jadedmusings: (ATLA - Chibi :D)
2013-11-26 11:07 am

WoW: Update on my guest appearance on Justice Points.

The episode is live and you can listen to it on the webpage or download it for later. I had a blast talking with Apple Cider Mage and Tzufit and would love to do it again. We covered a lot of ground using Aggra as sort of a jumping off point for mothers in Azeroth and WoW in general. I was nervous the entire time and, of course, feel I sound like a dork, but I always do. :)

Now if you'll excuse me, after falling down my cinder block steps on my bottom this morning, I've got a day full of pain killers and sitting on pillows ahead of me. Oh, and raid tonight.
jadedmusings: (Sherlock - Moriarty omgwtf)
2013-11-17 10:42 am

I'm going to be a guest on a WoW podcast! (AKA WTF am I doing?!)

Apple Cider Mage (Twitter) and Tzufit (Twitter) have invited me to discuss mothers and motherhood in Azeroth for Episode 20 of their Justice Points podcast (a fantastic podcast, by the way).

[Pause here while I breathe into a paper bag and tell myself I'll survive.]

It started with some of my (usual) ranting on Twitter about what's become (or not become) of Aggra since she became a mother, and as I did talk about mothers in WoW as part of a blog post on my, sadly, neglected WoW blog, they asked me to join them for an episode. My qualifications? I'm a mother who plays WoW? I worry I'm getting in over my head, but I have been looking over and working on the show notes and already we have tons to talk about. I think there's going to be a huge chunk of time talking about Aggra's seeming absence so far in discussion of the forthcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion, plus Chris Metzen's statement that WoD is going to be a "boy's trip" to explain why Thrall is going without Aggra.

Some of you might know I don't even like Aggra all that much, particularly as some of the way she talks to/treats Thrall in Twilight of the Aspects pegged on me as a bit of emotional manipulation and abuse, but it's been so damn hard to ignore how she's pretty much getting shelved of late. And then add it in with the multitude of unknown and dead mothers, well, I could go on for days. Don't worry, I'll keep it down to about an hour of chatting with two amazing WoW personalities.

(OMG Apple Cider Mage follows me on Twitter and wants me to be in her podcast. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.... Um, ahem.)

It's not just going to be an episode about Aggra. So far in the notes I've pointed out the long list of NPCs whose fathers have both a name and a story to go with it, yet we aren't so much as given a name for their mothers (Garrosh, Kael'thas, Jaina Proudmoore, Varian Wrynn, Lorna Crowley). There's also mention of mother's who have died in childbirth (Elena Mograine and Leza Sunwalker), and then the moms we know who are still around, but aren't mentioned much (Moira, who has to let Varian take all the credit in the Blood in the Snow scenario for bringing the dwarves together; Veressa Windrunner, though I only recall seeing her standing by cheering while Jaina purges Dalaran). There's going to be a (tiny so far) section on foster/adoptive/surrogate mothers and using those terms very broadly (Rheastrasza being the strongest example I could think of for this).

The thing is, my lore nerdery only goes so far and I'm struggling to name mothers in Azeroth who have relationships with their children apart from Alexstrasza. I can name father/daughter and father/son interactions (i.e. Darius/Lorna Crowley, Varian/Anduin Wrynn). Also of note is Med'an, Garona's son, but someone told me on Twitter that he might have been ret'conned out of existence? I see no notes on Wowpedia about this.

I also have mentioned types of mothers and how, in most all forms of entertainment, mothers tend to suffer from being portrayed as what type of parent they are versus what sort of person they are. Not sure if that'll have time to get into the show, but it's in the notes.

Anyway, we record the episode on November 23 and I'll be sure to post again when it goes live, that is if I don't succumb to my anxiety.
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Toph Rocks Fall)
2013-01-26 02:48 pm

Just Saying (Two Letters)

Dear Authors Everywhere,

If you want me to have sympathy for your protagonist and/or narrator, DON'T HAVE THEM RAPE SOMEONE!

If you do this anyway, don't spend the rest of the book trying to make me feel sympathetic toward them because his victim doesn't love him and would never love him (and likely would never have loved them even without the rape because--OH TRAGEDY OF TRAGEDIES--she's gay and prefers women over men). And don't even get me started on the fact both the narrator and victim go on to have sexual relations with the same woman despite the fact both narrator and victim have JUST ENTERED PUBERTY (ergo, they are BELOW THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN) and never address how fucked up this is.

Seriously, every time after that you bring up how, woe is he, the woman he raped will never forgive him or love him like he wants, I just want to hurl your book across the room, but I can't because it's on my Kindle Fire and I don't think that's covered under my warranty.

If your protagonist rapes someone and their only punishment is navel gazing and "Woe, but I love her!" THEY ARE NOT A HERO OR EVEN A REMOTELY NICE PERSON! I don't care if they save the world, they're still and will always be a rapist.

Signed,

A Very Disappointed Reader

(Brought to you by me reading a book I saw advertised on John Scalzi's blog, falling in love with the world and the premise only to, roughly halfway through the book, encounter the above bullshit.)

And one more letter. )
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Tim Doubts Your Sincerity)
2012-11-25 03:45 pm

WoW: Working on something, need to add to this list.

