All organized religions seem to get themselves mixed up in some shady hierarchies…..but F*** imperial feminism.
The Border House is a great blog about video games and social identity.
They have a recent post up entitled, “TransMovement: Freedom and Constraint in Queer and Open World Games”
(All the blockquotes here are from the Border House article by Samantha Allen)
When Bethesda Games’ Todd Howard previewed the open world role-playing gameSkyrim, he famously promised that the player would be able to traverse any visible geography. His breathless assurance of the player’s ultimate freedom has already come and gone as an internet meme: “You see that mountain? You can climb it.”
In it, the author mentions a video game (that you can play right in your browser without downloading anything) called dys4ia.
I want to contrast this ultimate freedom of movement with the mechanics of movement in Anna Anthropy’s much-discussed game dys4ia, which she describes as “an autobiographical game about my experiences with hormone replacement therapy.”
It’s articles like this that make me think there is lots of potential for philosophy and video games to get together and make sweet, sweet knowledge. Especially in regards to social justice and oppression.
I’ll confess that I seem to enjoy the rampant freedom of open world games just as much as anybody. But, for cisgender gamers, the supreme motility of open world games often functions as an exaggeration of a freedom of movement that they may already enjoy in the physical spaces of non-game worlds.
In her 1980 essay, “Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality,” feminist philosopher Iris Marion Young thinks through the style of movement typical of women in the United States. Women, in her view, do not “make full use of the body’s spatial and lateral possibilities” unlike men who are able to move freely, with long strides and swinging arms (Young 1980, 142).
I’m not arguing that all games should constrain player motion so that the much-stereotyped white, male, cisgender game-playing teenager can understand my experience as a transwoman. I do want to resist, however, game critics’ tendency to think of the open world, “ultimate freedom” genre as the evolutionary endpoint of video games as a medium. Different styles of movement produce different emotional effects and both should be available to us as players and as game-makers. To regard “fun” as the ultimate litmus test for the success of a video game is to sell short the emotive capacity of the medium itself.
I also want to call attention to the implicit masculinity of the open world genre, not to dismiss it entirely, but rather to point out the ways in which freedom of movement can be experienced differently by people outside the largely white, male cisgender realm of video game preview and review culture. [...] Because I don’t equate fiction with reality, I can’t hold Far Cry 3 accountable for neocolonialism. I can point out, however, that it’s a reflection of an implicit masculinism, the seductiveness of which is facilitated by the mechanics of movement in the open world genre of games. Let’s enjoy our fictional worlds and our innocent-because-virtual power fantasies. But let’s also try to be a little more nuanced and reflexive in our approach to going anywhere and doing anything.
Because We’re Still Oppressed reblogged a reading list of Non-Western Feminism readings. Check it out here!
From the OP:
It is my intention to put together a non-western feminism course syllabus for submission to my Women’s Studies department. In that spirit, I have collected a list of texts on non-western feminism, mostly in the voices of non-western women, to serve as a starting point for developing this syllabus.
I’m sharing this list with Tumblr because too often “feminism” is understood through a western lens, and this includes African-American and Latin@ feminism, as practiced in the academy. Positions at the margins of feminism, developed from theoretical frameworks that do not rely on western epistemology are necessary to disrupt the theoretical assumptions that we have grown too comfortable with.
Further, it is my intention that, as this list circulates tumblr through reblogs, more texts will be added to it so that space can be made for voices that are all too often unheard, new voices can be added to the feminist “canon,” and we can recognize the very real need for feminisms that arise in contexts outside the american and the western theoretical.
What makes a life in modern Britain go well? Doing ok involves keeping oneself (and maybe dependent loved ones) fed, warm, and sheltered; being part of human networks that provide emotional and practical support; possessing the emotional and cognitive tools to function day-to-day, and navigate life’s obstacles; being born in a geographical location that means one finds oneself on the right side of borders legislation; existing in a cultural niche where one is presented with opportunities, other than robbing, drugs, and violence. Doing ok in modern Britain depends to a large extent on luck – accidents of birth and upbringing, together with other factors that are mostly beyond one’s control. For those who are unlucky, life is tough. Journalist, Laura Page, interviews five people living on the margins in modern Britain.
I was pleasantly surprised to see CNN post a well thought-out and executed article on responses to recent appropriation of American Indian cultures.
(The comments are a different story, but at least there are some people calling out the bs among them.)
The article even does what its interviewees suggest: most of the article is just quotes from Native designers, artists, and bloggers.
“The conversation is important, because acts of cultural appropriation are not simply isolated incidents of “hipsters in Navajo panties and pop stars in headdresses,” said Sasha Houston Brown, a member of the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska. They are byproducts of “systemic racism” that perpetuate the idea that there’s no such thing as contemporary Native culture. ”Despite what dominant society and mainstream media say, Native culture is a vibrant and living culture. We are not a relic of the past, a theme or a trend, we are not a style or costume, we are not mascots, noble savages or romantic fictional entities.”
“What an ally does is support and help communicate the message of Native artists and entrepreneurs instead of speaking for them,” Brown said.
It would have been even better if the article had also discussed the connection between the amount of sexual violence American Indian women face (statistically) and the sexualization of them via things like the Victoria Secret runway show, ‘sexy Indian’ costumes, and other things. Brown discusses that in her article here at Racialiscious.