I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped.
The first dozen times I heard this, I was horrified. But I heard it over and over again. I realized that many young men are not being taught the impact that sexual assault has on a woman. They are inundated by sexual imagery in the media, and often come to the (incorrect) conclusion that having sex is not a big deal. This, no doubt, is why the number of sexual assaults is so high.
Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, on the question “Have any readers ever asked questions that shocked you?”
Read that again. Read it again, and again, and again. Over and over guys have asked her why Melinda was so upset about being raped. This is a girl who went to a party with friends. She was thirteen. She had a drink, because everyone else was. And a senior held her down and raped her while she was too drunk to get away.
And guys don’t understand why she was upset.
Read that again and then come back and tell me again why I should just shut up and take a joke when a comedian blows off rape as a big deal, or women’s bodies are casually treated as commodities in media. Remind me why I shouldn’t care about the very real harm that society’s treatment of women and sexual assault does.
This is the same man.
This works quite nicely at debunking the “beefcake guys in comics are objectified for women just like women in comics are for men!”, imo. On the left: a magazine tailored for a male audience, showing him in full beefcake-type mode with headlines about how you, too, can look like this. On the right: a magazine tailored for a female audience, which has a headline about romance and shows him looking more or less like a normal dude.
Tell me again how comic book guys are designed for female sexual enjoyment, completely equivalent to anatomically-improbable spines and giant tits with their own individual centers of gravity, and totes aren’t just male power fantasies.
I have a serious question. Why wasn’t Katara made into the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe?
Considering that Katara is still alive (despite the Fortuneteller’s prophecy in A:TLA), and she’s easily qualified to lead the Southern Water Tribe- why did Korra’s dad, a banished general of the North, become Chief?
Like… Has anyone looked at Katara’s resume lately? She’s equivalent to a First Lady, and should have become the Chief and head of the Southern Water Tribe, imo:
- Fundamental Waterbending master that studied and rose to become one of the first and finest pupils in the sexist Northern Water Tribe- and learned all other presented waterbending styles.
- Teacher (and lover/wife) of the Avatar
- World Traveler, Counciled with Earth Kingdom Generals
- Defeated Azula, the interim Fire Lord. A head of state.
- One of the rare Bloodbenders
- Successful revolutionary and rallying cry against oppression
Sure, she’s done more, but… Why isn’t she in a better position? Why is Korra’s dad filling her space? And as pressing: why is a non-Southern Water Tribe-person even the head of state?
Long story short? Cause Bryk et al continue not to have amazing older women doing things. There were no female mentors in ATLAB, no female masters in the Order of the Lotus, and the trend continues in LOK. We see Katara be mentory- for all of 2 minutes in Korra’s 1st episode, and then it’s over.
And what’s amazing is that if what I read is true and it was somehow Korra’s ‘family’ controlling her and various men over-writing a Master of Katara’s stature and one who knew more than they about how the Avatar used to be trained; via her husband? There’s no exploration on how and why that continued and all the sexism involved. How did Aang and Katara go from being part of the creation of Republic City to Katara not being there but ALSO not being a mover and shake in her own damn tribe?
Bryke et al’s sexism.
these guys need to have their entire ATLA writing team back in the office
And I continue to not watch this show despite my love of ATLA
I have been feeling some burnout this year as a programmer. It’s not coming from my job, which I enjoy and is a great balance of challenging and supportive. No, it’s the rest of it. The community. The part that in theory is optional, but in reality helps build the relationships and knowledge that can be critical to one’s development and career.
It’s not just me. I see this in other programmers, both in person and online. There’s a whole group of us just barely making it. Regularly running on fumes, refueling just enough to stave off the burnout for another week. Every now and again, I see one leave the community (and sometimes programming altogether) because they ran out of energy.
This week, I think I finally figured out what it is. I noticed the symptoms - what some might refer to as “red flags.” I think we’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.
How did we get here? Why is it this bad? Why are we staying?
There’s always been the microaggressions. I didn’t always notice them, but eventually they accumulated enough that I was buried. I couldn’t ignore them any more. Recently, a new symptom finally hit the point where I couldn’t pretend it isn’t there. Gaslighting (or at least something very akin to it).