I'm working on writing something about Blizzard's constant "fridging" of female characters in World of Warcraft, so I'm making a list. Some of these women are never seen on screen, but considering they are wives/mothers/daughters to important male NPCs in WoW's story, I felt they deserved acknowledgement. Plus, usually while the mothers (i.e. Liane Menethil) have no real part of the story, their husbands get to hang around and do important things or be important sources of development for their sons. Some mothers of important characters have never even been given names. Yes, men die in WoW, but often they die doing courageous things like self sacrifice (case in point: Rhonin in Tides of War) or die in battle protecting loved ones/homeland, not die passively while other things happen to them (such as childbirth).

I'll be adding to the list when I have time, and feel free to add more if you know of the names.

Liane Menethil - Arthas Menethil's mother. Fate is uknown, but Chris Metzen said she likely died before Third War during Blizzcon 2011 (according to Wowpedia). No discernable impact on Arthas's story.

Tiffin Wryn - Varian Wrynn's wife, Anduin Wrynn's mother. Killed by a stray rock thrown during Stonemason's Guild riot in Stormwind. Angst fertilizer for Varian and used to explain his overprotection of Andun Wrynn.

Elena Mograine - Darion and Renault Mograine's mother. Death due to complications from childbirth (Darion). Gives her husband Alexandros Mograine a tombstone to talk to in the first Ashbringer comic.

Leza Sunwalker - Dezco's Sunwalker's wife. Dies during childbirth in Krasarang Wilds questline. Twin sons survive. Dezco still compelled to go on with his healthy sons to find Vale of Eternal Blossoms (Leza's vision). Every time you encounter him after Krasarang, he's carrying his sons around and seems relatively fine for someone who just lost his wife, and doesn't really mention her again. (She's the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back and pushed me toward making this list.)

Kael'thas Sunstrider's mother is never named. Neither is Varian Wrynn's mother, though oddly enough we have a name for his grandmother.

Fandral Staghelm lost his unnamed mate during childbirth. She gave birth to a son, Valstann. Valstann dies during War of the Shifting Sands (surprisingly enough), but not before marrying Leyara and producing a daughter (Fandral's granddaughter, born after Valstann's death), Istaria. Valstann's death drives Fandral insane, and then Istaria is killed during a Horde attack on Ashenvale. Fandral, completely mad now, allies with Deathwing and Ragnaros and compels a dstraught Leyara to join the Druids of the Flame to seek vengeance against Malfurion Stormrage. Leyara is killed on the Molten Front by Malfurion Stormrage and Hammul Runetotem (oh, and the player).

Sylvanas Windrunner - I put this here because here is an example of an incredible woman and brilliant military strategist who pretty much single-handedly kept the orcish Horde from invading Quel'Thalas only to be brought down by Arthas Menethil when the Scourge marched on Quel'Thalas. Sylvanas, of course, was not only killed, but received the crueler torment of being made undead and a prisoner in her own body compelled to slaughter her own people by Arthas. While she later became a Horde leader of the Forsaken and played a major hand in the war against the Lich King and reclaiming Lordaeron for the Forsaken, some might argue her character development since then has been rather disappointing.
jadedmusings: (Sherlock - Wrong)
2012-10-26 10:41 pm

WoW: Sylvanas Windrunner is Not Your Pin-Up

Subtitle for this post: And the Horde is Not Full of Homophobic Asswipes

"I've walked the realms of the dead. I have seen the infinite dark. Nothing you say. Or do. Could possibly frighten me." - Sylvanas Windrunner


Earlier today I visited YouTube, like you do, and I checked out OMFGCata's announcement for their contest "Convince the Pandaren to join your faction." The premise was that since we Americans are in the midst of a Presidential election, fans should make a political ad for either the Horde or Alliance in order to recruit the Pandaren to their side. Pretty awesome idea, I think, and Blizzard thought so too, so they offered up some pretty awesome swag, including several World of Warcraft books, the monopoly game, among other neat stuff that may or may not be on my Christmas/Birthday wishlist.

Anyway, today was the big announcement and, perhaps unsuprisingly, Slightly Impressive won for the Alliance with their very humorous ad highlighting the (mostly) better parts of Stormwind, which I think was also featured on WoW Insider a couple of weeks back. I was pleased to see the ad that won for the Alliance didn't amount to, "The Horde is evil!" and that it managed to poke fun at itself in a light-hearted way.

And then they showed the Horde winner, which not only has some casual homophobia, it ends with an image of Sylvanas Windrunner in a blatant sexual pose with someone screaming "For the Horde!" (Content warning: Homophobia and gross sexism.)

Out of 160+ videos with something as professional and cute as Slightly Impressive winning for the Alliance, the best video chosen by OMGCata (and Blizzard?) is this fucking poorly animated bullshit? Are you fucking kidding me? And Jesse Cox, I am so disappoint, son. Dude, this sums up your feelings on the Horde? (Yeah, yeah, I know you were being flippant and making a joke, but I know underneath was that old chestnut of "Hurr, hurr, Sylvanas is hot, and the Alliance races are all a lot of girly men." Seriously, GTFO my Horde with that bullshit.)

Here's the thing: Sylvanas fucking Windrunner was, in life, Ranger General of Silvermoon, leader of all (then) high elven military forces. She and her sister commanded the troops that drove back the orcish Horde and kept them from invading Quel'Thalas. After being killed and turned into a banshee by Arthas, she eventually seized upon the opportunity to break free from Arthas's control over her to retrieve her body and (with a little help from Arthas's/Ner'zhul's enemies) reclaim Lordaeron for the Forsaken and is now one of the Horde's racial leaders. In a forthcoming patch to Mists of Pandaria, Sylvanas will play a major role in removing Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief of the Horde.

