When Movements are Co-Opted: MOVE ON. SPEAK UP.

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Today, Calgary Expo kicked out an exhibitor who had applied for a table under false pretenses. It was a GamerGate group, who used one of the exhibitor’s webcomics as a ruse to put up GG branded signage. And they then started to derail feminist panels- such as last night’s Women in Comics panel. TheMarySue does a great job covering all of this– go there, come back.

Now, there are a lot of people within GamerGate who try to swear up and down that they are in it because they want ethics in gamer journalism.

Which is a hard story to buy when ultimately, members of GG have gone after women in gaming who are vocal about feminism and critical of the boys’ club mentality within gaming development and gamers. And totally ignore male critics.

So what happens if someone really did join up with GamerGate because they felt there was a lack of transparency in gaming journalism’s ethics, and are baffled by what to do now that it’s a hate group? START YOUR OWN DAMN MOVEMENT.

Way back when the Tea Party first started, I was tweeting about the GOP hijacking the group and what they were making it stand for. And I had several people tweet back who’d been in the Tea Party before Palin became a vocal supporter and it turned into a vile, racist thing. These people really were interested in overhauling taxes, and had their own clear agenda. But the problem is that when the GOP took it and made it an extremist wing of the party, it was no longer what these people signed up for.

So it doesn’t matter how much you scream and shout that you’re in it because of the ethics. When you say nothing about the GGers doxxing women who are critical of the movement, when you say nothing about the death threats being leveled against women – and not men… you’re giving your approval. If you aren’t actively trying to wrest your “movement” from these people who are so filled with hate, then you are just as big of a problem as they are.

I’m not saying that’s what happened in Calgary. No. I see a GG group who wanted to make trouble, did, and found themselves rightfully being labeled as a harassment to the convention.

So if there really are any GamerGaters out there who care about ethics? Ditch the GG label and find your own name. Make it a genuine effort, and make sure that the first thing you do is condemn GG.

Because there is no way that I won’t see GG and think of stunts like this, or threatening and doxxing women. I will never believe a random person who swears that not all GGers are like that, because nobody in the movement is actively forcing these people out. They just stand by and shrug.

UVA Rape Case: Let’s Talk About Media Coverage

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Yesterday, police announced that they found no evidence to support Rolling Stone’s story about a rape at UVA. I collected a few tweets from news agencies, going from most recent to oldest.

Meanwhile, this is what @AP tweeted:

So let’s look at what everyone shared – these news social media accounts led with the police finding no evidence. ABC doubled down on their initial tweet, which helpfully included that the alleged victim didn’t cooperate with the investigation (making it look like her fault, when Rolling Stone already dragged her through the mud) and said that the fraternity is looking into legal action. Of all these major news sources, only AP (who tweeted this as the news announced) bothered to choose their words carefully. They tweeted that the investigation was suspended. Then they followed up with a reminder from the police that the lack of evidence didn’t mean that nothing happened to the victim.

Everyone else used the phrase ‘lack of evidence’ over and over. And there’s a problem with the pervasiveness of crime shows like CSI. We’re used to thinking that evidence is everywhere. When the reality is that you don’t always get forensic evidence, or a big enough sample to test. You aren’t always lucky enough to get a camera on it. So when Americans hear a phrase like there’s a lack of evidence, they assume that if there’s no evidence, there’s no crime.

I am angered to see the way that media covers these cases. The phrases they use, the way they rush to find people to defend the accused and share stories of what good boys they are, and let the victims become tried instead- because naturally if they’ve ever made a single poor decision at any time in their life, it couldn’t possibly be rape. (Think Progress wrote this excellent summary of where the media failed when it came to covering the Steubenville rape case)

Is it any wonder that women are reluctant to report? Do you honestly blame the victim in this case for not wanting to help police?

What do you think the media should do to change?

Comedy or Public Shaming: Fan Fic Theatre

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Earlier this week, I saw a post going around Tumblr talking about Chris Gore’s upcoming panel at WonderCon – in which a group of comedians would read fanfic. And fic writers were terrified.

And it’s tricky. Because I don’t blame the people who were outraged, even though the bulk of them aren’t attending WonderCon. As fanfic and fanart become more mainstream, fan creations have been used to try to paint fandom as something weird. An uncomfortable example (and the most public one) was when Caitlin Moran was moderating a Sherlock panel and had the cast read fanfic. No matter how “fandom friendly” a show can be, there’s definitely an unspoken understanding that fanart and fanfiction are creations for the fans themselves. That it’s one thing to ask an actor to autograph an artwork done of two characters in a ship in a tame pose… it’s another to try to get them to sign something graphic that might make the actor be uncomfortable.

