New feature for this blog: the Daily Dose of Sexism. A list of the little daily indignities that come from not presenting the right genitalia in the right place at the right time.
1. At Wal-Mart the other day, my bear was looking for a wireless router. I wandered into the HDTV aisle, since we’re also thinking about buying one of those. The male sales person who lived in the HDTV department walked by me several times with a nod and a smile, but never asked if I needed help. Later I went to retrieve my bear and tell him there was an HDTV we might like in that aisle. My bear and I went back to stand at the exact place I had been, and immediately, the sales guy appeared, made eye contact with my bear, and asked if he needed assistance.
2. I needed a business casual suit to wear to an interview with a grant-maker. So me and my bear headed down to Target. I couldn’t find anything in the women’s department even vaguely professional (no, the bright pink suit jacket and mini-skirt don’t count). I finally gave up and decided to just get a white button-up shirt and go to another store to find some appropriate jacket. But, alas, there was not a single white button-up shirt that wasn’t completely and 100% transparent and did not have bows, glitter, or other ribbons of no apparent purpose attached. On a whim, my bear and I went over to the men’s section, where there was an entire rack of nothing but business casual — regular white button-up shirts, jackets, and pants.
3. I was watching trailers for some future video games, specifically, Halo Wars. My first thought was, man, look at that CGI on the humans. They look so much better. Then the first lady appeared. She looked absurdly cartoonish. Okay, yes, of course there were the massive breasts of no apparent basis in reality, but I’m pretty inured to looking at those. They flashed back to a male face, and it hit me. All the CGI men had wrinkles on their faces. Thought lines on the forehead. Crinkles around the eyes. Creases at the corners of their lips. But the female faces were completely smooth, making them look like fucking alien creatures. Or, you know, the covers of magazines. Hey, video game industry, add this to your perplexed list of Why Women Aren’t Buying Your Games. Your animators have spent loads of really good time and ingenuity giving male characters, you know, character, making them look like real human living breathing creatures. They have also spent equal loads of time making sure female characters look like cartoon models. Why aren’t women a bigger market in video games? It’s a constant reminder of how worthless an industry considers you as a living breathing creature when the apparently largest consideration in female character design is how much somebody might want to come on your malformed alien face.
4. Just watched The Ruins. Somebody had told me and the bear that, despite looking like ass, this was actually a surprisingly good movie. I can no longer recall who this somebody was, which is saving them from a significantly effective nut-punching.
So I’ve developed this habit of reading the Wiki on movies after I’ve watched them. The Ruins was based on a novel, and, as always happens with book-to-movies, there are significant changes from the source material. Most notably, in the book, the women don’t appear to be completely useless. In fact, it sounds like they’re just, you know, regular characters, who happen to have boobs. The movie goes the typical cuntface way. The women whine, nag, complain, flap their arms weakly, wear stupid shoes for jungle-tromping, give handjobs of no apparent purpose, get naked, sob, go crazy, and generally go in the tent and cry whenever anything scary happens.
More specifically, in the book, one of the men becomes convinced he’s infested with the vine and begins self-mutilating, eventually killing another member of the party in his madness. He then begs to be killed, which his girlfriend does. I guess they decided in the movie that audiences couldn’t really cope with a man doing any of that, so they take all that plot and put it on the blonde. Except when she begs to be killed by her best friend, the other woman, she just goes off in the tent to cry while her boyfriend does it.
Keeping the gender roles and character acts consistent wouldn’t have saved this movie from being a shitheap. But it might have crawled to the top of the shitheap of general horror fare, by the pure originality and balls required to make a movie where women aren’t caricatures of spoiled children.
5. A la The Ruins, Sphere. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go into this expecting it to be a good movie. I went into this because I have Netflix streaming through XBox Live and I was in the slothful bathrobe and whiskey zone.
In the movie, Sharon Stone is a suicidal, crazy mess who is all bitter about her affair with Dustin Hoffman. At one point, the plot requires they drug another character, which is easily done through Sharon Stone’s massive stash of drugs that she keeps around because she is crazytits.
This shit isn’t in the book. Her character has an affair with Hoffman’s character, but it’s a very small point, barely mentioned. She has some suicidal tendencies, but they’re pretty much part and parcel of, you know, being trapped at the bottom of the sea while being pursued by evil underwater creatures of mythical proportions. And when they need to drug a character, they do so (shocking!) by pilfering the first aid kit, not her personal crazytit stash, because she doesn’t have one. But I guess Hollywood didn’t think audiences could accept or connect to or deal with an intelligent, accomplished female character that wasn’t also going on crying jags. Let’s not even mention the fact that in the book she is supposed to be an insanely muscled creature of quarterback proportions, and in the movie she’s Sharon Stone. Oh, yes, I know, movies are going to try to put pretty faces up on the screen. Except, you know, Dustin Hoffman. No offense to the Hoff, I like him, and he’s certainly not an ugly man, but why doesn’t his character get held to the same ridiculous standard? Why did they fill that role with a normal looking man instead of some super sexy hunk?
Because these movies aren’t made for or by women. They are made, not with the assumption that women don’t watch movies, but that nobody cares what the fuck they think. And if you ever wonder why women are kind of an angry lot sometimes, it’s because every day we walk around consuming popular culture that is quite evidently made by and for somebody who considers us fuck-holes that cry a lot, and not a whole lot else.
I know that I will put myself into an early grave if I try to detail every sexist movie I have ever seen. But I kind of want to prove a point that, yes, I will put myself into an early grave trying to describe the sexism that surrounds me at every movie theater. Because there’s that fucking much of it.
6. Fallout 3.
Okay, a few disclaimers. I know this isn’t just about Fallout 3. I know this applies to just about every other game. But I have been playing Fallout 3 lately, so it’s what I’m using for my example. Also, I love Fallout 3. It is super fun. And, as video games go, it is ridiculously less sexist. There is a fairly equal proportion of male and female characters. They are in multiple roles (though there are no male whores and, as far as I can tell, no female SuperMutants or feral ghouls). Your strengths and abilities don’t change based on whether you choose to play a male or female character. And the dialogue options don’t change offensively depending on your gender. That is, a skeezy guy who ignored you when you were male may hit on you when you’re female, but an angry guy who called you a moron when you were male won’t call you a bitch or a whore when you’re female.
So, kudos to Bethesda for all that. One thing, though, and seriously, this one thing does bother me a lot.
What the fuck is up with my clothes?
If I’m a boy, I get to put on a raider suit that covers my ass and chest. I get to wear pants that I find in the wild. I get to put on pajamas that are silky and cover my full body.
If I am a girl, everything I wear (with the exception of jumpsuits) immediately morphs into a fucking mini-skirt. I find an outfit that was pants as a boy, that is described as pants when I put it in my inventory, and it turns into a dress as soon as I put it on my enormous disproportionate ass. Why the hell can’t I just wear goddamn pants? And, Bethesda, if I’m a boy, can’t I put on a dress while I roam around the Wasteland? Why are my clothing choices automatically sex-segregated?
Also, please please please, somebody somewhere make me a video game where I can play a female character that doesn’t have an enormous jouncing fucking rack.
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