Feminist Frequency’s 2015 Annual Report

Feminist Frequency has done some homework for us so go show your appreciation!

Feminist Frequency

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The Feminist Frequency team is pleased to present our annual report for 2015. The report features a list of our accomplishments throughout the year, highlights from media coverage, our financial information, some fun data about who watches our videos and how, and our plans for the new year, which we’re very excited about.

We hope you’ll take a moment to join us in looking back at 2015 and looking ahead to 2016; we think you’re gonna love some of what we have in the works.

Download the Feminist Frequency 2015 Annual Report [PDF].

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Couch Podtatoes Episode 29: Gender Identity

Me Vs. Myself and I

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As I said last week, we did a longer recording session, so here’s the latter half of that, which is Doone’s Digital Frontier in its entirety. It’s a fun discussion based on his post that you can read over here. Basically we talk about how we identify ourselves in games, how gender effects people’s viewpoints of others while playing together, and a bunch of other subtopics that meld into the complete package. Did that sound official enough? Okay, good. I’m done here. Enjoy the show!

Download this EpisodeSubscribe via RSSDownload on iTunesListen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 29: Gender Identity (runtime: 48:22)

Doone’s Digital Frontier: Gender Identity (starts at 0:00)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Doone
Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“When They Drop” by Datsik (from the album Down 4 My Ninjas)

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Go to Xpchronicles.com

Most of you have seen no change to the site, especially if your feeds and bookmarks work at xpchronicles.com

For those of you who might be using WordPress.com to keep up, you’ll need to update your bookmarks. I’m no longer hosted at WordPress.com! This means when I write something new, you’re not going to know it unless you’re visiting xpchronicles.com.

Again, most of you have nothing to worry about, especially if you use Twitter anyway. Just reminder to make sure the word is out.

Sexy or Sexualized No. 9

I present you with Katarina from League of Legends! Caveat: Riot has really done a great job in recent years of acknowledging the shortcomings of their art and in diversifying it. They won’t be getting rid of sexualized characters …something that continues to be problematic. But I think they’ve been trying to be more inclusive. That said, equal opportunity sexualization isn’t a great solution.

Is there anything inherently wrong with sexualization?

 

Running with the Shadows

directorsCutKeyArt1920I’m a Rigger.

Drones? Yep! Submachine gun? I got it. Grenades? Of course. Slap on a few implants for enhanced deadliness and I’m a dimmer, an almost human killing machine. It’s a perfect blend of practicality and death. It’s a dark world out there, filled with mostly shadows that me and my crew slink beneath. Shadow doesn’t even begin to describe my dystopic existence.

Human includes all the races – trolls, elves and orcs. But there’s “normal” culture and all the rest are some variation of almost-human, monster culture.Funny how that works out because we all look like monsters down here, but what passes for normal is particularly gruesome. In the shadows we call the Others meta-humans. But in deep reality we’re all human in the only ways that matter. Shadowrunning makes a very strong point of that.

dwarfWe live in the service of faith which we call hope. For each other. For our whims and independence. For the sanctity of individuality. For the corporations who created the ashes that surround us, their decadent skyscrapers literally lording over the scraps of Earth we call free. Anarchy. We never knew that this is what freedom meant.

My days are spent hiding underground and my nights spent dusting, duping, or dodging, whatever it takes.I’m an equal opportunity killer. Take from me, I’ll take from you. Cross me and get creased. It never takes much to get that close to death and I do it almost everyday. Suspicion is the same as proof. Fear is my faith, because out here you can’t afford to take a chance. I’m packing a sure thing, always.

When someone asks me what I believe in, I don’t say “killing people”. I say …self preservation. I say freedom,but I really mean free from anything that I don’t approve of or understand – and of course not for everybody. If everyone had freedom then no one could deserve it. Freedom is for some of us, not all of us so the SINners get the warmth of Renraku while the SINless get coffins each night if they’re lucky, squatting in squalor or straight up lying on the pavement each night. Guess there’s not enough nuyen to go around.