Because let’s be honest, fandom can get a bit weird. An inside joke might spark crack!fic or weird art… and it might be hilarious to those inside the fandom. But outside the fandom, it’s just baffling and odd.

And it’s clear that when interviewers ask actors what they think of fanfic and slash pairings, they aren’t looking for endorsements. The idea is that they can get some sort of a reaction that they can turn into a sound bite. (For the most part, the Marvel Cinematic Universe cast have been pros at embracing fandom and being able to deflect those questions without belittling the fans. It’s been pretty great)

Back to Chris Gore. When people saw that he was planning on reading fanfic, geekdom assumed that like Moran, it was without permission. When in fact, according to the post he made after he and WonderCon organizers cancelled the panel, he had permission from the authors of the works – and it designed to be a fun event. Not about shaming.

It’s hard. I can understand how Chris Gore feels, but I know how fanfic writers feel, too. I’m one of them. As it is, it’s hard to explain why you write fanfic to most people (though if you’ve ever watched an episode and thought that wasn’t the way it should have gone, and that you could write a better episode, you should understand). But when non-geeky people see incidents like that, or know that Fifty Shades was a fanfic of Twilight… you get people making assumptions about the quality level, or think that it’s all about sex.

I’ve read stories that felt like alternate seasons of TV shows that paid better attention to the show’s timeline and lore than the show did. Or gave characters more depth and love than the show has. But people have the perception that it’s all weird stories and bad writing.

I hope that Chris Gore gets to have his panel at another convention. Just maybe next time, they can make it a little more clear that the works are being used with permission? While he suggested it was clear, here’s the copy for the panel description:

Fan Fic Theatre with Chris Gore
It’s comedians reading Fan Fiction! Join Chris Gore (PodCRASH, G4TV’s Attack of the Show), along with other comedians and TV personalities, who will read aloud the weirdest and wildest fan fiction found on the internet. You’ll hear stories read by performers Giselle B. (Defective Geeks Podcast), Adrianne Curry (Cosplay Queen, America’s Next Top Model) Mary Forrest (The Biloon-Forrest Project Podcast), Ivy Doomkitty (SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay, Int’l Costumer), Tommy Bechtold (ABC’s The Middle), Matt Keil (G4TV’s X-Play), Yoshi Obayashi (comedian) and more. In addition, a celebrity guest will write a piece of fan fiction based on audience suggestions that will be read aloud for the finale.

To be honest, seeing that comedians are reading the “weirdest and wildest” fanfic doesn’t exactly read as a positive event. It mostly just seems like Moran’s panel all over again. But with more overt mockery. So Chris, I’d suggest maybe “comedians celebrating Fan Fiction” instead? That one word sort of changes the whole tone.

Your thoughts?

Edit: Just as soon as I tweeted this out, I got this wonderful response from @youthinkmemad – and I think it’s a great suggestion as well.

Edit 2: If you look at the tweets I’ve received, there have been some excellent points made about Chris’s dismissive tone – painting those who complained as bullies, saying that you shouldn’t complain if you aren’t going to be at the convention.

First, complaining about a perceived issue doesn’t make you a bully. You can point out something being problematic if you aren’t attending. As it was pointed out to me, what happens in one convention can affect con culture at large. But as a whole, fanfic writers are overwhelmingly female and as I’d pointed out already mocked in media.

My goal is to show the other side of this. That these aren’t bullies, but real people who saw something that seemed like it was making a mockery (when we’ve SEEN this happen to people we care about). I just want there to be a dialogue. Not someone acting as the injured party and it being called a day. Nothing changes if that’s how things go.

I am going to be at WonderCon, so if Chris would like to talk to someone who really does understand where the complaints from… I’m open to it. I’ll be there on Saturday w/o the Kidlets, and there on Sunday with the Kidlets.

Where did the posts go?

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Strangely, writer’s block hasn’t been the issue. On the contrary- I’ve had too many ideas, and somehow the appropriate reaction is to decide not to write anything than make time to write it all and then schedule out the posts.

My brain, it is a weird place.

Also, there were about two weeks where Little Kidlet was sick/really sick/recovering, and that put a stop to getting much more than my day job done. (More on that in another post, because trust me – it’s a long and involved story)

TheBoy and I just got back from Vegas. We went to Creation Entertainment’s Supernatural VegasCon at the Rio – which yeah, it’s expensive. I won’t lie. But I’ll be honest- it’s an amazing opportunity to get to make friends, possibly run across the actors… and to sit in on these pretty amazing panels.

