Tag Archives: star wars

Linkspam and the Angry Inch (14 December 2012)

  • Hidden Communities of Reddit: “Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace, where the relationships between users are explicit, have been mined to death. But social communities like Reddit, StackExchange, Hacker News and SomethingAwful have barely been mined at all. I’m working on a project to try to predict social cascades – when new memes are going to spread, and where they are going to go.” Bonus: you can interact with the visualization yourself!
  • See 3 female fighter pilots who got cut from Return of the Jedi: “So we’re left to ask the most obvious question—Why? Why were these women cut? Why are there so few women in Star Wars? Maybe it’s a moot point, but we’d love to hear those stories. And more important still, we want to see some serious female representation in the new movies.”
  • Women in science: confronting failure, developing resilience: “Training in resilience… may be as beneficial to seeing an increase in the numbers of senior women engineers and scientists, in academia and outside, as more subject-specific interventions during their education.”
  • women in tech infographic – Scientista Foundation: An optimistic outlook on the future of women in tech.
  • If Code Is Law, Then Coders Are Lawyers – Jotwell: Cyberlaw: Highly complimentary review of Coding Freedom, a F/OSS ethnography by E. Gabriella Coleman.
  • quick and dirty metric for privilege: “obviously this chart doesnt account for a lot, but it tells me that white feminists seized power only for themselves, 1970-2010, and it tells me that as a white person i should stfu unless im critiquing more powerful white people, because any critique im making of anyone else is part of their observable oppression by a system that favours me.”

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Look Upon My Linkspam and Despair (11 September, 2012)

  • 10 Characters Whose Genders Were Swapped In Production: “With many of these characters you also have to wonder: would their character arcs have been different if they’d stayed the originally planned gender? Would Ripley have had a love interest, would Dory and Martin had some on-screen chemistry, would Luke and Han have remained just friends?
  • Women Avengers… Assemble?: “Women read comics. Anyone at all engaged in social media knows this. Women read comics and are a driving force behind fandom. I think I could call them the driving force behind fandom and put up a convincing argument. Just think about it: what fandoms have driven America crazy in the last decade? Could anyone dissuade me from saying that they were Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games?”
  • A Diversity of Rolemodels Key to Getting Girls Into Science | The Mary Sue: “Does emphasizing appearance mean female professionals are taken less seriously? Or is it a necessary way to maintain place in a system that, in certain respects, is still stacked against women? Should getting ahead be achieved by any means? Or should more attention be paid to altering the judgement that makes this an issue at all? One thing’s for sure. There are no easy answers.”
  • Reckless Theorizing Without A Net: Women, Blogging, and Power: “Whenever a group of academics are gathered and the idea of social media comes up, I have found extreme resistance to the very idea of online engagement. I don’t mean just dismissive attitudes about that new fangled technology but virulent, vocal attacks on social media that usually include things like it’s a waste of time, it distracts from “real” life, and that it is some kind of elaborate fad for “other” people… I’ve found that women academics, regardless of rank, are the most vocal about their dislike of social media.”
  • [Trigger Warning: Harassment] The Great Geek Sexism Debate: “Over the past few months, three of the most influential conventions in geekdom — Readercon (for science fiction writers), The Amazing Meeting (for skeptics), and DefCon (for hackers) — have been at the center of very public discussions about sexism and sexual harassment in their communities. After all three conventions in 2012, women spoke out publicly about episodes of sexual harassment and humiliation they experienced at the cons. The fallout was ugly — but also awesome. Here’s what happened, and what’s still happening, as formerly male-dominated geek spaces make way for women.”

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

A female and male human character from The Old Republic: both are the maximum size allowed but the female model is much thinner

A Jedi Needs Not Games To #Fail: Ableism, Fat Hatred, Heterosexism, and Misogyny in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Annalee is a gamer and general-purpose geek. She can be found on Twitter as @leeflower.

Like most feminist gamers I know, I have learned to give myself permission to love problematic things. If I didn’t, I’d pretty much have to give up on video games entirely.

The fact that I’ve grown accustomed to the whiff of garbage that comes with almost every game on the market doesn’t mean I can’t smell it, though. So while I’m having a heck of a lot of fun playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, I am also slapping my forehead a lot and going “really Bioware? Did you seriously just- I mean, really?

Because boy howdy does this game have some issues. Minor spoilers ahoy.

Ableism.

On pretty much every world you visit in SWTOR, there’s at least one sort of stock mob-usually some kind of aggressive animal-standing around to attack you on your way from one quest area to the next.

