Leading Lady Links: Mega List

July 31, 2014 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 10

New movie/shows/games with Women

Things to Watch/Read/Play:

Critical Essays:

Interviews

Everything else!

Whew. So that was a lot of links, but now you’re all caught up on women in popular culture. Right?

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Leading Lady Links: Casting, Cosplay, and Comics

April 7, 2014 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 16

Tumblr user britishnickyy recently cast Batman as a Disney princess in a popular Tumblr image. Once the illustration had been made, it was only too soon that cosplay came about. You can check out even more amazing pictures of Princess Batman on Sunday Cosplay.

In real casting news, three fantastic ladies were added to the cast of Jurassic World. Women have always been important to the series (the meanest Velociraptor from Jurassic Park was female) and it’s nice to see that we’ll see more human women in this upcoming movie.

A recent turn of events in Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 casting will have Game of Thrones fans jumping up and down. Gwendoline Christie (a.k.a. Brienne of Tarth and my future wife) has been cast as Commander Lyme. Since the amazing Phillip Seymour Hoffman is no longer with us, this casting news buoys up my hopes for the movie.

Want to cast a villain? Tom Hiddleston describes the exact characteristics needed for one in this amazing Jaguar ad. If you weren’t on the Tom Hiddleston bandwagon before (and why not?) this clip will definitely win you over.

 

Amy Radcliffe from Fashionably Geek has put together a fantastic guide to commissioning a costume. Seriously, if you’re thinking of getting a costume ready for an upcoming con – or just getting a ridiculous start on Halloween – check out her guide and for once in your life be completely prepared!

The best part of costumes is seeing how everybody else looks. Family cosplay can be some of the cutest stuff around, but  Patricia Hernandez proves that older ladies and gents are just as adorable in cosplay. I seriously hope I’m still dressing up in ridiculous outfits at that age.

Even better than just dressing up, this duo  re-imagines the song “Talk Dirty To Me” in a wonderfully geeky way. Behold: “Talk Nerdy To Me”

 

Squirrel GirlAs March was Women’s History Month, Comics Should Be Good spent the month highlighting some great women in comics. You can check out their archive here and hopefully find some great new comics by female authors.

If you thought Rocket Raccoon was the most ridiculous Marvel character in existence, then you clearly forgot about Squirrel Girl. Luckily, the great people over at Comic Vine have not forgotten about our squirrely heroine, and this month she faces off against  Batman! Head over to their website and write a coherent argument about how she would win in a fight (and she would) for a chance to look cool, and make humanity believe in the comments section.

Or, like me, imagine Squirrel Girl and Princess Batman becoming BFFs, getting their own comic title, and making history as the best team-up ever.

To finish out the list, Kate Leth and Janelle Asselin has some thoughts on the comics industry. For Asselin, the way to gain diversity in the industry is summed up by don’t be a dick. If you have problems with dickishness, check out the full series here. If you’re not a dick, you should still check out the series for some vigorous head nodding a few guilty giggles.

Kate Leth, on the other hand, demonstrates what it’s like to be a woman in the comics industry in her “Kate or Die” series for Comic Book Alliance. In the end, it’s mainly just sad for the dicks out there.

KateOrDie

Read the whole strip here, and pat yourself on the back for not being the root of the problem. If you find yourself being the root of the problem, please refer to Janelle Asselin’s series.

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Forgotten Heroines of the 40's and Fashion Forward Costumes

April 2, 2014 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 12

MissFuryIf you’re like me, and you’ve been dying for more Heroines, there are some amazing Lady Capes from the pre-Code 40s. After looking through Saladin Ahmed’s post, you’ll probably want to browse through digitalcomicmuseum.org  to discover some favorites for yourself.

My personal recommendation? Miss Fury (pictured to the left). She’s saucy, written by a woman (Tarpe Mills) and has a great sense of style.I have these two volumes from Amazon, and they’re absolutely stunning. Or you could always just re-read Captain Marvel. Your choice.

