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: 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.
sqbr: (up)
Friday, December 26th, 2014 03:12 pm
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: pretty purple pi (Default)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 01:34 pm
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: pretty purple pi (Default)
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 01:41 pm
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: zuko with a fish on his head (avatar)
Sunday, October 19th, 2014 09:49 pm
So I've been hoping someone with a decent understanding of history (and specifically early 20th century Asian history) would make this post for me, but noone has, so I'm going to do my best and apologise up front for my shallow understanding of history.

Anyway: A subtext which bugged me about Avatar: The Last Airbender which has just gotten worse in The Legend of Korra is the idea that there Rightful Heirs to Power, False Heirs, and Common People. It is Heirs who become world leaders and world changers, on behalf of the Common People who deserve love and compassion but who are cheerleaders at best and a mindless mob working for the False Heirs at worst. Anyone who is born Common and tries to become Important is doomed to become a False Heir. Children of False Heirs can become True Heirs.

Major Spoilers )
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
Friday, October 17th, 2014 10:51 pm
Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage Felt a little overly optimistic but that's a nice change in these dark times, and was an interesting read.

This really irritated me. Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man, a snarky essay riffing on the ~hilarious~ idea that she is a "poor imitation or substitute man" with no mention of the fact that, you know, she could actually identify as male if she wanted. This is a thing afab people do sometimes, and they are not "poor imitations" of men. I mean I haven't read the full essay being quoted, maybe she really does identify as male to some extent, and the article is glossing over that. But either way, it annoyed me as presented, and Le Guin should know better. She could very easily have made the same point without erasing trans people.

Strips and Pieces, a really good comic (with transcript!) about men's resentment of sex workers.
sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
Saturday, July 19th, 2014 02:01 pm
As I encounter more reviews Snowpeircer has gone from "science fiction film I might enjoy" to "metaphorical film I might enjoy for the story" to "metaphorical film I won't enjoy the story of" to "metaphorical film I won't enjoy whose central metaphor will piss me off". I'm sure it's very good, and I admire the intent, but nope. I can see some people finding it cathartic, and that's cool for them. But I wouldn't, so the film has no appeal.

EDIT: I should add that I had already pretty much decided not to watch the movie anyway because it has lots of bad things happening to children which I find really upsetting.

This piece of meta intended to defend it was the final straw. Spoilers for the end, because it's the end that annoys me. tl;dr: implying that true revolution relies on the ~pure youth~ since everyone else is too tainted appeals to burned out old activists and optimistic young activists but is really annoying when you're the child of activists. And I think it betrays a real lack of imagination.

SPOILERS )
sqbr: Rose and the doctor (dw?)
Sunday, July 13th, 2014 11:03 pm
Let's see if I can remember what I wanted to say for any of them...

Jennifer Lawrence And The History Of Cool Girls. I had some further thoughts on tumblr (which I'd been pondering turning into a post here but tumblr got to me first) This ffa discussion of what people consider a feminist character touches on related points.

I've been thinking a lot about the moral obligations of adults towards the teenagers we encounter online, especially now I'm on tumblr which is FULL of teenagers. I deliberately seek out friends around my age and still have heaps of teen followers, some of them mutual because we genuinely have stuff in common.
How we were fooled into thinking sexual predators lurk everywhere argues that we need to look out and care for vulnerable teens more than worry about malicious adults (though that's important too) Here's a discussion on ffa of the issues around teens and adults and porn, something I don't have to worry about as much personally since everything I create tends to be at most PG rated anyway but still find disquieting, mostly when I encounter the porn my teen friends are into (I don't object to them being into it I JUST DON'T WANT TO KNOW). But that particular aspect aside I feel like...I have a responsibility to be a NON creepy adult rather than just avoiding younger people, or the only adults teenagers will meet are the creepy ones (and not just sexually creepy, they can take advantage emotionally or monetarily too)

Meditation Nation On the intense emotional upheaval meditiation can cause, and the difference between doing it for personal gain and religious insight.

Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start About constructing social networks that encourage good social norms.

The difference between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange

Inspiration Disinformation on the artists vs haters dichotomy.

Why Are Doctors Skeptical & Unhelpful about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Why I no longer engage the “Are aces queer?” question The important thing is respect and inclusion in general, eg if people who didn't see aces as queer didn't THEN divide the world into "straight vs queer" instead of "straight, queer, or asexual" there'd be much less of a problem.

The People vs the Political Class The gap between politics and what the people (of Australia, and in general) actually want.
sqbr: zuko with a fish on his head (avatar)
Thursday, March 6th, 2014 10:34 am
There's been some discussion on tumblr of the culturally ignorant and thoughtless way white feminists often talk about anime/manga:
the original post, with my transcript, some following discussion.

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, I'm really uncomfortable with the combination of fetishisation/othering and erasure that's applied to Japanese culture in most anime and manga discussions I encounter, and would like to do better. So here are some thoughts on that. (Yeah, I know, ANOTHER WHITE FEMINIST POV /o\)
Read more... )
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Thursday, February 27th, 2014 07:36 pm
This is me trying to organise my thoughts after a very interesting twitter conversation got too convoluted for my cold addled brain. It's very important to note that my friend Helen who started the conversation and the people we're talking about/to are white Australians (mostly women) with similar politics, and we're discussing both things that affect us (like feminism) and those that don't (like refugee rights). This is NOT about people using anger as an excuse to denounce opinions or points of view they can't handle. (Which is a thing that happens a lot. A LOT. So don't do it here :P)

So! The question is: "Some people really aggressively tweet all the activism and outrage. But what good is this doing?".
Read more... )
sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 11:10 pm
Overall: very interesting, makes some good points, I didn't understand everything and didn't agree with everything I did understand but feel like I learned a lot.
More general reactions )

Now my rough notes on chapters 4-12, taken as I went, neatened up only a little. I may try for a more thoughtful response later. These are all his opinions, aside from some asides from me.
Thoughts on chapters 4-12 )
sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
Saturday, January 18th, 2014 10:05 pm
I'm listening to the audiobook of "Debt, the first 5000 years" by David Graeber while I play video games and it's fantastic, exactly the modern left wing exporation of economics I've been wanting, and legally available for free.

