Don’t judge me for staying

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Content note: discussion of abusive relationships

What do you do with a friend who’s dealing with abuse? In my case, my loving and wonderful friends all tell me, “You have to walk away,” “He’s an asshole,” “You’re not doing anything wrong until you ignore what he’s doing to you,” etc.

In other words, they all want me to do what *they* think is right. They all – out of nothing but love – are trying to guilt me into leaving. Telling me I’m stupid for staying. Basically perpetuating the same emotionally abusive actions they want me to get away from in him.

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Feminists are Ruining Video Games

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This is a guest post by Stevie. Content warning for misogynist abuse.

There is a long-standing idea that women are a small, unimportant minority in the video game community. Recently, this idea has been turned on its head, and women now make up nearly half of video game consumers. This changing dynamic has been quite troubling for many male gamers. As women have become a larger segment of the gaming community, they have become vocal, and it’s causing quite a stir.

These women have been pointing out that mainstream gaming is still heavily misogynistic and that AAA game studios, armed with the ability to create literally anything, continue to put out games with the same protagonist: dark haired, scruffy, heterosexual white male. These women have noticed that when developing these and other characters in their games, studios refer to the same set of tired tropes and narratives, many of which perpetuate damaging stereotypes of women. These women, often self-professed feminists, have had the audacity to express their opinion, which is creating quite a bit of tension with “true” gamers (white, male gamers who like video games just as they are). These women have offended “true” gamers, and those gamers have responded with an impressive amount of backlash. Though these individuals represent a minority in the gaming community, it is troubling to note how they continue to proliferate throughout the community.

CHECK ON IT

The 2013 study on Sales, Demographic and Usage Data conducted by the Entertainment Software Association found that 45% of the United States gaming population are female. Still, when most people think of a “gamer,” their first thought is never a woman. We still think of gamers as a nerdy, glasses-wearing boy or young man with a passion for all things “geeky”. Over the past decade, this has changed with growing numbers of female gamers, among other marginalized groups, entering the community. However, within the gaming community, female gamers continue to be scrutinized on their knowledge and abilities, and if they fail, are accused of being a “fake geek girl,” and subjected to misogynistic character attacks. Aisha Tyler felt the brunt of this when she hosted Ubisoft’s presentation at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in 2012 with a slew of comments like this:

this is what happens when you let the jews and liberals infect your industry_ to inject “diversity” and “progress”

dont let them kill our games people

Tyler’s authority to host the event was called into question by individuals who knew nothing about her. Despite being an avid gamer, participating in numerous E3 events, and voicing characters in 3 major games, she was immediately discredited by trolls for no other reason than being a woman. In response, Tyler penned an open letter to the gaming community on her Facebook page, stating that she plays video games and will “still be playing when your mom’s kicked you out of her basement and you have to sell your old-ass console and get a real job.”

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Can you ID me?

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Yesterday, I got out of work early, and was convinced to go to a karaoke bar in Adams Morgan. While waiting to pay for a drink, a woman commented on my bag – a black cloth tote with a beaded gold elephant.

“That is an awesome bag you have! You are so trendy! Did you know that elephants are auspicious?” random lady stranger said.

“Oh thank you. And really? That’s good to know.” I replied. What I thought was, yes, I know that and I have an elephant tattoo, but I don’t particularly want to discuss that. Then, as we nodded good bye, I thought about what this random stranger must see me as, a young twenty-something girl, with a “trendy” style and a fan of singing.

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Pretty much, I was questioning the social practice of identification. How do you identify yourself? How do others identify you? People categorize other people all the time. Have you ever people watched at a café? Checked out someone while in line? Overheard a conversation on the elevator? In order to make sense of those situations, we make quick inventories of the people we are observing and identify them accordingly. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of that, but its important to be aware what our automatic categorization could be doing to propagate stifling or marginalizing mechanisms, or awesome and empowering ones!

First, let me introduce myself.  (And another awesome post about labels and identity).

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DDP Throwback: Halloween

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It’s that time of the year when everyone is either frantically searching for a costume or, the craftier amongst us, painstakingly putting one together with a glue gun and a sawing machine. For those who care about Halloween, finding an appropriate costume is difficult enough, however when you add feminism to the mix, the task becomes even harder. Am I appropriating? I’m I being culturally insensitive? Can I wear a sexy costume AND still stick it to the patriarchy? Where did all the female role models go?

Today we take a look back on what’s already been written about Halloween.

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Me, My Gender and Internalized Misogyny

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This is a guest post by CloudNoodle.

I have a confession to make. I used to have the worst case of ‘I’m not like other girls’. And the funny thing is, it took me realizing that I’m not exactly a girl at all to be able to see the internalized misogyny that contributed to that sort of thinking. Only then I was able to accept and embrace the fact that I am, actually, a lot like other girls and that the ‘girly’ part of myself is just as important and deserves love as the rest.

