Tuesday, December 26, 2006


As if you couldn't tell, I'll be taking an extended break from blogging, due to unreliable access to the internet and the fact that my personal life is extremely hectic and overwhelming. When I get back, hopefully not too long from now, I plan to write some thoughts on Trauma Center and the first two seasons of Veronica Mars.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Harassment Fiasco

I'm in the home stretch, just a couple of days away from graduating. That said, my job at the college will be finished this week as well. I feel conflicted about this: I'm losing my steady paycheck and I'll be leaving behind some great coworkers. However, I feel good about leaving: perhaps my job search will yield a job with better pay (though it should be easy to beat the pay of a student worker) and because I'll be leaving the place where I was sexually harassed.

Like anyone, there's a few things in my life that are hard for me to admit, and most of them seem to stem in some way from sex. Two of the biggies are admitting that I was in an abusive relationship, the other is that I was harassed at work.

I'm willing to write about this because my job ends Friday, but I've been inspired by this post about sexual harassment over at Occasional Superheroine. An excerpt:

I feel the person who has gone through this or other traumas definitely has the right to tell her (or his) story -- that it's part of the healing process and provides people going through similar situations with perspective & hope. Further, I think the topic of sexual harassment itself should be debated and examined thoroughly on message boards and forums everywhere.

But one thing that gets lost in the internet debate and gossip is just how goddamn sad sexual harassment situations are for everybody involved. They're fucking sad. There are no winners and losers. Everybody is a loser. Feelings on both sides are filled with agony and resentment and hurt. You have one side saying "nothing happened and you're liar" and the other side saying "I'm really really hurt" and it's like Iraq, there's no immediate clean way to resolve it. And then you have people caught in the middle who are pressured to take sides and it's shitty for them too.

My situation was (unsurprisingly) tortuous. Because my job is the same as where I attend school (I work in the department of my major) I had no way to get away from him. And, like a lot of harassment stories, my situation was not cut and dry. It's not like he touched me--it had more to do with comments he said under his breath or how he would come stand by me, his body almost touching mine. It was the manner in which he looked at me, and how I would see him staring at me while I was having lunch with my partner. It was long and drawn out and I didn't know how to tell him how he made me feel. I couldn't find the voice to tell him to stop. Eventually, I found the courage to go to my boss and make a report. What resulted was an awkward bureaucratic hell that consisted of embarrassing interviews and meetings that were full of difficult decisions. In the end I was told that I'd have to meet with him, along with Human Resources and the department chair for a mediation if I wanted to make a proper complaint. I couldn't go through with it--I was too terrified.

I regret it. Because I failed to commit to the mediation, my complaint was never officially filed. It was as if my tentative steps to make him stop never happened. My boss took care to not schedule my hours when he was working, which did help. However, I still saw him in the hallway or around campus. The lack of closure isn't what I necessarily regret. What has made the situation worse is that once he did stop harassing me, he went after a co-worker, a good friend, of mine. I make him sound cruel and calculating, but I honestly think that he didn't know that he was doing anything wrong. My co-worker, knowing what I had gone through with him, filed a complaint immediately. I admire the hell out of her. She went to meeting after meeting and never backed down, even though the chair of the department expressed to her his opinion that she was making a big deal out of nothing. The kicker in the end was that the professor was only given a warning after her formal complaint went through. I found out from my boss that he would have received a harsher punishment if I had went through with my complaint.

This semester I haven't had to deal with the professor because he's on sick leave for cancer. I think it's unfortunate that he has to struggle though an awful disease, but I'm relieved that I haven't had to work with him now or ever again. For all of my relief, I still feel unresolved about the situation and I still feel ashamed--as though I'm making a big deal out of nothing--whenever I talk about. I do hope that if I ever find myself in a similar predicament, I'll be quicker to stand up for myself.

It's hard for me to look at sexual harassment rationally since I still feel hurt. But I do think this: if my work wasn't so entrenched in hierarchies, maybe it wouldn't have happened. I know it surely wouldn't have happened if the professor would see women as people rather than sex objects.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Freaking Out

By Friday this week it'll all be done, finished, the end, kaput. I'll be a graduating undergraduate, prepared and ready to face the cold, cruel world with a dashing hat and a collar pulled up around my cheeks.

Except I'm all anxious: anticipating unemployment, uncomfortable job interviews, and tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. And even before that, I have four tests to take and ten page paper on Louis Zukofsky's objectivism to complete.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Some Mii Suggestions

I've been able to spend a few weeks lovingly and obsessively creating Miis that represent me, my family and Robotech characters. It's a blast, but I have a few suggestions:

1) Picking a gender for your Mii shouldn't be mandatory. I understand why its there-- we're always asked what our gender is, from surveys to signing up for MSN Messenger. The Mii Channel uses it so that when a gender is chosen the haircuts that show up first correspond with whatever gender you chose. But what if you want to create an androgynous Mii (which is surprisingly easy to do) and you don't want to identify the Mii as male or female? It's unnecessary.

2) Haircuts should be organized by length instead of gender. Other categories, such as lips and eyes aren’t separated, so why is hair length? There aren't any restrictions in regards to choosing a feminine haircut for a male Mii anyway (which is awesome), so the distinction seems arbitrary. Having the hairstyles grouped by length would make customizing easier.

3) There should be more control over body type. I keep on running into this problem—I wanted to give the Mii that's supposed to look like me some hips, but I couldn't. Similarly, when I was trying to make an animorphic representation of my overweight cat, I couldn't make him look fat enough. Rats.

4) Untraditional hair colors need to be included. I know I'm not the only one out there who likes pink hair. And what about making a Mii that looks like Max Sterling? Only blue will do. Actually, a whole color wheel or spectrum should be included so that there are more hues for skin color and more choices for the color of clothing.

I'm thinking that a lot these issues could be remedied by an update. So what do you say, Nintendo?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Game Rag for Women

According to GameSpot, there's going to be a new video game magazine launched in Germany:

The publisher describes the magazine, aimed at female gamers, as "fresh,
bold, upbeat, and feminine."

While I'm glad that female gamers are being acknowledged, I don't think the answer is to have a videovgame-themed magazine that'll tote the same tired gender stereotypes that plague most magazines that are aimed towards women and girls. Though it wasn't mentioned in the GameSpot article, I can see it now--a review of Jeanne D'Arc for the PSP on one page; facing it, an ad for make up.

While I do think there is a place for magazines that are dedicated to a female audience (I've often toyed with the idea of starting up my own little zine for feminist reviews of games) I can't help but wish there could be an effort made in the current video game publications to be more inclusive of a diverse audience. I know that if such a publication existed, I'd drop the money for a subscription immediately.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Urban Camping

It rained. It snowed. After eight hours, the moisture had soaked through the weather-proofing on the sleeping bag and my toes were ice cubes. But at around 10 this morning, I came home with a Wii.

I wasn't going to camp out--I had a plan so that I'd be able to get at least some sleep before getting up early to wait in line. Yet by last night, when the neighbors decided to have a roaring party and I was anxiously pacing the apartment because I was unable to sleep, Shions_glasses and I decided to go check things out. I made a thermos of hot cocoa and packed some provisions: apple cinnamon rice cakes, cheese poofs, dried apple slices and dark chocolate M&Ms.

We arrived at Best Buy around midnight and the place had already drawn a crowd. We were outside for a good hour when it started to drizzle. It was my turn first to huddle beneath a quilt in the car while Shion_glasses braved the beginning of the precipitation in order to hold our place in line. When it was my turn to go out it started to rain and snow.

The night went by: instead of busying myself with my DS or reading any of the books I brought along, I listened to small talk and watched the snowflakes fall, illuminated by the parking lot lights.

The whole night went pretty smoothly. Everyone was kind to one another: one guy shared his extra large cheese pizza, another handed out some blankets, a woman passed out candy canes. The guy who was first in line made an unofficial list in which everyone signed up in order--and when it came to 8 am when employees started handing out tickets, there weren't any issues.

Getting inside felt amazing: my feet started to thaw. And though by then I was feeling pretty ridiculous that I had just spent most of my night awake and cold in a parking lot, I was pretty proud of myself when I was handed the white Wii box.

Gamers put themselves through some crazy crap, no?