I did convention reports over on Tumblr, but I’ll be posting them here, too. Mark Sheppard and Curtis Armstrong’s panels were especially good.

s9-abaddon-cosplayI entered the costume contest for the first time at VegasCon, going as Season 9 Abaddon. I made it through to the semi-finals, but didn’t make it to the end. I will say that I’m really proud of it, since I feel like I nailed attitude and the way Alaina Huffman played her. (Yes, I am still bitter that she’s dead.)

Some of the pieces I planned on writing will become videos. I have outlines for most of them – and even though spring break is upon us, I’ll be Tim Gunning it. (Making it work)

So how have you been?

I Skipped the Oscars and Patricia Arquette was WRONG.

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(I should state that these opinions are my own. They are not a reflection of anyone that I know who works in Hollywood. Wouldn’t want any of you to get flack for my opinions.)

oscars2015I didn’t watch the Oscars this year. And I’m happy I didn’t. I did catch John Legend and Common’s performance. And I did see Lady Gaga and Julie Andrews.

But it’s hard to watch a show you just can’t really support anymore.

In recent years, I stopped watching fashion coverage. While I liked seeing what people wore- I do love fashion. The coverage was ridiculous- the 365 degree cameras, the mani cams, the inane discussion about what someone’s wearing rather than their thoughts on the movies nominated. (While I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, Joan Rivers’s influence on fashion coverage was not a positive influence. It’s become far too mean, and certainly unfavorable to anyone who doesn’t fit a specific body shape- they’re far too critical towards older women and heavier women.)

When I was a teenager, sure, they talked about fashion. But they spent more time asking about the actor’s performances if they were nominated or in a film that was nominated. Or their thoughts on nominees if they weren’t.

I cringed when nobody knew how to pronounce Quvenzhané Wallis’s name when she was nominated for Beasts of the Southern Wild (and apparently they cracked a joke about her in this years’ broadcast?). (Kwah-VEN-juh-nay) I admit, I stumble on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s name – but you can bet that if I was vlogging about him or interviewing him, I would practice it until I had it down pat. Because that’s part of covering entertainment, isn’t it? (My brain puts the w in Chiwetel’s name in a different syllable, for those wondering)

And those are just my gripes about Oscars coverage. It gets more and more obvious that the Academy is largely older, white men. Even as Hollywood strives for diversity, the Academy stays the same. White white white.

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Why I gave up on #100happydays and it’s okay.

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collage_20150216163539542_20150216163548403Last year, I attempted to do #100happydays. It’s a thing where you post a picture of something that made you happy once a day for 100 days. The idea is that by the end of the 100 days, you’ll be looking for the happy moments, rather than focusing on the negativity.

I stopped posting after 30 days or so last year. So I tried it again this year… and lost steam at about the same point, too.

But this year I realized why I’d stopped taking pictures. It wasn’t that I didn’t find things to be happy about. On the contrary, at the end of the day, I’m looking at the pile of good things more than the pile of bad.

It’s because I’m too busy enjoying these moments to take a picture.

It’s hard to stop playing Disney Infinity with the Little Kidlet to take a picture of him giggling. Or to stop a nice date night to snap a picture of TheBoy and I.

While I’m disappointed I fell behind, I can’t say that I’m disappointed in the reason why.

So tell me, have you tried 100 Happy Days?

#RunDisney registration! Surprisingly stressful.

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I am a veteran of comic cons. While I stopped going to San Diego Comic-Con, I remember registration days. I know how frustrating that is…

And yet, RunDisney registration days terrify me.

Mostly because these days, the races sell out quickly. Today’s registration day for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, and I managed to get us signed up – but this was what it was like.

1. Load the Registration Page a half an hour early so that I can hit refresh right at 9am.
2. Have TheBoy’s last finish time handy, because they ask for proof of time for corral placement.
3. Have credit card handy.
4. Copy my password for Active.
5. Panic over what order to register the races.
6. Right at 9, sign up TheBoy for the half marathon.
7. Sign myself up for the 10k. (We’re at 9:05 now)
8. Sign up Oldest Kidlet for the 5k (9:08 now)
9. Sign up TheBoy for the 5k (9:10)
10. Wait for the email confirmations to come through, pour self a stiff drink (of water. Too early for anything else)

Granted, I realized as I got those email confirmations somehow it put in MY information for TheBoy (even though it has his name in one spot and mine in another), so now I’m already emailing Active about that – but we have a few months to get that straightened out.

For any of you running the Disneyland Half, did you get everything you needed?

Learning to take a compliment.

