Wednesday, November 7, 2007

World of Menzcraft

Ok, you know it's bad when I'm driven to blogging about it... Hi again folks!

I'm in a community on lj for female World of Warcraft players. I haven't seen any hard stats out there, but the general consensus is that the player base is 15-30% female. I have been lucky enough to mostly avoid harassment, but I vividly recall getting into audio chat with a group containing another woman and her incredible excitement that I was a woman. "Oh my god, another female voice! You have no idea how long it's been since I've heard one on WoW!" She pretty much summed it up -- some weeks, our ten-person raid group contains one other woman, sometimes I'm the only one. This is pretty representative.

Someone posted to the lj community that they were starting a guild for girls, and couldn't decided whether to let men in at all, and asked for advice from people in more high-profile all-female guilds. There's been some good discussion from those folks, but two times now, a male has chipped in with a dissenting viewpoint. First, there was "As guy [sic], I'm not to big on gender specific guilds, I understand that people want these type of guilds as it would be easier to identify with one another." Which shows some basic ignorance of where he is posting, a complete lack of understanding of how it might be different for women, and a big honking blind spot to his own privilege. About par for the course, and not actually rude.

But then we get, from someone not actually mentioning his gender (I checked his profile after reading the comment, strongly suspecting), "However, exclusion based on "just because you're a guy"...or even worse, admitting "some" guys and holding them to a different standard is pretty ridiculous. Guilds are meant to promote teamwork and unity and cooperation and community for all the members...not just the ones you like best.

I'd suggest if you want your own private club, go ahead and make it...that's your right...but consider what it is you're trying to accomplish with it before you decide to keep people out for no apparent reason other than "just because"."

Snotty tone, check. Complete blindness to irony, check. Sticking nose in where it doesn't belong, check. Three strikes, this guy is out.

And what is with men saying "yeah, men are obnoxious, women are better to play with" immediately before revealing their own prejudices? Do they think if they pretend to agree with us, we won't notice when they switch over to being jerks?

Arrrrgh. I'm trying to keep my responses low-key as well as civil, given that this is not supposed to be a feminism-oriented community, but this is driving me nuts!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

too tiring

Ugh. It's gotten to the point where, if people around me start talking about feminism, I just pretend that I'm not in the room anymore. It just...doesn't seem to be worth it, to pipe up, because I know the discussion will get more heated than I want to deal with, and I don't ever seem to get anywhere.

It's pretty sickening how these conversations always break down along gender lines too. And I thought I hung out with Enlightened Guys. Sneer all you like about how your testicles disallow you from the conversation, but you just don't get it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


A phrasing that particularly angers me:

(From someone posting as "V." on I Blame the Patriarchy)
"And though I am neurotypical, I can spot a person with an autistic spectrum disorder a mile off–in other words, broadening the category hasn’t lessened my ability to distinguish ASD from nerotypical."

Well, gee, where were you the first seventeen years of my life to tell me the reason my grades sucked was ASD?

Backing off from my particular take on this instance of the "I can always just tell" (and the comment doesn't seem to be particularly egregious in any other way), this kind of othering really irks me. "I can always spot those queers/trannies/crips/auties/ferriners/what-have-you because they're not Real People like me." This establishes a fundamental difference between the speaker and these other folks and in my experience once you have a fundamental difference, a value judgement is not far behind.

To be fair, there are some categories that have defining and un-hideable features, be they physical or non. But there are very, very few of them that have nary an exception, nary a variation that might give an onlooker pause. Sure, there are people with ASD who can't "pass" to save their lives (and for many of them, this is very literally what they're trying to do). And then there's me, who despite intensive IQ testing at the age of eight (showing the exact same pattern that would later be the key to my diagnosis) went Stealth NT for almost two decades, figuring there was something wrong with me all along. There's enormous numbers of people just like me, who eventually figure out that maybe they're Asperger's or NLD or ASDNOS or in some other way not NT after a lifetime of almost fitting in. But if they'd just talked to the right people, those ones who can Always Just Tell, they'd've been spared all that because it was so obvious!

