Friday, December 13, 2013

The Greatest Horror of All

Hey, everybody, I'd like to sit down and speak with all of you out there who read this blog. I usually write ranting criticisms about things I don't like or gushing praise to the things that I love and enjoy. I created this blog as a way to speak my mind, to talk about the things I love so much and decry the things I really have issues with. Mostly I like to just speak my mind about issues when I have time to do so. I haven't had much time lately with a more than full time job, a commute, a fiancee, and time to eat, sleep, and actually enjoy some of my waking hours. I do feel very bad about putting out less content, but this post is one of the reasons my content has been lesser of late.

This blog has given me a platform and a voice to speak about things. I get a good many people reading this blog or posts on this blog. I appreciate every single view and every single comment, even the absolutely hilarious ones that think I am the worst ever. Actually I adore those comments because they show me something that continues to drive me: the fact that people take things like opinions far too seriously. I have less time nowadays to post longwinded rants, and while that sucks royally, it doesn't mean I'll ever stop talking and writing. It just means that the posts will probably slow down when I'm tired and dealing with life (in a good way mind you).

Now, this post isn't about any of that. But I do want you to kind of know who I am. My name is Justin. I'm a college graduate with a degree in Biology. I am and identify as a white male (with a beard that I love) who likes the nerdy pursuits of life, enjoys all forms of horror, works a hell of a lot at a job that pays well but I'm not incredibly fond of all the time, has a supportive and amazing significant other, and cannot stand how certain groups are treated any longer. Maybe my relative silence has been more harmful than anything terrible I could have said. I don't know. But I'm finding that the horrors of the real world have eclipsed any and all horrors in fiction for me right now. And that's a sad state of affairs when the fictional world of horror has stopped giving me any kind of interest, being replaced instead by the awful ways people seem to be treating other in this day and age.

The way that women, trans, and gay people are treated in our culture is shocking. I need to get that out of the way because that is the point here. I have seen more hatred, crazed and vile words, and outright falsifications about the female gender and people's sexuality over the past year or so than I had ever noticed before. And you know what? Maybe I wasn't looking for it before. That's a fair point. Maybe I wasn't looking for it before or didn't see it because it wasn't affecting me. It wasn't in my view. And I simply didn't think it actually existed because I am naive.  

Well, whatever it is the whole thing is finally out in the open for all to see. When I browse the internet I want to see people debating and talking and doing cool things. Hopefully about things that actually need a debate or a talk. I don't want to see men thinking that they are oppressed (because we're not, and even if we are it's only in a very relative manner to all others, so shut up). Or what about those men who say that women get everything already, that being sexist isn't sexist, or that wanting to look at only popularly opined good-looking women is the only way to do things? I don't want to see the hate on geek girls anymore, by men or women because damn it, do you see how immature and stupid that is? I don't want to see women denied their equal place next to men. Yes, equal. Because we are, whether you agree or not. Stop acting like spoiled fucking children and grow up. Your little boys' club is no more. Time to include the women too. I don't really see the problem here. Men and women, believe it or not, are not very much different from one another.

Feminism, contrary to the MRAs beliefs, isn't about putting women above men. It's about equality. True equality. (And seriously, don't even sass me on this point. I will shut you down.) Not just saying we're all equal and then staring at a woman's chest for an hour, spanking a quick one out, and hating the women of the world because one denied you that one time or every time. Oh, woe is you.

And grow up, please.
The world is a sick and disgusting place full of a ton of sick and disgusting people. Seeing the comments objectifying women, putting them down, saying that they shouldn't like the things that you like, men of the world, or do the things you like... well, now... who the fuck made you in charge of what you like? You're not. Nobody is. If a woman wants to enjoy a video game maybe she shouldn't be derided and ripped apart for liking it. If she thinks that maybe a fairer representation in video games would be a good thing, maybe you should realize that it actually would be. If she makes a video game no matter how completely good or terrible you might think it is, who is it harming to not only have her make it, but also to have her put it out there for the masses who would also probably play and enjoy it? Are you telling me men can't make a bad video game? The real world doesn't just have men in it. We're not the only gender around, guys, sorry to burst that bubble, so maybe having more women in video games and fiction wouldn't be a bad thing, huh?

