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.

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. 

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!

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

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