This is how the timeline went at our house: Atari, Commodore 64, Nintendo, Nintendo Gameboy, Sega Genesis, Windows-based games, gap due to college/us kids moving out, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Gameboy Color, xBox 360, Nintendo DS. Everything from Nintendo GameCube on is still in good working order at my mother’s house, and she also has an original xBox.
When she was 5, my sister had calluses on her hand because she played so much Donkey Kong (I preferred Mountain King). As we got older, she sort of fell out of gaming, while I can easily get addicted. I can’t have a gaming system in my house, because I would seriously do nothing else, but I do visit my mom and family quite often. And oh, do we game.
I bring up this personal background because I know I’m not the only woman who games. Women game. The number of women who game keeps on growing. Also, it follows that since women game, perhaps some women might like to play female characters – I know that I am more apt to pick a female if I have a choice. I didn’t think that these things were still debated in 2012. But lately I’ve seen some distressing things.
Like this thread, which, granted, IS on a Men’s Rights board. The poster and subsequent comments go into great detail about how strong female characters are “subliminal brainwashing,” and that obviously women would not be able to keep up with men physically or mentally, in just about any type of situation. I especially chuckled at the reasoning that Samus from “Metroid” is OK, because she has armor that makes her strong, and she is “quasi-human.” Oh, and “non-feminist,” just trying to avenge her family.
When I started We Are SkeptiXX, I was so pumped about the blog—especially after PZ Myers mentioned it on Pharyngula, which resulted in the views on the blog jumping from 18 on its inaugural day of December 1 to 1,604 on December 3 and a whopping 2,249 on December 4. I pretty much invited everyone I know to contribute, male or female. As long as the post is in keeping with the blog’s stated purpose of “supporting women in the skeptics movement,” I would love to consider any and all submissions for the site. When Ben sent me the expanded version of a piece he had done for Discovery News as a submission for SkeptiXX, I hadn’t even read the original post yet and so told him I’d need to look it over before posting it. When I finally got the chance to read it, I was actually pretty taken aback. I was hesitant to post it, but not because I disagree with the majority of what he wrote—after all, a big part of skepticism is civil argument about questioned claims. But I couldn’t figure out what the post had to do with “supporting women in the skeptics movement.” I started to reply to the article on a very long Facebook thread, but then I realized I might as well reply in this forum instead. Below you’ll find Ben’s original We Are SkeptiXX submission that expands on his online article. Below that is my counter-response. I hope you enjoy the exchange and will let us know what you think in the comments section.
On November 30th, a trans woman was shopping for clothing in a Macy’s in San Antonio,Texas. She had exited the women’s fitting room and was about to reenter when she was stopped by a Macy’s employee and told that since she was a man, she would have to use the men’s fitting room. It turns out that Macy’s has a pretty amazing LGBT policy, which states that trans people can change in the fitting room of the gender they identify with. The trans woman and her friends were aware of this policy, and brought it up, but the employee, Natalie Johnson, refused to comply with the policy. This refusal led to Johnson being fired by Macy’s.
I posted this on my personal blog a few months ago. I thought it might interest We Are SkeptiXX readers since it is essentially about censorship, gender-based double standards, and the bizarre need some have to protect “the children” from things seen as horribly inappropriate despite the fact that they are completely natural–a child need do nothing more than look down in the shower to see them.
PostSecret is “an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.” The secrets are then posted on the PostSecret blog, and some are collected and published in book form. Under some of the secrets, blog creator/administrator Frank Warren posts a few e-mailed reactions from readers. Today another new set of secrets went up, including this secret. Among the reactions Warren included under the postcard was the following comments: “STOP putting naked pictures on the blog! I don’t care if it’s an actual postcard! Some of us are referring young people to this blog to HELP them – not scar them more with an abrupt naked picture” and “The honesty and controversy in your project has always impassioned me. But there is a line. And you crossed that line today.” (Also included were two comments supportive of the postcard: “what does it say about us that this realistic (and i think beautiful) picture of a female body part could ‘scar’ us?” and the delightfully snarky “Half of young people have their own vaginas.”)