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I have a Japanese Dreamcast and an American version of Shenmue. I tried to use the Utopia boot disc to override the region coding, but the game isn't loading up. Does anyone have any ideas as to what I can do get the game to play? Thanks!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I don't even wear any.

Today at work I was busily utilizing all the specialized electronics cleaner to shine up the apple of my eye (i.e. my ds lite) when a professor approached me and asked if I was cleaning my makeup case.

Needless to say, I died a bit inside.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I found out something weird this weekend.

I found out Saturday night that I have some natural talent when it comes to playing Dead or Alive 2. A fighting game that's famous for breast-jiggling physics and I'm actually kind of good at it. After failing at all other fighting games.

The irony is not lost on me.

Edit: I just wanted to share some thing about the night in which I played DOA2: I was at a party, and we had already exhausted Mario Party and Mario Kart and needed a new four-player game. Thus, DOA2 was brought out and the XBox controllers were dusted off (both the game and the XBox were donated to my apartment by an estranged brother). The whole time playing it--with a few guys--not one sexist comment was made. After struggling in the past with playing games with guys, it was an unforgettable experience in which I felt truly a part of the gaming community.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Popularity Contest

Bonnie Ruberg's written a piece for Joystiq about Rockstar's Bully controversy. An excerpt:

By now, we all know about Jimmy Hopkins' boy-on-boy kissing adventures. A few
voices have leapt out in predictably outraged protest but, for the most part,
the gaming world has been strangely accepting of Jimmy's bi-curiosity –
surprising in a community where a normal evening on Halo 2 (you know it's
happened to you) usually includes watching a preteen with a Xbox Live headset
shoot ammo into your lifeless corpse while shouting, "You're dead, homo!"

I've also been surprised at the general reaction of the video game community. But really, here you have Rockstar--the coolest kid on the block because they make xtreme games about car-jacking, prostitutes and gangs--and then you have Jack Thompson--the most hated man in all of videogamedom--crying "gay sex!" Who's side are you going to choose? The cool kid, totally.

Not that I think that this is going to stop any of the homophobic talk on XBox Live or in living rooms across the nation. And not that I think Rockstar had hopes of curing the rampant homophobia among gamers.

Also, you might want to hop on over to Bonnie's blog--that's where discussion of the piece is taking place. A warning: you might have to dodge and parry some heterosexual privilege in the comments.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pageant Hid as Revolution: Miss Video Game 2007

Looky what I came across when sifting through my bloglines for Jade Reporting:

Be Miss Video Game


1. Must have Personality

2. Must be a female? (No wigs and makeup guys)

3. Doesn't mind Video Games :P

4. Loves the beach
Here's their mission statement:

We are on a Mission

To assist in the proliferation of females in gaming genres of all types and to help raise awareness of the female gaming audience among game publishers and advertisers. To make the gaming industry take women gamers seriously and to treat them with respect as equals.

-To showcase female gaming talent and the amazing variety among female gamers.
-To create a positive role model for young girls who enjoy playing video games.
-To break the stereotype that gaming is a male dominated industry.
-To have a good time in a fair and friendly environment.

Miss Video Game was created in order to showcase female gaming talent and
marketable female gamers to gaming publishers and industry decision-makers as well as the gaming community as a whole. We're here to put female gamers on the
map and to get them taken seriously (and also to send some lucky female gamers
to Cabo ;-).

Ladies - join up now, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This could be the start of a great career in gaming or promotions. Even if you don't know anything about video games sign up and learn - that's what this is all about, spreading gaming to women around the globe!!!

So let's see if I get this straight: an ageist, sexist, and homophobic contest created to spread the word about women and video games, omigod! While I agree with all of their goals, I can't get on board with their method--a beach-loving, conventionally beautiful babe can't be a representative for the "amazing variety among female gamers." She sure won't represent me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Want to Point This Out

Piny has a must-read over at Feministe about bisexuality. An excerpt:
You know, one thing that has always struck me as unduly burdensome for
bisexuals, as well as a likely source of intimidation and a disincentive to be
out, is the idea that there’s some threshold below which one is a weekender, a
tourist, a closet case, a faker, or–worst of all–heterosexual. Blithe
ambivalence cannot coexist with scrutiny. (Exhibitionism, on the other hand,
cannot exist without it.) A bisexual who is constantly pressured to evaluate the
relative pitch and frequency of their same-sex and opposite-sex attraction is a
bisexual who has a harder time simply loving and lusting. A bisexual who must
weigh the potential joy of queer partnership against loathing and denigration
from all sides is a bisexual who is less likely to nurture any queer romantic
feelings, particularly if they seem supplemental.

Adieu, Dark Cloud 2

Last weekend, Shions_Glasses and I beat Dark Cloud 2. Though 100+ hours into it, and we still have the epilogue to go. Needless to say, we'll be taking a break from it. (Baten Kaitos: Origins, anyone?)

I adored Dark Cloud 2 and I loved seeing the similarities between it and Dragon Quest VIII: the graphics were gorgeous, the georama aspect was almost perfect, and I loved customizing the ridepod and weapons. My only complaints about it are pretty minor: why couldn't we play as Monica for spheda or fishing? Why were her monster transformations useless? At least she's the stronger fighter.

My biggest gripe was how they handled the end boss(es). Note to any aspiring (or current) game programmers: if you're gonna throw at us multiple battles at the end of the game that last about an hour, give us a save point. Especially if it's timed and you have to figure out the key to beating the end boss (i.e. no straight out ass-whupping.) I almost threw my PS2 controller against the wall when I realized that I'd have to play the last hour or so of the game again when I didn't figure out how to beat the end boss right away. Annoying. We had to wait at least another week to find the time to finish the game, and when we did, I practiced some asanas and made Shions_Glasses do the dirty work. Ahh, multitasking.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bits & Pieces

Better late than never, please be sure to check out the 6th Feminist SF Carnival over at the Hathor Legacy.

The next edition will be on November 20, and will be hosted Racy Li over at Racy Thoughts. The deadline is November 17.

Also, Ragnell and Kalinara have declared this week to be Cheesecake/Beefcake Appreciation Week. Here's my hunk of cheddar contribution:

This makes me giggle.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rest in Peace, Gentle Blue Monster

Scene: A sunny and calm Saturday afternoon in Everytown, USA. Switch to interior of Best Buy, Customer Service desk.

Protagonist: Excuse me, I need to return this. [Places blue brick in box on desk.] The touch screen doesn't seem to be as responsive as it used to be and the left trigger button is sticking. Oh yeah, I have the 2-year warranty. [The protagonist shakily lifts up a wrinkled pamphlet.]

Customer Service Representative: [Takes package and pamphlet.] Hold on one moment, I'll have to check things out in the back.

P:Okay. [Stands, biting fingernails.]

Some long, awkward moments pass. The Customer Service Rep comes back to the front.

CSR: You're all set. Why don't you go get a replacement? We'll just do a switch.

P: [squeaks] Yes! [All but runs to the Nintendo section of the store and comes back gingerly carrying the box of a new shiny, shimmering DS Lite.]

CSR: You just did this so that you can get the pink one!

P: . . . No comment.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

4 Color Rebellion Links to Porn and Misses Point Entirely (or Porn is not Art)

I like blogs and I like video games. I like to look at video game blogs. I liked to visit 4 color Rebellion: Nintendo-focused, good writing, and they're respectful of their readers. So why did they link to Nerdcore's new calendar? Oh, because they love and respect women.

I was pissed (as were others.) I angrily wrote in the comments:
Long time lurker [here,] just [want] to say this: it can be really discouraging being a woman gamer, and even more discouraging trying to find a blog that publishes pertinent news about video games (re: I don't have to shift through all the sexist crap.) Porn, yeah, fine, it's out there. But really, 4cr was a safe haven for someone
like me, who likes to think that maybe one day women can be thought of as gamers
instead of just wank material.

Nick, from who the post originated, had this to say as a reply:
I knew when I posted this that some would find it offensive. But if you want to see the reasoning behind it, scroll up and read Gregs comment. Amen.

Greg's comment was along the lines of 1) Porn is part of geek culture 2) Just ignore it if it offends you 3) We at 4cr love women! We have relationships with them! 4)What we really need to be concerned about is if children see it. Okay. Well, 1) You can write about porn in geek culture, by all means, but it can be done in a respectful (non-sexist) manner. 2) I'm sick and tired of having to ignore sexist crap on video game blogs just because I'm not a heterosexual guy. 3) Having relationships with women doesn't inoculate you against being sexistst and 4) I'm glad you care more about the other demographics on your blog more than the women gamers who frequent it.

