So on my recent post about biphobia at Pride, a commenter by the name of Marc stopped by to tell me that gay people have no power or privilege and therefore they can’t discriminate or oppress bisexual people, and that biphobia from the gay community does not exist. Here is his comment in full:
It’s a big call I know, we’re 43 days into 2015 and there is so much left to go – but in the past few days, today in particular, Tony Abbott, Australia’s current inept, arsehole, Prime Minister, has raced ahead of all other contenders and seized the crown for Arsehat of the Year. No one else, possibly no one else this decade, will demonstrate how much of an arsehat they are, as Tony has so far this year.
Today, for example, Tones decided that fair trials were things that people who were accused of terrorism did not need:
Despite prominent lawyers calling for restraint in public commentary on the case because of the potential for court proceedings to be prejudiced, Abbott disclosed key details of a briefing from police and security agency chiefs.
On Thursday the president of the New South Wales bar association, Jane Needham SC, urged restraint in publicly commenting on the case, warning that the men may not receive a fair trial.
“The association has concerns about the degree of public comment in the media concerning the two terrorism suspects appearing today in bail proceedings. Such comments have the potential to undermine the proper administration of justice,” Needham said.
“Our courts should be allowed to deal with matters before them without public statements being made that could prejudice subsequent proceedings and we would urge caution in this regard.” (Guardian)
He also, apparently under pressure, but really just because he’s an epic arsehat who engages his brain only rarely, suggested that the previous Labor government, oversaw a “a holocaust of jobs in defence industries”. Yes he went there, he also subsequently apologised.
Mr Abbott was being pressed in question time about the surge in unemployment and the government’s plans to potentially buy submarines from overseas, instead of commission Australian-built vessels in Adelaide.
The opposition’s workplace spokesman Brendan O’Connor asked Mr Abbott: “South Australia’s unemployment rate has now reached 7.3 per cent. Prime Minister, when will good government actually start and the Prime Minister deliver on his promise to build submarines in South Australia?”
The Prime Minister went on the offensive, telling Parliament: “Under members opposite defence jobs in this country declined by 10 per cent. There was a holocaust of jobs in defence industries under members opposite.”
Labor frontbencher Tony Burke got to his feet but before he raise a point of order, the Prime Minister withdrew his remark.
“That’s what there was Madame Speaker, jobs, jobs, jobs, I’m sorry if I, I’m sorry and I withdraw Madame Speaker. There was a decimation of jobs,” he said. (SMH)
He also, today, accused Australia’s Human Rights Commission of writing a partisan report, and that it was clearly a stitch-up, something the Human Rights Commission should be ashamed of publishing. Clearly he also hasn’t read the report, because it covers “nine months of the Gillard and Rudd governments and the first 12 months of the Abbott government. And it references policies in place for a decade.” (Guardian). While unfairly criticising the Human Rights Commission, he also said the following distasteful bile:
Asked on Fairfax radio on Thursday morning if he felt any guilt over the findings, the prime minister said “none whatsoever”.
“The most compassionate thing you can do is stop the boats,” Abbott said.
“Where was the Human Rights Commission when hundreds of people were drowning at sea [under Labor]?
“This is a blatantly partisan politicised exercise and the Human Rights Commission ought to be ashamed of itself.
“I reckon that the Human Rights Commission ought to send a note of congratulations to Scott Morrison to say ‘well done, mate’,” Abbott said. (Guardian)
This week also saw Tony being found “shockingly incompetent” by a US think tank. I’m surprised that a US think tank was even looking at Australia’s political goings on, but clearly Tony and his team are making such monumental arsehats of themselves, that the rest of the world is beginning to pay attention.
A leading United States think tank has published a piece posing the question, “Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy?” and answering, quite comprehensively, in the affirmative.
Published on the Council on Foreign Relations website before Mr Abbott survived a spill motion on Monday, the piece argues that he has proven so “shockingly incompetent” that he deserved to lose his job.
“Abbott has proven so incapable of clear policy thinking, so unwilling to consult with even his own ministers and advisers, and so poor at communicating that he has to go,” wrote the CFR senior fellow Joshua Kurlantzick, a US specialist in south-east Asian politics. (SMH)
Also this week, because it is an epic week of Tony being an epic arsehat, in response to the Closing the Gap report, he said that, “indigenous Australians must “grasp” the opportunity to close the gap of disadvantage and not expect it to be granted by government” (The Australian). This is despite the ongoing racist policies and legislation enacted by the Government such as The Intervention, continued child removal, and the cutting of Government funds towards services aimed at improving Indigenous Australian lives. Amy McGuire at New Matilda has more:
“Closing the gap is not something to be granted by this Parliament to Indigenous Australians; closing the gap is to be grasped by them.”
This is smoke and mirrors of the highest order, because it assumes blackfellas have some sort of choice. It assumes they have an ability to “grasp” this lifeline extended from HMAS Abbott, when in reality they are being left in the sea to drown.
If you dig into report, and it really isn’t hard given it is only 20-pages long, you’ll find a much more insidious agenda at play.
According to the report, the removal of CDEP resulted in a 60 percent decline in Indigenous employment rates. But governments have continually failed to view CDEP jobs as real employment, even though they kept Aboriginal people active and engaged, and paid real wages through ‘top up’.
The Remote Jobs and Community Program (RJCP) replaced CDEP in remote areas, and effectively takes Aboriginal people back to the days before award wages.
And finally, for this blog post at least, Tony is going to be investigated by the audit office for a federal budget proposal:
Tony Abbott’s decision to hand over $3 billion of public money for the East West Link without a rigorous benefit-cost analysis will be formally investigated by the national audit office.
Auditor-General Ian McPhee is apparently so keen to pursue the issue after making preliminary inquiries with Infrastructure Australia and the Department of Infrastructure that he adjusted the audit work program to accelerate his investigation.
The promise of $3 billion appeared to breach a Federal Coalition promise made before the 2013 election that there would be no Commonwealth infrastructure projects of more than $100 million without a rigorous benefit-cost analysis.
Mr Albanese said taxpayers deserved to know what due diligence process Mr Abbott undertook before deciding to fund the project.
“Based on documents released by the Andrews government, the Napthine government sought to conceal its business case from the Commonwealth and then attempted to cook the books to make the East West project look worthwhile,” Mr Albanese said.
“It also appears Mr Abbott did nothing to satisfy himself that the project represented value for public money.” (The Age)
This has just been one week in the Prime Ministership of Tony Abbott. Given he survived a leadership spill with no clear alternative on Monday (it’s only Thursday now), I don’t imagine with more weeks like this under his belt that he’ll be around for much longer. My eyebrows would appreciate him not being around much longer given they’re tired of being raised so frequently, I’m worried that soon they will start living on the back of my head. Ideally he and his party would also vanish up their own arses when Tony is removed from leadership, but we’ll have to put up with their continued wreckage for a bit longer.
For everyone else who got this far, here is the tracker of all the promises that Tony has broken since his election, and the details of the mess he’s made.
You ruined my Pride March. You went along to an event that celebrates Melbourne’s Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Trans* and Intersex communities, and you thought it was appropriate to yell, “Get off the fence, I don’t care how” more than once, and “undecided”. I decided to yell back at you “Fuck off”, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that you went to a Pride event and decided to hurl abuse at a small group of bisexual people marching down the road.
Really, I’m so over this. This had previously been our normal, walking along at Pride and copping abuse from the crowd for existing, for daring take our non-monosexuality out in the open and be present and proud with all the other members of the LGBTIQ communities. We stood up against it, and it went away… for a while. Clearly you either missed the memo, or thought that since it hadn’t been spoken about for a while that it was completely acceptable to yell abuse at us.
What on earth were you thinking? Did you also hurl abuse at other groups like TGV or Seahorses? Did you yell at the politicians, the Police, or emergency services workers? If you were so full of vitriol that you had to yell at the one and only bisexual group at Pride, why did you bother to come along at all?
