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TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism

thenewinquiry:

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Context and Reactions: The Last Couple Weeks

•Liz Ryerson- On Right-Wing Videogame Extremism

•Leigh Alexander – ‘Gamers’ Don’t Have to Be Your Audience. ‘Gamers’ Are Over

The Work Most Recently Under Attack

•Andrew Todd – Videogames, Misogyny and Terrorism: A Guide to Assholes

•Mattie Brice – Moving On

•Samantha Allen – Will the Internet Ever be Safe for Women?

•Kris Ligman – This Week in Videogame Blogging: August 31st (a good overview of much of the coverage)

•Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Women as Background Decoration: Part 2.  TRIGGER WARNING: some very upsetting in-game footage of violence against women. This video is the most recent in Feminist Frequency‘s incredible crowdfunded video series Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games (more here here here here and here), which through video essays centered around game footage reveal the most insidious patriarchal and violent misogynist tropes in video games. Host and writer Anita Sarkeesian has beenparticularly targeted by misogynist threats.

•Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest: An interactive, educational story game about depression and the often very difficult and personal methods required to overcome it. The game is available for free on Steam–it’s pay what you will–but if you can afford it, consider buying the beautiful game to support Quinn, who has faced near constant harassment since the game’s release.

Reviews/Essays/Work on a Single Game

•Lana Polanksy: Jupiter is a Failed Star Because it Didn’t Want it Hard Enough (Kim Kardashian: Hollywood)

•Mike Thomsen: Fuck Forever and Never Die (Skyrim)

•Patricia Hernandez: Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2 (Fallout 2)

•Liz Ryerson: The Monster Within (Hotline Miami)

•Aevee Bee: How Flat is the World (GrimGrimoire)

•Zoya Street and Samantha Allen: Bunk Bed #1: Everlove(Everlove)

•Naomi Clark: Not Gonna Happen (Gone Home); A Hasty Review: Howling Dogs (Howling Dogs–written in response to a gamer claiming it couldn’t be reviewed because games by women aren’t “real games”)

•Angela Washko: Playing a Girl (video essay/performance art/intervention performed within World of Warcraft)

Patriarchy, Misogyny and Violence Against Women in Video Games

•Leigh Alexander: A Game is Being Beaten

•Sarah Wanencheck: “The Consumption Palace”: Gamers, Misogyny and Capitalism

•Kim Moss: You Know What’s Gross? We Often Play Nice Guys™ In Games With Romance Options

• Patricia Hernandez: Three Words I Said to the Man I Defeated in Gears of War that I’ll Never Say Again

•Maddy Myers: Bad Dad vs. Hyper Mode: The Father-Daughter Bond in Video Games

•Cara Ellison: Games, Noir and the 17%: Where are the Women?

•Quinnae Moongazer: I’m Being So Sincere Right Now: Gaming as Hyperreality

•Ben Kuchera: Its time to leave the brothels and strip clubs behind when real victims fuel your narrative

•Feminist Frequency: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

•Jenn Frank: On Consuming Media Responsibly

•Mary Flanagan: Violent Video Games Reveal the Dark Side of Play

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Gender Play: Queer, Trans and Feminist Spaces in Gaming

•Kaitlin Tremblay: The Buxom and the Beasts; or, Why I need Monsters as a Feminist;  Intro to Gender Criticism For Gamers: From Princess Peach, to Claire Redfield, to Femsheps.

•Liz Ryerson: The Abstract and the Feminine

•Samantha Allen: TransMovement: Freedom and Constraint in Queer and Open World Games;  Between Pleasure and Reality: Theorizing Video Games as Transitional Objects

•Lana Polanksy: Pushing Buttons

•Mariam Naziripour: The Awfulness and the Importance of the Dress-Up Game

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Redefining “Game”, Text, Twine and New Ways of Constructing Narrative

•Merritt Koppas: Trans Women and the New Hypertext

•Porpentine: Creation Under Capitalism and the Twine RevolutionParasite

•Emily Short: Reading and Hypothesis

•Line Hollis: Game Change: Minigames and Narrative Arcs

•Mattie Brice: Death of the Player

•Celia Pearce & Friends: Experimental Game Design

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Straight White Males: Video Game Media and Gaming Culture

•Maddy Myers: Gaming, rape culture, and how I stopped reading Penny Arcade;  A Challenger Appears: One woman’s battle against the anxious masculinity of the fighting-game scene

