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!

image

image

Austen Inboxes

This guy is simply genius! What he does is that he takes various literature and movie characters, and makes an email inbox for them, so readers can get an idea of how these characters would use the internet if they had it.

Check it out here, although I have only linked to the Austen ones, there are all sorts to feast upon!

My inner nerd is singing for joy!

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?

NOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I’m feeling rather sad right now, as I’m just about to complete my 11th Doctor cosplay (I need to pick up a fez and a sonic screwdriver) and I find out that Matt Smith is leaving the show. 

NOOOOOO!!!!!

Matt Smith will always be the Doctor I relate to the most, the one that I will love forever. He’s my favourite, as he is the one I’ve really gotten to know. I briefly knew Tennent, when I would only watch the specials, and Eccleston wasn’t even in the frame. I mean, Smith will be in the 50th, that’s been confirmed, but then he’s regenerating in the Christmas Special. 

Now, people are probably wondering who the next person will be to play the Doctor post-Smith. I definitely refuse to accept that John guy, I’m sorry, but I didn’t like him at the end of the season finale, and I can never see him being the next Doctor. What we need is someone… ginger. Josh always says that the writers ought to let him be ginger, and then he won’t like it. 

That would be interesting.

In the meantime, I wish Matt all the best of luck, and look forward to seeing him in other projects in the future. 

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

Image

(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!

So What Is a Geek?

I decided that today I would write about geekiness, and what it truly means (to me anyway) to be a complete and utter geek.

I used to get called a geek all the time when I was a girl, aged ten, sat in the corner polishing off a copy of ‘Horrible Histories’. I was called a geek, when, aged fourteen, I was still sat in the corner, this time with a copy of Pride and Prejudice or A Diary of a Young Girl (really sad book, almost brought a tear to my eye). And, at the age of nineteen, I am still sat in the corner, with a notebook tucked into my pocket and a pen balancing on my ear, still reading, although it’s a bit geekier that Pride and Prejudice. (I finished Hitchhikers by the way, so will review it soon). 

Me and my friends often talk about what it means to really be a geek. After all, we are all pretty geeky in one way or another. Two of my friends are into Dungeons and Dragons, and are in the process of setting up a group at college (I’ll be joining in, it sounds really fun!). There are a few Yu Gi Oh! players in the Student Union, as well as some gamers (of the console kind). I even have a couple of cosplayer friends (I’ll be having a good go at cosplaying in the next few weeks, more about that another day).

So, what is being a geek really about?

Well, we have all agreed that a geek is NOT:

  • Geek Chic (oversized fake specs, long stockings and shabby chic clothes)
  • Any of those girls (and some guys) who are wearing those tops with ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ or ‘dork’ on them

I believe that to be a geek, then you need to:

  • Have a specialist subject that you practically LIVE for
  • Have no fashion sense whatsoever. You buy clothes because you like them, not because someone else says it’s fashionable
  • Are super excited when there is a TV show/movie to do with your specialist subject
  • You have posters all over your room that have nothing to do with celebs
  • Are usually rubbish at sports (my PE teacher always looked at me with pity)
  • Can be pretty unsociable when focused on work/specialist subject
  • Doesn’t label themselves as a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’. We are likely to call ourselves ‘experts’ or ‘enthusiasts’ 

I like the term ‘geek’ and this blog is currently called the Geeky Writer, but I don’t call myself a geek. I admit I can be very geeky sometimes, but I call myself a writer rather than a geek.

HJ

Hello!

So, I might as well write this first post, now I’ve set up this brand new blog, all shiny and fresh, ready for the world to feast upon it.

Shall I put the kettle on? I do like a nice cup of tea, I do. Oh, and a wonderfully warm blanket, and a packet of custard creams. I ate a whole packet to myself once, whilst watching Miranda (oh, naughty!)

What am I chatting? Seriously, I haven’t even introduced myself yet! How bad, I ought to get on with it, I suppose.

I’m HJ Street, well, I am to those who follow my writing (or, in the past few months, lack of it) on places such as Wattpad and Deviantart. But to my loved ones, I’m simply Heidi. Plain old Heidi. Must try and get them to call me HJ, like TJ, but cooler. And I’m a writer, just one that needs a good old kick up the backside to get back to pen and paper.

I mean, me and my lovely fiancé were talking about it only the other day, after coming back home from London (engagement present from his lovely parents, we went to see a show at the theatre, then the next day we spent the afternoon in Convent Gardens). I said that I wasn’t sure about what to write.

HJ: I’m stuck! I ought to write something!

J: What about that novel you started?

HJ: Which one?

J: You know, the one set in the First World War?

HJ: Nah, too much in the way of historical research. It’s bad enough that I’m up to my neck in Tudor research for work, but WWI is taking the biscuit ever so slightly…

J: Alright… What about that fantasy novel sequel, you know, the one after the one you finished when you got with me?

HJ: Doesn’t feel right

J: The Arthur one?

HJ: Not sure. I like the character, I just haven’t a clue what to do with him…

J: Well, what else can I suggest?

HJ: Not much…

He gave up soon after that! He does try though, bless him.

My mind has drifted to the Fem Doctor Who cosplay that I am planning to attempt. I’ve figured I’ll start with #9’s, as I have a black skirt and green top. Just have to get hold of shoes and leather jacket and will be sorted. I am determined to go to Eurogamer in this get up, even though my fiancé would much rather I went as a companion. Yet, I am a feminist, and don’t want to look up to that ideal, so have sweetly, but bluntly refused. But Eurogamer will be good. I do like gaming, I have my own Xbox Live account, and I enjoy FPS (first person shooters) like Left 4 Dead and Halo, although Red Dead Redemption is pretty awesome for a third person shooter.

And then I look at the blanket I’m knitting for myself for the cold nights at university. I’ll be in an area that’s pretty cold, so am planning well ahead. I doubt it’ll be finished by September though, I’ve a long way to go. The mother in law does ask me all the time if I can crochet, but I can’t, I might be good, but I’m not that good!

Goodness, is my Mac really that low on battery? Crumbs, had better say goodbye!

Until Next Time,

HJ

x