Tag Archives: feminism

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

18 Mar

Anita Sarkeesian’s long-awaited video on sexism in video games came out last week and damn, was it good. Yes, the video runs a little long at 23 minutes, but it’s definitely worth a watch. It goes into great depth on the development of video games, the kinds of stories they tell, and how this all relates to gender equality. I’d also suggest watching other Feminist Frequency videos, they’re a great primer on sexism in popular culture.

The Longest War

8 Feb

If you haven’t read Rebecca Solnit’s magnificent, horrifyingly truthful article on the war on women, you should do so now. Some people say that there isn’t one, least of all in America. They’re not paying attention. Frankly, after reading that article for the third time, I’m not really capable of anything more than an incandescent rage.

Here’s an except (but you should really read the whole thing):

“Never mind workplace violence, let’s go home.  So many men murder their partners and former partners that we have well over 1,000 homicides of that kind a year — meaning that every three years the death toll tops 9/11’s casualties, though no one declares a war on this particular terror. (Another way to put it: the more than 11,766 corpses from domestic-violence homicides since 9/11 exceed the number of deaths of victims on that day and all American soldiers killed in the “war on terror.”) If we talked about crimes like these and why they are so common, we’d have to talk about what kinds of profound change this society, or this nation, or nearly every nation needs. If we talked about it, we’d be talking about masculinity, or male roles, or maybe patriarchy, and we don’t talk much about that.”

Rebecca Solnit



The Hawkeye Initiative

5 Dec

The Hawkeye Initiative is an excellent example of everything that’s right on the internet.

Comic books fans are pretty used to the ridiculous poses that female characters are put into to show off some T&A, oftentimes disregarding basic anatomy and perspective. Nothing says female empowerment like a broken spine! Seriously, Gabs and I were in a comic books store and we started trying to copy poses they had the ladies in and they were very much impossible unless you were Elastigirl. (Hint: the character in question was not Elastigirl.)

In the past few days, the Hawkeye Initiative has exploded over on Tumblr. Their mission? To replace every improbable posed and scantily clad comic book lady with the Avenger Hawkeye. You remember, he was the dude with arrows in the Avengers movie played by the well-muscled Jeremy Renner.

It all started with this post by Blue.

hawkeye blue

hawkeye blue original

The rest of the internet (at least, the parts of it with a sense of humor) has taken this idea and run with it. There’s already 19 pages of backlog over at the Initiative, full of some really hilariously drawn Hawkeye. There’s just something about putting Clint Barton into a Strong Female Character‘s pose makes it even more ridiculous. If you’ve got some time and have ever had a passing interest in comics, I suggest you head over there and be ready to laugh.  (I’d post my favorites, but I’m having technical difficulties.  WordPress!)

Also, who’s up for sending the really egregious offenders some anatomical reference books? Do they even know how perspective and the female body works? Because you cannot show both T&A head on with a properly adjusted spine on a real human body, regardless if the lady is a blue mutant or a cat burglar or an alien.

Reasonable Armor

20 Apr

Video by College Humor

I’m far from the first person to complain about the objectification/sexualized portrayal of women in science fiction and fantasy. Better writers than me have already gone at it like politely rabid dogs, resulting in a fandom kerfluffle that eventually dies down only to be resurrected a few months later because nothing’s changed. I get where both sides are coming from, but as a proud lady nerd, I’m on the side where women can wear reasonable armor. Where they can have objectives that aren’t just finding a Man. Where a movie can pass the Bechdel test* or the love interest stops getting Stuffed In A Fridge* to further her boyfriend’s character development.

But mostly, my biggest beef is about the armor. You’re telling me that a scantily clad lady in heels and not much more than a bikini is going to fight hordes of evil minions? The idea is to not look like Slave Leia, thankyouverymuch. I won’t deny that wearing feminine or sexy clothes isn’t sometimes empowering. I have my own minidresses and five inch heels and I like dressing up. But I’m not about to fight crime in ’em, let alone demons from hell.

So yeah, this is basically an introduction to my favoritest tumblr of the moment: Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor. Ladies, kicking ass and taking names, and in appropriate kick-ass clothes. It’s about fucking time.

Kyra, by Wayne Reynolds

Eowyn, by Craig Spearling

Matsu Kinihara, by Florian Stitz

Samus Aran, by Tim Kelly

Space Pirate, by Yuan Cui

I know, I know, in the grand scheme of things, appropriate clothes seems like a silly hill to die on, but it’s about respect and being treated equally, and most importantly, not taking a knife to an important internal organ because you wanted to show off that flat tummy.

*Links to Feminist Frequency.  It’s an easy primer for feminism in popular culture, in easily digestible youtube form!

All images taken from Women Fighters tumblr.

Handmaid’s Tale

21 Mar

I don’t really know what the hells is going on with the Republicans. I really don’t. Better minds than mine have taken a stab at what the hell they’re doing. Listening to Santorum, Romney, Gingrich, Blunt, etc is scary, like they read Atwood and decided her dystopian epic was an excellent road-map for political victory. Of course, this is a fertile breeding ground (pun intended?) for fiction and non-fiction. Here are some of my favorites, in the sense that they freaked me out and inspired me to action

ILU-486, by Amanda Ching

This is long, but totally worth it. It works under the premise that contraception and abortion are outlawed and it is completely and utterly terrifying in its plausibility. “In the not-so-distant future of Virginia, the Personhood Act has outlawed abortion and chemical birth control. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, though.”  Read it.