But then you might say, "Oh, but Saquarry, there ARE SO MANY (SO MANY) women in games! They're taking over games! Women, weak-willed and disgusting to my eyes unless they are on my computer screen having the sex, are taking over what I love!" And I'd reply, "No, they're not, you utter piece of garbage. Name more than one game that came out in the last year with a female protagonist. Who wasn't meant to be sexy eye-candy for men. Who was playable. Who was in a good game that millions bought and enjoyed. Who was also on the cover of the game. And it received both critical and public acclaim." Okay, now name the games with men in them with the same questions being asked. It's a thought experiment, you see? You probably really had to think for answers about the women in video games. But for the men, all you have to do is name a game. Would you look at that... It's like there's some sexism in our culture.

And don't argue that women don't represent the video game audience or that most of the audience is teenage male in demographics. That's been discounted many a time. Women represent a huge and growing part of gaming and geek culture. They play hardcore games just like males do. They probably even enjoy many of the same games! Fancy that! The same is obviously true for other media as well, but it's almost as if the video game world is a male club. Just like the "geek" and "nerd" world in general. Being an outcast does not give you any right to make others outcast from you. There are many girls and women I've known in my life who are socially awkward nerds, nerdier than I am even. What's to say a girl can't be a nerd? Because she may be attractive to your eyes and have female bits? Well, that doesn't make her less socially awkward. It doesn't make the world or life easier for her and shame on you if you think it does.

See, I need to show that this is unequal. And that women have it much tougher than you do, men of the world. And of course you're jealous. You're jealous of the attention a female gets over you, you who have suffered so, you who have learned every piece of information from a fictional work. And you who believes that a simple woman hasn't gone through the trials and tribulations you have, the suffering and bullying you have had to deal with your entire life simply because you aren't like all the others. You, alone, are different. And all you want is a little attention, but she gets it all. And she doesn't know anything, right? 

If you can't read sarcasm well, I'm being very snarky. By the way. I guess. How do you even presume to know what anybody else has gone through? Just because a woman is a woman doesn't mean she wasn't bullied or she wasn't alone in her interests and her likes. Who are you to presume that she doesn't know as much as you do or more? Are you simply thinking that a good-looking woman (again, to your eyes) wouldn't know that stuff? Why? That seems a little sick, doesn't it? You seem a little sick. How can't you realize that anybody can be awkward? That anybody can create good content? That anybody can enjoy the fiction that you enjoy as well without the terrible and wrathful judgment of the male nerds of the world upon them?

While a woman cosplaying another woman might get a ton of views on a blog or on a convention floor, how many people looking are simply guys looking for something cute or sexy to stare at unashamed for a moment... or longer? And don't go saying that the women asking for it. That is a simple response by a simple person. If a woman likes a character in a game, they are probably going to be a sexy character just by law of averages. Because most characters are written by heterosexual males for heterosexual males. That should be obvious. And yet nearly half of the video game playing audience is female. Huh. So, yes, men are pretty awful for judging by looks first and by not even taking a chance to "see" what's really in front of them. Hint: It's basically just a guy with some different sexual organs and a bit more of a certain hormone or two than another. Oh, and a different chromosome because that makes a different gender of the same species so very different in thoughts and abilities, LET ME TELL YOU. Look, I studied these damn hormones and chromosomes and differences between gender at the cellular level. And we're all human. We all bleed the same. I can get girl blood transfused into me and not turn into a nasty girl or feel lesser about myself or die. So, yeah, any argument that says that women are inherently different than men is literally false from the onset. And many women are raised as equals to men, certainly here in America (at least in my experience), so, again, what's the problem? That's my conclusion. So, why are women different than men again? My God, how different it is! How utterly different! They're like practically genetically identical aliens to us. Fancy that!

Why do you have to get upset or angry when a woman stands up for herself? When she mentions that something makes her feel uncomfortable? I know, I know. You have the right to say whatever you want. Fine. You also have the right to be wrong and a piece of shit on top of that. Making a rape joke could make you a funny person. It could also make you an asshole. Being in charge of a big webcomic (and a few big conventions) and making a rape joke that made some people feel uncomfortable, sticking to said rape joke, and making some very ill-conceived comments that made an entire gender and a good number of his own feel incredibly terrible for being in the same species? Well, I guess I'll let others choose what that makes you. Yes, there is freedom of speech, and I'm glad that there is. But there is also human decency. There is, I hope, a desire in all of you reading this to not want to make others uncomfortable, upset, or ashamed of being something that they had no choice in. This doubles for the LGBTQ+ crowd as well. (I hope I got the acronym correct. It's been a while since I was in the gay-straight alliance in high school and I know they've changed the acronym a few times since.)

I want to bring a comment that incensed me beyond reason into this writing. I want to talk about some of these things. I know this comment might look ridiculous to you and me, but there are many who view this as both factual and sensical. I guess I just have to say something about it.