Hindsight bias is a wonderful thing. Give a bunch of people two opposite conclusions and the same data and they'll both find incontrovertible support for their conclusion. It's easy to look back and say "oh, it's so obvious, of course s/he is X, this and this and this happened". But somehow it never seems as obvious before you find out the answer.

Maybe I need a tag for "things that piss me off". Seems like everything would get it though, making it less than useful.

The funeral was very nice. I'm still across the country, but less depressed by Serious Blogs than I had feared.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


My grandmother died this morning. I don't deal very well with death, it never seems real to me. The funeral will probably be Friday or Saturday, across the country. I'll probably be avoiding blogs for a bit, serious topics are kind of depressing right now.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

unmarked cases

I read and loved this post of Dw3t-Hthr's when it was first posted, but I didn't realise at the time just how *useful* the concept is. I've since discovered myself referring to unmarked cases like everyone knows what I mean, so I figure I'll put up a link so that people have a chance in hell of understanding me. Also, it's a super post and you should read it even if you plan to never encounter my writing again.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

and also

In a sort of lead-up to Renegade Evolution's blog for sex ed day (the fourth), I'd like to extend the following to y'all, as I did on my livejournal:

Ask me questions about kinky sex (I figure if you're reading my journal, you know the basics). I am not an expert, but I play one in the bedroom have a decent grounding and some ideas on where to look for more info. I promise, I will answer all questions with at the least, a couple links from google that seem not to be bullshit, and personal experience if I have it (though some stories need to be cleared with the boyfriend first). Hell, ask me about lube brands or where to buy restraints or positions or anything! I live to serve no not like that! your educational needs, because lack of knowledge bothers me. Anonymous comments are perfectly welcome. No shame need be involved.

I don't know a whole bunch, have a lot to say about, or even feel very qualified to talk about sex ed in schools, so I'll just perform some. I always wanted to be a teacher growing up...let me educate you!

change and control

Joel over at NTs Are Weird has a post up about anxiety, control, and change that really made me think. I think best in writing, so here we go. (Disclaimer: this is about *me* and my own experiences. I do not claim to represent Joel or anybody else regardless of diagnosis. Now hopefully I can keep myself from the urge to disclaim every sentence individually)

I commented, "I hadn’t thought about the relationship between change and control before. I’m not so fond of change myself, but I hadn’t previously tied it to how much I don’t like feeling helpless when things are out of my control. It makes a lot of sense to me that when I’m in a familiar environment or I have a routine, I expect to only come up against things I have control over, problems I have already solved, and this reduces my anxiety greatly."

This is part of it, for sure. I like to forget about my anxiety, dismissing it as something I overcame in high school (cognitive-behavioral therapy did *a lot* to help me get over my nasty social anxiety) or something that only happens when I'm really stressed, but my recent sojourn off my anti-depressants made me realise that I do have anxiety (Tangent: normally I hate that "have x" construction, because it distances the person from the condition, and in the case of mental, emotional, and congnitive stuff often seens to me to be avoidance of responsibility for one's own actions: "I do thus and so because I have x/because of my x". In this case, however, I would say that it is not true that I "am anxious" because it's sporadic, situational, specific. I may be deluding myself. Who knows. End tangent.) And it's worse when I'm in new situations or when I'm not in control of something.

I've also been realising lately the number of other ways in which my dislike of change surfaces. I like to do things in large chunks, with minimal switching between them. I am beginning to wonder if some of my sleep habits are down to this -- I don't want to go to bed (like right now for example, *cough*) because I'm "on a roll", there's something interesting me that I don't want to let go of, and telling myself that it will be there in the morning is wholly unsatisfactory (and half the time untrue, as I move on to something else).

I don't shower often enough because to do so involves stopping whatever I'm doing, going to shower, and then starting something up again. (Also, the physical sensation changes in temperature and wet/dry ness bother me, and I hate hate hate putting clothes on when I'm damp. Not to mention my thick, waist-length hair takes all day to dry. Tangent.) I realise as I think over this that one of the things the psychs keep saying is that I have "problems with initiation" -- with starting things. And maybe it's not only that I have trouble starting the "go take a shower" process, but also that I know I'll have to initiate something else after, that there's actually a whole mess of things that go along with stopping what I'm doing, and that my inertia is a reaction to this.