I don’t understand people like you who come along to an event to celebrate a group of minorities in society and yet reject an entire community in that broader community. I don’t understand what you thought yelling at us would achieve, other than making me (and others) sad. Do you honestly and genuinely believe that bisexual people haven’t made up their minds about their orientation? Do you think we’re all deluding ourselves? All of us? All 50% of the LGBTI community?
It’s beyond time that YOU stopped being so scared of us and so hateful towards us that you think that standing on the street during Pride March and yelling at us is completely acceptable. It’s time you started being generous of spirit, gracious, and willing to admit that sometimes you are wrong about things. It’s definitely time you started educating yourself about who is in your broader community, what their lives are like, and what effects biphobia actually has on them. Try a little compassion in your life.
So life has been incredibly hectic with end of the year shenanigans, and now I’m on leave, Christmas is over, and I have a game downloading, let me share with you all the interesting things I’ve found over the past few months. I should do these on a more frequent interval, and maybe that’s something that can happen next year. I’m going to categorise these for ease of reading/writing.
“Despite all of this negative information you have received concerning how the Salvation Army treats the LGBT community,” he says. “I enjoy the ministry we have. I love helping people out. I’m not in it for the money. I’m here to serve God by helping others. That being said, if I were to [publicly] go against my superiors, I would be terminated immediately and be left homeless.”
At the Bisexual Community Tumblr, “The difference between monosexism and biphobia“:
Monosexism causes bisexual erasure (from media, literature, art, TV and film, etc.), it causes discrimination when it comes to activist priorities, budgeting, etc. It causes the social isolation that leads many bis to have poor health and mental health, and prevents proper treatment and support that might help alleviate them. It keeps bi people “low” on the “pecking order” and creates all sorts of oppression. I see monosexism as the main factor responsible for all the horrible statistics in the Bisexual Invisibility report, for example.
So, basically, monosexism is the system, the base structure. It is everything which isn’t directly aimed at bi* people but nonetheless has the effect of eradicating our existence or legitimacy.
Emma Sleath writes at the ABC, “I am intersex: Shon Klose’s story“:
“I would like to see a world where no one identifies as either male or female, but that we just acknowledge each other as human beings.”
Milo Todd writes at Everyday Feminism, “5 Ways That Bi Erasure Hurts More Than Just Bisexual People“:
This year, Bisexual Awareness Day/Celebrate Bisexuality Day was on September 23rd.
That same day, the National LGBTQ Task Force thought it’d be a good idea to post an article entitled “Bye Bye Bi, Hello Queer,” in which leadership programs director Evangeline Weiss said “she is ready ‘to say bye bye to the word bisexuality.’
She said it does not describe her sexual orientation, and she encouraged readers to cease using the word as well as she felt it reinforced a binary concept of gender.
Let me drive that home a little more. The National LGBTQ Task Force not only thought it would be a good idea to publish an article insulting, misrepresenting, and forsaking the bisexual letter in their own name, but did so on Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
M.H.Monroe at Aus Thru Time writes, “Eel Farming“:
To exploit this abundant seasonal food source, the Aborigines constructed an elaborate system of traps and even canals that were on a scale that could be considered to be engineering. Among the sites where these structures were built of stone and still remain are Ettrick (Mainsbridge Weir site), Lake Condah, Toolondo and Mt William.
A detailed study of the trap network has been carried out at Lake Condah, the publication they produced is Aboriginal Engineering of the Western Districts of Victoria. The study found many stone races (above ground canals), canals, and stone walls, up 1 m high by 1 m wide made from black volcanic rocks that are common in the area. These walls were often more than 50 m long. Channels had been dug into the basalt bedrock that were up to 1 m deep and extended for up to 300 m.
Philip Oltermann writes at The Guardian, “Forgotten fairytales slay the Cinderella stereotype“:
Once upon a time … the fairytales you thought you knew had endings you wouldn’t recognise. A new collection of German folk stories has Hansel and Gretel getting married after an erotic encounter with a dwarf, an enchanted frog being kissed not by a damsel in distress but by a young man, and Cinderella using her golden slippers to recover her lover from beyond the moon.
The stash of stories compiled by the 19th-century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth – recently rediscovered in an archive in Regensburg and now to be published in English for the first time this spring – challenges preconceptions about many of the most commonly known fairytales.
Elena Glassman, Neha Narula and Jean Yang write at Wired, “MIT Computer Scientists Demonstrate the Hard Way That Gender Still Matters“:
As computer science PhD students, we were interested in fielding questions about programming, academia, MIT CSAIL, and how we got interested in the subject in the first place. As three of the few women in our department and as supporters of women pursuing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics], we also wanted to let people know that we were interested in answering questions about what it is like to be women in a male-dominated field. We decided to actively highlight the fact that we were three female computer scientists doing an AMA, to serve as role models in a field that’s less than 20 percent female.
As it turned out, people were extremely interested in our AMA, though some not for the reasons we expected. Within an hour, the thread had rocketed to the Reddit front page, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews and more than 4,700 comments. But to our surprise, the most common questions were about why our gender was relevant at all. Some people wondered why we did not simply present ourselves as “computer scientists.” Others questioned if calling attention to gender perpetuated sexism. Yet others felt that we were taking advantage of the fact that we were women to get more attention for our AMA.
Marguerite Del Giudice writes at National Geographic, “Why It’s Crucial to Get More Women Into Science“:
So what difference does it make when there is a lack of women in science? For one, it means women might not get the quality of health care that men receive.
It’s now widely acknowledged that countless women with heart disease have been misdiagnosed in emergency rooms and sent home, possibly to die from heart attacks, because for decades what we know now wasn’t known: that they can exhibit different symptoms from men for cardiovascular disease. Women also have suffered disproportionately more side effects from various medications, from statins to sleep aids, because the recommended doses were based on clinical trials that focused largely on average-size men.
Nicole Hernandez Froio writes at Words by Nicole Froio, “On misogyny in the gay community“:
Even if I could say which group is worse, that’s not the point (and it will never be the point). Misogyny in the gay community exists and it has to be addressed. The worst way to go about it is to say: “Wah! But straight guys are even worse!” That’s just shifting blame and denying that, even though you are oppressed in one instance, you were still raised in a patriarchal society that teaches hatred of women and femininity.
Imran Siddiquee writes at The Atlantic, “The Topics Dystopian Films Won’t Touch“:
Whenever Hollywood does get an opportunity to talk about race in one of these movies, it minimizes the subject. Characters of color like Beetee, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who mentored Katniss, or Christina, Tris’s best friend in Divergent (played by Kravitz’s daughter Zoe), certainly play major roles in these stories, but their race is never at issue. You might say that this is an example of admirably “colorblind” filmmaking—were it not for the fact that the audience’s perspective is always that of a white protagonist.
To an extent, the diversity of characters depends on the source material, but producers typically have some leeway in casting decisions. Suzanne Collins, in her original novel, does not explicitly describe Katniss as Anglo-Saxon (she has “olive skin”), so it’s actually the filmmakers who make the decision to default to white. In fact, Collins intentionally leaves many lead characters in the novels racially ambiguous, creating a more integrated and nuanced world.
Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times writes, “A Shooter, His Victim and Race”:
IAN MANUEL is a black man who has spent most of his life in prison. Yet he still has a most unusual advocate calling for his release: a white woman whom he met when he shot her in the face.
Manuel fired the bullet when he was barely 13, and he fit all too neatly into racial stereotypes, especially that of the black predator who had to be locked away forever. One of the greatest racial disparities in America is in the justice system, and fear of young black criminals like Manuel helped lead to mass incarceration policies that resulted in a sixfold increase in the number of Americans in prison after 1970. Yet, as his one-time victim points out (speaking with a reconstructed jaw), it’s complicated.