Speaking of Captain Marvel, there’s a chance that you’ll be seeing some Marvel themed fashionings on Project Runway: Under the Gunn. Considering the Captain Marvel Cardboard Cut-out on scene, we can only hope for some fantastic pieces inspired by her new costume.

If you are in need of some stylish heroine costumes right this very minute  then check out these everyday lady costumes. 

StreetCostumes

 

Created by Mingjue Helen Chen, these are perfect for light-crime days. As always, Batgirl wears it best.

In video game news, there are more articles about sexism in the game industry (with statistics!) and a great piece by Samantha Allen about closing the gap between queer and mainstream games:

Straight gamers have been seeing their own experiences and fantasies reflected in games for forty years. We just want the same privilege for ourselves. Gone Home is beautiful because it’s just a story, a story about a queer girl named Samantha. I can relate to that. – Samantha Allen

A powerful sentiment, and something I have to explain to my male-friends every time I complain about the lack of female playable characters in the world.

Skullgirls Encore debuted a “new” character as an April Fool’s Joke – but with your support she just might stay in the game. Check out the video below to decide whether you’d play as Fukua the skin-swapped Skullgirl.

 

You probably already know this by now, but Frozen has officially been named the highest-grossing animated film ever – and it’s on the top 10 list for regular highest-grossing movies. This is great news for several reasons. 1) It proves that deviation from the standard Disney formula is welcome. 2) It is further proof that Idina Menzel is a goddess, and Kristen Bell can do now wrong. 3.) WELL-WRITTEN MOVIES ABOUT WOMEN SELL LOTS OF MONEY.

A recent study has actually proved that movies that pass the Bechdel Test actually do better monetarily than those that don’t (click here for an explanation of the Bechdel Test). If you’d like to understand the methods used for this graph, check out the original FiveThirtyEightLife article that explains their research techniques. Look – there’s a graph and everything.

BechdelTestWin

These findings will hopefully encourage the head honchos of Hollywood to do a better job with female representation, if only because there’s money in it. Women will pay for good media products about women, please make more!

 

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Princess Peach, Anne McCaffrey, and Wonder Woman walk into a bar…

April 1, 2014 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 32

So today in Leading Lady Links there’s a lot happening!

Today would have been Anne McCaffrey’s 88th birthday. This wonderful lady insired my love of Speculative Fiction with her fantastic dragons. I hope she’s out there somewhere finally getting to ride them herself.

peach-pink-nintendo-2ds-gs-exclusive_808.0_cinema_960.0So let’s talk about this limited edition “Peach Pink” 2DS. Sooo of all the DS systems out there, the 2DS is the one they decide to make pink? Is that because, for some reason, marketers are associating the 3DS with casual gaming and therefore associating it with women? Hmm? I’m suspicious. This comes out on April 11 (not an April Fool’s joke). I advise you to spend the extra money and pick up a respectable 3DS or 3DSxl.

WonderWomanIn other news, Wonder Woman may be a new edition to Batman Beyond. Future aging Superman is a fascinating character, and I’d love to see how Wonder Woman has aged (if she has) and how she deals with the future. Batman Beyond is one of the only DC titles that I’ve been reading – mainly because the comic is perfeclty able to capture the vibes of the television show. Yay nostalgia!

That said, adding Wonder Woman to the cast would be amazing. Kyle Higgins hints that her arrival is key to the Batman Beyond/Justice League Forever crossover that is in the works. I just want to see an old wonder woman. There’s not enough older superheroes, and I can’t remember the last time I saw an old heroine. MAKE IT SO HIGGINS. 

Some of my favorite comics people (Greg Rucka, Kelley Sue DeConnick, Janelle Asselin, Sabrina Taylor, Sarah Gaydos, Sina Grace, Rachel Edidin) talked about how comics can be more inclusive for women.  You can also read Janelle Asselin’s more in-depth take on it here – where she expands on some of her ideas that she didn’t quite get to during the panel.

