The latest Tropes vs Women in Video Games (previously) is as on-point, smart, and deep as ever.
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With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it's drama you crave, but the Hillary v. Trump show is driving you to near-suicide, then the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire is your new best friend. Returning for its third season on Tuesday, August 23rd with a two-hour premiere, you'll still get your fix of intriguing plot twists, flawed personalities, and high stakes, but without the partisan tantrums and pre-apocalyptic anxiety.
What the Hell is this Show About?
The show's title refers to the computing term (HCF), "Halt and Catch Fire," an early technical command that sends a computer into race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained. The namesake series takes place in the personal computing boom of the 80s, when IBM was dictator, and before "website" was a word. Though HCF is categorized as a "workplace drama," you could say the same thing about Breaking Bad, and you'd be completely missing the point--and the thrill--of both shows.
To "break bad" is a colloquialism used in the American South meaning to challenge authority. Breaking Bad and HCF have three important things in common: obscure, nondescript titles that run the risk of losing potential viewers who need their plot summaries spoon-fed and hashtagged, a committed, forward-thinking home on AMC Networks, and the consistently visionary TV producer Melissa Bernstein. Read the rest
With a couple of days left, Feminist Frequency is about to hit their funding goal for Ordinary Women, a lavishly animated series about women who dared defy their times--and who history hasn't given their dues. Below is the complete set of preview videos for Ida Wells, Ching Shih, Emma Goldman, Murasaki Shikibu and Ada Lovelace; go help push them over the line at Seed & Spark.
Ida B. Wells (by Sammus)
Ada Lovelace (by Teddy Dief)
Ching Shih (by Jonathan Mann)
Emma Goldman (by The Doubleclicks)
Murasaki Shikibu (by Clara Bizne$$)
The creators of the series are Anita Sarkeesian (of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games fame), Laura Hudson (recently of Boing Boing and Offworld) and Elizabeth Aultman (producer of Yosemite)
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Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History is a video series about women overlooked by history raising production funds at crowdfunding site Seed & Spark. Creators Anita Sarkeesian, Laura Hudson (recently of Boing Boing and Offworld) and Elizabeth Aultman plan to feature Murasaki Shikibu, credited as the first modern novelist, 19th-century computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, womens' rights advocate Emma Goldman and others.
Unusually for a crowdfunded production, the series will be lavishly animated, reports Bustle, creating a work of art in its own right.
It's an exploration of women throughout history who have decimated gender stereotypes and contributed to humanity in truly impactful ways. The series will seek to remind us not only that these kinds of women — the rabble-rousers, the undercover reporters, the activists, the pirates — are extraordinary individuals, but also that women doing extraordinary things is actually quite ordinary. And that's a good thing. Here's why.
Women kicking ass and taking names shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, because we've been here all along, propping up society with our accomplishments. Unfortunately, the telling of history has a way of being whitewashed, male-focused, and more, excluding the contributions of far too many women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and other marginalized groups. With this new video series, Feminist Frequency hopes to address that glaring imbalance by bringing to life the stories of some of history's most rebellious and remarkable women.
USA Today reports that the creators hope it will inspire more women.
“We want to normalize these women in history,” says Sarkeesian. Read the rest
Feminist Frequency's excellent Tropes vs Women in Video Games has a new installment on the prevailing ways that characters' butts are presented in games: with female characters, they're emphasized, centered and revealed; with male characters, it's often literally impossible to see their butts.
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The scale and virulence of internet harassment often lingers in the news, but three women who have faced down the bullies are sharing their guide to staying safe online.
The advice is eminently sensible, well thought-out and derives, sadly, from all-too-familiar experience.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t have time to read the whole thing? Start with these three steps:
Set up two step verification
Create unique, complex passwords
Remove potential doxxing information
Created by Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian, Women, Action & the Media founder Jaclyn Friedman and Saying Abortion Aloud author Renee Bracey Sherman, the guide was made necessary by "the failure of social media services to adequately prevent and deal with the hateful targeting of their more marginalized users."