•Jonathan McIntosh: Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male

•Samantha Allen: An Open Letter to Games Media; Community or Island Nations

•Mattie Brice: Why I Don’t Feel Welcome At Kotaku

•Arthur Chu: Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement and Nerds

•Celia Pearce, Janine Fron, Tracy Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie: The Hegemony of Play

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Games 4 U 2 Play

SABBAT: Director’s Kvt by Oh No Problems

Bubblegum Slaughter and Consensual Torture Simulator byMerritt Kopas

Crypt Worlds: Your Darkest Desire Come True

Sacrilege by Cara Ellison

Love is Zero by Porpentine

Hate Plus by Christine Love

Mainichi by Mattie Brice

Dys4ia by Anna Anthrophy

Depression Quest by Zoe Quinn

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FURTHER READING: Blogs, Sites, Projects and Zines to follow

• Cara Ellison’s S.EXE on Sex in Videogames

• Mammon Machine: ZEAL curated by Aevee Bee on weird, small and exemplary games

• Memory Insufficient: A games history E-Zine by Zoya Street

• The Arcade Review: A magazine about experimental/art games

• The Borderhouse: A blog for feminist, queer, disabled, people of color, poor, transgender, gay, lesbian or otherwise marginalized gamers and their allies

• Critical Distance: A site curating great video game writing from across the web: a safer space, reader-supported, upping voices outside the mainstream

• Forest Ambassador: Curates small games, with write-ups.

A big big thanks to TNI contributor Ben Gabriel (@Benladen) without whom this list would only be a shell of its current self. Thank yous also to Lauren Naturale (@lnaturale), Twitter users FKA Stamens (@33mhz) and Kamin Katze (@_kaminkatze), everyone who spread the call for submissions, and anyone who contributes more to the syllabus in the future!

full list permalink TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism

I think I might have to send Judy Haiven a love letter today.
Edited to add: I got up the nerve to call her and she is absolutely delightful and had no idea it was circulating so much online. 

I think I might have to send Judy Haiven a love letter today.

Edited to add: I got up the nerve to call her and she is absolutely delightful and had no idea it was circulating so much online. 

“Us ladies” are NOT a team… consider women in music who align themselves with charities and causes that don’t reflect their lived experience in order to seem like they’re doing great things for poor, suffering women—the Other. Look at female artists who use background dancers of other races as props… Look at women in music who publicly shame other women for exercising bodily autonomy, like Warpaint making offensive comments about Beyoncé and Rihanna’s wardrobe choices.

And look at the way articles published in the name of feminism and community end up reading like a list of ways to avoid confronting the complicated way that being surrounded by cis dudes has made you feel. We have a responsibility to support and empower each other in our fight against these damaging systems, not teach each other how to avoid punishment by mimicking the behavior of our oppressors, or staying small and quiet.

Meredith Graves, in NOT ALL WOMEN: A REFLECTION ON BEING A MUSICIAN AND FEMALE by Allison Crutchfield (May 27, 2014)

Major props to Meredith for being the only person in these interviews to call attention to the major fuck ups when talking about the challenge of being the “only girl” in an all-dude band. The original article was gross (and feeds into my general opinion of VICE) but SO FEW PEOPLE challenged the author not only its failings re: sexism, but also how it is absolutely essential to talk about how that culture of misogyny and “just suck it up” intersects with racist, heteronormative and gender essentialist bullshit. 

Failing on the part of this article was only interviewing young white women on this issue (I’m making that assumption based on the photos and passing knowledge I have of these artists) but still worth a read. 

“In war, men are seen as combatants, women as victims — even if the woman was a revolutionary … For online consumers of the resulting images, the women’s suffering is the element of a conflict that those far removed from the conflict can still access. Blue-bra girl. Woman in the red dress. … Once viral, their images lose politics, lose geography, lose protest. They continue to resonate for what they gain: our sustained gaze. Like saints before them, protest’s girl martyrs are famous not because of what they did but because of what was done to them”

Riot Square Sanctificare (via nathanjurgenson)

Reminds me of some of the ideas I tried to scratch at in this piece back in 2013. 

lookuplookup:

beatonna:

Last night I was up late and this was on my mind, so I sketched it out.  I think it was the fox picture I posted last that brought it to the front, played out again like a picture show.  It’s just rough, I thought someday I’d draw it out better.  But sometimes the urge to draw a thing takes over a bit - and I’m awful impatient when it comes to drawing long strips, unfortunately.
Some backstory, as some know, I worked for two years in the Tar Sands of Fort McMurray, in various mining sites.  I paid my student loans off, I saved a bit, and I started cartooning as a job when I left.  Not everyone’s experiences there are the same, this was just a part of my own.  It’s a complicated place that I think of every day, and there are scenes that never leave my mind.
This is one night at the Syncrude site, in January 2006.  Click for the whole thing, here 

I read this comic earlier via Kate’s twitter & really, really loved it. Kate’s historical comics are always great, but there’s something extra special about these rarer autobiographical strips.

