Twitter Rant of the Day: On Miley Cyrus and Activism

So this is a thing. I really fucking hate people.

Why are people so fucking convinced that you can’t talk about or care about more than one thing at once? It’s entirely possible for someone to speak about the Miley Cyrus mess and Syria and Egypt at the same fucking time! SHOCKING I KNOW! Pulling that “holier than thou” bullshit & saying “STOP TALKING ABOUT MILEY & START TALKING ABOUT SYRIA” shows me that you don’t give a damn about either topic. You’re only interested in making yourself look good.

Let’s be completely real with each other for a moment. Let’s sit down and have a real conversation for a second. You don’t give a fuck about Miley. You don’t give a fuck about the massive amount of cultural appropriation that happened on the VMA stage.

What’s also true is that you don’t give a single fuck about what’s happening in Syria. You don’t give a damn about people dying in Egypt. Hell, if I showed you a damn map you probably couldn’t point to the general area that Syria is in. Be real with yourself for a second.

What you do care about is making yourself look like the ultimate activist and liberal. You do care about people listening to you and not me. You not mad cuz attention is being pulled away from Syria, Egypt, and the like. You’re mad cuz attention is being pulled away from you.

Here’s the thing, if you took the time to look at the news websites and news channels, you’d see that they’re still covering Syria & Egypt. They’re doing stories about Syria right along with Miley Cyrus and her arrhythmic twitching. They haven’t forgotten. Discussing they type of coverage they’re giving to Syria and Egypt is an important and valid conversation to have, but you don’t want that.

No, what you want is for folks to shut up and pay attention to you and only you in all of your activist/liberal glory. So you pull out the “OMG STOP TALKING ABOUT MILEY AND START TALKING ABOUT [insert tragedy here]” argument to silence people. As a matter of fact, I bet you pull out that argument the most when attempting to silence the people who call your ass out for being the fake ass activist that you are.

But no, that’s too much truth for you to handle in one sitting. So you’re just gonna put your fingers in your ears and go back to screaming about how no one should pay attention to *this* and should instead talk only about *that*.

So when I see blogs like MileyCyrusTwerkingOnReality, I know that person isn’t doing that shit to “raise awareness.” They’re not doing it because they’re really outraged or because they think Syria, Egypt, or any other place/tragedy deserves more attention. They’re doing it because they want attention. They want you to stfu so they can have the stage and be lauded as a hero.

On Hugo Schwyzer’s defenders

I’m not here to talk about Hugo himself. Other people have done that better than I ever could. I’m here to talk about his defenders and his enablers.

To the people who hired him to teach women’s studies and talk about feminism on their websites.

To the people who ignored the women of color who constantly criticized his behavior.

To the people who banned people who expressed concern that Hugo was allowed free reign on their website.

To the people who chose page views over integrity.

To the people who allowed Hugo into supposed “safe spaces” even after many people expressed how they were not comfortable having him around.

To the people who happily handed Hugo paycheck after paycheck while never crediting, hiring, or paying the women of color who said the same things he did, only better.

To the people trying to silence the women of color who were intensely critical of Hugo and his actions.

YOU are what’s wrong with Feminism. You are the reason why I and women like me will never feel comfortable or welcome in “feminist” spaces. You are the reason why so many women refuse to identify as feminist.

Feminism will never truly be an inclusive and intersectional movement with people like you in power. Until you apologize for your wrongdoings, hand paychecks to the many women of color you have plagiarized and silenced over the years, and step down from that platform you’ve built for yourselves, feminism will only be a movement for the very select few.

I’ve Had it with Hipsters!

This article pisses me off so bad it’s not even funny. Here’s a little backstory on what happened. A couple of artists got together and decided to start Signs For The Homeless. Basically, what they do is find a homeless person, listen to a story, and then (instead of doing something substantive like give clothing, money, food, or shelter) they make a brand new fancy sign for them.

Yes. You read that correctly. They make them a sign.