Gaslighting is a symptom of emotional abuse, so it was a disturbing discovery. Out of curiosity, I looked up other symptoms of emotional abuse. An upsettingly long list of them were all too easy to identify with. Fuck.
Am I imagining things? Am I being hyperbolic? Have I finally lost it?
Blaming yourself and thinking you’re crazy is one of the symptoms of emotional abuse. The whole point of gaslighting is to convince the victim and those around them that the victim is irrational and making things up. Scary part is that it makes it hard to speak out and tell others what’s going on. You probably won’t believe me.
Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are? Do they have unrealistic expectations?
We’re often accused of whining on the internet, of not doing enough. How dare we ask for diversity unless we’re willing to fix it? Our attemps to do so are never enough.
Many work for free trying to help, missing out on the income they so desperately need to live and thrive, but it’s not enough. Many try to help with the pipeline problem by teaching, but it’s not enough. Others provide support and mentorship, but it’s not enough. Others help with outreach, but it’s not enough. We speak at conferences, but not enough of them, even though the travel and expenses can be quite costly.
On top of this, we have to be great programmers - average just won’t do. We’re expected to do ALL THE THINGS, but even when we try, we are belittled. We can seemingly never do enough to get an equal seat at the table.
A guy suggests doing something many have been doing for years and receives support and accolates.
Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?”
If we had a dollar for every time someone told us our behavior was inappropriate, we wouldn’t have to worry about all this. We’d be so rich we’d never have to work again. We could buy our own private island and sail away. Sadly, nobody pays us for this. They just ignore our comments and chastise us for saying things in a way that many others get away with.
"If only you were nicer." "This isn’t how you talk to your ‘allies’." "Stop being a bitch."
Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests? Do they try to turn everyone against you?
Just recently, friends and I had someone in a position of power ignore our boundaries. Despite requests to the contrary, this person insisted on attempting to talk about something I had explicitly made off limits. Going so far as telling mutual acquaintances about the situation in an attempt to get their assistance in forcing the discussion. Going so far as telling others the story in an attempt to paint us in a negative light.
It didn’t stop when we asked for it to. My understanding is it only eventually stopped because a male friend asked. Our boundaries don’t count until someone else asserts them for us.
Do you feel helpless, like you’re trapped in the relationship? Do they limit your access to work, money or material resources?
As I said before, the community is theoretically optional. However, the reality is that it can be critical for networking, learning, finding resources, and attaining jobs. Many feel obligated to stay for our careers - terrified of speaking up for fear of retribution. Most feel they don’t have the skills to leave and find a job in a different field. They’re trapped in this emotionally abusive relationship. Leaving would mean giving up their livelihood.
Do they have trouble apologizing? When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive? Do they treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see? Do you feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m not going to elaborate on all these for the sake of brevity and my tired brain.
Are they physically abusive?
Sometimes, yes. The community often protects physical abusers and sexual assaulters in our communities. The information is often hard to find because part of the emotional abuse is feeling unsafe discussing it.
Why am I so tired all the time? How much longer can I do this? What’s the price I’ll have to pay?
I am making the hard decision to remove myself from as much of the situation as I can. I plan to focus my time and efforts largely on my awesome job and my work on Girl Develop It. I’d love to speak a few times next year, but I will be limiting myself to conferences that are committed to encouraging diversity and include policies that create a safe space. I’ll be avoiding ones that continually include toxic people and behaviors.
I’m not advocating this as the right decision for everyone in this situation. It’s just what I feel is needed right now for me. My only recommendations are to find the support you need and make sure to prioritize self care.
I’m sad I have to pull back, to do less, but my health and sanity is more important than networking and my cred with the community. This is the price, and it is too high.
Comments are closed on this post. If this angers you, you’re part of the problem. If you’re sad about what you read and have the energy, please try to shape the community into a space that looks different. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Note: As I’ve indicated on twitter, this is not a criticism of the conference I was at this weekend - the timing is unfortunate. The organizers hosted a lovely conference, and I was honored to speak at it. They did an awesome job at having a great diverse lineup (my fave is still the 11 year old young woman who loves ruby and dancing) and a code of conduct.
