Comfort Food

This one is going to be less of the gaming and women part, and more of the me part.

After mom died, our family was in shambles. We didn’t have the energy or the time to do much. My brother was borderline catatonic, Dad was dealing with the administrative details of joint accounts, declarations of death, and so on, and I was struggling through classes.

So, this really odd thing happens.

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Why My Rape Didn’t Make Me a Mansplainer

One of the weirdest behaviors I’ve seen is when men who are raped use the horror of that event to justify their dismissive, high handed, and contemptuous treatment toward women. It’s not something I see pervasively by any means, but it has cropped up among a few of my (mostly former) friends, and it’s always made me very uncomfortable.

Rather than go into all that, though, I want to say why it hasn’t had that effect on me, and never will.

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On Missing the Goddamn Point

I’m a libertarian. My political philosophy can largely be summed up by the idea that while I think it would be nice if we could guarantee everyone’s safety and happiness, we cannot, and that attempts to do so by a central polity can reliably be counted on to generate perverse incentives, corruption, and disastrous failures. It’s less that I think private entities are automatically morally better, and more that I think public ones just can’t seem to do good things as efficiently.

I don’t want to tell people how to think. I like bringing things up, trying to invite them to think about things. I point out that de Soto’s privatization and individual recognition reforms in South America did a world of good for the country’s underclass. I draw attention to the fact that China’s economic special zones such as Hong Kong or Shenzen seem to be doing a lot better than other parts of the country. I indicate that the drug war seems to be having the opposite effect of what it was intended. The point is that I want to open the dialog, to get people to think about the real implications and side-effects of their actions, however well-intentioned they might be. Libertarians have a lot to contribute to the social discourse about how the world might be improved, in particular in the arena of civil liberties vis a vis equality before the law.

So imagine how much I throw up in my mouth when I read any libertarian thread on feminism, slut shaming, and gender-defined behavior.

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Wicked Portrayals

So, I recently watched the entirety of True Blood as portrayed thus far, and I finally watched the X Men movies, which are things I hadn’t bothered catching up on until recently when I had a big glut of spare time to myself.

I really have to say, the portrayal of characters in these things, which are held up as big Geek Culture shows, is absolutely awful in a lot of ways.

Trigger warnings: Violence, rape

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Things I’ve Learned Lately

Once again, I’d like to go into musing on things I’ve learned about recently, to see if there’s anyone who might have some light to shed on the topic.

These are solely my observations of what I’ve seen lately. I do not, cannot, and will not make any wider generalizations from them, as generalizing is part of the problem that feminists are trying to combat.

Trigger warnings – racism, spousal abuse, gendered slurs

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Enough of That, Let’s Talk About MEN

Ok, you know what, fuck all this noise.

I tried, gals, I really did. I tried to be kind and understanding. I revealed my sordid past of being a loud and obnoxious abuser, and none of you had the decency to respond and reassure me that just sharing the post already makes me a better person. That I had risked an emotional trauma right up there with those of you who expose yourselves to death and rape threats.

So I want to talk about the challenges we men face here in the blogospheroversoworldowebs and the gaming community, and hopefully get a little more of that respect the feminist movement’s claiming to be all about.

Look, girlies, I know you are taking risks when you go to cons. Nobody likes to be sexually harassed, sure, I’ll grant you that. But you know what? We have burdens too! We take risks when we’re there! We have to bear the mental strain of not knowing if a friendly pat on the ass is gonna make you flip the hell out! We’re just trying to be friendly, most of the time. I mean, what do you expect us to do, keep our hands to ourselves?

Also, on the subject of equality, why is it only girls get to be booth babes? I’ve never once been invited to do that, and I hardly think that’s fair.

See, it’s all horribly unfair in general. While you might be having to worry about harassment and objectification to the point that people are talking about using elaborate buddy systems and wearing shirts clearly marking them out as someone who can help prevent harassment, there are men out there who would kill your own mother for a little bit of that kind of affection.

I mean, sure, we could just go to a con for the sole purpose of enjoying the art, panels, companionship with fellow geeks, food, charitable causes, dances, film screenings, merchandise, music, comics, books…but that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it? Continue reading

Fandom – Sports?

Well, that was a disappointment!

I saw today’s Daily Prompt was going to be about fandom, and I was all YES! But then they said it was going to be about sports. I don’t really follow many sports, they just aren’t that interesting to me. I have too many books to read, too many games to play. Sports just don’t do it for me.

But there is a sport I participate in. HEMA.

Historical European Martial Arts – the recreation, study, and practice of the martial arts practices out of western history. Mostly I do longsword, because it’s a ton of fun swinging around a sword wtih two hands. It’s the best weapon ever.

But what makes this relevant to my mission here is that HEMA is a place where women have been made to feel very welcome, in a lot of ways. Some of our premier teachers and fencers are women – Rebecca Boyd, Jessica Finley, Meg Godbut, Meg Floyd. They’re awesome people, and you should check out their work.

The way that HEMA is approaching integrating women is a very good one, and it is one the gaming and fandom communities would do well to emulate. Sure, there are the inevitable “look, men are just stronger than women – not better, just stronger, so of course there should be separate male and female tournament leagues…” discussions, and yeah, sometimes they get a bit tetchy. I worked as a member of the governing council of the HEMA Alliance (a big group that exists to promote HEMA activities), so I’ve seen a lot of this. But they remain DISCUSSIONS. Sexism and bigotry on the vicious scale I’ve seen it in the GAMING community do not seem to exist in the HEMA community, and we’re at LEAST as nerdy as any gamers about the stuff we do. Seriously, we are. Compare any argument about two maneuvers from DnD 3e to an argument about Ringeck vs Fiore, and tell me if you can discern any goddamn difference. But we seem to have avoided the microaggressions, and I find that awesome. I hope the gaming community can take a look toward the HEMA community and pick up some pointers.

 

Regards,

William

Self-Centeredness

One of the topics I was always fascinated by in high school was ethnocentrism. In short, ethnocentrism is judging other cultures by the values of your own culture. The stereotypical, ugly example I frequently come up with is people in the US criticizing migrant workers for not having well-developed English speaking skills (or American, as some of the more delightful ones put it).

A less toxic example is that of WWII. For the US, WWII didn’t really ‘start’ until the attack on Pearl Harbor, even though in Europe it’s broadly considered to have started with the invasion of Poland (and to a lesser extent the Winter War between Finland and the USSR).

That said, there aren’t always weighty issues that crop up in this self-centered approach. I had a funny one happen to me when I was delivering papers as a carrier in North Carolina.

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Stephen Fry’s Thoughts on Loneliness

Being an introvert is an incredibly lonely experience.

That might sound odd, since introversion is commonly described as “having to expend energy on being with others” versus extroversion’s “gaining energy from being around others,” but it is something I find true nonetheless.

Stephen Fry recently commented on some of the difficulties and loneliness regarding an introverted personality, and I wanted to ruminate on the matter myself.

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