jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Hyperdimension Neptunia and its spinoffs have a lot of material that might make people uncomfortable, from skimpy magical girl costumes to scenes where kids get abducted. I personally cringed during Anonydeath's introduction in episode six of the anime, for reasons I discussed in my last entry.

Despite that, the world of Gamindustri has become a haven for me in the last few months. I can go on adventures there with a cast of mostly good-natured female characters, who don't answer to men and aren't trying to seek male approval. They don't have to deal with oppressive societies, either, because they're literal goddesses who each rule a whole country. Sometimes they have to deal with existential threats, but they always manage to overcome them by working together.

Now, that sounds a lot like the premise for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which most people would probably agree is more kid- and female-friendly. But I personally had a lot of trouble watching the pilot episode of that series. There was so much boundary violation and forced friendship, where the characters have to get along no matter what.

Read more... )

tl;dr; I feel like it really shows that "western fantasy" stuff is designed by regressive men who long for the days of bikini armour and Conan, and modern MLP is made for "bronies," while Neptunia's characters were designed by a woman to appeal to herself. Someone please tell me I'm not just being creepy and blind here.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
I think it might be important to distinguish between reflexive and reflective empathy. They're terms that I just made up (or maybe remembered from somewhere?), but I feel there's a difference, in that one is a reflex and one is a skill. It's not a moral failing to lack a particular reflex, but if people are hurt because you aren't willing to understand what they're going through, that is a very bad thing.

Read more... )
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

... or those who can be persuaded to do things that go against their consciences, when their leaders command it. Whether in a church or in service to other ideals.

Posted on Feminist Mormon Housewives:

Um, I think there’s something to be said for mirror neurons being the basis of universal morality. In people with functioning consciences, they make us hurt too when we see others hurting.

Making someone ignore their conscience requires either mental illness, like sociopathy (where you can’t empathize at all), or indoctrination, like Mormonism (where the Other is demonized and you are given reasons to enjoy or ignore their suffering).

The reason Mormonism is becoming increasingly unpopular, these days, is not because people reject morality altogether. It’s because their consciences tell them your church’s teachings are immoral and hurtful.

I personally left, when I realized that. My commitment to kindness and love allowed me to transcend the awful beliefs I was raised with, and see others — and myself — for the valuable people we were. If my life still has fear and pain in it now, it is largely because of people like you, who believe in a sort of moral relativity where an act (like forbidding others to marry) is evil if done against you but blessed if done against someone your god disapproves of.

If you are struggling with matters of conscience as well, I strongly suggest considering that your god may be the one with the problem, and that you ought to find one who doesn’t tell you to hurt people.

Part Two:

Also, being intolerant of intolerance does in fact make sense. Functioning empathy is the basis of solidarity, and community. “If you want to hurt them, you’ll have to go through me first” is only unreasonable if you believe that you have a right to hurt others.

Or if you don’t believe your actions are, in fact, hurtful, in which case you may want to stop and listen to others explain why it is.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Posted by [twitter.com profile] farwz on Twitter:

tbh being apolitical is a privilege. some people can't ignore politics bcs politics attack their identity on a daily basis

My existence is apparently the subject of heated political (and theological) debate. As is my right to exist.

Perhaps unfortunately, for people who have decided to be my opponents, I intend to go on existing. And talking about what I go through.

Maybe we can just be friends instead? Playing tabletop games is a lot more fun than arguing. Especially when the whole substance of your argument is "you can't be real, because if you are I would need to rethink my life."

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

I didn't write that earlier post from the viewpoint of a trans woman who's scared for her safety, because "bathroom laws" do not target me. They don't target trans people in general, or even trans women in general. The only people they target are those who look or sound stereotypically "between genders," whether or not they pose any danger to anyone.

I've apparently never been one of those people. Just out of sheer luck, I was born with lightly-coloured body hair and "feminine" facial features. So with a bit of invisible makeup and a growing, immature bust, I have never had someone even look at me funny in the women's room.

That didn't keep me from being mortally terrified of the place, though, and waiting until long after I was on hormones to go there. So what did happen was that I caused an awful lot of double-takes in the men's room, both before and during transition. ^^; Especially from elderly men and little kids.

"Who she, daddy? Who she???"

I'd be washing my hands, and people would open the door and just stop, looking at the back of my head and trying to figure out where they were. Sometimes they abruptly backed out, letting the door shut again. Were they making sure this was the right one? Did it seem easier to them to let this obviously-confused woman dry her hands and walk out, than to confront her?

Not that I've never been confronted about it. One time I tried to step into the men's room at a convenience store, and the clerk stopped me and gave me a weird look. (I sheepishly went in the women's room, which had a lock on the door, thank goddess.) Another time I was waiting in line at a bus stop's public restroom, and realized the guy behind me in line was trying to get my attention.

"Hey, you can't go in there! The women's room is that way." He pointed it out for me, helpfully.

"I beg your pardon?" I asked, turning to face him and using my pre-transition voice on purpose.

