Update Time!

So, I figured that I haven’t really written a proper update post in a while, so before I go off to have the opening chapter of my novel to shreds…  I mean workshopped by my peers, I thought I would update you on what I’ve been up to.

Firstly, the Novel finally has a title! It’s called No Day But Today, based on a line from the musical Rent, which is one of my favourite musicals ever! I felt it fitted because this novel is essential a comedy coming of age piece, about a young university student who finds out what it truly means to love, and to sieze every day as it comes.

I’ve also decided against the Elphaba Halloween costume, as I can’t afford to buy better facepaint at the moment. However, tomorrow I’ll pop into Bristol’s Primark to replace the button-up shirt I lost so I can go all Femme Doctor on people’s asses! I’m also thinking of doing Femme Shaun, although this means replacing my tie, as that’s gone walkies, sadly. I need two costumes now because I’ll be going to the Monster Mash on Wednesday, and going out on the town for actual Halloween. Geeky costumes are the way to go, I’m pleased to say!

It’s my birthday on Wednesday, hence the very serious ‘Dear Younger Heidi’ post, and I’m trying to cram as much immature behaviour into the next two days as I possibly can! Also, happy birthday Josh, we can be the same age for two days! But then I shall be twenty, and will have to start acting, well, more like an adult. It doesn’t mean I actually will act like an adult all the time, quite far from that. But, I do like my birthday, as people always want to celebrate it because it’s so close to Halloween.

I’m also going back to Hampshire for the weekend, which is very exciting! I’ve missed Portsmouth, in a weird kind of way…

So, I’ve typed up the firat draft of my novel, and am starting to write out the second one, but I dread to think what people will think of it.

And, on that note, I have class in a bit.

Signing out!

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Geeky Feminism – Slut Shaming in Geekdom

Thanks Autisicook for suggesting that I bring this back, it’s been something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, especially as I need to get into a routine with blogging now I have university and a job (yes, I am now employed, will write about everything I’ve been up too soon). Anyways, TW: slut shaming, rape culture.

So, it’s been in the media about Miley Cyrus and her ‘Wrecking Ball’ video, and her performance at the VMA Awards. People have been freaking out about how she’s ‘a terrible role model to young women’ that she’s ‘being far too sexually provocative’. 

People then argue back by saying ‘She wants to get rid of her Disney image’ and ‘She just needs to get her angst out’.

I on the other hand, as a liberal feminist who isn’t afraid of sexuality, has a different viewpoint. Just quit slut shaming her, and let her make her own damn choices. If she wants to explore and experiment with her sexuality in this rather public manner, then so be it.

But what does this have to do with geeky feminism?

Well….

This is one example of an instance where slut shaming could end up being featured. In cosplay, women dress in what can be seen as a sexualy provocotive way. This can be a great confidence booster, as they are able to show that they are beautiful young women who are unafraid of other people’s opinions. However, due to the misogynistic culture in geekdom, male geeks use this as a way of saying that girls don’t take geekdom seriously, that they are only in it so they can wear revealing clothing in order to seek attention from men and therefore bring ridicule to the ‘true geeks’ who are usually men. 

This is utter rubbish! I have a few female cosplayer friends who have been working on cosplay for years, and they take their work very seriously indeed. These costumes often take a lot of time and effort to put together,and can be very expensive to produce. Therefore you can’t say that these women are in it just to seek attention, although positive attention is appreciated. 

What makes slut shaming worse is that more often or not it’s ‘feminists’ doing the slut shaming in the first place! This has become more apparent in recent times, especially when female celebrities end up being criticised for ‘not being good examples to young women’. Perhaps by insulting them like that,all you are doing is proving that you are the bad role model, as you are the one insisting that these women fit into your ideals or else, and that would therefore make you into a far more negative character than these women, who just happen to be famous, with no other crime.

So, slut shaming is probably the worst practice, both in feminism and in the outside world. Enough said.

How’s THAT for a Slice of Fried Gold?

In the end, I did go to the midnight release of At World’s End. I won’t give spoilers, simply because I will be talking about the events of the night as well as giving an opinion on the film. We were going to the marathon, but it was all booked up (insert heartbreak here). I know the film doesn’t get released in the US until August 1st, so I won’t tease too much about it (see, I’m a nice person!).

So, I dressed, Josh got home from work, and we left at 2315. Madness ensued with the carpark hunt. In the end we parked in the Gunwarf multiplex. This would be something to regret later. We met the others, then went to pick up the tickets. Tim, Josh and I got a few approving looks from fellow cinema goers as we approached the food kiosk in search of cornetto icecream. But the cinema doesn’t stock them! Madness!!! I just went for popcorn and cola.

