sqbr: (mod hat)
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 08:23 pm
This is my Serious Business journal. Are you perhaps looking for my fannish/personal journal [personal profile] alias_sqbr?

My comment policy.

Absolutely anyone is welcome to read/subscribe, and noone is under any obligation to give me access.

This is the stuff I assume you know about me.
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sqbr: (up and down)
Thursday, May 5th, 2016 05:36 pm
So, a question that's come up in a game I'm working on, and is likely to come up again in future: how do you combine allowing the player character (PC) of a dating sim having a spectrum of gender identities available with having love interests who aren't all bi/pan?
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sqbr: Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 02:15 pm
The comments to my last post on the subject made me realise I hadn't expressed myself very clearly, so I've been waiting until I felt clear headed enough to lay out my argument properly, and here we are.

My point: female protagonists are almost always the least invested in feminine presentation compared to other female characters in the story.

I'm not saying there's no such thing as major sympathetic female characters who care more about feminine presentation than other female characters in the story. There's lots of those. I am strictly talking about protagonists.

In most cases the main character is the best at looking pretty, but that's not the same as being the most invested. A common trope is the protagonist being forced to dress up prettily and looking fabulous with no effort on her part. Another common trope, especially on tv, is her looking fabulous and fairly girly despite explicitely "not caring". As many butch women have pointed out, mainstream fiction actually portrays women as being, overall, much more invested in feminine presentation than they are in reality. You almost never see genuinely butch women, instead many female protagonists SAY they don't care about feminine presentation but clearly LOOK like someone who cares a great deal.

I'm not saying that these stories are neccesarily sexist, especially not something like Fun Home which explores the generally ignored experiences of butch women. I just think it's notable that female protagonists are so limited, and want to poke at it.
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sqbr: (train)
Friday, April 29th, 2016 07:59 pm
My review

This was exactly what I expected from the trailer: a well made, entertaining superhero film with great fights, nice character moments and utterly repulsive political subtext. On the plus side it abandons it's pretense to ~realism about halfway through and becomes purely character/explosion driven, at which point I stopped thinking "bloody Americans" every five minutes and was actually able to enjoy it.


Since we got to see it earlier than a lot of other places, and I know I was curious to know if the politics were going to be as annoying as they seemed from the trailer. tl;dr: they are.
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sqbr: Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 11:59 am
Can anyone think of sympathetic female protagonists who are shown caring about their physical appearance and/or actively trying to look more feminine and pretty more than some/all of the other women in the story? Not sympathetic side characters where it's seen as a forgivable flaw, but protagonists.

I'm conflating "trying to look good" with "traditionally feminine" a bit here, I realise they're not the same thing and if people have examples which poke at that I'd be interested too.

EDIT: I'm looking for PROTAGONISTS, not secondary characters/non-main parts of an ensemble, and they have to be EXPLICITELY MORE into dressing up etc than other female characters in the same story.
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EDIT: some examples from further thinking/other people:

  • Buffy from Buffy
  • Elle from Legally Blonde
  • Aisha from Aisha and Cher from Clueless, both modern retellings of Emma that turn Emma's advice to Harriet on being more upper class into fashion advice
From memory, Legally Blonde is the only one that really treats caring about fashion etc with much respect. With Aisha and Clueless I think it's an artifact of "being upper class while female" translating most easily into fashion consciousness, and it could be argued that it's still more about class than gender. But Buffy and Legally Blonde are explicitely designed to be stories about the kind of girl who never gets to be the heroine.

EDIT: Followup post.
sqbr: (genius!)
Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 11:50 am
I don't know if any of you guys can help with this, but if nothing else writing it all out will help me get it straight in my head.

So! I like to put wheelchair users in my games, because nobody else is going to. I feel reasonably confident writing/drawing people in my position: in a powerchair due to relatively recently acquired fatigue. Thanks to online research I also feel moderately confident with the Default Wheelchair User Character: a young, otherwise healthy paraplegic or amputee in a manual chair. The protagonist of SOON is this kind of character.