Reproductive Parts, by s.e. smith

This is series of shorts that interconnect to a horrific end. Great writing with a chilling message.

“Dear GOP: You do know how pregnancy works, right?”, by Emily L. Hauser

Emily is awesome and tells it like it is. She looks at the Republican’s emphasis on the women and how they forget that it takes two to tango.



Planned Parenthood.

Donate. Please. (Also, have you heard of Women’s Strike Force? Kickass, I say.)

Gender Inequality

19 Mar

Back in January, my minor project at the time was a translation for China Development Brief, a non-profit that brings Chinese journals and science articles to a wider audience by translating them into English. My article was on sexual harassment in the workplace, and how gender inequality is a social and economic problem in modern China. It went live over the weekend and can be found here.

I have to say, it is incredibly gratifying to see my name in print. Webprint. Whatever. What’s even more gratifying is the portions that I translated and were more or less left intact. I look at it and think smugly to myself, “uh huh, I still got it”. There might have even been a minor Snoopy Dance of Joy. Maybe.

So, if you’re interested at all in feminism, gender inequality in China, or seeing how my Chinese translations look, click click click away.





6 Jan

I’m working on a translation today. Why I volunteered to do this, I can’t even… the hells was I thinking? I’m about two-thirds of a way through “Sexual Harassment is a Gender Equity Issue”. I should probably be done by tomorrow

My last translation job was for my senior thesis, wherein I translated a 20,000 character science fiction story. It was about genetically engineered rats. And the gender imbalance between men and women in modern China due to the one-child policy, but mostly about rats. It took me about three months of concerted effort, with fevered eleventh-hour revisions and review with help from friends and family. So when the guy from China Development Brief (CDB) gave me this article I was kind of like, 2000 words? No biggie. And it really isn’t terrible, to be honest. I know most of the words, thanks to third-year Chinese. (Somewhere, Dr. Wang feels incredibly vindicated for making us learn things like “gender equality” and “sexual harassment”.) It’s just the fact that I’ve been mostly lazing about and putting the nose back to the grindstone is a little shocking. Boo frickety hoo, right?

It’s almost enjoyable, getting back into the hang of translating. Clearly, I’m a crazy person. I’ve got some new tea and a few scones – let’s do this thing.


(I’ll link to the article when it’s finished. After I’m through with it, the article has to go through another two rounds of editing before it gets published. Yay for redundancy and editors!)

Lip Gloss

30 Sep

So, I had a moment last night. As I was walking home with a bunch of kids, I got to talking to J___, a guy from Arkansas. And as I explained, that, no, I am a feminist, really dude, he had the neatest put-down I’ve gotten in a while.

Yeah,” he said, “but you’re a lip gloss feminist.”*

I blinked. “What?”

Well, there are three types of feminists: lipstick, lip gloss, and other.”

Talk about your “Danger, Will Robinson” moments, but I was still moderately buzzed and I get argumentative about women’s rights when stone cold sober, so it was on. “Go on.”

Well, lipstick feminists are like really girly. Lip gloss means you talk about women’s rights stuff but you shave, and other…” He paused.

No really, I want to hear this.”

Other is the really grotty kind.” In his silence, I could tell he meant a whole bunch of other things. The dirty lesbians, the strident bitches, the ones who won’t shut up about women’s rights, anyone who didn’t pass, in other words.

I processed. We crossed a busy street and headed for the bridge towards campus. “I’m an other.” I said firmly, thinking about my personal politics and pet issues.

What? No, see, you wear make-up and heels, you have to be a lip gloss.

I was indeed wearing make-up and wedge heels and a dress that was longer when I bought it but had gone in the wash and now was edging toward little-black-dress territory.

You do realize that feminism has evolved in the past twenty years and women can wear lipstick and still be feminists, right?” I turned to him. “Like, my desire to feel good about myself and wear eyeshadow doesn’t negate the fact that I’m a feminist.”

Uh huh.” I could tell he was humoring me and I felt so incredibly annoyed. What’s the good of being versed in all the pro-feminism arguments if you can’t articulate them at 2:30 in the morning?

The conversation was dropped as the rest of our party caught up and we went for xiaokao. (Nighttime bbq.)

Even now, hours later and sobered up, this whole exchange irks me. What are we doing, feminists of the world, if a guy our age still thinks that the only real feminists out there are grotty and if you wear lipstick, you can’t be a real believer in women’s rights. There’s a whole bunch of issues wrapped up in this, from body image and proper gender performance to a dismissal of women’s rights.

I am a feminist. I donate to Planned Parenthood, I vote pro-choice, I believe in a women’s right to equal pay, decent maternity leave, not being penalized for the choice of having kids, the ability to get child care, medical services, and a whole host of other issues. I also wear lipstick and mascara. I don’t see the disconnect, but apparently J___ from Arkansas did.


And thanks to J___’s douchey misogyny, Planned Parenthood is getting an extra $25 bucks this week.




*This conversation has been recreated to the best of my memory, but, as stated, I was still drunk at the time. My recall might not be the best thing, but I sure as hell remembered the tone of the conversation.