Comment from this article on Kotaku from username theGreatZamboni

"The fact you choose to identify yourself as a "girl gamer" makes any offense you take illegitimate. Why can't you call yourself just a gamer? Why do homosexual's need their own gaming convention? The minute you segregate yourself within a sect you lose credibility. "Girl gamers" are attention seekers who think just because they played an N64 once they are experts on the technical and artist merit of gaming as a medium of entertainment and art. You are a girl who plays games? Who cares? Keep it to yourself. Why do people feel the need to parade around their "identities"? Listen to how stupid this sounds:

I'm a guy gamer. That's right girls. No, I won't go out with you. Settle down. I only play good games, like Civ IV, Gran Turismo and DOTA 2.

It is the implied sense of self entitlement that comes with labeling yourself. Just because I player video games, does not mean I go around calling myself a gamer. I do not call myself a nerd cause I read comics or enjoy science fiction. I'm not a member of the democratic party just because I have a mostly liberal outlook. Its bullshit. People like Hernandez are the kinds of people who bait others into arguments or make statements that beg questions that don't need to be answered. I'm tired of having to encounter people in life that they have to identify themselves because they have low self esteem. Its the same crap that was just found out about fanboyism. You attach yourself to a brand because you have low self esteem. When your brand is insulted or criticized you take it as a personal offense/insult.

Person 1:"I'm a GIRL gamer"

Person 2:"So what, that's dumb"

Person 1: "That's sexist! What is dumb about being a GIRL and GAMING???"

Person 2: "It is dumb you call yourself that, why even bother labeling yourself? It sets you up for being stereotyped?"

Person 1: "STUPID PIG UGH"

Person 2: "I'm just trying to play video games. Why are you rubbing your identity in my face..."

When I play games I don't care what sex you are. If you have ever played a MOBA you may have encountered the concept of character identity. When I play as Drow Ranger, Wonder Woman, Ashe, Artemis, Combat Girl; people call me she/her when talking about me to other players. I do not immediately correct people because I don't care; for all intents and purposes I am my character for the time being. I call others he/she based on who they are playing, I do this subconsciously. I never go around calling myself by my demographic label with regards to video gaming; unless I am talking the business end of gaming with friends and have to give personal input about a view point from someone who happens to be male. What I cannot stand is when I get into any game and immediately someone goes: "I'm a girl".

...good for you?"

Yes, actually, theGreatZamboni, good for them. Why shouldn't they be proud of who they are? Why can't they label themselves for all to see? Just because you have a problem with it doesn't mean that there is a problem. Sometimes the labels help. 

I didn't see that for a long time. It incensed me because I didn't understand. But the labels aren't there for you, and that's what you'll never understand. They're not there to make you angry and upset that there's YET ANOTHER GIRL saying she's a GIRL ON THE INTERNET or, heaven forfend, a GIRL GAMER. No, it's never been about you. It's never been about what you think. It's about her. It's about the desire to fit in. Have you ever felt left out? Alone? Have you ever felt like you weren't wanted? Yeah. These girls, these women, they're not wanted by entire communities. They're ridiculed and hated just for being a particular sex and daring to be on the internet or playing games. And they're brave enough, yeah, I said it, BRAVE enough to go out there and say what they are. That doesn't make them some fictitious and often vilified girl-gamer whose only goal is to grab some sweet and sweaty gamer penis and be the queen of video games... whatever that even means. Seriously, why even think this? You actually think that every woman is inherently an attention whore who just wants guys, especially the nerdy basement dwelling guys who are often the stereotypical gamers, to stare and masturbate and WANT them? Come on, dudes. Come on. Use your head and your sense.

I... I can't even understand how people could think that in a society that is supposedly advanced. The labels aren't for you. It's for the community. It's for them. Let them have it. They deserve some solidarity. And they deserve our respect and admiration, not our scorn. They deserve us to welcome them into this joint community of nerds from all different walks, races, sexualities, creeds, and, yes, genders, with open arms and a smile on our face, not asking them for pictures of their breasts or deriding them for simply being another gender.

Anyway, this video has some interesting comments on it, comments that might make you feel a little sick. This blog is a wonderful way to lose a night to unbridled anger. I'll use some comments from there eventually. And this is part of yet another controversy, where women are feeling a little bit sickened by yet another scantily clad (and silent) female character being described as "erotic" and/or "sexy" with little to no input on whether she's a good character or not first. So, yeah, I can see how some women and men might be furious about Hideo Kojima's comments about Metal Gear Solid V. I can also see why they might be upset that she's wearing so little and seems to be there to look good (and subsequently be exploited to sell more games). It kind of backtracks that whole equality argument, doesn't it? What bothers me that most is that the men defending the game and Kojima seem to not quite understand that women and men alike might be made uncomfortable by such a blatant exploitative (and barely clad) female.