As far as women...… I love women. And I don't mean that in a sexist way. I was raised by my mom, all by herself and I have the utmost respect for women. My ex-girlfriend of 7 years was also very concerned with women's rights and their role in society. I was right there beside her and agree 100% that women deserve better. I understand the hardships women have to face. Yet do I find strippers offensive? No. I know quite a few girls who used to be strippers and these girls know very well what they are doing. Some of them are very savvy and if they can use their bodies to influence people or make a living, they will.

Oh, okay. You, with all of your male privilege in it's undying glory, understand the hardships women face. There is so much wrong with the above paragraph--I don't think I need to touch it with a ten foot pole. It speaks for itself.

That said, I also love the female figure as a work of art. As a fine art painter, all I paint is the human form. Both female and males are beautiful creatures that continually fascinate me.And then of course, I have to admit, I do like sex and sexy women. I've spent time in Italy and my view on nudity is closer to theirs than our generally uptight and overprotective stance here in the US. I believe that people just need to relax and understand the role of sex in society. That's not to say we should abuse it, but it is there and always will be. And of course, sex sells.

Note to self, as informed by Nick: If I hate seeing women objectified, I'm a prude. Also, there are no prudes in Italy. And art is free from objectification.

So, yes, I apologize if I offended anyone, but at the same time, I wont apologize for posting this.In fact, my biggest concern with posting this was that in some way it might cause 4cr to get blocked for people at work. Now that would be a real problem.
Translation: Don't get your undies in a bundle. By the way, your issue is nothing compared to inconveniencing the other straight guys when they can't check our blog at work.

My reply, and probably last comment:
Nick, I'm glad you're a heterosexual guy, I really am. I just felt sick about being reminded, yet again, that women are the sex class. Objectification is objectification.

Bodies the Size of Zero

I was scrolling through Feministing the other day when the post Doing the Unthinkable! caught my eye. While the point of the article is extremely interesting, I want to focus more on this comment made by Samhita:
Furthermore, how come nobody has mentioned the fact that a size 0 means it
doesn't exist. Zero means nothing or that it is not there, so in a way it is
like the metaphorical erasure of women, as though they don't exist or that they
don't take up any space. Just a thought.

A lot of the commenters, who are size 0 themselves, took offense to this. They thought Samhita was saying that they don't exist, or thought that she was bashing them to be size 0.

I hadn't noticed until fairly recently that clothing stores have been changing their sizes so that a larger size is size zero. Some of my friends were happy about this, telling me how they now could feel better about their bodies when trying to find a pair of pants. I don't see it this way. I feel that the sizing of clothes is arbitrary: I never know from store to store what size to look for, it's always grab at least three different sizes and head to the changing room. The new move for size zero, I'm sure, is a way for clothing stores to boost the self-esteem of their clientele so that they buy more clothes--the beauty of capitalism. I can't help thinking, and what Samhita was hitting on in her post, is that in our patriarchal society, being thin is best because when you're small you don't take up space or impose. We are taught to want to be small, petite, skinny because it's beautiful and healthy. There's a lot of different facts out there that can be conjured up that say that bodies that aren't thin are unhealthy and lazy. Our ideas of what is thin and what is obese has become dangerously skewed, for bodies that are perfectly healthy yet larger than what is acceptable have been called obese.

I've struggled particularly with that. My body isn't the same as it was when I was 18: I've put on weight, there's mounds where there were angles. I eat healthy, I exercise every day, and damnit, I should be happy with my body, because it's at place where it wants to be. Yet, that's hardly ever the case, I've internalized the beauty myth, and it's come to the point where I wonder if the yoga I do is for the health of my body or if it's to slim down, tone, or decrease in size. I want to be petite, I want to look like Buffy.

The new size zero wasn't implemented so that women are easier on our bodies, it was put into to place so that we buy new clothes. Whatever. The fashion industry will always be our friend and enemy. Samhita wasn't criticizing anyone for being a size 0, she was just trying to talk about the societal baggage that comes with the size. What I hope to do is to accept my body as it wants to be, and to accept all the different sizes that women are: it's not easy when anyone is seen as too skinny or too overweight.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The 5th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

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Welcome to the fifth edition of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans! We have a full plate to offer you: from G4 to Wizard, and from princesses to perverts.


First up, Jenn revisits an old debate between Ragnell and Scipio in her post Sexual Dimorphism and Feminism and looks at the scientific position on sexual dimorphism in the human brain. She notes

Fundamentally, I and other feminists must adapt our philosophy to incorporate the findings of science, and vocalize the fact that science cannot and should not be used to justify unequal treatment.

Over at Snap Judgements , Carla laments Joss Whedon’s impending run on Runaways by bringing up examples of his treatment of Kitty and Emma in Astonishing X-Men. In Unscrewing the Inscrutable, Marionette makes someone at Marvel take a moment to think. Jeremy versus the X-Men and finds a link between comics and being a stay-at-home-dad. And jlg1 looks closely at Pantha in Nobody helped me. Nobody cared.

Soyoerika discusses breast physics, bras and Arisia over at Zamaron:

Brothers and Sisters, I invite you to join me in a round of boggling at this
so-called character design. While I can buy the impracticality of the eighties
outfit, I simply cannot wrap my brain around the current outfit at all.

To go along with this, Kalinara offers up her analysis of Manly Men and Buxom Babes. Meanwhile, Ragnell studies Black Panther and Storm’s first fight as a married couple. She also covers for us the sexist trainwreck known as Wizard Magazine’s “How to Draw” series and the reactions from the female superhero fan community found on livejournal.

We’re all holding our breaths waiting to see who’s going to be cast as Wonder Woman, and Amy Reads over at Arrogant Self-Reliance is no exception. While many of us have an inkling of who we’d maybe want to see, Amy’s main concern is that the actress cast demonstrates the wonder of her namesake.

Web Comics

Though she’s been a fan of Scott’s Kurtz’s PvP for awhile, Robyn discusses her hesitation of remaining a regular reader in her post In Which I am Annoyed by PvP.

Also, make sure to check out how to draw comics the Planet Karen way.


Cassiphone, at Velvet Threads writes of the camaraderie and literary experience that she encountered after sending in a story to Fantasy and Science Fiction for the Slushbomb. Racy Li wonders why there isn’t and makes her case for there to be more of a connection between science fiction and erotic romance in Erotic Romance: Science fiction’s forgotten stepsister. Malachi explores the relationship between fiction and feminism by looking at the “princess syndrome” in fantasy. In the post On Cartography and Dissection, little light writes beautifully about being the Other.

Video games

Baring all about her love for video games, Blitzgal interprets the implications and frustrations about being a woman gamer, and gives a few helpful suggestions on how games could be better in her post But why do her boobs have to jiggle like that? And at her blog, Wonderland, Alice gives a run-down of Games for the Ladies. Lake Desire points us over to Fiona Cherbak’s piece, the Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women and also directs attention to some of the misogynistic elements in the ever-popular Katamari Damacy.

On the feminist gamer livejournal community, tekanji asks for input on how to measure feminist elements in video games. At Old Grandma Hardcore, Tim writes about Grandma’s semi-disastrous appearance for a discussion on women gamers for G4’s Attack of the Show. Bonnie Ruberg asks if there is there a gender divide in the narratology vs. ludology debate.


In Life on Mars: Isn’t that where men come, BetaCandy gives us the goods on BBCAmerica’s show, Life on Mars. Good (as in feminist), it ain’t:

The minute a young woman with stereotypical prettiness gets a closeup, I know
she’s either going to get hurt or get laid.

Mickle, over at The True Confessions of an Hourly Bookseller identifies the Women in Refrigerator syndrome in the Season 2 of Lost. Beware the spoilers! Desdenova takes NBC’s new show Heroes to task for the poor treatment of its two token female characters. Sageness posts her thoughts and discussion with thete1’s about gender and race in Stargate Atlantis.

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We only have one anime-related post for this edition of the carnival, and it’s about a subject that’s near and dear to my own heart: Cattygurl discusses some of the Kick-ass Women of Anime.