Marlene Halser at ynet writes, “German village plays prank on neo-Nazis“:
Instead of taking the neo-Nazis seriously, this time they decided to play a prank on them. Under the slogan “Right against right: (“rechts gegen rechts”), Wunsiedel’s residents gave the neo-Nazis’ march a new purpose.
For each meter the neo-Nazis marched last Saturday throughout the village, local companies donated 10 euro for a project called “Exit”, a NGO that supports neo-Nazis who are ready to leave the milieu.
Simon Leo Brown writes at ABC, “Melbourne street art featured in new photo book, Street Art Now by Dean Sunshine“:
Street Art Now is Dean Sunshine’s second book on Melbourne street art.
“At the end of the day [street art] is all ephemeral, it’s not designed to last,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne’s Libbi Gorr.
“If it did last forever, then you’d have nothing to go back and see, there would be nothing fresh.”
He said the constant turnover helped improve street art, with artists pushing themselves to create better work.
Mallory Ortberg writes the perfect response to hearing both sides of an argument at The Toast, “We Regret To Announce That Your Request Of “Gotta Hear Both Sides” Has Been Denied”
Joe Gelonesi at Radio National writes, “The metaphysics of pregnancy“:
By all accounts, this seems like a question about the structure of reality; the meat and potatoes of metaphysics. So why is there an absence of interest? For Kingma, this hints at an elemental division.
‘I suspect that maybe it hasn’t been very obvious as a topic because the kind of people who have traditionally done analytic philosophy wouldn’t have been very closely involved with pregnancies. They would not have been pregnant themselves or even been close to pregnant partners.’
It does scream of gender inequity in the higher reaches of the hard-headed end of town; men do analytic philosophy in greater numbers and they might be searching elsewhere in the grand structure of the universe for questions and problems. However, Kingma does concede some less cynical reasons.
‘I explained my theory to a friend and she turned to me and said, “No—the real reason is that it’s too difficult. This stuff is difficult enough without getting pregnancy involved”.’
Jessica Mason Pieklo writes at RH Reality Check, “Pregnant Wisconsin Woman Jailed Under State’s ‘Personhood’-Like Law“:
After submitting to a urinalysis, Loerstcher disclosed her past drug use to hospital workers. But instead of caring for Loerstcher, who as it turns out was 14 weeks pregnant, hospital workers had her jailed.
Ben Pobjie writes, “Hyper-Auto-Repellence: A Personal Plea“:
It’s not that I hate Christopher Pyne. I mean, I do, but that’s not the important thing here. The important thing is that every word out of his mouth, every action he takes, every step in his life up to now, has seemed perfectly calculated to force me to hate him. And frankly, though I hate the man, I also worry about him. When a fellow is so desperate to be disliked that he stands in parliament to merrily spit in the face of the old man who just died, there is something quite concerning going on behind his smooth, shiny facade.
Ben Eltham writes for New Matilda, “G20 Summit Was The Icing On Abbott’s Horror Year“:
But hosting a big summit? That really should be a free kick. Mingling with nearly every major figure in global politics is almost the definition of prime ministerial and statesmanlike. A big summit like the G20 also delivers blanket media coverage for the government of the day, sidelining its critics and relegating opposition parties to bit parts. On the television news, which is still where most voters get their political news, images dominate: handshakes and flag-waving, red carpets and koala cuddles.
Needless to say, these should be positive moments for an incumbent. That was certainly the Coalition’s plan: after all, it has made a more assertive foreign policy its leit motif ever since MH17, in large part to distract from Joe Hockey’s unpopular budget.
It takes a special sort of mismanagement, therefore, to stuff up such a golden opportunity. And yet, somehow, that is what has occurred.
Jazz Twemlow writes at Junkee, “Five Things The Government Could Cut Instead Of The ABC“:
#4. School Chaplaincy Program!
Right right. Broken planes, megalomaniacal walking scrotum with eyes, desolate earth. You love all of them. Got it.
But how about school chaplains? In Joe Hockey’s budget, school chaplains were allocated $243 million — almost exactly as much as the ABC’s cuts — yet they remain less appealing than being locked in the back of a meat truck with anyone from the Gamergate hashtag.
Seriously, take the Government’s school chaplaincy program out of context, put it anywhere else, and ask if you’d still like to splash out $243 million. What about a University Warlocks Program? Postgraduate Palm-Readers, anyone?
No Place for Sheep writes, “Abbott uses taxpayer dollars to narrow divide between church and state“:
Under the Abbott government’s proposed education reforms, taxpayers will fund bible studies colleges and the training of priests while support for secular universities will be cut.
Abbott has already flagged that his government will provide $244 million for a new school chaplaincy scheme while removing the option for schools to employ secular welfare workers. The only possible explanation for this is that it’s the government’s intention to impose Christian ideology on students in secular public schools.
Kate Harding writes at Dame Magazine, “Hey, Jian Ghomeshi, I Call B.S.!“:
I do not know for sure whether Ghomeshi is an abuser or the victim of an elaborate revenge campaign. But here’s what I do know for sure: He is asking us to believe that multiple former sex partners have chosen to accuse him of sexual violence—not the fun kind—in solidarity with one particularly bitter ex.
It’s not just that one woman is so angry about being rejected by him that she falsely accused him of criminal behavior. It’s that she rounded up a bunch of other women, who all agreed they would lie to reporters in an effort to smear an innocent man. He has done nothing wrong, nothing non-consensual, yet all of these women hated him enough to conspire to get him fired and publicly humiliate him. They “colluded” to establish a false “pattern of [nonconsensual, potentially life-threatening] behavior.” Because one of them was rilly, rilly mad.
Gamer Gate and online harassment
Stacy W at Who Let The Bees In writes, “Gamergate and Harassment: Learning Lessons Over Time“:
Every couple of days I got another email. Sometimes several in a day. I didn’t tell anyone about it, not friends, not my husband, not anyone. Usually I deleted them without reading. Sometimes I would read them. Most of the time they were filled with “shut your mouth you selfish slut,” or some such things. I thought the harassment was just a part of standing up against Gamergate. I had a fairly neutral tone that was on the side of against Gamergate, though I didn’t dislike anyone actively in Gamergate.But someone had taken a deep, personal dislike in me.
Zoe Quinn writes, “Let’s Talk About Ethics In Games Journalism!“:
Putting the toxicity and hatred that has predominated GamerGate aside for a minute, the other defining trait of it is its blatant, transparent hypocrisy and doublespeak.
At We Hunted the Mammoth, David Futrelle writes, “Meme of the week: Is “Actually, it’s about ethics in games journalism” the new “Not all men?””
At srhongamergate, “Collection of #gamergate Misconceptions & Lies”
Clickhole wrote a brilliant tongue in cheek article, “A Summary Of The Gamergate Movement That We Will Immediately Change If Any Of Its Members Find Any Details Objectionable”
At We Hunted the Mammoth, David Futrelle writes, “Presented with evidence of one of their own sexually harassing a woman, GamerGaters deny and deflect and offer excuses”
Soraya Chemaly at Huffington Post writes, “12 Examples: Pew’s Online Harassment Survey Highlights Digital Gender Safety“:
Many people are inclined to argue in somewhat unhelpful and binary fashion that “men are harassed online more than women,” and leave it at that, but the details matter. Women are much more likely to experiencing stalking, sexual harassment and sustained harassment online. Men are more frequently called “offensive names,” or be “purposefully embarrassed,” and, while men indicate that they are marginally more likely to experience physical threats, stalking and physical threats overlap. “Young women,” researchers concluded, “experience particularly severe forms of online harassment.”
Gamergate, the most recent example of what misogyny looks like online, illustrates several of the findings of the Pew Report, particularly in the way that it illustrates the seamlessness of online and offline violence and demonstrates the problems social media companies face when they promise to keep users safe.
