September 25, 2011

Rants of a Gamer Girl: Kotaku’s Woman Problem

Filed under: Gaming,Gender,Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Rachel @ 1:47 pm

The image above was created with a sample of recent post titles, and the comments I found on those posts.

Gawker has 8 different blogs, each with a different focused topic.  Kotaku is Gawker’s gaming blog, and it’s little surprise that they also have a bit of a problem when it comes to women.  While in recent months the site has semi-frequently posted about the issues that women in gaming face, and the misogyny that’s usually allowed to run freely, their comment moderation shows a serious case of hypocrisy on the part of the editors.

While men are the majority of Kotaku’s writers (they compromise the entire daily editorial team), there are two female contributors who write occasionally for the site.  A majority of the comments on the bios of Leigh Alexander and Lisa Foiles comment on their looks, or belittle them for constantly drawing attention to the fact that they’re female.  (Interesting side note – neither woman writes the posts that deal with gender issues in gaming – these pieces are almost exclusively written by the all-male editorial team mentioned above.)  A comment on one of the women’s bios included a death threat which was visible for months before it was finally removed, and the user banned.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for gathering gaming news that doesn’t also include having to read through sexist drivel.  IGN, Joystiq, and Destructoid all have the same problem.  However, while a site like Destructoid makes a mockery of a petition against Duke Nukem, Kotaku asks why girl gamers don’t get respect, then retweets someone who reduces one of the female staff members to her breasts.  Oh, and the featured comment on one of the women’s latest posts was “Tits! Nice!”  Talk about a hostile work environment.

No matter what is written, no matter the topic, the focus always becomes their appearance.  On every one of Lisa Foiles’ recent posts, the majority of comments are sexually harassing, threatening, belittling, and just plain cruel.

Kotaku wants to draw attention to women’s issues in gaming and hear our thoughts but provide nothing even slightly resembling a safe space for us to do so.  If they are promoting comments that reduce their female staff to their cup size, why the hell would I want to register for an account to contribute to the discussion of “I’m An Anonymous Woman Gamer“?

My guess for the reason behind this completely contradictory attitude is that if they remove comments and ban users who contribute misogynistic comments on a daily basis, their readership will suffer. (Something that I don’t think any Gakwer blog is willing to risk after the redesign.)

Kotaku’s own commenting guidelines claim, “…break the rules, get off topic, start calling names, and you’re going to get banned.”  However, with a complete lack of enforcement, the “guidelines” are joke, and utterly worthless.

 

 

 

 

March 2, 2011

Twitter Guide for Feminists

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 12:14 pm

Originally posted at Gender Focus by Jarrah Hodge. Cross-posted with permission.

 

For the two years I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve found it to be a really great place for keeping track of news about gender issues and networking with other feminists.

But for new users, it can be difficult to use Twitter effectively. I often hear people complaining that ”all it is is people talking about what they ate for lunch”. I can also see feminists maybe getting turned off given some of the offensive hashtags that end up becoming trending topics, like #rulesforgirls and #ihatewomenwho.

Although I admit I tweet a fair bit about what I’m eating, there’s a lot more to Twitter than the mundane. I’ve tried to list the top Twitter accounts for feminists to follow in a variety of categories, in no particular order. I follow almost 300 related Twitter accounts and I found it difficult to narrow it down. I’d love to hear in the comments below which accounts you think should be added.

To follow the complete list of feminist accounts I follow, check out the list page here. And follow me and the latest from Gender Focus @jarrahpenguin.

Top Hashtags to Keep an Eye On

  • #shepartyThis is a hashtag used for a weekly feminist discussion session hosted by the Women’s Media Center each Wednesday from 12-3 PM EST. It’s a great way to use Twitter to network with other feminists and chat with special guests.
  • #fem2 – Probably the most popular catch-all hashtag for feminist topics.

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April 14, 2010

Social Media & Feminism in the classroom & beyond

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 6:52 pm

In my recent interview with Ronak Ghorbani (part of a project exploring feminism and social media), she asked me about twitter as a tool of activism and the community of feminists I am connected with by my tweets. Can twitter help facilitate real change? Can it foster authentic relationships?

Yes and yes.

I’m teaching a new course in Women’s Studies this semester, WS 30: Women and Pop Culture, that explores the representation of women and feminists in pop culture while simultaneously examining the relationship between feminism and pop culture. But I didn’t think teaching a course on women and pop culture that merely examined these issues through text and lecture would be complete considering my experiences via social media and everything that is happening as a result of social media.

So, what have I done? I created a class blog that was built by the fabulous Anita Sarkeesian (click on the link, view her portfolio and you’ll see my class masthead in the center), allowing the class to learn hands-on blogging skills using Word Press, create a resource base and an opportunity to share their responses to assigned prompts in addition to optional posts that encourages them to share their observations, insights and experiences. This new class format has exceeded my expectations and the students are engaged and excited.  What’s not to like?

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April 5, 2010

Podcast: Tweeting Feminists Episode 2 featuring Melanie Klein the Feminist Fatale

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 5:53 pm

Originally posted at tweetingfeminists.posterous.com. Check out all the interviews of tweeting feminists with interviewer, Ronak Ghorbani.

Podcast: Tweeting Feminists Episode 2 featuring Melanie Klein the Feminist Fatale

By Ronak Ghorbani

Tweeting Feminists is a podcast about feminism and social media.

With a flare for pop culture and an academic background, Melanie Klein started her blog Feminist Fatale. The women’s studies professor from Santa Monica College loves Twitter and social media. In today’s episode Melanie talks about her blog and how the web is changing feminism.


Music featured on today’s episode is Noun with her song “Holy Hell” provided by If You Make It.


(Photo of Melanie provided by feministfatale.com)

Tweeting Feminists Episode Two by ronak_gee

March 30, 2010

The "pimpin" twitter feud examined

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 6:34 pm

Twitter is an excellent forum for disseminating and sharing information. It’s also a good place for constructive dialogue and debates to begin. Demi’s critique of Kim Kardashian’s causal reference to “big pimpin’” is evidence of that.

In the wake of the media coverage of this celebrity “feud,” Rachel Lloyd digs deeper. Her post (minus the original twitter exchange) follows below (originally posted at HufPo and crossposted at Ms. Magazine’s FB page and now crossposted here).

There’s been lots of coverage in the last 24 hours on the Twitter ‘feud’ between Demi Moore and Kim Kardashian. Yet the glaring omission from all the articles, blogs and commentary is any real analysis of Demi’s point – that we glamorize and glorify pimp culture, use terminology that seems to legitimize the practice, and in doing so ignore the fact that pimps are modern-day slave-owners.
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February 9, 2010

Women to follow

Three of my favorite women on twitter were just named among the “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter” by Forbes.com.

@harrislacewell: Melissa Harris-Lacewell is a professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. She’s a regular on MSNBC and a contributor to The Nation. Her Twitter feed revolves around politics and gender, race and religion.

@jennpozner: Jennifer Pozner is the founder and executive director of Women In Media & News, a nonprofit aimed at increasing women’s presence and power in the public debate through media analysis, education, advocacy and reform. She’s a progressive feminist and activist, and tweets along those lines.

@ShelbyKnox: Shelby Knox began her career as the 15-year-old star of the PBS documentary The Education of Shelby Knox, which was about her battle against conservatives in her hometown of Lubbock, Texas, to exchange abstinence-only education for more comprehensive sex ed. Now all grown up, she continues to express her views.

Congratulations. Be sure to check out all these rockin and tweetin women.