Martin guides us through Ursula K. LeGuin's young adult novel Voices. Sleestak informs us about Shanna the She-Devil by Tony DeZuniga at Lady, That’s My Skull. Cassiphone looks at the female protagonists of Kylie Chan’s White Tiger and Tim Pratt’s True Adventures of Ranger Girl. And Heidi Meely gushes about Virgin Comics’ Devi.

Megatrouble rebuts Thomas Disch’s claim “that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly and Ursula K. Le Guin’s contributions to science fiction are overrated” in her post Shelly, Russ, and Le Guin: How to Hide the Canons; Or, What Could Have Been a Really Fun Party if Not for Thomas Disch.

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The Harlan Ellison Incident

The feminist SF fan community acted in outrage when Harlan Ellison groped Connie Willis at the Hugo Awards. In response to the incident, Kadymae writes her manifesta Nice Girls Don’t… in which she states

if it had been me up there on the stage at the Hugos and Harlan Ellison put a hand where it didn't belong, at the very least he would've been shoved away and asked, "What do you think you're doing, asshole?"
Yonmei points out that Harlan Ellison has always been a sexist creep. Lis Riba reported on the whole incident herself and asks, “What does a woman have to do to get a little respect in this industry?"


Peaseblossom, in her post How Much XP for a Blow Job? discusses the sexism that some women have to endure just to play a game:
Telling someone (or implying it, or complaining about it to a third party) that
she gets special treatment from the gm because they're romantically involved is
as adolescent as it is sexist.

Becky encounters in her post Hey, didn’t I used to write for a website called GeekGirls? Time Out New York’s idea of nerd girl, or rather, the NILF.

Melody Kitty loves being a fangirl, but she’s sick and tired of the objectification and depowering of superhero women. In another post, she challenges the geek fan community as a whole to stop stereotyping and be more observant of women within the community. Similarily, Willow wonders how we could open up dialogue with fanboys away from stereotypes to prove that we care about female characters in If The Fanboys Think We're Jealous, How Do We Win?

And last but not least, make sure you swing by Ladyjax’s blog, she’s holding a call of submissions for Boom Tube: a zine about Race, Culture and Fandom. Issue one’s theme will be dedicated to fans of color focusing on their experiences.

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Thanks for reading! Mark your calendars; Revena at The Hathor Legacy will be hosting the next carnival on October 16.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Price gouging, or anything else for that matter, does not equal rape

You know what I absolutely hate? When fans use the word rape as an analogy.

For example this comment (found in this comment thread):
Pfft, after the catastrophe that was the Nintendo Wii Europe Event followed
of course by the news that the Wii is not region free, I wen't in a matter of
days from being an avid Wii fanboy to completely and utterly disinterested.I
also know that I am not alone in this. Many, especially Europeans, are just sick
of the rape. I mean, at £133 for GameCube technology + some sensors, even Japan is getting extorted.
There's a sickening amount of privilege being exercised when someone can throw out a comment like this.

Too many times I come across it. And it's random. It's comments like that, the comments that completely trivialize rape, that make me want to leave my fandom behind, never click on my internet browser icon, throw the computer out the window.

It's rape. It's a hate crime. It's serious. Don't use it while in a fit of melodrama.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

For Real?

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According to Graham Cracker's site, (sorry if this is old news) tomorrow I'm going to find out who the father of baby Helena is.

My money's on Sam, especially after last month's issue. But I have to say that I'm surprised that we'll learn her dad's identity so soon--I expected the whole "who's-the-father" plotline to be dragged out for longer.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Call for Submissions: Feminist Science Fiction Carnival

The fifth Feminist Science Fiction Carnival will happen here at this blog on October 2.

All relevant blog posts about Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy since August 24 onward is fair game--the deadline for the carnival is September 25.

Email me at 100littledolls[at]sbcglobal.net or fill out this submission form. You can also visit the official blog of the carnival if you have any questions about the guidelines and for links to past editions of the carnival.

Here are the guidelines:
--All Weblog Postings on Science Fiction and Fantasy works in all media
(books, comic books, television, film, roleplaying tabletop games and video
games) written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Fan fiction written from a Feminist Perspective is eligible.
--Posts about fan fiction written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Posts about conventions and fan gatherings of a Feminist nature are eligible.
--Posts about conventions and fan gatherings written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Posts about any science fiction or fantasy fandom written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Posts linking to newsand announcements are eligible, so long as they pertain specifically to the Feminist Sci-Fi Fantasy community.
--Considerations about science fiction/fantasy news from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Analysis of non-Feminist works from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Rants about any of the above written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Posts which spell “Space” using 3 A’s and two exclamation points and are written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
--Posts about Green-Skinned Amazons (from Outer Spaaace!) with more than two breasts that are not written from a Feminist Perspective will not be eligible (and if they aren’t damned funny,* will be reproduced for mockery).
--Posts about Getting Your Girlfriend into [specific type of fandom] had also better be damned funny. If written from a Feminist Perspective (even tongue-in-cheek), they will be eligible.

*Sexist and/or homophobic does not equal damned funny, nor does it constitute anything
approaching a Feminist Perspective.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Looks like I'll be camping out on the eve of November 19

This morning as soon as my fingertips hit a computer keyboard, I headed over to 4 Color Rebellion to get the dirt about the Wii. $250? Sweet. November 19th release date? I can't wait. One type of packaging? Score. Only available in white? Sadness. I've never been a fan of white electronics.

When I first saw the Wii and got an eyefull of the red and lime green versions, I salivated. Alas, it's not to be. I'm sure in the future Nintendo will release different colored consoles, but I won't be able to wait that long!

Also, be sure to check out Wii's official website.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Highlights from the Highlife, Part 1

I’m sorry I haven’t updated sooner—jet lag had to beaten down, family had to be seen, and my last semester of college has begun (I can already tell that it’ll be a lot of work. Papers even have to be written for my yoga class.) I don’t want the blog to lag or suffer for my lack of time management, so my goal is to post at least once a week. Also, I’ve figured that I don’t have time right now to post any one or few massive posts of Japan, so I’ll just write a bunch of little ones.

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My first glimpse into Japan was its incredibly easy transportation. We had to get from Kansai International, which is just outside of Osaka to Nagahama, which sits on the eastern side of Lake Biwa in the Shiga Prefecture. The train trip took about two hours. We might have not been able to do it on our own, if not for the JR’s scrolling electronic boards that displayed the stops in kanji, kana and romaji.
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Hindsight bias intact from visiting the larger cities of Japan, it’s safe to say that Nagahama is a sleepy city. Though the size of the population (around 80,000) puts to shame the small Wisconsin town I grew up in, and even with it’s array of rice fields, a decent sized main street and distinctive downtown area, it didn’t feel much larger. It was the perfect place in which to compare the rural Japan to urban Japan.
My friend, a JET instructor, lives in an apartment building named Highlife Morii. His apartment is outfitted with a tatami floor, sliding doors, and a toilet that’s located in its own closet-sized room. On top of the back of the toilet had a spout with which you could wash your hands. Yes, with toilet water. I loved it.
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Nagahama castle is absolutely beautiful, but I unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to go inside of it. Instead, most of the time spent in Nagahama was in Kurokabe Square, or Black Wall Square. Most of the buildings in this area were built, I believe, in the Meiji period. Walking through this winding section of stores and restaurants while taking in the smell of old wood and frying pork felt like traveling back in time. Glass workshops, for which Nagahama is well known for, are also located here. Sculptures, such as the giant kaleidoscope showcased the talent found here. Just one day here was enough for me to shed off all the stress I had brought with me from Chicago.
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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Looking for a Translator

I'm back to the blog and country. I think I'll leave the play by play of the trip to 100littledolls, I just wanted to bring up some small observations. This was my second opportunity to visit Japan, so I was a little more prepared this time. Meaning, I brought a handkerchief to wipe all the drool off my face every time I walked into a store and saw all the wonderful games that I'll never be able to play. RPGs, Pokemon, strategy games, survival horrors and a remake of Dragon Quest V that looked so yummy. They had their share of stinkers over there, but I was genuinely excited for most games I saw. It was a strange experience. One that happens less and less in the States. I'm not to fond of the FPS GTA clone combo that fill the shelves here in America. It was nice to know that somewhere in the world there are still plenty of games that I would enjoy. (Although I can't play them unless I learn the language or a company brings them over.)

