It’s Been a While…

It’s been ages since I wrote a post for this blog.

I’ve been terrible at keeping you all updated in everything I’ve been up to. Catching up with a load of backlogged coursework, running Pagan Society, writing a novel and general living. But I thought I’d give you a run-down on how it’s been.

I did get one book for Christmas, from M, an anthology of love poetry, which was cute! Other than that, I got some nice presents from my aunt and paternal family. It was amazing to spend Christmas with my own biological family, which I hadn’t really done since before I was put into care. But the past is in the past, and we move on.

So, things are progressing with my ADHD life. I’m now on maximum dose of my medication, and it is actually making the world of difference. I can now, once it has properly kicked in, sit down and blitz a load of words down. I’ve even been able to start a novel!

Tonight I’m off to help out to prepare with stuff for tomorrow, as I’m taking part in my first ever Reclaim the Night! Can’t wait! I’ll write more about it tomorrow, as it’s going to be amazing! I’ll write it from a neurodiverse point of view, so it should be informative!

I should be posting a lot more often than I have been, I’ve missed you all!

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.

Women Have Aspergers Too!

So, I follow @EverydayAbleism on Twitter, which is very similar to @EverydaySexism, except from the fact that it covers people in the UK who suffer from an ableist society. Ableism is basically the discrimination of someone because of a disability that they might just have to live with day in day out.

I have ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) which I was diagnosed with at the tender age of three. As I grew up, I was made very aware of my ‘disability’ by ableist foster carers, who looked after me solely for my DLA and the higher rate paid to them by social services. I was bullied at Brownies and Guides because I ‘suffered’ from a condition, and was often reminded by teachers that I would never go to university, because ‘kids like you simply don’t do things like university, if you aim that high you are only setting yourself up for failure.’ That would be before they would shoo me away and tell me to get on with that wordsearch that would be the only bit of schooling I would be given for the day.

It wasn’t until I got to mainstream school when sexism came into the picture for me and ASD.

‘You can’t be autistic, you don’t seem it.’

‘Girls don’t get Aspergers, that’s a guy thing’

‘I didn’t think you had Autism, unless you were born male’

‘You look rather boyish, so that kinda makes sense’

I never thought that being female, and being autistic was such a crime! I never really thought that it was a problem. Autism doesn’t affect as many female s as it does males, and doctors and scientists are still trying to figure it all out. I have often been the only girl in a class of twenty students when I was at special school. I didn’t care a jot, naturally. I thought that was normal, as I played Yu Gi Oh and read manga with my best friend. I was seen as one of the guys. And I didn’t think that was wrong!

I was on Twitter yesterday, when a discussion on ableism in education was spoken about. I brought up the special school teacher incident, and a few girls with ASD and Aspergers replied to me. They told me that lots of Aspie folk attend university, and it is seen as normal. Yes, it can be tricky for us as we don’t have the same skills as everyone else when it comes to studying, but there is support available.

The conversation then turned to being aspergers and female. That opened up a whole can of worms for us. Yes, we are women, yes we have autism and/or aspergers. Why does that matter?

What we need is to be seen and heard just as much as male ASD folk. Notice that I never mentioned ‘sufferers’. When doctors and specialists write about Autism, they must’nt focus on some people just because a penis rather than breasts and vaginas are involved. I’m sorry, but that’s the bottom line. When teachers have a girl with ASD, they need to make sure that she is just as valued as her male counterparts. Girls and women with Aspergers and Autism need feminism just as much as any other women. Perhaps we can be more oppressed than some other women, simply because of the fact that we ASD girls are not taught about feminism, teachers just don’t think it applies to us. If anything, we might need it more than anyone else. I’m not saying that we are the most important, lots of women need feminism, from the trans (yes, feminism is VERY IMPORTANT for them!!!) To the WoC (women of colour). But sometimes the disabled women are forgotten. Especially those with what is known as an invisible condition.

