Guante on Being “PC” (It’s Really About Not Being a Jackass)

This video by slam poet Guante nails it as he speaks to those who might think being “un-PC” is being edgy. News-flash: using sexist, racist, ableist or homophobic language is really just being a lazy, mainstream jackass.

“Class, using inclusive language is not that hard.”

(h/t Racialicious)

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, LGBT, Racism Leave a comment

Feminists in Games Meet in Vancouver

Emily and Anita Sarkeesian

Emily and Anita Sarkeesian

by Emily Yakashiro

This past weekend I attended the second annual Feminists in Games conference here in Vancouver. I’m personally not much of a gamer (although I spend a lot of time encouraging murderous plants to take down zombies), but I attended out of interest in supporting feminist media. Furthermore, I was keen to hear about the many gendered and sexist aspects of the gaming community, most infamously highlighted by Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian, who was a keynote speaker at this two-day event.

Unbeknownst to me when I registered for the event, the conference had a mission of not only supporting feminists already involved in the games industry, but to also show to those who don’t identify as feminists the importance of this philosophy and movement when doing this type of work. As such, discussions of what feminism is, and its significance to the creation of interactive media were at the forefront of many conversations over the weekend.

Of particular interest was the apparent tension between different understandings of feminisms across the generations of conference attendees. The opening of the second day saw an inspiring reminder that while yes, differences exist, intergenerational dialogue on experiences with sexism and workplace discrimination are integral to maintaining sustainability of this relatively small community.  Read more

Posted on by Emily Yakashiro in Can-Con, Feminism, Pop Culture Leave a comment

My Boobs and I are Outraged

oscarby Jessica Critcher

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go a whole day without feeling angry about misogyny. That day is not today.

Of all the ridiculous things said at the Oscars, I find myself most upset at Seth MacFarlane’s “Boobs” song. It’s like a splinter in my heel: it hurts and I can’t stop picking at it. The fact that I’ve already been told, in the nicest way possible, to calm down about it ties the whole thing up in a nice, sexist bow.

Where do I even start?

MacFarlane sang about having seen several actresses’ breasts in films. That was the entire joke: “We saw your boobs. In that movie that we saw, we saw your boobs.” He then lists specific films in which actresses, most of them present, appeared topless, except for Jennifer Lawrence, of whom he says, “We haven’t seen Jennifer Lawrence’s boobs at all.”

Apparently those are the only two relevant categories for women at the academy awards: those whose breasts we have seen and enjoyed and those whose breasts we haven’t. Maybe that has something to do with why only one woman has ever won Best Director.

The cheeky, adolescent, boys-will-be-boys tone of the song is played off as if it’s supposed to be a compliment. Angelina Jolie’s breasts, MacFarlane says, “made us feel excited and alive.” But whether it’s a famous man with a microphone on television or a stranger yelling at us from a street corner, women are constantly reminded that our bodies are public property – not our own, but belonging to and existing for men.

Even grammatically, the phrase “We saw your boobs” is problematic. It makes viewers the subject of the sentence and ignores the fact that these women have any sort of agency, phrasing it instead as if viewers were peeping without these women’s consent.

But exposing one’s breasts on film isn’t unequivocally good, either. The double standard would never allow that. It is apparently possible to do this in too many films, as he reminded Kate Winslet, listing off several films in which she appears topless, adding “and whatever you’re shooting right now.”

There was also a cheap dig at Scarlett Johansson, saying we saw her boobs not on the big screen, but on our mobile phones. I couldn’t help but make the connection to women being blackmailed with naked photos on the internet, or the recent trend of revenge porn. He has seen their breasts, he can see them anytime he wants, and he doesn’t let us forget.

Another disturbing thing about this song is that the films listed are serious dramas for which many of the actresses were critically praised. Several of the breasts MacFarlane delights in having seen were exposed in the context of rape or assault in the films. Boys Don’t Cry in particular is about a trans man who is beaten, raped and murdered. I fail to find anything hilarious about that, whether or not we saw Hilary Swank topless.
Read more

Posted on by Jessica Critcher in Feminism, Pop Culture 8 Comments

Video: Keep Her In the Game

by Jarrah Hodge

The Women’s Sports Foundation released this video in support of Title IX and the foundation’s own “Keep Her in the Game” campaign, in order to show the way social pressures make it difficult for girls to continue participating in organized sports. As the foundation points out:

“From ages 6-9, girls and boys demonstrate an equal level of interest in sports. But by age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. Yet we know that girls who stay in sports are proven to have higher self-esteem, better body image, get better grades and avoid things like drugs, smoking and teen pregnancy. Social stigma, lack of access, safety, poor role models and the rising costs of participation are among the reasons girls leave sports.”


Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism Leave a comment

Feminism F.A.Q.s: What Have Women Been Told They Can’t Do?

Feminism FAQs Title Screen

by Jarrah Hodge

Doing my video on the myth of feminist bra burning inspired me to take on another topic or two around women’s history. This video looks at just a few of the things women have been told they can’t do, through actual legal prohibitions (e.g. voting) or social norms (riding bicycles). It also lists a few of the things women are still told they “can’t do” today.

It was a bit tricky writing the film deciding whether to include women in other countries, since the time was limited and I never really planned to specify except for specifically mentioning driving prohibitions in Saudi Arabia. In the end most of the content is drawn from the history of Western women in order to combat the argument that women in the West no longer experience discrimination, but I do include some worldwide examples in the second list in the video.

Read the transcript after the jump with links to sources. If a source isn’t linked to it means it’s considered to be common knowledge (first list) or I found it by Googling “women can’t” or “women aren’t allowed to” and then seeing what came up (second list, tended to turn up results like this “joke” list).

I’ll also note a few things on the first list of historical “can’ts” also apply to the present-day, at least outside of North America. Inclusion on the first list isn’t meant to imply these are issues that no longer exist anywhere (for example, women still clearly experience issues trying to breastfeed in public, even in places where it’s totally legal).

Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism 8 Comments

Geek Girl Con: Building a More Positive Geek Culture

Geek Girl Con Cosplayersby Jarrah Hodge

This is Part 2 of my Geek Girl Con posts recapping the panels on online sexism and harassment. To read part one, click here.

If you found Part 1 depressing, know Part 2 is more action-oriented. Even though what’s going on online in an attempt to silence and intimidate women speaking out on feminism and geek culture is terrible, Geek Girl Con panelists did have some suggestions. I’ve broken it down into two areas: suggestions around dealing with the online misogyny directly now, and suggestions about how we can work to change systems to build a more positive, feminist online culture for the future.

Dealing With the Current Situation – Protecting Yourself and Your Communities:

Having gone through this the most recently and most publicly, Anita Sarkeesian had concrete tips for anyone who’s experienced online threats and harassment or who is considering creating content that might be subject to these kinds of attacks: Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, Pop Culture 2 Comments

Geek Girl Con: Speaking Out on Online Sexism

Anita Sarkeesian and Maile Martinez

by Jarrah Hodge

(trigger warning for misogyny and language)

This past weekend I headed down to Seattle for the second annual Geek Girl Con, which I’d been to the year before. Last year I really enjoyed the Con but found there was a bit of a lack of panels taking a really critical look at sexism and misogyny within geek culture. This year was a huge improvement on that front, and since I went to a whole bunch of panels in this general vein, I’m not going to recap every single one. Instead I wanted to broadly share some of the problems/issues the various panels identified in this post, then do a follow-up looking at panelists’ tips and suggestions for change (as well as posts on some other issues/topics covered at the Con).

On the issue of the sexism, harassment and misogyny that exists in geek culture, there were no shortage of truly appalling examples presented. Anyone who went to the panel: “Go Make Me a Sandwich: Barriers in Online and Fan Spaces”, would not have been able to argue that there was no sexism online. On the panel were Regina Buenaobra, a Community Manager at Arenanet; Colette Vogele, an attorney involved with the group Without My Consent; Feminist Frequency vlogger Anita Sarkeesian; and Grace, Co-Founder of

Even having followed the blogging and reporting around Anita’s recent experience with violent sexism in the gaming community, it was disturbing to see examples of some of the YouTube comments and tweets she received projected on the big Con screens. She broke down what she saw as the main factors in this online harassment, noting that it is: a manifestation of real-life privilege, designed to silence, violently defensive of the status quo, rooted in entitlement and male privilege, and involved in the policing of masculinity and performing misogyny through invites by community members to others to “one-up” each other through more extreme forms of harassment. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism 4 Comments