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2015 CON CALENDAR
We're done for 2014 but it's not too early to look at 2015.
MARCH
PAX East, Boston
Boston, MA, March 6 - 8, 2015
Emerald City, Seattle
Seattle, WA, March 27 - 29, 2015

JUNE
utopYA Con, Nashville
Nashville, TN, June 18-21, 2015

SEPTEMBER
DragonCon, Atlanta
Atlanta, GA, Septebmer 4 -7, 2015

OCTOBER
GeekGirlCon, WA
Seattle, WA, October 10 - 11, 2015 GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014

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Friday
Nov072014

She-Hulk: Still "No."

Mike Madrid is a lifetime comic book and pop culture fan, and the author of “The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines,” and “Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics.” I was honored to hear him speak at GeekGirlCon about his latest book* “Vixens, Vamps & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics.” The next day I bought his book and attended the 1:00 signing.

We had a very short discussion about female heroes in modern comic books — he asked me if I was reading She-Hulk.

I said, “No. I got the first issue and didn’t like it. I’m reading Captain Marvel.”

“Hmm,” was his response.

!?!?

He explained that he was thrilled with She-Hulk because, unlike Carol Danvers who is supported by Tony Stark, Jennifer Walters supports herself.

After this and other positive comments regarding She-Hulk, I went back to my comic store and bought issues #002 and #003 and reread from #001.

I still don’t like it. And I take issue with Madrid’s self-supporting-female qualifier. 

First of all, it’s an aesthetics thing. I do not like Javier Pulido’s interior art. The cover art by Kevin Wada is wonderful (I’ve used numerous adjectives here; pick your fav). There’s so much character and strength in Wada’s She-Hulk. In contrast, Pulido’s features are so geometric and flat they’re inhuman to the point of distraction. Very subjective, so let's look at Madrid's reasoning.

I interpret Madrid’s comment to mean that Jennifer Walters is a better female protagonist because Carol Danvers is supported by a rich man.

There are several possible arguments here, so let’s be fair and cover the bases. Does working for anyone, for a rich person, or for a man make a female character a lesser representation?

 

WORKING FOR ANYONE

Most people work for someone and Walters is no different. In She-Hulk #001, “Motion,” Jennifer Walters quits a demeaning job and opens her own law firm. Technically, she works for her clients. Without clients she has no business. She also hires Angie Huang as a paralegal and Hellcat as an investigator (#002). If working for someone makes you a lesser character, then Walters character would be inflicting this on other women, subordinating them.

Yes, this is a ludicrous argument. Utterly self-contained female heroes are not what make women strong, accomplished, and equal. The configuration of working for someone, when done correctly, creates a team where you share your talents and make a stronger force. You can see that happening with the principled Walters, the mysterious and astute Huang, and the energetic Hellcat.  

 

WORKING FOR THE RICH

As a lawyer, Walters needs clients. At the end of issue #002 Walters is hired to work for someone as rich, powerful, and arrogant as Tony Stark: Kristoff Vernard, the son of Victor Von Doom, ruler of Latveria. She takes the job. He needed help and she helped him.

If being rich is an issue it's an argument of fiscal equality. Being rich, I have no problem with. If I had the choice to be rich, I’d take it. If fiscal equality is Madrid’s issue, we will simply disagree politically but that’s all I’ll say about that.

 

WORKING FOR A MAN

My guess is this is what Madrid believes makes Captain Marvel a lesser female character than She-Hulk. It’s the only one of the three arguments that really has meat.

It is historically true that women in the work place have been seen as subordinate to men and are depicted answering to men instead of being the ones in charge. Jobs have been given to men because they aren’t women. Women have been disrespected, discriminated, and depreciated. This does not mean that every representation of a female character in patronage to a man is inequality. It would mean that, to represent equality, a woman should never be shown working for a man.

Equality doesn’t mean elimination. A working relationship of mutual respect, elevation, and appreciation represents equality, no matter the sexes.

Besides, She-Hulk does work for a man by choice — Vernard (#003).

CONCLUSION

Even though She-Hulk plays out quite nicely as a female protagonist I will not be reading the title. I'm not attached to the world because the art work pushes me away. When choosing titles to purchase, I’m about 70% artwork and 30% story.

For the story, a least, I understand the fans of She-Hulk. I mean, what's up with Angie and that monkey?

 

I’ll Give You a Topic

  • Is there another interpretation of Madrid's comment I missed?
  • Can someone tell me why Jennifer Walters is green all the time where Bruce Banner is only green when he’s the Hulk? I’m new to comics so I’m sure there’s an explanation for this.