I complain, but I do enjoy and respect many games made in the western hemisphere. And I was shocked that my favorites were no where to be seen. Example: I went to the electronics districts in three major cities, Terimachi Street in Kyoto, Den Den Town in Osaka, and Akihabara in Tokyo, and I did not see one copy of Oblivion. Now I understand that the 360 is doing terrible in Japan, but I thought this game would have at least been pushed more. I mean, its a pretty impressive game. It might not have come out yet, but there weren't any advertisements. I found it weird and kind of sad that even the quality games don't seem to make it tp Japan. The PC sections did have a bunch of the hits from America translated into Japanese, but the consoles were lacking. The imported game section that I did find proudly displayed Tiger Woods, NBA Live, and American versions of Nintendogs. No wonder American game products are seen as lacking if this is all that is seen.

Oh well, I really never thought I would be defending Western games, but I guess its just an extension of the sadness I feel when I know I will never play all those juicy Japanese RPGs. I just wish that there was a better exchange of games between our two countries. Lately I've felt that the two markets have been growing farther and farther apart. I just hope that in the next generation, there will be less polarization, and more of a coutinuaty in the games that are released. (I want more RPGs!) I believe that the Nintendo Wii has the best chance of this in it's early attempt of trying to appeal to everyone. Maybe it'll create more of a cohesive video game world in the process.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

And I'm back. Sorry I couldn't update--there was little internet to be had in between riding the JR, losing my passport and eating cups full of shaved iced. I had a blast and now I have jet lag. Badly.

My goal is to slowly catch up on what I've been missing (a seemingly impossible task) and to write either a series or mammoth post, complete with pictures, about my trip.

I also have plans to lock myself up in a room and read the latest Bitch magazine from cover to cover. An issue that includes articles about Wonder Woman and Jem deserves my undivided attention.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Face, Flyers and Comics

First, before I talk about Wizard World, I want to direct your attention over to New Game Plus. Lake Desire’s put up the third edition of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans. It’s not to be missed!

The Flyers

Mid morning, Shions_Glasses and I met up with Dan Jacobson (who really is an incredibly sweet guy). We chatted, and then took to the convention floor with an important mission: handing out Girl-Wonder.org flyers to the comic book masses.

In the past I’ve distributed flyers for various causes before, not to mention that last year I was responsible for giving out condoms on my college campus. It’s always been a bit nerve wracking for me, as I’m not the most outgoing person. But it was different at Wizard World. While I did have to initially muster up the courage so that I was able to approach strangers with a certain amount of confidence, I found that once I started, I couldn’t stop. Our plan of attack was to hit the major exhibitors booths, like Wizard, Marvel and DC, and work our way back to Artist Alley. This included slipping flyer’s randomly in Dark Horse bags, and sliding others into hardcover Frank Cho nudie books. I placed some at the wrestling ring’s booth, and others at booths that were seemingly empty. (Which is how some were placed at Peter David’s booth.) Shions_Glasses and Dan focused more on the fanboys, while I handed out flyers mainly to the fangirls. Nearly everyone was incredibly nice, even supportive, and it was awesome to see many of the women in Artist Alley get excited when I explained Girl Wonder’s mission. My absolute favorite moment was when Shion gave a flyer to Greg Land. Think he’ll visit the site?

Because we received such a great reception, I truly think it’d be worthwhile for Girl Wonder to have it's own booth at Wizard World next year. I’d be all over volunteering to sit at it.

The Well-Known

One of the best parts of Wizard World is seeing those that you admire. While resting by the Snackoteria, we saw none other than Dirk Benedict, aka Face from the A-Team (or you know, Lt. Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica). Shions_Glasses took pictures of him ordering popcorn, but alas, I accidentally erased them. (Sadly, I lost all my pictures from Wizard World). Shion also ran up to shake his hand—I hear he’s a nice a guy.

David Mack had his own booth at Wizard World--just like last year--which he tirelessly manned on his own. I’m a huge fan of his work, and whenever I’ve gone up to talk to him I become hopelessly tongue-tied. No matter; just like last year, he patiently listened to me stumbled over my words, gave me a deal on a couple of his books, and then presented to me, after I gave him a Girl Wonder flyer, a beautiful print which he gave to me for free. A day later and I’m still swooning.

The Loot

I pretty much bought all the comics that were on my list:
--All issues of Catwoman that were penned by Will Pfeifer that I didn’t already have
--The second TPB of She-Hulk from Dan Slott’s first run
--The third TPB of Gotham Central
--The first TPB of Batgirl: Year One
--The first volume of the Revolutionary Girl Utena manga

Not to mention that I learned how the play the Pokemon card game, and loved every second of it.

Ja, mata.

Late tomorrow, Shions_Glasses and I are leaving for Japan, and will be gone for three weeks. I’m not sure the next time I’ll be able to post, but I’ll try to keep things updated here as much as possible. ::Blows internet kiss:: See you around!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's Like A Holiday

We're a couple days away from Wizard World! I have a pretty long list of comics I'm looking for and have been holding out from buying, so I'm super excited.

I'll really be packing it in. Since I'm leaving the country on Sunday, I'll have to squish in panels, the exhibitors floor, and the artist alley all in one day. Not to mention that I'll be handing out girl-wonder.org flyers while doing so, and meeting up with the fantastic Dan Jacobson.

Also, a plug: when walking through the artist alley, be sure to stop by local Chicago artist Sarah Becan's booth. I adore her work.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Type of Thesis

While I was not working at work, I discovered this cool interview with Robert Parungao that Gamespot put up. Maybe this is old news, but I thought what he has to say about racism in video games is very insightful. This is an issue that has bothered me for some time now, and it was nice to see a site like Gamespot discussing it. Even though the title is a little inflammatory, and the comments should be read at your own risk, I think its worth checking out. I would love to read his full thesis.

I unfortunately read through the comments. I couldn't believe the amount of resistence and fear towards this guy's thesis. I don't understand how people can deny someone's study of racism so easily. I did think it was cool to see that some people defended the article. It made me start to think that I should e-mail those people and get their friend codes. I would love to have a community of people that I knew it would be safe to play with online.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Masculinity, Nerds and Me

In one way or another, I found myself in the company of a bunch of fanboys this past weekend. At first, I was thrilled. What new games would I play? (Super Mario Strikers) What comics would I be able to pick up and read for free on the sly? (JLA #0)

And at first, it was good. I felt accepted. I held my own in Strikers even though it was my first time playing. I got to talk about Catwoman and Chris Bachelo. Nerd talk uninhibited.

But then, unexpectedly, it started. Faggot. Pussy this, pussy that. Vagina this, slut that. Dumbfounded and silent, I held my tongue. Sat rigidly on the couch, smoothed out my skirt, buried my face in a comic.

It was naive of me not to expect this. And I thought that I’d be prepared for this situation, where talk turns sour and everything becomes an insult. The amount of sexism and homophobia was staggering. I thought I’d be able to make some quick witty comebacks (filled with insightful knowledge) that would enlighten or at least make them shut up. After all the theory I’ve studied. Everything I’ve written on this blog, everything I’ve read on other’s blogs. You’d think I’d be able to come up with something. The only time that I was able to say anything was when one of the guys asked if I was looking at my own boobs. I shot him down so quickly and defensively that I surprised myself. I shocked him, and I’m sure the group was happy when I left—I was the bitch who ruined all the fun.

I first I felt exasperated. Do these guys represent the majority of the fan community that I want to be a part of? I mean, I desperately want to be part of some sort of group of people who share the same interests as I. But can that even occur because I’m a woman? At Wizard World I’ll be handing out flyers for girl-wonder.org as a way to be proactive, as an attempt to further create a space for women in geekdom. Yet, after my intensive nerd run-in, passing out flyers doesn’t seem to be good enough. Writing in this blog doesn’t seem to be good enough.

As a few days have now passed and my hopelessness has ceded a bit. I’ve been thinking and thinking about the whole situation and managed to come up with this: the guys I was around were taking part in a form of alternative masculinity. They’ve suffered the consequences of not being traditionally masculine: they’re not rich, they don’t have tight bodies or physical prowess. A way for them to prove their masculinity is through wins and game scores, and extensive comic book knowledge. Another way is verbal; by using sexist and homophobic slurs, masculinity can be proved by effeminizing their peers.

