Life in a tunnel

Human beings often get stuck in tunnels. It’s pretty natural and nothing to be ashamed of. It just happens. You either constructed the tunnel yourself, or maybe the people you’re with constructed it, maybe the people on TV constructed parts of it.

Reality is a strange thing. Things happen, but whatever happens has a different meaning depending from what tunnel you’re viewing it. One person might view a rock crashing into the earths’ atmosphere as a falling star ready to fulfil your wish, the other might see at as an omen for dark days to come. But the rock itself, didn’t mean anything by it, it was just following a fixed path through our solar system and earth was in the way this time. It just happened.

Crazy things happen when other human beings step into our vision. With our tunnel vision glasses on, we seem to know exactly why other people do certain things and how angry we should get about it. Especially when it isn’t according to our carefully constructed rules of our tunnel.

One person might decide that getting angry and violent at a seemingly gay couple holding hands is an appropriate reaction to people not abiding the rules of the tunnel. The other might decide a violent massacre is the appropriate response.

These are the worst of situations where people are restricted in living on this earth, because they don’t follow the rules of someone’s tunnel. In the luckiest of cases you’ll just get a frown and a conversation about you that your behaviour or the way you dress is “not appropriate”.

It’s extremely common for people to talk about what things are appropriate or not in certain environments, because everybody’s tunnel has rules about these things and it’s easy to find people who have similar rules. Tabloids and celebrity gossip shows abuse the heck out of this nifty little thing about human nature, to bond about the rules of their tunnels.

But when a couple is walking on the street, and they’re in love, and they feel they need to express their love for each other, neither is thinking about any rules, they just want to love, hold hands, kiss and dance. Because that’s what sometimes reality is, it just happens, it’s not to annoy you, it’s not a cry for attention, it’s not intended to affect anyone but themselves.

The only reason why it affects you in any kind of way, is because you’re looking at reality from that carefully constructed tunnel you built for yourself. The tunnel that has rules for just about anything, because you figured there was an opinion to have about it.

When people tell you you should “live life like it’s your last day”, or “follow your heart”, or any kind of silly – easier to say than to execute – phrase; it’s mostly about getting rid of your tunnel vision. Getting rid of that tunnel that started to live a life of its own, making you angry all the time about all sorts of things that don’t actually affect anyone else in actual reality.

When you should decide to keep living in your tunnel, or a different version of it, perhaps consider and ponder about the concept of freedom. All kinds of freedom. And not just for yourself, but consider letting other people have the same freedom. Freedom to love whomever they love, freedom to feel and express however they feel, freedom to dress however they want. And most important of all: the freedom to not fear for their lives.

“Feminists are the worst”

“you caved to pressure from SJW rhetoric. It’s the same kind of vitriolic garbage that caused things like gamergate and the stuff con-artists like Anita Sarkeesian thrive off.”

 

“It’s pretty clear to me you guys folded over one very stupid and unreasonable complaint by a feminist.”

 

Parents

It seems to me, that when parents have daughters, life becomes complicated. This isn’t because of the daughters, but the instinct within the parents to protect their children. It sounds really reasonable, even if you have a feminist approach to life, reality is very real and finite when you consider throwing your child into the world.

Covering up your daughter’s eyes to not make her see possible influential images of women showing off their bodies, to somehow prevent them from doing so themselves, in an attempt to protect them from potential harassment, rape or worse. All the while, from a feminist perspective, it’s not the women who are to blame when they are victim of said crimes. Generally, it doesn’t even matter how you dress. Women get harassed, just because of their gender, period.

 

Shame on you little girl

When it comes to the subject of showing off your body, if it comes from the actual person’s initiative (important detail), should not be the “wrong” thing to do. Both men and women judge women’s bodies and the way they dress*, and it doesn’t actually matter in what direction of the ‘sexy’ scale, it’s never good enough.

Body shaming happens to men too, especially when they are considered to be “fat” by others for example, but still so very much less.