She is, of course, an imperfect character and has recently gone from a tragic hero to skirting the lines of a villain (partly due to bad/inconsistent characterization on Blizzard's part), but none of this changes the fact that, at her core, Sylvanas Windrunner is one bad-ass motherfucker who would most probably fuck your shit up eight ways to Sunday if you tried to tango with her.

But let's just forget all of that and pose her in an X-rated "Come hither" way and say the Horde is awesome because we have one sexy woman who happens to be a racial leader. Let's also ignore the fact that she is, quite literally, dead and while she is remarkably well preserved, her skin is a corpse-gray color and she's likely rotted at least a little bit. (Fap away, boys! Enjoy your necrophilia!)

Look, I'm not even all that mad about the video. I'm just tired of every time there's a strong female character, one who actually has power and influence and could, in theory, really fuck things up for pretty much everybody in their world, she's reduced to being a goddamned sex object for the gratification of (heterosexual) males. I guess it's because so long as you can fuck her, you're not so intimidated? And it's not as if we women players have an over-abundance of female NPCs to admire, especially in comparison to the male NPCs. Hell, even in Krasarang Wilds I was treated to a questline where, despite all my efforts, a woman died in childbirth, but her husband's okay because she lived long enough to bring twin sons into this world. And don't get me started on Jaina Proudmoore in Tides of War.

Rage. Seethe. Boil.

What doesn't help is that Sylvanas's little artwork isn't even the only problem I had with the video. As I said, there's some casual homophobia and further sexism in there before we get Sylvanas. ("Don't join the Alliance! They have effemininate men who might like you in the gay way and we all know real men aren't gay!") I mean, I'm sure some people will say, "Oh, you're being ridiculous about this!" I really don't care. I'm going to call this shit out on the carpet when I see it, especially when it's a contest approved by Blizzard and by someone whose videos I usually watch specifically because he doesn't say horrible shit except on the rare occasion.

Bottom line: There had to be better videos for the Horde than this. Had to be. Even if it were the least bit funny, it's really fucking crappy production, especially when pitted against the Alliance winner.
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang c'mon!)
2012-08-22 11:23 am
Entry tags:

Another Punch an' Pie Post

Annnnnd more about Punch an' Pie because I got this response:

Lucy was being a narcissistic emotional abuser.

Sigh. I never saw emotional abuse from Lucy. She's a jerk, yes. She's a liar and a cheat, yes. Heather, however, is standing up for herself, hasn't been fretting about how Lucy will react when she does things. She doesn't live in fear of Lucy's emotional response to her actions. In fact, the argument started because Heather woke up and realized, "Hey, she's kind of mooching off me." And then Lucy dropped the, "Oh, by the way I'm poly and going to have a threesome" bomb. Before then, Heather had been pretty happy and reveling in the lust Lucy inspired (and let's be honest, it was always more about the sex than a deep emotional connection).

Horrible person =/= Emotional abuser.

Saying that Heather's physical response (slapping Lucy) was wrong does not suddenly negate Lucy's bad behavior. Lucy is still very much in the wrong and is still a shitty person who needs to learn how to be an adult in my book. However, Heather's actions are still inexcusable and reprehensible. Believe it or not, they can both be wrong here.

People make mistakes, yes, but it's still important to point out and say, "Hey, you did something pretty fucking awful." I think less of Heather and I think it will be a mistake to try to paint this as an applaud-worthy moment. It's not. I was applauding her for calling Lucy's shit out on the carpet. I won't applaud her for assaulting her (now-ex) girlfriend.

P.S.: To the person saying, "I'm not being an apologist for Heather's behavior, but..." AFTER THAT "BUT" YOU ARE DOING THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU CLAIM. By going on to explain how Heather's been under stress from work and life and her relationship, you can see why she might slap her, you've just excused her behavior and engaged in some "awesome" apologism.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Sam doubts that)
2012-08-21 06:20 pm
Entry tags:

About that Punch an' Pie comic...

So, I read the comic Punch an' Pie by Aerie (creator of Queen of Wands) and Chris Daily (creator of Striptease). Daily draws and inks the comics while Aerie was doing the script. Recently, however, Aerie was forced to yield to real life and turned most of the control over to Daily (though, as I understood it from a post, she outlined the plot of the comic). So, I have no idea if today's comic (WARNING for domestic/physical violence) was Aerie's idea, or if she just wanted Lucy and Heather to have a dramatic break-up and Daily filled in the blanks.

Naturally, I was appalled and find the comic deeply problematic. That said, it remains to be seen how this will be handled. If, as I sincerely hope, Heather is the one who ultimately comes off as the worst person in this scenario, then maybe a powerful statement will be made about domestic violence and how there's never any excuse to hit your partner. Ever. (And please, don't play that old canard of, "What about if you're being attacked? Huh? Can't you defend yourself?" because that's a fucking strawman. We're talking about what's on the page. A person slapping another person out of anger, not out of self defense or retaliation for a physical attack.)

My fear, which is being played out in comments on the comic's page and elsewhere, is that this will be seen as a positive act on Heather's part. After all, Lucy was being a right proper bitch and needed to shut the fuck up, right? Heather has a history of not always standing up for herself, and now she's standing up for herself. Trouble is, she's doing so in the wrong way. And to further confirm my fears of how this will play out, I had an interesting exchange over in [livejournal.com profile] punch_an_pie

One the one hand I kind of feel like Lucy deserved it. It shut her up. On the other hand, I'm not really okay with anyone hitting anyone. And someone commented that it almost looked like Lucy was trying to provoke Heather into that.


