Where is the line between knowing your genre and having someone else tell you whether you can be a part of it?
I was recently on a panel at Marcon 2011 for Steampunk Literature. A.L. Davroe and I had the opportunity to define steampunk to a full room of attendees. Did we? We were careful to say what we love about steampunk. What did we do next? We gave shout outs to our favorite authors, and then we invited our audience to add to the list. Did we ever say, “That’s not steampunk.” ?
I am an author of sci-fi and paranormal romance, steampunk and urban fantasy. Have I become particularly known for my steampunk titles? Not yet. Do I still love writing steampunk? Yes.
Are those stories steampunk? YES.
I was disappointed, horrified and actually frightened to see evidence of a well-known author using Librarian status on GoodReads to delete approx 75 books from a popular steampunk list. The reason for it? Hard to say. But this author has often been very vocal as to what IS and what ISN’T steampunk. Heck, I’ve moderated a panel including her and her partner and listened to them very definitively state what is and isn’t steampunk. I was the Moderator, trying to give both of them as well as the others on the panel, equal opportunity to voice their points of view.
And now I’m wondering if someday, they’re going to decide my stories aren’t steampunk. Does that seem right to you?
Anita Sarkeesian didn’t set out to piss off an army of male gamers when she launched a Kickstarter to raise money for a project that aimed to examine cliched, oversexualized tropes of women in video games. But apparently, daring to say anything bad about video gamers being sexist is enough to amass an entire army of jerks against you, jerks who are determined to video game beat you into submission. And now, one or more of those jerks has taken the time and effort to create a video game that allows players to beat up Anita Sarkeesian. That’ll show ladies who think some video game tropes are sexist!
…anyone who thinks that feminists who push back hard against online harassment are being oversensitive needs to understand that we’re all trying to keep ourselves from becoming Anita Sarkeesians. No matter how strong you are, and no matter how much support you have, this kind of concentrated campaign of harassment affects the targets of it. And the goal of these campaigns is to terrorize people into silence.
According to Sarkeesian herself, this game is just another depressing evolution of what amounts to an all out campaign of harassment against her. She’s received crudely drawn images of herself getting raped (by, uh, Mario, of Super Mario fame) in her inbox, had her image been made into a meme where hilarious people who are hilarious design their own text to go over the image (sample text: “I like cock so much I raise my hands in the air!” and “I’m not a hypocrite, I’m a woman!”), and stills from her video with penises drawn ejaculating onto her face. She points out that “all of the images are attacking my gender or presumed sexuality and rely heavily on pre-existing sexist stereotypes” rather than any substantive point she’s made or tried to make.
Despite the best efforts of apoplectic man boys, Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter project has raised $158,922, about 26.5 times her original goal of $6,000. Great job, assholes! You opposite win!
UGH. GAMERS LIKE THIS ARE SO FUCKING TERRIBLE AND I WANT TO SEND THEM TO PLUTO.
Sometimes I think of starting a “STFU, Gamers” blog for these types of asshole gamers, but it’s because of these types of asshole gamers that I’ve always decided against it. :/
And this is why whenever people tell me that nerd or gamer culture is so much more accepting than others, I just wanna laugh myself silly
The left-brain right-brain myth will probably never die because it has become a powerful metaphor for different ways of thinking – logical, focused and analytic versus broad-minded and creative. Take the example of Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks talking on BBC Radio 4 earlier this year. “What made Europe happen and made it so creative,” he explained, “is that Christianity was a right-brain religion … translated into a left-brain language [Greek]. So for many centuries you had this view that science and religion are essentially part of the same thing.” As well as having metaphorical appeal, the seductive idea of the right brain and its untapped creative potential also has a long history of being targeted by self-help gurus peddling pseudo-psychology. Today the same idea is also picked up by the makers of self-improvement video games and apps. The latest version of the The Faces iMake-Right Brain Creativity app for the Ipad, for example, boasts that it is “an extraordinary tool for developing right brain creative capabilities”.