When looking up timely topics for this blog, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in some U.S.-centrism. Such is the mindset one adapts when much of the online discourse is catered in our direction, intentionally or not. So this time I have a little something for our friends up North.
Content note: cyberbullying, abuse, sexual assault
Some interesting news in the world of electronic incivility: 1. a police officer was fired for using profanity, including racial slurs, on X-Box live, and 2. Reuters reported on the sheer depth and breadth of electronic violence against women.
First, let me say electronic abuse is a serious problem, one whose danger and breadth we are only just beginning to comprehend as a society. Its severity probably has something to do with the combination of anonymity and entitlement that encourages behaviors for which one might normally be held accountable. I think about it a lot and have written about it at least twice, maybe more. But misunderstandings about its rise and the media’s passion for reports on “cyberbullying” have led to skepticism by some, ably voiced by none other than Tyler, The Creator of American hip-hop outfit Odd Future:
Hahahahahahahaha How The Fuck Is Cyber Bullying Real Hahahaha Nigga Just Walk Away From The Screen Like Nigga Close Your Eyes Haha
Although the first trailer for this movie was only released recently, I feel like I’ve been hearing about the film forever. This is arguably because I follow Jim Beaver (Bobby from Supernatural) on Twitter, and he’s part of the cast, so I’ve been seeing tweets about it all through filming.
YouTube and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it for being one of the best places to procrastinate for hours and hours and hours and still feel like you’re learning something useful (shoutout to the dozens of cooking and make-up videos I’ve watched), and for encouraging new and fresh content on the internet—for giving marginalized voices a place where they can speak and find a community. I hate it because it’s kind of shit in the way YouTube treats some of its content creators (see: incorrect flagging of videos for copyrighted material and an unwillingness to take back said flags) and that it’s basically a huge breeding pit for some of the worst scum on the internet, in and out of the comments. For better or worse, I tend to stay to my own little corner of videos, but thanks to a video from vlogger Paul Roth, I found about YouTube’s #DearMe initiative and I couldn’t be happier. Of course, as with anything on the internet, not everything surrounding the tag was positive.
For those unaware, back on the eighth of this month, people on and offline celebrated International Women’s Day, a day where women, especially women in the labor industry, are celebrated for the strides that have been made and those that are still being fought for as we speak. As a part of this, YouTube introduced the #DearMe tag (see: video theme) in which popular lady YouTubers record a video speaking to their younger selves. As with the spirit of International Women’s Day, these videos were posed to all women, with the intention of allowing younger girls of this generation feel closer to some of the very people they may watch religiously, or maybe to find kinship or a kind word from someone they don’t even know.
It’s no secret on this blog that we greatly dislike the mystical healing trope where magic cures people of what would otherwise be lifelong disabilities.Often, this is because our disabled protagonists are portrayed as broken and needing to be fixed, and are just special enough that the mystical forces of their world deem them worthy of healing—but not the other disabled characters, like the villains.
But what about the opposite? What about when magic makes characters disabled instead of curing them? This is a trope that I love so much more, since hey, I could use more disabled characters in my life, but it’s usually combined with the mystical healing trope, which means that it unfortunately runs into some of the same ableist problems.
So this might come as a shock, but I only just recently watched Star WarsRebels and didn’t follow the show at all until this month. I really wanted to get into it earlier, but I just didn’t have the time. However, I certainly made time after spoilers for the Season 1 finale ended up on my Tumblr dashboard. Before this, I had been spending my days adamantly avoiding any kind of spoilers—or at least trying to—to the point that I haven’t even read any reviews for the show. It wasn’t until the new pictures of Ahsoka Tano starting filling up my Tumblr page that I decided to find out what was going on.
A couple of us here at Lady Geek Girl & Friends are fans of David Willis’s webcomic Dumbing of Age, a story about college freshmen trying to figure out life. We love it not just because of the great plots and characters, but because of the sensitive, realistic way it addresses real issues that people have to confront in real life, but that often don’t get much representation in mass media. Dom previously wrote about the phenomenon of racism within a mixed-race family in the comic. Today, my focus is going to be on the religious journey of Joyce, the comic’s main character.
I love Joyce to death. While the comic is full of characters I love, some of whom arguably are more interesting than Joyce (for instance, one character dresses up as a superhero and fights petty crime!), the more the comic goes along, the more I’ve come to appreciate her. She is kind, sweet, adorably naïve, unflappably cheerful, and fiercely loyal to the ones she loves. She also grew up in a sheltered, fundamentalist Christian household. Going from that to the huge, diverse, and largely liberal Indiana University was bound to cause some culture shock. But while this clash is sometimes funny, Willis has never portrayed her as a strawman (strawwoman?) parody of a Christian. It is one of the most sensitive, heartfelt stories of religious struggle that I’ve ever encountered in geek media. I feel as if I have a personal stake in the outcome of her journey because I’ve struggled with similar issues. Details—and spoilers—below.