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The Erosion of Buffer Zones Around Abortion Clinics

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We had a regular we called “Chuck” who was an old, burly guy with terrible breath. He was incredibly aggressive and would try to shoulder me out of the way to get to patients. He spoke a little Spanish, and so he’d especially go after Spanish-speaking patients. Once he was so aggressive, pushing me with his shoulders and yelling in Spanish at a patient that I had to back off so I didn’t contribute to her fear.

Every time a patient walked down the sidewalk we had to try to get between the anti-choicers and the patients. Technically, the antis couldn’t come within 20 feet of the building, but they did. And even if they hadn’t, bombarding the patients as they walked along the street, getting in front of them as they turned down the path to get to the clinic and holding entire masses in the bushes in front of the clinic were all common practices.

I worked as a clinic escort. Clinic escorts do not provide information to patients. We do not counsel them. We do not protest or carry signs. We are simply there to act as a buffer between them and the aggressive anti-choice protesters. We walk with them to the door of the clinic, we tell them they do not need to listen to the anti-choicers, or to talk to them, but that it’s ok if they want to. We tell them we like their shoes and comment on the weather.

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Poopie and My Brain

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Wait but we totally do tho

Wait but we totally do tho

It’s not the end of the year yet, but I’m declaring success- I have achieved my 2014 New Year’s Resolution. In January, I decided that I would no longer participate in Poop Standoffs. I used to spend a lot time asking myself, like the woman in this ad for the product Poo-Pouri : How can I make the world believe that my poop doesn’t stink… or that in fact I never poop at all? But I quit, cold turkey.

Before I made this resolution my time in public multi-stall restrooms, particularly at the office, could be a little….. stop-and-go. I would select my stall. I would hang up my purse. Maybe I would lay down a toilet liner, get generally comfy. Then, just as I was ready to do my business I would hear the door creak open and see the feet of a person selecting their own stall. Damn. 

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Take the Red Pill: Sex Determination

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Morpheus offers the pills in the MatrixThis is the third part of a series about the complex biological realities of sex. Though the posts build on one another, each can be understood alone.

In previous posts in this series, I’ve talked about what sex is, and the many ways it can manifest in human bodies. But what determines whether an individual is male, female, or something else altogether?

I’m talking here about the spectrum of sexed bodies that exist in nature, not gender identity, because only humans can have gender. Gender is created by institutions, culture, and human relationships. As far as we know, non-human animals don’t have cultural constructs of male and female. But they do have an amazing variety of sexes and paths to determine what sex an animal will be.

You may have learned that sex determination in humans comes from the sex chromosomes: two X chromosomes will lead to a human with ovaries and a uterus, and an X and a Y chromosome will lead to a human with testes and a prostate. This is not entirely true, but gonadal sex (whether your body is equipped to make eggs or sperm) is indeed genetic in humans. But in many animals, sex determination is environmental, not genetic.

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Why you should be watching Steven Universe

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This is a guest post by Chu.

If you haven’t already heard of Steven Universe, then it’s about time you did. Steven Universe is a cartoon about a young boy born into a magical guardian race called the Crystal Gems, and throughout the series he learns wholesome life lessons while fighting wondrous monsters and navigating wacky hijinks around his hometown. At first look this doesn’t sound particularly out of the ordinary for a show in the Cartoon Network line-up, but Steven Universe is far from typical.

picture of the characters from Steven Universe

left to right: Amethyst, Steven, Garnet, and Pearl

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Three Reading Remedies to Ease Your Dating Woes

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Last year, I decided that I would stop jumping from one serious relationship to another. I should, I figured, give myself some space and breathing room to explore. While that’s proven to be the right decision, I’ve discovered that dating is, nonetheless, an exceptionally awful pastime. There’s a lot of anxiety around meeting someone in the first place – attempting to catch the eye of the cutie on the train; hoping that guy 50 times older than you with the leering smile would stop trying to catch your eye on the train. Then, there’s the texting, or e-mailing, or sending messages on Facebook and the gut-gurgling misery that arises from not being able to tell if someone is kind of into you or totally into you.

Next, there’s talking on the phone, which is a nightmare of nerves, and, finally, meeting in person. Whether you’ve already met your person in a cute movie-esque sort of way at the bookstore or cafe or your weekly radical sex workshop, or you met them online, the first date is always The Worst. Because of feelings and fears and the inability to hold down your food.

If the date goes well, great. Anxieties ease, feelings develop. You’re on a good path.

But if the date doesn’t go so well?

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Well. Back to the looking, and the texting and messaging and phone calls, and the first dates. Again, and again, and again.

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