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I admit, I’m terrible about taking compliments. I think at our core, we’re all still who we were in high school.

And in high school I felt invisible. I was afraid to make a move on anyone I was interested in (after I tried once my freshman year, and he told me he thought of me like a kid sister – he was as kind as you can be in that situation), and watched them date girls who didn’t look as young as I did. Who had breasts. Who were tall. Who were white.

I wore a mask of confidence. Armor, technically. I cut my hair, wore clothes that were a little more fashion forward than you’d expect in the 90s and sort of did what I could to keep people at arm’s length.

I was only confident about my singing and acting.

I still feel a little weird when people compliment me in real life. On the internet, I can dismiss it and say that oh, I did look cute in that picture – but it’s because they can’t see how awkward and weird I am. In a snapshot, of course I look adorable.

But that isn’t healthy, and it isn’t accurate. My therapist called me out on it when we were discussing things and I kept trying to say that it wasn’t like I’m that attractive. At some point in time he stopped me. And asked if I really felt that way.

Black Widow, out!

Pretty cute, double-jointed fingers and all!

I said that I look in the mirror and see an attractive woman. I look at pictures I take and think I look nice. But a big part of it is that I question what others think because of high school. And because most people who tell me I’m pretty do so with an agenda.

So I’ve been working on trusting that not everyone who says I look good is out to wreck my life.

Today at the grocery store, I was talking with an employee that I see pretty regularly. She’s a motherly type. She’d never seen the Kidlets before, and she thought they were adorable- and so polite! She told them she thought they were cute, then glanced at me. “But not as cute as your mother.”

And I froze. Part of me wanted to shrug it off. But I knew my therapist would be annoyed and I wanted something good to tell him since I’d had to reschedule today’s appointment. So I thanked her, and told her I hoped she had a good, pain-free day (her arm was in a sling).

She didn’t think I was full of myself. She just smiled back and said she’d see me later in the week.

Pretty sure that the next time someone tells me out of the blue that they like my creative writing, I’m still going to wonder if they’re crazy. But, baby steps.

Tell me, do you find it hard to take a compliment?

#WomensLives, Revenge Porn and Closure

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pri-imageIf you follow me on social media, you probably saw me post using the hashtag #WomensLives this week. BlogHer and SheKnows have partnered with PRI for the #WomensLives news incubator. It’s a non-profit effort to make sure that stories are seen, because only 24% of news stories are about women, and only 6% of stories highlight gender in/equality. (Nobody is getting paid for this – not SheKnows, and not me. We’re all involved because it’s the right thing to do)

When I was asked if I was interested – I immediately said yes. Because anyone who spends more that an hour with me generally learns that I am very much invested in gender equality, and feminism. I’ll be sharing stories with you here and there. And the first story posted hit a little close to home. Congresswoman Jackie Speier is on a quest to criminalize revenge porn, which is just one of the issues that women face online. Including threats of rape for expressing opinions about inequality or being doxxed (having private information like addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers posted online) simply for being a woman in a male dominated field. I could rant about the misogynistic GG (not going to spell it out to keep those creeps from finding this blog) for ages.

But when I started to think about how women are treated online, and revenge porn – it made me think of the very unsettling turn my offline life took last summer. In September I blogged about Celebrity Photo Hacks, and what was going on in my life. Just after the Fourth of July, TheBoy (my husband) and I learned that about a decade ago a close and trusted friend of ours had stolen a tape containing about 10 minutes of intimate moments of ours. He’d taken it from our things while helping us move, copied it, and put the tape back. We only learned of the theft because someone the friend was disputing with had the tape and was going to contact us (which is why I refer to them as the Extortionist)- so the friend (the Thief) told us first.

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[Vlog] Whitney Watches: Agent Carter “The Blitzkrieg Button”

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After taking a week off for the State of the Union, Agent Carter is back! Which means, it’s time for another vlog! (Which yes, I did film, edit and upload late at night. TheBoy was fast asleep next to me while I edited.)

And let me tell you… this was a fantastic episode! I… eeee!!! It wrapped up one story line and opened the door for something so much bigger. And it tackled a lot of societal issues you don’t normally see in shows set post-WWII.

So it looks like next week’s episode sets up the next direction the show’s taking, and I’m excited. Are you?

I want to hear all about your thoughts. And if you’re curious what I did for my hair, I did some quick victory rolls and then pinned up the back – I was a teen in the mid 90s, and while I had short hair, I was in fact a Swing Kid.

If you like the vlog, subscribe to my channel on YouTube! And if you happen to know a graphic artist who can do a quirky, geeky logo for me, let me know!

me - I was right 2