*Doing research for this article I discovered that “Vixens, Vamps & Vipers” has a forward written by my current Coursera teacher, William Kushkin, Ph.D.

Monday
Nov032014

episode 136 - Alison Carrier - Renaissance Woman

This week we have the pleasure of chatting with Alison Carrier, a bona fide Renaissance Woman and female geek hero. Alison works for EA at the Red Crow Austin studio as a UI/UX designer. Hear some stories about working in the game industry, cosplaying Wonder Woman, and all about her fantastically geeky hobbies. 

We WRaP up the show with what we're Watching, Reading, and Playing. I won't talk about a certain mobile game that has me super frustrated. I'm saving that for a later post. 

LINKS

Alison Carrier
The Simpsons: Tapped Out (iTunes, Android, Kindle)
Monopoly Hotels (Apple devices)
Electronic Arts - Austin
UI/UX Design
MTAC, Middle Tennessee Anime Convention
Geek Media Expo, Nashville, TN
Tai Chi

WATCHING

"American Horror Story", FX
"Selfie", ABC
"Bad Judge", NBC

READING

"Understanding Comics", Steve McCloud
"Chicks Dig Gaming"

PLAYING

"World of Goo"
"Torchlight II"
"Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel"

COMING

"Big Hero 6"
"Interstellar"
"Jessabelle"
"The Theory of Everything"
"Hot in Cleveland", Season 6, TVLand
"White Collar", Season 6, USA

You can't hold her back from being the woman she wants to be. The world's going to do enough of that.

- Mike Baxter, "Last Man Standing", ABC, Season 4, Episode 1 

Until next time, game on! 
Regina and Rhonda 

Episode 136

Friday
Oct312014

Gaming Terminology Primer: Wrap Up

Well, I think we're almost done here. I started this article series back in July thanks to my mother needing a little help understanding gamer speak. I’ve talked to her off and on over the course of this series and she's told me that she thinks it's helped her. I hope it's helped others out there as well. Towards that end, we will be pinning this series, along with other articles and episodes of the Game on Girl podcast, that deal with the basics of gaming on the right margin of the GoG site. This way if you're unsure of a term or need more info on a genre of game, it will be available in an easy to find location.

Aside from the jargon, something else a neophyte to gaming culture should take away from this series is the incredible amount of genres of video games that are out there and how the lines between those genres blur more and more every year  from RPGs that have an immersive first person experience (looking at you Elder Scrolls) to first person shooters that have an RPG style skill tree system (hello Borderlands).

This has a twofold effect. One, there should be a game out there to suit anyone's taste at this point. And two, this leads to there being an ever more rich and diversified gaming experience within those games.

So, what now?

Well, a couple of things.

First, get out there and find the game that is right for you. If you don't know where to start, do some research and try some things. It will be well worth it, I assure you.

Second, some more lexicon! That's right, there's more. I saved it for last due to these being terms that you will find in use across all genres of gaming and just general online communication.

 

LEXICON

AFK: Away From Keyboard.

BIO: Short for biological break. Usually indicates one needing to use the restroom, but can also mean getting a drink or taking care of any other biological necessity.

BRB: Be Right Back.

Clan: An affiliated group of gamers. Usually used in the first person shooter genre.

Guild: An affiliated group of gamers. Usually used in the RPG genre.

IIRC: If I Recall Correctly.

LFG: Looking For Group. Used to indicate that a player is looking for a group of players to play with.

Newbie/Noob: A term to indicate a new player. Can be a derogatory term.

PST: Please Send Tell. Indicates that a player would like someone to contact them directly in game.

OMW: On My Way.

WTB: Want To Buy.

WTS: Want To Sell.

WTT: Want To Trade.

 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact me at mark@gameongirl.com or on Twitter @MarsUller.

Monday
Oct272014

episode 135 - Game on Ghouls

In our first ever Halloween episode, Rhonda and I talk about season 7 of True Blood. I will warn you now - WE SPOIL EVERYTHING. So if you are a fan and haven't watched, skip to the last part of the episode where we talk about our favorite scary games, TV, movies, and books. My book selection made Rhonda laugh out loud. You should listen just to find out why! 