I’m not interested in games, comics, anime, what have you, in order to prove anything. My interest is that I simply like them. I think the guys I came in contact with initially started out the same way, but found that as they grew older and had their masculinity questioned, they had to use their hobbies as a way to prove themselves. I, as a geek girl, stand in direct opposition to that, which is why I failed, after the first couple of hours, to find a common ground with them.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Access to Power

Thanks to When Fangirls Attack, I've come across Megham Daum's article for the LA Times that discusses Batwoman's lesbianism. She discusses in her article that strong women in the media have to be lesbians:

I'm allowed to say this because I'm secretly gay too. Or at least I try to be. What choice do I have? Apparently "lesbian" is now the de facto label for any woman who asserts her own tastes and opinions and does not necessarily need to get married tomorrow. Granted, this might be confusing for people who lack opinions and their own tastes, and are desperate to settle down, but happen to be actual lesbians. But, according to the current cultural mind-set, a heterosexual woman who has her act together simply does not exist in nature.

Is it any wonder, then, that we (at least we in the media, who have high rates of secret lesbianism) are so fascinated by Batwoman's newest incarnation? DC Comics might be touting the idea of diversity, but I suspect what we're really seeing is an antidote to the rampant girliness of our era presented — how's this for ironic? — in the safest way possible.

If there's anything scarier than a strong lesbian, it's a strong straight woman. Now there's a superhero we could use.

I understand what Daum is trying to get at: that straight women, or rather femininity, is not viewed in our society as a bastion of strength or success. That in our society, lesbians can fudge the rules a bit, and be viewed as strong because, well, if you're a lesbian, you have to be masculine.

But I have to say, when the label "lesbian" is used in our society, the context is derogatory. Being a lesbian in our society is not a positive thing. When people call Condoleezza Rice (Daum's example) a lesbian, it is because she's being thought of as less of a woman. Are people really impressed with Rice's amount of power? Sure, they may be threatened by her position and whatever power she may yield, and that is because she's a woman. A straight woman. To call her a lesbian is to try to take away some of the power she might have from being in the public eye and serving the current administration. To call her a lesbian is an attempt to further other her and cast her in a bad light.

As far as DC making the current incarnation of Batwoman a lesbian: it's to sell books. DC in no way believes that straight women can't be powerful, that a straight woman superhero isn't the answer to the typical male (straight) superhero. Most of the superhero's that we read about are straight: Wonder Woman is straight, She-Hulk is straight, Phoenix is soo straight, I could go on and on. I can only count on one hand the number of lesbian superhero's I'm aware of.

To say that in our society that only lesbians are allowed to be "powerful" is drastically missing the point. To be a lesbian in our society is about being an outsider. It's about having less privileges. It's about being looked at as just a lesbian-period-and hardly anything else.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Too Easy.

I know, I know, I know. Complaining about IGN, complaining about this, is too easy. The feature obviously distasteful, noticeably sexist. But I can’t stay away.

I can’t stay away because of the cute blurbs about catfights for wank-fests. And I can’t stay away because of images like these:

So who had this costume first?

Four breasts are better than two:

The pain of wedgies:

and of a disjointed hip:

It’s like a car accident.

Link via When Fangirls Attack.


Over at Pretty, Fizzy Paradise is the Second Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans! Kalinara's put together an awesome edition.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just Can’t get into it (In Which I Complain)

I’m in a video game slump. My usual routine is that whenever I find a bit of free time, I position myself on the couch, fire up on of the consoles or my DS and get lost in hours of fantasy. But the past couple of weeks—ever since I finished Baten Kaitos—it hasn’t been so.

I’ve started Xenogears. I figured since I’ve enjoyed the Xenosagas and Baten that I should try out their predecessor—but often I find that when I’m playing it, I’m bored. I don’t know if it’s the PS1 graphics, the more typical fighting engine, the lack of female characters...Whatever it is, my heart isn’t in it. Playing feels like a chore.

After renting it for months on end, I finally purchased a copy of Pikmin 2. I love the premise of the game: plucking Pikmin out of the ground, fighting off bugs with the big, fat purple ones, discovering and towing home treasures, such as little pots of Carmex. Alas, I’m finding that after playing it for about an hour or so, I get bored.

I’ve tried watching Shions_Glasses play Fable. I’ve enjoyed watching him play other games, why not this one? Once again, I’m not sure if it’s the deficiency of women characters (I’m notorious for developing apathy when I don’t have a good female character to latch on to) or the lack of a good, strong plot: I watch Shion play, I fall asleep.

We haven’t finished Silent Hill 4 yet, but I’m not really in the mood to.

I have a copy of Beyond Good and Evil, which I know I really need to play, but I don’t want to.

Maybe my problem is that I need an RPG—maybe subconciously longing for immersion, for total addiction. I just finished my summer class and have nothing really important to do before my trip—it’s perfect timing for hours and hours of play. So, Digital Devil Saga? I wanted to buy it used, but found that the first one is super-expensive. Tales of Legendia? Not cheap enough yet. I was tempted to buy the Game Boy release of Tales of Phantasia, but cringed at that price. Why are they charging $30 for a Game Boy game? Which brings me to the DS—nothing’s appealing to me there either. I’ve started up Animal Crossing, but with half-interest.

It’s my first gaming slump in a long, long while. Sadness.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

IGN: Digging a Deeper Hole, One Slice of Cheesecake at a Time

I don't know if someone's already wrote about this before--the article is kind of old--but I inadvertantly and unfortunately came across IGN's: Top Ten X-Babes while wandering around the internet.

Never before have I cackled (while experiencing rage and alienation all at the same time).

Yet, I can't tell what's more insulting: the blurbs or being reminded of the way that some of my favorite female characters have been drawn.

Japan, Ho!

After Tuesday, after being on the train that was behind the train the derailed on the blue line, after inhaling black smoke and walking for an hour and a half home, I'm setting my sights forward: in August, I'll be spending three weeks in Japan.

Two of the weeks will be spent staying with a friend in Nagahama, which is near Osaka and Kyoto. It's known for being the home of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's first castle that he built. (You know, the guy who built a castle in a day in Samurai Warriors?)

The third week will be spent in Tokyo. I've reserved a room in a ryokan in Asakusa that is just a few blocks away from the Kaminarimon Gate.

I cannot wait.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

When Silver Suns Have Golden Moons

So I have a confession. I'm playing a X-box game, and kind of enjoying myself. And worse still is that its Fable. This is a game that I totally lambasted when it came out. No female playable character, the lenght is really short, it's on X-box--the usual complaints. But now things have changed.

My brother got himself a new 360, so I got the leftovers. I think because I came into Fable with very low expectations my hopes weren't crushed when I started playing. The best part of the game, by far, is the ability to be queer. I get to chose my sexuality! I no longer have to be forced into the status quo! I can marry my same sex partner, and stroll through the town in my dress with pride. And the fair citizens will cheer for my life choices and high reknown, not knowing that it is I who is breaking into their homes at night and stealing their potions. And it warms my heart that after a hard day of slaying hundreds of Hobbes, I can come home and make love to my wife. Wait a minute, Wife?! I married a dude, game!

So here comes the disappointment: I, too, fell into the Fable trap of high expectations like so many others. I thought that I would enjoy the same benefits of a het relationship. I was wrong. The first thing that pissed me off was that the game continually refers to the love of my life as my wife. How hard would it have been to program the game to change the text depending on the gender of my partner? And here's a thought, why not just call him my partner--it works both ways. It just gives a weird, "this choice was not our focus when we made this game" vibe. A feeling that is furthered by the fact that I don't get a wedding ceremony for my same sex partner. Would that have been so difficult? I just would have liked something, it didn't have to be a wedding, but some cut scene that shows that we are now together, and that this marriage is just as valid as the heterosexual one. I was disappointed after these realizations, but I was still proud that I just married a guy.

So naturally, I wanted to bask in the glory of my newly changed stat. Oh more disappointment, so much disappointment. What was waiting for me when I check my status of sexuality?...GAY. I'm Gay. If I married a women I would be Heterosexual. But now I'm gay. Instead of using the opposite term of homosexual, Lion's Head thought it was best to use a slang term. (A term I was called through my childhood and adolescence.) I wouldn't have cared if the other option was straight, but no, they use the scientific name for that. But me, I'm gay. So there it is. So close but so far away. Well, at least I can be Bisexual.

