Fair Pay Day!

28 04 2009

Blog for Fair Pay 2009

We Gender Blenders support Fair Pay Day! Today (April 28th) marks the day in 2009 when the average woman’s wages finally catch up with those paid to the average man in 2008.

We’re joining other bloggers in showing our support for equal pay for women!

You can find out more about Equal Pay Day and the fair pay movement on NWLC’s Fair Pay Campaign site.

Go here to add your blog or twitter to the list of sites showing their support! Go Tweet/facebook/blog it!

Queer? Star Wars ain’t for you

28 04 2009

Kotaku.com, a gaming website, has found something troubling on BioWare forums.  BioWare, a gaming company, has a forum on its website that includes role-playing, but there are some restrictions on role-play content, specifically in the forum for the Star Wars game they produce.

What’s going on?  Well, if you haven’t clicked the link, all threads discussing queer sexuality in the Star Wars fandom in their Old Republic have been locked.  Additionally, all threads protesting the locks have been locked, and the very words referring to queer sexuality (“homosexuality,” “lesbian,” “gay”) have been censored.  According to BioWare’s community manager Sean Dahlberg:

“As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars.

Thread closed.”

Luke Plunkett, writing for Kotaku, comments on the above: “OK, but…they do, uh, realise that the people actually playing the game do not exist in Star Wars either, right? They’re real people?”

I’m not a huge Star Wars fan; I’ve seen the original trilogy and some of the new films, but I’ve never played any of the video games or the books, or any other part of the fandom.  I certainly don’t remember seeing much in the way of queer sexuality.  However, lack of representation of queer sexuality in the Star Wars official fandom does not unequivocally mean that there are no queer people (or aliens!) in Star Wars.  In fact, as societies move forward and recognize the different ways in which people identify, and the different non-dominant groups that exist and lack the same representation as dominant groups, things change.  In fact, I think it is perfectly acceptable to question the lack of queer sexuality in Star Wars, and I would encourage those who are still producing official Star Wars stuff to consider adding some.

If the official Star Wars fandom does not represent queer sexuality, the best way to procede is to problematize this lack of representation, not to present this lack of representation as self-explanatory.  In fact, I think that with Star Wars fans using role-play and community forums in order to consider the ways in which Star Wars and queer sexuality can intersect is an excellent way to begin increasing such representation.

And finally, as Plunkett points out, refusing to even allow a discussion of queer sexuality is rather inappropriate, given the fact that there are queer Star Wars fans.  I would go as far as to call this insulting, dehumanizing, and completely unethical.  I also firmly believe that this is a case of discrimination based on sexuality, and that Sean Dahlberg, and any superiors who have helped influence his decision and his statement should not exist in positions of power.

But of course, as heteros, they do.

I am not amused.

28 04 2009

As I was browsing youtube for the anti-gay marriage ads, I came across a joke commercial (it was on a Belgian show called M!lf) about the fictional Shii – The Wii for women. It’s supposed to be an entirely new system made for just for women full of the things that women would enjoy!

It is full of stereotypes – in the beginning two guys are playing “manly” Wii games full of cars and guns and fishing and swordfights. Two women are sitting on the other couch extremely bored, watching their friends? partners? enjoy the console.

But the women get relief! The guys give them a gift (wrapped in pink and purple, no less) and it’s the Shii! What AWESOME games do they have for the women? Steaming Iron II! Kitchen Queens! Shave Invaders! And most popular one? Suckend Life.

I couldn’t find this commercial funny at all and the end where there’s a game where the women have to give head to a fictional guy? Extremely hetereonormative…not every women gives head to men (and I’m sure a lot do not enjoy doing it). This ‘joke’ plays into the old stereotypes that guys LOVE to shoot things and violence (if they’re real men) and to REALLY get women into video games you have to stick to what they know – domestic duties and sexually pleasing men!

I think the faux ad could have been done more cleverly. Looking at the women sucking Wii remotes as their partners/friends cheer them on just contributes more to the degrading nature of this ad. All the other Shii games are shown for a few seconds, but they spend a lot longer showing the women sucking and racing to the finish. In the end, the only message I get is one that makes fun of women, who are inable to be entertained by the same thing as men.