Batgirl: More than Trauma

I loved The Killing Joke. It's actually one of my favorite books. The trauma that happened to Babs was awful, horrible, unspeakable, and the fact that she was just a plot device is kind of total bullshit. BUT, given the story, given the Joker's plan in that particular story, it wasn't completely unreasonable. I mean, if he's trying to drive Gordon to insanity, that's pretty much the best way to do it.

Also, it gave us Oracle, meaning that I had a disabled Babs to help me through my own time in a wheelchair. Oracle is my flavorite character in any universe. Not Batgirl. Oracle. When Gail Simone brought Babs back under the cowl, there was some focus on her past and the trauma, but it was in regards to how she was healing from it and moving forward. The title started around the time I was getting out of the wheelchair for the final time (hopefully), so it really resonated.

 I don't like the new Batgirl run for a few reasons, but those reasons don't matter. The thing about this new title is that it's a new page for Babs. She's moved away from the past, from the darkness. For once in her life, she is not surrounded by trauma. She's no longer defined by that one gunshot.

And then we get this cover. I don't care if it's a variant. Don't even come at me with that. I'm not going to get into the sexist implications or "censorship" or "vocal minority" right now. No, here's the thing that I hate the most about this cover: Once again, Babs is being reduced to nothing but her trauma. Nothing but a victim. And regardless of the past, regardless of the PTSD and therapy and everything else, Babs is no longer (if she was ever) a victim. She is a survivor. She has a new life with new friends and new goals and SHE IS NOT DEFINED BY HER PAST. BY THIS ONE THING. THIS ONE BAD THING.

I don't care if you think the cover doesn't have to match the story. I don't care if you think we're trying to "neuter" the Joker (if I see one more "Je Suis Joker," I swear to fucking god...). I don't care if you wanted that cover for whatever fucked up bullshit reason. It reduced a strong, competent, fucking AMAZING woman to one thing. One little point in her life. Babs is not her trauma. Babs is much, much more than that, and THAT should be the focus. Thanks.


#Gamergate: A Continuation

So I feel like I've been pretty brave recently. Yesterday I marched into Rock Bottom Comics, ready to tell James that I don't care if he banned me, because Tuesdays are inconvenient and I want to get my comics on Wednesdays. As it turns out, he doesn't work after one on Wednesdays, which nobody told me, so I could have been going then all along.

But see, I was still going to do it. I was prepared. I had been giving myself pep talks all morning. I walked down the path, past the art gallery, up to the door. Deep breath, Babs, you can do this. I opened the door, and there was...Anthony. So I ended up without a standoff, which is good in the long run, but I was ready. I was prepared, even knowing the potential consequences.

I don't know if I'm as brave about #gamergate. Hell, I don't even want to say its real name. I want to call it GG, because if I call it GG, I won't get rape and/or death threats. I won't be driven from my home. I won't contemplate buying a gun because holy fuck people from the internet want me dead.

But I'm doing it. I'm being brave (and possibly stupid). More than likely, I won't be noticed by anyone, because I'm not really well-known (I mean, 160 followers on the tweety? My guinea pigs would probably be more popular), so I have nothing to worry about. So maybe it's easier for me to be brave than it is for Zoe Quinn or Felicia Day or Anita Sarkeesian. But, damnit, if those women are strong enough to keep talking through all of this shit, shouldn't I be?

Women in the geek community are almost literally fighting for our lives right now. Our place in the community isn't what's being threatened. Our ACTUAL EXISTENCE ON THIS PLANET is being threatened.

How is this possible? How is this even a thing that is happening? What fucking year is this? I started this blog in 2012, around the time Felicia Day was called a fake geek girl by...I don't even remember who. It doesn't matter who. It woke me up. It brought out in me an anger I had never felt before. Sure, I knew about sexism. I was 23 years old, so if I hadn't experienced sexism by then, I was living in a magic bubble Matrix or something. But I just accepted it as part of life and moved on. Until I got angry.

But okay, here's my point. I get off track a lot (as you well know). That was over two years ago. At the time, for the most part, the worst thing happening was the fake geek girl stuff. Our street cred was being questioned. And that sucked. But now, fucking two years later, it's gotten WORSE, somehow. Yeah, Anita Sarkeesian was getting threats for her tropes work already. I'm not saying this stuff didn't happen then. But now...

There's a fucking movement. Don't give me that "it's about ethics" shit. It's fucking not. Was it at first? Well, no, not really. It was about a neckbeard dickbag ex who wanted revenge because he couldn't just cope with his breakup like a normal, well-adjusted human being. But then, at the beginning, you could kind of hide behind that, right? "Oh, no, it's about ETHICS. We care about ETHICS. So Zoe Quinn is getting rape and death threats? People are calling her father and telling him that his daughter is a whore? Well, that's not us. That's not what this is about. That's not our fault."

And there are still those people. #notallgaters, right? Sure. I'm sure somebody is still clinging to that ethics in journalism thing. But even if that's what it was about originally, that's not what it's about now.