My response:

One the one hand I kind of feel like Lucy deserved it. It shut her up.

You know, abusers and apologists use this line all the time. Or say, "She provoked him/her into hitting her."

And regardless of if that's the reaction Lucy wanted, it's still wrong, and I can't condone violence in that form, especially if the reasoning is that someone needs to shut up.

"Shut up!" and "Get out!" screamed at the top of her lungs might have worked just as well, or if Lucy refused to leave, "Get out, or I will call the cops," as I do believe Lucy wasn't exactly paying rent.

Yes, Lucy was being cruel and a jerk, but Heather's actions make both of them come out looking like assholes--Heather more so than Lucy now. I'm really hoping Heather winds up appalled by her actions and it's not played off as a moment that should be cheered/as her standing up for herself in a positive way.

And of course, I'm not saying we shouldn't ever write or draw comics where domestic violence/partner abuse happens. It's something that needs to be discussed and talked about, but when we do it, we need to make sure we clearly establish that no matter the reason, striking another person in anger should never be condoned. It should especially not be condoned if the reason is, "That person needed to shut the hell up." Victims of abuse are silenced every single day for the exact same reasons, and it's not right then. It's still not right even in a fictional setting.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Anger)
2012-07-10 04:59 pm

This is Rape Culture in Action

[MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE] Either scroll past this or click on the links with severe caution.

There is a sixteen year-old boy on Tumblr who calls himself a pedophile and admits he's sexually attracted to children, and people who respond to this with understandable revulsion and tell him to go away are the mean ones because, oh my god, he doesn't abuse children! He has no intention of ever acting on his attraction so why are we vilifying him?

And then he showed up to respond to a comment I made on [livejournal.com profile] sf_drama so he could defend a comic depicting one woman savagely beating another and calling her a c**t as "funny." All because she said she hated lolicon (and the comic itself was made in response to what is legitimate criticism of the inherent creepiness of lolicon as it sexualizes children; fictional children, yes, but children all the same). And, as you can see from the links it goes downhill from there.

And full disclosure here, I am more unhappy about a sixteen year old able to live in a world where he can be fucking supported for having a sexual attraction to children than I am about the entire argument I had with him over the comic. Maybe some of that has to do with something that happened to me when I was five fucking years old with a boy who wasn't all that much younger than Mr. Draven. (And fuck him for soiling a name from a movie I actually like.)

But I'm totally sure Mr. Draven will hold to his promise never to touch a child because we all know pedophiles are the most honest and trustworthy people on the planet. (Fuck yes, that's sarcasm.)
jadedmusings: (BtVS - Buffy does not approve)
2012-06-29 12:49 pm
Entry tags:

Does Merida's sexuality really matter?

[livejournal.com profile] _ocelott_ has an excellent post about the movie Brave and the questions that have cropped up surrounding Merida's sexuality.

As [livejournal.com profile] _ocelott_ says:

The first headdesk comes from the argument that because Merida is disinterested in traditional female pastimes, it must be Pixar trying to subtly convey that she's a lesbian. Look, not all tomboys are gay and not all gays are tomboys. No, really! It's true! It's certainly not possible that Pixar didn't specifically mention her sexual or romantic preferences in the movie because it was, y'know, irrelevant to the story they were telling.

Now just for a second, mentally swap all the genders of the characters in the movie. If Merida had been a prince instead of a princess, nobody would be questioning his sexuality. It wouldn't even come up. But because she's a she, her adventure story isn't enough on its own. She's expected to show an interest in marriage or romance, and the theories come out if she doesn't. The message? Girls can't have adventures. And if they do, it's supposed to end with a romance, after which they settle down in their proper place, tending to babies. In the immortal words of Charlie Brown, "Good grief!"

Is Merida straight or gay? I don't know, and I doubt watching the movie is going to answer that question from what I've read. But why does that matter? The story isn't about who Merida loves or doesn't love, it's about this magical adventure she goes on to change her fate, and that's fine. Merida is still a child in the grand scheme of things, and while I know women were married young in ye olden days, this isn't a historical movie. It's fantasy, a fairy tale. Cultural norms of the past don't really have to apply here. We don't have to be historically accurate when it comes to gender roles and the expectations of young girls.

Female leads don't have to be paired off with anyone to tell a story.

Now, if individuals want to draw their own conclusions and see Merida as one way or another, that's fine. My trouble are the "experts" (most of whom seem to be either male and/or straight) who can't seem to wrap their brains around why people shouldn't care who Merida might want to someday take down the aisle, if she ever even wants to be married. The point is, Merida could be anything she wants to be and love whoever she wants, and that is precisely the sort of message we ought to be sending girls: "No matter what you like, you can still have an adventure all on your own." This sort of character is so rare and it ought to be treasured for that alone.

And I'm going to repost my comment I made in [livejournal.com profile] genrereviews:

One of the reasons I'm taking my son to see Brave is precisely because I want him to see a lead female who does NOT end up with a romantic interest and still has an adventure. (Even Korra fails on this part.) I was so worried Disney was going to push the whole princess thing and that she'd meet a suitor during her adventure and marry and settle down, and when I heard that's not the case, I wanted to shout with joy.

I find it troubling that because Merida doesn't want to pick a husband now while she's still a child and would rather live a life first, suddenly she must be gay! Or asexual! Why does that even matter when there's a whole story to tell about her?

Maybe she's just, you know, a girl like many other girls?


