Tag feminism

4 posts

Random Thoughts In Disjointed Fashion

1) I haven’t written – truly written, here, in ages and I’m sad about that. Things happened – not good things. Things that sent me spiraling back into dealing with C-PTSD flare ups, a lot of tears, and a lot of fear, and a lot of disappointment and unsafe feelings. I write poetry on my tumblr and a lot of it is me processing that, but in order to actually be able to…move on? I need to be able to write here, authentically, because as good a place as tumblr is to store poetry, this is my little home on the internet, and if I can’t be real here, then, it’s bad. So maybe sometime I’ll write about what it was that’s kept me from writing for almost exactly a month.
2) I’m putting together all of the things for a kickstarter. I bought new clothes today for next season as well (ADORBS – and I got an adorable PJ set, not related, but so comfy). I know what I want to do next season, and I think it’s pretty cool – new schedule, more fun things. Right now I’m working on doing the math and figuring out the rewards so I can submit my application and go from there.
3) OH MY GOD, GO SEE PACIFIC RIM RIGHT NOW.
I am obsessed with Kaiju. Also, it’s basically Warmachine V Hordes and IT IS AWESOME SO GO SEE IT. SEE IT IN 3D AND/OR IMAX. Caps are required for proper emphasis.
4) I got Sims 3 on Saturday for my 3DS and it’s so addicting and fun. I’m trying to wean myself off lego games, but I still needed something that I could play that required neither focus, nor emotional energy – just something relaxing. However, I’m very emotionally involved with my sim, but, it’s in a living-vicariously kinda way, so it’s actually fun and not OH NO I DESTROYED MY CHANCE AT PEACEFUL RELATIONS.
5) Modesty is a hot topic (heh) on the internet lately. Which is good. It needs to be talked about. I have strong opinions on the subject, but it’s also reallly draining and stressful – because modesty is just one of many things bound up in this mess of “womens issues” and I feel keenly aware of the fact that because I have boobs means that people feel like they can decide things for me. Modesty is just one of many. It’s devastating to realize that because I am anatomically female, my voice counts less and I am also held to a higher standard of argument. I suppose this is why I don’t argue as much through blogging – because it requires a lot of polishing, and inside I’m just volatile because I am angry. I’m not angry actually, I’m raging, and I feel powerless, and I don’t know what to do to fix it.
I usually subscribe to just letting my existence speak for itself and challenge the misogynistic beliefs of the people I interact with, but, some of those people are so entrenched in their stereotyping that they can’t see me.
I feel powerless because my female voice is ignored when I talk about things that relate to me and my body and my rights as a person. I hate this feeling. I can’t put into words how much it bothers me – how much it triggers me, and how much it hurts to not be able to think of something I can do to change it (without sending myself into a stress and depression inducing loop).
6) Site redesign! I spent all day Thursday on it. I’ve integrated my portfolio into the site completely (I think, I can’t remember if I forgot something), my latest Youtube upload is featured automagically, the blog is on a blog page, the front page has a couple comics, I’m really happy with how it turned out. The last thing I need to do is figure out how to integrate my comic blog into this site because two sites are hard and confusing to manage. I may need to use some dark magic to get it to happen.
It’s funny because I go between pushing things out to separate places, and then reeling everything back into one again. Over and over. Right now though, I like having everything in one place, it’s easier to find all of my things, and also enables me to feature everything I want to feature easily either on the front page or on the portfolio page (or the comics page/blog) which I really like.
7) I will art for money. If you haven’t seen that yet. Portfolio or homepage for you. 🙂