In other comics news, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky want to release a Sex Advice book “Just the Tips” and comment on whether “Fat Bottomed Girls” ever made it into Sex Criminals. This is preceded by news that Fraction and his Son are co-writing an Adventure Time comic. And now I’m thinking about Adventure Time and sex. STUPID MATT FRACTION. 

If you’ve ever asked yourself the infamous question “Would I rather be a Cyborg than a Goddess?” you can now finally answer it without bending your mind too hard.

CyborgGoddessPlay free indie game Cyborg Goddess by Kara Stone and Kayte McKnight to finally understand “A cost-benefit analysis of two archetypes available for women.”

AtroposMinecraftOur last two stories have nothing to do with women, but I just liked them enough to share. Someone built a world on the back of a turtle in Minecraft.  It has been dubbed “Atropos” an appropriate title given that in Greek Mythology Atropos was one of the goddesses of fate and destiny. You’re certainly putting a lot in fate and destiny when you decided to build your steampunk city on the back of the turtle.

Finally, I had to include this amazing Pokemon cosplay picture. The Pokemon Google Maps Challenge has been mind-blowingly amazing (albeit short) and I’m in the mood to celebrate Pokemon. So here’s an Umbreon.

Umbreon Dog

You can check out leafon-ex’s deviantART page for more dog cosplay, and fun fandom sketches.

 

 

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Leading Lady Links: Divergent and Fantasy Sexism

March 24, 2014 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 8

First up today for all you lady gamers out there is your Fairy Gamer Momma by jakface. Ever been accused of being a fake geek girl? Gamer Momma’s got your back. I’ve always wanted someone like this in my life, and I’m elated to know people have actually met women like this. Click the image for the full comic!

Gamer Momma

Next up, an oldie but a goodie. Visit Tor.com to unpack historically authentic sexism – you know, that bullshit excuse misogynist writers use to explain why all their lady characters suck. Here’s one of my favorite quotes just to get you started.

“History is not a long series of centuries in which men did all the interesting/important things and women stayed home and twiddled their thumbs in between pushing out babies, making soup and dying in childbirth.

History is actually a long series of centuries of men writing down what they thought was important and interesting, and FORGETTING TO WRITE ABOUT WOMEN. ” – Tansy Rayner Roberts

For more gaming news, Twitch Plays Pokemon – As a Girl! I wasn’t watching the stream when the decision went down – but it is an interesting occurrence in group gaming. It might mean something, it might mean nothing we’ll just have to see if any religions come out of it.

Queen-Country-comicFans of Greg Rucka, Ellen Page, and strong female characters rejoice! The Fox adaptation of Queen and Country finally has a director! Hopefully this means that the series will continue developing at a nice speed, and we’ll get to see the live-action version of this graphic novel shortly.

Newsarama caught up with Melanie Hutchison – voice actor of the famous Clementine from Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Season 2 Clementine was off the hook, although I can’t help but wonder why we suddenly have multiple young orphan girls as protagonists in Zombie games.

If Divergent seemed like a bit of a Hunger Games rip-off to you (it’s definitely inferior in my opinion) check out Linda Holmes’ discussion on “Not So ‘Divergent’ The Cookie Cutter Nonconformist”. In other words – how nonconforming characters repeat and conform to each other.

Finally, Fox has debuted the second full-length trailer of X-Men: Days of Future Past. For your viewing pleasure:

Did you catch the new appearances?

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Leading Lady Links: Bingo Cards and Fan Theories

March 19, 2014 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 18

There have been some great stories this past week about women and comics, as well as some awesome pictures that you just have to see.

To start off, we have Female Armor Bingo – pointing out all the ridiculosity of women’s battle attire in one handy bingo card!

Female Armor Bingo

Suggested use? Pull the card out whenever you’re playing a game demo or looking at a new game – if you get a bingo don’t buy the game!

If you want a good example of a lady character who excels at being clothed, check out this trailer for a new Gauntlet game by Arrowhead studios.

