sqbr: (mod hat)
2019-09-22 08:23 pm
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[sticky entry] Sticky: Things you should know

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.
sqbr: (up and down)
2015-07-01 11:54 am

Actually ok with the Facebook filter thing

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)
2015-06-20 01:57 pm

There is no such thing as "The Feminist Narrative"

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.
Read more... )
sqbr: (up)
2015-06-12 04:37 pm
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Disability Fest

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)
2015-06-02 02:03 pm

A rant about writing disabled characters

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!)
2015-02-05 11:23 am

All hail the mighty link post

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)
2015-02-01 09:39 pm
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Thoughts on female characters being "effectively male"

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".
Read more... )
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
2015-01-31 10:47 am

Oh God

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.
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
2015-01-08 09:29 pm

Sex/Romance-Optional Bioware "Romances"?

Accidentally posted this over at alias_sqbr, after Chrome logged me out and then relogged me back into the wrong account. THANKS CHROME.
sqbr: Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
2015-01-07 09:21 am

In defense of violence in video games

I've been paying more attention to video game criticism lately, and it feels like there's this growing backlash against the ubiquity of violence in video games. And to some extent I entirely agree: the idea that "real gamers play RPSs at the hardest difficulty"/"real games are FPSs with the latest graphics" is really restrictive and exclusionary, both of the variety of people who play games, and the variety of kinds of games we could be playing. One of the reasons violence is used so frequently as a core mechanic is that it's relatively easy to code and design, and that warps the narratives of games: Someone at Pax was talking about how if the only problem solving tool you have is "the protagonist kills someone" that really limits the kinds of stories you can tell, and warps the stories you do tell.

But there's a difference between 'we shouldn't default unthinkingly to using violence in video games" and "we should stop using violence in video games" and sometimes it feels like people are leaning towards the latter. I'm not some paranoid Gamergater thinking anyone's going to take my FPSs away, but I think dismissing genres like FPS out of hand lessens our ability to discuss and make games better.
Read more... )
sqbr: (up)
2015-01-05 12:07 pm

Thinking about magical healing machines

I'm not sure if I've talked about this before but: every time I encounter Magical Healing/Health machines in speculative fiction (eg the sarcophagi in Stargate, the med bay in Star Trek, the machine that turned Steve into Captain America) I think about how they decide what counts as an illness/injury, and how they decide what Ideal Healthy State to go for. The line between "sick" and "healthy" is to some extent socially mandated and arbitrary, and an optimally "healthy" human population requires variation amongst the individuals. To maximise everything is impossible. You have to make choices.
Read more... )
sqbr: (train)
2014-12-31 09:50 am

I was wrong about Date Warp!

The bi guy's path can be just as romantically satisfying as the others, I was just playing it wrong /o\ I mean there are still other issues, but that was my main problem with the game and it was all the result of misunderstanding a walkthrough. OOPS.

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who let me know! I have the best anonymous commenters.
sqbr: (dw!)
2014-12-30 10:17 am
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How do you argue with people productively on tumblr?

Recently it's felt like I've totally lost the ability to express disagreement with people I like without utterly ruining that relationship. Part of that is to do with various things going on with my personal life/brain chemistry but I'm wondering how much of it is that a lot of these conversations have moved to tumblr.

Like...in my experience the best arguments happen when you can be open and understanding and try and see the other person's pov, engage with what they're actually saying instead of what you THINK they're saying, and not get all defensive and antagonistic.

But I'm too wordy for asks or replies (and those often get replied to publically anyway) and when I post a reblog I feel very aware that I am engaging not just with that person but with everyone who reads me, everyone following the post, and all of their followers (if they reblog my reply). And that awareness makes it SUPER HARD to be all the things I said in the paragraph above. Even if I trust that person to engage with me in an open and productive way, I don't trust all those other people, and so I put my guard up.

Does anyone else have this problem? And if so how do you deal with it?