Yeah, that's her. To put it mildly, she's not wearing much. As a sniper. In the Middle East. This is where I facepalm and blatantly tell the MRAs out there who like objectifying women that they are wrong. I don't care if this is the best written character in the history of the world, that makes all people openly weep at her approach, she is eyecandy, there to look good for the male audience, and I seriously won't suffer other thoughts. Come on. Does she actually have to be naked and moaning for people to see the blatant fanservice? But no, men like their fanservice, don't they? And they like to defend said fanservice to the point of decrying all people who disagree as "not understanding" or being "feminists" like it's a fucking swear word.

It's not. By the way. Get the fucking memo, you children.

But this says it all. 

See, I've found myself sickened by all of this needless and ridiculous sexism. Yes, sexism. Don't get on your high horse and tell me I'm some mewling girly boy or whatever the hell people say today. You are sexist if you think women aren't equal to men (and ignorant, oh boy are you ignorant). You are sexist if you think that you, as a man, have fewer rights than any (ANY!?) given woman ANYWHERE in the world. You are sexist if you do not support all peoples equally. You are sexist if you call out gamer girls for reasons only you seem to understand but fail to call out guys who do the same thing. You are sexist if you even notice a woman's body, talk about how good-looking she is, speak about any part of her, before actually finding out who she is. Yeah, so you people in comments or in real life, who go and judge a person based off of looks, who look at a video of a woman talking, and whose first thought is, "She's kind of good-looking." or something similar. Yeah, that's actually sexist. And don't compare yourself to women. You, as a man, have it pretty good. I can actually say that since I am a man. And while I don't have it perfect, I certainly am a white male in America. And that's better than anybody else. In the world, mind you. So, while I can complain, I am very aware of the fact that most people of the world have it much worse than me.

There has to be more tolerance. People have to treat each other right. We're all in this life together, so why can't we make it pleasant for one another? Let people enjoy what they want the way they want as long as it doesn't hurt others. How difficult is that to do? Don't objectify. Don't make people feel bad for being who they are. Don't name call. Don't be overly snarky to people who haven't actually done anything wrong. And don't think that you understand where people who aren't you are coming from. Men are not persecuted. We are the power in charge and have been forever. So, why do so many find it so difficult to realize that women should be equal. EQUAL. Not "just where they are now because we feel like calling that equal." That's idiotic and harmful for everybody. Let new games get made, even new games with female protagonists and females on the box art! Let female developers come up, make some great things, and get successful. Let the blatant objectification end, and just let everybody create great stories that don't go out of their way to make certain groups massively uncomfortable.

Mostly, let's stop and think before we write things on the internet or say things to people in real life. And let's learn to not be dicks to one another. Please?

Also, I should add that I'm just a dude on the internet, not very knowledgeable about anything other than reviewing stuff, biological sciences (mostly microbiology with chromosomes and cancer being my primary focuses in school), the stuff that I do at work, and the fact that I am absolutely smitten with a feminist who has shown me a great deal of what I've done wrong myself, something I'd like to fix, even if it all comes down to me yelling into a void. 

I've been an absolute jerk about things. I've hated Tumblr, taking way too long to understand their labels and why those labels are so important. I've disliked people who like things I don't like, and I've judged harshly (and honestly unfairly) without knowing the whole story or even a story. I've learned, little-by-little, that my behavior was unacceptable. Maybe it wasn't bad in the terrible-awful-I'm-ruining-lives kind of way, but it is still something I regret. So, this is my way to make amends, little-by-little, telling people what I've learned, and mocking the absolute shit out of men who (I'm not going to sugarcoat it) hate women, say they don't, but continue on a path that makes being a woman harder than it would ever have to be.

Anyway, I'm done standing on my soapbox for a little while. Sorry that I had to come back with a post this sad and dark. I really wanted to talk about a horror movie, I promise! I might be making some mini-posts coming up, so watch for them maybe if I get some time. I have my year end choices of things, and the next Hobbit movie to talk about. Check out those links too. They're incredibly enlightening. 

And I'll leave you with one final post.

Sorry, if I was disjointed. This is a weird subject for me to tackle, and while I am NOT AN EXPERT AT ALL, I wanted to say what was on my mind. I'm probably going to make another post about this at some point because I'm passionate about the subject and feel I cannot be silent anymore. 

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