Mouse Smash

JC Lau's blog about geekery, gender and other rants


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“What kind of geek are you?”

whatgeek1I didn’t self-identify as a geek for a very long time. As a child, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the 80s, but that wasn’t particularly geeky, because all kids my age liked the Turtles. In a third grade spelling test we were told to spell the longest word we knew, and I managed to get out “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, not because I was an academic overachiever, but because I thought that Mary Poppins was an awesome movie. I liked reading, but I was much more drawn to writers like Roald Dahl and, later, Jeffrey Archer and Michael Crichton, than Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman. I didn’t even touch a Marvel or DC comic until I was about 20.

But the reason I’m writing about my unassumed geekiness is because I was once presented with the question, “but what kind of geek are you?” and I was speechless. That question left me stumped for days. How on earth do you answer something like that? I’ve had geeky interests my whole life, but they just haven’t presented themselves to me as geeky per se. I just thought that they were interests that everyone had. Everyone likes Ninja Turtles, right? Everyone wants to be a superhero, right? Wouldn’t that make everyone a geek? Continue reading

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Imagined Universes and Their Inhabitants

GotG lineupWhen Marvel announced last year that Thor was going to be female, there was some backlash from pockets of comic book fandom saying that the change went against the mythology of the comic, and that Marvel was just pandering to feminists. Of course, given our cultural climate, it’s hardly surprising that an objection would be made on the basis of Thor’s gender. But what’s weirder is that the basis of this objection is that it wouldn’t fit into a universe which, by its definition, was a fictional one, and as such could encompass whatever sort of characters we can imagine.

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Some Observations about Comments about Marriage

Okay, to start, I am generally opposed to the institution of marriage. I think it’s archaic and ought to be unnecessary, except to gain a particular legal status that everyone should have the right to anyway. I’m definitely not the type of woman who has been planning her dream wedding since the age of five, and even if I had, I’m pretty sure my dream wedding would involve me riding a dinosaur, so it’s not like that was going to happen. However, there are specific reasons why I need to go through this stupid and outdated process, so here I am.

Anyway, we’ve been engaged for over a year, but it wasn’t until we started planning the actual event that I realized just how obnoxiously gendered the culture and language around weddings was. I already knew about the sexist traditions of a bride having her father literally give her away (although now there are several alternatives), the bride’s parents traditionally being burdened with the costs of the wedding (and even with the “modern” versions making the costs more equitable, they’re still predominantly for the bride’s family to cover), but once I told people that I was getting married, there was a clear shift in what they thought I would be interested in talking about, and many assumptions were made about certain norms I was apparently supposed to adhere to.

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Thor’s Sales Record is Evidence that Diversity in Comics is a Good Thing

Thorcover

You don’t say. Well, it should go without saying, but that hasn’t always been the case.

I’ve previously written about the importance of gender diversity for making comics accessible to a broader range of readers. Without having to rehash a lot of that, here’s some empirical evidence that shows that not only does gender diversity seem to morally be a good thing to have in comics, it also seems to have notable financial benefits. Continue reading


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Are you a Feminist? Some notes about Feminism and Equality

Today, as you’ve probably noticed, is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the achievements of women in a whole realm of different sectors, such as economics, science, literature and so on. It’s a day that the United Nations has adopted as a day to promote equality and recognize what has been done, and what still needs to be done to achieve gender justice. Continue reading


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WTF of the day: Soulcalibur: Lost Swords hires Hentai Artist for Female Character Costumes (NSFW)

By now, it’s not news that the game industry is rife with accusations of sexism, misogyny and objectification of women.

Given the publicity that the industry’s received in the past year about its horrendous sexism problem, it’s baffling that Bandai Namco Games has collaborated with hentai artist Yamatogawa to design new costumes for characters in their free-to-play PS3 game Soulcalibur: Lost Swords.

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The Asian Geek Girl: A Study in Stereotyping

turtle11

It can be hard to be a geek girl.

It can be harder to be a geek girl of color.

Once, in my freshman year, I went to a meeting of my college’s anime club. There were a few other girls there, but I was the only Asian in the room. When I walked in, the president of the club greeted me with “Konichiwa!” Perplexed, I thought everyone was greeted that way at the Anime Club, so I just sat down. As others came in, he simply said “hello” or “welcome” to them, in English. He didn’t say “Konichiwa” to anyone else. After the meeting, I explained to him that I wasn’t Japanese; I’m Australian but of Chinese heritage. He looked disappointed. Feeling awkward about that interaction, I never went to another Anime Club meeting. Continue reading