it isn’t said on tv. orange is the new black, for example, features a bisexual protagonist who points out the biphobia at one point in assuming she can’t be attracted to multiple genders, but no one Ever says the word and she is ignored and…
FACEBOOK: Hi, I’m Facebook. ME: Nice to meet you, I’m Ryan. FACEBOOK: What’s your last name? Where do you live? When were you born? What’s your phone number? Is that work or mobile? Can I have your work number too? ME: Facebook, I just met you. FACEBOOK: This is what friendship is to me.
“It is okay to want your own happiness. It’s okay to care about yourself the most. You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy. You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”. You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”—Unknown (via ohteenscanrelate)
As we have become more comfortable discussing the politics of culture, our discussions of art have become a lot more like our discussions of politics.
We treat people whose interpretations differ from our own as if they are acting in bad faith. We focus on gaffes and supposed gaffes. And we demand that significant figures in cultural commentary have something to say about every big event so we can check their reactions against our sense of what they ought to feel to remain in good standing.
None of this is to suggest that we stop talking about the politics of culture. If we respect television, film, books, music and video games, we must engage seriously with their ideas and the way we communicate with them. The production of art raises serious political and economic issues, whether reality television workers are shunted into freelancing conditions that condemn them to poverty, the high fashion industry enables a culture of sexual coercion, authors’ incomes collapse in a new era of business, or women and people of color are marginalized in front of and behind the camera.
But in discussing big issues, art’s advantage is that it is so different from politics. Art does not need to align with partisan conventions. It can lend moral clarity to the limitations we have accepted on our politics. And speculative fiction can pose scenarios and propose solutions that are liberated from what is actually politically possible. It can hold multiple, even contradictory, ideas in place simultaneously.
I cannot help but wonder if we would enjoy ourselves more and do greater honor to the art we loved so much if we accepted that the conventions of our conversations about art can reflect that same difference.
I was going to stay well out of the #FireRickRemender debacle because frankly I don’t read Captain America nor do I have a strong opinion on Remender as a writer in either direction. But now someone has pissed me off.
What about our fans? Are they privileged? Let me tell you about Anders. He was one of two male love interests in Dragon Age II, and the only one of the two that would actually make his intentions known to the player without the player expressing interest first. If you were nice to him, he would make a pass at you, and you could turn him down, and that would be the end of it. And some fans REALLY did not like that.
Some of them asked for a gay toggle; because in a game where there’s mature themes, slavery, death, and none of which we offer toggles for, encountering a gay character? OOH, beyond the pale. They didn’t want to be exposed to homosexuality.
And this one fan on our forums posted that he felt too much attention had been spent on women and gays and not enough on straight male gamers. For all of whom he personally spoke, of course. ‘It’s ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamers, when in the past I would only have to say fans.’ The purpose of the romances in Dragon Age II was to give each type of fan an equal content. Two romances whether you’re male or female, straight or gay.
How upsetting for this particular Straight Male Gamer to realize he wasn’t being catered to. This was not equality to him, but an imbalance; an imbalance of the natural order. He did not want equality, he’s not interested in equality. To him, from his perspective, equality means he’s getting less. Less options? Actually, no, the number of options we had in that game was actually the same number of options that he would have received earlier. What was his issue was the idea that there was attention being spent on other groups, which SHOULD have rightly gone to him.
Do ALL straight male gamers feel exactly the same as he does? Absolutely not. In the thread where this came up in fact, there was quite a few guys who came in and identified themselves as straight male gamers and said ‘I actually don’t have an issue with that, as long as I receive an experience I enjoy, I think other people should be able to enjoy that too.’ But if you think that Straight Male Gamer Dude is an outlier among our fanbase, you were not paying attention.
This is Anita Sarkeesian, she’s the author of the Feminist Frequency, a blog which examines tropes in the depiction of women in popular culture. You’ve probably all heard about this, it’s a matter of public record, she announced a Kickstarter to start a web series to look at the tropes in video games and she was subjected to a campaign of vicious abuse and harassment by male gamers. Why? Well, because she represents to these guys the loss of their coveted place in the gaming audience. Never mind that well all know Goddamn well that they’re still at the top of the totem pole. What they see themselves losing is sole proprietorship over their domain. That’s what it is.
Everything that is changing about the gaming industry to accommodate these players, to them, is diluting the purity of gaming which has belonged solely to them. That’s what this is all about. And here’s the thing, I’m pretty certain that our industry fears the scrutiny of those guys way more than the scrutiny of everyone else. Because those are the guys that scream at the top of their lungs, they spend their time on every internet forum, they spend their time making Metacritic reviews. Infuriate them, and you become a target. It’s so much easier to say “Well, that’s what our fans are like. There’s nothing we can do.” And that’s bullshit.