Emailing them privately is an option when I have their email address, but it makes everything seem SUPER SERIOUS which puts me off. There's also writing out my argument in a text editor and dividing it up into as many asks as neccesary, I again feel weird about it but maybe it's a better approach. I like that reblogs can feel more like a casual discussion instead of a super serious "taking aside to express private disagreement" but it so easily goes from casual discussion to huge visible argument it seems not to be worth the risk for fraught topics.

"Don't argue with people on tumblr" is not a helpful aproach for me, I have recently tried arguing less but there are some opinions I find too upsetting to let slide and in my experience these unspoken arguments have a tendency to bubble up and explode if you ignore them. "Don't follow people with opinions you want to argue with" would mean cutting out a lot of people I mostly really like. And an echo chamber of people who all entirely agree with me is not entirely appealing. I really like being able to have productive discussions with people with different povs, and I know I used to be better at it.

Thinking about, I have taken the "just don't argue with people and unfollow anyone who makes that unbearable" approach to twitter, because expressing myself in 140 characters is just impossible. But I follow a very different group of people there, and barely post at all.

EDIT: Some interesting responses on tumblr...which of course I can't easily link to because tumblr but at worst you'll have to scroll down a little through that tag.

(going to post this on tumblr too, god help me, but point out that this post exists as a space for conversation for those who prefer it)
sqbr: (up and down)
2014-12-27 07:56 am
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Wheelchair/Scooter battery advice

My battery has started running out AGAIN only a few months after getting it replaced last time. Anyone else had this problem? Is it plausibly just the price I pay for living on top of a really big hill? And if you live in Perth, where do you get yours replaced? I've been using Scooters Australia, which costs about $600 ie RATHER MORE than I'd like to be spending every few months /o\

Have been recharging whenever I'm not using it, trying not to let it run down too low when I'm out, and trying to keep the wheels inflated though we did forget about that for a while. And it's still run out faster than it did before I started doing any of those things.
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
2014-12-27 12:07 am

Doing the Date Warp again

Playing Date Warp, a little indie scifi visual novel/dating sim that was on special recently. It's overall been more fun than I was expecting, even if the science makes NO SENSE and the art is middling to awful.

The first LI I tried is basically a human version of Cole from Dragon Age Inquisition: a younger innocent blonde dude who defines himself entirely by wanting to help others. I was worried when the PC said "But he's younger and prettier than me, is that weird?" but in the end it was a sweet little romance. (nb I would not have dated the ACTUAL Cole. ...I think)

The second was a slightly sleazy poly bisexual mad scientist who's a sweetie deep down. You flirt and talk a lot about science and then he asks if you want to have meaningless sex.
Spoilers for what happens next )
sqbr: (up)
2014-12-26 03:12 pm

Yuki Yuna Is A Hero (but disabled people are tragic)

So a while ago some (able bodied) friends said "Hey Sophie, you might want to check out this new show Yuki Yuna Is A Hero, it has a cool wheelchair using magical girl character."

I watched the first two episodes and had mixed feelings: episode 1 wallowed in Tragic Cripple tropes but she did get to be pretty badass in episode 2. Since this is male-aimed moe (always a chancy genre) and people were predicting a Madoka-esque turn into darkness I decided to wait until the end of the season and see how things played out.

And then as the end of the season approached those same friends said "OH MY GOD SOPHIE YOU SHOULD NOT WATCH THIS SHOW I AM SO SORRY".

Spoilers, references to suicide and some REALLY GREAT attitudes to disability  )
sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
2014-12-11 01:34 pm

*opens the Ancillary Justice tag on tumblr*

One review praises the way it uses "she" as the universal pronoun then goes on to describe everyone as a "he".

Another is a list of squeeful things, including both the anti colonialist message and the fact that everyone drinks tea (except servants and anyone else the colonisers/upper class want to make feel like dirt, of course, but they don't count)

*closes the Ancillary Justice tag*

(I reviewed it on my other blog. Overall I quite liked it!)
sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
2014-11-10 09:54 pm
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So this is embarassing

This morning I had a moment of perfect clarity. I felt a strength of purpose and certainty in the importance of speaking publically on a complex issue that I haven't felt much in the last few years.

And then this evening I had a second moment of perfect clarity. That thought was "this is fucked up." And realised that the state I'm in now, and haven't been in for several years, is unmedicated.

