True Blood Season 3: More Misogyny and Stereotypes

True Blood Season 3 PicI really used to like True Blood at one point in time—or at least I liked it a lot better than I do now—but Season 3 has to be the worst season thus far. I wasn’t happy with Season 2 and its portrayal of religion through an extremist group, but at the very least I didn’t hate everything that was happening. That’s not true of Season 3. The Tara storyline made this season painful to watch, and though it was by far the worst storyline, it was hardly the only awful thing happening. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the writers purposefully went out of their way to make Season 3 the most offensive, difficult, triggering season possible. And Tara’s rape plot is sadly not its only devolution into straight up misogyny.

Spoilers and trigger warning for mutilation, slut-shaming, mental issues, rape, and abuse up ahead.

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Why I Don’t Buy #Gamergate

For gaming, fandom, and nerd culture, it has been a fucked-up couple of months. This much is obvious by now. The events of #Gamergate not only leave me highly disappointed, they also confirm the notion that any scandal or event described with the suffix “-gate” will be idiotic. This is not the first time I’ve addressed this subject, but I had hoped that in the intervening two months, #Gamergate would have blown over and we could all go back to eating Cheetos, having learned our lesson. But we haven’t, and so this fiasco stretches forward into November.
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Beyond Female Harassment: How Gaming Can Stop Eating Itself

Anita-Sarkeesian-Screenshot

Anita Sarkeesian

I’ll begin in the thick of it: a week ago, feminist video blogger Anita Sarkeesian (@femfreq), notable for her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series, left her home in fear for her safety in the wake of violent threats against her and her family. You probably already know this. You probably already know that Sarkeesian has long been the target of threats and harassment, including a 2012 game entitled Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian. I will not link to it, but suffice it to say that it is self-explanatory. She has documented some of it here. You may even know that this most recent bout of threats of violence, sexual and non, came from an individual who made it clear to Sarkeesian that they had acquired her address, and that of her parents. This individual declared their intent to murder them.

carolyn petit gamespotIf there was any of that you did not know, please take a moment to sit, mouth agape, in rage and horror. However, if you’re barely surprised, no one could blame you. Not after thousands demanded that Carolyn Petit be fired for so much as suggesting that GTA V’s treatment of women is problematic, to say nothing of transphobic threats and harassment. Or after Miranda Pakozdi was harassed into quitting a video game tournament by her own team’s coach. You could probably name a million other incidents where someone in the gaming community has been abused, threatened, demeaned, or had their privacy invaded. All those events, recent and more distant, are tied together by the fact that the targeted persons dared to criticize or declare real the once-troubling-now-terrifying misogyny of “gamer culture”. Or they simply dared to be women in that culture.

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Bows, Jails, and Prostitutes Who’re Impaled: The Worrying Trend of Misogyny in GoT’s Season 4 Finale

With this season of Game of Thrones finally at its close, it’s time to look back at where the season, and its finale, left us. It’s a shame that I found this season’s finale fitting for the season as a whole—in this case “fitting” meaning “I expected a lot more”. Season 4 felt like a season of mess-ups and scrambling to reach certain plot points, which only made the impact of these plot points suffer and the climax feel that much less… climatic. Honestly, some of this could have been remedied, I’m sure, if an entire episode wasn’t devoted to Jon Snow and the Wall. But an entire episode was devoted to it, and while it wasn’t a bad episode by any means, it just felt a touch unnecessary. However, on reflecting on the chaos and loss of the finale, I found that one thing in particular caused me to stare at my computer screen just a little more judgmentally. It didn’t ruin the finale, no, but it did continue the disturbing trend that started up this season, and I fear it’s only a sign of more of this kind of thing to come in the future.

WE COULD HAVE HAD IT AAAAAAAAAAALL...