They didn’t set the tone, did they? We set the tone. What we put out there, what we permit, whether it’s on our forums, whether it’s on Xbox Live, the things that we permit we are in effect condoning. What happened to Anita, we the industry, are partly responsible for. We’re in part to blame. And if the idea of moral responsibility doesn’t phase you, consider the idea that the time will probably soon come that this will also amount to legal responsibility.
I agree with most of your viewpoints but you're really mean to assholes. It's a weird thing to point out, I just think that sometimes being nice works too. I don't know
I’m not sure how you can follow anything I do and not know that I am very aware of that. I’ve literally gone on stage at PAX East and advocated for it.
Look. 90% of the time I am patient. It used to be 100% but since getting into a loooooooooooot of conversations with people trying to harass me, I’ve learned a lot.
There’s such a thing as a good faith conversation and a bad faith conversation.
A good faith conversation comes from a genuine place of ignorance and even misguided naivety. Even if they come off hostile or brash, there’s progress that can be made there. Even if they’re kind of being a dick about it, they show SOME signs of being open to thinking deeper about these things. I can take a bit of a beating if I think the person is actually going to listen to anything I have to say on any level, and I won’t take it too personally. I know there’s plenty of shit I don’t know, and that I used to know even less, and I was lucky enough to have people in my life help me grow because of how they were kind and patient. Even if people doing the harassing don’t adapt immediately, if it seems like they’re thinking about it *at all*, I feel ok with having been polite and actually engaging them. I exhaust myself quite a bit doing this, and it doesn’t usually turn out to be an immediate improvement.
Then there’s bad faith conversations. The person is, quite simply, being an asshole. They will not be dissuaded by evidence, no matter how strong or backed up it is. They have their mind made up about you, and it’s not really a conversation. I feel like these are likely the minority of the interactions I have, and it’s often anonymous internet comments like the ones I’ve been responding to.
With that in mind, please consider the following factors:
I come from a stand up comedy background. Do you know what a heckler is? They’re the latter type of interaction. The best way to handle a heckler, most of the time, is to turn it around on them and make them look foolish, and to out-funny and out-snark them. Honestly, that can work wonders.When people are embarrassed or feel foolish, sometimes that leads to a bit more critical thinking than they’ve been otherwise doing about a situation.
I do take the nice route most of the time. It seems like an unfair judgement call to make on someone who has spent months talking to people who are/were anon internet trolls to figure out the root cause of why they are/were like that without judgement or hostility towards them even while I get rape threats from people with a similar mentality once a week and harassing comments DAILY. It’s fucking HARD sometimes. But, one thing I’ve learned from talking to them about shit that changes their dehumanization of their targets is that something humanized them, and a lot of the time when it’s not being nice or vulnerable, it’s by being funny. It’s by playing the game back. It’s immediately relatable on SOME level to give someone who is giving you shit shit right back, especially if they view you as an uptight activist. If being nice isn’t working, sometimes you’re not speaking the same language. Sometimes it helps to try another one, maybe one that will help you get on the same page and get them to realize you’re a person and not just words on a screen, and then you can really talk. It sucks, but there’s some situations being nice will get you nothing more than completely steamrolled over and ignored.
Other people who deal with this shit are watching. There have been so many days where I was too exhausted to say anything, to stand up for myself, to make a joke about it, or to try to engage on any level. It just felt like getting punched in a sore spot, usually on days I had other life stuff like when my mom died and people were sending me gross shit about it. A lot of other folks who get harassed have those days too. And when I am having those days, sometimes it can really help to see someone actually fight back against someone who is being an unrelenting asshole. Sometimes you need something else to keep you going. Sometimes you need to have a laugh that someone else is saying the things you wish you had the energy for right then, and humor is a tremendous healing force.
It’s a commonly thrown around shitty thing that women can’t be/aren’t funny. This one is a more personal thing for me, but when someone is taking a massive shit all over me for talking about the realities of being a woman, combined with coming from standup where there’s TREMENDOUS biases against women, it’s like taking the thing they said you could never do and wielding it. I feel like how we deal with things is important, and if I am simply playing to the feminine ideal of essentially acquiescing 100% of the time because I think I *should* and not responding like I do to most things, with humor, then that’s kind of a problem in my mind.
Attitudes like the ones I’ve been responding to should be considered ridiculous, and thus worthy of ridicule. When it’s this hyperbolic and absurd, not treating it as such can kind of set us back sometimes, I think. These are *not* viewpoints that are based in any sort of reality, these are not legitimate issues, these are kids stomping their feet and punching down because they don’t want to hear about anyone that isn’t like them. It’s a lot like when the news has some climate change denier with a phd in fuckall on next to a legitimate scientist in the field - equating the two and pretending they’re equal points in an argument makes zero sense.