Valkyrie has the most armor. I’m taking that as a win ladies.

Not to be outdone, we also have Male Protagonist Bingo, pulling together all the tropes of your favorite action heroes.

male-protagonist-bingo

I would also add “Brunette” because there just doesn’t seem to be many heroes with blonde/black/red hair.

Moving away from video games for a moment, check out this article from Tor that finds nearly 1/3 of Marvel Female Characters Are Underweight. Guys – that’ s a lot of underweight super heroines. I can barely function on a growling stomach, how do we expect these ladies to save the world when they’re bodies are only at half-capacity for hunger?? Also, according to the chart, Steve Rogers is the heaviest hero. Go figure.

If you found that last link a smidgen depressing, go over to Comics Alliance and check out their roundtable with Kurtis J. Wiebe (Ratqueens), Riley Rossmo (Drumhellar) and Hope Larson as they discuss how to expand body image expectations in comics. If you’ve read Ratqueens at all, then you know what a great job Kurtis J. Wiebe is already doing with this. The roundtable is fun, and restored a sliver of my faith in humanity.

In addition to body shape, Comics Alliance also takes on diviersity in comics with their Harvey/Renee scale. As mentioned in the article, it’s a good place to start an analysis. Although lumping all the “other’ characters into the Renee category feels a bit off to me.

Whew. So enough with the seriousness! Not strictly games/comics news, but this fan theory of how Frozen, Tangled, and The Little Mermaid are all intertwined is a fun thing to start your day off with.

FrozenTangled

That’s all for today. I just received my Final Fantasy X & X-II HD edition, so expect to hear about Titus, Lulu, Yuna, and Kimhari later this week.

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Tomb Raider, Racist Games, and GaymerCon (but not in that order)

September 5, 2012 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 22

For those of you unfamiliar with my weekly roundups, this is the feature where I round up recent articles dealing with race, gender, sexuality, disabilities, identity groups etc. all in one place for your reading pleasure! Some weeks the articles may make you want to go on a violent rampage, other weeks might inspire you e-hug troll fighters. Your response is up to you, although I would suggest that violent rampages typically lead to negative consequences. No stories this week have really made me react strongly in either direction, but many were interesting all the same.

First up: Aliens Colonial Marines will have a female character!

She looks a bit scrawny to me….

And here she is, , Pvt. Jennifer Redding Quintaro (her brother is on the right)! The Alien movies have always produced some strong female characters, (and the beginnings of the Vasquez always dies trope) and this news from Gearbox is definitely a welcome announcement. Gamers and Aliens fans across the internet have been petitioning for the inclusion of female characters in the new game, and it looks like all the hullaballoo paid off. According to Gearbox, the plan all along was to include a female character. Whether it was the plan or not, she better live up to the likes of Ripley, Newt, and Vasquez or else…..or else…I’ll write scathing reviews! That’ll show ’em.

2.) Next up from Kotaku, Steam pulled a Sex game from its Greenlight service. There’s been some buzz on the internet in the last few months about sex games, like the game Polymorphously Perverse, but it general it doesn’t appear as if this game was quite as offensive as some. The pulling of this game makes it appear as if Steam’s Greenlight service will keep erotic content out of its listings. I’m torn on this because I think that there can potentially be well-made erotic games (if they allow a person to play as whatever gender they want, take into account multiple sexualities, race…etc) and I wonder if the banning of erotic games from Steam will hinder the potential development of well-made sex games. On the other hand, Polymorphously Perverse was horrendous and if Steam banning erotic games can keep the terribly heterosexist games from a large audience, then power to them. Any other opinions out there about sex games?

3.) 3-D Ms. Pac-Man at Baby Castle’s Summit.  Here’s the video:

Clearly this is just super cool. I wish I had the time/money to create such awesome experiences! I’ve always loved Ms. Pac-Man because she is one of the few female characters (if you consider a yellow circle with lipstick female) to be treated equally as her male counterpart. Ms. Pac-Man does exactly what Pac-Man does, eats ghosts, and her lipstick doesn’t seem to get in the way of that. Of course, that might have just been a side-effect of technological limitations, but hey, three cheers for Ms. Pac-Man! May women everywhere some day have the same equality that she does.