Max Read at Gawker writes, “How We Got Rolled by the Dishonest Fascists of Gamergate“:
Unable to run Alexander out of game writing, as they had with the writer Jenn Frank, or force her from her home, as they did to the developer Brianna Wu, or threaten her from public engagements, as they did the following week to the critic and activist Anita Sarkeesian, Gamergate went after her publisher. And, in an unbelievable and embarrassing act of ignorance and cowardice, Intel capitulated. The company’s laughable “apology,” released late on that Friday afternoon, didn’t cover up the fact of Gamergate’s victory: Intel was not replacing its ads.
Failing to adequately cover this act of spinelessness was the first big fuck-up we at Gawker committed. Intel surrendered to the worst kind of dishonesty, and we allowed it to do so without ever calling it out. So let’s say it now: Intel is run by craven idiots. It employs pusillanimous morons. It lacks integrity. It folded to misogynists and bigots who objected to a woman who had done nothing more than write a piece claiming a place in the world of video games. And even when confronted with its own thoughtlessness and irresponsibility, it could not properly right its wrongs.
Yonatan Zunger, Chief Architect at Google wrote on Google +:
It’s come to my attention that I haven’t yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it’s come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it’s about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.
“GamerGate” is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a “gamer culture” which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.
Chris Plante writes at The Verge, “Gamergate is dead“:
Gamergate died ironically from what it most wanted: mainstream exposure.
The threats aimed at women made by many of its most radical members received attention through mainstream online news outlets, the front page of The New York Times, and yesterday evening, the satirical television program, The Colbert Report. Interviewing Anita Sarkeesian, who has received numerous death threats for her feminist critique of video games, the conservative television host character “Stephen Colbert” became a feminist. When a fictional ideal of repressive rhetoric thinks your movement is too much, then it’s time to reconsider.
Dan Golding writes, “Some things I should’ve said“:
- Pretty much all the ‘gamers are dead’ articles (not to mention a huge amount of mainstream press subsequent to gamergate’s eruption) cite either Leigh Alexander or I, who posted similar articles within the space of a few hours. Most of them cite us both. But Alexander has been a target of harassment, and with a few pitiful exceptions, I haven’t. Wonder why that might be?
- What harassment has stemmed from my post, however, has been those people choosing to pursue Adrienne Shaw, a woman whose research I referred to in my article. There are YouTube videos and imageboard threads trying to pick apart Shaw and her research, to establish a conspiracy that would mean that I had an ulterior reason for quoting her. Shaw seems to have dealt with this attention with a lot more aplomb than I would’ve—she’s a very impressive person.
Mark Serrels at Kotaku Australia writes, “For A Culture At War, PAX Australia Was The Perfect Antidote“:
Eventually the question came. And it was framed exactly as written above: “what about ethics in video game journalism?”
It was asked by a stern looking young man who had had his hand up for quite some time. The question at the time felt vague, ill-formed and very non-specific. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. ‘What about ethics in game journalism?’ What about them? How do I feel about them? Sure, they should exist. All journalists should be bound to a certain code of ethics. Do I think game journalism has issues in that area? Absolutely – we can always improve and we should always be looking to improve. But that wasn’t the question really. The question was a loaded gun aimed directly at the panel. That question was: how do you feel about #gamergate? Hashtag ‘Gamergate’.
The other panelists spoke. They said things. Not patronising things, confronting things certainly, but not patronising. Daniel Wilks of Hyper stated unequivocally that if you are going to accuse someone of behaving unethically you had better name names and you had better back up your accusations with hard evidence – absolutely correct. Tim Colwill of games.on.net was, as always, articulate about his views. He insisted he has never himself seen any breaches of ethics during his time as a games journalist.
Then something strange happened.
As I began to address the question, looking the man directly in the eye as I spoke, he calmly decided to stand up out of his chair, turn his back on me and walk out of the theatre. He actually turned his back on me and walked out on the panel as I was speaking directly to him.
Damion Schubert at Zen of Design writes, “Gamergate’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week“:
Yes, this is the week that #GamerGate was too crazy for Breitbart.com. there were scandals a-plenty in the Land of Ethical Journalism and they were, as you might imagine, all extremely ethical. This time, though, the bad ethics were coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE! Let’s just take a quick jaunt through the characters with starring roles this week.
Sharon Smith writes at PC Mag, “PAX in the age of Gamer Gate“:
Only once did I witness an audience member reference GamerGate, or more accurately “ethics in journalism” whilst attending a panel filled with games writers and editors. It did not play out as he would have liked. Every member of the panel deflected the question with eloquent responses and refused to mention the hashtag or enter into anything that could become a debate. After being shut down, the questioner decided to leave his front row seat and walk out of the room – to the sarcastic applause of hundreds of people. What was that I could read between the lines? We don’t want that crap here.
As a female member of the press I did not feel any kind of hostility. Developers were keen to talk to me, presenters went out of their way to answer my questions and I was generally treated like, well a normal person. And the crowd? I love those people. Random conversations in queues and shared tables, apologies for the slightest bumps in passing, invitations to join in on demos and games – PAX was the friendliest weekend I can recall ever having.
Anna Merlan writes at Jezebel, “Woman Gets Death Threats for Tweeting About Disliking A Dude’s Shirt“:
The Philae probe touched down on the comet yesterday, making a bumpy landing, but still successfully sending back the first images we’ve ever seen of a comet’s surface. One of the scientists involved, Matt Taylor of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Project, decided to give an interview about the probe while wearing a polo shirt festooned with colorful images of scantily-clad cartoon ladies.
Yes, it’s just a shirt, whatever. But it’s also not the smartest choice to show that the STEM fields are a super welcoming place for women. And that’s what Rose Eveleth pointed out, a science and tech writer and producer for TheAtlantic and a bunch of other places. She tweeted the above rebuke, a pretty mild one, and was promptly met with all of this mess…
Keith Stuart writes at The Guardian, “Zoe Quinn: ‘All Gamergate has done is ruin people’s lives’“:
The undercurrent, however, has always been darkly misogynistic. The victims of Gamergate’s ire have mostly been female developers, academics and writers. It was an alleged relationship between Zoe Quinn and a prominent games journalist that kickstarted the whole furore this summer. Quinn and several other women have since had to flee their homes after death and rape threats – mostly for pointing out that the games industry has a problem with representing women.
When I speak to her, Quinn has been in the UK for four days. She doesn’t know where she’s going next. She’s been staying on friends’ couches, at hotels. There is no destination.
“How could I go back to my home?” she asks. “I have people online bragging about putting dead animals through my mailbox. I’ve got some asshole in California who I’ve never talked to hiring a private investigator to stalk me. What am I going to do – go home and just wait until someone makes good on their threats? I’m scared that what it’s going to take to stop this is the death of one of the women who’s been targeted.”
I am specifically not writing about trans* or intersex children because I am not trans* nor intersex. As a bisexual, my advice will fit (mostly) lesbian and gay children of straight parents.
Also, this is not advice for parents who are already awesome and love their non-straight children and their non-straight children’s partners. This is not advice for parents who are homophobes either – unless you want to get over yourself.
I am going to use the term “queer” to refer to bisexual, lesbian and gay unless I specifically need to refer to the individual orientations.
So your child isn’t straight, they’ve come out to you as something other than straight, or perhaps you’ve come across that knowledge some other way, and have indicated that although you’re not particularly comfortable with the idea, you still love your child – this is step one in being a good parent.
The next step might be tricky, it might be tricky because you’re from a generation that doesn’t talk much about relationships, or because you mistakenly confuse queer relationships as sex sex sex, and therefore view talking about queer relationships as talking about sex and you’re from a generation that doesn’t talk about sex.
