Category Archives: Link Love

What’s in a name?

[Trigger Warnings: sexual violence]

First, go read today’s The Rack written by Grrl Nerd friend and favorite Kevin Church. Then, come back.

If you are reading anything on this site, you mostly likely will agree that the use of the r-word as an adjective or a flippant response is offensive and horrible. But for others (the majority?), its use may be perfectly acceptable. Lydia’s reminder on The Rack addresses these people. Sadly, not all employ sensitivity in a world where 1 in 6 women they know have been assaulted. It can be difficult to explain why the r-word is not okay to use as an inconsequential adjective; it is frustrating to explain to someone that it is a real action verb with severe consequences.

At minimum, Rape is violent and pervasive and is an epidemic in our culture. At its worst, Rape is destructive and terrorizing and possessive of the survivor. The ‘so what’ of the r-word use is that there are survivors (and allies and partners and children and supporters) that are triggered by the use of the word that is the cause of their trauma in a punch-line of a joke or as a show promo for a sub-par actor. I’d like to think that another human would like to prevent causing further harm to another.

I’m grateful to Kevin for calling men out for the gross abuse of the word (though I’d argue there are many women who need to hear this lesson too). If this comic were penned by an angry radical feminist, it would be dismissed and pointed out as another example of flag-waving psycho-bitches ruining another form of entertainment. Instead, Kevin as a respected writer, as a cis-gendered male and as an important member of the nerd community has initiated a discussion of semantics that can be a starting place for those who may not be aware of how the word can affect on victims/survivors.

But this discussion is not enough.

Rape extends beyond the violence; it re-circulates in our society in the form of jokes by ‘comedians,’  victim blaming for better statistics, inadequate mental health support for survivors, low conviction rates for rapists, and the isolation of victims. From the idolatry of suspected rapists to the sweeping of violence under the rug to protect a beloved athlete’s career, The System – from the police departments to the comedians to the rapists to the protective sports teams – inflicts continual, lasting, and severe damage to survivors.

Yes, we should stop using the r-word in flippant and insensitive ways. But we can also start a campaign that tells rapists to stop raping and start holding justice departments accountable to process rape kits.  We can support survivor networks and participate in grass-roots education efforts. The conversation can’t stop here.

What can you do?

Tattoo, tattoo.

A Girl Gamer article showcased the bravest and most dedicated nerd getting an entire sleeve of gaming-related tattoos, which got me thinking that as much as I love my nerd culture, I’m not sure if I want to inked on my body.

If tattoos traditionally mark ones admission to a subculture and alternative/risky/artsy crowd, what do nerd tattoos mark? That we spend our weekends in dark rooms playing intense video games or spending hours in a D&D campaign, playing on a vinyl grid with all our might, or that we are awesome because we spend all our money on comics?

Is the elite nerd culture threshold so high that ink is the only marker of admission? Or, is this more of a ‘nerdier than thou’ exercise? Is the point more a nod to other nerds who will recognize the arm of iconography? Or is it to commemorate your favorite characters? As much as I love tattoos, this is one genre of body art that I simply don’t understand.

Despite my hand-wringing about adding corporate, albeit beloved, iconography to your body, there are some good nerd tattoos out there. Here are some of my favorites:

So what’s your take on ‘nerd’ tattoos? Am I being too harsh or old fashioned?

Art=Life

Loving art is not nerdy per se, but as we prepare for a holiday weekend, I feel like we all could use a bit of art to act as a little bit of sunshine. There is never too much beauty. (Or maybe I am projecting my own issues. We’ll leave that untouched for now.)

With the brief introduction, I offer you Beautiful Arts I Found on the Interwebs.

Andrea Wan on BOOOOOOOM!

Florence Bachard on EMARAMA

Jock on The Beat

Jim Mahfood on Food One

Betsy Walton on Brown Paper Bag

See, wasn’t that a nice respite from a maybe/possibly/potentially ho-hum day? Let’s go make some art!

Stand-up Comedy

The recipe for feminist disaster is boredom on a Saturday night with a streaming Netflix account. You see, in an effort to stave off coldness and boredom, I ended up watching a film about Sam Kinison.

*cue doom music*

I cringed and gritted my teeth through the footage of Kinison. His love of screaming “whore” about his ex (and any other women who catch his attention), joking about violence, and broad generalizing about women being crazy and manipulative and soul-crushing made me lose my mind. He is angry man, with a rage and vitriol that makes me sad; sad for him, sad for his ex, sad for the women in his life, sad for anyone who witness his substance abuse, and sad for those women he called and harassed on stage for a cheap laugh.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a well-loved and revered comedian has made me angry. Maybe other feminists can relate, but I’ve been told that I just ‘don’t get’ comedy, that I’m taking it too seriously, that feminists are just a dowdy group of Debbie Downers out to ruin all entertainment.

Maybe there is some nugget of truth in there. Comedy survives because people are miserable. The laughs offer temporary respite from the misery, and when the subject is something you can relate to (everything from crazy wives to cheating to asshole bosses), you feel like you are not alone. Comedians have to be full of spit and anger and crazy – it’s like they are you, but 100 times more fired up. And I suppose to some, that is funny. Maybe I’m not the audience.

Just as I resigned myself to never watch stand-up again, I read a piece on Feministing that made me reconsider my position. Ladies and gents, meet W. Kamau Bell:

See! It’s possible to be funny and topical and anti-racist and inclusive! You don’t have to be a misogynist with a penchant for rape humor (see: Adam Corolla) or an addict who loves to call women whores (see: Sam Kinison). You can be a stand-up who laughs at the crazy injustice in the world AND WORKS TO MAKE SHIT BETTER.

Now I feel like I can sit back and laugh again. Crisis averted.

Link Love: Girl Gamer UK

SCHWING. Legos + beloved comic and gaming characters?! Sign us up!

The companion article posted on Girl Gamer UK is a veritable drool-fest. This is not at all surprising, as the site is a great aggregate for general new game info and related art culture. As an added bonus, we get a hint of differences in game release and marketing details from a European campaign.

While named Girl Gamer, there isn’t anything explicitly gendered about their coverage. For some, the lack of female voice is a good thing, as manufacturers and designers should not cater to what they think is their female audience. Additionally, it can be more inclusive for a wider audience.

For me, I wish there was a more tangible female perspective (which is part of the reason why I created this site). I think the more that game companies realize there is a consumptive female audience, the less likely they are to create derogatory female characters or games like Fat Princess and Leisure Suit Larry.

Perhaps I’m overly optimistic.

Yes, I’m definitely overly optimistic.