But I'm having trouble researching wheelchair using characters of other sorts, especially older people.
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sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Friday, January 8th, 2016 01:14 pm
I feel like I almost have a grip on this idea but lack the words to express it. Let's have a go anyway.

So! Fandom discussions have become very social justice tinged of late. In some ways I think this is great, I'm old enough to remember the dark wasteland of "why are you bringing race/gender/etc into it??" fannish dicussions before about 2006, and continue to be delighted by some of the positive changes I've seen in media and fandom over the last decade or so.

But! As is increasingly obvious there are some serious issues with the way social justice is approached in fandom, beyond the unavoidable flaws created by the conversation having people in it. And part of this is the erasure of the relative power position of the people being criticised. None of this is entirely new, but it's gotten worse. Nb I am primarly talking about online female dominated Western fandom, generally on dreamwidth and tumblr, but this happens other places too.
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sqbr: (up and down)
Thursday, November 26th, 2015 02:46 pm
For the Perth Gaming Festival this Saturday. I have a bunch of copanelists, so this is just points I want to hit, not a strict plan.

Description:
More people are playing and making games than ever before, and as the community has grown so too has the call for games that represent a wide range of human experience. This panel explores the importance of diversity in games, with discussion of ways developers can make more representative games, of how both players and game makers can be supportive of diverse voices, and will include examples of games featuring positive identity representations. Our panelists will speak from a wide range of perspectives, including disability, the LGBTIQ spectrum, and culturally diverse backgrounds.

My notes:
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sqbr: (up and down)
Saturday, November 14th, 2015 03:41 pm
So I think it's great when people pay attention to disability. But I don't like the way a lot of people (generally ablebodied/neurotypical) frame it. Namely, they divide actions neatly into acessible/"good for disabled people" and inaccessible/"bad for disabled people" then are smug about how
(a) This is good for "disabled people" in general
(b) This is easy and any decent person could do it. Sometimes with an added condemnation of the bad people who don't do these "simple things" and clearly don't care about disabled people.
(c) They are a good Ally to disabled people doing everything that can be done.

Except it's very rarely that simple.
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sqbr: (up)
Sunday, November 8th, 2015 07:54 pm
See [community profile] bitesizedorg. Right now they're figuring out things like compensation and name etc.
sqbr: (racism)
Saturday, October 31st, 2015 12:48 pm
Because it's a complex topic and I didn't want to get into a public conversation with the bigots buzzing around him.

And looking at it again now I see a silly spelling mistake /o\ Also JUST after I sent it [personal profile] mooreeffoc pointed out that you can't "fail" an IQ test. But if I'd kept editing much longer I'd have wound myself into an anxious ball and never sent it.
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sqbr: (racism)
Saturday, October 31st, 2015 07:22 am
He said "Your Halloween reminder that blackface is an IQ test, and if you wear it, you've failed." and my reply would be:

Blackface is awful, but equating low IQ with racism/moral failing is unfair. Esp given it's history http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2007/11/27/the-pseudoscience-of-%E2%80%9Cintelligence%E2%80%9D-testing/

(I found the link via quick google)

But idk, it feels weird bringing it up as a white non American. And while I'm disabled I have a pretty high IQ. Plus of course it could open me up to trolls, unless I send it as a private message.

Hmmm. Will ponder when more awake.
sqbr: (up and down)
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 11:54 am
I've seen a lot of mogai people expressing discomfort/disdain for the plethora of rainbow filtered icons on facebook, and I don't mean to tell them they're wrong for their personal reaction, but I like it. I'm tired so here's my reasons in dot points.