Talk to your child and their partner about things. Talk to them both, don’t ignore the same-sex partner because you don’t know what to say or how to say it. Relationships between straight people and relationships between queer people are more or less similar. The differences aren’t so important that they need to be focussed on, and the similarities are where you bond. If your child is in a relationship with someone of the same gender as themselves, then the conversations about how they met, what they do for a living (if they’re working), their hopes and dreams and the like are just like the conversations you’d have with your child’s straight partner. It might seem awkward to you, but that’s ok – feel that awkwardness and own it. Your child and their partner live that awkwardness as society still mainly considers non heterosexual relationships to be odd, different and sometimes wrong. Your brief experience of awkwardness while interacting with your queer child and their partner, should be an empathy building exercise for you, you can begin to understand what it is like when your child and their partner exist in the wider world.
One of the most important things you can do when interacting with your child and their partner, is to not see affection between them as wrong or disgusting. You might indeed find it discomforting, but sit with that, feel it, and then remember empathy. If you see affection between opposite sex couples as sweet/cute/adorable/lovely/normal, then remember than the affection between your child and their partner is exactly the same. You’ve been conditioned to think otherwise, but don’t for the love of any deity you hold holy, say or do anything that suggests that your comfort and feelings are more important than your child’s. The more exposure you have to non-straight people, the easier this gets, and the more normal it seems (because it is).
As a straight, not entirely comfortable with queer people, parent – it is your duty as a good parent to love ALL of your child, and to work as hard getting to know their same-sex partners as you would if they brought home an opposite sex partner. It is your job to come to terms with your own internalised homo/bi/trans-phobia and and banish that from you. It is your job to educate yourself on the struggles faced by your child. There are so many people who will happily talk to you about your discomfort, your lack of knowledge regarding the LGBTIQ communities, and who can hold your hand through your own journey to full acceptance – don’t expect your child to do all the work. As a good parent, show good faith and do most of the work yourself, do not expect your child to carry the burden of your struggle to understand and accept.
So, in a very short time I gathered a wide range of interesting posts and I need to close out several tabs in my browser, so here we are and I’m sharing more interesting (well at least to me) things with you. If you are not interested in linkspam today, go and check out my cookbook blog, and look at all the cooking I’ve been doing recently.
Ian Baker writes at Medium, “Growing Up Poor With Three Parents“:
It’s easy to see why people might come to think of polyamory, at least in the form they see today, as the purview of “rich, pretty people with too much time on their hands.” However, this viewpoint fails to acknowledge the underprivileged nonmonogamists among us — it serves to alienate the disadvantaged, to discourage them from even trying it. This denies polyamory’s considerable economic, social, and structural benefits to those who need them the most.
I am a second-generation poly person, who grew up in the eighties. My parents were quite poor when I was born, and I’ve experienced a great deal of class mobility over the course of my life. I’ve witnessed first-hand how economic privilege is not a requirement for nonmonogamy. In fact, the nontraditional nature of my family directly facilitated my own escape from a life of poverty. This is what it was like for me, growing up poor in America with two moms and a dad.
Juliet Khan at Comics Alliance writes, “Fear As A Way Of Life: Why Women In Comics Don’t ‘Just Report’ Sexual Harassment“:
Fear is also meant to keep us safe from sexual harassment, assault and abuse. We’re told not to stay out too late, not to go out alone, not to drink, not to lead anyone on, not to go home with anyone, not to ever feel safe in any situation that a man might take advantage of. If you fear the (implicitly common) worst from the men around you, you will escape it. When harassment, assault, and abuse take place anyway, fear is often a distinctly purposeful element of the encounter. Sometimes, this is subtle—it might take place in a deliberately secluded spot, or the perpetrator might be in a position of power over your future. Or, in the case of rape-and-death-threat style online harassment, the naked point of it might be to instill fear. After the harassment, assault, or abuse has taken place, it is fear that keeps women from speaking out. Fear of being branded the whiny bitch, of enduring the Anita Sarkeesian experience, or having one’s career torpedoed by a thousand nerds high on a lifetime’s worth of entitlement and vitriol.
Fear is what keeps us silent. Fear is what keeps men from understanding the ubiquity of these experiences. Fear is what keeps us from attaching a name to our allegations. Fear is what makes harassment, assault, and abuse a rite of passage for women in this industry and the world beyond. Fear, in this society, is what makes you a woman. And fear, in extinguishing discussion of its cruelties, keeps us from understanding its nature and better dismantling it.
Michelle Garcia writes at Advocate.com, “Op-ed: My Bi Choice“:
During my first year here, I was just glad to have a job. I pitched dumb articles and prayed I wouldn’t screw anything up (I did. A lot). But paired with being at the bottom of the totem pole on the staff, I also felt like my own sexuality was still not valid. I had a boyfriend and barely had any lady experience. I had lived through all kinds of racism and sexism, but the extent of overt homophobia hurled at me involved some stupid girl in eighth grade calling me a dyke, and me replying, “So?” and then she shrugged, and then music class started. Here I was writing articles about people being murdered solely for being transgender, or people being prevented from marrying or serving openly in the military. There were bigger problems in the world than my bi invisibility. So I failed to speak up. Often. I simply didn’t feel gay enough.
Kate Hakala at Nerve writes, “The Weird and Troubling History of Bisexuality Studies“:
Today marks the 15th annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day — a day dedicated to bringing respect, visibility, and awareness to all people who identify as having fluid identities. Since more than half of the LGBT community is comprised of bisexuals (1.8% of the total American population), it’s important to give recognition to a group that includes people of all gender identities from cis to trans and sexual orientations from queer to pansexual. We’re talking everyone from Anna Paquin, to Cynthia Nixon, Chirlane McCray, Tom Daley, Angelina Jolie, Billie Joe Armstrong, Megan Fox, Clive Davis, Megan Mullally, Andy Dick, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga.
Bisexuality can sometimes feel like a largely invisible orientation because of its historic neglect and ridicule in both the media and sciences. Often times, bisexuality can be portrayed as “greedy,” “a bridging mechanism,” to homosexuality, or worse, “imaginary.” All of which, of course, are inaccurate. In honor of bisexual visibility, Nerve took a look back at landmark scientific investigations which discussed both the validity and invalidity of bisexuality through the decades. This is how we got from Alfred Kinsey to Tom Daley.
Melissa Parke’s speech was published in The Guardian, “No one should be fooled into believing security is as simple as greater surveillance and deeper silence“:
I question the premise of the government’s general approach to this area of policy, which is essentially that freedoms must be constrained in response to terrorism; and that the introduction of greater obscurity and impunity in the exercise of government agency powers that contravene individual freedoms will both produce, and are justified in the name of, greater security.
If we want to continue our lives free from terrorism and orchestrated violence – so the argument goes – we have to accept shifting the balance between freedom and constraint away from the observance of basic rights and towards greater surveillance, more interference, deeper silence.
Let me say that no one should be fooled into believing it is as simple as that.
Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly write at The Atlantic, “The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women“:
All of this raised a series of troubling questions: Who’s proliferating this violent content? Who’s controlling its dissemination? Should someone be? In theory, social media companies are neutral platforms where users generate content and report content as equals. But, as in the physical world, some users are more equal than others. In other words, social media is more symptom than disease: A 2013 report from the World Health Organization called violence against women “a global health problem of epidemic proportion,” from domestic abuse, stalking, and street harassment to sex trafficking, rape, and murder. This epidemic is thriving in the petri dish of social media.
At this summer’s VidCon, an annual nationwide convention held in Southern California, women vloggers shared an astonishing number of examples. The violent threats posted beneath YouTube videos, they observed, are pushing women off of this and other platforms in disproportionate numbers. When Anita Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter to help fund a feminist video series called Tropes vs. Women, she became the focus of a massive and violently misogynistic cybermob. Among the many forms of harassment she endured was a game where thousands of players “won” by virtually bludgeoning her face. In late August, she contacted the police and had to leave her home after she received a series of serious violent online threats.