GUESS WHO'S RINGING A THERAPIST TOMORROW.

My apologies to anyone who was hurt by the now locked post, which I am going to ignore for a while until I feel able to approach it with at least a modicum of rationality. Also apologies for blarging my personal issues on you all, but I felt like an explanation was neccesary and couldn't think of a less mortifying way to explain things. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go play computer games for a while and try not to die of /o\
sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
2014-10-28 01:41 pm

The long view on gamergate

If my (flawed and shallow) understanding of the history of novels (specifically scifi and YA), comics, and films is any guide, in 20 years:

Video games will be taken more seriously as an art.
There will be room in the marketplace for lots of healthy subgenres appealing to people from all walks of life.
There will still be heaps of cheesy AAA shooters because people like that sort of thing, but there'll also be cross pollination between genres to the betterment of all.
There will specifically be a thriving Indie Game subculture, Indie Game Makers who are taken seriously in mainstream culture and can make a comfortable living etc.
People will remember Gamergate, if they do at all, as a bunch of regressive moustache twirling Luddites who were too hidebound to accept progress and True Art etc.

And the heroes of this new movement, and of the history as people remember it, will be white dudes. They'll make a movie starring John Scalzi as the Brave Male Feminist and Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkesian as the thankful oppressed victims. Brianna Wu will have a cameo played by Dakota Fanning.
There'll be Best MOGAI Games Of 2034 Humble Bundle or whatever, but the Indie Game Artform will for the most part still be a bunch of stories about grizzled white dudes, just...artistically written ones. Maybe some tragic lesbians every now and then, and the Great Classics as taught will include a careful tokenistic sprinkling of games about and by POC, disabled people etc.

Genres outside the Indie Game Artform will be looked down on as Not Real Art, and this condescension will as it happens fall most severely on any genres which just happen to be more popular with women (AAA action games will alosbe dismissed, and middle aged gamergaters will mutter about how they warned everyone this was going to happen and how AAA action games these days lack the masculine energy of the old days. Female fans of AAA action games will mutter someting quite different). Dating sims, for example, will continue to be as looked down on as romance novels.
Independent games which care more about representing neglected POVs and being entertaining than hitting the current Art buttons will be vaguely respected but not paid much attention.

And we'll all keep making and playing the games we like regardless.

(I do actually consider this to be a mostly much better situation than what we have now. But I had a Vision Of The Future and felt like sharing it. Also, yeah, massive generalisations etc, I hope my basic point comes across)
sqbr: Apologises for the terrible prose it's probably accompanied by, reads an e e cummings poem (Default)
2014-10-19 11:30 pm

More links omg

Make no mistake: Gamergate condones harassment, of Zoe Quinn, and of others. And the thing is, Gamergate is not the first time people supporting a good cause have found themselevs associated with awful people. But usually what happens is people go "Wow that is AWFUL I really don't want to be associated with them" and they make a really clear strong break. Like, cis feminists who don't hate trans women pointedly and publically cutting ties with TERFS.

I reblogged and commented on a post about politisization which then led me to to I can tolerate anything but the outgroup. As he admits at the end, this purports to be an objective skewering of partisanship while deep down actually being incredibly partisan propoganda for centrism. And he is far less self aware about the MASSIVE CLASS ETC BIAS of his POV, even aside from the fact thast is US focused I'm pretty sure red vs blue looks pretty different to a disabled trans black street kid or even, like, Barack Obama. THAT SAID it still made some good points and made me think.

Like, the thing he's criticising is the way people turn every complex specific situation into "proof" that their pov is better, and that the other "side" are a bunch of selfish ignorant harmful losers. But of course his moral often ends up being "not-being-too-political is the best pov, and overly political people are a bunch of selfish ignorant harmful losers" which is EXACTLY WHAT HE'S CRITICISING. It is not inherently bad to have strong, specific, and possibly extreme opinions on the world which mostly align with some existing politcal movement. That is not actually the problem. The problem is how you deal with people whose opinions of the world differ to yours.

I had more thoughts but they got incoherent. Maybe later.