So, next time you meet a woman with Aspergers or ASD. Don’t question her and her ‘eligibility’ to live (not suffer) with it. Just support her, and love her like you would love any of your other friends.

Because Women have Aspergers Too.

Geeky Feminist Issue #4 – Fan Fiction

(WARNING, THIS POST HAS SOME TRIGGER SUBJECTS, INCLUDING DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL ABUSE AND OTHER DARKER ISSUES)

 

This week’s geeky feminist Issue kind of also a literary issue. This is due to the fact that we’re talking fan fiction.

I believe that anything these days will be turned into fab fiction. Seriously, there are middle aged women writing One Direction fan fiction, and young girls writing fan fiction of Les Miserable.

So why could this be seen to be an issue relating to feminism?

Well, let’s look at the style that fan fiction is written, and how women are shown in them.

The fact that Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel about S&M, money and general sex. That was originally a Twilight fan fiction, but when she saw the potential of the story being its own thing, she just changed a few names around and made them both human. It’s about a young, virginial English Literature student who enters a relationship with a man who is controlling, abusive and generally quite unsavoury, and women seem to think that it’s actually attractive?

Other fan fictions are scarily following this trend, with the male characters being controlling and sometimes pretty scarily abusive, or they are able to use their twisted personalities to make the woman/girl into practically a dithering, love-struck slave to their needs. And this is the stuff that our young girls and women are reading online, and are being encouraged into writing themselves.

Men get negative influence to sex and relationships via pornography that is easily accessable online, but girls are getting negative influence from fan fiction, especially ‘slash’ fiction, which is often highly graphic in its sexual and abusive content, which is glorified in each terribly written story.

I’ll admit that there are exeptions to the rule, for example, one could argue that ‘Wicked – Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ and the other three novels in that sequence by Gregory Maguire are fan fiction, as they are based on the world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its characters, turning the children’s tale into a novel series perfect for the adults who don’t want to leave Oz behind along with the rest of their youth. Now, that’s good litrature, if anything, that series is the only fan fiction that I happily read.

So, I have come to the conclusion that fan fiction isn’t the best thing in the world for geeky feminism, unless they involve a strong female protagonist, and have no sexual or physical violence towards women in order to forward the plot. I haven’t got a problem for sex scenes in general, if anything, if they are written well, then good on them. But if it’s badly written, can’t it just be hinted at? Or even just replaced with a romantic scene minus the intercourse?

I shall never look at One Direction in the same way ever again…

Geeky Feminist Issue (Special Edition) – E3

So, E3, the highest gaming conference where games and consoles are revealed for the first time to a world wide audience.

So, how did it get the feminist juices going this time?

There was the incident between a male and female who were demonstrating an FPS game, where inappropriate ‘banter’ of a sexist nature was exchanged between them in front of the world and its media.

Then Feminist Frequency, a feminist gaming critic blog (I recommend it highly) noted that, as per usual, no games with strong, female protagonists were being shown in this year’s E3. The backlash she got for tweeting about it was just awful! Gamers (male, mostly) were making sexist and misogynistic comments, most too horrid for me to blog. Some also said that female protagonists just don’t sell.

That might well be true. But, do games with female protagonists get as high a budget as one lead by a male protagonist? Do they get as much marketing? I don’t think so. Okay, Lara Croft might be an acception, but only AFTER she’s been sexed up to kingdom come (2012’s incarnation is different in a way). So much for a woman to comment on something she feels isn’t right, in a world where having the right to speak their mind without being punished for it.

As for the ‘banter’ issue, all girls in the gamer hobby deal with this problem at some stage. I had a fourteen year old guy from America leer at me because I am female, trying to use violent sexual language to make me feel uncomfortable. I was lucky Josh was playing in the same party as me, and he told them where to shove it. I will jokily and playfully tease my male friends who I game with, but it never has or will turn sexual or violent, or even both at the same time, as we always show courtesy and respect to each other. And we expect it from everyone else we play with. It’s a two way street, I’m afraid.