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There’s a hierarchy of humans fighting for rights and here in the shadows might is rights. From the Yakuza to the Valkeries, the Tong to the Azzies, flexing is a way of life, he with the most gets the most. In the fight against monsters, we often become them. Somewhere along the line we get too afraid to live. Don’t go here, because this may happen and not there because that may happen. Don’t trust anyone, don’t step on a crack or split poles. Prisoners in our own brain case.

How did it get this bad? When did the world become the rubble we sleep on? Very slowly, like  the creep of ghettos. It always starts with a few missing trash bins, then the few that are left get kicked and vandalized because the locals are pissed that it’s over-flowing and there doesn’t seem to be a city service that’ll pick up the drek. Creeps love creep. It gives them a place to hide, since badges don’t like visiting these parts. Soon, the neighborhood is two trash bags from a city dump and one dead body from a mass grave. Then communities form their own …associations. Order to check the disorder, make it safe enough to get by while they plead for real help. But in Seattle, it never came. In Berlin, we were alone. Soon the Azzies swoop in buying up the acreage one square mile at a time for a few fraggin’ nuyen. They’ll call it a project or Berlin Heights or something else progressive. The flats will cost more than any local can afford, which is a not too subtle way of them saying “get out.” That’s why we’re packing steal and worshiping dragons. Our commitment to keeping our homes runs hot like blood and deep like guts.

There was a time when people believed profit was truth, that everyone deserved what they had especially if they had nothing.

dragonAnd now, here we are. The filthy rich and the filthy. A world of anarchy and fascism, some parts “free”, some made in the image of unbridled capitalism which looks like a golden dragon with a toothy-smile and whose shine makes it appear much larger than it really is. The kind of dragon the rich can tell their babies is named Puff and it’s magical, bringing prosperity to all it soars above. They’ll believe in that dragon, like we all did …until the day they grow up and see the ashes left in the dragon’s wake. Some of them will blame the ashes for their fate, others’ll get chipped to flee from the horrors of the present and some will end up like me. Shadowrunning. Some will even become the dragon’s spawn.

Shadowrunning is the truth that’s all around us but that we cannot see. It’s named for the gargantuan shade of the dragon that we live in.

But …there’s always hope. Hope is for those who see the drek of everyday life and delude ourselves that this’ll get better. Everyone has faith in something. For me, it’s people – orcs, elves, trolls, all of them humans. Humans can change the way we live. We can change when and how we die. We can create the world in our image, even though the current picture ain’t all that flattering. I’m carving my square mile in the dirt one bullet at a time and one day I’ll lay in it. I fight because I believe we can change things. I believe that whatever happens tomorrow, it’ll be because of the action of some human somewhere – not a company, a dragon, a nuyen. Shadowrunning isn’t for the faint of heart. But if any one of us is worth sacrificing in the name of survival, then none of us is worth saving.

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When it’s time to step out of the shadows, let’s hope we don’t emerge monsters.

#Bragtoberfest Achievement Round-up

Not as much of a round-up as I want, but I’ve got links to other round-ups! To see the first week’s results Izlain has got you covered. The first Saturday of Bragtober had bloggers get together for some MOBA battles in Strife.

My own triumphs this week:

  • Pacman DX+ : I’ve unlocked 11 of 12 Steam achievements. Little Chris scored 1.3 million in a 5 minute timed match of Pacman, strengthening his claim to the Little Gamer Throne!
  • Banished: The town of Rowler is promising. I’ve finally scored a couple of achievements which are pretty much endurance challenges. The longer you play, the more inevitable the achievements become. I’ve got 3!
  • Cook, Serve, Delicious: I nearly burned my reestaurant down this week. The Buzz has finally dipped below 104% which means people are talking about my restaurant LESS as a result of the charred meals this week.

I try to hop on Twitch, my Fail Live channel, to give you lovely folks a chance to get screenshots of me failing. My streams are few and never more than an hour so your window of opportunity is slim. Try to catch up! No one fails as spectacularly as me.