Then there’s the prison world of Belsavis, where mobs of escaped prisoners rove the landscape between you and every objective. Lest you get the impression that all of these prisoners are, as the story suggests, the very worst of the worst criminals the republic has to incarcerate, some of them are helpfully labeled for you as “lunatics” and other charming ableist slurs. Because people with mental illnesses are totally the same as vicious animals, amirite?

(Also, Seriously? The great Galactic Republic, shining beacon of justice and equality, has no facilities for people with mental illnesses who are a danger to others, and instead throws them in with the general prison population? What?).

Fat Hatred

When you create your character, you have a choice of four body types. For a guy toon, your options vary from lanky to football coach. When you play a woman, your choices are bratz doll, barbie doll, she-hulk, and one that I guess passes for plus-sized in mass-media land.

Here’s what I mean-these are the two “plus-size” models, side by side:

A female and male human character from The Old Republic: both are the maximum size allowed but the female model is much thinner

Yeah, so apparently Even Longer Ago in a Galaxy Not Quite As Far Away, ‘plus’ was a bra size. Because everyone knows fat women can’t be heroes, amirite?

As you zoom about the galaxy, you’ll encounter many fat guys. They’re soldiers, wardens, shopkeepers, spies, smugglers, community organizers, and Jedi. You’ll see not a single flippin’ fat woman anywhere. They just don’t exist.

And if erasing fat women from the galaxy wasn’t enough, the protocol droid on my ship helpfully informs me every once in a while that he’s put my crew on a diet. My crew of athletic guys and one skinny woman; all of whom spend their time sprinting across strange planets, getting into fistfights with monsters, and kicking the forces of evil in the face. God forbid these folks exercise their own discretion about how much fuel their bodies need. Not when BioWare can get in a cheap shot at fat people and call it a “joke.”

Heteronormativity

After the great strides BioWare made towards including gays and lesbians in Dragon Age, SWTOR has felt like a big step backward. All romance options are heterosexual, and if any of the non-player-characters are in same-gender relationships, they never mention it. Heterosexual relationships, on the other hand, appear quite regularly.

Back in 2009, there were reports of people being banned from the game’s official forums for questioning why words like “gay,” “lesbian,” and “homosexual” were on the censored words list. Banned, that is, after being rudely informed by a BioWare staffer that those words “don’t exist” in Star Wars. Classy.

(I guess we all just imagined Juhani the lesbian Jedi from the original Knights of the Old Republic, then?).

Last September, they changed their tune, releasing a statement saying that same-gender romances will be available as a post-launch feature, and citing the “design constraints” of a fully-voiced MMO as the reason they weren’t able to include it at launch. I took that as fair enough-they hadn’t committed the resources for the extra dialogue they were going to need, and it was going to take some time to fix it.

That is, until I encountered the first character that would have been a romance option if my toon were male. If you’re playing a dude, she initiates a relationship, and you have the choice to take her up on it. If you’re playing a woman, there’s an entirely separate, fully-voiced conversation in which she awkwardly asks to adopt you as her sister.

So, in fact, they spent extra time and effort to remove the same-gender romance option. I’m not sure heterosexism really counts as a “design constraint,” BioWare. But I guess a statement reading “We made a horrible mistake and are working as hard as we can to fix it, and we apologize to all our players for the bigoted, hostile statements we’ve made in the past about this issue” would have taken a little more courage than they had on hand.

LOL slavery, amirite? [TW for violence against women]

If you play a Sith Warrior, one of your companion characters is an accomplished treasure hunter the Sith have enslaved. Your dark side options involve [Trigger Warning] torturing her with a shock collar and either making her watch you have sex or forcing her into a threesome (it’s not clear which).

I know, I know: dark side Sith are supposed to be evil, so slavery, torture, and sexual harassment/assault are just part of their alignment, right? Bullcookies. Any writer worth hiring is creative enough to come up with dark side options that don’t involve turning slavery and violence against women into a punchline.

(h/t Club Jade for that link).

Objectification

If you pre-ordered the game, your character starts out with a handful of mostly-useless toys, like a flare gun and a droid that buzzes around. Oh, and a holographic burlesque dancer.

A woman dancer, of course. I imagine some of the guys playing the game might start feeling vaguely gross and uncomfortable if they had to run the risk of seeing a mostly-naked dude shaking his thang every time they entered a populated area. I imagine this because that’s exactly how I feel about that flippin’ hologram.