Having, as a rule, to always be “nice” to people who mean to shit all over you and will never give you the time of day is a silly rule to try and enforce on anyone. I don’t agree with people who are all rage, all the time, or who are so tired of dealing with this shit day-in day-out that they have no patience left and only really lash out. But I also don’t blame them, and I don’t begrudge them their way of dealing with shit even if it’s different than mine. Unless you’ve been there, you don’t know how exhausting it gets. I don’t think it’s fair or productive to expect anyone to be 100% sweetness and sunshine all the time in the face of people wishing them active harm. I don’t see who that helps other than the people who are going to keep doing it because no one’s ever pushed back against them. And all things considered, pushing back with humor and gentle ribbing is not really that much of a push. It’s not like I’m breaking out slurs or personal attacks, I’m just making fun of the points being made and trying to point out how inane they are.
If you’re always nice in the same way to everyone ever, good lord you sound disingenuous. I’d have a hard time trusting anyone who has the same tone for someone praising them as for someone who sent them a graphic threat. I don’t even think that’s likely a healthy way of dealing with emotions, and it doesn’t let the person who is doing the shitty things KNOW that behavior is shitty and destructive. I’d rather people know where I stand, and trust that I mean what I say.
Basically what I’m saying is 90% of the time, yes. I am in favor of patience and kindness when I have the energy for it, and not engaging when I don’t. Good god, you have NO idea how much I don’t respond to. But ridicule has it’s place to - being intolerant of this sort of behavior is where I’d like the tone of the industry to shift. People who talk to others like the anon I’ve been answering should have those words be mocked, and hopefully they’ll clue into the fact that what they just said was tremendously stupid.
That 10% I am ok with reserving for stupid anonymous internet comments.
21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. It’s manifested in different ways. I did therapy. I did prozac. I did more therapy. My baseline is melancholic. I’d just made peace with it when I moved, unintentionally, to a place that had markedly less sunshine in the winter. I got seasonal depression. I got that under control. Then I got really, really sick. Turns out it’s a permanent, painful genetic disorder. My last pain-free day was four years ago.
So, this Cult of Happy article just set me off. Just… anger. Rage. Depression is serious – debilitating, often dangerous, and it’s got an enormous stigma. It leaves people to fend for themselves.
It’s bad enough without people ramming Happy Tips at you through facebook. There is no miracle behaviour change that will flip that switch for you. I know, I’ve tried.
A friend of mine suggested that I write something from my point of view because, surprisingly, I manage to give an outwards impression of having my shit together. I was shocked to hear this. And I find this comical, but I see her point. I’m functioning. I’ve adapted. I’m surprisingly okay. I think the medical term is “resilient”.
So, here it is.
My 21 Tips on Keeping Your Shit Together During Depression
1) Know that you’re not alone. Know that we are a silent legion, who, every day face the solipsism and judgement of Happy People Who Think We Just Aren’t Trying. There are people who are depressed, people who have been depressed, and people who just haven’t been hit with it yet.
2) Understand that the Happy People are usually acting out of some genuine (albeit misguided) concern for you, that it’s coming from a good place, even if the advice feels like you’re being blamed for your disease. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. (If they insist on keeping it up, see #12.)
3) Enlist the help of a professional. See your doctor. You need to talk about the ugly shit, and there are people paid to listen and help you find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
4) Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.
5) Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, an activity you got joy from in the past and re-explore that. Or, sign up for the thing you always wanted to try. There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.
6) Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals. If you’re having trouble eating, try to focus on what you’d like to eat. I went through a whole six week episode of tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel twice a day. Not great, but it was something – helpful context, I’m a recovered anorexic. Conversely, if all you want to do is scarf down crap, try to off-ramp it by downing a V-8 and doing #9 for 15 minutes, and see how you feel. Chucking your blood sugar all over hell’s half acre is going to make you feel worse.
7) While you’re doing #3, get some bloodwork done. If you’re low on iron or vitamin D, or if your hormone levels are doing the Macarena… these can all contribute to zapping your energy or switching your mood to Bleak As Hell.
8) If you’re in bed and the “insomnia hamsters”, as I like to call them, are on the wheel of your head, watch Nightly Business News on PBS. This has the effect of Nyquil. Swap out your coffee for herbal tea. If you just cannot sleep, try the next tip….
9) Learn how to meditate. Start by focusing on your breathing. Not sleep, not thoughts. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Meditation is focusing on being present in your body, not careening around in your brain. It may not be as good as sleep but it will give you some rest and recharge you.
