I Read the Internets – 11/04/06

Hey there! You’re reading the first installment of a new weekly feature here at The Hathor Legacy which will, hopefully, allow me to make some extra use of some small part of the amount of time I spend every week reading blogs, forums and news sites. I’ll be bringing you links to (and sometimes brief thoughts about) a variety of topics connected to our interests here at THL every Saturday from here on out. I hope you’ll enjoy this new feature, and particularly this, the very first edition of “I Read the Internets.”

This week, it seems that I’ve mostly been reading about gaming and gamer culture. Well, actually, I read this first article last week, but this feature didn’t exist back then, and I want to share it with you all. Check out E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman’s “Real Girls Don’t: The invisible minority of female video game players,” published at Strange Horizons (which, by the way, is an excellent source of short speculative fiction, for those of you who are into that). Gathman’s article resonated with me on a lot of levels, and I suspect that any of you who have had the experience of being a girl geek will feel the same. Here’s a little excerpt:

Sometimes girls are told that they can’t or shouldn’t play RPGs or video games. But more often, I think, they are told that they don’t. The cultural message is sometimes wrapped in hand-wringing and good intentions, but the underlying assumption beneath “Why don’t girls play video games?” is still “Girls don’t play video games.” Technology in general, but game technology in particular, is viewed as a masculine domain. Girls use computers to word process, send instant messages, make a MySpace profile””but they don’t use them to slay dragons. They just don’t. And it’s a lot harder to see what’s wrong with that argument than a straightforward claim that slaying dragons is not ladylike.

Once you’ve read “Real Girls Don’t,” check out this (short) article by Sheri Graner Ray, titled “Pink Poison,” which tackles the same basic topic from a slightly different angle. If you find this topic interesting, you’ll probably enjoy Lake Desire’s comments on the article over at New Game Plus.

Rounding out this week’s coverage of gaming and gamer culture, 100LittleDolls has a few pointed comments to make about the idea of a Miss Video Game pageant in “Pageant Hid as Revolution: Miss Video Game 2007.” In the interests of fair reporting (or something like that. It might have been writer’s block and boredom”¦), I clicked through to the blog post where 100LittleDolls read about the contest, and then on to the contest page itself. There were enough uses of the word “ladies” and images of conventionally pretty, conventionally feminine women floating around that I felt the immediate urge to belch a lot and slouch down to the neighborhood convenience store to pick up some Mountain Dew – with no makeup on, and wearing a baggy martial arts t-shirt (omg I was in PUBLIC without a FITTED TEE!) and jeans. I gave in to that urge. It felt good.

Annnd speaking of gender roles, and the strict societal enforcement of same, seraC wrote a post on her LiveJournal that reminds me why I don’t ever, ever watch television commercials. Because if I saw a Little Mermaid cooking toy, I would probably break my TV. And then I wouldn’t be able to watch all of my off-air sci-fi show DVDS! Commenter madsciencechick makes an excellent point in response to that post, which is:

But at the same time I think that the greatest service my momma ever did for me was to teach me that strong women could work and cook and do math and play soccer and read and paint their nails and that there was nothing wrong with any of it, that you didn’t have to chose between being a strong woman and baking a cake.

I think I’d be less bothered by the Dora the Explorer stove if there were also Dora the Explorer rocket boots, and Dora the Explorer rapelling gear.

Sometimes, one gets the urge to stop reading the internets for a while, and read some books, instead. If this has ever happened to you – especially if it happened when you were a young adult, or if you like to read fiction published for young adults right now, regardless of your actual age – you might want to go chat with Liz Henry about “Destined love in young adult sf/fantasy“ over at Feminist SF – The Blog!

And if your print interests tend more towards the superhero comic end of the spectrum, you may be interested to know that a new “teenaged mutants go to high school” series has just debuted. Pride Highfollows the adventures of five friends who create a gay-straight alliance at their high school for superpowered youth,” and is available for purchase both as a print comic and as a pdf download. You can read a review at Prism Comics, or check out the relevant thread on the Girl-Wonder.org forums, if you’re one of those people who likes to know what others are saying about something before you make a purchase.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first edition of “I Read the Internets!” If you see some piece of internet that you think I ought to read before next week’s edition, please feel free to send me an email at robyn [dot] fleming [at] gmail [dot] com with a link.


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    The Pink Poison article was so reminiscent of the Hollywood attitude about women not going to movies and audiences not wanting great women characters. No matter what actually physically happened, they always rationalize back to their standard assumption: that women don’t count.

  2. says

    Great new feature and thank you for the link!

    And it’s so true–Hollywood and video games seem to be on the same wavelength in regards to their treatment of female characters.

  3. says

    Yeah, I think there’s a lot of overlap, there. The more I sort’ve “network” with bloggers in other fandoms and with other media interests, the more I see the same patterns, over and over.

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    There’s a lot of overlap in real life, too.

    Part of why the “women don’t” meme hit me so hard when I eventually quit screenwriting was that I’d moved here from a region (the South) where “women don’t” applied to pretty much everything I believed in, cared about, or enjoyed. But that region has an acknowledged problem with bigotry: they may feel their bigoted attitudes are justified, but they knew they didn’t have the support of everyone else in the US.

    But Hollywood couches those same attitudes in “demographics”, and because it all sounds so smart and scientific, people are at a loss to defy them. Demographics may show that women are NOT attending movies as much as men, for example, but they don’t tell you why. And yet, people insist that they do.

    Backward logic: start from the assumption, then find the rationalization to back it up.


  1. […] You may have noticed, reading the paper, that it was peer-reviewed by Cabell Gathman, whose own article, Real Girls Don’t, I linked to last week (I sometimes think that feminist geekdom is like the smallest world there is.I’ve actually met Cabell – her cat molested my shoe!! True story! Karen and I write novels together. But all of this is beside the point, which is:) I think Gathman may have done us a huge favor by using that phrase “Real Girls Don’t” in her article. It describes a very prevalent cultural meme so concisely! For another example of this assumption in action, check out a recent post on Fanthropology, where quincunx points out some interesting reactions to a study that suggests that (slightly) more women than men are playing videogames. […]

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