"True Blood", Season 7

SCARY GAMES

Silent Hill, Konami
Dead Space, EA (available for Kindle and Android)
Pandemic, Z-man Games

SCARY MOVIE

"The Shining"
"Session 9"

SCARY TV

"American Horror Story"
"The Walking Dead", Season 5, Episode 1

SCARY BOOK

"The Amityville Horror", Jay Anson
"50 Shades of Grey", E. L. James

DREAM COSTUME

Wonder Woman
Ellen Ripley and the Caterpillar work loader

COMING EVENTS

NC ComicCon, November 15th & 16th, Durham

"Horns", rated R, starring Daniel Radcliffe

"Strange Empire", CBC
Set in 1869 Alberta-Montana border country, 'Strange Empire' is a Western whose heroes are women. With most of the men gone, and those who remain battling for control, the women struggle to survive, to find their independence, and to build a life in which to thrive and raise families.

"2 Broke Girls", CBS
"Mom", Season 2, CBS
"The McCarthys", CBS
"Elementary", CBS
"Grimm", NBC
"Alpha House", Amazon
"Web Therapy", Showtime 

You can also find us on facebookgoogle+, tumblr, and twitter.  If you haven't done so already, please consider leaving us a rating and/or review on iTunes

Until next time, game on! 
Regina & Rhonda 

Every sound I hear, every time the phone rings, every shadow in the corner of my eye, I think it’s Bill. I keep expecting him to come through the door and say, “Sookie.”

- True Blood, Season 3, Episode 2, 18:14

Episode 135

Friday
Oct242014

❤ Positive Feminism

When I’m on a con panel, I look for an opportunity to mention that I don’t agree with the conclusions of She-who-shall-not-be-named in her Game-Trope series and that her voice is not the best to put forward for feminism.* When I say this, there are audible groans of disapproval in the audience. That’s fine. I want the community to be open to differing opinions and keep an open mind. But it seems people aren’t comfortable doing that.

After one panel at DragonCon a handful of people came up to me and secretly confessed they agreed with me about She-who-shall-not-be-named. “But if she’s not our feminist delegate, who else is there? Don’t I have to fall in line?”

Absolutely not.

Putting forth only one representative for a complex idea will, in fact, have the opposite effect. The fallout we’ve been seeing lately is a clear example of that. The proliferation of hearsay may even cause the  altogether loss of the term ‘feminism’ as anything socially positive. A valid cause and idea has become lost in a screaming match. There are lots of reasons for the screaming (lies, misinformation, piety, etc.), but one is the desperate need of the feminist community to defend the narrow representation we’ve put forth.

The feminist model that speaks for you should be chosen by you, not a community, hashtag, meme, or prolific headliner. Social media is defining who and what you are. Drive social media; don’t ride its helter-skelter, chameleon party bus. Choose for yourself a feminist that speaks for you and raise them up via your tweets, friend clicks, likes, posts, tumbles, etc. We talk to people on the show all the time that may voice your feminism  look back at those as a starting point.

The first thing you need to do is understand is what feminism means to you. Feminism is not a cause, it’s a conviction. Feminism is not a negative, it’s a positive. “I’m against hate speech,” is a cause. “I’m for inclusion and diversity,” is a conviction. Spell out your principles on paper about what it means to you to be a feminist. Then, you can choose a mentor and a cause.

One feminist cause seems to be railing against hate speech but it’s a very small and futile one. As any psychologist will tell you about relationships (or anyone who’s been in a relationship), you can’t change another person — not with reasoning, screaming, badgering, shaming… anything. You’ll make bigger strides for feminism if you become a better feminist than you will in trying to stop one person’s hate speech. As a group cause, we can encourage individuals to stand up, one-on-one, against online hate speech.

What about death threats? This is different. It is a form of hate speech, but it crosses a line. This is not a cause, it is a crime, and our tax-paid enforcement agencies should be dealing with it. If they are not, you have a cause with law and enforcement leaders and your social media rants may actually work against you in this. If you are a victim of threats, you should be going to the police and not online. There is no benefit to you or the community to make threats public.

“But people need to know this is happening.”

In regards to death threats specifically, why? If law enforcement is handling it, then what does it benefit feminism or the online community to know about it? If it is being dealt with, it is, by definition, not a cause. And you’re not going to stop it by putting it on the new celebrity stage of social media. Retweeting gives it importance and I don’t think it’s the importance you intend. Believe me; the hater is thrilled you retweeted. The online affirmation is the retweet/like/❤/△/@.

To Regina’s optimism, I am the pessimist. I see no end to hate or threatening speech. And if we can’t change the other person then let’s not waste our efforts. Exert all of this energy to raise the positive message, live an example of our feminism, be a feminist mentor, and put forth more and more representatives. If we’re going on a raid, we need more than a single crafting sorceress.

I'll Give You A Topic

Are there any other feminist models out there? Who are they?

* I think I used all the hot-button words in that sentence. That should get a bunch of unnecessary hits. Bleh.