Okay this made me tear up. For reference, my father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law work at the tar sands. When I last saw my father, he told me a joke about a fox they always see there.

lookuplookup:

beatonna:

Last night I was up late and this was on my mind, so I sketched it out.  I think it was the fox picture I posted last that brought it to the front, played out again like a picture show.  It’s just rough, I thought someday I’d draw it out better.  But sometimes the urge to draw a thing takes over a bit - and I’m awful impatient when it comes to drawing long strips, unfortunately.

Some backstory, as some know, I worked for two years in the Tar Sands of Fort McMurray, in various mining sites.  I paid my student loans off, I saved a bit, and I started cartooning as a job when I left.  Not everyone’s experiences there are the same, this was just a part of my own.  It’s a complicated place that I think of every day, and there are scenes that never leave my mind.

This is one night at the Syncrude site, in January 2006.  Click for the whole thing, here 

I read this comic earlier via Kate’s twitter & really, really loved it. Kate’s historical comics are always great, but there’s something extra special about these rarer autobiographical strips.

Okay this made me tear up. For reference, my father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law work at the tar sands. When I last saw my father, he told me a joke about a fox they always see there.

H is for hubris, Hugo; S is for sordid, Schwyzer

redlightpolitics:

I have stopped blogging, haven’t I? It wasn’t planned and it certainly doesn’t feel definite. Yet, I have a grand total of 5,678 unanswered emails. No hyperbole, this is the figure accumulated in all 4 of my mailboxes that I stopped checking a couple of months ago. In the past week I’ve gotten half dozen or more media requests about Hugo Schwyzer. Did I have something to say? What did I think about him quitting the internet? I wasn’t even aware he had quit until the emails started coming in. I had to google and trace back the footsteps of the writers who had been covering the on going debacle. I stared at the screen trying to muster some reaction other than “Oh, it has come to this”. And then, I started to frantically search for the apologies, the accountability, the mea culpas. I searched in vain because I am not interested in his apologies or his accountability (LOL as if there was going to be any to begin with). No, I wanted to find the apologies from every editor in a major publication that gave him a paid gig so that he could become the “Hugo Schwyzer brand” (LOL again, he called sexting and dick pics “off brand”). I wanted the media that celebrated all the page clicks his filthy faux feminism brought in to publicly acknowledge their role in creating the toxicity that enabled his rise to fame. I wanted Jezebel’s Editor in Chief, Jessica Coen, to acknowledge how she contributed to this disaster every time she banned commenters protesting his presence. I wanted her and his editors at The Atlantic and Jane Pratt from xoJane to look at us in the metaphorical eye, and say “I am sorry”. I was expecting some sort of ethical acknowledgement of the role that the media they manage played in his systematic abuse of any dissenters. Women like Blackamazon, like brownfemipower and countless others he systematically belittled and demonized deserved the public apology. The women, and it is no coincidence he systematically picked on Women of Color, whose lives he insulted and put down deserved this apology. Even I deserved better considering how he went through back channels to have me removed from blogs and publications where I contribute to because I dared criticize his posturing and tales of redemption.

I despise his ideology. This is no news to anyone. However, here’s where things get murky and difficult and not easy to express coherently (mostly because it is difficult to put into words the source of so much of my anger and disappointment): even more so than despising his ideology, I despise the culture that enabled him. I despise the TMZ of feminist media that “reports” our issues and sells us a lip gloss version of our politics and gives space to people like him so that he can shit on us and tell us how we should take it in the face while he puts Women of Color in “their (our) places”. This is how White Supremacy works and I am pointing all my fingers at Jezebel and xoJane and The Atlantic and every other publication that paid him to publish his repulsive opinions. The shame is on each of you and not merely on his cock shots or pathetic sexting. The shame is on every editor that thought selling women like Blackamazon or brownfemipower (or even my fucking self) for page clicks was a worthy trade off. Each and every one of those editors that knew what he was, how he acted and how his misogynist racism operated behind the scenes has played a part in this. And you get to “represent” feminism. You are the filters of who gets published and who doesn’t. You are the ones that hold the doors and set the agendas. The dick pics are also on you. You helped create the monster, now I hope you enjoy the money shot. And don’t say you weren’t warned. Countless others aside from myself had extensively documented his antics, his skeevy politics, his racism, his misogyny. But he brought the page clicks. At our fucking expense. Sisterhood! Yay!