I’m just so pissed right now. Really? This is what you choose to do? Make a sign and then post it on tumblr? I feel almost personally insulted by this. I’ve been homeless before. I’ve lived in a homeless shelter. I know what it’s like to wonder where your next meal is coming from. I know what it’s like to cycle through the same two shirts, two pants, and three pairs of underwear. I cannot begin to tell you how insulted I would feel if someone had walked up to me, listened to my story, and then did nothing but make a sign like that was the real problem.

One of the recipients of a sign, Bobbi, says in the article that she chooses to sleep outside because “the shelters are nothing but stomping grounds for predators and thieves.” You know what? She’s right. I can’t tell you how many times me and my mom’s stuff was stolen and our mail was opened when we lived there. I can’t tell you how many time I saw people attacked both verbally and physically in the shelter. Luckily, we were able to get out and get into public housing relatively fast.

But hey! Everything’s peachy keen, right? I mean, at least Bobbi got a pretty new sign out of the deal! [insert eye-rolling .gif here]

Out of all the positive and actually helpful things these people could have done, they decided to make overly designed, super colorful, and really flipping big signs. Looking at the pictures, they pretty much made the person invisible. All you see now is that clean, colorful, professionally designed sign. You don’t see the person in need assistance. These two “artists” just found another way to make the homeless invisible. How much time before this tactic spreads to other cities?

Twitter Rant of the Day: The Problem with White Feminism

I’m at the point where I really think it’s time that people stop giving a platform to these racist, transphobic, ableist “feminists.” These feminists don’t give a fuck about trans women, WoC, disabled women, poor women, or anyone who falls outside of their comfort zone. They fuck up like it’s their day job and dismiss any criticism as people being “divisive” or “hating” on them. They only listen to the people who blow smoke up their asses and try to silence the people offering relevant criticisms. Instead of waiting for these people to change (because they never will) hit them where it hurts, their wallet.

Stop buying their books, visiting their websites, or going to speeches. Stop supporting the websites that support them. Start giving time, support, and attention to the trans women, WoC, disabled women, and poor women who have been ignored. Start paying these women for the hard work they do both online and offline. Give the women who have been shunned and ignored by mainstream feminism a platform. Stop looking at these women as “free labor.” Stop asking that they write “for exposure.” Stop trolling their blogs and twitter accounts for content that you can jack and pretend like you thought of it all by yourself. Start paying these women and paying attention to these women like you do the white feminists who fuck up on the regular.

If feminism is ever going to be truly intersectional and inclusive, it has to start giving attention to people other than the cis, white, able-bodied, upper middle class woman. Until that happens, feminism will always have a problem. As it stands, the mainstream feminist movement is not for everyone. It has a lot of work to do before it becomes a truly inclusive movement.

Storytime Sunday

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

Looking back on my life, there’s actually been quite a few life changing moments. Some are big, some are small, some changed things for better and others changed things for the worse. The biggest one by far has to be when my father, or as I like to call him Sperm Donor, decided to leave.

It happened when I was four years old. We were living in Atlanta at the time. My mom had gotten a job at Egleston Children’s Hospital and my father was working somewhere, but I don’t remember where. Since I was only four, I don’t remember the exact details of what happened. I sort of remember it in snapshots. I remember him not coming home from work one day and not seeing him the next morning. I remember sitting in front of the tv and asking my mom when he was gonna come home. I remember seeing a news report where the police found our van with cocaine in it. I remember moving back to NC and realizing I was never gonna see him again.

After he left, things seemed to go downhill for my mom and me. When we got back to NC, my mom couldn’t find another job. We had to move in first with my aunt, then my godmother, then a family friend. We even had to stay in a homeless shelter for a while. Most of our family members and so-called friends wanted nothing to do with us when we needed help. To this day I still have trouble trusting people because of what I went through.

Eventually things did turn around, my mom found a job and we got an apartment. When I was old enough, I even got a job and helped with the bills. We never did get back above that poverty line though. Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if he stayed. Would we have been happy? Would we have ever moved back to NC? Would we have still been poor and homeless? Would I have met my husband and had my son? After all is said and done, I’m content with my life as it is. I don’t think I’d change a thing.

Microagression Moment

I originally posted this on my tumblr blog but I feel like it deserves a home here too. This is something I still experience everyday and I’m sure I will for the rest of my life. So while it is an older post, it’s still very valid to my everyday life. I’m sure a lot of PoC out there can relate to this.