My dodgy take on some interesting ideas so far (up to chapter 3):
Read more... )
sqbr: (up and down)
Sunday, December 8th, 2013 06:56 pm
This is a lot of unfinished thoughts.

I didn't agree with all of Cyberlibertarians’ Digital Deletion of the Left but it was throught provoking. It makes the valid point that many "benevolent" technological groups are quite libertarian in effect and motivation. Also any sort of digital utopianism is blatantly bunk, technology is at best value neutral, it's a tool not a complete solution. I am glad of the link to this essay comparing intellectual property to other sorts of property in terms of freedom/enclosure etc, though I've only read the preface. And the idea that "information should be free" is definitely leveraged by businesses like Google to invade the privacy of and profit from everyday people.

But I think it acts like you're either pro-government or pro-business, and there are plenty of people who are neither. Also I'm pretty sure the EFF aren't the unambiguously pro-big-business force for evil they're painted as, they seem to help defend the little guy from oppressive big business a moderate amount of the time, and I know the Chair of the Australian branch is a card carrying member of Labor (and also quite left wing ;))

And...ok, Jimmy Wiles is pro-business and there's lots of obnoxious hierarchies and biases in Wikipedia, but I'm hard pressed to see it as an overall Force for Capitalist Evil. Not that the article says it is, it just mentions Jimmy Wiles and moves on instead of examimining whether libertarian techno-utopian projects may do social good regardless of their founders' politics. Or am I missing something?

Anyway, it got me thinking about what it means for a non profit or anyone to be "left wing".
Read more... )
sqbr: (up)
Saturday, November 9th, 2013 01:18 pm
The first and most obvious reason is that it's terrifying. Cecil may be able to put a positive spin on massive death rates and repressive secret police but personally I'd rather stay in a town where the librarians don't try to eat you and steal your children. YMMV.

The second reason is that there are no ramps in Night Vale. The writers have gone to great efforts to create a world with no acceptance of homophobia, racism or sexism and have been rightfully applauded for doing so. Yet when it comes to disability the town doesn't do so well(*).
Read more... )
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 07:23 am
I got into an argument on tumblr with someone about aromanticism and I don't feel like engaging with them any more but they are SO INFURIATING I feel the need to rant.

Note: I am not aromantic myself, I apologise if I misstep. You guys have enough crap to deal with.
Read more... )
sqbr: Hannelore: Worry hat! Bravery plus 10, charisma plus 5 (worry hat)
Saturday, September 7th, 2013 08:46 pm
These have been building up for a while (since May? Really??), in some cases I'm just taking a rough guess as to why I thought a link was worth saving.

Lotsa links! )
sqbr: Well meaning white girls against racism over Tracy from Hairspray (racism)
Monday, June 3rd, 2013 03:05 pm
So! A few years ago I realised that not only did I pretty much only draw white people, but that I wasn't sure how to draw anything else. There is a long history of dark skinned people being made to look pale and POC being made to look white in order for them to be more palatable to pale white audiences. So there are ethical as well as artistic reasons to try not to screw this stuff up. I made a post poking at the problem, what have I learned since then?
Read more... )
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Sunday, May 5th, 2013 05:17 pm
Hacking at Education: TED, Technology Entrepreneurship, Uncollege, and the Hole in the Wall The anti-social libertarian intellectual emptiness underlying a lot of TED-esque ideas.

On political and value neutral Everything with any message at all has a political subtext.

Why I don't like the dragon argument Points out that "if you can have dragons why can't you have POC" has some unfortunate implications that work against it.

words against communication and Also you get things like... The way worrying about appropriation/stepping on disabled people's toes can stop some people from realising they are disabled themselves. (Not that able bodied people shouldn't worry, just that it's complicated!)

Refusing to have the “What You Did” conversation "1 The ‘what you did’ conversation implies the ‘what you are’ conversation. 2 The ’what you are’ conversation is uncivil and silencing. 3 Therefore, it’s uncivil and silencing to discuss ‘what you did.’"

Frustrations of being a black gamer playing BIOSHOCK INFINITE

Sweatshops still make your clothes

Meet the 28-Year-Old Grad Student Who Just Shook the Global Austerity Movement

Vilification and 'just having a laugh' About the racist jokes in my old Uni's satirical newspaper

Righteous Wroth Rarely Is OMG a criticism of excessive social justice where the group making the criticisms (in this case, women) are the victims of the oppression ostensibly being attacked with too much zeal (eg sexism) I have Thoughts about the very complicated way mental illness (which often creates an inability to behave in the way society demands) interacts with the somewhat narrow sets of behaviours expected of a Good Ally/Activist but am not quite up to articulating them.

$300 for Julia Gillard's NDIS scheme? Please, my wheelchair costs $22,000 Apparently some Australians are ok paying taxes and levies for roads and schools but draw the line at helping disabled people.

And from the hahaha what department...
Worse than global warming??? #followateen )