4.)  Race Wars.Com: Extreme Racism as an Innoculation against racism?

According to this article, the game Race Wars, which is a hacked version of an old nintendo games, asks the player to answer a few questions, and based on those questions assigns a race to the player, and puts them in a specific Race War. This could be Whites against Blacks, Asians against Hispanics, or a variety of different combinations of race wars based on the questionnaire. According to Nate Hill, the game’s maker:

Race Warriors is a racist, hacked Nintendo video game. It offers 16 different race war video games between Whites, Blacks, Asians, or Hispanics. As mentioned before, traditional vaccines expose the immune system to a dead or weakened germ. In this case, the racist germ is weakened. Here’s how: Before killing another race, the young player must answer 10 questions that supposedly decode their racial prejudice, and from this, the game creates an appropriate race war scenario to be played. The problem is that these questions, for example, “Do you like candles?”, have nothing to do with race at all. Regardless of your answers, you’re directed to a completely random game. You may even have to kill your own race, or fight for the race you hate the most. This all makes for an absurd, racist experience. The strength of the game is that within its world, racism is absurd.

I think this is an intriguing idea, but it hinges on one thing: players being able to recognize the absurdity. The Race Wars website says “The game is racist. The game is absurd. Therefore, racism is absurd”.  The problem I feel, comes with step number two: will players be able to understand that the game is absurd? Vaccinations typically give you a tiny bit of a virus so that your immune system can learn how to fight against it. Unfortunately, occasionally vaccinations can lead to a full on infection. Ultimately I’m afraid that this particular inoculation may lead to more infections than strengthened immune systems.

6.) GaymerCon is fully funded! Yay!

7.) Gaming Accessibility project hopes to make games more accessible for the handicapable. According to this article, almost 20% of the casual game playing database have some sort of disability. By making games more accessible, this could potentially increase profits for gaming companies, and more importantly make games accessible to people with disabilities. It’s definitely an interesting project, and I hope game companies take the guideline’s to heart.

8.) New Lara Croft video is completely uncontroversial! Hopefully you’re still interested in the new Lara Croft game, even after all that rape/not rape commotion. The newest video from PAX shows a lot more gameplay footage than we’ve previously had, and absolutely nothing that could even potentially be construed as rape. So check out the video (it’s like 14 minutes long….fyi).

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Yes, there are dick-free places on the internet

August 27, 2012 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 39

Weekly Roundup is the feature where I gather up all the interesting articles pertaining to gender and gaming from the previous week. This week I look at the game “Dungeons of Dreadmoor” and the kick-ass people who created it, and moderate the forums.

Last week a friend posted a link on my wall. The blurb said

“I’m about to tell you a story about videogames, kitchens, and internet forums that has a happy ending. Stop laughing, I’m serious.”

When I read those two sentences, I cautiously clicked on the link, fully expecting something terrible and misogynistic despite the intro.  It’s hard for me to imagine any story about videogames, kitchens, and forums that has any sort of ending that doesn’t end in tragedy for a woman participating. However, cakepie relates an astounding story sans tragedy. After participating on the Dungeons of Dredmoor forums for less than 24 hours, cakepie encountered the “make me a sanwhich” comment. If you’re a woman on the internet/gaming community, you know what I mean. The instant someone identifies you as a woman, it takes maybe thirty seconds for someone to tell you to “go make me a sandwhich” (“like a good woman” is typically implied) The first time I ever played Halo online when I was 12, I immediately got told to go back to the kitchen the minute the players heard my voice (As I learned later in life, I was lucky that the comment was so mild). On forums you’ll often encounter images like this one:


If you type in the phrase “Make me a sandwich” into a Google search, the third suggested search is “Make me a sandwhich comeback”. There are many good comebacks, and cakepie makes good use of these in her response to the troll (Read her full article for a good discussion on how moderators should respond to these comments). Here is one of my favorite images for combating the sandwich comment:

Amazingly, another forum member joins the fray: the freakin’ GAME DEVELOPER David Baumgart.   He says:

I won’t stand for this bloody stupid sandwhich “jokes” that marginalizes female players involvement in this community (and like, life in general). It’s precisely the opposite of the kind of environment that we here at Gaslamp want to create.