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The worst racial microaggression I experience everyday has to be that feeling of not being welcome anywhere I go. There isn’t a public place I can go where I truly feel like I belong there or that I’m truly welcome there.

A perfect example of this is what I experienced a few days ago. I went to the grocery store down the street and everyone, from the cashiers to the customers, was staring at me like I had five heads. The cashiers were looking at me like I was going to rob the place, the lady giving out samples of cold noodles gave me a glare like I murdered her first born child in front of her, and one of the customers had a death grip on his wife like I was going to steal her away at any moment. (Although, thinking back, I should probably find that man and thank him for being the only person on Earth to not automatically assume I’m straight. But that’s a topic for another time.)

Other people may be able to brush off the looks and stares, but I’ve gotten to the point where it’s just worn me down completely. I don’t like leaving the house now, not because I don’t want to do anything, but because I don’t want to deal with the stares and glares. I don’t want to deal with the whispers behind my back and I definitely don’t want to deal with the employees who just happen to show up on every single aisle I happen to be on. It’s exhausting and I simply don’t want to deal with it anymore. I shouldn’t have to deal with it at all, but unfortunately I do. Such is the life of a Black woman in America.

Dragon’s Crown and Broken Spines

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The Amazon (left) and Sorceress (right) from Dragon’s Crown, a new 2D Action RPG from Vanillaware.

The two lovely ladies you see above are playable characters from Vanillaware‘s new title, Dragon’s Crown. For those of you who don’t know, Vanillaware is the company that made the games Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Muramasa: Rebirth on the Playstation Vita). They’re best know for their very distinct art style, which comes from their use of  proprietary programming toolsets and a process known as tebineri which allows them to create environments and characters that look 3D but are made entirely of 2D pixels. The intricacies of their art style however are not what I’m here to talk about.

There have been many criticisms made about the blatant sexualization of those two characters, and many others, in the game. Some have been good while others have been just ok. What I’ve noticed in almost all of said “criticisms” have been the attempts to write off the sexism inherent in depicting women in this manner. I’ve heard people say that they should ignore the ridiculous depictions of women and simply focus on the gameplay. I’ve heard people say that we should stop talking about how the Amazon and Sorceress have breasts and butts larger than their heads and talk instead about how pretty the scenery is. I’ve heard the “but the men look ridiculous too” argument. I’ve even heard that absolutely ridiculous proportions and positions the female characters are depicted in are ok because Vanillaware was trying to be over the top. To those people, I say please just shut up!

No, I will not ignore the ridiculous amount of sexualization because the scenery is pretty or the gameplay is good. I will not ignore the cringe inducing video of what I assume is a fan of the game delighting in rubbing all over a woman who is shown chained to a bed. (I’m not linking that video here. If you want to see it, go to Google. I warn you it is really creepy.) I won’t ignore that those women are contorted into positions no actual human can replicate without either being a contortionist or breaking a few bones just because Vanillaware made a few other good games. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem not mine.

Things like this need to be called out and called out frequently. There aren’t many games out there that allow you to play as a female character, and too often the ones that do go for this formula of women with over the top body proportions contorted into impossible positions. I’m sick and tired of being forced to choose between playing as a semi-realistic looking male character or a female that looks like a horribly photoshopped Barbie doll. I’m not going to sit silent on the sidelines just so sexist dudebro gamers can stare at ridiculously large bouncing breasts that defy the laws of physics.

I figure the only way we’re going to get game developers to stop it with the over the top sexualization of women in games is by letting them know we’re tired of it. If we don’t speak up and let them know that this type of thing isn’t ok and we really, really want something different they’ll simply keep making the games that make them the most money. Now, I’m not going to tell you to boycott the game or anything. What I will tell you to do though is to speak up when you see things in games you don’t like. Let the developers know, through twitter, tumblr, youtube, email, forums, or any other method you can think of, what you want in games. Let them know you don’t find sexism, misogyny, and sexualization acceptable in games today. Game developers are listening and watching. This might be just a bit of blind optimism speaking, but maybe if enough of raise our voices and refuse to be silenced we’ll get through to them.