, became a casualty of this vicious war when I was dealing with a credit card issue just a few days ago.
I was on the phone with the representative and after we had resolved everything she said, “Ha… Merry Christmas.”
I replied, “And a Happy Holidays to you.” Truth be told, what I really had wanted to say was, “Where the hell do you get off assuming that I celebrate Christmas?” But, really, it might not have been the rep’s fault. From the way she started saying something else, it sounds like it’s company policy. And that, my friends, is just not cool. Continue reading
So, I ordered myself a Voodoo laptop today. After a frustrating website experience, I decided to write up a series on how my Voodoo weathers the next few years. Seeing as I just ordered it, and therefore cannot write about the machine itself, I decided to make this an introduction/rant about the website.
As soon as I get it (which, given that I’m going to be in Miami for the next two months, better be a month after it arrives), I’m going to write a First Impressions post on it, and then I’ll update things whenever a new problem crops up. Because you know problems are gonna come up. Continue reading
Let’s start with the game itself. It seems like a typical cutesy all-girl fighting game. The art style employed is one that is generally associated with pre-adolescence â€“ it tends to be used in childrenâ€™s manga and lolita porn. Iâ€™d put the girls at middle school at the latest, personally. Still, that sort of thing isnâ€™t unusual; Iâ€™ve known plenty of fighting games that employ those marketing tactics.
What is unusual, however, is an added game element: picture taking. Not just any kind of picture taking, however, panty shot pictures. As anyone who has watched anime knows, there is a seemingly cultural fixation in Japan on womenâ€™s underwear. In particular, men and boys lifting up unwilling womenâ€™s skirts to look at their underwear. I canâ€™t speak for how common it is in real life (not being a Japanese woman, nor living in Japan), but I do know that harassment is a part of womenâ€™s daily life there. One example of this is the women-only trains that companies began to run because of the unnervingly high instance of sexual assault (groping, mostly, but Iâ€™ve heard stories about men using womenâ€™s asses for masturbation aids).
To add fuel to the fire, it is not creepy old men taking these pictures (which would be bad enough), but the other girls themselves doing it. Showing women participating in their own objectification (ala. Levyâ€™s â€œraunch cultureâ€, girly kissing culture, etc) only serves to normalize the behaviour. After all, if the girls are willing to do it then it must be okay, right? While I wouldnâ€™t think that anyone would confuse LKS with reality, having the girls do it to each other rather than a man doing it to a girl undoubtedly helps the players to rationalize the game as â€œharmless funâ€. Continue reading
One of the guys?
In my first installment of my Girls & Game Ads series, I commented on a disturbing phenomenon in the portrayal of men versus women:
Another thing evident in this particular line-up is something Iâ€™ve noticed as another feature of video game advertising: images of women tend to have the large boobs as a focus (either by showing lots of skin or by having skin-tight costumes), while images of men tend to focus on the face, or show a heavily armoured (or clothed) man. While there are obviously exceptions to this (armoured/small breasted women, scantily-clothed men, etc), I posit that this dichotomy is one that is typical in advertisements for the gaming industry.
Enter GQ and its “Man of the Year” winners. With AOL News’ tagline Aniston Joins the Guys one would expect the cover to show a confident, strong Aniston with a focus on her head/face. But GQ, unfortunately, has chosen to take the same approach to the portrayal of men and women as I described above. Continue reading
On my thread about NOW’s use of American Apparel (AA) products, I got into a long debate with reader Anika, who felt that I, and many other feminists, had unfairly singled out AA and ignored other companies:
I have yet to see any retailer or manufacturer be subjected to this level of scrutiny – to the extent that a well meaning person such as yourself demands that NOW boycott their products.
Well, just for Anika I have created a new category called “Companies Behaving Badly”. I wanted to call it “Bad Company!” in tribute of a site my mom used to run, but I decided that it sounded too much like a dichotomy that left no room for a mixture of good and bad. So, in honour of my new category, I’ve decided to plough headlong into a critique of another company, Suicide Girls (SG). Continue reading