And since we’re talking about feeling vaguely gross and uncomfortable, let’s talk about the slave bikini.

For the most part, I have been quite impressed with BioWare when it comes to armor options for women. Unlike most games (where full-body armor magically morphs into a bikini when you equip it on your woman toon), all but one piece of armor I’ve found in the game has looked perfectly sensible and protective on my lady knight (the exception was a piece of low-level armor that magically lost a midriff when I put it on, but kept its sleeves and neckline). Women characters start off wearing pants and a shirt (PANTS! It’s amazing! It’s like they know that most women don’t do their butt-kicking in bathing suits, or something!).

But of course, it’s Star Wars, and you can’t have a Star Wars property without some kind of reference to Leia’s slave outfit. So if you’ve got the extra in-game cash to burn, you can buy it and equip it on your character.

Well, if you’re playing a woman, that is. Unlike every other garment in the game, which can be equipped onto either available gender, the slave outfit is ladies only. Also, I say “your character,” but really, I mean “your companion,” because so far, every time I’ve seen it, it’s been a player with a dude character, who’s equipped the bikini on their female non-player companion character.

At first, I thought maybe they included it as a joke, and just didn’t account for people actually wanting cheesecake enough to take massive armor penalties to have it. Sadly, I was mistaken. Because rather than making people live with the consequences of forcing their companion to walk around in metal underwear, they decided to make Leia’s slave outfit armor.

In fact, it’s not just armor; it’s orange-grade armor, which means it’s some of the best armor you can get. You can have your character walking around in a bikini that protects her as well as anything else she can put on.

So no, it’s not a bad joke gone wrong. They actually incentivized using it. The fact that I have to put up with other players reducing their companion characters to sex objects is no accident at all. And of course there’s no version for guys. Like the bikini itself, that gross feeling that comes with being subjected to someone else’s demeaning fantasy is reserved for ladies only.

There are a lot of things to love about this game. It’s well designed and well-paced, with engaging stories and gorgeous graphics. The mechanics are smooth and easy to learn, and the details are delightful. As a gamer and a Star Wars fan, I’m having a heck of a lot of fun with it. I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve clocked playing since launch.

As a queer woman and feminist, however, I’m having to close my nose. Because there is an undeniable whiff of garbage.


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Wall of Spam, by freezelight on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Remorseless husband-stealing no-good linkspams (15th August, 2011)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

More real things

I think I’m going to start a new segment here, because I’ve just found another bit of awesome, nerdy stuff on the internet that would at very least amuse many geek women.

I shall call it Awesome Nerdy Shit. Yeah, I’m not so imaginative today. I’ve also retroactively tagged the Ada Lovelace Steampunk from last week and the nerdy jewellery post from last year.

Without further ado, another from the nerd couture files: The Vintage Doctor (click the screenshots to go to the product pages).

A screenshot of the website displaying a mannequin wearing a vintage style halterneck dress made of blue star wars fabric.

A screenshot of the website displaying a mannequin wearing a vintage style halterneck dress made of blue star wars fabric.

A screenshot of the shop site displaying a mannequin wearing an overbust corset with a large picture of Mario with red and white polkadot trim.

A screenshot of the shop site displaying a mannequin wearing an overbust corset with a large picture of Mario with red and white polkadot trim.

A screenshot of the shop website displaying a photo of a woman with blonde and pink dreadlocks wearing an underbust corset made of batman emblem print with yellow trim.

A screenshot of the shop website displaying a photo of a woman with blonde and pink dreadlocks wearing an underbust corset made of batman emblem print with yellow trim.

Who says geeky can’t be feminine?

What are you wearing for Wear and Share Star Wars Day?

Star Wars Katie

Katie

You may have heard the story already: First grader Katie was bullied over her star wars water bottle. The boys claimed that star was was for boys.

The story was picked up by epbot and others and there was a huge outpouring of support as people told Katie their own stories and sent on words of encouragement.

One of the things suggested was that Friday, Dec 10th be “Wear and Share Star Wars Day” where people put on their geeky best to support Katie and others who might be getting teased because they’re different.

I’m not much of a star wars fan myself, but I can dig up a cute little star trek t-shirt with a cartoon klingon on it for the occasion. Got any extra-awesome geek wear you’ll be sporting tomorrow?

Why subscribe to their feeds when you can get the linkspam for free? (21st November, 2010)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Good girls don’t linkspam (3rd May, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Spamjazzling (18th March, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.