WE COULD HAVE HAD IT AAAAAAAAAAALL. ROLLING IN THE DEEEEEEP. (x)

Spoilers for the Season 4 finale under the cut. Also a trigger warning for mention of rape and graphic images.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Price of Existing While Female

There’s a high price tag on being a woman in our society. And I don’t mean financially, although cis and trans women both can easily spend thousands of dollars trying to meet the minimum social requirements of femininity—tampons, makeup, clothes for passing as female, gynecologist appointments, hormone treatments, as well as pepper spray and self defense classes, add up to a pretty penny. I mean the fact that women’s bodies are considered public property. In both fictional media and real life, women must be beautiful before they can be anything else, and we are at fault for not upholding those standards of beauty to an impossibly precise degree.

An oft-cited real world example is the difference between the media receptions of Lance Armstrong losing a testicle to cancer and Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy—while the former was treated as a sad but necessary loss for Armstrong in his struggle with cancer, the latter was met with significant outrage. Didn’t Jolie know she was a sex symbol? By having her breasts removed for the important and personal reason of cancer prevention, didn’t she know that she was selfishly depriving horny guys around the world the ability to jerk off to them?

yes1This entitlement leads men to treat women as sexual objects first and people second, and this mentality is pervasive in our culture, including geek culture.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Myth of Virgin Rape in Fanfiction

500px-Cersei-and-Jaime-lannister-Winter_is_ComingTrigger warning for discussion of rape ahead.

In light of the recent Game of Thrones rape scandal, rape and rape culture have once again become the topic of debate. While many people naturally looked upon the scene in disgust, the same was not true of all people. These past few weeks, victim-blaming, misogynistic, rape-apologist rhetoric has once again made its way into the secluded corners of the internet that I tend to frequent. Hey, it’s the internet, so I couldn’t avoid it forever.

Sadly, this is nothing new. This is a society-wide problem that stems from a lot of dark places, and no matter where you go, you will always find offensive misunderstandings about what rape is and a dismissal of its consequences on its victims. Even more unfortunate, it’s not just limited to Game of Thrones. Rape-apologist themes recently made their way to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and before that, you could find them in shows like True Blood, Stargate SG-1, Charmed, and many, many others. And that’s not to mention something like Family Guy. Rape themes are in our musicals, our TV, our video games, and our books. In many ways, they’re treated as a joke and rarely are they ever presented in a realistic light. More often than not, rape is used for shock value. Of course none of us should be surprised that we find the same thing in fanfiction.

zeldaWe have fanfiction that like to tell us that rape is love, a trope I first found in my Zelda fanfiction. Ganondorf kidnapped and raped Zelda. The two then fell madly in love and fought back against the evil Link, who was trying to tear them apart. I’ve seen this trope in Final Fantasy, between Cloud and Reno, Sephiroth and Aerith. We also have fics that tell us that rape is a suitable punishment for women who need to be put in their place or men who commit crimes. Kairi from Kingdom Hearts is a victim of this, which is one of the reasons I steer clear from Kingdom Hearts fanfiction. Severus Snape often falls victim to this as well. Additionally, there are fics that tell us that victims who are mind-controlled into sexual acts are just sluts who deserve it or cheating bastards. I see this again with Kairi a lot, and Mozenrath from Aladdin (or any sci-fi show I’ve ever watched). We’re told that rape is funny. That rape is shocking. That rape is always a “back alley” scenario involving a masked attacker. That virgin rape is worse than non-virgin rape. So on and so forth.

I personally find that last trope to be one of the more damaging rape myths out there.

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When You Play the Game of Thrones, It Turns Out We All Lose

So this week’s Game of Thrones, huh? How about Pod being the best squire ever? Or, uh, Tywin talking to Oberyn? That was pretty cool, right? Or you know, the producers assassinating the entire arc of one of the most sympathetic characters on the show in favor of once more perpetuating the misogyny so prevalent in a good portion of popular television today?

Yeah. That? Not so rad.

Side-eyeing you so hard right now, Game of Thrones

Side-eyeing you so hard right now, Game of Thrones.

Spoilers for Game of Thrones under the cut, as well as a trigger warning for discussions of rape and incest.

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