"Oh, sorry man!"

I avoided that bathroom from then on. >_>;

Remember, it's the law!

If you take these new "bathroom laws" literally, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Making guys trip over themselves, and giving somebody's grandpa a heart attack.

None of the laws' supporters actually want me to do that, though. This is because, like I said, they don't target me. These people don't spare any thoughts when they see me in public, because I don't look like "one of those people." I really don't know how I feel about this! But again, it's not about me, except that my existence helps make it obvious what this is really about:

All they want is to be able to bully people whose looks they don't like.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

(Content note for these links and this essay: Racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, and xenophobia.)

I'd just like to take a moment to remind everyone, including my friends who are also transgender, that if you live in the first world everything that you have and enjoy is made possible through unthinkable violence and slavery. Of humans, to say nothing of nonhuman animals.

It's not a matter of how moral you are, or how much you consciously choose not to inflict violence on others. This is an inherent feature, of a world where some people are valued so much more than others. Because the purpose of inequality, inhospitality, and inhumane treatment is to make people broken and desperate.

The purpose of immigration restrictions, for instance, is to enable human trafficking, which means (among other things) being able to keep people in sheds they pay rent on and beat them if they don't wash your car just right. Meanwhile, the reason that the United States lacks the social safety net that other so-called "liberal democracies" have is because one of its political parties (we all know which one) used its "Southern Strategy," of convincing white voters that welfare payments would go to the wrong kind of people.

You know, the ones who are supposed to avert their eyes when they see you walk by, and who call you "sir" and shine your shoes for you.

Trans World Problems?

No. No, the new laws here in the States, that make it even more dangerous for trans people to use public restrooms, aren't a "First World Problems" thing. A "be grateful that you aren't a literal slave" thing. As though becoming a sex worker with no legal protections weren't something a lot of trans people have to turn to, and as though there are no trans people who are black, immigrant, or enslaved.

What this is, is a reminder that we (as trans people) aren't the first to suffer this indignity, and we won't be the last. Unless we can join our grasping appendages with others who are resisting things like it*, and turn the tables on our capitalist oppressors.

(It's redundant to call them that, but sometimes it just helps to hammer it home.)




* Or even others who are affected by it, despite not being trans. Don't forget; besides barring people who don't pass as cis from using the restroom, North Carolina's HB2 also banned local living wage laws, and made it harder for any worker to bring a discrimination suit against their employer. These aren't unrelated coincidences; these things are all part of systemic inequality and oppression.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

The other day, an evil man named Boyd Packer died.

(EDIT: Corrected some things after re-reading quotes, and changed the description of this person's legacy.)

He was one of the highest leaders of the Mormon church, called an apostle. Apostles are appointed to their positions for life, and he spent most of his tenure saying hateful things to captive audiences.

In 2010, he gave a talk in worldwide General Conference where he said God would never make someone gay. The line was edited out when his talk was published in print and online, but not soon enough to keep the rate of LGBT suicides in the state of Utah from spiking right afterwards.

When I was a young adult, I was given a pamphlet that was a printout of one of his talks, in which he condemned people for masturbating and said that it was okay to deck gay people who come on to you. Partly because of this man's words, I hated myself for more than a decade, and came very close to taking my life.

He called gays, feminists, and intellectuals the enemies of the Mormon church, and famously declared in a talk to church educators that "some things which are true are not useful." I feel like that sums up his legacy. The things he proclaimed as true are already being thrown out by the institutional Mormon church, because they are not very useful in making them look good. In fact, they make them look pretty damned awful, to anyone with a conscience and even a basic understanding of how words affect others.

I'm glad he lived long enough to see his victims turn the tables on him, and win.

If you want a more vivid look at how I felt because of this man, read this story.

jewelfox: A portrait of Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series as an anthropomorphic albino red fox, in a sleeveless lavender top. (rei)

Content note: Sexism, rape, and abuse.

Creeps and assailants of any kind—rapists, harassers, inappropriate co-workers, slimy strangers in a bar—rely on complicity to function. They know it is unlikely that their actions will elicit repercussion. They commit crimes [...] without fear of ever being punished because they’ve learned that they won’t be. And so we have a culture that treats [victims] like voiceless, undermined objects of servility. [...]

Silence may seem civilized, but passivity is diabolical.

- Carly Lewis, The Year of Complicity

The original piece is specifically about certain high-profile, famous rapists, whose fame entitled them to commit horrible acts while others looked the other way. I feel that it really describes why I haven't felt comfortable in any Free Company in FFXIV, though, and I will explain why so that people who don't play the game can relate it to their own experiences.

Read more... )

I hope I will eventually find enough people in-game who value my friendship that I'll feel safe in their home and their chat.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

There's a MormonAd (basically a pre-internet meme) in one of their church magazines which shows a bug in a bowl of ice cream, and reads "IT'S GREAT EXCEPT FOR THE BAD PARTS."