This inertia really frustrates me sometimes. It's not just that I have trouble starting schoolwork or unpleasant chores. I have trouble showering. I have trouble putting down my book to get up and do something else that I *want* to do, that I chose to do and have been telling myself to do all week. I have trouble making myself food. And yet I realise that part of me thinks of it all as "laziness", the part of me that thought too hard about test scores and my "academic potential". Sigh. I am slowly, slowly, working on excising that part of myself and coming to understand my shortcomings as part of myself, but it's hard.

Again, I seem to have strayed from my topic. Perhaps I will come back to this, pick out subtopics (this turned out to be broader than I'd thought) and write more in-depth on things.

Friday, May 18, 2007

durr, what she said

Kim at Bastante Already has a really good post up about appearance, and how unacceptable it is for women to like theirs. I don't have any clever words right now, so go read hers.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Speech patterns

Internet debate has prompted me to wonder about the differences in the ways men and women speak. Not the tonal variation kind of thing (women are more likely to express emphasis with variation in tone, men speak in more of a monotone and emphasise with volume or handwaving or what have you), but choice of words and more macro stuff. A preliminary google was not that helpful, so I'll go off my own perceptions here. Obviously other people may disagree with me, I've conducted no formal studies.

First off, read that last sentence again. I'm apologigizing for what I'm about to say, and pre-emptively hedging. I often find myself wanting to make an extensive disclaimer before I weigh in on charged subjects, just in case I'm wrong someone disagrees with me. It's foreign to me to assert my own correctness. I'm more likely to say "I disagree" than "you're wrong" no matter how sure I am of the subject. It seems extremely rude to me to say the latter. I feel like I need to protect my interlocutor's feelings even when they're flat-out mistaken. This leads to a lot of minimizing language like "might", and statements about why I might be wrong. It's of course possible that this isn't a female thing, but related to some other reason that I'm not all that assertive, but I'm guessing that it's a gender thing. Men who are assertive are strong, whereas women who are assertive are bitchy or bossy.

Another thing is questions. There was a day at the looney bin when I was forbidden to ask questions (thinking about this pisses me off, but is not the point), and it brought my attention to how often I do. Not just as requests for information, but as alternatives to, say, commands. "Could you do x?" as opposed to "please do x". Once again, it feels rude to use the imperative. And "would it be possible to y?" rather than "we should do y". It's hedging again, I think, and it also leaves the other person the opportunity to say no. It's like I'm building in a grammatical method of shooting me down -- it would be ruder to say "no, we shouldn't do y" to the latter than to say "no, it's not possible" because, well, that's a valid answer to the question. And really, thinking about it, I classify statements as a more male way of talking than questions.

Upon a secondary google as I write, I find the following on tag questions:

"Lakoff (1975) observed that, in certain contexts, women use question tags more frequently than men do. She defines the tag-question as 'a declarative statement without the assumption that the statement is to be believed by the addressee: one has an out, as with questions. [The] tag gives the addressee leeway, not forcing him [sic] to go along with the views of the speaker.' (Lakoff 1975:16)" (from this site)

[An actual definition of tag questions is that they're those little, two-word questions that one tacks onto the end of a statement: "You are coming aren't you?" "It sure is wet out, isn't it?" "He can do this, can't he?"]

Evidently further studies have been contradictory on which gender uses tag-questions more, but I would tend to agree with the bit I quoted above on the general motivations behind this kind of language.

Any input?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tinky-Winky has something to say

In an attempt to bring good out of bad, I've just donated some money to Planned Parenthood in honor of Jerry Falwell's death. I would put forth that this is a very good time to donate to your favorite pagan, abortionist, feminist, gay or lesbian-type cause. Seeing as I'm about three and a half of those, myself, I'm pretty glad that Falwell's toxic brand of "religion" is down one leader today.