Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ohhh! The Muscles! An examination of the MAN in games.

In this day and age I can barely move for comments on the sexualising of women in games. I would say a lot of questions wind up being asked of me on the topic only because of my gender. Of late, however, I've decided to take a step back and examine things from a slightly different perspective.

As a woman I face bombardment from media about how to portray myself. I should be skinny. I should have a big chest. Woo for me! My male friends get the same treatment too. According to the media they should be built like fighters. Indeed, many of them are more paranoid about their appearance than I ever have been. How often to you hear about men hitting the gym obsessively because they must (MUST!!!) be able to lift that extra pound? In fact, eating disorders are on the rise amongst the male population as well.

It's okay, guys. I know your pain.

Time and again I hear people pointing the finger of accusation at games such as Tomb Raider. In all fairness it is far less practical to run around scantily dressed and with enormous cleavage than it is to be a CS avatars type of character, but the pressure remains the same. I can't imagine that gamers who fit stereotypes of our kind don't look at Solid Snake with some envy. After all, who doesn't want to be built like that, 'rugged' of face and 'badass' of nature?

While it's very easy to poke at action games and FPS for this, others are guilty of it as well. I'm going to take Final Fantasy as a prime example here. The male characters in that game display physical prowess and tone, especially when this latest generation of graphics allows it. One of the few games I've seen when you can even come close to some of the 'less derisible' physical structure as a male is Fable, and even then, you can quickly return to your 'prime'. I would say that even Gordon Freemon gives pressure for a certain body shape, for all he wears glasses (Ooohhh.. rebel!)

Clothing is another point picked on by those who see Lara Croft as the Devil. I would say for this that the tight clothing worn by some male characters to best show off their smuggled cantaloupe melons is just as sexualising as the cut-away outfits of the women. It's all a matter of degree. However it's somewhat more difficult to find mods which would allow JC Denton to run around in his underwear than it would be to find the same for Alyx Vance. A matter of target audience, I believe.

I digress.

The fact remains that the pressure is there. Both in the games as stated above, and in the media around us. To quote Fight Club "Is that what a real man looks like?" I think there's more to the uh.. 'not so fair' sex than that. Just like there's more to women than cleavage and miniskirts.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Government Blocks.. on MY Internet?

Sorry, what part of "stay the fuck out of my internet" does the Rudd government NOT understand? Slimy little Labor fingers are not welcome in the pie that is my e-content and they never fucking will be. I did not go to watch child pornography. I clicked a link to an animation called "Life Of A Jar". You can find it, I'm sure. While it has sexual references and implications, it's not even porn at all.

The Australian Government has some moralistic lobbyist stick up their backside so far that they're probably tasting wood. As such, they are trying to block sites containing violent, 'inappropriate' or child pornography. This is waiting until the horse is a continent away before slamming the stable door and proceeding to whip the rest of the stock. It's a dupe designed to help those who aren't sure about the deep dark recesses of the internet feel more secure in their ignorance, putting everyone else who might stroll those locals for entertainment on occasion in the limelight as paedophiles and freaks should they choose to speak out. That's blackmail of reputation. Base tactic.

So again, fuck you Rudd.

This waste of money comes in the face of a recession where it would be better spent in other places, not slowing down the internet for the people of this nation. It's ineffective. It's undemocratic. It's a pain in the arse and it cannot hope to cover the material it is trying to. Take this shit down.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yes, I am a "Fucking Feminist"

There is nothing more infuriating about "modern liberated" women than the belief that 'feminist' is a dirty word. The stigma itself is remarkable in construction, insidious of intent and fucking stupid for anyone, female or not, to go along with.

The immediate connotation of 'feminist' to these twits is on of a man-hating batshit insane bull dyke, spewing bile about how all housewives are complacent and a detriment to women. This image is intensely repulsive and so the word becomes something to be avoided like the plague. Did I mention it's also stupid? I probably should have.

Feminism is as broad a term as 'video game'. It comes in many different styles, with many different ideas attached. Exactly which ideas one adheres to depends on ones moral and ethical beliefs. My feminism is based on individual equality. It is bound to concepts of social freedom, cultural awareness and a loathing of hate crime. My feminism encompasses the queer rights struggle, racial equality, demographic equality, and a stringent desire to extend a middle digit towards the rigid class structure present in western culture.

Yet, because of the title, it's somehow dirty. Grow up for fuck's sake.

This comes back to media portrayal, fear, and cultural isolation. If you want drama you don't go for the easy-to-empathise-with feminists who want people to get along and generally be mature and intelligent. Far better to pander to fear and ratings by going for the more obnoxious stereotype-come-folk-devil icon which dominates the above mindset. People are outright scared of that kind of thing. Ohhh.. watch out for the scary woman with the crew cut. She's clearly going to eat your children and rip apart your house plants. Idiots.