Defense Grid scores are in my future. I’ve noticed some of you have your own high scores and I’m laying down the gauntlet:

Bragtober seems to be a great month to compare scores and challenge one another, so there’s my challenge to you guys. If any of you arent’ familiar with Defense Grid, it’s an awesome tower defense game that you can find on PC and Xbox. I’ve spent most of my time scoring big on Xbox so this is a good time to fix up my PC scores!

I’ll accept any of your challenges, even if you slaughter me. Especially if you’ll slaughter me.

The Socially Anti-Social

Last week Belghast raised an interesting topic. Izlain brought it up on the most recent Couch Podtatoes episode, and I’ve been thinking on it ever since. Has technology made us less social? Are we anti-social these days?

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That’s a difficult argument to prove even for those who believe it. We communicate in more and varied ways today than ever. Technology has supported socialization …but a very different kind, just like all media of any given era. Radio changed the amount of speeches and book readings we could attend. TV made theater accessible to even the poor. Placing a computer in every home has also come with it’s bonuses and downsides. We’re learning to socialize in dramatically different ways. It’s not really surprising that we don’t do it in the ways we did even 10 years ago or that it’s impacts on our social lives have been so huge.

Belghast said that the idea of face-to-face communication as the norm is extrovert centric and I think that’s a fair point. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, but that still seems unlikely. It’d be like saying the human diet is food-centric — it sounds correct, but it’s also a little absurd. It’s well established that humans are intensely social creatures, literally surviving on interactions with other humans. Can we lead rich social lives without coming into physical contact with humans? Guess it depends on how we define rich.

But usually I hear people describe how they’d rather spend their time on the internet than face to face and I can’t help but feel they’re missing something. The longer we’re alone with the internet, using it as a proxy for socializing, the more comfortable it feels and the more uncomfortable we’ll feel in face-to-face interactions. There are literally thousands if not millions of people around the world who know this feeling, and apparently it’s not too surprising. It’s just the times we live in. Studies conducted about how we use the internet and it’s impacts on our social lives show a significant correlation between increased internet use and decreased socialization. I think we’ve adapted to a certain level of anti-socialization. That’s my fancy term for saying “people like to have their cake and eat it too”. We want all of the perks of socializing with people with none of the downsides. A free and open internet delivers this, but in doing so it breaks people down into byte-size for our consumption.

What if you could have all the joys of socializing without any of the discomfort? Well …you can! The internet allows us to communicate in ever preciser doses of social interactions. We can use chat boxes when we don’t want to hear voices, avatars when we don’t want to use videos, pictures when we want to see faces. At no point on the internet am I forced to view (pictures), watch (interaction), feel (emotions) and hear people all at once which is what face-to-face interactions require. I can chose to enjoy the pieces of socializing that suit me and discard all the rest. And that’s exactly what we do on the internet. And that’s anti-social in my opinion.

This is why internet anonymity is dear to us. It is control. I can be precisely who I want whenever I want. People’s perceptions of me will be whatever I want them to be since I control the entire interaction, unlike face-to-face where we’re constantly judged by appearances, sounds and bodies. We love to socialize, and if something else controls how we do it then we’re effectively back to the way things where before the internet. Choosing to surf the net instead of going out with friends on a Saturday night is a perfectly normal choice, but the former is inherently less social than the latter. Still, there’s also really good reason to prefer virtual gatherings to physical ones.

I'm prepared for Games Tourism. Aren't you?

I’m prepared for Games Tourism. Aren’t you?

People are exhausting and it’s not really because any one of us is extroverted or introverted even though that plays a part. People literally place demands on our energy when face to face. We have to talk with them, tapping into our emotions, making us think about their ideas, adjusting to their physical presence …socializing literally requires a lot of energy. So it’s no wonder anyone could feel exhausted after a gathering, going out, party or other social event. There’s nothing abnormal about that. But what’s interesting is that in this technological time people have suddenly noticed the amount of energy that this takes, whereas before we took it for granted. And having noticed, we can now make a choice to save our energy for other things. That’s not a tough decision to make. If I can put that energy to more efficient use while getting the amount of socialization I need to get by, I’ll naturally prefer this method over any traditional way of socializing. Whether that’s healthy or not will, to some extent, depend on the person but what we do know is that too much isolation from other people causes psychological distress — and that’s not healthy. There’s good reason that solitary confinement is used as a method of torture and punishment. We know how bad the effects of loneliness are on people.