Okay, I know I'm repeating myself now. I went through all of this in my last entry. But I'm still angry. I'm so angry. And I'm afraid. The only thing #gamergate is doing is terrorizing women. Hey, I'm one of those! Other geeks want me dead because I'm a woman? Well...fuck. What do I do now?

What do any of us do? How do we fight this? How CAN we fight this? I don't know. By talking about it? By raising awareness? By...something. Nothing...

No. I will not do nothing. I will be brave. I will march into my local comic shop and demand a little respect. I will not be afraid to mention #gamergate by name. I will tell people what is happening, and I will do whatever I can to stop it.

Because, as Plushie Girl says (or will say, if Kris and I ever finish the comic), sometimes everyone's gotta be a little brave.


#Gamergate: An Incoherent Rant

So, I know I haven't posted in forever, not since #yesallwomen. And in fact, that movement is kind of why. Well, not really. But it rattled me. It scared me. It brought up some memories of things I didn't even know had happened. And as summer hit, my depression grew so terrible that I couldn't do anything. I had a horrible psychiatrist who wouldn't give me antidepressants because I have bipolar disorder (but I'm on mood stabilizers, so I can totally take them) and told me to just "deal with" the depression. This led to me being more depressed than I've ever been. After several months, I found a new doctor, and I got antidepressants, and the weather cooled off, and now I'm all better.

But we're not here to talk about that. We are here because during my absence, something awful happened.

I'm not going to explain what #gamergate is. Everyone reading this already knows. I'm not going to posts links to things (partially because I'm on my phone and don't know how .___.). And I'm not going to give you a nice, coherent explanation of why it's bullshit. I'm angry. I'm very, very angry.

This morning I woke up to an article about Anita Sarkeesian canceling a talk at a Utah university because she received threats of a massacre. A MASSACRE. Somebody wanted to kill not only her, but a room of college kids. Because "feminists ruined [his] life." Because, somehow, Anita Sarkeesian is an evil that must be eradicated. Why? What has she done that is so awful?

Well, she's talked about the portrayal of women in video games, of course! She's pointed out that, hey, they're not treated so nice. In fact, they're treated horribly.

Somehow, this is a crime. Anita has been receiving death threats for years now. FUCKING YEARS. BECAUSE SHE SPOKE UP. BECAUSE SHE DEFENDED WOMEN.

And then there's Zoe Quinn, who received death threats after her ex posted a whiny little bullshit rant accusing her of sleeping around to get ahead in the game development industry. In fact, that's what started #gamergate. An angry little man. That's all. One whiny little pissed off asshole who thinks he matters.

And Brianna Wu, another female game developer, has been forced from her home after receiving threats against her and her husband. These fuckers posted her address, names of her relatives, all kinds of shit. Because she had the gall to make fun of #gamergate, and because she's a woman.

What the fuck is this? I started this blog two years ago (and am not great at updating, but whatevs), and as I dove into the world of geek feminism, I had hope. People were doing great things, and it seemed like some of them were making a difference. But now we have this fucking "social movement" designed to destroy women. They want to tear us apart. They want to rape and murder us. The detail they put into some of these threats is horrifying, triggering, frightening.

This is not about ethics in gaming journalism. Fuck you if you believe that. This is about men hating women. It's about not wanting them in the clubhouse. It's about keeping them down, keeping them from succeeding, because they can't wrap their fucking heads around the idea of equality. They're the #notallmen. They're the fedora-wearing neckbeards who think feminists are ruining everything, that feminism is why women don't like them. Hey dickbag, newsflash, women don't like you because you're a fucking whiny little boy who thinks women are there simply for your sexual pleasure, that they should all want to have sex with you, that...fuck, I don't know. But it's fucking bullshit.

I'm not going to go into detail about the stolen celeb photos, because that's a bit off-topic, but I just thought about one comment I saw during the whole thing. It was something along the lines of "Jennifer Lawrence deserved to get these pictures hacked because she's a bitch who would never share them with ugly guys like me." So, because JLaw doesn't send nude pictures to EVERY GUY IN THE WORLD, she deserves to have them stolen and shown. Because they DESERVE IT.

Fuck that. The entire fiasco was a fucking sex crime, and anyone who doesn't see that is fucking blind.

I don't know. I don't even know what else to say. I'm just so angry, so sick. These men, this #gamergate, it's all about men wanting women gone. Wanting them to keep quiet. Wanting them dead.


They would probably argue that they don't REALLY want to rape/torture/kill these women, that they just want to scare them, but fuck that. I've seen these threats. They're fucking torture porn, they're incredibly detailed fantasies about hurting women. Because, see, feminism is ruining their lives.

Fuck this. Fuck #gamergate. Fuck everything. I'm out.


Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer

Hey everybody!

As some of you know, I'm the asshat responsible for not bringing you the finest in podcasts. For that I am deeply sorry. I'm quite busy at the moment preparing art for cons, so I don't have all of the free time I would like to make cool things for this page. That being said, I did make this for this super neat charity called Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer.