I have to say that I am very impressed that Lion's Head added same sex marriage into the game. In a game based around the choices you make, its only natural to allow for more than one sexual preference. I can't think of many other games that allow this, and have it be such a large, interactive part of the game. I just wish that they would have put more effort into the "gay" experience.

And the Award for Most Offensive Ad Campaign Goes to...

First there was this:

Now blac(k)ademic alerts us to this:

The Sony PSP: Classist, Sexist, and Racist.

Click on over to blac(k)ademic for Sony's mailing info.

UPDATE: Jacob has informed me that Sony has pulled the PSP white ads and has apologized to those who are offended by it. There's a whole article over at Gamespot.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

One Year Old: Robotech Repost

I've realized that it's been a year since I started blogging--in the beginning I had a Xanga blog. It took a few months for me to figure out that Blogger was better than Xanga, which prompted my move. I'm glad I did--switching to Blogger has made me part of a larger community, one that I can partake in and learn from. Thanks to everyone who's made me feel welcomed, and thank you to everyone who stops by.

In honor of blogging about feminism and pop culture for a year, I'm re-posting a favorite Xanga entry of mine: my first shot at reviewing a comic.
From October 11, 2005

A Review of Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles

We've all been waiting a good, long time for the next installation of the Robotech Universe and with the first issue of Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, it has begun.

The Cover: It's okay--I don't think it accurately betrays Omar Dogan's talent however. Rick's head is way too small for his body, it doesn't work with the perspective. Also it seems so cluttered, but I do admit that I am a fan of minimalistic covers that go for the visual bang.

The Art and Coloring: Excellent. I love Dogan's work and the colors are vibrant. There's an anime quality, but it's not just "cheap imitation." Definately eye candy.

Character Designs: They're alright. However, I'm not too much of a fan of the uniform--they're not snazzy like they were in the original Macross series, however. Lisa looks good, though not too much older. (Are they afraid to draw an attractive 40-50 something woman? Are wrinkles that unsightly?) Rick does look older and very manly which I'm somewhat disappointed with. I loved how in the original anime he was shorter and more slender than the other characters--plus when you're Admiral, do you really need to be so beefy? Jean Grant's design is good, but what's with that huge purple bow? We don't really get to see Minmei, just the back of her head with a hairstyle that looks way too similar to what it was in her little movie in the original. It's kind of like "Look! I'm Chinese because I have this oriental hair piece!" All in all, it's a mixed bag.

Story: Here's where it gets complicated. I can handle flawed character designs and goofy covers but....well wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. There's an amount of back story missing when we start off, which is okay, I can deal with that. Either the movie or future issues will handle this. However, I don't think we'll get a step-by-step story that deals with "From the Stars" to this issue, but there doesn't need to be. There's lots of science lingo, mystery and governmental council bickering. There's blood, death, and drama. I'll wait to learn more before I judge these aspects of the storyline--there's only one thing I have a contention with: the treatment of Lisa or rather the attitude of "We don't know how to write for female characters--especially the strong ones!"

What is painfully obvious is that they're going to make Lisa Rick's motivation. She deserves more than that--they did such a good job with her in the original series. To make her pregnant, hurt/hospitalized and miscarry is just rediculous. It's akin to what Lucas did to Padme in Star Wars. They take their strongest woman character--Lisa is the head in command--and make her weak and pregnant. Even though this is the future the problem of women handling family and career has not yet been solved (and neither have the problems with pregnancy been solved either.) We then have Rick saying something along the lines of "I can't wait for Lisa to resign her commission--you can't be Admiral and a mother." This drives me mad--Lisa's father could be Admiral and a father--the double standards, I don't get it. Oh right, Lisa's a lady. Okay, so we start the story off with Lisa and the SDF-3 getting shot down by Edwards, this in turn establishes Rick's hatred for Edwards and then puts Rick in position to be the leading Admiral. I understand that Yune and others are working somewhat with a preexisting story--they have to put the pieces together. However, it's lazy writing to take out your strongest female character, to make her just a womb that has been victimized.

And did anyone else think that the scene where Jean tells Rick about the Lost Baby is horribly trite?

I'm ranting, and it's probably pretty uncomprehensible, but bear with my anger. It's just that I'm so disappointed--I had expected too much, I guess. I was suprised when I went to read the message boards at Robotech.com how many people were so sad about the miscarriage etc. etc.
I will continue to read the rest of the series and I will see the movie. I will remain, however, apprehensive about the treatment of Robotech's female characters.
Just to note: I did stop reading the comics and I haven't seen the movie yet. I'm a little afriad to.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The First Ever Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

Comics, games, and TV, oh my! Make sure you check out The First Carnival of Feminst Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans for a tour around the interweb by Ragnell the Foul herself.

Some of the topics discussed under the big top: Star Trek, gaming and genderbending, X-3, Joss Whedon and of course, Black Canary's fishnets.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Etta is a Role Model

Recently at Written World, Ragnell expressed her appreciation for the Golden Age Etta Candy. I’ve loved that incarnation of Etta ever since I came across her: her strength and self-confidence. How she always knew what she wanted. She was a leader, and could help Wonder Woman out of a bind. And most importantly, she took up space.

How could I not write a poem for her? (Granted, at the time when I tried to bring in a Wonder Woman-themed poem every week into my advanced workshop. I admit I'm a bit embarrassed to post this poem, since it's pretty different from the way I usually write. I just had to rhyme it, Golden Age dialogue is so wonderfully cheesy.)

I echo Ragnell’s sentiments, I want Etta returned to her initial self.

Wonder Woman’s Sidekick: Etta Candy

“When you’ve got a man, there’s nothing you can do with him—but candy you can eat.” --Etta Candy

A former patient of Diana Prince’s,
fan-favorite Etta Candy wasn’t your typical sidekick.
She wasn’t quick, strong, or righteous,
was rather, instead, addicted to three things—
sweets, girls and Wonder Woman.

Leader of the sorority sisters, the Holliday Girls,
Etta with her scout smarts and red bloomers
could be contacted by mental radio,
would come to untie Wonder Woman with her enthusiastic “Woo Woo!”

Etta assembled an army of one-hundred glamorous girls,
who she lorded over with a plump fist and box of bonbons.
Together they defeated Dr. Poison’s lecherous horde,
then promptly threw a magnificent slumber party as an award.

In 1986, dear Etta was given a facelift—
she lost pounds, height and self-esteem.
Etta got stationed as an Air Force Lieutenant, instead of queen,
and married Wonder Woman’s longtime boyfriend, Steve.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The other day I found some interesting stats that David J. Leonard used in his article, "Not a Hater, Just Keepin' It Real: The Importance of Race-and Gender-Based Game Studies" that are originally from Children Now's Fair play? Violence, gender and race in video games, a study from 2002. Needless to say, the stats are a little dated, but I think the results are still extremely important to consider.

EDIT: As Steven points out in his comment, it seems odd that there would be such a low percentage of Asian/Pacific Islanders in video games when so many games are made in Japan. I'm having a hard time finding the Children Now's study without having to pay for it, so I can't find out exactly what games they were looking at. My hunch is that the percentages are from American-made video games.

Here's a link to Leonard's article. On the right sidebar, you can download the pdf.

In 2002:
• 64% of platform game characters were male
• 19% were nonhuman
• 17% were female, 50% of which were props or bystanders

• 50% of player-controlled characters were White males
• less than 40% were black, the majority of which were athletic competitors
• less than 5% were Latino
• 3% were Asian/Pacific Islander
• no multiracial or Native Americans

• 80% of female player-controlled characters are White
• less than 10% were Black
• 7% were Asian/Pacific Islander
• less than 1% Native American
• no Latinas
• When Black women appear in video games, 90% function as props, bystanders or victims

Monday, June 26, 2006


I admit, I was skeptical when I heard that Catwoman was going to be a mom. In fact, I was kind of pissed. A short list of my frustrations regarding motherhood:
1) The societal pressure that every woman should have kids
2) The perception that you aren't a real woman until you have a kid
3) Once you do have kids you can't win, be it the division between work and home, staying at home--No matter what, it's impossible to be the perfect mother, yet our society expects nothing less

It's the kind of topic that makes me want to hide my head in the sand. But then I read Ragnell's series of Mama-thon posts, and then I read this post over at P.M. McRae's Take Back The Knight (which is hosted by the invaluable Girl-wonder.org). I realized that comics could help me sort out my (ill) thoughts towards motherhood, and that I owed it to myself to check out Catwoman.

