Posts Tagged 'feminism'

Wanted: Games with Badass Female Protagonists

The Border House: Tom Abernathy says, “We are not serving half our audience in the manner they want and deserve.”

One of my friends posted this while I was looking for something interesting to blog about. (I mean, come on, we’ve all more than enough about high-speed rail and salmon the past two days—no need for me to blog about that!)

Anyways, I was excited to read this post because it’s absolutely true, and because Abernathy explains his opinion without a lot of lofty idealism—he just wants some good games with female protagonists for his daughter to enjoy. And so do I. (But for me to enjoy. Cause I don’t have a daughter yet.)

One of the things I enjoyed about Halo: Reach was being able to choose a gender for my character and customize her. (She has purple armor, btw. And small rockets on her shoulders.) I was also excited that one of the members of Noble Team was a female, and she’s a total badass. I feel like Reach took a step towards making sure that women have someone to relate to in games, but it was only a baby step. A lot has to happen before I (and Abernathy’s daughter) have the chance to play as female protagonists in a plethora of games.

Allowing players to customize their character (including gender) is a great step. Some games do require a gendered character in order to fit the plot, but not all of them do. I mean, why did the protagonist in Psychonauts have to be male? Why couldn’t that have been customizable? Some games, though, understand that they have a female audience, and are taking care to cater to them. For example, when my friend and I were playing through Little Big Planet 2 last week, we were SO excited to see that a lot of the unlockable costumes are girly—lots of dresses, long-haired wigs, sparkly fabrics, etc. It was more fun to dress up my Sackgirl when I had more options on what she could wear, and these new options made it easier to play because I wasn’t constantly confusing my Sackgirl with my friend’s because they didn’t look almost exactly the same.

I can think of a couple of games with female protagonists—Portal and Mirror’s Edge come to mind—but neither of those seem to appeal to mainstream gamers. Portal, which is probably my favorite game of all time, is a puzzle game that requires an elementary understanding of physics, and Mirror’s Edge has that weird Urban Ninja style that can be pretty nauseating. And some of the Final Fantasy games have female protagonists, too, but those games are huge time sucks. No, I’d like to see some moderate-length RPGs or FPSs with badass female protagonists. I’ll even take a badass female sidekick or an Atlas-style narrator (and boss…) guiding you through the world if I have to.

It’s great to see developers and writers speaking up about the need not to ignore half their audience, but it would be even greater to see these ideas come to fruition in their games. A lot of people pay lip service to female gamers, or female comic readers, but not many of them put their money where their mouths are. Until that happens, though, I’ll be customizing my Purple Lady-Spartan and incinerating my faithful Companion Cube.

Still no word about delaying those Prostate exams…

…but pap tests? Who needs ’em!

From the NYT: Guidelines Push Back Age for Cervical Cancer Tests

Arriving on the heels of hotly disputed guidelines calling for less use of mammography, the new recommendations might seem like part of a larger plan to slash cancer screening for women.

Gee, you think so?

The reason is that young women are especially prone to develop abnormalities in the cervix that appear to be precancerous, but that will go away if left alone.

Don’t worry, college Sophomore—that precancerous abnormality will go away eventually! *eyeroll*

The doctors’ group also felt it was safe to test women less often because cervical cancer grows slowly, so there is time to catch precancerous growths. Cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, human papillomavirus, or HPV, that is practically ubiquitous.

So HPV, which causes cervical cancer, is everywhere, but it’s okay not to screen because cervical cancer grows slowly? Wait—what?

Maybe things have changed, but when I was in high school we were told that you should go to a gynecologist at age 18 or after becoming sexually active, whichever came first. As far as I know, nobody is saying that all young teens should be having these tests, so I don’t really see where Dr. Holcomb’s comment that “I know the chances of an adolescent getting cervical cancer are really low” really comes into play. Unless that adolescent is sexually active, she won’t be seeing a gynecologist.

We’re already seeing a recommended delays in mammograms and pap tests, so what’s next? No ultrasounds or checkups for pregnant women until the second trimester? Or maybe we can just go back to the days when all female medical problems were written off as hysteria and promptly ignored. That would be awesome.