I’m honestly not sure of the last time I read something so awesome on an internet forum. But wait! It gets even better:

Now that I’ve, weirdly, been part of making a game and it’s got a forum, I’m not going to tolerate a tone that alienates anyone traditionally disempowered by gaming communities, be it women, GLBT folk, etc, – even unconsciously. Hence my insta-rage and banning

If you want to see Baumgart’s full response: click here. It’s worth reading. Really. Like, go read it now. It is the first thing I’ve read in awhile that has give me hope that a bit of humanity and decency is finally making its way into the gaming community.

This isn’t the first time that Dungeons of Dredmoor has done something awesome for gamers! In this article from the Borderhouse, rho describes how Gaslamp added a female playable character to Dungeons of Dredmoor. Even better? One of the game’s developers joins in the discussion of the need to include both sexes and more races as playable options in games. So, in this spirit of putting money where my mouth is, this game is definitely now in my Steam library. I can’t wait to play it, and I’m totally stoked that I can play as a woman, be part of the forums, and have developer/moderator support throughout!

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Leading Lady Links: Don't Be a Dick

July 31, 2012 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 25

So today we’re continuing this week’s roundup, to see what I covered yesterday you look mosey on over to this post.  The first story I’m going to cover is Wil Wheaton’s 40th birthday! For his birthday on July 29, he launched the website don’tbeadickday.com. Here’s the gist of the website:

Image

Also, if you don’t quite know how to accomplish that, here is a helpful infographic chart:

Image.

Sage advice for everyone on the internet! So if you ever had a crush on the young Wesley Crusher, or you enjoy his series on tabletop gaming at Geek and Sundry, then you can honor Wil Wheaton everyday by following the simple rule: don’t be a dick.

Speaking of people who are attempting not to be dicks, Kotaku recently released a series called 1st Person Perspective where they interview everyday gamers about random topics. The fist topic considered was “Strong Female Characters”. This gives an interesting look at what some everyday guys think of female characters, and I was amazed at the lack of dickishness! If i had any internet skillz whatsoever I would be able to embed the video, but due to technical ineptitude I simply advise you to go watch the video here.

Of all the systems currently out, it appears like the Nintendo DS is the system that invites equal amounts of dicks and chicks to play it. If you look at IGN.com, all their female writers and editors primarily write for the DS section of the website (which is a rant for another day). In Japan, Nintendo gets Japanese Female Stars to advertise the DS, according to this article. As the article notes

It’s not just enough to be popular. Nintendo picks actresses or models who are popular with females, instead of pandering to males by picking the latest bikini model. That isn’t to say some of the woman in Nintendo’s ads are not former bikini models—some are. Buy they’ve moved on to either mainstream modeling or acting, and they have cross gender appeal

It makes me wonder how consoles in the US would market their systems for a cross-gender approach, or if a similar approach would work here.

Yes clearly, this post is already a bit Kotaku heavy, but here is one more article of interest from Kotaku about *gasp* race AND gender! The article, Assasin’s Creed New Black Heroine Represents a New Kind of Liberation” points out that black female protagonists are hard to find in most video games, and that the new  Assassin’s Creed: Liberation game is an anomaly in the gaming world because that’s who you get to play as.

Image

I would just like to say I am super excited about this, even though I’m usually only feel “meh” about Assasin’s Creed. I may have to pick up a Vita just to see how well they do with a black female protagonist in this game.