As this guide details, forcing individual victims or potential targets to shoulder the costs of digital security amounts to a disproportionate tax of in time, money, and emotional labor. It is a tax that is levied disproportionately against women, people of color, queer and trans people and other oppressed groups for daring to express an opinion in public.
Even if you're an old hand with the online safety basics, the miscellaneous tips are still unexpected and useful. For example, did you know can use free, throwaway VOIP numbers from Google to conceal your real cell number?
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Who can resist the allure of downloadable content? Not Feminist Frequency, which just released a tongue-in-cheek "DLC" mini-episode that examines how women (and their bodies) are often used as rewards in, well, video game DLC.
If you missed the original "Women as Reward" video from Anita Sarkeesian (a friend and colleague of Offworld) check it out below, and then enjoy all the sweet, sweet bonus analysis of gender in media.
This totally free supplemental add-on content pack for our Women as Reward video examines how women’s bodies are used not just as a reward for in-game actions but also, via paid downloadable content, as a reward for spending actual money. We then address the most common defense of this kind of objectification and commodification of women’s bodies: the argument that “sex sells.”
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Kate from Feminist Frequency (previously) writes, "Feminist Frequency has just released a supplemental mini-episode in their Tropes vs Women in Video Games series."
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My little sister just wants games to be for her exactly what they are for boys and men: easy to love. Why does that have to be so hard?
When Joss Whedon took down his Twitter account, speculation ranged widely: was it because of feminists attacking him over Avengers 2's portrayal of Black Widow? Nope, reports Adam B. Vary.
“That is horseshit,” he told BuzzFeed News by phone on Tuesday. “Believe me, I have been attacked by militant feminists since I got on Twitter. That’s something I’m used to. Every breed of feminism is attacking every other breed, and every subsection of liberalism is always busy attacking another subsection of liberalism, because god forbid they should all band together and actually fight for the cause.
“I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen,” he continued. “I saw someone tweet it’s because Feminist Frequency pissed on Avengers 2, which for all I know they may have. But literally the second person to write me to ask if I was OK when I dropped out was [Feminist Frequency founder] Anita [Sarkeesian].”
He's just sick of Twitter, "the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life." He praises feminists for standing up to bullshit on Twitter—and admits to frustration at being accused of misogyny for not living up to feminist 'litmus tests' judging his own commitment to the cause.
Joss Whedon Calls “Horsesh*t” On Reports He Left Twitter Because Of Militant Feminists Read the rest
The Feminist Frequency videos typically focus on where video games go wrong with gender, but the latest episode by Anita Sarkeesian takes a different angle: the times when they really succeed. Read the rest
A new video from Feminist Frequency, illustrating an article by Jonathan McIntosh.
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Glenn Fleishman reports from Portland's beloved arts and technology festival, where a darker sense of mission and meaning took hold in the event's third year.
Anita Sarkeesian has posted Women as Background Decoration: Part 1, the latest installment in her Feminist Frequency Tropes vs Women in Video Games critical video series. Gamers are insanely (and I mean that literally) threatened by Sarkeesian's analysis, which is carefully and closely argued, and backed by solid scholarly research.
Every one of her interventions, starting with her original kickstarter, has been met with vicious, violent smear campaigns that contain some of the most stomach-churning overt misogyny you're likely to find this side of a mass-murderer's manifesto.
If you don't believe me, just hang out in the comments for this post, which will shortly be filling up with dudes mansplaining why Sarkeesian is a con artist, why games whose story rewards players for murdering prostitutes are only jokey-jokes, why feminism is a giant lih-buh-rul plot, and so forth. As the husband of a retired nationally ranked pro gamer and the father of a daughter (and as a human being), these guys scare and depress the shit out of me.
Women as Background Decoration: Part 1
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