  • rainbows are pretty
  • I can still see who people are (this is why I never participate in memes where everyone uses the same picture. Too confusing!)
  • I now know those people are at least basically ok with same sex relationships! This does not go without saying for everyone I follow.
  • Everyone who follows those people knows it too. This normalises mogai acceptance in general and marriage equality in particular. Since most people I follow are Australian and marriage equality hasn't been legalised here, that's not insignificant. And this is the case even if the people with the filters are doing it because of peer pressure/fashion.
  • It's nice to feel part of a global celebration of civil rights (yes, of a United States specific event). Especially because rainbows are so festive!
  • it's a really mild, ambiguous way for me to express my sexuality in a situation where I'm not 100% out.
  • On my feed at least it's NOT all straight people, in fact I'd say it heavily skews lgbt. And the fact it's popular with straight people means the rest of us aren't unambiguously outing ourselves by using it.


I think that's about it! I know there are arguments against it, I'm not saying it's an unalloyed good. But it felt like a lot of people were assuming that the ONLY people who like it were straight and nope.

Here's two contrasting articles about it I came across via Facebook:
More than 26 million people have changed their Facebook picture to a rainbow flag. Here’s why that matters.
If you’re straight you need to stop using rainbow profile pics.
sqbr: Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Saturday, June 20th, 2015 01:57 pm
There are certain sexist narratives media present to us. It's good to try to subvert them. But it is usually impossible to subvert all of them at once.

One of the narratives we're fed is that there is a single path of Good Womanhood. This path is inconsistent and impossible for any real woman to follow, and because it's so inconsistent parts of it show up in all sorts of attempted subversions.

One of the other narratives we're fed is that women should sacrifice our own enjoyment for The Greater Good. Thus letting ourselves enjoy the narratives we enjoy, no matter how "problematic", is itself in some ways subversive. (This doesn't mean we shouldn't try to avoid being actively sexist. Or for that matter racist etc)

Saying that there is a single Feminist Narrative all female characters should fit into supports this idea that there is a single Good Way To Be A Woman. Also, chances are there is some way this "feminist" narrative ends up supporting part of the typical Sexist Narrative, or is just not to everyone's tastes. Telling women that they are unfeminist if they don't like The One Feminist Narrative buys into the idea that women should sacrifice their own enjoyment for the greater good.
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sqbr: (up)
Friday, June 12th, 2015 04:37 pm
Disability Fest is a tumblr for fannishness about canonically disabled characters, they have a fest coming up in July and some nice posts in their archive.

Going to see if there's stuff I can organise for it! You just have to tag it "disabilityfest" in the first 5 tags.
sqbr: (up)
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 02:03 pm
Originally posted to tumblr in response to some flawed advice. Edited slightly to make sense out of context.

You do not need a reason to include disabled characters in your story. Able bodied people are not the default. Saying you need a reason to make a character disabled is like saying you need a reason to make them a woman, or a POC, or mogai. Or, conversely, that you need a reason to make them able bodied, a man, white, or straight. In fact I’ve started trying to make all my characters disabled queer WOC by default and only making them able bodied etc when the plot requires it and I can see no way this is not just as valid a storytelling approach. 

Now, able bodied people are the majority, but disabled people are still 10% of the population. So they should be at least 10% of your cast. If they are not without good reason you are perpetuating ableism. Making your cast 100% ablebodied is a choice, and an unrealistic one at that. (Making your cast 100% disabled is also kind of unrealistic, and is one reason I don’t do it. But I don’t see that it’s any worse) EDIT: This depends very much on the context of your story. If it's set in a nursing home the number of disabled characters should probably be higher than if it's set in a unit of Navy Seals.

And yes, when you write those disabled characters, you have to write them as disabled, you can’t just gloss over their impairments and write them as able bodied. And it will be a challenge. Suck it up. Use it as inspiration to write a more interesting story. Or, if your story really doesn’t work with that disability, give them a different one or make them able bodied. But don’t give up before you’ve even tried by default.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting out with the intention to write more disabled characters, and it is not pandering. Pandering to who, disabled people? OH NO. 

You know what I find insulting? When a character in fiction shows up with a disability and I KNOW it will be plot relevant (and probably faked as part of them being the villain) because god forbid disabled characters just exist without it being a big deal. Like we do in real life.

sqbr: (dw!)
Thursday, February 5th, 2015 11:23 am
Ancillary Conversation A conversation I was involved in at No Award about the Imperial Radch series.