10) Face a window as often as you can – at work, at home. Look out into the world. Watch. Observe. Try to find something you find pretty or interesting to focus on. And, handily remember that one in five of those people out there feel the way you do.
11) Cry. Better out than in. Sometimes it’s not convenient or career-enhancing to cry, so find a private place as best you can and let the tears go. Carry Kleenex and face wipes and extra concealer if you wear makeup. You can always claim allergies.
12) Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.
13) Limit your time with people who drain you. You know who they are. Often you don’t have a choice- but you can put the meter on. And, subsequently, be aware of what you’re asking of those close to you.
14) Everyone has shit they’ve got to deal with. What you have been saddled with is your shit. Recognize, just as you’re not alone, you’re also not unique. The grass may look greener, you may be jealous or envious of others who don’t have to deal with depression, but you likely do not know everything that’s going on with them.
15) Let go or be dragged. This is an old Buddhist saying. It’s a very useful way to frame aspects of depression. Betrayal, anger, fear… letting go is a process – often a painful and difficult process - but it’s ultimately going to show you the path out of this terrible place. Repeating the mantra can help when you’re feeling gripped by these feelings.
16) Wear clothes that make you feel confident. It takes as much time to put on nice clothes as it does to put on sweatpants. You will want to wear the sweatpants. Fight the urge. The whole “look good/feel better” campaign isn’t limited to cancer and chemotherapy. Or women.
17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only. Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.
18) Simple exercise, if you can. It can be something as simple as taking the stairs up a flight, or walking around the block. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to involve climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Baby steps.
19) Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking. That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not a psychic. Keep repeating that. “I am not a psychic”. Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.
20) If you are well and truly losing this battle, reach out to someone. I’ve been the random friendly-but-not-close person who has fielded the occasional outreach. I like to think I’m not judgemental and generally resourceful, and others have thought the same, so they called and asked. You know someone like me. And they will help you.
21) Forgive yourself. I’m writing out all these tips, and I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got outside for ten minutes. I will try again tomorrow. And I will try again the day after that.
The Facebook “emotional contagion” experiment has created what is to me a surprising little storm. Facebook constantly manages what news you see and which of your friends you get to pay attention, even with continual manual alteration of your feed’s parameters, so Facebook playing with FEELS in pursuit of algorithm development shouldn’t shock anyone. Hinky low-rent NLP experiments are right in…
“It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.
You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.”—
It’s been a weird few days. A tweet of mine, what I thought was a completely mild, innocuous tweet, took off and has so far been retweeted something like 1800 times. A screenshot of that tweet was featured in a tumblr post that so far has about 140k…
There’s been a lot of (well raised) noise lately about the absence of women, and indeed a lot of other flavors of people in many of these new AAA video games, and I wanted to say a couple of things about it.
Part of the problem as I see it isn’t that there are white people…
But the overall problem is one of a culture where instead of seeing women as, you know, people, protagonists of their own stories just like we are of ours, men are taught that women are things to “earn,” to “win.” That if we try hard enough and persist long enough, we’ll get the girl in the end. Like life is a video game and women, like money and status, are just part of the reward we get for doing well.
The relationship between this week’s mass shooting and misogyny in tech, by Arthur Chu. HIGHLY recommended reading.
But if you think for one second, for one solitary second, that demanding tolerance for men as a group, that dismissing the reality of violence against women because not all men kill, not all men rape, if you think that’s more important than demanding justice for those who have been brutalised and murdered by those not all men, then you are part of the problem. You may not have pulled the trigger. You may not have raised your hand to a woman in your life. But you are part of the problem.
This is not the time, to use the refrain of apologists for bigotry, to play devil’s advocate. The devil has more than enough advocates today. On most days, I can put up with aggressive faux-objectivity being used to shout down women’s experiences and silence gendered trauma, but not today.
Like many of us, I’ve spent the last few days reading and thinking and reading and thinking about violence against women. I watched a shitty Friday the 13th sequel last night, and what screamed out at me was not Jason’s violence, but the many instances of the nonkiller men in the story who got angry when they were denied access to the women whose bodies they thought they deserved. Rodgers didn’t exist in a vacuum.
I read this piece a few days ago, and read it again today, and I think it’s rawness gets right where I needed to go.
So lately I’ve been giving serious, in-fucking-depth, thought to my personal brand of feminism, and it’s not all pleasant.
There’s something I learnt today in fact, about how I am viewed by others - that OF COURSE isn’t important and OF COURSE doesn’t matter…
Except when it really does
Except when it’s supposedly someone who loves you saying those words
Except when you have to quickly weigh up your life at this moment and the future you never-really-planned-out because “does my personal brand of feminism ALLOW this?”
Do I put up with this. Do I keep quiet. Do I need to talk about this. Do I hope that this is a one-off?