Feminism and Women in Games

I am a gamer-girl. I fly under the radar, and I never have Xbox chat open. Honestly, I never interact with random people in game and I completely ignore trade chat. So, I’ve never experienced the bullying and misogyny that many other gamer-girls have.
But I have noticed, the lack of (well written) women characters in games. Sometimes it’s directly sexist, other times it’s just like, the women disappeared except for the occasional bar-maid or rescue quest. Never really main characters unless you *decide* to play as FemShep or FemHawke.
Bioshock Infinite, I felt, was groundbreaking because their female character was remarkably well written, strong, capable, and <spoiler> saves your ass more times than you can count </spoiler>.
A lot of people, when talking about female characters focus on what they look like. Which, I understand, I guess, but I also find it…I don’t know. I feel like if your complaint about female characters is centered around how they look, then you’re putting women into games as sex appeal just as much as the other people (without taking into account whether or not the design fits the entire world/style of the game and isn’t a special thing). Honestly, it’s an animation, I don’t particularly take issue with how things were rendered so long as the design fits the style of the game and story.
What I do wish, is that the writing of Elizabeth and her character-type weren’t groundbreaking. I wish it were standard. I wish women were written better, and even, actually written as characters as opposed to furniture or quest objectives. Maybe eventually we could get to the point of having a female character showcased as the default – but that isn’t going to happen until other things happen first.
As a consumer looking in to the world of games, I think that it’s a little similar to the world of female directors – there are some who work in “the industry”, but not many. Before anything changes I think we need to encourage people to write better characters, better stories, and encourage women to enter the game writing/design/programming world. That’s going to take time – especially, because apparently this is so new to people? It’s maybe not so much that it’s intentionally sexist (although, a lot of people are) but, like the absence of women in games, they just aren’t there (or if they are, they’re somewhere hidden in a male-dominated world, and we need to support them, and/or become involved ourselves).
Women should be in games and in the game creating industry not because they are women (because if we’re starting there, then I think we’ve already “lost”) but because women are people, human (just like men, WHAT?! o.O) and have just as much talent, insight, and story to offer as anyone else does. I think when we stop separating our lives – in and out of game – by gender, we’ll be a lot better off.
But that isn’t going to just happen.
If we want to see this happen, then we need to be writing the stories, making the art, making the games and becoming involved in the process. Gearbox (Borderlands) and Irrational Games (Bioshock Infinite) are two companies that I know of who take care in their story writing, and in their writing/creation of female characters – there are others, but those are just the two that come to mind right now (and then there’s indie games and I could go on – there are options!). Penny-Arcade forums are a great resource for getting started and the best thing to do? just make stuff. make lots of stuff. make the stuff you want to see, make stuff with other people, and put your stuff out there.
So that’s my advice – brought to you by the E3 controversies.

Silence isn't Golden

I’m tired of watching abuse. It happened to me, it happens around me – it’s the reason I can’t run away and escape from my past. The reason I can’t forget, the reason with every core of my being I become so angry that I lose words and start to breakdown.
In 2005, 2006, and 2007 I was a blogger, an NCFCA-er, a Rebelution moderator, a Regenerate Our Culture board member, a Student Project campaigner, and a TeenPact Alumni – if you recognize any of those (*except NCFCA outside region 8 prelims, I didn’t get far), then my name, Kierstyn Paulino (or variations thereof) will ring bells. I contributed to the amount of hurt I and many others who grew up in this radical/evangelical/conservative/christian subculture endured and continue to endure. I’m sorry for that, and ashamed. A large reason I don’t write about it here, and am vague at best is because I’m so ashamed of my past and who I used to be. I didn’t know any better, I was 15 and growing up in a spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally abusive environment. I was trying to do the “right” thing, to be a good girl, to be approved of, and I was. I was looked up to, and even World Magazine acknowledged noticed. I succeeded for a while, before it all fell apart.
I am not that person anymore. I’ve spent the last 4 years of adulthood learning things most people learn in their late teen years, trying to heal and reach a sense of normalcy, trying to discover who I am because I lived a charade my whole life just to survive, grieving for everything I’ve lost, putting the pieces of myself back together with my best friend who’s been beside me this whole time. I have grown and evolved. I’m not whole, or healed, or perfect, or awesome, or anything. I’m still remarkably borked, but my past keeps casting a shadow and I’m so tired of being quiet, scared, and ashamed. It happened, it was wrong and abusive on so many levels, and I can help it stop.
I am a geek, artist, actress/filmmaker, and activist. I am a paladin, a champion, a defender of the defenseless. I am strong, determined, defiant. I am a protector, a safe place, a warrior, a sister. I am done being silent. I will fight to help the scores of us who are coming out of the woodwork to right the (unintended) wrongs and heal the fellow broken souls. Maybe that will help me heal too.
I doubt that I’ll ever be able to be completely normal, to live a life without the pain and reminders – because my past is a part of me, and it’s the reason that I rage at injustice, and it’s the reason I’m so strong. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll get better at balance, and I’ll be able to embrace all of it and accept the things I’m ashamed of, and help the ones who need it, and live an epic life.
Right now, I just need to cry.