Perhaps one day we will achieve equality in the world completely, and I mean that with men and women being equal in rights and responsibilities. But, for now, we can’t turn against each other, it simply isn’t right.

So, can we just be brothers and sisters in gaming, together?

Please?

Are the Doctor Who Companions a Feminist Ideal?

So, here’s the post I was supposed to have up last week, but no matter, I shall give this a second attempt.

Anyways,  it’s this week’s geeky feminist post, where it’s going to be all about that programme involving time travel via a bright blue police box. 

Doctor Who is a British sci-fi programme on the BBC, which has been on television for nearly 50 years. There was a break from 1989 right up to 2005, with the writer Russell T Davis decided to revive the show, with Chris Eccleston being the Ninth incarnation of the Doctor, the main protagonist of the show. Since then there have been two other actors since then, along with several companions. 

People are probably wondering about the Doctor Who fandom. Especially as you now get some fans who only know about the 2005 onwards shows. So, I sat down and figured it all out. I want to make this clear before I go on with the rest of this post.

There are two different types of DW fan. 

1) The Old Age: These are the DW fans who have been fans since the very beginning, they will have watched the show since they were young, or they were introduced to the older episodes by their parents, and are just as much fans of those old ’63 shows as the modern ones.

2) The New Age: These are the fans that have only watched the 2005 onwards shows, and only recognise those three Doctors, and those series, and wouldn’t know their stick of celery from their overly long scarfs. They would of been introduced to it either through the Christmas Specials or because their mates watch it. 

I’m a New Age fan, as I haven’t had the chance to watch those old episodes, although I have had a go at learning a bit about the Old stuff (One of my friends is a Doctor Who cosplayer, and has been watching DW since he was super small, and one of my classmates is also a massive fan). Because of this, I shall only focus on the companions from the 2005 onwards shows rather than from both old and new. Perhaps here I ought to note that in 2005, feminism has morphed a lot more since its beginnings in the ’60s. Also note that in the UK, the feminism battle started three years or so prior to the first Doctor Who, so naturally the old DW companions will be different to the 2005 onwards ones. Please also note that I will only look at the main female companions rather than the male and one episode companions.

The main female companion of the time of the Ninth Doctor is Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper. She also is the main companion for the Tenth Doctor, with whom she has a romantic relationship with. What’s interesting is the fact that although she is at first portrayed as the classic blonde tag-along who doesn’t know what she’s doing, letting the Doctor save the day, she does start to help him out with decision making, although this is done in a back-seat manner. She is an emotional outlet for the Doctor in several ways, not only as a romantic outlet, but as one to vent out other emotions, such as anger and frustration. It brought out fear, and sadness. It made the Doctor seem almost human.

So is Rose Tyler a feminist ideal? In some ways, she isn’t. She doesn’t ever take on a leadership role, rather she follows the Doctor, some might say she does so blindly. On the other hand, she could well be a feminist ideal, as she isn’t forced to make the choices she makes, if anything, she does make those choices in an informed manner, and she does sometimes argue back when she doesn’t agree with something. She also shows wit and intelligence when the situation calls for it, although she (in my opinion) doesn’t really do it enough.

The next female companion I’ll go through is that of Donna, played by Catherine Tate, in my opinion, one of the most irritating actresses on British TV. But I digress. We meet Donna for the first time when she is about to get married, to a man who turns out to be an alien, who only wanted her for her energy. However, she goes with the Doctor for a while after he (surprise, surprise) rescues her from the problem at hand, without her attempting to get herself out of the mess. She’s cocky and she’s witty (the former reminds one of that annoying schoolgirl character that she portrayed prior to DW) and once again, she takes a very backseat role, although she also gives some ‘comedic’ and emotional outlets to the show.

Is Donna a feminist ideal? I don’t believe so. If anything, Donna is the least of these. I might of originally said this about Rose, but at least Rose used her brain, and made a heroic sacrifice. Yes, Donna does do some pretty good things, like taking initiative to seek out that alien when the Doctor tells her about it, but that’s about it really.