I stopped contributing to open source and renounced my commit rights in Ubuntu in early 2012. I’m still friends with plenty of Ubuntu folks, but when it comes to the open source community at large…I’d rather knit. I stopped attending conferences where I used to speak. When there’s one in my town, I’ll go to the hotel in the evening to meet friends at the lobby, but that’s it.
I used to think people called me irresponsible, dirty, immoral, or speculated about me having diseases because I wrote about having multiple partners.
Then I changed my name from Holly to Cliff.
I used to think people called me fat because I’m overweight.
Then I changed my name from Holly to Cliff.
I used to think people talked about whether they’d have sex with me (and somehow managed to make “yes” and “no” equally disdainful) because I wrote about sex.
Then I changed my name from Holly to Cliff.
I used to think a certain level of trolling and insulting was just the base state of the Internet, just something you had to thicken your skin to because Internet’s gonna Internet.
Then I changed my name from Holly to Cliff.
My initial conclusion is, of course, “damn, everyone should change their name to Cliff,” but as that seems to not be right for everyone, let’s try:
"Damn, never think that abuse is inevitable or something you deserve"
"Damn, never think your judgement of a person is unaffected by your knowledge about their identity."
"Damn, you can live in the same spaces with people for a while and still have no idea what a different view of the world and of human interaction they’re getting."
I’ve read a lot of stories about people who have transitioned from female to male and how just about every aspect of their life changes after that - one of the biggest and most profound changes is how they are treated by others. The difference in the way our culture treats a man vs how we treat women is HUGELY different. The difference is profound.
The day I realized that everyone—especially women—would shut up and listen when I spoke up in a group, no matter how peripheral I was to the group or how inconsequential what I had to say actually was, was the day I realized I had accessed (passing-as-)male privilege.
It was also the day I realized I would like nothing better than to tear society apart with my bare hands.
As a trans woman, I can tell the opposite story: In the eyes of others, I went from being a soft-spoken person who needed to speak up more to a shrill bitch who needed to shut up; a casual-leaning gamer to a fake gamer; a slightly unattractive person (who didn’t get laid a lot, but that was okay) to a disgustingly unattractive person (who is, apparently, unreasonably withholding sexiness from dudes while simultaneously having too much sex and being too sexual). Where I was once considered a computer expert just by virtue of my existence, I am now thought to be a clueless n00b no matter how much expertise I actually have. Whereas my opinions on politics (or any subject, for that matter) were once heard and respected, they are now dismissed out of hand on the grounds that I am not “serious”/”deep” enough to really understand the issues. And so on, and so forth.
So yes, the difference is there, and it is huge. Even now, even with lots of self-steeling and with the expectation that I will be a target of misogyny all the time, it still makes my head spin sometimes.
Faux pockets are an abomination. If you’re going to bother putting pocket flaps on something, add the G-d damn pockets.
And make the pockets deeper, you soulless bastards.
You know what’s attractive?
EVERYONE REBLOG THIS
On average, men’s pants have about 6 inch deep pockets.
IT’S 2013 AND WE STILL DON’T HAVE PANTS POCKETS EQUALITY
PANTS POCKETS EQUALITY!!!
They’re trying to force us to buy purses to make up for it. I sewed myself a pocket I wear on a band around my waist.
“I absolutely loved the movie ‘Brave’, but I was upset there was no prince in the end. I understand it was the fact she wanted to be her own person and select her own fate, but it felt like a stab to Walt to break tradition with the Princess stories. I just feel like every Princess needs a Prince in the end. Case closed”
You… You just missed the point… It flew over your head and it will never return.
The story of Brave is not a romance or about Merida’s independence: it’s a mother-daughter bonding story. The point of the film is to see the mending of Elinor and Merida’s relationship as they look for solutions to their problems. Each has to go out of their comfort zone in order to solve whatever particular problem is present; Merida using diplomacy and Elinor having to use force.