I love it. Catwoman is my absolute favorite comic right now. The covers, the art, the dialogue, the story--all perfect. I adore the characters and I appreciate how Selina is portrayed as a mother.

And this page from issue 55 is the absolute best:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Deja Vu

From Ultimate X-Men #71:

"I think Ms. Grey constructed split personalities to help her deal with having mutant powers. Nothing more."

My first thought: "God! They just can't go the route of X-3!"

And while the Ultimate's Phoenix storyline clearly won't, I was reminded all too often how comics have to make room for their blockbuster counterparts. I know the movies probably bring in a good deal of readers--hell, the early 90's Fox cartoon was my introduction to X-Men comics--I can't help but wonder what kind of pressure there is to include (awful) elements from the movies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Girl Gamers, Once More

The Escapist’s new issue out this week called Girl Power 2, is dedicated to women and gaming. Disappointedly, as Lake Desire has already pointed out, only one article in the issue is written by a woman (it’s a great one, an essay by Bonnie Ruberg that looks at young girls as avatars.)

The only other article I’ve had time to peruse was John Walker’s “Asexuality Actually.” One of the main points of his article is “that the majority of games we play don’t enforce sexual stereotype, gender biases or sexist principles”—that rather, instead, our conceived notions that video games are just for guys has been fed continuously by the media. True enough that the media treats geek girls as anomalies, but are the majority of the games out there asexual (?), or rather, unbiased, instead of being in favor of men and masculinity?

Walker backs up his claim with a list of games he’s carefully chosen:
Worms, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Psychonauts, Zoo Keeper, The Settlers III, Darwinia, IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles, Day of the Tentacle, Ratchet & Crank, Meteos, City of Heroes, Civilization, Microsoft Flight Simulator, The Sims, EVE Online, Crazy Taxi, Myst III: Exile, Descent, Mario Power Tennis, Mutant Storm, Sonic the Hedgehog, Metroid Prime, Tetris, Links 2003 and Fallout 2.

I could quibble with him about a couple of games on his list, but I can see what he’s getting at. If I looks at the list of current popular games off of GameSpot :
Prey, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Formula One 06, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, World of Warcraft, Super DBZ.

I’m not really struck by a lot of these games being gender-neutral. Sure, some are better than others, but some are undoubtedly sexist.

Walker also writes briefly of a “permission barrier” between girls and gaming, in regards to Schott and Thomas who found that girls were hesitant to pick up Game Boy Advances. I wish he would have spent more time on this study (with a link), but I think it demonstrates something important. Even if a girl or woman is attracted to video games, she might be hesitant to pick it up, for whatever different reasons. I was always afraid of trying a new game in front of my brother and his friends because if I wasn’t good, I feared I’d be made fun of for 1) sucking and 2) being a girl. Still today I’m hesitant to join in a round of gaming when my partner has his brothers over because of the exact same reasons. Which brings up another point that I feel could have made it into the article: beyond games themselves, and beyond the media, there is video game culture. Yes, chicken and egg and all that, but it’s important to recognize that women and girls could possibly be deterred by the attitude that uses “pussy” (et al) as a synonym for poor playing (just to scratch the surface). The outlook that uses Dead or Alive to claim that video games are a medium for men—women have shoes, manicures and, you know, Sex in the City.

I appreciate a lot of what Walker has to say in his article, and I too want to see videogames as being an “acceptable pastime for both sexes.” I just can’t help but feel that there’s a steep incline to achieving it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Commercial Activity

Tim from Old Grandma Hardcore has a great new post that deconstructs Kevin Brown’s speech at the Focus on Gaming Advertising Summit. While reading it I was reminded of Guilded Lily’s post that she wrote back in March that summed up her own thoughts about advertising and what advertisements might look like in games that want to reach the female demographic.

One of my favorite parts about games, (or even in other genres, such as anime) is noticing the fake brands and stores—they enhance the atmosphere and provide little clues as to how the fictional world that I’m becoming immersed in is similar or different to our own. I don’t think that advertisements for Pot Belly’s or Sketchers would heighten the realism of a game; instead it’ll just remind me of my real life, which in turn would hamper the pleasure of escapism that comes with playing games.

Living in Chicago, the amount of advertising I take in during my morning commute is overwhelming. The first thing I see when I descend the staircase of the El are the vending machines that crowd around the turnstile. After I insert my fare card, I push the turnstile bars which are now clear: presently, there’s a slipped in ad for Geico. To find an empty place to wait for a train, I walk over numerous vinyl advertisement mats that now cover the concrete of the subway platform. The wall opposite from where I stand is also plastered in ads. After the train arrives and I step in, it’s impossible for me not to notice the ads that line the perimeter of the car. There are also ads placed in the areas where there are no windows. There are now commercials in the tunnels—what was once black spaces are now ads that work like flipbooks. After I reach my stop and navigate through another area of ad space, I climb the stairs and am greeted by billboards: typical billboards, billboards on the side of buildings, billboards that are stationed like stop signs. Buses, with their own set of ads pasted to them, pass by bus stops that encase ads instead of bus maps. This is just the first half hour being out of my apartment.

And what about sexist advertising? The ads that I encounter are for everything, but of course I notice the most objectifying: a naked woman sitting—she’s in the shape of a cognac bottle. An ad for lotion is centered on a pair of breasts. Another ad, this time for citrus vodka, features a woman being peeled like an orange. I’m not even going to write about the ads for make up, clothing and perfume. You know what I’m writing about: the idea that women are commodities, billboards in their own right. And that beauty and anything that is good and worthwhile is rich, white, blond, tan, thin, and straight. I’m oversaturated.

Yet as much as I don’t want advertising in games, I know all to well that it’s inevitable.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cover Girl

Recently, I was nagged by a co-worker to pick up Whiteout for the great story and lead female character. I'd heard a lot about it, so I decided to--finally--order it used and cheap off the internet. It arrived the other day. Excited, I tore open the box and set my eyes on this:

Visible breasts (separated and lifted!) underneath a parka? I know it's a parka, the comic takes place in Antarctica. I'd thought my co-worker told me she wasn't sexualized in the comic. (I do have to say, after flipping through the comic it appears as though she really isn't). And what the hell is wrong with her lips?

Thanks Frank Miller!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Weirdest RPG. Ever.

I've always wanted to play Baten Kaitos--probably since I finished the first Xenosaga. I received Baten for Christmas, but haven't gotten around to it until now.

I have to say, it's the strangest RPG I've ever played. It's not the characters or the so-so story. Rather, it's the atmosphere and the details, the different worlds that you travel to. (I don't want to ruin any surprises for anyone who hasn't played.) All I can say is: bizarre.

I'm really hooked. I wasn't sure how I'd like the card base battle system, but I love it. I actually look forward to dungeons because I never know which cards will come up.

So far there hasn't been any big problems in regards to gender. The main character is a whiney guy who ends up joining a young girl on her quest. I have my own role in the game as a spirit guide--something I really like. I don't have to identify closely with the main character, and I get the opportunity to choose my own name and gender. As far as I can tell, the story doesn't change depending on what gender you chose. (Gender parity? Score!)

There has been the requisite tassel-on-breasts-boss, and a brand new member in my group's party seems to be filling in the role of femme fatale, but on the whole I have to say that I've been pretty happy.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I don't know if I should admit it for reasons of sheer nerdity, but one thing I like to do after beating a video game is to visit its wikipedia page. Shions_Glasses and I finished Resident Evil 4 about a month ago, and when I browsed through RE 4's pages I came upon this:

Many feel the game may have even been less tense and frightening just because of how "in control" Leon feels in the game, lending the game more of a 'survival action', rather than 'survival horror', element.

I found RE 4 to be more intense than the other Resident Evil games, mainly because of the number of people that you have to plow your way through, but I found that I was creeped out more by the remake of the original Resident Evil. I'm thinking that I felt more secure during 4 because we could carry more items and had ammo and first aid sprays to spare.

What do you think? Did you feel more control while playing as Leon? Did you feel threatened when you played as different characters (such as Jill)? Or is Resident Evil 4 such a departure from the earlier games that it's hard to compare?

I have to admit though, either way, those Regenerators were really freaky.