And a small disclaimer here: Not every girl out there will be able to easily put herself in Merida's shoes. I want to point out that this post was about Merida's sexuality. Like many stories, Brave is not perfect. Many children of color out there are sorely lacking in any media representation, but as I am a white woman, I feel uncomfortable speaking for PoC on this matter.
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Toph Rocks Fall)
2012-06-07 08:36 pm
Entry tags:

Pro-Tip for Conversations

If, in the course of conversation, you say something that offends another person, or makes him/her uncomfortable and they ask you to please stop, the proper response is to say, "I'm sorry," and either walk away or drop the conversation entirely. Hell, you don't even have to say, "I'm sorry." You can just say, "Okay," and move on to other stuff.

Respect the boundaries people put up. Listen to me when I say, "No, stop," and respect that whatever bigoted/offensive opinion (and yes, it is bigoted/offensive) does NOT need to be heard.

If I say "NO. STOP." about ANYTHING and you ignore it, how can I trust you and keep you around? I ask you to stop because it makes me uncomfortable, makes me feel angry, and yes, even offends me. I respect you and your boundaries, the least you can do is the same for me. Your right to say anything doesn't supercede my right to decline to hear it. I am not your word-vomit bag.

*sigh* The thing is, he was an all right guy until he decided to talk about something other than Star Wars or WoW. But when I ask to stop, he just couldn't keep his mouth shut and I got a lovely little homophobic rant with additional, "Well maybe it's different in the Bible Belt, but here in New York there's no homophobia!" (Essentially what he was driving at, while totally missing the entire point of the thing he was complaining about.)

Now I'm so eager to hear about how I'm ~too sensitive~ and need to lighten up, or how I'm so wrong. My block button is ready.
jadedmusings: (BtVS - Buffy does not approve)
2012-03-05 11:21 am
Entry tags:

Misogyny by any other name...

...is still misogyny.

I understand there are some progressive/liberal dudes out there who hate what Limbaugh said (or just hate Limbaugh in general because there's so much to hate about the shit that comes out of his mouth), and I understand the desire to call Limbaugh out on his non-apology apology (which still ignores the fact that Limbaugh didn't just call Sandra Fluke a slut, he demanded she post videos of her engaging in sexual activity online so that he could watch it). However, there are some right ways and some wrong ways to go about it, and this is definitely the worst way possible.

If you want to try to be funny and sling insults Limbaugh's way, liberal comedian John Fuglesang posted a pretty decent zinger to Twitter this morning: "BTW Rush Limbaugh was just mad that some people want to get meds by using actual prescriptions."

See that? No misogyny, no insults about Limbaugh's appearance. Instead we get someone calling Limbaugh out for his past brushes with the law over prescription medication (notably Oxycontin, but also Viagra), which in turn points out Limbaugh's inherent hypocrisy for going off on Sandra Fluke.

Being ostensibly on the right (har har!) side of this political argument does not give you a blanket excuse to use the same language as your opponent. In fact, it lessens the impact of what he said and makes it seem like the misogyny and sexism aren't that big of a deal. By all means, let Limbaugh know that what he said was not okay, not one bit, but please--please consider how you call him out. The other side will say "Well, if you (cis white men) use those words, what was so wrong with him (another cis white man) using them?" And then we get into the bickering over how certain words are only "okay" if group A or B says them and we lose sight of the real issue here.

And finally, to progressive males out there who call out sexism and misogyny, remember this one truth: Sandra Fluke doesn't need your protection. Any woman who is attacked publicly like she has been for speaking out on women's issues doesn't need you to charge in and save the day. What Fluke and other women like her need is your support. Yes, there is a distinction there, one of them acts as though women can't accomplish anything without men to aid her, the other recognizes the woman can stand on her own two feet and benefits from having others stand behind her in solidarity.

P.S.: Another thing that needs to be discussed is why we suddenly care to go after Rush Limbaugh. He's been saying shit like this for decades. Why hasn't there been an organized effort to take him down before now?
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Toph Rocks Fall)
2012-02-29 02:01 pm
Entry tags:

Women are NOT disposable!

Oh my god, y'all. Y'all, I can't even begin to describe how infuriating this latest "pro-life" bullshit is. I've sat here staring at my screen for the last five minutes with my mouth hanging open. To say I'm appalled is an understatement. Right now, in 20-fucking-12, Kansas governor Sam Brownback is poised to approve anti-abortion legislation that is just beyond the pale.

WASHINGTON -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) indicated that he is likely to sign the state's sweeping anti-abortion bill, which includes a provision that would allow doctors to withhold information from patients.

"But, Jade," you start to say, "surely they wouldn't withhold any information that could endanger the lives of the pregnant woman or the fetus." Keep reading, and keep a barf bag handy.
The latest bill -- which is scheduled to be discussed by a legislative committee for a second time on Wednesday -- contains a number of provisions which would give the state one of the most sweeping anti-abortion laws in the nation. Among the provisions is one which would exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withhold information -- in order to prevent an abortion -- that could have prevented a health problem for the mother or child. A wrongful death suit could be filed in the event of the death of the mother. [Emphasis added]

In other words, if a doctor intentionally withholds information he or she knows will prevent health problems for the mother and unborn child, even if those health problems might result in death for the mother and/or her child, the doctor cannot be sued for malpractice. But don't worry, y'all, if the mother dies, her family (which probably will include at least one child since most women seeking abortions already have one or more kids) can file a wrongful death suit. Yeah, it sure does suck when your breeding animal dies, and let's face it this bill doesn't view women as anything other than baby-making factories.