Danielle Keats Citron, law professor at the University of Maryland and author of the recently released book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, explained, “Time and time again, these women have no idea often who it is attacking them. A cybermob jumps on board, and one can imagine that the only thing the attackers know about the victim is that she’s female.” Looking at 1,606 cases of “revenge porn,” where explicit photographs are distributed without consent, Citron found that 90 percent of targets were women. Another study she cited found that 70 percent of female gamers chose to play as male characters rather than contend with sexual harassment.
This type of harassment also fills the comment sections of popular websites. In August, employees of the largely female-staffed website Jezebel published an open letter to the site’s parent company, Gawker, detailing the professional, physical, and emotional costs of having to look at the pornographic GIFs maliciously populating the site’s comments sections everyday. “It’s like playing whack-a-mole with a sociopathic Hydra,” they wrote, insisting that Gawker develop tools for blocking and tracking IP addresses. They added, “It’s impacting our ability to do our jobs.”
Camille Beredjick writes at Everyday Feminism, “Why Some Bisexuals Don’t Feel Welcome in the Queer Community“:
As queer issues are beginning to get public attention, and awareness of gay and lesbian relationships is rising, there’s one group that often gets left out in the cold: bisexual people.
Inae Oh at Mother Jones writes, “Ladies, Let Sarah Silverman Convince You to Get a Sex Change to Fix the Gender Wage Gap“:
Sarah Silverman, “writer, comedian, and vagina owner,” is no longer going to wait for the rest of the country to get on board to fix this inequality. In a new satirical video, she proposes the only rational solution left—get a sex change.
“Every year the average woman loses around $11,000 to the wage gap,” Silverman explains, while waiting patiently to choose the perfect penis for her surgical transformation. “Over the course of the working years of her life, that’s almost 500 grand.”
At Go Make Me a Sandwich, “D&D 5E: Why so many wimmenz??“:
UGH WIMMENZ WHY DOES THE NEW D&D HAVE SO MANY OF THEM THEY ARE OBJECTIVELY TERRIBLE AMIRITE AND ALSO BROWN PEOPLE DON’T RUIN MY FANTASY ABOUT MAGIC AND DRAGONS WITH BROWN WOMEN WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU
Jesus, internet. Could you maybe try to be less awful some time?
So here we go. Because it’s a thing worth saying, here are some reasons why D&D 5E is great and is totally a thing that tabletop gaming needed. (Spoilers: it’s the art)
Also, taking a step back, look at the characters being depicted here. These characters all come from obviously distinct cultures. So not only do we have group portraits that include a variety of ethnic backgrounds, but we also have PoC adventurers who come from obviously non-white cultures, rather than being rolled into some White Fantasy Crypto-European culture.
Which is really just the best, because yay social justice! But also because White Fantasy Crypto-Europe has gotten boring as shit. So the fact that WoTC has taken effort to portray a variety of cultures that go beyond different flavors of white people is amazing, because it’s new and exciting.
Howard Hotson at Times Higher Education writes, “Germany’s great tuition fees U-turn“:
Why did Germany introduce tuition fees in the first place? The answer, in short, is that politicians favoured the idea. Self-styled “modernisers” had been advocating tuition fees since German reunification in 1990. Cultural differences between east and west initially hindered this plan, but the main obstacle was a federal law banning tuition fees, which echoed provisions guaranteeing free education in the constitutions of individual states. In 2005, however, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that moderate fees, coupled with affordable loans, would safeguard these constitutional provisions. Within two years, a cascade of laws had swept through most of the federal Länder. The attraction of shifting some of the funding burden to individual beneficiaries was irresistible. So was the compulsion to imitate the changes made elsewhere, lest universities in one’s own state should remain less well funded, and the public purse more stretched, than in neighbouring states.
Seven out of 10 states in west Germany introduced fees in 2006 or 2007; an eighth, Bremen, was prevented from doing so by a lawsuit. Only two – Rheinland-Pfalz and Schleswig-Holstein – resisted the tide completely.
If such unanimity had been maintained, policymakers would now be declaring these changes inevitable. Yet within a single electoral cycle, their long-sought policy was comprehensively overturned. The only state still charging tuition fees in 2014, Lower Saxony, will cease to do so at the end of this academic year.
Waleed Aly wrote at the Sydney Morning Herald, “Burqa ban a political excuse for persecution“:
But ignorance is no barrier precisely because this debate really has nothing to do with the women being recast as some kind of problem. Strip it all back and they’ve done nothing to invite this. They aren’t the ones charged with plotting “demonstration killings”. They aren’t the ones being busted carrying weapons or attacking police officers.
They are, however, the ones most often assaulted or abused on the street or on public transport. They’re the ones whose freedom we try most to restrict.
In short, they become the symbolic target for our rage; the avatar we choose to represent a generalised enemy, and the threat it poses. In this, we obey what seems a diabolically universal principle: that whatever the outrage, whatever the fear, and whatever the cause, it is women that must suffer first and most.
Mera Terrha Pakistan writes, “Bisexuality is a Queer Sin“:
Moreover, if you’re a bi woman in a queer group and you’re with a woman, you are functionally lesbian so that’s okay. You can talk about your bi-ness and everyone will make a big joke about it, but basically, it’s okay, you haven’t strayed. But if somehow you accidentally fall for a man and are in a relationship with him, suddenly it’s not funny anymore. A bi woman in a relationship with a man is straight (and dead) to lesbians.
What I’ve found more interesting recently is that bi men are also disregarded by gay men, but not for being traitors ore foreign agents. It’s more that gay men think men can’t actually be bi. Oh, you can get a gay man to say that, of course, men are bi and bisexuality exists, all that jazz; but in gossip or chat mode, when it comes up that a man says he’s bi, the answer goes something like: “Him? He’s a pakki khusri! He’s just saying he’s bi because, trust me, I’ve seen millions like him, he’s not just gay, he’s a bottom!”
At Even Aud, “Children and Transgender People Part 2:“:
You can explain that the world is a very complex place, and that people often react with fear, anger and even violence to these complexities. In the case of trans people our existence challenges some very,very deeply held beliefs. The idea that there are, and only should be two mutually exclusive genders that your gender is immutable after birth and no changing can happen, is literally one of the foundations of western society.Transgender people shake that belief. It causes a very fundamental fear in people. “if they are transgender, if their gender changes..what about me? Could that happen to me?” For many cisgender people this is a terrifying prospect. Gender is something that we base a lot of ourselves around. Transgender and especially genderqueer/non binary /gender non conforming people shake that base. When that is shaken some people would rather react with oppression, violence, bullying instead of taking a look inside themselves and examine their gender and answer tough questions.
Mera Terrha Pakistan writes, “Liveability“:
This is a queer problem. It requires a queer solution.
People are being killed. All kinds of people in all kinds of places. Targeted. Planned. Angry mob murders. Serial murders. And there is no real sense that can be made, no coherent thread that can be pulled between everything so that we can say, yes, this is why, let’s just stop this one thing and…
So the problem of fear and the problem of the closet and the problem of being suddenly hurt or killed one day are all the same problem. How do you live your life in this country and feel like you’ll actually live? How do you act yourself?
Giselle Nguyen writes at Rookie, “Closed for Business“:
“Are you sure?” Carl asked as we sat on the edge of his bed.
“Yep,” I said confidently. I’d heard the first time could hurt, but mostly I was excited. He put a condom on as I lay down, buzzing with anticipation. He pushed into me…and I screamed at the pain, which was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I ran to the bathroom and cried. I didn’t know if this was normal, but it felt excruciating. You never forget your first time—especially if it happens before you know you have vaginismus, a physical condition that makes penetrative sex incredibly painful or, in extreme cases, impossible.
Gina McKeon writes at the ABC, “Life on the inside: how solitary confinement affects mental health“:
Inmates held in solitary confinement experience a range of mental health problems including anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, aggression and depression.
