Category Archives: Gender issues

The 55 Greatest Moments in Gaming… as long as you aren't a woman

So, GamePro did this feature on The 55 Greatest Moments in Gaming (you may have to reload the page to get past the ad). I check it out ’cause, hey, I’d like to see what others find memorable about video games. Now, mind you, when I clicked on the link I knew what I was getting into: the video game industry is historically a “boy’s club” environment and I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the three editors who created the list are all guys.

But, hey, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t call the list out on its gender representation, so here goes. I’m going to look at some numbers regarding the games chosen and the way the article framed said games, then I’m going to organize the relevant games into three categories: 1) Sex and Sexuality, 2) Sacrifice as Heroism, and 3) Miscellaneous. The tropes that I criticize here, I might add, are not confined to this list; indeed, they are pretty common when looking at women in fiction and that includes gaming. Continue reading

Posted in Gender issues, Video Games | 7 Comments

When he loves the console more than you

In her post, Frustrations of a Growing Up Gamer, Ariel has been musing about what growing up means for her gamer status. I can definitely identify with her struggle, and it’s worth a read for any adults finding that growing … Continue reading

Posted in Gender issues, Girlfriend Lists, Video Games | Comments Off

Sexist Language [Red-blooded American Sexist, Part 3]

For those just tuning in, this is Part 3 of my series on a small blurb that Joseph Lisner wrote for Wizard’s “How to Draw” series (found here [JPG]).

The language Lisner uses throughout the blurb Others, dehumanizes, and ultimately objectifies the women that he’s talking about — both drawn and real. The chart below compares the language he uses to describe women versus the language he uses to describe men. In terms of variation of terms it was equal (4 on 4), but the distribution of those terms reinforces the general message being sent in the blurb — men as people, women as objects.

Term # of Uses Term # of Uses
Women 2 Men 4
Female 4 Male 1
Girls 1 Guy 2
Ladies 1 Gentlemen 1

Lisner uses “female” the most to describe women and “men” the most to describe men. In fact, the one use of “male” is a correct usage of the term, while most of the way he uses “female” are inappropriate outside of a nature documentary or science lab. Before I get into the nitty gritty, however, let me first explain the differences between “female”/”male” and “woman”/”man”. Continue reading

Posted in Gender issues, Privilege, Red-blooded American Sexist, The Evil -ism's | 27 Comments

A conversation on body image

When I was growing up, I didn’t wish I was white. I didn’t look at my Barbie dolls and ask my parents why I didn’t look like her. I didn’t envy my white friends and think, “If I was their race, my life would be better.” Of course not.

It was never that obvious.

Here’s what I wished: I wished that my eyes were blue and not so narrow, because the ideals of beauty I saw and read and heard about had wide, sky-blue eyes. I wished that my nose, which is wide and flat like my father’s, was more narrow and perky. Even though I loved my long hair, and I felt flattered when all the girls would ask to play with it, I wished it weren’t so stick-straight, and that it would fall in waves or curls like theirs. I wished that my lips weren’t so full, that my smile would be more of a thin, dimple-inducing curve (oh, and I felt left out because I didn’t have dimples). I worried that my voice sounded like a boy’s, and I wished it could be high and cute like other girls’.

I didn’t wish I was a white girl. I just wished I was exactly like a white girl. Continue reading

Posted in Gender issues, Popular Culture, Racism | 14 Comments

I Was A Teenage Feminist

Has anyone seen this? I hope a local library has it because the individual purchase price is a little steep and it’s not screening anywhere here soon. See a YouTube clip of the documentary here. And here.

Posted in Feminism, Film and televison, Gender issues, Media and journalism, Popular Culture | Comments Off

Yet Another Take on the Althouse Incident

[I’ve got a new blog on Vox, with these posts and a few others. Commenting, unfortunately, requires registration to the service, but I’ve got a few invite codes for it. Come visit.]

There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle this weekend over Ann Althouse‘s treatment of Feministing‘s Jessica Valenti.

