Wherein I am Annoyed by Sexism


Picture in your mind an auto mechanic. Think of someone who spends their days working around things that are sometimes sharp, things that are sometimes hot, and things that are covered in grease. Picture all of that, and then tell me how well this picture matches your image.

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Debbie Does Dodge

This character is a woman named Cindy. She appears in Final Fantasy XV, and she’s supposed to be a mechanic. I suppose she probably is, but certainly no mechanic I’ve ever seen or picture would be dressed like that. So let’s call her what she actually is: masturbatory material for teenage male game players.

I’m perfectly ok with a certain amount of titillation and erotic content in video games, but come on. This is just fucking insane.

Earlier today, I was also playing Watch Dogs 2: The Pretension, and this character walks onto my screen.

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Not so bad, except that initial view of her meeting the main character in person for the first time was a shot from about knee-height, from behind, and looking up. So, basically, an ass shot.

First, before I get too deep into this, kudos to Ubisoft for making the characters of Watch Dogs 2: l33t h4x0rz, diverse in both gender and race. So ten points to Hufflepuff for that, but minus several million for making the female character the only “sexy” one.

FFXV does the same thing. The main characters are four guys who have been friends for ages. That’s actually a bit of a step back for the series, as they’ve often had gender diversity among the main characters, but whatever. The bigger problem here is that while the only speaking female character I’ve seen so far is dressed like a porn star prior to wearing what most porn stars end up wearing (possibly a pearl necklace? Don’t image search that), while all the guys are just dressed normal. Oh, there’s one that’s got a vest with no shirt, but he’s got so many tattoos, they basically count as clothing.

This irritates me. I’m ok with titilation and eroticism, as said, but make it equal! If you’re going to have a woman dressed like Cindy, then give me an outfit for Noctis that’s about the same level. Or just give me a male version of Cindy.

Game makers would do well to remember that there are a large number of women who play video games, too, as well as a number of guys who are into other guys. It’d be just super-nice if they could give us options in RPGs and the like to pick our gender and the gender of our love interest. Bioware manged this way back in the day with Jade Empire, and has continued to make great strides in this direction.

I guess what I’m saying ultimately is that I’m fine with women being objectified as long as men are, too. Not perhaps the best lesson, but there you are.

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Oh, Meh


It’s been announced that in the upcoming film, Star Trek Beyond, Sulu will be revealed to be gay, in a same-sex relationship, and have a daughter.

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Eh.

I really don’t care. The time to have a gay character in Star Trek was about two decades ago, when it was still airing on TV and people actually cared. Having an established character be revealed to be gay is just kind of pointless at this stage.

George Takei is unhappy about the choice, but…well, tough. The character isn’t his, and Sulu never really had a history of bedding the ladies in any of the TV shows or movies, so this doesn’t seem much of a stretch.

But I’m mostly unimpressed because a: this is 2016, so this isn’t really that big of a deal, and b: they should have gone this route with the character to begin with, back with the first of these alt-universe movies.

I really don’t have many more thoughts beyond those. This is a mediocre idea that I’m largely indifferent to, happening in a movie that will probably not be very good, and will likely be the last time we see this particular Trek universe.

And that’s that.

Yes, You Are Transphobic


So take a look at this picture that’s been making the rounds on Facebook.

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Hoo, hoo. Tee-hee. Hi-larious. Beacuse, you know, Bruce Jenner turned into a woman, so of course his/her/its cat became a dog! Ha!

So, yeah. That’s fucking obnoxious and stupid.

Also obnoxious and stupid? A bill recently struck down by voters in Houston, Texas, that would have granted basic protections to LGBT people, incuding allowing people to use the bathroom of the gender they feel they belong to. It’s that last part that got the conservatives up in arms.

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This campaign included an ad that I can’t find online, oddly, that showed some sinister man tailing a little girl into the bathroom, then bursting in on her in the stall. Beacuse, you know, this will be a license for anyone to just rape your kids in the bathroom and it’ll be totes legal.

I’ll state this plainly: if you were against this bill because if this bathroom business, then you’re a transphobic bigot, and probably an asshole. You’re also clearly someone who lacks basic logical skills and a sense of empathy.

Pretend that you’re a single woman who’s going into a bathroom in a reststop off the highway. It’s late, and you go inside. You fuss at the mirror for a moment, and then get ready to head to a stall, but as you do, in walks this large, bearded, biker dude. Tattoos, sunglasses, leather clothes, the lot. Why, you wonder, isn’t this person in the men’s room? Why is he in the same room as you? Is rape on the schedule for tonight?

This large biker just nods and goes in to a stall as you leave, feeling very uncomfortable. You get outside and call the police, who show up pretty quickly. There’s some discussion with the biker, and then they let him go, no charges filed. Why? Because it turns out the biker is female-to-male transgendered and, thanks to the fail of the ballot measure, this person, who is in every way presented as male, is now forced to use the women’s room.

Do you understand the picture I’ve painted here? Someone who is transgender is someone who is genuinely going from one gender to another. They were born with male no-no parts, but believe themselves to be female, or vice versa. Under those circumstances, they’re going to dress, act, and present themselves as the gender they believe themselves to be. In the case of a man transitioning to a woman, this means facing assault by homo-/transphobic men in a men’s room, and in the case of a woman transitioning into a man, terror and assumptions of rape when you walk into a women’s room.