Women are less

Growing up in a religious conservative circle taught me this ever so explicitly. They would try to water it down and say “no you’re equal, but different” the place of women is in the home, in the kitchen, pregnant or raising children. Not in the “world”, not working, not doing anything that would in any way put her in equal standing with men.
This article makes me sad – no, angry because it’s true.
People very close to me believe, truly, that women are in some way stupid and need men for guidance. I was taught that women are “easily mislead” and thus need men to teach them and “lead” them the right way. Like we are animals to be trained, or horses to be broken. It follows that women, once they reach adulthood, should not be listened to – that it’s okay to completely write them off as “emotional”, “misguided”, or “hormonal” – it’s all too easy to take anything anyone with a vagina has to say and instead of taking them seriously, say they’re just whining, not happy, or one of those evil feminists not worth listening to.
It’s taken me years to come to terms with my womanhood, with the fact that I have the horrible ability to reproduce within my body. It’s taken longer to accept the fact that I am human, and that as a human I have value – that isn’t reliant on whether or not I have a penis on my body.
Unfortunately, I still find myself in circles, exposed to the lies of my youth – who believe that women are for reproducing, teaching, cooking, cleaning, and if you’re lucky, making things and maybe having an in-home business selling house-wifely things like sewn goods, jewelry, or food.
I take issue with the god I grew up with. The god who decided that as part of “the curse” women will be in horrible pain during their reproductive cycle, while men just have the “curse” of pulling weeds or  “hard labor”, and the snake lost its legs. I can’t separate the misogyny of the religion of my youth, with what may or may not be true about christianity. I can not see god as loving when he inflicts half the population with a lower status, half a life of pain, and sets them up for being written off and told they’re stupid until the end of the earth.  People say Jesus raised the status of women, which, in the culture of his day may be true, but people who are supposed to be “like Jesus” massively fail and take the easy way of misogyny as written in the apostles over the example of the deity they claim to love and serve with all their heart and soul.
Women are “equal” in the sense that they are “people”, complete the largest chunk of reproduction, and in christianity have “equal access to god”. But in practice? Women are less, women are challenged and put down when they say things or step outside of the box, they’re labeled and personally attacked when they “make a crack in the glass ceiling”. Because  women being assertive is not allowed, still. Women having a voice, or control over their own body is still frowned upon.
Things I thought were resolved with the suffrage movement and the right to vote are resurfacing in this election and it hurts. It makes me feel ashamed to be a woman (scared, even), having been born with boobs and without a penis makes me feel trapped. I feel like everywhere I turn I hear old men, and some women trying to fit me into a box – the box I worked so hard, and wrestled with and tore myself apart over to escape. The box I’m still trying to completely escape – because completely leaving a gender box is more than just one process – it’s many, over a lifetime.
I don’t talk about feminism, womanhood, or anything like that very much, because a large part of myself has rejected the idea of gender. Because gender does. not. matter. At the very least, it should not matter. We are all human. We are all entitled to the same rights and opinions and control over our own bodies. We all have the right to say no – we do not deserve to be stepped on and half of the population does not deserve to be stripped of their rights just because their genitalia is different. Women are not more prone to misguidance or stupidity than men, nor vice versa. People are prone to flaws. People ARE flawed and we all have traits that are unique to our personalities, not our gender.
I’m tired of being subtly told I’m less, of being subtly hinted to that I should live in a box. I’m tired of watching men in power debate over whether or not I am smart enough to decide what happens to my body and when. I’m tired of people protecting the embryos that my body painfully destroys on a monthly basis, to the extent that it lessens my value and my rights as a fully existing person. I’m tired of people telling me that I’ll “get over it” and want to reproduce, I’m tired of people frowning at and judging me because I’m different and do not fit in the box I was supposed to belong to. I’m tired of people treating me as though I am the same clone, as though I’ll come around and find my rightful place in the stifling box of conservative womanhood. I’m tired of people thinking that they can speak, act and think for me because I cannot think for myself.
I’m tired of people lessening my value as a human being because I have decided not to have children – or trying to justify it because I’m young and I’ll “change my mind”.
All these messages, all the subtext just continue to beat me down, to tell me that my past was right, I am less because I am woman, I am even more less because I reject that being female dictates the way I live my life. It doesn’t matter how much you verbally affirm “women are equal (but different)” when you say, believe, and act in a way that demonstrates otherwise. Women are equal when they live in a box, but that is not equality at all, and I thought we were past that.