Nerdy Links

One of these days I’ll do more “SERIOUS BUSINESS” blogging, but until now, here are some cool links I’ve found in the couple of days:

10 Female Characters that would Kick Your Face In I heartily approve of their #1 choice. 😉

“Bound for Feminism” Lecture Will Focus on Wonder Woman I wish I could have taken a class on Women in Comics when I was in undergrad! This lecture seems really interesting, and makes me wish I could go. If only Richmond wasn’t so far away.

Seek and Speak These are some amazing retro/mod-styled movie posters. I saw a link to them on io9 but thought I’d give the direct link instead.

25 Magnificent Modern-Day Movie Illustrations I love the ones that look like book covers.

Eric Tan Art Eric Tan works for Disney (yes? I think?) and has done some awesome LOST and Up posters. Also, check out his Tiki-Stitch!

On the need for Law Women Society

I’m sitting in the Commons at school listening to the trite argument that the legal profession isn’t biased toward males because half of our law school is women. Just because women go to law school doesn’t mean that the curriculum, teaching methods, and legal profession in general aren’t biased towards male perspective. They are, simply because that’s the way it’s always been. Everyone has an agenda to push, and for a long time, the male perspective and agenda were the only ones being represented.

Law Women isn’t just a way for women to segregate themselves from their male counterparts. It should be a forum to discuss issues that are uniquely female, such as how having children will affect your profession. However, I think that it should be open to men to a certain degree, because they need to understand their female colleagues’ points of view. Really, we all need to try to understand each other and get along so that we can have a healthy, inclusive legal profession, so that goes both ways. But also, it’s important to understand that a woman’s having a family affects her in a different way than it does a man because women actually have to give birth. We have to carry the child and take care of the child after he/she is born. Women make more of a physical commitment in having a family than men do. How many men have to go on bedrest because their wife/significant other is pregnant? How many of them go through labor and birth? Everyone has to make sacrifices when it comes to family, but men generally don’t have to worry about losing their job if they get someone pregnant. Women and men are different, and I absolutely think that some attention should be paid to how women function in the legal profession as a result of these inherent differences.

I think that attention should be paid to how men function in the legal profession, too, but hasn’t that been going on for the last several centuries? Women haven’t been in the field as long as men have, and as a result, everyone is having to learn how to adapt to new, unforeseen problems. Men have been able to share common experiences with other male lawyers because there were only male lawyers for a period of time. Women are still in the minority within the legal profession as a whole. Just because your 1L section is 50% men and 50% women doesn’t mean that the profession is like that, or that the points of view don’t favor one gender over another. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a group that encourages female law students to t discuss important personal issues in preparation for entering the legal profession. Would anyone object to a Male Nurse Society? Or a Male Elementary School Teacher Group? If not, why is it so inappropriate to have a Law Women Society?

There’s a difference between a club geared toward a specific group of people and a club geared toward a specific group that emphasizes superiority over another group. That’s the distinction that should be made here, not the straw man that every club like Law Women Society is sexist and wrong.

Women on Playboy’s List Respond

Quote of the Day

A woman who is considered a man’s property is denied equality. A woman who needs a male relative as escort to go anywhere is a prisoner.

(Jill Lawrence)

Women shouldn’t turn a blind eye to countries who abuse and subjugate women as a matter of policy. If it’s not okay to do something to a woman in the United States, why is it okay somewhere else?

Exactly *who* is Playboy empowering, again?

Apparently, while I was going to school and working today, someone at Playboy decided to post a list of ten Conservative women they’d love to hate-fuck.

You know what a hate-fuck is, kids? It’s rape. Playboy posted an article (that has since been removed) on their blog listing ten women they want to rape.

Jimmie at Sundries Shack weighs in with the best headline I’ve seen so far: I don’t know Guy Cimbalo, but I’d enjoy Punching Him in the Mouth. Ed Morrissey posts about it at Hot Air. John Hawkins at Right Wing News posts the list and some of the accompanying text here. And apparently, Playboy sent the link to conservative bloggers. *facepalm*

Smart Girl Politics condemned the post, stating “The language used in Mr. Cimbalo’s screed was misogyny, pure and simple. The vile nature of the article indicates that the author, and apparently Playboy Magazine, advocates violence against women with whom they don’t agree. The true feminists of today will not tolerate this kind of hateful exploitation.”

