I Read the Internets – 7/14/07

I’ve had some bad flare-ups of repetitive-stress pain in my wrists and elbows the past couple weeks, internets, which is why there was no IRtI last week. This week’s will have some links that would have been included in that round-up, but I’m afraid it won’t be double-sized or anything awesome like that. Less time at the keyboard means less internets reading!

(and before anyone asks, yes, I use braces, have an ergonomic set-up, and utilize timers. I also sometimes just have to take a break from the computer for a few days, despite all of this prudence)

Happily, Willow has got you more than covered for reading material with the first – and very comprehensive – People of Color in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Carnival. Go check it out, and do what you can to make sure there will be many more.

And if that’s not enough linkage for you, I can state with certainty that anyone who enjoys I Read the Internets will also find much to love about Girl-Wonder.org’s newest blog project, GWOG:

Here you will find links to items that will amuse, amaze, inspire or depress you, short posts and quotes about Interesting Things and a way to procrastinate even further on those things you will get around to doing any minute now. Check back often – there’s so much comics and other interesting stuff going on that there’s sure to be something new!

And for gamers, the July issue of Cerise magazine is now live – and submissions are, as always, being accepted for future issues.

Gamers will likely also be interested in a couple of studies I’ve read about on the internets lately. Mighty Ponygirl at Feminist Gamers has some good coverage of a study which finds that girls like to play violent video games (shocking, I know):

While the numbers still show that boys play more videogames than girls, the gap is not as wide as people would like to believe: while 2/3 of boys reported playing a violent video game at least once a week, so did a full 1/3 of girls interviewed. This means that even the remaining 2/3 of girls who play videogames may still play violent videogames, just not as often as once a week.

At New Scientist Tech, I read about another gaming-related study, with interesting findings about gender and avatars:

The study reveals that androgynous digital personas (avatars) are perceived as less trustworthy than ones that are clearly either male or female.

It also seems that people typically extend this impression to the person behind the avatar too. The results hint that avatar design and behaviour may have a range of unforeseen psychological influences and that such virtual personas need to be carefully designed to make the right impression, the researchers argue.

I think there are other things that could be argued, too, like that maybe changing cultural perceptions of androgyny would have an effect, etc.  There are definitely some interesting things going on there.  My favorite part of the whole thing, though, is that they used a ketchup bottle as one of the avatars. That just totally cracks me up. Ketchup!

One thing I’ve seen quite a lot of the past two weeks, even without spending as much time at the computer as I generally do, is discussion of the Transformers movie. Tekanji at Official Shrub.com Blog has compiled links to a number of particularly good posts on the subject in “Hollywood, please stop shitting on my childhood.”

Going from movies to books, Liz Henry had some interesting thoughts to share on the subject of “the angel in the campsite…or spaceship” at badgerbag:

Often in fantasy books, or travel books, there are little domesticity making-do cooking/foraging/furnishing the campsite fantasies. And I do enjoy them.

AND YET. On another level, no. The fantasy of domesticity and women is that wherever we go, we are the angel in the house. It does help, it civilizes and humanizes, it makes others feel happy, it demonstrates love. But when you start doing that work, you are choosing not to focus on other work. And it is all too convenient for others to praise that domesticity and take a free ride.

Elsewhere on the internets, Elizabeth Bear spent some time talking about writing, as she puts it, People:

Because if you only have one of something, it automatically becomes a poster child. You only have one black guy in the movie? Oh, man, we know he’s gonna die. Same thing with one queer guy (Heroic gays always die! It’s a law! It’s how you know they’re heroic!). One woman is the love interest, and she will either stand by her man or betray him. And she might also die.

But you know, you start getting enough of those Others into things, and they become People. If the protagonist is also black, somehow that black-mentor-gets-killed thing seems less… well, icky. And more like maybe the author has been watching too many Hollywood films and needs to branch out a little to some new plotlines.

At Feminist SF – The Blog!, Yonmei outlined some interesting thoughts about gender in Robin Hobb’s Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man trilogies. I found the post particularly interesting after reading Firebird’s post about Poison Study and Magic Study (by Maria V. Snyder) at the Books @ THL blog.

For a final serious post this week, I want to highlight something by Karen Healey at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) that straddles the interesting line between comics and real life experiences:

I had thought I’d feel self-conscious about my belly, my butt, my arms. I didn’t. I felt great the whole night, posing for pictures, promoting Girl-Wonder.org and explaining who the Birds of Prey actually were. And because WisCon achieves near-parity and perfect safety, I didn’t worry about being harrassed. I had the privilege most men have daily of not being automatically viewed as a sexual object. So quickly did I adapt to the privilege of not having to put up with that shit that I didn’t even notice I had it.

Until, going to the bathrooms on the second floor alone**, I stepped into the elevator. It was filled with men who were all taller than me, and not wearing WisCon badges. They looked surprised and pleased as I got in. And I felt uneasy and self-conscious before I had time to think of why.

Read the whole post, and don’t let yourself get caught up in the fishnets.

And finally, closing with humor, check out this lovely illustrated crossover.

See ya next time!

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