And Brave is not some stab at Walt. Brave is a piece that is precious to its creator, Brenda Chapman. She wanted to tell a story that reflected her feelings on motherhood and one that mirrored her relationship with her own daughter. No, the movie is not some arbitrary stab at Walt Disney (Shrek did that enough on its own), who by way, was a champion for story and character, not romance. Secondly, this is a Pixar production, not just a Disney one. Pixar’s story telling is way more progressive than Disney’s. They use different kinds of characters to tell stories that aren’t usually told, and only one, Wall-E, uses romance as one of the main plot points.
.And this last line?
I just feel like every Princess needs a Prince in the end. Case closed
There is so much wrong with this mentality. This displays an archaic, rigid view of gender roles as well as a disregard for the author’s intent. Saying that a princess needs a prince is extremely problematic: by saying that a princess needs a prince, you’re removing any desires or needs of the character and reducing her role to one of an object. By needing a prince, her only purpose is reduced to being his compliment rather than an individual moral agent. And theis statement harkens back to the days when princesses weren’t individuals; they were used as bargaining chips; given in marriage for political and financial advancement.
And the case is not closed OP: the case is that you missed the point of Brave and your viewpoint is sexist as well as outdated.
Kinda like complaining that the mother and daughter didn’t both end up happily paired off at the end of Freaky Friday.
Rebloggable by request
Isn’t it interesting that so many people’s first priority when it comes to equality is violence against women?
This year at E3 during the Xbox panel during a scripted “trash talk” bit someone made a scripted rape joke (male gamer to girl gamer who sucks at a game: “just wait, it’ll all be over soon.”) and then they acted like it wasn’t a big deal and then they released an expensive, anti-consumer (DRM on physical games) piece of hardware. And then Sony just released the PS4 which is just the PS3 but better graphics and $100 cheaper than the Xbox. So THAT happened.
But then Nintendo just quietly released a bunch of great looking sequels for all of it’s major franchises (Mario, Pikmin, Donkey Kong, and Smash Bros.) and every single one of those games interestingly features playable female characters who haven’t been seen in decades like Dixie Kong and Princess Peach - and Pikmin now has a new female hero.
One of my favorite things about Peach in the new Mario game is that one of the power ups is a literal “cat suit” and Peach’s “cat suit” doesn’t sexualize her at ALL. You can’t even see her boobs. She just looks like she’s wearing over-sized footie pajamas it’s so cute. Also they added a pink letter to the Mario logo just to accommodate Peach’s re-inclusion into the franchise as a character with actual agency!
So at the end of the presentation they tell you to go to the Smash Bros website to find out about new characters. And then they announced this character, Wii Fit Trainer, on the site. And in an interview the director said he gets thousands of requests for almost every video game character under the sun and he’s gotten absolutely zero requests for this character and he put her in the game to be funny and defy fan expectation. This character is literally “hey fuck you we’re the ones making the games around here, and we’ll be goofy and funny if we want to and also check it out another female character in Smash.”
Also the inclusion of the Animal Crossing villager is interesting because Animal Crossing is VERY popular with girls and even though the villager is male I’m 100% certain his alternate costumes will include the girl default villager character. So that’s neat. The three Smash characters they announced were two girl(ish) characters from two girl(ish) games and then Mega Man.
Also in the new Animal Crossing game boys are allowed to cross dress and all of the animals are explicitly genderqueer in the dialog. Characters say stuff like “Boys can ware make up if they want to, I mean, it’s 2013, who cares?” and just today a jock rhino was looking deeply into my eyes and asking me to hike a football and I asked him if he loved me (which was one of the option out of other options about sports) and he was like “Oh I guess a lot can happen when you look into someone else’s eyes like that, huh?” He didn’t even care that we’re both guys. Also in the new Pokemon game you can be black.
Basically what I’m saying is Nintendo is quietly and systematically making their games more socially progressive and Microsoft made a rape joke and then said “what? it was a joke.”
This product cycle is gonna be a Nintendo product cycle for me, I can tell.
Also, I am going to wear a dress in Animal Crossing FOREVER. I may not be able to pass femme IRL but goddamn it I will do it in my video game.
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