Democrat Candidate in Virginia Seeks Help to Slut-shame Teen Girl

Mike Dickinson, Virginia Democrat, make-believe candidate for congress to fill Eric Cantor’s seat in the 7th district and all around scumbag has put a bounty out on a teenage girl, Kendall Jones, of $100k for nude photos and/or video so that he can slut shame her.

The reason? Kendall Jones is a big-game hunter. Personally, I’m not a fan of big-game hunting, and I can understand people being upset seeing photos of hunters posing with their kills. But this guy not only crosses a line, he pole vaults over it, makes a running dash for the motorcycle he’s stashed over there and drives off into the sunset of crazy:

Mike Dickinson is crazy
The next time you hear about the “War on Women”, I’d like you to remember this clown.

Note that this could be fake: my only sources that this person is an actual human being running for congress are the huffington post, hardly a reliable source on any subject, and Greta Van Susteren, who may have been trolled into setting this all up months ago.

 

Puzzling Over the Cosplay Paradox

I saw this, which led me to this, which made me ponder this:

Many of the designs of female characters were created specifically to be sexualized objects.  What Laura Mulvey’s essay on film and the male gaze says about movies applies in spades for the mediums of comic and animation, where female characters are literally objects created by and large by and for males .

If male artists and creators are contributing to and participating in rape culture by designing these over-sexualized and objectified female characters, are female cosplayers who choose to portray these sex object characters as a part of their hobby also contributing to rape culture through their celebration of these characters and their objectifying designs?

Avoiding victim blaming creates an interesting paradox:

If an image or portrayal of women is harmful to women, but it cannot be harmful to women if a woman is portraying the harmful image, how can we say it’s harmful without engaging in victim blaming? If the image is not allowed to be called out as harmful to women when emulated by women, can we say the image was harmful in the first place?

Is it the real woman with ‘boobs hanging out’, as it is so crudely put, or created object image of a woman with ‘boobs hanging out’ being emulated that we have a problem with?

There’s a conundrum in certain lines of modern feminist thought when someone has a problem with the created image but is unable to criticize celebration of the image by the very person that is victimized by or because of the created image when that person is victimized because the victim is not allowed a role in their victimhood. Therefore, creators of harmful images are able to hide behind the victimhood of others, those who are unwittingly playing a role in the culture that has made them victims by celebrating those characters who exist to objectify women.

God, feminism is rife with terrifying logic puzzles! Feel free to use any of this if there is an evil robot you need to destroy.

And NO, this is NOT an endorsement of or post in favor of victim blaming or victim shaming, playing devil’s advocate or anything like that. Just an attempt to articulate a confusing existential problem that faces the geek community with no solutions proposed or implied.

Healthcare update! This is What the Government Thinks of Women!

This lady simply cannot WAIT to get sexed up by this hella skeezy looking dude!

63-620x620

Susie, I hope for your sake that PPACA includes a mandate for regret insurance.

No, this is not a parody. This is a real advert for Obamacare.

This is what our society has become in the age of Obama. And conservatives and anti-statists are the ones waging a war on women? You mean those of us who don’t think that getting some and not getting pregnant is the ONLY thing that women care about? Women, you are being condescended to, and if you don’t find this attitude towards you offensive and disgusting, I really don’t know what to think anymore!

Now, this isn’t from the national exchange, but rather the one in Colorado. But don’t forget that Colorado is one of those states whose state government that is so far left that it is currently in the midst of a secession movement… I can’t wait for these ads to somehow be Ted Cruz or Rand Paul’s fault.

Counterpoints to Tropes vs Women

While I’ve been enjoying watching Anita Sarkeesian’s new video series ( largely from the perspective of a former crit theory student), I think that there are a lot of  interesting and very good rebuttals out there.  No, not the people who are all “Anita’s a stupid (insert various insults against women here)”, but there are a lot of really well thought out arguments against her position and her methods (some of the best of which I’ve tried to aggregate here).    And considering her topic out of the gate, I hope that the irony is not lost on her that she made a ton of kickstarter money off people who were White Knighting for her.