We watched the film, realised that we had missed out on the videos of Pegg, Wright and Frost that would be in between each film, then sat back, ready to enjoy. To be honest, I missed the very British charm that the other two films had, as there was too much blockbuster, CGI style filmmaking. The personality swap of Frost and Pegg did throw me at first, but then I saw how awesome it made the movie. A great stand alone, as well as a good way to end the trilogy.

Home time for us tired five musketeers. So we walked past the clubbers to get to the carpark to go home. I paid for parking, as I had agreed to do so, considering the fact that I hardly ever pay petrol money due to the fact that I’m hardly in the car. We all bundled in, and put the radio on pretty loudly. Then, the barrier.

Josh sticks the ticket into the machine. It spits it out. Josh tries again. Machine isn’t having any of it. He tries again, to no avail, so we had no choice but to call the security guys over in hope that we would be freed. What we didn’t realize was that whilst we were giggling and singing off key to the radio, not to mention telling awful jokes and chucking left over pick n mix at each other, the security guards back at the office were listening in and shaking their heads at this generation. After a while, we did escape with our lives, so we finally drove home, dropping friends off on the way.

We then filled up the car at the petrol station, before getting in at 0330. I can’t believe I got up for my train!

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Me and the Gang

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Josh and the Gang

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Me with tie on head looking sleepy

Femme Shaun (Shaun of the Dead)

Finished my Shaun cosplay! I was going to go to a Cornetto Trilogy marathon on Thursday with some friends, but they all bailed out at the last minute. However, I now have a cosplay I can use in future for things like Eurogamer and London Comic Con (am considering going in October for my birthday). I took a couple of snaps of the ensemble for your approval. I will get Arthur Dent done at some point, but he might be a bit more effort, especially with the props. Being an Elizabeth Bennet from ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is also a cosplay I’ve wanted to do for ages!

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It’s (Almost) Summer Time

So, now for a lovely frivolous post! 

I like writing random posts, I do it quite often on my spirituality blog, and thought it would be nice to do it here too. I mean, it’s nice to make friends with the writer behind the screen.Image

That was me at that fancy dress party that I mentioned in this week’s geeky feminist issue post. I know the neck is awful, but I was rushing to get the make up on, especially as I was a bit of an idiot and didn’t do a makeup test run prior to the event. I’ll have you know I was the only Elphaba there, everyone else went as Grease people!

Anyways, my time at college is almost up. It kinda hit me this morning as I sat there in class in a rather dejected manner. I edited the footage that I got for my FMP film yesterday, and made notes about what I need to have filmed tomorrow, for example, I accidentally missed out part of a sequence for a scene, which means that I will have to film that part tomorrow, which is a bit of a bugger, but hey to the ho. I will then spend the rest of this week editing everything until I am happy with it, before handing the project in on Friday. Then all I have to do is do all my coursework over half term (I am still behind on a serious amount of stuff, not the most ideal scenario) on top of going to work, and then I sign out officially after half term (for the US readers, in the UK we have ‘half terms’ where we get random weeks off, but it makes our proper academic holidays shorter. This only happens at schools and colleges though, universities don’t have that luck).

Then it’ll be SUMMER!

I remember saying to myself aged seventeen when I finally left school (I was pulled back a year because I switched schools three quarters of the way through Year 10, one of the most significant year groups of secondary school), that the summer following it would be the BEST summer I ever had. It was a long summer, ten weeks off! Ten weeks of doing naff all, apart from the occasional heartbreak when a guy dumped me because his parents hated me for some reason, and the various family trips that bored me to tears. I remember buying new stationary, a new backpack, new clothes. I was going to be a whole new person.

Nothing changed really. All that changed was the environment and the style of study, not to mention the classmates. The past two years have been great though, I met Josh, I figured out what I’m going to be doing with my life (sort of), I’ve got new life experiences, lots of great experiences that have helped shape me over the space of college education. 

I would have to say that this year was more eventful than last year. This is because I felt more confident to actually sign up for the SU, which I didn’t feel I could do the previous year as my foster mum didn’t approve of me doing anything outside my studies, which took me places. Literally. I got to go to York for a few days for the NUS Women’s Conference, which was awesome! I get to organise some wicked events, like on Wednesday, I’ll be hosting an Amnestea party in the college’s restaurant, which is pretty exciting, as we’ve never run an Amnesty International event before! 

And, after all that, it’ll be summer.

What on earth will I do with myself? 

For one thing, I’ll be writing. I’ll write this blog, as well as my usual writing. The only issue is that after I break up from college, I’ll have to blog from my Kindle Fire and write into notebooks, as I have to give this laptop I’m currently using back to the college as it was only on loan for the duration of the year, as my old laptop broke down. So you’ll have to bear with me on that one. I’ll also be knitting the blanket I’m making for university, it keeps my fingers busy. I’ll work on my cosplays, and will carry on working at the museum. I will hopefully go to London and other interesting places too this summer, but who knows? 