This isn't the "informed consent" bullshit that gets paraded out for all these new mandatory ultrasound laws that have been passed at an alarming rate (and yes, this includes forced vaginal probe ultrasounds, which was already happening in Texas before the recent uproar in Virginia). It's one thing to say women who want an abortion have no idea what they're doing and must be told what an abortion is before they can get one, but to say a woman can't be trusted to know she could die because she might abort that potential life (and that's all it is: a potential baby) is something wholly different (though no less asinine and infuriating). When you purposefully neglect to tell a woman there is a danger to her health and/or her life by remaining pregnant, you aren't just putting their health at risk and making their lives inconvenient. You are potentially killing them. You are destroying families. Call me ridiculous, but isn't that the exact opposite of what a doctor is supposed to do? And, hell, why call yourself "pro-life" if you think it's okay to risk the life of a fully formed adult human for a clump of cells that may or may not ever develop into a fetus that can survive outside of the womb?

If a doctor doesn't want to perform abortions, that's fine so long as there are still doctors available who will help a woman abort. The thing is, being able to say no to performing an abortion does not absolve you from your duties as a doctor. Your moral objection to abortion (morals, I will add, that are not shared by everyone on the planet) should never outweigh the right of the patient to lead a healthy life.

I will give you one fact of life (if you'll pardon the pun): Abortion is necessary. Outlawing abortion will not magically erase the need for abortions, nor will it suddenly make any woman who doesn't want to be pregnant/have another child change her mind. What it will do is increase the number of unsafe abortions (and overall abortions) by an alarming rate and, as a result, women will die. They will die horrible, painful deaths, and either you care about women and want to save their lives, or you don't care that women will die (and so will those unborn embryos/fetuses you claim you're trying to save). It really is that simple.

Women's lives are NOT worthless.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Castiel pass the ammuniti)
2012-02-28 02:24 pm
Entry tags:

I think I love Judd Nelson a little more...

Also, that guy who played Red on That 70s Show, Nick Offeman, Tim Meadows, and just every man who did this video.

ETA: Okay, video embed is not working, so have the link to a very funny video of men making fun of conservative men who want to control women's choices.
jadedmusings: (Firefly - Women are awesome)
2012-02-25 11:50 am
Entry tags:

Poetry Corner




What Lot’s Wife Would Have Said (If She Wasn’t A Pillar of Salt)
Karen Finneyfrock

Do you remember when we met
in Gomorrah? When you were still beardless,
and I would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing
you, when we were young, and blushed with youth
like bruised fruit. Did we care then
what our neighbors did
in the dark?

When our first daughter was born
on the River Jordan, when our second
cracked her pink head from my body
like a promise, did we worry
what our friends might be
doing with their tongues?

What new crevices they found
to lick love into or strange flesh
to push pleasure from, when we
called them Sodomites then,
all we meant by it
was neighbor.

When the angels told us to run
from the city, I went with you,
but even the angels knew
that women always look back.
Let me describe for you, Lot,
what your city looked like burning
since you never turned around to see it.

Sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin
of our countrymen. It smelled like burning hair
and rancid eggs. I watched as our friends pulled
chunks of brimstone from their faces. Is any form
of loving this indecent?

Cover your eyes tight,
husband, until you see stars, convince
yourself you are looking at Heaven.

Because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors
are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.

I would say these things to you now, Lot,
but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue.
So instead I will stand here, while my body blows itself
grain by grain back over the Land of Canaan.
I will stand here
and I will watch you
run.
jadedmusings: (Sherlock - Moriarty omgwtf)
2012-02-23 07:58 pm

Hey Pennsylvanians: Get this douchebag out of office now!

Everyone, meet Harry Readshaw, a (supposed) Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (36th District). Mr. Readshaw recently co-sponsored Pennsylvania's HB1077, a bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo endovaginal ultrasounds (something that's becoming a disturbing trend of late). One of his pro-choice constituents decided to email Mr. Readshaw and let him know in no uncertain terms that not only is he terribly misguided when it comes to women and their reproductive rights, but that he has also lost her vote.

So far this sounds pretty much what probably happens with any piece of legislation to pass through any state house, right? There's a bill or a proposed bill, voters either like it or hate it, and they then decide to let their representatives know how much they like it or hate it. Oh, but that's not enough for Mr. Readshaw. He apparently was so terribly affronted that a voter--a female voter told him women are intelligent competent people capable of making their own medical choices that he personally sent her a hand-written letter. Not only that, he pulled up her name, address, and voting record and made mention of it in the letter.

I know you're thinking, "Jade, that's some real bullshit. You can't possibly be for real." And I'll tell you I wish that it wasn't real, but it happened to Amadi of Amaditalks (a pretty awesome lady I follow on Twitter).

On Tuesday, after liveblogging my read-through of Pennsylvania’s HB1077, the bill which would force unwanted endovaginal ultrasounds on most persons seeking an abortion in the state, I sent a scathing email to my state representative, Harry Readshaw, who is a co-sponsor of the bill. To be entirely fair, I dislike my representative a great deal. He’s nominally a democrat, yet he’s entirely anti-choice, he also introduced a copy of the Arizona “papers please” anti-immigrant bill in this legislative session. I don’t know why he calls himself a democrat, but he does, and I hold him accountable.

[...]

Today, I received an oversized manilla envelope from Rep. Readshaw. Inside was a printout of HB 1077, a printout of some database’s information about me, indicating where I live, that I’m not the head of the household (why/how it knows this I do not know) and a few other things about me, like ethnicity, that no elected official should or needs to know. I’m going to have to get to the bottom of that.

