Friday, 4 January 2013

Introspective Ponderings

Since I set up this blog, I've decided it would be better to integrate my feminist reflections with my general writings. After all, feminism is a part of who I am and not a trait that I can single out; it permeates how I interpret the world around and colours my every opinion. It is so much a part of me that I should not separate it out and address it as an isolated trait.

From now on any posts that I would have posted here will now be posted on my new blog, Introspective Ponderings.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Picture In My Download Folder

Ok, I'm off being stupid at university right now so I'm posting less.  However, I found this picture in my downloads folder that I'd like to post here.  Quite adept I feel.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

It's Hard To Be A Female Gamer

Just recently I've come out to my friends and family as a Gamer.  Being a Gamer is something I've always been, something they've always known, but we never acknowledged it officially.  But after my most recent love affair, The Legend of Zelda, it has become obvious that this is more than a phase like we originally thought. I've finally dumped The Sims franchise after an eight year relationship and began playing other games.  The break-up was tougher on The Sims than it was on me, after all I have recently I've realised that our political aspirations don't match up and I'm fed up being a home-maker all day long whilst my creations get to go out and experience a digital world. 

Which leaves me wondering what games are out there that I am prepared to play; a recent experiment with Red Dead Revolver and Tekken 5 tell me that I do not appreciate out-moded "masculine" formulas, whereas my experience with The Sims  leaves me suspicious of anything seemingly friendly to female players.  Why do video games have to be designed with either gender as the perceived audience of the game?  I think that is why I enjoy The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess so much; the protagonist, Link, is male but his game companion is female, Midna.  Midna is pretty powerful in her own right and has the ability to conjure a Dark Energy Field to dispatch some pretty nasty enemies.  Not to mention the Princess Zelda holds the Triforce of Wisdom and is shown as being willing to defend her Kingdom by force with her own sword (sure, she surrendered, but that was after she saw defeat was inevitable).  Poke'mon is another nice-and-gender neutral game; in some of the games you can pick the sex of the avatar and in all games there are equal amounts of female rival trainers of all difficulty levels.  

Why can't there be more of these games out there?  Games that don't need big explosions, typically male-centred story lines or highly sexualised women to make them worth playing?  Why don't Game Developers not release that the best way of tapping into the female game playing market isn't to develop games like Animal Crossing or Mama's Kitchen but to provide more gender-neutral gamesAy, ay, ay.  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Thoughts and Feelings

I have just finished Female Chauvinist Pigs; in a previous post I stated that I was conflicted about Ariel Levy's writing.  I'm still a little bit confused as to where I stand with Levy, but I've come to more of an understanding.  At first I thought her prudish, but in the chapter entitled Pigs in Training, I saw that she isn't; rather than teaching teenagers to practise abstinence they should be taught about how to achieve pleasurable sexual relationships and how to obtain contraception.  

Female Chauvinist Pigs reads like a piece of journalism, not surprising considering Levy's credentials as contributing editor of New York Magazine; most of her information comes from interviews and personal experiences rather than from studies or surveys (although these do appear from time to time).  Sometimes I feel that Levy is making huge leaps between arguments whereas at others that she is being perfectly coherent.  Her book explores the effect of Raunch Culture in America as well as its proliferation.  She does make some pretty good points about how women feel the need to "be like a man" in order to succeed and this shouldn't be a societal expectation.  However, her chapter on "Womyn  and Bois" looks at LGBT a little bit too simplistically for my liking; the impression that I got from her discussion of female-to-male transgenders is that she feels that they are women hoping to adopt a male gender role by escaping the female role.  Firstly, I thought there shouldn't be a gender role to escape.  Secondly, I think the issue is a little bit more complex than a simple women "trying to be like a man" because men are seen as somehow superior.  If that were there the case why are there male-to-female transgenders at all?  

I'm going to keep my copy, but I don't consider this book essential reading to aspiring feminists in the same way as the Feminine Mystique (which I still have yet to finish) or The Female Eunuch is.   And on a final note, does anyone have any book suggestions for me?

Over and Out,
Faye Stone

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Wigtown: Scotland's National Book Town

At the moment I am currently vacationing in Scotland near Wigtown, the Scotish National Book Store.  Needless to say I splashed out on a couple, well actually half a dozen, pre-loved books.  Half of my newly-acquired books are going straight on my Summer Feminist Reading list, including Rowbotham's Woman's Consciousness, Man's World, Beauvoir's The Second Sex and finally Coward's Female Desire.  I've not done any research prior to buying, unlike my recent Internet purchases, so I am not sure what to expect from these books.  If anyone has read of these please feel free to enlighten me as what I can expect from them by leaving a comment on this post.

I was particularly expressed by the book selection on sexuality in Readinglasses, which advertises itself on being "the only specialist women's bookshop left in the UK".  Combined bookshop and Cafe'.  That is where I picked up Female Desire for a mere £2.50.  If you are ever in the area, I would recommend a visit to Readinglasses in Wigtown.  I only stopped for the books, not for the food, so I cannot honestly comment on their cooking or coffee but it is well worth a visit.  

At the moment I think it is time to sit down in a cozy chair and start reading.  I've got enough to read, after all.

Over and out, 
Faye Stone

Monday, 23 July 2012

High Street Feminism

Today I saw an interesting charity stall in Coopers Square, Burton-on-Trent.  Normally I avoid fund-raisers in the street like the plague; Birmingham City Centre is full of charity employees giving passers-by the hard-sell and I've learnt to avoid eye contact at all costs. My form of philanthropy is to volunteer for organisations or frequent charity shops.  With a bit of anticipation and mental preparation I approached a young, friendly looking woman to ask about how I could get involved in her organisation's campaign.

What was it about this particular campaign that caught my attention?  The campaign was called Because I Am A Girl and the posters displayed facts about the fate of young girls and women in other countries, with particular emphasis on child marriage.  After reflecting on what feminism means to me and assessing where I stand on current debates, I feel the need to actually contribute.  The young woman running the stall told me that across the world there are girls as young as five being forced or coerced into marriage with grown men.  The Human Rights Act states that the minimum age of marriage is 18 years old, or 16 with parental consent; these marriages of young girls are therefore violating the rights which are taken for granted in the UK.  

What is my plan to contribute to the Because I Am A Girl campaign?  I asked about volunteering for the campaign and was provided with the details for Plan UK.  For now, I have Taken the Vow and signed the petition to end early and forced marriage by applying political pressure to the UK's Secretary of State to work with other governments to end child marriage.  The aims of the campaign can be found on the website, including providing at least nine years of education to all girls and to protects the right of girls to the same extent as boys' rights.  For instance, sponsorship of the campaign is put towards the training of clerks across the world to record and issue birth certificates for baby girls as well as boys, so that it will be harder to marry girls before the age of 18.  

Please can you spare a few minutes to sign the e-petition and learn a bit more about this important campaign to find out how we can give young girls in other countries the same opportunities that we, our sisters, our mothers and our daughters have. It is only because of the geography of our births that this is not something that we struggle against ourselves.  

Over and Out,
Faye Stone

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Derby Council Complaint Response

So, last week I wrote about the inappropriate Derby Olympic Torch Celebration; after publishing the post, I sent an email to Derby City Council.  Since then I have received three responses.  The first was a acknowledge of my email, then the "Contact Us" Department informing me that they are now forwarding my email to the Complaints Department.  Finally, the Complaints Department informed me that I had not gone through their official complaints procedure and that a formal investigation will need to occur.  This could take up to two weeks whilst the relevant departments are informed of my complaint and then a solution is found.

Will keep you posted,
Over and Out