Herein lies another problem with this toxic media environment that supposedly represents feminism: if you protest too loudly or not using the right platitudes or if you go after the gate keepers, you can forget to be included. You can forget mainstream gigs, book deals, mentions, promotion. You become “a loose cannon” (something he apparently called me for writing about him). You will never know this because other people won’t tell you in your face. They just stop talking about you or your work does not get promoted or you are confined to a very small niche, left to the “discontent bunch”. You are “difficult”. The fact that Hugo Schwyzer, white knight extraordinaire, defender of the likes of Amanda Marcotte against a “horde” of mean Women of Color was paid to write about feminist issues while someone like brownfemipower was confined to the category of “trouble maker” is testament of these dynamics at play. I insist, the media that paid him to write, plus every gig, speaking engagement, interview, authoritative quote, TV appearance he did on behalf of feminism is a slap on the face of every Woman of Color he belittled and worked against.

There is no justice in him leaving the internet (LOL as if, mark my words, he will be back and probably with a book deal). It would have been justice if those who make money under the banner of feminism had not given him a space to begin with. Justice is when we collectively acknowledge that someone’s ideas are not fit to represent our politics and we do not reward them with celebrity and promotion. It would have been justice if, instead of giving him a space, those publications would have hired Women of Color to amplify the voices he worked so hard to silence. Leaked dick pics and grimy sexts are not justice, they are just a sordid confirmation of what many of us already knew. 

I stopped blogging a couple of months ago because I felt like a merchant of pain and death. I can only write about those topics that I know first hand and they almost always come with pain. I wrote about my own dead, the dead I carry on my shoulders. I always write about the pain that we experience on a daily basis and then, one day, I felt dirty. I felt that all this death and pain, in the culture we live in, is not honored but turned into a commercial affair. I felt I was selling my dead for the opportunity to become a “brand”. I never wanted to be a “personality”. I wanted to change the world. I wanted no other undocumented migrant to ever have to carry another dead on her shoulders. I wanted to make it better. Then I realized that we live in a culture that celebrates the smut brought to us by the likes of Hugo Schwyzer and my pain has no place in that culture. This feminism, these politics of the left that have been co-opted by the mere commercialization of our grief. “Take it up a notch! Drive the page clicks!”. Those of us who write and have bills to pay are forced to partake in this culture of death. Some of us delude ourselves thinking that one day we won’t have to write about the pain, we will be able to write about whatever we want because we are now a “recognizable brand”. We buy into the myth of bootstrapping our way up the media food chain so that we can become the gatekeepers and then “things will be different”. But they are not and the price becomes too high to pay. In my case, I felt the trade off was the memory of everything I hold dear and sacred: life and my loved ones. I couldn’t do it anymore, at least for a while. Now, I write this and realize that Hugo Schwyzer’s popularity is a direct cause of our pain. He got to be a protagonist in the history of feminist blogging, even celebrated by some; Women of Color get to fill the supporting role of killjoys and discontents. His leaving the internet (no matter for how long) is no justice for us because our lives, our pain and our dead are still not honored. 

There is so much truth in here I can hardly bear it. (bolded parts for my own personal purposes)

I read this when Flavia Dzodan first published it almost a week ago now and can’t shake it. Can’t shake how much truth there is in it, and now, how prophetic it has proven to be. I’ve been thinking of these dynamics (not necessarily in the context of this male feminist who I have long since decided to actively ignore and avoid at all costs/these specific conversations) but rather the myth of online media not reproducing the same skewed, racist power dynamics that exist(ed) in the mainstream media, or in academic spheres, or what have you.

Been thinking a lot, a lot, about who takes up space online and why.

We are Anonymmis.

We have not forgiven.

We have not forgotten.

Our Sisters are Beautiful.

Our Sisters are Powerful.

Our Sisters should Expect to live Without Fear.

Anonymous’ #OpThunderbird Launches Missing Sisters Crowdmap « opthunderbirdinfo

Why is nobody talking about the badass folks who are co-opting Anonymous’ political language to draw attention to the awful rates of sexual violence and murder aboriginal women in Canada face? Because this is fucking incredible.