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Nerds and Male Privilege

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The “Girlfriend Mode” Experience | Very Lemonade The “Girlfriend Mode” Experience | When Life Gives You Lemons, Smash the Patriarchy The hubbub this morning is over how Eurogamer basically broke that John Hemingway, lead developer for Borderlands 2, referred to their new mechromancer character as having a “girlfriend mode.” This colloquial reference (presumably a joke) is for the “Best Friends Forever” mode that the mechromancer has that allows people who are not “good at shooters” to play and still be entertained. “The design team was looking at the concept art and thought, you know what, this is actually the cutest character we’ve ever had. I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree. It’s 2012 and gaming companies are still letting their lead developers go in front of journalists without an ounce of PR training to say stuff like this, let alone actually hiring people within the industry that aren’t designing games with this ridiculous “boys club” mentality behind the things they put so much work into. See how fucking ridiculous that shit is? Clean it up, dudes. Related Links:

Tropes vs Women in Video Games part one: Damsels in Distress Anita Sarkeesian has released the long-awaited first installment in her new, improved "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series. Sarkeesian sought $6,000 on Kickstarter to produce slicker versions of her earlier, DIY series, and she was smeared by vile, angry gamer-dudes who created games where you could beat the crap out of her for the sin of identifying as a feminist and daring to question the portrayal of gender in games. The happy ending to this shameful episode is that her Kickstarter became a good-people vs goons plebiscite, and would up raising $158,922. The first installment is "Damsels in Distress," and is a smart, well-researched, wonderfully presented history of the woman-waiting-for-a-hero trope through gaming history. It's just in time for International Women's Day, and is a wonderful kickoff for a new series. Damsel in Distress: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games I was a Jeopardy!

Sacrificing Privilege By far one of the most challenging obstacles to building a meaningful dialogue about privilege is the extreme ease with which we’re able to take it for granted. Quick: when was the last time you thought about proprioception? Unless you’re a neurologist, or read a lot of Oliver Sacks, the answer could very well be “never, I guess”. We don’t think about it because we’ve never gone without it. Privilege can work similarly. But for things like race and gender, we have them, we always have them, they’re a part of us. When the subject of male privilege comes up, in addition to the many cognitive distortions that can get in the way of acknowledging it, like the basic human emotional need to believe we deserve everything we have, men are also limited by their set of lived experiences and observed reality in being able to see that they do indeed possess certain social privileges, and that their lives are in many ways easier than those of others. They aren’t negligible, either. Basically? Damn.

Feminism 101: Offensive Language and Dismissal of Responsibility | Welcome to another day in which a games journalist dismisses the criticism of many gamers and misses the point completely. This article at IGN by Colin Moriarty shows exactly why gaming culture is what it is, and why it’s so difficult to make any real change. Backstory: Borderlands 2 Lead Designer Hemingway refers to the game’s “easy mode” as the Girlfriend mode, which we covered. Many game critics erupted in upset over yet another example where women are stereotyped into byproducts of the gaming industry without the skill required to play games as they’re designed. Now, this IGN article has decided to counter the criticism and put us in our place. Us being anyone with a single fuck to give about sensitive language and inclusivity in games, that is. Let me lay just a little bit of Feminism 101 on you (which also equates to “being a decent person 101″): 1. Here’s the thing, we all have different perspectives in life. Moriarty states: Remember, Mr. 2. 3.

Nerds and Male Privilege Part 2: Deconstructing the Arguments First of all, I want to go ahead and call attention to the irony that I am making this post under the moniker "Gaston," possibly one of the most misogynistic characters of any family feature. I'm just taking that zinger away from you right away, commenters. Now there's a lot of issues in this editorial, as with the first editorial, but I only have time to talk about one that especially peeved me with its sheer hypocrisy. The criticism that it's the antagonists who spout sexist vitriol is NOT a derailment, it's a legitimate point that the author, ironically, derails by making a completely different point: that the inmates of Arkham City should want to rape Batman as much as they want to rape Catwoman. So why isn't it a derailment? So the author would respond, well, maybe the bad guys aren't supposed to be shining beacons of egalitarian morality, but it's telling that they threaten to rape Catwoman, but not Batman. Why don't the prisoners threaten to rape Batman?

Where Does Validation Come From? A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Hugo Schwyzer for his article He Wants to Jizz on Your Face, but Not Why You Think. Without stepping into the latest internet uproar about Hugo and the various things people are saying about him online (feel free to google it, if you like), I think there’s actually more to be said about the topic of that post. Hugo’s thesis was that, while facials can certainly be an act of degradation, they can also be interpreted as “men’s desire for that same experience of being validated as desirable, as good, as ‘not dirty.’” For some people, male sexual desire and male bodies are seen as dirty, disgusting, or unpleasant and men who have internalized these ideas might seek a variety of paths to redeem them. Those can take a variety of forms. Some of the responses to that post have argued that US culture glorifies penises and denigrates vulvas and vaginas. The notion that it’s women’s job to civilize or redeem men is nothing new.

Borderlands 2: Gearbox reveals the Mechromancer's "girlfriend mode" Update: You may have noticed Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford speaking out against the "girlfriend mode" nickname on Twitter. As reported below, the Mechromancer skill tree that helps video game newcomers is formally called Best Friends Forever. But Borderlands 2 lead designer John Hemingway referred to it numerous times as "girlfriend mode". "Borderlands 2 does NOT have a girlfriend mode," Pitchford stated on Twitter. "The future DLC Mechromancer class has a skill tree that makes it easier for less skilled coop partners (any gender!) Pitchford didn't deny that Hemingway had said "girlfriend mode". "There is no universe where Hemingway is a sexist," Pitchford added. Original story: Borderlands 2 developer Gearbox Software has revealed more information on the in-development fifth class for the game, the Mechromancer. Mechromancer concept art. The Mechromancer is a punk/tank girl wth a robot arm and pig tails. "Can't aim? In a gameplay demo, Gearbox showed this skill in action.

Don’t Be A Creeper « Previous 1 2 3 View All Next » Last week we talked about the concept of male privilege . This week, we’re going to take that knowledge and examine how you can put it to practical use. One of the more common problems I see amongst my nerd brethren is a certain lack of self-awareness. Too many guys out there – especially those who can be a little less socially experienced – don’t quite understand the difference between how they perceive themselves and how they’re coming across to others. The more kind-hearted ladies would describe them as “intense”. The less kindly would say it flat out: “He gives me the creeps.” It’s surprisingly easy to give off the creepy vibe to women, especially if you aren’t aware of what you’re doing and why it makes women feel the way they do. So it’s time to take a look at your behavior and make sure aren’t being a creeper. On Male Privilege and Being Creepy "Ssssssso, do you want to come back to my car with me? And don’t think that girls won’t talk about it.