Don Grant, a forensic psychiatrist formerly with the Queensland Community Forensic Mental Health Service, says these psychological effects are the result of: social isolation, which can lead to further withdrawal; boredom and sensory deprivation, which cause brain activity to slow; and a lack of control with no personal autonomy, which may lead to a loss of self-reliance and dysfunction in social situations when an inmate is released.
Eliel Cruz writes at Everyday Feminism, “13 Lies We Have to Stop Telling About Bisexuals“:
Unfortunately, the binary way of thinking that informs the reasoning of many who remain unconvinced by the reality of bisexuality ultimately oppresses everyone through its perpetuation of unflinching heteronormative or homonormative standards.
Being intimate with someone of the same sex doesn’t mean you’re gay, just like being intimate with someone of the opposite sex doesn’t mean you’re straight — it just means you fall somewhere in the beautiful, fluid spectrum of sexuality.
Here we are in the supposedly enlightened year of 2014 – and yet, biphobia persists. In no particular order, here are a few of the most tiresome lies society really needs to stop telling about the bisexual community.
Natalie Tencic at ABC writes, “Papua New Guinea’s gay and transgender community finds safety in Hanuabada village“:
Gay men walking the streets of Port Moresby are often targeted by local men, particularly those who hail from PNG’s highland provinces, and have been raped, beaten and even murdered.
But in Hanuabada, things are different.
Documentary filmmaker and photographer Vlad Sokhin noticed this when he stumbled on the village during his travels.
“[It’s] probably the only place in Port Moresby where they feel safe and many of them, they were born in different places so they moved to Hanuabada village because they are accepted by the local community there,” Vlad said.
Alyssa Bereznak writes at Yahoo! Tech, “Microsoft CEO Says Women Shouldn’t Ask for Raises, Will Instead Magically Receive Them via ‘Karma’ (UPDATE)“:
“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” he told Klawe (who, presumably, was screaming inside). He went on to further imply that there was an incalculable je ne sais quoi about a woman who never asks for what she truly wants.
“That might be one of the initial ‘super powers’ that, quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have,” he said. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”
UPDATE 8:24 p.m.: Nadella followed up his remarks on Twitter with a staff-wide email that was also posted on Microsoft’s press website. “I answered that question completely wrong,” he wrote. “Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work.” He added, “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”
Nadella concluded that he’d “certainly learned a valuable lesson.”
John Scalzi writes, “A Note on New York Comic Con’s Anti-Harassment Policy“:
First, you literally cannot miss it — it’s on several human-sized signs right at the entrances to Javits Center (the other side of these signs say “Cosplay is not consent.” Second, the examples are clear and obvious and the policy is not constrained to only the examples — but enough’s there that you get the idea that NYCC is serious about this stuff. Third, it’s clear from the sign that NYCC also has a commitment to implementation and execution of the policy, with a harassment reporting button baked right into its phone app. This is, pretty much, how an anti-harassment policy should be implemented.
And as a result, did the floor of the Javits Center become a politically correct dystopia upon which the blood of innocent The True (and Therefore Male) Geeks was spilled by legions of Social Justice Warriors, who hooted their feminist victory to the rafters? Well, no. The floor of the Javits Center looked pretty much like the floor of any really large media convention — people wandering about, looking at stuff, wearing and/or admiring costumes and generally having a bunch of geeky fun. Which is to say that as far as I could see the policy didn’t stop anyone from enjoying themselves; it simply gave them assurance that they could enjoy themselves, or get the problem dealt with if someone went out of their way to wreck their fun.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied writes at Junkee, “Junk Explained: Here’s Everything Jacqui Lambie Doesn’t Know About Sharia Law“:
The word “sharia”, taken literally, is Arabic for “path” or road to a watering hole or place of salvation. The five universal principles that underlie Sharia are ‘protection of life’, ‘mind’, ‘religion’, ‘property’ and ‘offspring'; rulings in Sharia law are based around the protection and promotion of these five areas and, logically, decisions that see their degradation are fundamentally unIslamic.
In practical terms, traditional Sharia is quite unlike any “legal system” as we understand the term in the modern West — a bunch of acts and legislation sitting in a library — but more a constantly changing and evolving process to try and ensure society lived intelligently and ethically. It was not written down in a legislative state-based form like today’s law, giving it the freedom to be able to be constantly revised and improved upon. Sharia was kind of like Java; you need it for everything, but it was always being updated.
At the Quinnspiracy, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting (the internet to ruin your life)“:
Don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling a certain way. It’s a messed up position you’ve been put in and there’s no “right” way to feel. You’re not failing if it bothers you, you’re not failing if you’re angry, you are not failing for not being “tough enough”. A lot of emotions come with these situations, and you’re totally allowed.
Grayson Perry at New Stateman writes, “The rise and fall of Default Man“:
They dominate the upper echelons of our society, imposing, unconsciously or otherwise, their values and preferences on the rest of the population. With their colourful textile phalluses hanging round their necks, they make up an overwhelming majority in government, in boardrooms and also in the media.
They are, of course, white, middle-class, heterosexual men, usually middle-aged. And every component of that description has historically played a part in making this tribe a group that punches far, far above its weight. I have struggled to find a name for this identity that will trip off the tongue, or that doesn’t clutter the page with unpronounceable acronyms such as WMCMAHM. “The White Blob” was a strong contender but in the end I opted to call him Default Man. I like the word “default”, for not only does it mean “the result of not making an active choice”, but two of its synonyms are “failure to pay” and “evasion”, which seems incredibly appropriate, considering the group I wish to talk about.
A list of the Nobel Prizes awarded to women
Kalev Leetaru writes at Foreign Policy, “Why Big Data Missed the Early Warning Signs of Ebola“:
Part of the problem is that the majority of media in Guinea is not published in English, while most monitoring systems today emphasize English-language material. The GDELT Project attempts to monitor and translate a cross-section of the world’s news media each day, yet it is not capable of translating 100 percent of global news coverage. It turns out that GDELT actually monitored the initial discussion of Dr. Keita’s press conference on March 13 and detected a surge in domestic coverage beginning on March 14, the day HealthMap flagged the first media mention (which was, it should be noted, in French). The problem is that all of this media coverage was in French — and was not among the French material that GDELT was able to translate those days.
To give an idea of the importance of monitoring across languages, through a grant from Google Translate for Research, GDELT has been feeding a portion of the Portuguese edition of Google News each day through Google Translate for the past year. It turns out that upwards of 70 percent of the events recorded in Portuguese-language news do not appear in English-language news anywhere else in the world. Further, a large portion of these events relate to situations outside of Portugal and Brazil, including former colonial states in Africa, as the map below shows. Increasing our ability to process all of this material would yield tremendous gains in monitoring local media of the sort that provided the first indicators of the Ebola outbreak.
Dr Taleporos, and other advocacy journalists working in the disability media space, are driven by a desire to redress what they view as problematic news agendas and public discourse. In their view, despite the considerable consumer power of PWD and long-established media guidelines on disability, mainstream news media remains inclined to follow the well-trodden path of stereotypical representation of people with disability and disability issues.
Laurie Penny writes at New Statesman, “Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War“:
If I sound angry here, it’s because I am. I’m angy because I’ve had to listen to these things being said to and about me and many other women creators I admire for too many years now to be polite about it. My anger, however, is different from the incoherent rage sloshing around 4chan, Reddit, MRA forums and other nests of recreational misogyny right now, because the people perpetrating these attacks on women, the people who are so unspeakably angry that women dare, they dare with their stupid ladyheads and evil ladyparts, they dare to come into their special boy spaces and actually demand a voice, they don’t understand why not everyone can see how right they are, how noble, how absolutely justified they are in their cause. They believe that they are justified because freedom of speech—except not freedom of speech for women and queers and people of colour, because those people don’t really speak, they just whine, shriek, scream, like animals, because really that’s all they are, animals.
They think it’s a game.