Moving on from Kotaku, 1up has a great article by gamer Kat Bailey about “Being the Only Girl in a Madden League” If you thought being a girl in the gaming world was rough, try being a girl in sports gaming! What sounds like it could be a horror story littered with brotastic anecdotes, turns into an inclusive, fun experience. Bailey points out that:

 One thing I’ve discovered over the years about gaming is that it’s more inclusive than most people realize. For every reprehensible claim that sexual harassment is “part of the culture” of a gaming community, there are at least 31 gamers who know better. Yes, even in a game like Madden NFL.

So basically, even in a game like Madden NFL, people know how not to be dicks. I feel like there is a lesson to be learned in this for 4chan trolls…

For people that have experienced gendered bullying in video games, Marina Martinez and friends made this video discussing bullying, and ways to respond and deal with it. It’s about a 120 minute long video,  but really interesting if you’re into this stuff, or want to learn how to better handle bullying. The main video starts at about 4 minutes in, until then its mainly them setting up.  EDIT: Apparently my embedding skillz have proven worthless again, here is a link to the video!

Finally, AN ARTICLE ABOUT BOOTH BABES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A BOOTH BABE! Okay, maybe that wasn’t something to yell about, but it got me excited! Booth babes get a lot of flack from people who want the video game world to be ‘more respectable’ and they also have to deal with people that are fairly excited to emerge from their caves and see girls. So, this article by Elaine Low over at Jezebel adds an interesting perspective to the whole to booth babe or not to booth babe debate. My favorite quote of the article:

That we have recurring conversations about the necessity or frivolity of booth babes is a silly attempt at misdirection. Maybe those who frown upon slutty-looking costumes should petition game developers to stop designing slutty-looking video game characters.

So maybe if we treated women like normal human beings in-games, gamers would learn to treat women as normal human beings outside of game??? CRAZY!!!! Also, a great suggestion for how game developers can cut down on being dicks.

So clearly, if you’ve learned one thing from this post, it is clearly that being a vagina is clearly preferred over being a dick…wait…what? Er…maybe that’s not the lesson. This list of articles was the least dickish I’ve posted about so far, and hopefully the internet can continue this trend into the next!

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Polymorphously Perverse: One Man's Experience Playing a Sex Video Game (and other news)

July 30, 2012 Leading Lady Links Comments (0) 23

Welcome to the Weekly Roundup where I pull together all the news involving women and gaming so you don’t have to! In the past week there have been quite a few interesting articles dealing with gender, race, and sexuality so I’m going to divide this roundup into two posts, one today and one tomorrow (I also have a paper due this week so I don’t have quite as much time to devote to posting as normal).

Adam Miller wrote an article last week entitled ‘The Sex Video Game Polymorphous Perversity Made Me Question My Identity”. The article can be accessed here via Kotaku or here on Miller’s site Clever Musings. For those of you unfamiliar with the game Polymorphouse Perversity it is an indie game created by Nicolau Chaud dealing with the Freuding concept of polymorphous perversity, the idea that infants sexually desire everyone and everything before they are taught proper modes of sexuality. A previous article on Kotaku explains:

The premise of the game is straightforward: you’d be a young guy with a sexual disorder who stumbles onto a world where everything is about sex. Instead of saving the world, you’d go on an adventure to ‘discover your sexuality.’ It’d be an RPG, only without battles in the traditional sense—you’d be fucking people (who can give you STDs as status ailments), and your performance is graded afterward.

Image

Miller’s embarked on his adventure with the game in an attempt to explore the connections between psychology and libido, appropriate goals considering game-maker Chaud has a history in psychology. As Miller played the game, he quickly realized how problematic it was. While at first the turn-based comment that featured “fuck” as an attack was merely discomforting, the game’s portrayal of transsexual’s particularly disturbed Miller. In-game they were labeled as “trannys” a term most transsexuals find offensive.  Miller points out that

Worse, the transsexuals have very demeaning dialogue; transsexuals in this game are presented as sex predators because of it. They all sound like men during sex. You get HPV after being penetrated by them. Doesn’t all of this convey a rather narrow worldview?

