Friday, 26 September 2014

The last acceptable prejudice in the media.

Now, I love me some Captain Jean Luc Picard, and I can't help but feel happy when I see Patrick Stewart speaking about Domestic violence and abuse. But as much as I love him as an actor and think he does do some great things, there's no denying he can be incredibly problematic in another way.

What way is that? Well there's no real term for it, and we really need one, but his performances as professor X is a symptom of a fairly large issue in Hollywood that goes unremarked upon. If Patrick Stewart agreed to paint himself brown and play a person of color in a film, people would understandably point out that it was blackface and so not cool. But him being another abled actor portraying a disabled person almost always passes without comment including within social justice spaces.

Obviously, he isn't solely responsible for this issue, he's just a very good example of the issue, where even progressive individuals don't see an issue with Hollywood and indeed all media continually casting abled actors to play disabled characters. No-one would ever consider rewriting an abled character so a disabled actor could be cast, but we're routinely treated to the notion that abled actors playing disabled characters is perfectly acceptable.

Hollywood and the media in general has mostly left behind it's habit of having male actors play women and white people don blackface to play people of color even if it still does have an issue with the scope of roles it will let both groups play, but it is still routinely sending the message that disabled people do not get to be represented by actual disabled people in the media.

Worse, often playing disabled characters leads to a near automatic award for the abled actor doing so. Could you imagine some white guy putting on blackface and getting an Oscar for it without outcry? I can't, yet that's what routinely happens within the media.

Of course disabled actors are limited to only disabled roles, but then those disabled roles are largely awarded to abled actors, so where do disabled actors get to tread the boards? The answer is nowhere.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Why #NotYourShield is incredibly intensely problematic:

This is the latest Salvo in #Gamergate, and it's just incredibly problematic.

1. The actual minorities involved? Seem to be mostly those with the LEAST oppression and the MOST privilege. The average person shouting that they aren't a shield that I have encountered is a well off, cis-het white dude who has a disability, a well off cis-het man of color, or a well off, cis-het white woman. Very privileged people leading a movement to defend privileged ideas is problematic.

2. The assumption by those supporting #notyourshield is that those who aren't with them are all cis-het able bodied white men intent on using them to attack folks who have a legitimate issue with gaming journalism (I will cover why it isn't a legit issue later on). Except it isn't the case, most of the folks criticising the fuck out of Gamergate are multiple minorities and our allies.

3. The assumption by those supporting #notyourshield is that not supporting it is defending white male journalists, rather than objecting to the misogynistic and privileged roots of gamergate. No, the industry needs more diverse voices, but gamergate was still vomited up out of misogyny and privilege, rather than a genuine want to see diverse voices. That makes it intensely problematic.

4. The assumption by those supporting #notyourshield is that those of us articulating our own oppression and issues with gamergate are using them as a shield? No. Minority folks pointing out that Gamergate is a pile of piss pretending to be about ethics are not using you as a shield, they're pointing out their own issues with a misogynistic pile of piss pretending to be about ethics.

5. To the minorities supporting #notyourshield? You're firstly consenting to be a shield to well off cis-het able bodied white dudes who are manufacturing a movement based largely on their terrified belief that everyone is out to oppress well off cis-het AB white dudes in games by no longer treating them as the only people to be catered to. Go you, proving you're not a shield by being a shield.

Secondly, no matter how much you support the well off cis-het AB white dudes pushing this? They are never going to like much less tolerate your existence. You can't win better by eating bootpolish. They're happy for you to shield them from us criticising them, but otherwise they couldn't give a shit about you.

Now, here's the thing, talking about ethics in gaming and reporting? Important. But it sure as shit is not a conversation we want to have on the back of massive misogyny, nor is it one that should be had on the basis that a bunch of well off cis-het AB white dudes who see any movement towards more inclusivity as being a conspiracy against them know what they're talking about.

Gamergate isn't about improving ethics, it's about well off cis-het AB white dudes being terrified about not being the only people the gaming industry cares about.

But Dawn? Someone said Gamers were dead and that Gamers are just well off cis-het white dudes? I'm a gamer and I'm not a well off cis het white dudes.

Firstly the dominant narrative that Gamers are well off cis-het white dues is starting to die. That is what is meant by Gamers being dead, namely that a dinosaurian insistence that games are just for one very privileged group is dead. Secondly even if a minority chooses to call themselves a Gamer, it does not change that for the last thirty or so years, well off, cis-het AB white dudes have been screaming that they are the only true gamers and have been gate keeping who gets to be considered a gamer. The word has a specific meaning as a result, it's a stereotype. You taking the label doesn't remove that.

The notion of a "gamer" should fucking die, it's based in gate keeping and some really ugly notions about who matters when it comes to games. You can't tackle that by taking on a term that is steeped in such notions. People talking about the death of "gamer" as a narrow gate keeping term aren't erasing you because they're talking about the death of a term that does actively erase you..

But, Dawn? The email list?

Wow, you found out that gaming journalists talk to each other, like folks do in most fucking industries, go you. You found out the dastardly secret that people talk about work to each other when they work together, I mean it's only something that's been universal for most of human existence and you've just realised it.