I’m talking about the whole thing—not just hounding individual women, hacking individual celebrities’ nude pics, trying to trash the reputations of women in the public eye according to outdated double-standards with less and less relevance to our real lives. I’m talking about gender itself, sex and sexuality itself, as a game you can play and win by ‘beating’ the other ‘side’ into submission. A game where the other ‘side’ isn’t really human at all. Shoot to kill. Destroy the brain. Move on.
Devon Maloney writes at The Cut, “The Most Feminist Moments in Sci-fi History“:
But sci-fi history actually has featured ahead-of-its-time, female-identifying authors and creators who have challenged conventional notions of race, gender, and sexuality head-on for centuries. Their contributions are so essential (some are by far the most out-there in the canon) that without them, the genre could not possibly have grown into the blockbuster behemoth it is today. Like many sci-fi creators, this radical group’s explorations weren’t limited to faroff planets; they dove into the sticky, difficult, often ugly realities of their own worlds, many of which are still with us today. They tackled misogyny, homophobia, racism, and the dangers of conventional gender roles — concepts often foreign to the world they inhabited. While their efforts were not always celebrated in the mainstream, they opened the possibility of a better future and pushed the conversation forward.
An extremely nerdy caveat: Many female voices have been excluded from the sci-fi canon based on the argument that the works they create aren’t “really” science fiction, but fantasy (in Party Down, Martin Starr’s Roman is fixated on this — the distinction between “hard” sci-fi and fantasy). While most of this “categorization” is simply a sexist dodge, we do believe in categories. For our purposes, let’s define science fiction here as the depiction of fictional worlds in which science (including space travel), technology, and/or pseudoscience feature prominently and necessarily in the story’s telling. Therefore, A Handmaid’s Tale, though probably one of this writer’s favorite books of all time, is not science fiction (Atwood herself has described it as speculative/dystopian fiction, a genre having more to do with social critique than adventure), while superhero comics — when they feature superpowers — could be considered such.
Elleanor Chin writes at bitch media, “Instead of Banning Yoga Pants, Schools Should Crack Down on Harassment“:
What exactly are adults assuming about “distraction”? Are they talking about boys being sexually aroused? Boys having romantic feelings? Looking at girls? Boys aren’t just passive sacks of hormones, magnetically thrown off course by female parts or pheromones. Young men and boys are responsible for their own arousal, attraction and attention span. Controlling girls’ dress assumes that boys are more frequently or severely distracted just by being around girls than any other source of distraction and that the only way to fix it is to control the girls.
How do you tell if a boy is “distracted by” a girls attire? Is it because he’s catcalling her? Talking about her? Here is where it gets tricky, because schools have a general mission and right to maintain discipline and control student attire to the extent it disrupts the educational environment. But no coverage of this issue I’ve read has discussed how the boys’ distraction actually manifests, and how disruptive it is. But in her letter to the Billings Gazette, Ashley Crtalic makes the connection to sexual harassment, which is certainly a tangible disruption. Crtalic points out that when she was harassed, she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, not the outfits that got her punished for dress code violations.
Gwendolyn Henry writes at Collected Works, “Reasons why Bi People of Colour often do not participate in spaces created for them“:
Thanks for raising this question regarding Bisexual People of Color and hearing our voices on various forms of media. My take is:
1) Writing our story is not a priority, survival is. [Many]BiPOC are already struggling with physical and mental health conditions so just breathing and staying alive is top on the list.
2) Many BiPOC are closeted in the Lesbian and Gay community. Writing or posting videos using the words [word]”Bisexual” would require them to go through a lot of emotional obstacles and many of [us]them don’t want to and/or don’t have the support to do so.
2a) I found BiPOC writing under the terms “Queer” but that still doesn’t clearly state how many genders they find romantic/sexually attractive. [Queer can apply to people who have multi gender attractions/non-monosexuals (bi, pan, fluid) and monosexuals (lesbian/gay). This umbrella term can often make bisexuals and their unique experiences and needs less visible.]
Erick Brethenoux writing at A Smarter Planet Blog, “The Importance of Tracking Big Data Emotions“:
There are concerns, however. A fine line exists between being perceived as understanding or invasive. But analyzing emotions and getting close to people should not just be about selling more products. It should be about evoking and understanding emotions that help break solitude. This will create opportunities to share empathy and compassion.
It could even enable people to heal faster.
When my daughter was three-years old, she had to have tubes placed in her ears to help with chronic ear infections. What was interesting though was not how she healed, but how she helped others get better. Her surgeon explained that they scheduled operations on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the same days as the most difficult adult procedures. The adults would then recover in a large and common recovery room alongside the children. Why? Because empirical data proves that adults recover faster when exposed to small children who are also recovering.
So yesterday I baited some Gamer Gaters because I have a death wish, or was bored, or something, and two individuals responded… and I engaged them briefly, and they went away. Nothing particularly thrilling, or scary, or anything about this – but something interesting. Both the accounts were relatively new, around 500 tweets each compared to my 27,500+ tweets. It reminded me of this graph:
It also reminded me of the friend of mine who was targeted by them recently for daring to post an open letter to his students regarding Gamer Gate, for the suggestion that supporting women in gaming was a good thing, and that harassing women was creepy behaviour (detail here). And despite the Gater’s stated aim that they weren’t about having people fired, several of them still wrote to the principal of the school he works for.
Of course, they do all of this anonymously.
Posting to 8chan about Gamer Gate means you end up calling yourself, or being called, The Leader of GamerGate. No one posts under their name, no one is brave enough to actually own the shit they’re posting, they’re all happy to post it anonymously, hiding behind pseudonyms.
Those who are decried as “Social Justice Warriors” (SJWs) – though I’m actually a Social Justice Ranger who is going to take my next level in Cleric – generally post under their own names: John Scalzi, Brianna Wu, Chris Kluwe, Anita Sarkesian, Zoe Quinn, Wil Wheaton, Joss Whedon, Felicia Day, Leigh Alexander, Dan Golding, Brendan Keogh etc. There are plenty others who have posted blog posts, written news articles, and tweeted under long-held accounts if not their actual names.
The other thing that is currently annoying me about Gamer Gaters is their claim that they are against “corruption” in gaming journalism. Despite rarely being able to actually demonstrate any actual corruption, and most of them not being able to point to the specific instance of corruption that made them join this movement, they’re not starting their own corruption free journalism (whatever that would mean). Instead of creating the change they want, they’re tearing down the existing structures they’re pissy about. It would seem that most of them actually fail to understand what review journalism is, and instead want a return to the glorious day (if it ever actually existed) where game reviews were more about how realistic breast bounce physics are and how pretty are those guns, versus why are we spending so much time animating breasts and shooting people, surely there are more things to games than that.
If Gamer Gate went off and crowd funded their own games journalism site, and spent time deciding amongst themselves who were the most eloquent so they could write for the site, or whatever, then this whole thing would be over. Those who care about diversity in games could write about it where they can, and those who don’t would also have a site to go and write in.
But no, Gamer Gate has to tear down the existing infrastructure because it doesn’t meet their expectations, despite a whole lot of other people being REALLY FUCKING HAPPY WITH IT THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
I have been playing games since at least 1985. I have seen the games, I have played the games. I have been a real gamer since before most Gaters were born – I remember passwords for games, Commodore 64 loading screens, playing in 4 colour CGA, copying floppies from friends so I could play the newest games, playing with and without joysticks and gamer pads (not the ones that are available today) and sitting around the computer with my sisters while we puzzled out what to do next in whatever game we were all playing. I am a grandmother of gamers. This movement by sad people who want a return to a simpler time, have never even lived in that simpler time. You can’t turn back time, you can’t return to the glory days, which weren’t that good, of the 80s when games were games, and women were sex objects. This is the world you inhabit, and you’d better start building something positive and worthwhile, or all you’ll do is look back and regret.