Luxury of Travel: Ariel's Trips to Canada & Nicaragua

I’m in Nicaragua right now and taking advantage of my American right to travel. I can move fairly freely in a country impoverished by my nation’s doing–and by extent my own. I certainly benefit from globalization and the United State’s imperialism, do too little enough to actively resist it.

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Campus Violence is Institutionalized

Folks talk about campus violence like it’s perpetuated by a few bad apples, tgise disenfranchised men and boys who play too many violent video games. What the mainstream doesn’t talk about is campus violence like violence against women or police brutality by campus police. Why? Because these forms of violence are institutionalized, and unfairly biased against people because they are women and people of color.

Professor Angela Davis spoke on my campus yesterday about the Prison Industrial Complex and prison abolition, and at a question and answer with students she talked about yesterday’s shooting. I’ll share a bit here, typed from what I took on my digital recorder.

I’ve always been interested in what I call circuits of violence, the ways in which certain modes of violence feed into and reproduce other modes of violence. We like to think of domestic violence and intimate violence separately from military violence, or separately from state violence. I think it’s really important to think of these forms of violence together and ask how they mutually reinforce each other and how the individual agent of violence, situated in a larger context where violence is so easily used by the state, has a certain level of comfort, a certain level of feeling that this is the way things are supposed to be done.

It is a tragedy anytime anyone is murdered. I don’t know what experiences fueled Cho Seung-Hui yesterday at Virgina Tech, but he was an immigrant and a person of color living in a country where those communities are routinely victims of institutionalized violence. That doesn’t justify killing, but I don’t think we can understand one form of violence without looking at the greater culture and institutions that normalize and perpetuate it.

Cerise Magazine Submissions Reminder

Cerise, the new magazine by and for gaming women, is still accepting submissions for our first issue. The deadline is April 15, 2007. What we’re looking for:

  • Reviews of games, systems and gaming supplements
  • In-depth critiques, essays and opinion pieces about gaming
  • Interviews with industry professionals
  • Modules and mini-adventures for tabletop games
  • Interior illustrations – women playing games, female RPG characters, etc. No fanart, please.
  • Short, one-page-or-smaller comics dealing in some (preferably humorous) way with gender and gaming

    A bit about Cerise’s philosophy:

    Although gender is the foremost focus of Cerise, we are dedicated to creating an inclusive space for individuals of all identities traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream, and for our allies who support our movement to increase our presence and representation in the game industry. We are a feminist publication and oppose all forms of oppression and the ways in which that oppression manifests itself in game communities in ways that hurt women, transgender individuals, queer-identified people, people of color, people with disabilities, and other marginalized individuals. We hope that our inclusive philosophy will propagate to help the game industry and culture at large become an environment welcoming to people of all identities.

    Visit our submissions guidelines and mission statement for more details. The theme for our first issue is Getting Women ‘Out There’ In Game Journalism.

  • Submissions by no means have to conform to the theme of each issue. Please consider submitting–this is a wonderful opportunity to get your name out there and be part of an exciting new project.

    (Cross-posted from New Game Plus.)

    The Penis Monologues

    I’m in favor of men speaking out about how patriarchy hurts them; how they’re expected to act as men, how they’re denied validity in their emotions beyond anger—and denied their full humanity as oppressors.

    But it isn’t the job of women to facilitate that discussion.

    Last night was the opening night of The Vagina Memoirs, an annual performance at my university as a part of the V-Week Campaign. We share our own stories. I like to think of it as social justice through performance. I’d never verbally shared my own writing before. It was awesome. Perhaps I’ll reflect more on the process after our last performance on Saturday.

    We had a dialogue afterward the show, and someone in the audience made a comparison to reverse racism and asked why we weren’t including men’s voices in such performances.

    My director responded rather tactfully and we plugged an upcoming show at our school called Undressing the Other: Discovering the Naked Truth About Stereotypes that traditionally is starring women of color and their allies, but for the first time this year there is a separate men’s cast. I didn’t say all I wanted to say last night because I wanted to promote Undressing the Other, so I’ll share my thoughts here.

    The director of the upcoming men’s show was in the audience, and spoke out. But I was surprised no more men spoke up, especially white men (the men’s show director is a person of color) when the man in the audience compared what we were doing to reverse racism. The Memoirs cast had just made ourselves extremely vulnerable, sharing stories about our body image and femme queer identity and watching porn and losing our virginity and being raped and molested. All things that we shared in hopes that other women wouldn’t feel so isolated and alone, and yet the men in the audience wasn’t inspired enough to step out of his box and explain that no, there is no such thing as reverse sexism. Women can reinforce the status quo, the patriarchy. Women can be prejudiced towards men. But women do not have the physical or institutional power to backup that prejudice. Why didn’t anyone step up and say that?

    My fellow castmembers defended their pieces by qualifying, “We don’t hate men!” I certainly don’t! Some of my best friends are men. Seriously. But I also wanted to speak up and say that I disagree: all men benefit from sexism, so yes, all men are part of the problem and are morally obligated to combat sexism, everyday. Yeah, much like I benefit from racism because I’m white and live in a white supremacist culture. I have to combat racism. It’s the right thing to do. Those aren’t two mutually exclusive struggles.

    And it’s not our job as women to coordinate a show for men talking about masculinity. I think it’s great a small handful of men at my school want to be allies to women and speak out about how white supremacist patriarchal culture hurts all of us. I wish more men would instead of criticizing women like it’s our job as the minority to make sure the majority’s voices are included.

    Good Children and Better Women: Lessons Learned from Nanny McPhee

    On New Year’s Eve, tekanji and I watched Nanny McPhee, a British fantasy movie for children. In the film, the magical Nanny McPhee comes to the Brown Estate to help Cedric Brown, widower and mortician, manage his seven unruly children, free of charge. Since the death of their mother, the Brown children have driven away seventeen nannies.

    Nanny McPhee is a movie that tells both women and children how they ought to be. I want to analyze the messages in this film because I’m interested in the power dynamics between children and adults. Even powerful people were children once. I’ll explore some of the lessons I “learned” from this movie in this post.

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    Wave Your Penis Somewhere Else

    Red Square, a hub on my university’s campus, never seems to be a safe space. Today, one of the La Rouche folks (I refuse to call them La Rouchebags) asked me if I liked Lynne Cheney’s dick. I felt ill. I don’t go to school to be bullied by phallic and obsence questions.

    What am I supposed to say to that?

    (A side note: I noticed Lynne Cheney has her Ph.D when I double-checked the spelling of her name. Wouldn’t it be powerful to call her Dr. Cheney?)

    Call for Submissions: Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

    I’ve posted the official call for submissions for the 3rd Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans, which I’ll be hosting at New Game Plus. Have a post on feminism, video games, fandom, genre fiction, movies, television, comics, novels, fanfiction, or something of those sorts? Submit! Don’t make me crack the whip.