And they’re absolutely right. There’s a reason that rape is unfunny business—because it’s not frakking funny.

But should I really be surprised that Playboy, a magazine that devotes itself to defining beauty based on breast size, blondeness, and how orange your spray tan is rather than what makes you unique or—God forbid!—what’s in your head, would publish something like this? Women are unthinking clones to the people at PB (how many centerfolds actually say anything substantive?), so it would only follow that any woman with a dissenting opinion about the world is immediately WRONG and ought to be raped. It’s really a shame that none of these conservative women have men in their lives who could tell them what they ought to believe and remind them about their lip injection and spray tan appointments; maybe then, lists like this would be unnecessary. (Bonus points if that man is upwards of 80 years old.)

Look, between Ms. Marvel, Black Cat, and all the other great superheroines whose backstories are littered with rape and sexual assaults (rape is the only way to motivate a woman to action, you know! *eyeroll*), I’m really, really sick of rape being thrown around (and even, apparently, encouraged in some circles) like it’s not an important issue and a serious problem. RAPE IS NOT FUNNY. It’s an act that’s meant to humiliate the victim and make him or her completely powerless; it’s used to subjugate people and force them to submit. It’s a sexual act only in the act itself; otherwise, it’s a total exercise of power over another person. Nobody deserves to endure such treatment, and especially not people who do something so minor as to have a different political belief than you do. (Geez. Give me a break.)

I can’t begin to fathom what would have happened if a conservative pundit—say, Limbaugh, or Hannity—had compiled such a list about liberal women. Feminist groups would be horrified and furious and make all kinds of demands in a quest for justice. And they’d be right in their protests that rape shouldn’t be treated with such levity. So where are they? Where’s NOW? Where are the feminist bloggers decrying this article and demanding an apology to these ten women? I certainly hope there are some liberal feminists doing so, but I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t see anything empowering to women in airbrushing them until they’re unrecognizable and forcing them into a contrived notion of what’s attractive. And I sure as hell don’t see anything empowering in telling a group of them—not just these ten women, but every non-left-leaning woman as well—that they deserve to be raped.

Update: Tommy Christopher, a liberal blogger, comes through with Playboy Magazine Officially Hates Women, Conservative or Otherwise I agree with it so, so much. (It actually makes me squee a little.)

And way to go, Jezebel!

Update 2:
Ed Driscoll has a good round-up.
Screencaps of the article (When will print media learn that you can’t remove something from the Internet and expect that it’s actually gone forever? *sigh*)
Frugal Cafe Blog Zone: No Hate Here at Playboy, Guys… Just Some Good Ol’, Fun-Lovin’ Power-Rape of Conservative Women


I made When Fangirls Attack last week for my I’m a Marvel! I’m a DC! post. I am beyond excited about this!

WFA is a blog that links to posts about the salient gender issues in comics and comic fandom. I first discovered it during the Mary Jane Maquette catastrophe, and I’ve been semi-addicted ever since. I need to put it in the blogroll… anyway, I think it’s a great blog, and I’m pretty psyched about getting a link in one of their posts.

I’m a Marvel! I’m a DC!: Compare and Contrast

Marvel Divas: ““The idea behind the series was to have some sudsy fun and lift the curtain a bit and take a peep at some of our most fabulous super heroines.

“The pitch started as “Sex and the City” in the Marvel Universe, and there’s definitely that “naughty” element to it, but I also think the series is doing to a deeper place, asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.) But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.” (Joe Quesada)

Batwoman Costume Sketches: “Changes to current costume keep the same basic look but add more sensibility and functionality.

“Boots are now more realistic to purpose.” (From Sketches)

Seriously, look at the sketches and read everything—Batwoman’s new costume is all about functionality. Textured gloves, larger belt pouches, more protective mask and bracers, etc.

And then there’s “Marvel Divas,” which is going to be a lot of “hot fun.” Oh Joe Q, you are SO GREAT at understanding women, especially your female readers. *headdesk*

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