The ice cream, in this case, is media, and for Mormons the "bad parts" are anything that "drives away the Spirit" ... which means they cause them to feel unacceptable emotions, like cognitive dissonance, sexual arousal, or adult anger and frustration as expressed through profanity. The more hardcore a Mormon is, the more of a learned fear response they have to emotions that normal adults have, which is why more hardcore Mormons used memes like this one: To shame kids for not having that response, and for thinking it was okay to watch R-rated movies and South Park.

You can see why they didn't want Mormon kids watching South Park. Content note: Racism, ablism, and a couple inaccuracies. (1) Click here if you can't see the video.

You see what I did there, with the note just beneath that video? This is how grown-ups handle people's different levels of tolerance for offensive content: By clearly labeling stuff using a shared vocabulary. The point isn't to say "if you like this then you're a racist;" it's to warn actual people of colour (in this case First Nations / Native American people) that "if you watch this then it might ruin your day," and let them make an informed decision.

It's hard to explain or justify doing this to people who've never imagined someone's day actually being ruined by this stuff. Or who chalk it up to "choosing to be offended." Healthy people don't have the kind of PTSD triggers that are caused by discrimination, and the kind of broken people that Mormonism and other abusive societies produce often don't realize they have triggers.

How abuse f**ks kids up, part 22

Claire used to just about go berserk when she saw gratuitous violence against innocents, like in action movies where they dwell on the villains casually killing people. I had no idea that it was because these scenes caused her to feel the anger we were never allowed to have or express, at our father of origin for beating the crap out of us. Because of that, we didn't know how to describe why we felt this way, or how to see the fact that these movies affected us in ways that they didn't affect other people. We thought that either we were broken, or everyone else was.

Don't you just wish, sometimes, that you could make people understand? That you could show those sexist white male jerks on Twitter what it's like to have people make rape jokes around you, or "jokingly" threaten your body with sexual violation?

... yeah, that's what happened to us shortly after we realized that we were transgender.

We got the kind of crash course in feminism that a person gets from presenting as female online, from having our work on GNOME more or less ignored by the male contributors to having irate Final Fantasy XIV players chase us off Tumblr for posting stuff they didn't like. Stuff like screenshots of the kind of blatantly sexist and rape-y stuff that the game is just saturated in, that we put on our sarcastic blog about how "FFXIV Is Totally Not Sexist."

Examples; content note for rape, sexism, and spoilers )

The tl;dr is that it feels like every woman who can be threatened with rape or harassment is, and -- a handful of high-ranking NPCs excepted -- the women in Eorzea all read like they were written by a man who finds sexual harassment funny.

I found the sexism funny, at first. Not because "lolwomen," but because it was so blatant and ridiculous. I started the Tumblr so people could laugh at it. But after a year of being harassed just for pointing it out, and dealing with creepy jerks who were other players in the game, and seeing women get threatened with rape and chased out of their homes just for being women on the Internet, it's not funny to me anymore.

The rape and sexism in FFXIV now feel less like bad jokes, and more like "the bad parts."

It's a great game, except for them. I'm just not sure I can deal with them anymore.




(1) Joseph Smith initially claimed only that he'd been "forgiven of his sins," and only later started saying God told him all religions were wrong. Also, he first tried to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon in Canada, instead of founding a religion with it. It wasn't until after Mormonism picked up steam that he started having affairs and soliciting children, at least the ones that we know about.

I don't know what the Quakers have to do with anything, aside from generally being awesome (and living on the Moon).

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Content note: Sexism, descriptions of physical and emotional abuse, some brief strong language towards the end, and descriptions of interpersonal conflict within a family.

There's a good story somewhere in Ender's Game. A child gets taken away to a magical school In Space, and is forced to survive when both teachers and students are literally trying to kill him. In the end, he faces a moral dilemma, and how he responds after everything that he's been through defines who he is as a character.

It resonates with me, because it basically describes a Mormon upbringing.

On the one hand, you're mass produced and depersonalized, especially if you come from one of those Utah families with nine kids. On the other hand, you're told repeatedly that you are a Chosen One, part of a chosen generation of Mormon kids, and your actions and faithfulness will help bring about the second coming of Christ. (Mormons are averse to calling him "Jesus" for some reason.)

Ender spends his whole childhood training to be a soldier. Mormon kids spend their whole childhoods training to be either a mom or a missionary. I can't overstate how much these two roles are glorified, or how much the bike-riding, nametag-wearing missionaries are held up as role models to Mormon kids who are assigned the male gender. And all the while, your belief that you're one of the few people that God approves of -- and that everyone else needs to be like you -- is creating this wedge between you and the people around you, which you are encouraged to see as "they hate me because of my righteousness."

Seriously, this is the major theme in the first couple parts of the Book of Mormon. The POV character is a Mary Sue, whose brothers hate him and repeatedly try to kill him because he's so awesome and always does what God wants him to.

The problem with Ender's Game is not that Ender goes through all this. It's that Orson Scott Card did, and is apparently blind to it.

Read more... )

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We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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