- Seeming Female: Gender In Digital Spaces – Foz Meadows digs into gender expectations and the spectre of the “fake geek/gamer girl” and pretty much proves that it’s all projection.
Consider, for instance, the experience of Boulet, a male cartoonist who, at one point, posted his work online under a female pseudonym and was stunned by the number of insulting, sexualised and misogynistic comments “she” received, having never experienced the like while posting art under his own name. More recently, a man who pretended to be a woman on OK Cupid – with the aim, ironically enough, of proving to a female friend that online dating was easy for women – quit after only two hours, shocked and disgusted by the deluge of gratuitous, aggressively sexual messages he received. And just last week, a male friend mentioned to me that, since he’s started playing a female character in an online game, he’s been getting hit on by other players – not grossly, but enough that he’s noticed the difference. That exchange prompted me to go on Twitter and ask if any other guys who’d had similar experiences would be willing to share them; what came back, however, was an even more interesting anecdote, wherein a female gamer noted that several men of her acquaintance have preferred to play as – and pretended to be – women in MMORPG environments specifically in order to scam male players.
- The Names They Gave Me – Tasbeeh Herwees writes a beautiful piece about why calling people by their names matters.
“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”
My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.
“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”
- How Not to Write an Online Dating Message – This reminded me of Alisha Rai’s ongoing adventures with Match.com. All of it makes me glad I met the hubs when I was 19.
In a month on OkCupid, I received around 130 messages. I say “around” because I deleted so many of them immediately (having them sit in my inbox felt contaminating) that I cannot report with scientific precision the exact count. I don’t think this number makes me special. I actually think it makes me decidedly un-special, because to many of the messages’ authors I was clearly no more than one more female-looking thing who might be intrigued by the dashing brevity of a message reading only “sup?” Everyone was always telling me that, if nothing else, having an online dating profile would be a confidence booster because of all the flattering messages I’d receive.
This is abject bullshit.
- Broken Age – As many of you know, I’m a big fan of videogames, especially indie games, and I think this one looks pretty awesome. It’s an adventure game with a high-concept message, which could be great or could be ham-fisted, and really, really pretty visuals.
Travel with Shay (Elijah Wood) and Vella (Masasa Moyo) through fantastically gorgeous, hand-painted environments and meet charming and unforgettable characters, voiced by an all-star cast including Jack Black, Wil Wheaton, Jennifer Hale and Pendleton Ward. It’s Tim’s first adventure game in 16 years, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Watch Vella’s trailer here and Shay’s here!