As if that weren't enough in and of itself, Mr. Readshaw also discloses private medical information about his own daughter's reproductive status in a particularly heinous way of saying, "If she can't have babies, why should other women get to kill them?" (I shit you not.)

Seriously, this guy needs to be kicked out of office post-haste, like yesterday. And if you're in PA and are one of his constituents, you too can email him and tell him what a douchebag he is. Or, write to him.

Representative Harry A. Readshaw
1917 Brownsville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15210

or
Room 122 Irvis Office Building
House Box 202020
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2020

If you’re inclined to call or fax:

Call: 412-881-4208 or 717-783-0411
Fax: 412-886-2077 or 717-705-2007

And if anyone knows who Amadi should contact or where to report this to, please visit her Tumblr and let her know.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Anger)
2012-02-22 07:00 pm
Entry tags:

In which I encounter a Ron Paul supporter.

I just had a Paul-lite tell me on Twitter that Ron Paul would leave abortion up to the states and that if I don't like it, I could just move out of the Bible Belt.

Sure, okay, let's assume I can just uproot my family, move away from people I genuinely like and love, move away from an area of the country I love and have lived my entire life. Where shall I move to? Where is the magical state where women's reproductive rights are not being attacked? In 2011, "all 50 states introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions."

All. 50. States. Even freaking Massachussettes, a state responsible for the Kennedys, had legislation related to reproductive rights.

And even if I wanted to move, what about poor women, or women who can't move for any variety of reasons (let's ignore the fact that "I don't want to move" is a valid fucking reason to stay where you are)? Do I leave them to be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term? Leave them to fend for themselves as far as caring for those children's basic needs? Let's face it, Ron Paul isn't a fan of social welfare either, and if left up to the states, who is going to put out the money to clothe and feed those children? Do I sit from my privileged position and sneer condescendingly at them over the internet and say "Just move if you don't like it"?

Roe V. Wade wasn't some magical thing that let abortions happen. Abortions were already happening. In countries where abortion is illegal, abortion still happens. Women die because they are not given access to safe, legal abortions and they try to do it themelves. And let's not beat around the bush about this, those "personhood" legislative measures that keep cropping up? They're worded in such a way that hormonal birth control could be construed as illegal because of a chance it might not let a fertilized egg implant in the uterine wall. It certainly rules out IUDs.

I was also told there are more issues important than abortion I should worry about. Put another way it's the old "You're being a one-issue voter" argument that gets trotted out whenever women like me get all offended at being told we should relinquish control over our bodies for the greater good. You're damn straight I'm a one-issue voter on issues that affect the way I live my life, the way I can plan my future. I hope I'll never need an abortion, but you know what? I might some day. I need afforable access to birth control, and that might one day include an abortion. Even if I don't, other women will need it. It's not a belief or an idea, it's a motherfucking fact of life. And it's not just abortion access as I said, these anti-choicers want to take away my contraception too. They want to ensure I am forced not only to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, but that I can't even prevent that pregnancy and abortion in the first place. In this case, the personal is political because it's my physical body that's at stake here.

Look, I get the appeal for smaller government. It's a nice idea, except smaller government appears to be conditional. Government shouldn't get its hands on your money ("Down with the IRS!") or dictate how you conduct business ("Fuck the EPA!"), but if you own a uterus, government ought to be able to shove a dildo up your vagina against your consent ("All life is precious...unless they want my tax dollars to pay for food and medical care!").

And this is leaving aside the huge issue that Ron Paul is a huge goddamned racist. That alone ought to be disqualification enough, but as I sadly learned this morning from someone in real life, that's not the case. Being Libertarian is good enough apparently.

Fuck all of y'all right now. Goddamn.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Sam & Dean WTF)
2012-02-16 04:01 pm
Entry tags:

Trust us, it really is that simple! (Except not at all.)

"Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly." - Foster Friess, Santorum backer and financier, in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell

For those who can't see the "joke," the idea is that by holding an aspirin between her knees, a woman can't get pregnant because she can't open her legs for sex! Har, har, har! Except, I'd be remiss not to point out that it is entirely possible to keep one's knees together while engaging in sexual intercourse. It doesn't even require all that much in the way of creativity, either. Of course, it does involve something other than man-on-top missionary, so I suppose only us "sex-obsessed" liberals would ever think of it and the Really Good Conservatives(TM) out there could never dream of it since it's not what (their) God intended.

[Insert obvious statement here that hormonal birth control pills are prescribed for more than just the prevention of pregnancy. If you aren't aware of what reasons those might be, please visit your nearest Google search bar.]

For video and a transcript of the entire exchange, visit Shakesville, who also gets a tip of my hat.

Also at Shakesville: Five white dudes assemble at a hearing in Washington, D.C., today to try to ascertain whether or not Obama has violated that whole freedom of religion thing by allowing women to get access to contraception without a co-pay.

As you can see, the entire front row of "experts" are men. Thomas: "The hearing will feature 10 witnesses—eight of whom are men; none of them is testifying in support of contraceptive coverage. [Issa] refused to let a female law-school student testify about the importance of birth control. I guess women who use birth control just don't know as much about it as men who are against it."

Where's the booze?
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Gibbs Headslap)
2012-02-13 12:53 pm
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Man Misses Point in Post About Assault Victims: Who is Surprised?

Jim C. Hines, author of The Stepsister Scheme, which I adored, made (yet another) excellent post about victim blaming and shaming entitled "Don't Be a Victim!"