It does damage to women everywhere for this stigma to be perpetuated. Once it becomes a blanket image for the entire feminist movement any worth while message is lost amongst the screams of the terrified sheep. Add to this the continuation of sex segregation and gender roles and you've got a winning formula for fuck all improving.

What's as bad is the idea that only women can be feminists. The historic dominance of women in this movement is for obvious reasons but the day you have to be a woman to get along with the cause is the day I have to be a bull dyke to be entirely behind the concept of queer rights. It doesn't work like that. The only logical reason not to be a feminist is if you really hate the idea of people being treated with a single base standard regardless of their sex.

Of course, I also have a problem with that particular idea coming from either side of the debate. Just because women have historically had less power does not mean that no one with a penis should ever be allowed to possess it in the place of a woman. The sins of the father are not the sins of the son and labelling people with said sin is just a way to stir up more resistance.

Wake up and smell the smoke ladies, gentlemen, and those undecided. I could go on to spew forth statistics about rape and employment but I'm sure you've all heard it before. I'm just asking that people open their eyes for once and look beyond their assumptions based on the word. You can keep whatever lifestyle you want, I don't give a shit, but it's no reason for anyone to hamstring the attempts of a movement like feminism.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mosh To This

I love mosh pits. Truly, some of the best times of my life have been contained within them. Unfortunate to admit that some of the less pleasant ones as well. It depends more upon the crowd than the band (This might have something to do with my refusal to go to bands I dislike. Maybe.) and such a thing can make-or-break the fun for everyone involved. Of course, I've also observed some mosh pits which I avoided and they'll get due slogging here as well.

So here's a run-down on some of my experiences and what not to do when in a mosh pit.

Rage Against The Machine: Big Day Out 2008 or Don't Be A Cancerous, Sexist Prick

I like RATM. They're a fun band for listening and parties for all the music becomes rather samey after a while. In this case I was there for the band and hoping that maybe, just maybe, my low expectations for the mosh pit would be some way surpassed. The Anti-flag pit earlier in the day had been a lot of fun. Just a bunch of people hurling themselves around in a Circle.

Rage, unfortunately, was different.

By the time that the band made it to stage (Silverchair had previously been booed off to much personal appreciation.) it was late in the evening and all the alcohol consumed by various people throughout the day was starting to show. A few had even lit up joints in the pit to get the spirit flowing. Bad mark on the record number one. Don't do this, please. Smoking in pits is just asking for greater difficulty when people wish to breathe. Lung cancer does not mix well with tight spaces and sweaty, stinking bodies. I tried to ignored it, moving a little bit away from these people and finding myself a few rows forward. of where I had been. That's where the trouble started.

It's a terminally bad move to say "What's a chick doin' in here?" around female metal heads. Even worse is the dick move of "You're female, you can't take the pressure. Here, let me help you out of the danger zone with my hand on your arse for good measure." That kind of attitude will get people hurt. In this case it got the guy in question's face mashed with a solid fist. Alas that the impression didn't last, as within a little while the very same group were chanting "tits are for the boys" at two women who were lifted above the pit on their friends' shoulders. If these girls hadn't succumb to the pressure and flashed the crowd. It would have been so much better for all involved. These stupid women do nothing to help stem the flow of men who think we're naught but tits and arse. They deserve to be smacked around as much as the people who were screaming "show us ya tits, you slut!"

This is the crux of many problems for shows such as Big Day Out. Too many drunk people with idiotic approaches to others often ends with self-righteous chauvinism and the general annoyance of anyone like me in the vicinity. Not smart, oh drunken yobbo masses.

Rock Eisteddfod: 2008 Rehersal Day "Mosh Pit" or Teeny Boppers Shouldn't Mosh

I wasn't involved in this pit, I observed with an expression of arrogant, metalhead disgust from the back of the hall alongside others from my Backstage crew.

What was going on below was laughable. Highschool students bopping up and down to the beat of some mainstream shit with a woman singing about how she's so very attractive and deserves all the attention in the world. My ears were next to bleeding with the sheer sound of filth, and the screaming, girly masses were no help. There is no way you could call that moshing. It was nothing short of a competition to see which teenybopper could shake her tail the most for the closest guy. Boy did they love it too. Ugh.

Shoot the teenyboppers. Save us all a headache and turn off that fucking music.

Opeth: 2008 Big Top
or Don't Drink In Pits, You Twit

I was front-and-centre barrier for this pit before I got a rib cracked. What annoyed me about it was the beer which some idiot spilt down my leg about half way through the first song. The rest of it was spectacular with an awesome band and a great pit (despite the injury) but seriously guys. Don't bring fucking sticky alcoholic drinks into mosh pits. The guys at the front have water bottles for those they can reach.

Alcohol and mosh pits don't mix anyway in my view. You're better off being sober so you can get yourself smashed around and still know when to get out. Spilling drinks down my leg is a good way to get smacked.

It's funny when I look back upon these and remember the adrenal rush at the time. The Rage pit was huge, hence it's intensity. Just served to make me angrier when there were stupid people around.