Mouse Smash

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


Leave a comment

GeekGirlCon ’15 Panel Recap: The Disability Politics of Daredevil

IMG_2491

With Daredevil returning for season two this week, let’s revisit our GeekGirlCon panel on the show! I attended a panel with Elsa S. Henry, a feminist scholar and disability rights activist. She also happens to be legally blind and, given that Daredevil is a show with a blind protagonist, she had several misconceptions about vision impairment to clear up.

“You can still like Daredevil, but here is a perspective you might not have had before,” Henry explained to a full room at the start of the session. She began by disproving several presumptions about what it was like to be blind. “Not all blind people use braille. So a lot of what you see isn’t accurate towards a blind person’s life,” she said, with reference to Matt Murdock’s constant use of a braille output device. “Most people use text-speak; you can hear it and don’t need to mess around with machines. When I watch the show, it’s very difficult not to notice things that don’t make any sense.” Continue reading

Advertisements


Leave a comment

GeekGirlCon Panel Recap: In Conversation: Anita and Zoe

One of the biggest turnouts at GeekGirlCon ’15 was for a panel that was announced at the last minute. “In Conversation, Anita and Zoe” featured special guests Anita Sarkeesian (creator of Feminist Frequency) and Zoe Quinn (game designer and co-founder of Crash Override Network) as they discussed what it was like to be high-profile women in tech, online harassment, and what action we can all take to prevent online abuse.

Elizabeth Sampat, who moderated the panel, started by posing some questions to Sarkeesian and Quinn. “You are both successful women in the public eye,” she said. “What kinds of things do you have to do or put up with that men in similar positions don’t have to do?”

Quinn answered first: “I’m worried that people will see me in public and I look like crap.” With the amount of focus that goes into evaluating women’s appearances, she voices her concerns about how if she doesn’t look “acceptable,” she will find threads on Reddit the next day criticizing how she looks. “There are all the things that go into appearance. I got into game dev and writing so I didn’t have to see people but now with this public thing I have to use makeup. It’s easier now when I think of it as painting a Warhammer mini.” Continue reading


Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

I was in a Doubleclicks music video and all I got was this lousy ferret attack

IMG_1066

I’ve been a fan of the Doubleclicks for some time now, ever since the first time their anthemic Nothing to Prove made me tear up at my desk in grad school. I’m sure it wasn’t just the insecurity and emotional exhaustion of churning out a dissertation in a male-dominated environment that was talking, but hey, there was something in their song that really spoke to me. From songs about burninators to burritos, they could have played the soundtrack to my geeky and socially awkward life.

So when the Doubleclicks sent out a call inviting their fans to be part of an upcoming music video, I knew I had to be involved. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Women in Gaming: an evening with Halo: Nightfall

IMG_1499.JPG

Last Thursday, at the Big Picture in downtown Seattle, I found out about the male-dominated history of the community for women in the videogame industry.

L-R: Jessica Shea, Marta Beck, Holly Barbacovi and Kiki Wolfkill, all of 343 industries. Image courtesy of Jason Pankow.

Bonnie Ross, CVP of 343 Industries, recounted how she and several other women organized a cocktail event at the annual Game Developers Conference as a networking opportunity for women in 2001. Considering that women only make up around 5-20% of their fields, and that on average they earned 86 cents on every dollar that men made in the US game industry, it was crucial for women to have an opportunity to meet others within their profession.

However, more men than women turned up to the event. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The (Social) Justice League

ButtonsD&D

Amongst the hostility of current Gamergate debacle, there have been positive, creative and humorous responses. The Doubleclicks, for example, offered internet trolls their own love song. Nonadecimal developed asatirical battle game about arguing online. And this year, Sarah “Chip” Nixon brought 150 sets of social justice class buttons with her to GeekGirlCon. Continue reading