     If you're an artist, or just somebody who wants to help support the fight against cancer, you can find out more about them on their face book page, or by going to the American Cancer Society's website found here. Together we can make some real progress, and I thank you all for showing your support.

See also, this terrible video.


#NotAllMen, Magic the Gathering Edition

I'm a judge for the card game Magic the Gathering. This means that it is my duty to ensure that every game of Magic the Gathering that is played at an event in which I am participating as judge is run fairly, openly, and as comfortably as possible. That means I'm not only supposed to stop and investigating cheating, fix gameplay mistakes, and educate players on proper play, but that I am also supposed to provide a safe and welcoming environment for the players to play their games in. This is true for all judges as well. Which is why it is incredibly sad when I see judges (especially those judges I've come to respect) engaging in what amounts to #NotAllMenism when confronted with a player's incredibly negative experiences.

A female player, let's call her Anna, posted about her experience at a recent Grand-Prix event. (A semi-professional event, with upward of 1,000 players.) To make a long story short she was skipped over in receiving her playmat, something that everyone who played in the event was supposed to receive. She confronted the judge handing them out about it, and after some back and forth she got her playmat. Yay. When she posted her tale to Reddit there was (unsurprisingly) a lot of "oh this isn't sexism" and "#NotAllMen" responses. But one response in particular absolutely killed me, because it came from a fellow judge, ubernostrum. A level three (of five) judge. Someone whom I respected for his wisdom in dealing with players and situations. Let me quote what he said:

It's also possible that at the end of a long day a judge got confused for a moment by a group of players who'd jumped the gun on materials for their trial. I know from personal experience that running sides and grinders all day is usually more exhausting than the main event of a large tournament, and I'm often fuzzy by the end of my shift.
So I'm wary of jumping to any specific conclusion from what's posted, but if you remember anything about the judge or other details, feel free to PM me and I'll look into it or pass along to people in a better position to do so.
What in the actual fuck? What is this explanation? This is absolutely one of the worst judge responses I've ever seen to a situation.

Ubernostrum implies that the judge may have been confused about what was going on because deck-reg sheets were handed out early- except that clearly didn't prevent the judge from handing out playmats to all the players before Anna and even a couple of players after Anna. Apparently handing out deck-reg sheets early causes judges to not see females as players in an event. Except- whoops!- he didn't even notice (or care) about the early deck-reg sheets because the judge only brought this up after Anna repeatedly asked for her mat.

Ubernostrum implies that the judge may have been 'fuzzy' after a long day of working events. Really? Because according to the schedule GP Atlanta grinders (which is what Anna attended) started at noon. Her grinder was at 5pm. Assuming Anna's judge got to the event an hour before things started, we're talking about six hours of work if this judge got no break. That's certainly not ideal but that also isn't really a legitimate excuse either. This wasn't day three of the event, the full player base wasn't there, and so on. Is it possible this judge was tired? Sure. Unlikely, but sure. How does that explain a judge being perfectly capable of handing out playmats to- again- every other player at the event before Anna just fine? Does a female player in this judge's event simply cause his tired mind to explode and not even consider that she could be a player? That's the argument you're going with?

And of course ubernostrum can't leave well enough alone. After spending the first paragraph giving nonsensical excuses for a judge that shows ubernostrum didn't read or understand Anna's tale in the first place, he gives the standard 'I can't form an opinion at this time' response. Which would be totally fair (we only have one side of the story) except your first paragraph is offering excuses and explanations for the judge in question! You can't say you won't offer an opinion on what happened immediately after speculating on what may have happened, ubernostrum. That's ridiculous.

All this leads up to a high level judge attempting to invalidate and/or mitigate a player's intensely negative experience at an event. I don't know if it's simply because ubernostrum felt like this was an attack against all judges (#NotAllJudges) or if he felt like Anna was blowing things out of proportion (#NotAllMen) or if he honestly just doesn't care, but this is an incredibly awful response from a high-ranking judge.

The correct response? Address and acknowledge Anna's concern. Offer assistance with an investigation. Apologize on behalf of the judge program for having such a negative experience. This is customer service 101.

"I'm incredibly sorry that you had this experience, we want all Magic events to be open and welcoming to all players of all types. If you'll forward me your information I can look into this further, or I can forward it to those who are capable of further investigation."

Look at that! It acknowledges that Anna is upset, acknowledges that even if the judge wasn't sexist (ha!) something clearly went wrong, and offers assistance and support. Done. Walk the fuck away.

When you're a judge (or in a position of power or notoriety) your actions reflect upon the community, and become the norm in the community. When a high ranking judge essentially says "Well, not all judges are like that this one was probably just tired" in response to an event like this what the community sees is "we're not really taking this seriously because, c'mon, cut a dude some slack okay? Sheesh."

And that is 100% unacceptable for a judge to do.