*) includes catcalling, insults, dress too short, dress too long, too much cleavage, not enough makeup, too much makeup, top too short, belly too big, breasts too small, not enough smiling, too much smiling, too sexy, too prude, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

 

Body positive

So when it comes to feminism, most of the feminists I’ve seen and read, are pro-choice, sex-positive, body-positive. When you can’t ever do anything right in the eyes of the straight-male-gaze, the best approach is to combat body shaming, self deprecation and be happy about who you are and what you look like.

It gets really complicated when the choice is not yours, but when it comes from a movie script or director for example, because when we wind back time to the pre-body-positive era – women had to appeal to the straight-male-gaze and were, and still aren’t considered equal to those men. So is this choice coming from the movie script that portray the woman as a full person And body-positive, or is there really no person to speak of beside the body parts.

Game developers are in the same realm of “it’s complicated”, where they have to find a way to develop characters as people first regardless of gender or body type.

General line of thought: if the person is an actual person first, you know, like you’d write your male characters, then there are no rules about bodies – although always by choice, even if “inconsistent” with their general way of expressing themselves.

Ok, maybe if you have Anita Sarkeesian judging your game you might have to go the extra mile to rise above the generic sexist movie script. It’s complicated.

 

Back to the parents

Is this parent concerned and hiding their daughter from the Internet a feminist? Probably not. Based on the victimizing the daughter that is… Based on body positivity, or lack of, it’s still complicated.

But as a parent, life is even more complicated. And their worries aren’t invalid. Perhaps misguided about the the cause of their worry.

 

Either way

It was interesting to read all the unfiltered rage.

Ok, I enjoyed the talk about butts on twitter more.

 

Butts

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk diversity

Context

Diversity is a hot topic on social media. Depending on who and what you follow, you may have missed everything completely or got flooded with for a couple of weeks now. (Taylor Swift, Matt Damon, League of Legends, SC2 (and many more esports) but you can click on these links for reference about recent events)

Definition

So you can look up diversity in the dictionary, but who really uses that these days. Let’s just suffice it to say that whoever you employ in whatever you’re doing, you get a diverse spread that is representational of the reality outside this little world you’re creating. This can really be anywhere; in the regular workplace, in film, also in esports. We’re talking minority races (non-white and non-white-passing), genders (women and non-cisgender) and even sexualities (lgb+) that need more representation. If you do it right, your products, your reviews and influence can go pretty far, but I’m not here to talk about the many benefits of diversity.

Defending lack of diversity

I want to talk about the thing that people somehow learned to say in defence of lackluster diversity; that whoever is best for the job will get the job.

It sounds so idyllic, right? There’s no racism or sexism at hand, the people we see now are simply the best choices. What if indeed, whoever did the hiring, was indeed completely neutral in their hiring. Maybe that person was even convinced of this. I’m definitely not going to claim that I know of anyone that is consciously making sexist and racist decisions. Heck, even people who are actually saying racist and sexist nonsense preface their nonsense by “I’m not a [insert a discrimination category], but…”

Why you shouldn’t defend it

People aren’t aware of their socially inherited prejudices because our society has this normalized to a point where gender* and racial stereotyping are something you experience naturally as part of this world. This isn’t actually your fault. It’s never one person’s fault. It’s just, there. In a lot of cases, subconscious prejudice just happens, whether you consider yourself someone who discriminates or not.

So the reason I have a problem with the defence of “the best person wins” *, is that this is based on normalized racism and sexism. The reason people want diversity, is not just because we want to thwart your experience and get mediocre quality, but to make employers aware that they’re not helping to improve the world we inherited.

Building up

Role models are also incredibly important when it comes to minorities. Not looking hard enough to employ in a diverse manner is a missed opportunity for minorities to grow to equal levels of this supposed greatness our non-diverse groups of people are praised with.

I would even argue to just stop defending these organisations that we’re trying to call out on diversity issues, simply because it’s actually their responsibility to get it right, not yours. But, hey, this is the Internet.

