Today I list my top five feminerd annoyances, including the lack of LGBT characters on Star Trek, sexist comics at The Oatmeal, and "chainmail bikini"-type video game costumes for women. In no particular order:
The Lack of LGBT characters on Star Trek
I'm actually not sure what bugs me more: the fact that there weren't gay crew members on any of the Star Trek series, or the fact that I didn't even notice until I came across an interview with Brannon Braga earlier this year.
Braga talked about trying to get approval to have gay characters:
It was a shame for a lot of us that … I'm talking about the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and there was a constant back and forth about well how do we portray the spectrum of sexuality. There were people who felt very strongly that we should be showing casually, you know, just two guys together in the background in Ten Forward. At the time the decision was made not to do that and I think those same people would make a different decision now because I think, you know, that was 1989, well yeah about 89, 90, 91. I have no doubt that those same creative players wouldn't feel so hesitant to have, you know, have been squeamish about a decision like that."
This video is a bit long but if you're interested in this topic, it shows the DS9 kiss scene (starting at 4:43) and two related scenes from The Next Generation.
Hello Kitty Gaming Accessories
Now I'm not opposed to pink gaming accessories. I don't really like the assumption that girls won't game unless their consoles and controllers are girl-branded, or the idea that if guys use pink accessories that's unmanly. But I don't have anything against their existence—if anyone of any gender thinks using pink accessories makes their gaming more fun, I say go for it.
But, apologies to HK fans, Hello Kitty branding is where I draw the line. I'm not blaming the people who play with them, just the people who decided that making this would somehow improve the world:
OK, so it's not as weird as the Hello Kitty lawnmower, but it still irritates me.
The Fact that Kate Mulgrew is Anti-Choice
Back to Star Trek. Captain Janeway was one of my childhood heroes and it sucks that the actress who played her, someone who's been such a role model for young girls, has used her status to oppose abortion rights. Mulgrew calls herself a liberal yet opposes abortion, saying it: "does not compute with my philosophy". She's is a supporter of the oxymoronically named "Feminists for Life," along with Sarah Palin and actress Patricia Heaton.
Now whenever I'm watching Star Trek: Voyager re-runs I have to focus more on Captain Janeway as a character and try to detach that from Kate Mulgrew's politics.
Sexist Comics at The Oatmeal
I've written about this at my blog in more detail so I won't go too much into it here, but I'm usually a big fan of the web-comics from Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal. His cartoons about cats are particularly hilarious.
But then he goes and screws things up with sexist comics like "5 Super Neat Ways to Use a Hooker" or a whole series making fun of women with facial hair called "Women and Mustaches". I find it deeply disappointing when I enjoy so much of his other work.
Clothes for Women in Combat Video Games
Ouyang Dan wrote a good piece on this called "The Chain Mail Bikini" and I agree—I want more options from my video games. It's sad when one of your better game costume options is Lara Croft, whose outfit at least includes shorts and flat shoes, even though her tank top is ridiculously tight. Can you imagine the chafing you'd get doing martial arts in the Mortal Kombat women's costumes, which mostly feature bikini bottoms? Ouch.
Then of course there's the whole fact that a bunch of the non-white women characters are heavily exoticized, Mortal Kombat being one of the worst venues for this.
What are your feminerd pet peeves?