It is essential and logical that someone should be allowed to use the restroom they are presenting themselves as. Anything else is just stupid, and causes way more problems.

Now let’s move onto another subject the anti-trans crowd likes to go off on: school locker rooms. According to the likes of Mike Huckabee, it’s only the laws that keep people like him from being creepy sexual predators. The logic here is that if you allow kids to use the locker room for the gender they believe themselves to be, well, clearly all the boys are going to abuse this in order to see girls naked.

That’s stupid. The peer pressure alone would be hell for said kid if he does it more than once (the assumption other boys would make would not be pretty), and I imagine it would be fairly easy to weed out people like that by having them submit proof of treatment from their therapist.

But let’s ignore that bit of logic and assume that, yes, there might be some very small number of kids who would do this just to see the other gender naked (beacuse appraently they don’t know about the internet). That number would likely be significantly smaller than the number of trans kids out there who are being marginalized by forcing them to use a locker room for the gender they don’t believe they are part of.

For the sake of everyone, allowing trans people access to the bathroom/locker room that’s “correct” for them is just sanity. It’s way better than any of the alternatives, and a stupid thing to have to focus on.

So, yes, if you smirk at that photo above, and say, “Well, they’ve got a good point!” about the failure of the bill in Houston, then screw you, you bigoted asshole, and enjoy this picture of a woman in a women’s bathroom. Hey, it’s what you people say you want.

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Gay Marriage Everywhere I’ve Lived


Yesterday, Arizona hopped on the bandwagon, however involuntarily, and became the latest state to allow same-sex marriage. I’ve lived in, or spent an extensive amount of time in, Arizona, California, Alaska, Washington and Oklahoma. So…every state I’ve been in for more than a short amount of time now has gay marriage. You’re welcome. 😉

This leaves the question of how long it will be before the rest follow suit. I’m going to guess it won’t be long for much of the country. Wyoming is making it a thing next week, for example. So that’s good.

But there will be holdouts, and I’ll tell you where those holdouts will be: The Deep South, with the exception of Florida. Mississippi and Alabama especially are going to fight this to the bitter end. Why? You got me. I have no idea. It’s just that these are always the fail states in the fail part of the country. Sad, but true. Though, please, by all means prove me wrong.

And a Slow Sense of Sanity Returns


She vetoed it. Thank goodness.

I’d like to hope that threatening the state’s economy and trying to turn back the clock on civil rights by 50+ years will be enough to get these asshat Republicans out of office. I’d like to think that. But what will happen is that Republicans will vote for them anyhow. They will either do this because they agreed with things like SB1070 and SB1062, or they’ll do what a gay Republican friend of mine seems to be doing and simply rationalize away the problem. Also, I’ll lay down some money right now that the Arizona GOP will try to censure her for this and the Medicaid expansion. If they did it to McCain, after all…

Is Coming Out Still an Act of Bravery?


A few days ago, indie film darling, and occasionally successful mainstream actress, Ellen Page, came out of the closet. Most of us yawned and went back to playing Flappy Birds, which led CNN to ask the question, “Is coming out still an act of bravery?”

I’d say…maybe. Perhaps. It depends on the circumstances. If you’re a reasonably popular indie film actress who isn’t bad looking and has probably given up on any real hope of massive, mainstream success…then no, it isn’t. If you’re someone at the tail end of your NBA career, aware that you probably aren’t going to play professionally again…then no, it isn’t. If you’re one of the best football players in the country, confident of getting a multi-million dollar contract once you’re drafted…then no, it isn’t. If you’re a transgendered person spending the next few years in federal prison for leaking documents…then no, it isn’t. If you’re a male figure skater…it’s kind of just taken as read that you’re gay.

But on the other hand, if you’re someone whose career is still on the rise, with no guarantee of further money, fame or success, then, yes. If you still have almost everything to lose, then coming out is an act of bravery. If you live in modern Russia, then coming out is an act of bravery. If you live in a fucking awful country like Uganda, then coming out is an act of almost suicidal bravery.

But for the most part, in 2014 America, coming out is…just a thing. And most people will yawn, and go back to playing Flappy Birds. And that is exactly how it should be.

And So Progress Continues


Now it seems as though that last bastion of American machismo, the NFL, is about to be breached by a gay football player. Of course, there have been gay players in the NFL, just as there have been in basically every organization, but this is the first time one that is openly gay looks to be drafted. I say yay, I say it’s about time, and then I yawn a little, because it’s fucking football.

Not pictured: a fucking football

Not pictured: a fucking football

Of course he’s going to face “challenges”, as people like to say, and probably more than we all imagine, but that’s ok. I have no doubt his career will flow smoother and more easily than that of Jackie Robinson.

The other bit of good news is that the Attorney General has announced that federal recognition of gay marriages is being extended to those in all states; not just those where gay marriage is legal. This makes a huge difference for things like taxes, and in courts. It also applies pressure to force states to allow gay marriage.

So…progress is made. Slowly, and in fits and starts, but it is made.