This is a culture war. The right side is winning, at great cost. At great personal costs to people like Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and even Jennifer Lawrence, and countless others who are on the frontlines of creating new worlds for women, for girls, for everyone who believes that stories matter and there are too many still untold. We are winning. We are winning because we are more resourceful, more compassionate, more culturally aware. We’re winning because we know what it’s like to fight through adversity, through shame and pain and constant reminders of our own worthlessness, and come up punching. We know we’re winning because the terrified rage of a million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists is thick as nerve gas in the air right now.
Us Social Justice Warriors – this is me, stealing that word in order to use it against my enemies- are winning the culture war by tearing up the rulebook, and there’s nothing the sad, mad little boys who hate women and queers and people of colour can do about it. Nothing, at least, that doesn’t sabotage their strategy, because they can win their game from day to day, but they’re losing the war. They can punish me for writing this, and I’m sure they will, but that will only prove my point. I’m not afraid anymore.
Every time they make an example of one of us, ten more stand up in outrage to hold her up or take her place.
We are stronger, smarter and more numerous than anyone imagined, and we are not to be fucked with.
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HOW MISOGYNY IN GAMER CULTURE HURTS ALL OF US
By Britt Hayes
One of the biggest issues in the news this week has been the ongoing rampant misogyny and outright terrorism in gamer culture, specifically the attacks on Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn and feminist media commentator Anita Sarkeesian — both of whom have suffered exceedingly personal attacks and threats on their lives (including the horrible one in the graphic above, which was sent to Sarkeesian via Twitter). The former for merely talking sexual agency as an independent, adult woman, and the latter for criticizing the industry’s treatment of women in its games. What do these issues have to do with the rest of geek culture? Well …. everything. Misogyny in gamer culture is a symptom of a larger, systemic issue. And something needs to be done about it. Now.
I am not steeped in gamer culture, but I can tell you that what I’ve learned over the last week about the treatment of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn has horrified me (you can read a great primer here from Andrew Todd at Badass Digest). This isn’t casual sexism — these are women who are being tormented and terrorized because they are women. And the men who are responsible for crusading against them are fighting against people they’ve labeled “Social Justice Warriors” — a derogatory term they’ve coined to insinuate that anyone who supports social justice and equality is limiting them and holding them down. These are men who were born with every right handed to them; the only struggle is the one they’re imposing upon themselves by fighting to repress women.
Everyone! Listen to This Speech by Gene Luen Yang on Diversity and Comics Right Now
On Saturday, writer Gene Luen Yang gave a speech at the National Book Festival where he discussed the issue of diversity in publishing and specifically in comics and it is amazing.
The award-winning Boxers and Saints author began his speech by discussing the importance of Dwayne McDuffie to his own entrance in to comics and to comics overall. McDuffie, of course, fought for diversity in comics ultimately creating his own comic company so he could see people like himself in comics.
Yang talks about the importance of that company, Milestone, because the character Xombi was also an Asian American male.
But he also addresses the issue of diversity in terms of the writer’s responsibility and overcoming the fear of “not getting it right” and suffering the wrath of the Internet.
I strongly recommend that every writer or potential writer in comics listen to this speech. I strongly recommend that every editor and publisher in comics listen to this speech. I strongly recommend every comic reader listen to this speech. And I strongly hope that every person who diminishes diversity in comics with snide remarks listens to this speech.
Gene is such a great and insightful speaker. I’m constantly in awe of this dude. Nicest, humblest man who never hesitates to speak to me and give me words of advice whenever we run into each other at cons. When he speaks (or writes or draws), everyone should pay attention and take notes.
Johanna Thorvaldsdóttir’s Icelandic goat farm (Háafell) is facing foreclosure in September, resulting in the entire goat flock being butchered - unless enough funds are raised to save it!
There are less than 820 Icelandic goats in the entire world - they are an endangered species. Almost half of them will be lost if this farm is not saved. I visited Háafell 2 years ago and every goat I draw is rooted in this place. Any little bit helps :)
Some pretty cool perks (that tote bag, adorable!) but more than that there is a good cause behind all this. How many videos of screaming goats have I lost my shit over? The Icelandic Goat is a very cool breed. Time to give a little back I think.
Save the goats! ;^;
Drawing from films
Drawing from films is a ridiculously useful exercise. It’s not enough to watch films; it’s not enough to look at someone else’s drawings from films. If you want to be in story, there’s no excuse for not doing this.
The way this works: you draw tons of tiny little panels, tiny enough that you won’t be tempted to fuss about drawing details. You put on a movie - I recommend Raiders, E.T., or Jaws… but honestly if there’s some other movie you love enough to freeze frame the shit out of, do what works for you. It’s good to do this with a movie you already know by heart.
Hit play. Every time there’s a cut, you hit pause, draw the frame, and hit play til it cuts again. If there’s a pan or camera move, draw the first and last frames.
Note on movies: Spielberg is great for this because he’s both evocative and efficient. Michael Bay is good at what he does, but part of what he does is cut so often that you will be sorry you picked his movie to draw from. Haneke is magnificent at what he does, but cuts so little that you will wind up with three drawings of a chair. Peter Jackson… he’s great, but not efficient. If you love a Spielberg movie enough to spend a month with it, do yourself a favor and use Spielberg.
What to look for:
- Foreground, middle ground, background: where is the character? What is the point of the shot? What is it showing? What’s being used as a framing device? How does that help tie this shot into the geography of the scene? Is the background flat, or a location that lends itself to depth?
- Composition: How is the frame divided? What takes up most of the space? How are the angles and lines in the shot leading your eye?
- Reusing setups, economy: Does the film keep coming back to the same shot? The way liveaction works, that means they set up the camera and filmed one long take from that angle. Sometimes this includes a camera move, recomposing one long take into what look like separate shots. If you pay attention, you can catch them.
- Camera position, angle, height: Is the camera fixed at shoulder height? Eye height? Sitting on the floor? Angled up? Down? Is it shooting straight on towards a wall, or at an angle? Does it favor the floor or the ceiling?
- Lenses: wide-angle lens or long lens? Basic rule of thumb: If the character is large in frame and you can still see plenty of their surroundings, the lens is wide and the character is very close to camera. If the character’s surroundings seem to dwarf them, the lens is long (zoomed in).
- Lighting: Notice it, but don’t draw it. What in the scene is lit? How is this directing your eye? How many lights? Do they make sense in the scene, or do they just FEEL right?
This seems like a lot to keep in mind, and honestly, don’t worry about any of that. Draw 100 thumbnails at a time, pat yourself on the back, and you will start to notice these things as you go.
Don’t worry about the drawings, either. You can see from my drawings that these aren’t for show. They’re notes to yourself. They’re strictly for learning.
Now get out there and do a set! Tweet me at @lawnrocket and I’ll give you extra backpats for actually following through on it. Just be aware - your friends will look at you super weird when you start going off about how that one shot in Raiders was a pickup - it HAD to be - because it doesn’t make sense except for to string these other two shots together…