This is a pretty good rebuttal:

As is this lady’s:

 (she’s posted counterpoints to all three videos, you can find them easily enough yourself.)

Also, let’s not forget that intellectual feminism is largely based on linguistic acrobatics (thank god at least English doesn’t have masculine & feminine endings), as this points out.  It’s slightly harsher than the previous, but points out, more or less, that rhetoric can be used to argue any point in any direction (but those with the power to oppress cannot be oppressed, hurr hurr).

Here is Anita’s example of a “good” game with a female protagonist as she’s proposed:

Yet if such a game existed, one could complain that the princess character is:
-Simply a gender swap of a male protagonist
-An individual who came from privilege, not oppression, and therefore cannot be a symbol of release from oppression.
-The sexualized product of  male fantasies about subdual and subjugation by a strong woman (a Japanese feminist manga critic professor doctor lady once told me that there were no strong feminist heroes in manga, all strong female characters are simply male fantasy objects in a culture where most women are incredibly demure and men have a desire to be smacked around by dominating tough girls.)

And if Anita Sarkeesian had not been the one to propose such a game, how much do you want to bet she’d be the one to attack it?

(plus, isn’t a royal returning from exile and overthrowing a council the opposite of what usually happens when people are trying to abolish the monarchy forever?)

Lastly, Mario a retelling of St. George & the Dragon?  It’s so obvious that anyone could overlook it.

Ultimately, there ARE a lot of really gross things in video games, and a lot of female characters in video games ARE oversexualized and essentially made objects of the gaze, but Anita’s approach means finding the sexist bogeyman behind every corner and under ever rock.

Let no one say Chris Gonnerman is not an alright dude.

Several months back, I wrote a rather scathing polemic about violence against women in RPGs, and the BFRPG module Morgansfort was the unfortunate target of my fey mood.

I won’t say that I don’t have problems with Morgansfort as I read it, because there are some personal lines that it crosses for me with how it was originally written. The original post, however, unfairly hammers Chris Gonnerman’s work when there are far more egregious offenders out there, but my frustration reached a boiling point while I happened to be reading Morgansfort.

I like BFRPG, and enjoy the several modules I’ve read, and I even enjoyed reading Morgansfort. The modules are VERY well written and super easy to pick up and run. But what happened for me was what I’d consider an “Awww, man!” moment. Finding really good gaming material out there that is free from sexist tropes seems harder than it should be, and finding it in something that I REALLY LIKED kinda made me snap. I really think that if I hadn’t had every intention of running Morgansfort at some point, I wouldn’t have said anything.

Violence against women and victimization of females is commonplace in fictive fantasy of any media because it elicits such a visceral response, and it’s an easy way to shine a glaring bright spotlight on something or someone to say “HERE BE GREAT INJUSTICE!” (Insert essay on Women in Refridgerators phenomenon here.)   And I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past, because it’s such an EASY way to show just how evil and bad someone is. When I revisited my decade old notes on from Cirsova as a 3e campaign, one of the first ‘episodes’ ends with the kidnapped women & children dead at a bandit camp, because “aww, man, those guys are seriously bad dudes!” I’m glad now, that I never ran it, because it was using victimization as a cheap plot device to elicit a reaction from players.

Anyway, Chris found my post, but rather than flip out and start an internet fight, he came over, addressed and acknowledged points while making some of his own. In no way do I think that Chris Gonnerman is a gross sexist or racist dude; at worst, he slipped into an easy and commonplace (so much so that most people won’t even realize it unless it’s pointed out) narrative trap. And I think that if I didn’t enjoy his stuff, I wouldn’t have got all butthurt about it. One point he made was that I should’ve contacted him personally with any grievance I had so he could’ve dealt with it quicker. Having been an indie publisher myself, it should’ve occurred to me that, as an indie publisher, Chris would’ve loved to hear feedback. At the time, though, I didn’t make the mental connection.