So, that brings us to the Eleventh Doctor’s companions. Starting with Amy Pond. At last we see a companion who although is sexy, is able to think for herself and make really educated choices. She is able to confront the Doctor about things that she does’t think are right, and she is also unafraid to get her hands dirty and to get into the action as far as fighting monsters is concerned. However, one could mention that all rationality goes out of the window when one speaks of the relationship between Rory and Amy, as a romantic set-up. This is when Amy is at her weakest, and her decisions become affected by her need to ‘look after’ her male partner, rather than focusing on the problems at hand affecting the universe. She will make rash choices, because of this. Does this make her a feminist ideal? I guess not. Such a shame, because I did like Amy as a character.

Now, the final companion, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna-Louise Colman.  The Girl Who Died Twice, the Impossible Girl. What makes her different straight away is that there are major plot lines involving her. Mystery is shrouding the character, rather than than the character being made an obvious companion and side character from the moment we are introduced. We see the character in two episodes, ‘Dalek Asylum’ and ‘The Snowmen’, in both of these episodes she dies saving the life of the Doctor. Not feminist, to sacrifice yourself so a patriarchal hero can save the day, right? Wrong! When the choice is made consciously, and for the benefit of others, that is feminist. She shows a strength that not many of the other companions would of shown. She also shows initiative, as when she is told to take over a whole platoon of soldiers, despite knowing nothing about military strategy, she takes over completely, finds out how weapons work, and then goes about taking control of the situation, leading the soldiers to safety in the Comedy Castle, followed with her leading them into battle. This is something that not many other companions would do, which also makes Clara more feminist than her predecessors. She even chooses to turn down a marriage proposal in this episode, as she tells Porridge, “I don’t want to rule the Universe.” She turns down a proposal of not just marriage, but also a very powerful position in the universe, because she chooses to follow her desires and what she wants, rather than what everyone else would want/expect her to do. Yes, a marriage between the two would be something wonderful to behold, I assure you, but it’s the principle of Clara standing up for what she believes in.

So, all in all, the companions are more feminist than one would think. Which, in these modern times, when feminism is coming back to the forefront, almost back into the mainstream, can only be a good thing.

’til next Monday, I wish you all good day!

Geeky Feminist Series – Episode #1

feminist issue #1

 

 

So, I thought I’d start off this idea of tackling a geeky feminist issue every Monday with this little image that has been floating around my personal Facebook page.

It talks about the idea that when you’re playing a FPS (first person shooter) game on the PC or console, and you’re playing against the ‘fairer sex’, you mustn’t kill them, otherwise that counts as rape in the gaming world.

Let’s break my opinion down based on the points that the writer of this article (who is a woman, I must add) makes in the article.

1) Rape is an act that overpowers a woman, and you overpower a woman when killing her in the FPS game

Don’t men get raped/sexually molested too? Can’t men be overpowered, just like a woman? Murder and general killing of another person counts as overpowering in its own right, since when did rape come into the equation with the FPS?

2) The victim is usually blamed for the death in the FPS

Well, duh? We always wind someone up when they get killed, especially if they were being silly, thus getting them killed, regardless of gender, sexuality, faith, creed, age or experience (or, in my case, lack of it), but it’s all harmless (unless the death causes the team to lose, then it gets a bit harsher!)

3) It can have lasting effects, like rape to the female rape victim

Erm, it’s a game? Okay, I’m not saying that a rape victim has got it easy, I would hate to be in that scenario, but when a girl gets shot down in the FPS world, she isn’t going to be traumatised, just irritated, like any other gamer.

So, all in all, I think this article is basically badly thought out trollop. This article isn’t empowering us girls to pick up the controllers and take on the guys in what should be a fun and (mostly) harmless activity. If anything, it’s trying to warn us that if we don’t want to feel raped or molseted, then we mustn’t play FPS games.

And what a lousy world it would be if female gamers weren’t kicking the guy’s butts at Halo every once in a while.