*) Read more about normalized sexism here
*) See how I didn’t write “may the best man win” there, go look at this as to why 

I know you think it’s hilarious, but…

Listen, you may think you’re just joking around when posting on someone else’s twitter or your own that you’re gay, and throwing around the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term all over Twitch. You may even think you yourself super ok with other people being Actually gay or otherwise lgbtq+, but this isn’t about you.

This is about all the people who are genuinely torn about just being themselves, who with every dumb tweet or comment on the Internet feel less welcome. Not just to come out, but just being themselves. You’re oppressing their freedom. You’re silencing them whenever you make fun of them.

Just stop.

Make fun of someone that they believe in Santa Claus, make fun of someone by saying they like the Teletubbies, anything actually funny will do. Use that brain of yours to think of something imaginative.

Things you learned as a kid #2

#experimentingwithshorterwriteups

You’ve probably learned these phrases, or equivalent in your language:

  • “You throw like a girl”
  • “Crying like a girl” *
  • “Grow a pair and just do it”
  • “You’ve got some balls …”
  • “Sissy”
  • “Man up” *

These things are wrong to say – not because “it’s not nice and you should be more politically correct” – but because of how these phrases were designed. All of them favor the so called masculinity over femininity, usually they are in gender role context, and all of them are obviously patriarchal.

In this day and age some of these things have been somewhat adopted by women as well, even though they are still connected to the ideas of masculinity. Or maybe the woman is like “well I am a girl” when confronted with the ‘joke’; “You throw like a girl!”, but it doesn’t negate how they’re meant.

When you say “Oh grow a pair” to a person of any gender, you inherently aren’t just saying “be more confident, get over yourself and #justdoit”, you are always saying “a man can do this, you should be able to do it too”.

There’s no reason you can’t say things like this with similar meaning (bad throwing, be more confident, wow you’re brave… ok maybe ‘sissy’ is just completely insulting beyond repair?), but please stop falling back to the patriarchal gender roles.

*) credit to @GinaTonix for reminding me of these

On why we need feminism and why thinking you want equality isn’t enough

Disclaimers:

  • I’m not schooled in the facts, history, art or anything of feminism, I’m just seeing things that are fucked up in the world.
  • I’m generally disappointed in the way I wrote this blogpost, but still wanted to post it anyway
  • Sorry in advance if you’re equally disappointed.
  • Obvious misogynist behaviour talk is left out in this post because… those things are obvious, everyone on the Internet can enjoy that shit every day.

Despite what you might have perceived from the world of feminism and whatever you might think of equality, there’s a big chance you probably don’t know you yourself are contributing to the patriarchy. Within this space both men and women are maintaining current society’s separation and misconception of what they think of what a woman is and what a man is, which feeds into the unequal treatment of all sexes and all genders. The problem feminism is trying to solve, is not just the end goal of equal treatment of all sexes and genders, but making people aware that the root of the problem lies in the un-equality that our society has normalised so much that we’re not aware we’re participating in it every day.

I’m not here to blame anyone, nobody is perfect; not me, not you, not anyone. We all grew up learning how the world works and it’s ingrained in everything that we do now, whether we want it or not. It’s just that how the world currently works, is wrong. From the moment you were born and your parents learned your sex, you were treated and thought of un-equally through gender roles. Even when your parents would be like “oh I don’t care as long as he or she is healthy”, they applied gender roles as soon as you were born. Even if your parents do their best into treating and or teaching you to not apply them, your peers and teachers at school will soon undo the work and squeeze gender roles into your brain.

When you say you just want to treat people equally, you’re undermining the problems we face to be able to actually treat people equally. You’re not realising that you yourself have a picture or a list in your head of what woman and a man are, but aren’t aware that the majority of these points on these lists can actually be true for all genders. You’re not realising that you’re making excuses in the positive or negative based on sex differences while they should be applied to all sexes.