I guess I’ll have a lot of time to kill.

Geeky Feminist Issue #2 – Cosplay Does NOT Equal Consent

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(image from geekxgirls.com)

So, it’s that time of the week again, where I take on a geeky feminist issue, write an article, and hope that people get into a debate. People seemed to like last week’s, so I have decided to make it a weekly thing. This week I’ll be talking about something that is fairly close to my heart.

I’m only just starting in cosplay, which is the art of dressing up as characters from film, TV, games and sometimes even novels and musicals, whatever floats your boat. I’ve already done Elphaba from ‘Wicked’ for a fancy dress party, and that went pretty damn well, and will probably rock her again soon. I’m also having a Robin costume made for me (will have to research the Robin I want to do) and am nearly finished with my Femme Doctor costume (I’m officially going to be a gender bending cosplayer, which means that I will make a female costume for male characters). 

I didn’t know about cosplay until I went to Eurogamer last year. I might actually get some of those photos from then and pop them on here, but that’s going off topic. Josh (my partner) and I went on press passes on behalf of a gaming website that our friend runs, and we had the run of the place, getting free games and other treats (writing for a gaming website has it’s perks!). I started noticing that people had come in costumes of various things, which was rather odd. They were pretty cool, and I asked our friend why they were dressed up. He explained to me that they were cosplayers, and as a hobby, and sometimes as professionals will create costumes and wear them to events and conventions, like Eurogamer. I saw a guy in a L4D2 band top, which made me squeal like a girl, and I also had my photo taken with an assassin from Assassin’s Creed 3 (Josh still has the snap as his wallpaper on his phone). 

Then I met Georgie. She’s the same age as me, and has been cosplaying and attending events for a long time. She’s the girl who really introduced the world of cosplay to me. When Josh and I met her, she was with her cousin, and they were doing a Portal style cosplay, with him as a scientist, and Georgie as a Companion Cube. We spent quite a lot of the convention with them, and I watched with interest as I watched people take Georgie’s photo, and was happy when Josh and I posed with them before we all left. Everyone was courteous and lovely, and we decided that the next convention we would go to we too would cosplay. I liked Georgie’s Facebook  and I still follow it now.

But one day I was online, and decided to start looking up ideas for my cosplay future, and came across the Cosplay does not equal consent campaign. It’s an international campaign that is spreading awareness about harassment in the cosplaying world, where photographers and some fans will sexually harass cosplayers, examples of abuse will feature sexual conversation that is highly inappropriate, sneaky sexual photographs taken without the consent of the cosplayer (I read about a lass who actually had a photographer take a photograph up her skirt!) and general harassment that is upsetting to the victim.

There have been as many incidents, if not more, than there have been hot dinners made in this world. And it’s highly wrong. We make a stand for victims of harassment who are not cosplayers, the ones who get molested in other scenarios, and that’s great. But what about the cosplayers? What about them? Some people use the rape apology argument, and blame the cosplayers, saying that they should expect the harassment because they are portaying characters that dress in a ‘sexual’ manner i.e mini skirts, crop tops, tight fitting lycra, etc.

Rape apology is unacceptable in any circumstance, so why it’s been seen as okay to do it to the cosplayers, I haven’t a clue. I’ve never personally experienced any abuse, but seeing that other women, and some men have to put up with it is completely out of order. Cosplay is an art form, it’s a hobby that these people spend a lot of time in perfecting and getting right. They spend money and time to get the costumes ready for conventions and shoots, and it’s a passion that everyone can enjoy. 

And it’s also something that we need to help. If you’re at a convention, and you see harassment between a cosplayer and, lets say, a photographer, then go up to them, and politely tell the harasser to back off. Or inform an official about the problem. These days conventions have a zero tolerance policy for this, so the situation can be dealt with properly. If you are a photographer, think about how you would feel if someone came up to you and asked you for the style of photograph that you would want to take of this cosplayer. If the answer is no, then don’t take the photograph. 

Cosplaying should be fun for everyone. No one should ever be worried about whether they might get harassed for the costume they want to wear to a convention. They should be happy to have their photograph taken with fans as well as for you personally, it gets them out there and gives them presence. But harassment can ruin it. Just because they are cosplaying, it doesn’t mean they are consenting for you to treat it in a sexual light. They are there to show off their talent, skills, workmanship and passion. 

So, do I support Cosplay does not equal Consent?

Hell to the yeah!

Stay tuned for next week’s geeky feminist issue, as well as the cosplay progress!