In reality, there are only a few things that would have to be done to ‘fix’ the problems that I had with Morgansfort. Drop one word that makes the Orcs seem to be itching for a fight, not have the ‘wink’ in the DMs notes regarding surrendered Orc women, and maybe give some sort option to save the poor zombie girl… I know that wouldn’t be enough for people who are hard-set against inherent sexism of the ‘damsel’ trope, but those people are way harder to please than me.

I’d like to thank Chris for his feedback, and offer the above as apologia. To everyone else, please check these things out for yourself and reach your own conclusions. I’m a B/X person, but as far a system with lots of materials that are both free and easily adaptable, BFRPG is one of the best and one of my favorites.

Peter Pan, WTF

Might take some heat for this one, but here goes…

As a tater-tot, I apparently had a flashbulb memory of Disney’s Peter Pan. I always assumed I’d seen it, like maybe when I was 6 or younger. Maybe because of those little picture books in doctors’ offices combined with the fact that I’d seen SOME version of Peter Pan (I know with some degree of certainty that it was not the Tim Curry Peter Pan and the Pirates on Fox, because when I first saw that when I was in daycare, I was mentally comparing it against some other Peter Pan I had seen) I thought I’d watched it at least once. Well, turns out I was wrong.

I love the movie Hook, and so does my girlfriend. Once while watching it, I mentioned that it had been ages since I’d actually seen Peter Pan. With some reservation, she informed me that she had it on VHS, but didn’t really like it much so didn’t watch it often. After watching it with her, I can see why.

It was kind of creepy and a lot more sexualized than I would’ve expected from a children’s cartoon from the 50s. No one thing would do more than raise an eyebrow on its own, but the pervasiveness when paired with the themes adds up throughout. Tink checking herself out in mirrors, getting her hips stuck in the keyhole after implication that she thinks her butt’s too big, ultimately getting tossled about and landing spread eagle was uncomfortable to watch. Follow that up with the rest of the movie being about Peter Pan pretty much going from girl to girl, doing everything to make Wendy jealous while being completely oblivious himself, saying it’s not a good couples movie is kind of an understatement. “Why aren’t you okay with the fact that my topless mermaid friend just tried to kill you? 😀 ” (If it weren’t for the sexist “Squa get um firewood”, I’d almost say that the uber-stereotyped indians were one of the less offensive parts of movie, for what that’s worth.)

The thing that irks me is that I almost feel like there is a character arc for Wendy that could be completed in a satisfactory way, until it’s torpedoed in the last scene. For a minute, let’s look at Peter Pan through the lense of Wendy as the protagonist. The bone we’re given to chew on in Peter Pan is the idea of growing up. Wendy doesn’t want to grow up, John and Michael don’t want to grow up, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys don’t want to grow up. From what we see of Wendy’s parents, being a grownup is a life of responsibility, disappointment, anger and frustration. Peter Pan takes Wendy to a place she’ll never grow up, seemingly fulfilling her wish… And proceeds to be a colossal dick to her the entire time.

Not growing up means not only not having responsibilities or being responsible for your actions, but having the freedom to be childish and self-centered without real consequence. Children in Neverland simply get to feed their Id with no thoughts to the consequences or feelings of others (don’t forget how quickly, and with smiling faces, the Lost Boys were about to rush and sign up to be Pirates with Hook after they’d been captured), and this is where the actual tension of the story mounts: Wendy, who had proclaimed she didn’t want to grow up, is beginning to see how harmful the selfishness of childhood can be, and she herself feels responsibility for John and Michael, whose heads she filled with stories of Peter Pan and Pirates. She wants to go home. Neverland is a crappy place full of crappy people and she’s done with it. No one in Neverland has a shred of empathy. When Wendy gets home, she says that she’s finally ready to start growing up… And that Peter Pan is absolutely wonderful.

If you are with a girl and you show off how close you are with a bunch of half-naked women who treat her like crap, have a female best friend who hates her, and make kissies with another girl in front of her, she’s going to be out on you faster than Cybil Shepherd walked out on DiNiro in Taxi Driver, not proclaiming how wonderful you are.