Instead of encouraging a player to explore sexuality, the game merely encourages the player to direct a male character to “fuck” everything in site or risk dying through depletion of the “horny meter”. Wonderful game right? While the game seems less like an exploration of sexuality and more like male fantasy,the portrayal of transsexuals within the game stirred in him some emotions that he had suppressed for some time, namely that he was not happy with the sex assigned to him at birth.  This is a brave admission in light of how the gaming community usually reacts towards discussions of sexuality and gender. The comments are particularly delightful, one commenter saying

Having Adam review this game is like having an Iraq veteran suffering from PTSD review Modern Warfare 3. What are you THINKING, Kotaku? Did you put ANY thought into this? Why was a game that was created thoughtfully by a sexually active straight adult male reviewed by a VERY sexually confused virgin?

So basically, a straight white male should probably review every game because that’s typically the target audience right? Luckily many other commenters were supportive of Millerss admission of sexual confusion. I think some of Miller’s comments of the game are still very apt:

I don’t know if I’m happier identifying as a man or a woman. I don’t know if I’m hetero-, homo-, bi-, or pansexual. What I do know is what I’m taking away from playing Polymorphous Perversity: it’s okay to be yourself, just as long as you’re a sexually overactive male without decency or standards. Everyone else should be ashamed of themselves, including me.

So, if you are a straight, white, cis-male go play Polymorphous Perversity and have fun validating your sexuality! For everyone else (myself included), I’m going to recommend ignoring the game unless you’re using it as evidence of continued misogyny in video games.

Continuing with our apparent theme of gender and sex confusion, according to this article by Owen good, the Minecraft guy is supposed to be gender neutral.

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While the default character skin has a goatee and is often considered male, most creatures in Minecraft are supposed to be either gender neutral, or portray traits from both genders. According to creator Markus “Notch” Perrson :

All other living things in the game are genderless, if not exhibiting the traits of both genders. “The chicken/duck/whatevers have heads that look like roosters, but still lay eggs,” he says. Cows have both horns and udders

One of the things that allows Minecraft to designate living creatures as one gender is the pixelated graphics of the game. The graphics don’t allow for must distinction of gender, so Notch made everything one gender so that gamers wouldn’t have to worry about it. Clearly gamers have created new skins designed to create the illusion of different genders for the base human model, but on a basic level, every living thing in Minecraft is monosexed. Take that gender binaries!.

I feel like discussing gender binaries is a good segue into feminism! I identify as a feminist personally, which you could probably tell from my previous articles. Jenn Frank wrote an excellent article last week (okay okay it’s been two weeks but I missed it for last week’s roundup) called “I was a Teenage Sexist” In the article Frank deals with her journey of being a woman in misogynist culture, and how she finally realized feminism was for her. This is a great article, but rather long, so here were some of the highlights of the article for me:

Instead, feminism – and other types of social justice, I figure – acknowledges that there is an invisible pattern of experience that comes along with being, very visibly, something else.

You don’t have to think of ladies as “victims” – I’d prefer you didn’t – and you don’t even have to think of some experiences as “baggage.”

But feminism does ask you, as an ethical human being, to objectively reexamine certain standards of behavior, which themselves are often based on an internalized, invisible set of shared beliefs and values.

Feminism isn’t about holding another sex in higher esteem than the male sex. Rather, it’s about anti-sexism.

It’s about making sure your child doesn’t grow up believing she is somehow subhuman.

And if someone ever makes your child feel like he or she deserves abuse, you better hope that kid is confident and surefooted enough to fight back.

Again, I would recommend reading the whole article, especially if you’re on the fence about your feelings of feminism. Frank does a good job of examining why feminism can be hard to embrace for many women, but why she feels (and I agree) it’s so important.

So those are some of the interesting articles that surfaced last week, I’ll continue to point out more articles tomorrow as I continue the Weekly Roundup!

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