(I’m not going to call it “Boobiegate.” It’s been over thirty years since Watergate; can we stop framing everything in terms of the Baby Boomers and let that go the way of Teapot Dome?)

What It Was About

The short version: Ann Althouse responded to this photo of Bill Clinton with several bloggers by making an vague allusion to the Lewinsky scandal.

Let’s just array these bloggers… randomly.

(As other folks have pointed out, the bloggers were arrayed not “randomly” but in terms of height.)

The first commenter, Goesh, picked up on it:

Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?

The woman in question, Jessica Valenti of Feministing, takes offense at being reduced to an element of a joke:

The, um, “intern” is me. It’s so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait…

And it all snowballs from there as Ms. Althouse gets defensive:

Well, Jessica, you do appear to be “posing.” Maybe it’s just an accident.

Jessica: I’m not judging you by your looks. (Don’t flatter yourself.) I’m judging you by your apparent behavior. It’s not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about. I really don’t know why people who care about feminism don’t have any edge against Clinton for the harm he did to the cause of taking sexual harrassment seriously, and posing in front of him like that irks me, as a feminist. So don’t assume you’re the one representing feminist values here. Whatever you call your blog….

She goes on to create a whole new post, entitled “Let’s take a closer look at those breasts“, in which she writes:

Sooooo… apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible?

Maybe it’s just overexposure to comics, but I don’t really see that as anything more than standing up straight, turning to make sure she’s not blocking out Mr. Clinton, and smiling. Other people, especially those commenters who identify themselves as Ms. Valenti’s age or younger, seem to see it the same way.

After that post draws 500 comments’ worth of ire, defensiveness and trolling, she washes her hands of the whole deal with one more post:

I’m surpassingly sick of this comments thread from yesterday, and I’m not even going to read all the commentary on other blogs. The immense tiresomeness is actually undermining my will to blog this morning.

I don’t mind an intense, verbal fight about ideas, but this wasn’t that. This was, every time you expressed a substantive idea, the answer was, essentially, “Stop looking at my breasts.” (I’m picturing an SNL sketch based on that concept, and like the usual SNL sketch, it goes on way too long.)

Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender issues, Politics | 6 Comments

Erik Larsen on getting non-comic book readers into the fandom

(Two short posts involving comics, it must be procrastination weekend!) Out of the mouth of Erik “I think women’s issues with comics are all about the boobies” Larsen, we actually get some surprising insight on the difficulty of finding the … Continue reading

Posted in Comics, cartoons, manga, and anime, Gender issues, Girlfriend Lists | Comments Off

Blog Highlight: Marketing to Women Online

Sorry I haven’t been posting. I actually have a few in mind, but it’s the end of semester crunch right now so I’ve been immersing myself in Japanese. A small study done by University of Florida professors recently was highlighted … Continue reading

Posted in Advertising, Gender issues, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics | Comments Off

Modesty and raunch culture: two sides of the same sex-negative coin

At first glance, it would seem that the push for modesty is at the opposite end of the spectrum from “raunch culture” — the trend in society to hyper-focus on sexuality (particularly women’s sexuality), which encompasses everything from short skirts to athletes posing in porno mags. Indeed, those who crusade for modesty often cite expressions of raunch culture as why people (mostly women) need to “cover up,” and there are many aspects of raunch culture that can be attributed to a backlash against forced modesty.

But, what if they were just two sides of the same sex-negative coin? What if they were just two different ways of controlling women’s sexuality? Looking at it another way, isn’t it just a new spin on the Madonna/Whore complex? Continue reading

Posted in Gender issues, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics | 7 Comments

What Quesada's Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome Says About Comics

I don’t think Joe Quesada’s a bad person. I don’t think he hates women. But I do think that he’s digging himself a deep, deep hole on this whole women in the comic book industry thing. For those of you … Continue reading

Posted in Comics, cartoons, manga, and anime, Companies Behaving Badly, Gender issues, Privilege | 5 Comments