Even when you know what the concept of gender roles mean, you might not still be actually aware that not just you, but everyone, applies them in their daily lives in a subconscious or conscious manner. Almost every company you see uses gender by default to make separation of products and services they sell, more than not done by applying gender roles. Expectations of anyone that is surrounded by these large amounts of unnecessarily gendered products feed into the endless cycle whether you want it or not. Almost everyone subconsciously applies gender roles when having some kind of opinion about what someone is saying, showing or wearing, which feeds into the normalisation of gender roles.

When talking about feminism and “fighting the patriarchy” we’re not talking about fighting men, we’re talking about fighting society’s normalisation of privileging men and equalising the playing field for all genders.

Equality for women is such a big thing in this equation because they are most apparently affected, and you can actually make legislation around the specific issues that women face in the world. But even when everything possible has been done to deal with these issues, the underlying problems will most likely remain until society is actually aware of how unequal and gender-role influenced their behaviour is.

Disregard what you think you know is true and look around you, and you’ll understand that just saying you want equal rights, probably won’t be enough.

Optional bonus rants if you want to read more.

Continue reading

My random opinion on “Do men and women need different gaming leagues?”

I don’t really believe I’m in a position to give an expert opinion on this, I don’t have any experience or moments of clarity where I learnt something about this subject. But hey, everyone and anyone throws any kind of radical opinion on the Internet, maybe I should too.

So to the question “Do men and women need different gaming leagues?” – no and yes.

In the ideal situation, men and women participating in the same gaming leagues should be “normal”. I think this applies to other life situations as well, but there’s always some kind of dominance in certain fields which usually causes an intimidating situation for the minority to participate. Whether it is a real intimidation coming from the existing community or a just a psychological trend among the minority, there’s always a kind of vicious circle around that’s hard to combat and reach this ideal situation.

I think it’s generally understood that men are a majority in professional gaming, and women fall under the minority. This really isn’t because men are so good at gaming or women inherently bad at it, it’s because of in what kind of environment either were brought up at home or at school. Any kind of person can like and play games, it’s not specific to technical people, artistic people or any other inclination. The question is in what way is gaming presented to them at a young age and how open are they to explore what kind of games they like, and after that we get to the question of how accessible and inspiring are competitive environments to be joining themselves.

With any kind of minority, I understand fully that they will want to seek each other out and support one another in the form of special websites, forums and chats. And I get that perhaps organizers feel like they should continue that trend in supporting minorities by creating special leagues for them. In my opinion however, women only leagues perpetuate the sense that it’s us against them, that women somehow are less than men and that they can’t compete in the same leagues. There’s nothing at all to suggest that they can’t – as long as they’re fueled by the same competitive spirit.

I personally think we’re still at a point where professional gaming is concerned there’s a considerable lack of emphasis on the fact that there are women competing, and to show that there’s no reason at all to be thinking that gaming is not for women. I think there’s a role for league organizers, or even the gaming community itself, to say to women playing the game like “Hey, you should compete, and get your games casted, there’s nothing to be scared of”. I think exposure to role models is important, actively showing that there are women to be inspired by in gaming. Showing that when it comes to playing the game, there is no difference in men and women. There really isn’t, and we should stop perpetuating the sense of dominance by men in professional gaming.

So do men need their own leagues? Absolutely not.

Do women need their own leagues? Please don’t. Please, don’t. If there happens to be a women centric community that wants an internal tournament, sure, go for it. Korean teams have internal tournaments all the time to test their skill, why shouldn’t any other team or sub-community do this. But a women only 3rd party league just gives the wrong idea about gaming.

Even though it might feel weird and awkward, I think we really should apply positive discrimination when it comes to opportunities to show and emphasize that women are just as much welcome and part of the gaming community as any other group. How idealistic it may be, we should at least try to reach a point where enough women join competitive gaming where it feels like it’s “normal” that anyone can play games, and hopefully never again have this topic of discussion from that point on.