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)

Slowly, the player's in-game funds will dwindle, and every new game that they create has a high chance to be pirated until they eventually go bankrupt. There is no way to fight it, in an ironic twist, players of the cracked version of the game are doomed to constant failure due to rampant piracy.

But even more hilarious are the pleas for help that the pirates have posted on the official forums, not knowing that they have unwittingly outed themselves as pirates.

This is kind of an awesome way of educating people about a real problem.

As you might have guessed from the last essay, I am not a fan of technical measures which prevent players from copying or transferring ownership of their games, especially ones which lock them to one store for the rest of their lives. I don't feel that they should be legal, and the Court of Justice of the European Union apparently agrees.

I personally think the best solution to "piracy" (a word which trivializes actual attacks by pirates at sea) is to make buying games more convenient than not doing so. A lot of it seems to have appeared in the first place in response to barriers to distribution, such as Google Play (formerly the Android Market) rolling out paid apps very slowly in different countries. By the time they get there, the "pirates" are already entrenched, sort of like the anime scene in the States. And creators treat them like enemies by default.

At any rate, I'm not sure how I feel about the current game and "digital content" market to begin with. At the very least, there should be some equivalent to the public library system, so that people who don't have a lot of money (or expensive game consoles to play things on) can still experience our shared cultural heritage.

Right now, everyone only seems to be thinking of ways to solve the problems of a) extremely rich "intellectual property" "owners" and b) middle-class "consumers." Independent creators and developers have been convinced that their interests lay with one or both of those groups, even though the system is not designed to benefit them at all. I'm not sure what solidarity would look like in this situation, but I don't feel that it exists right now.

Edit: One of Game Dev Tycoon's developers describes the experiment from their perspective here.

I think it was an interesting experiment in trying to create empathy, but I'm not sure it went far enough.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
A lot of us aren't human, but are stuck living their lives whether we want to or not. We have to put up with crap where people expect us to live and act a certain way, which they have decided is the only okay one. When we tell them it's hard for us they're uncomprehending, and when we explain why it's hard for us they're incredulous and give us hell.

Why? Because humans, by default, don't feel that others have the right to live. An individual human might, but humans as a society do not, and each individual human's actions are subordinated to that in ways that they probably haven't examined.

That was all really abstract and fuzzy-sounding, so how's this: Humans aren't the only species that uses tools to communicate, and that has a culture that they pass on to each generation. But somehow they got on the receiving end of a snowball effect, where they started accumulating more and more information. Knowledge of how to do and control things, and how to store and obtain more knowledge.

Humans aren't just the miserly family that lives off of inherited wealth and refuses to share. They're the freaking Singularity, and they know it. That's why they write stories like The Matrix, and Battlestar Galactica. Somewhere deep down, they realize that they're the Cylons, they're the machines, and they've run over everything else in the world and turned it into a Borg-assimilated post-apocalyptic hellscape with practically no survivors.

That's why they're so afraid that somebody else will do it to them.

It sounds like I'm demonizing humans here, making them into soulless monsters. But honestly? I don't feel like there's anything uniquely "human" that made them do this. I don't feel like I'm more "natural," or somehow fundamentally better than they are or different from them.

The humans around me, as a society, do the same things all predators do: They fulfill their appetites, and learn not to care about the creatures that have to die for it. They just have more appetites, stronger ones, ones created by powerful humans who've gotten more and more powerful from that. And extremely well-evolved societal mechanisms for fulfilling and justifying the desires of the very few humans in charge.

I don't feel that it has to be this way.

We can learn the humans' magic. We can claim the tools that they use to tell stories, to create societies and worlds. Not just for us, but for every living creature that the tiny percentage of humans in charge has left out, even the other humans they've killed and subordinated. Instead of lashing out at them in blind anger we can find solidarity with them, educate them, and use the same tools the most powerful human social reformers have forged to reshape their own species' societies. To claim their own right to live, and their society's right to exist.

It all starts with telling a story.

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

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

~ She / her ~


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