I think communicating face-to-face is still important, it doesn’t matter if you’re introvert or extrovert. There’s a reason we’re born yearning for a human touch and a human face. Those yearnings are part of what make us human. The internet isn’t yet mature enough to make that less important. Today we’re adapted to the current technology, we’re used to it’s demands and perks. In this case, I can chose to socialize via the net instead of in person. Either way, I still always chose to connect with people, which says a lot about what we really want. No one wants to be alone, we prefer to spend time with people, even when we chose to do it over the internet introverts and extroverts alike.

I'm personally looking forward to this. I suspect the movie The Surrogates has a special importance to humanity ...as a warning.

I’m personally looking forward to this. I suspect the movie The Surrogates has a special importance to humanity …as a warning.

And that’s why VR is going to explode all these concepts of introvert and extrovert! Those same people who call themselves introverts (me included) will be the first with virtual avatars, walking through Janus or going to VR travel agents …and they’ll do it so that they can see other avatars and be in their presence. I personally want to see how extroverts react to this, because I have a feeling they’re less likely to embrace it than the same introverts who prefer the net to real faces. We love being around people more than we care to admit.

I enjoy being alone and I love being in the company of people, the former more than the latter. Before I married I was spending an inordinate amount of time on the internet. I remember feeling crazy some nights being alone. Some part of me enjoyed the silence, but some other part of me felt it wasn’t enough, the feeling of something missing and not in the “I want a partner” sort of way. It wasnt’ loneliness or unhappyness, it was just the feeling of something …missing. A bit off. One way or another, I found excuses to be around people I enjoyed or went out to meet new people to enjoy, even though I still spent the majority of my time alone and even though while in the company of people I didn’t tend to interact with them in any way at all. I need to experience the presence of people. I found the balance for me and I suspect everyone finds that balance for themselves. I think it’s a very strange idea that life can be rich without the strong presence of people, even if it’s just a handful of essential people. That’s tough to imagine because in some ways people are what make my world feel large and full of possibilities.

A really unfortunate side effect of the internet age is that while trying to spend our energies socializing more efficiently, we’re objectifying human interaction. In our minds, we now have Human Interactions in nice little packages of varying sizes and shapes which we can go to the internet and “shop” for. Feeling anti-social? Turn off the social media or ramp up my inner-troll (consequence free!). Want to feel voices around you? Hang out on Twitter. Need someone to talk to? Open Skype and pick any of the dozens of impossible numbers of “friends” on your list and strike up a conversation. We didn’t aim for this state of affairs, but when you think about it it’s all kinda anti-social because we’re just looking for pieces of others, the pieces we’re comfortable with. We want the perks of interacting with people without actually interacting with people. Socially anti-social.

In this crazy age of cyborgs we view each other less and less as necessary and I don’t like the idea of people becoming unnecessary to one another, so I tend to think that at some levels, internet socialization is harmful. But I suspect many of us think that. We just don’t know where to draw that line or at what point we’ve crossed it. At what point is preferring the company of virtual people anti-social? Can we really socialize with pieces of people? How we understand the word socialization is changing, but so are we.

I’ve rambled on enough here. This subject is endless, like the droves of billions of humans around the planet. We’re not in a danger zone yet, I don’t think. But when people say that the internet is making us anti-social, I suspect they feel that the line between socializing and anti-social is being blurred or crossed for them. They’re afraid, like many of us, of people forgetting people and I think that’s a healthy and well-founded fear to have.

Couch Podtatoes Ep. 15

It’s out! Go listen to it!

I’m awful at putting out posts when a new podcast is published by my dear friends Eri and Izzy. I only make an appearance once per month, but it’s a fun show, just a few gamers talking about what’s going on in the blogger community and having opinions.

It’s linked in the sidebar 24/7. This week’s episode is about Bragtoberfest which is coming October 1st. It’s a gaming event for game bloggers, so head over to Me vs Myself and I to learn more!

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