Believing that life is fair might make you a terrible person As I said on tumblr: Now I’m thinking about the implications for effective activism. Should we be avoiding “this unjust thing happened to X marginalised group (or the environment)” signal boosting that doesn’t come with “and here’s what you can do about it”? That’s what my gut tends to say, but I guess there’s the implication that passing the information on IS doing something about it. And “just don’t tell people about unjust things that happened in history” seems like an unfortunate moral. HMM. I’m sure smarter people than me have thought about this.

Let's talk about category structure and oppression! Everyone is expected to relate to a cis straight white anglophone American man. We're all like them, they're just (default, category-central) people after all! But they're not like us.

THE CATEGORIES WERE MADE FOR MAN, NOT MAN FOR THE CATEGORIES A bit rambly but eventually about the way we define "man"and "woman".

The EntitleMen: techno-libertarian right wing sockpuppets of silicon valley This is a bit rambly but makes some interesting comments about facism, libertarianism, and tech.

Basic income paid to the poor can transform lives

Safe a safe space for People of Colour who have an interest in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I'm sure I must have linked this already but it was on the list, so.

Everything is problematic Someone's path through some of the more unhealthy parts of acitivism.

France begins jailing people for ironic comments

And via anghraine, two examples of Korra fans turning "I don't like this" into "this is problematic", eg my least favourite kind of fannish "activism": anyone who likes Book 3 more is sexist, representation doesn't count if I didn't enjoy it.

Australia:

SUPERMARKET MONSTERS Coles, Woolworths and the price we pay for their domination

Hmmph. The article I linked to about it has vanished, but here's the petition to revoke Adam Baldwin's invitation to the con Supanova
sqbr: Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Sunday, February 1st, 2015 09:39 pm
Because it's relevant to another conversation, and also something I find interesting in it's own right.

Note: This is largely about cis female characters being read as cis male characters in fictional settings where everyone is assumed to be both cis and binary gendered. I think a lot of the ways this issue is discussed erase or belittle trans people (eg I am not a fan of the phrase "man in a dress"), and I hope I haven't done that, I have used "genderswap" a few times because in these settings there are only two genders.

So. I would never describe a female identified person as "effectively male". There are very limited circumstances in which I might describe a female fictional character that way, and none come to mind. And I have seen way too many examples of fans of all genders dismissing female characters for either being "too much like men" or "too much the kind of character men like" (feminine, sexy etc), and in a way which implicitely erases the existence of real life women with similar traits, or at the very least is hurtful to female fans who identify with that female character. For this reason, the phrase "effectively male" or statements like it rub me the wrong way.

But there are many times when I would say about a female character that "they are equivalent to a male character in X respect" or "I felt about them the way I would feel about a male character doing those things", and I know that's all a lot of other people mean when they say a female character is "effectively male".
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sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Saturday, January 31st, 2015 10:47 am
A sequence of thoughts I had just now:


  • Hey, a new indie visual novel! Looks pretty!
  • Hmm. "Asian mythological themes", huh?
  • A disabled protagonist!
  • ...who is magically cured at the start of the story(*)...
  • This is a demo and they are asking for feedback, oh god should I try playing it and offer suggestions?
  • Wait FROM THE WRITER OF CYANIDE TEA AHHHHH


*prepares self to try and ignore this game's existence for perpetuity despite the indie VN community hailing it as a Thoughtful Exploration Of Disability*

On the plus side this gives me extra motivation to work on my interactive Northanger Abbey where Henry Tilney is in a wheelchair and nobody mentions it.

(*)she's not only magically cured, she was happy and friendly pre disability but became withdrawn and cynical once she got sick, and it is only in the Magical ~Asian Themed~ Land Where She Can Walk that she learns to overcome her bitterness. Probably gets punished/mocked a bunch for her terrible flaws first, though, this is a Cyanide Tea game.