I’m a pretty strong supporter of the idea of self-defense. I enrolled my daughter in karate years ago. (This is how I ended up taking it as well.) She eventually dropped out, but I hope she retained at least some of the basics: things like a willingness to be loud, fight back, and raise a fuss.

[...]

But I have a problem with … let’s call it a certain philosophy about self-defense, one best summed up by the phrase, “Don’t be a victim!” The assumption being that if you follow all of this training, then you’ll be safe … and as a direct corollary, if you’re assaulted, then it’s because you didn’t remember your training. I.e., it’s your own fault.

How often have we seen and heard that phrase? Don’t be a victim! Like it’s all about the victim’s choice. “Gosh, I’m bored and there’s nothing good on TV. Guess I’ll go get myself assaulted.” Why the hell do we so rarely see, “Don’t be a rapist!” or “Don’t be a batterer!”

He makes other excellent points and also mentions how, statistically speaking, you are far more likely to be assaulted by someone you know, someone you trust than you are by some complete stranger. It's not always so easy to raise a hand to someone you love, and I know from experience that sometimes, you're just so shocked that you freeze up and can't scream "NO!" and fight back.

The post was up for less than an hour before we get this "lovely" comment:

On another level, though, Mr. Miyagi says, "Best defense, not be there." A man or woman can do a lot to improve their safety through being aware of situations. Even in our small and pretty-safe town, there are places and times I avoid. Simple prudence isn't just for women, and isn't just about rape.

*headdesk, headdesk, headdesk*

As I told him, Jim's entire point with the post was that you can follow all the rules, stay in the "safe" areas, and live your life in a little bubble, but it ultimately will not guarantee that you won't be a victim. Women know the narrative "Don't be a victim!" all too well. Ask any woman who's planning to go out at night by herself what she thinks about. Ask any woman who's ever gone to a bar either alone or with friends what sorts of precautions she takes. You will get a list about as long as your arm of everything that's at the back of their minds. "Stay in a well-lit area. Walk with my keys between my fingers. Don't go to X place after Y time. Call a friend so they know where I am. Don't let my drink out of my sight/Better not drink at all in case someone either drugs me or I have too much and get taken advantage of." The trouble is that all these rules are supposed to protect us, but that's the big lie. Ultimately, "simple prudence" will only take us so far. Once an abuser/robber/attacker enters the picture, all bets are off, and more often than not that abuser/rapist/attacker is someone we know, someone we're supposed to trust to protect us from the stranger lurking in a dark alley.

A room full of women drinking an entire keg of beer and getting completely smashed will not rape themselves. The woman walking through a dark parking garage after getting off work won't mug herself, either. And the single mom barely scraping by who has to live in the "bad part" of town isn't going to randomly decide to attack herself one night for shits and giggles. Victims do not make themselves victims, the perpetrators of the crimes are the ones who create the victims.

In short, don't bring your paternalistic attitude into a post about victim blaming and sneer, "But I (a man) avoid being assaulted all the time because I know how to stay safe!" Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Jimmy Geekalicious)
2011-12-19 02:27 pm
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About that Kotaku Article: It's good, but...

I know, it's Kotaku, but for once I'm linking to their article because someone actually gets it when it comes to male privilege and how it intersects with gaming. (And then from the very first comment the readers prove they fail basic reading comprehension and get all buttmad because hey, he was talking about them, the jerk.) I do, however, disagree when he says that there aren't that many women in nerd/gaming culture, but I've said why I believe that's not true before. We are there, we just aren't being heard.

I've known about this article for a few days and hesitated linking it because while I was impressed and thought it had a good message, something was bugging me about it (aside from the clueless douchebags in the comments). Then, today Melissa McEwan linked to the article and added this commentary: You know what would have made this piece about "Nerds and Male Privilege" better...? If its male author had linked to any one of the hundreds (thousands?) of female writers who have said the very same thing before.

She's right. Even I've talked about it in a way multiple times and I know I've seen many an article or, hell, even whole blogs dedicated to women gamers who are (rightly) ranting time and time again about male privilege. While the article is good and makes many, many excellent points, it could have been better by including some female voices who also know what they're talking about.

So. Yeah. That's what was bugging me.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Castiel Air Quotes)
2011-12-01 04:19 pm
Entry tags:

Intent: No, it's not magic!

File this under "Things Jade Wishes Were Required Reading" (particularly a couple of people in WoW):

Magical Intent is the principle by which someone who has said or done something offensive, hurtful, rage-making, marginalizing, and/or otherwise contemptible argues that the person to whom they've said or done it has no right to be offended, hurt, enraged, alienated, and/or otherwise disdainful because their intent was not to generate that reaction.

In other words: "I didn't intend for you to feel that way, so if you do feel that way, don't blame me! My intent magically inoculates me from responsibility for what I actually said and how it was received!"

This is one of the most harmful—and common—manifestations of accountability deflecting language, rooted in the false contention that intent is more important than effect. It is a most curious habit, given that most of us would readily acknowledge that "I didn't mean it" isn't an excuse for not having to apologize when we bump into someone or accidentally step on someone's foot. Yet we have nonetheless created an entirely different standard for things we say that inadvertently hurt other people.

Intent does not, in fact, magically render us unaccountable from the effects of our communication, no more than not intending to step on someone's toes magically renders us unaccountable from the effects of our movement. Pain caused unintentionally is still authentic pain.

Please, go read the entire thing. Harmful Communication, Part One: Intent is Magic from Melissa McEwan of Shakesville.