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Posts by Aja Romano

  1. Destructoid Writer Takes Aim at Felicia Day, Shoots Himself in the Foot

    Essay

    It's no secret that tensions have been extremely high in the gaming world lately, especially surrounding gender relations and prominent women in the industry. Certainly it hasn't been the kind of environment that you'd, say, want to bumble into by means of bashing one of the most beloved women in geek culture. So, what exactly prompted Destructoid writer Ryan Perez (@PissedOffRyno) to, in his own words, "commit career suicide" and take uninformed, indignant potshots at geek cultural icon Felicia Day on Twitter Friday night just for, er, existing? It might have something to do with the recent spate of horribly misogynist outbursts against women in gaming, both fictional and real. Perhaps Perez felt a sense of solidarity with the many gamers who feel sexism is just part of the game. Perhaps he felt threatened by the rising collective voice of women and feminists who have spoken out against male-dominated gaming culture, a voice Felicia Day has increasingly come to embody. Or maybe he was "new to Twitter" and just too drunk not to realize what a horrendously bad idea this was:

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  2. TV Tropes Restores Rape Tropes

    Elsewhere on the internet

    Well, well. With all the recent hits fictional females have taken, it's nice to have some good news to report. Yesterday, The Mary Sue told you how TV Tropes had summarily deleted all tropes using the word "rape" in order to appease Google's AdSense content policies, leaving patchy holes of contentious content all over its archives while purging things like "Rape, Burn, Pillage." For obvious reasons, the article drew lots of attention, and further commentary from Think Progress's Alyssa Rosenberg, who added: "Talking about rape may involve talking about sex, but it’s not primarily about sex. A depiction and discussion of a naked woman having consensual sex, and a depiction and discussion of a woman being raped are fundamentally different things, and it’s disturbing that we’d allow [Google ad] algorithms that can’t tell the difference to elide sex and rape." Word of the deletions spread, and late yesterday evening, TV Tropes' owner and head admin Fast Eddie commented to our post to inform us that tropes had been restored "due to the concern shown here and elsewhere." Way to go, internets! But this might not be the whole story, and TV Tropes' deletions and "content cleanups" might have more ramifications than just Google revenue. Warning: discussion of potentially triggering content including fetish and pedophilia ahead.

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  3. TV Tropes Deletes Every Rape Trope; Geek Feminism Wiki steps in

    BAD IDEAS FROM SMART PEOPLE

    Up until a week ago, TV Tropes had a very handy trope index called Rape Tropes. (Note: all TVT rape trope pages in this article link, ironically, to Google caches.) This page also linked to other iterations of rape tropes in popular culture such as Rape as Backstory, Rape and Switch, Rape as Drama, Rape as Redemption, and other rape tropes common in the pop culture idiom. Today when you access any of these pages, you're informed, "We do not want a page on this topic. It does not meet our content policy." Recently on the discussion thread for combining the "Victim falls for Rapist" trope with the "Rape as Stockholm Syndrome" trope under the standard Rape Is Love cliche, Wiki owner and admin Fast Eddie explained that all tropes related to rape had been wiped off the site because it was getting the site "in trouble with Google." Apparently that meant any trope containing the word "rape" had to go.

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  4. Next-to-Normal-girl: Tumblr’s Overnight Fandom

    And Fansplosions Abound

    Ah, Tumblr, land of possibility. Where large fandoms become generational phenomenons, and unlikely smaller ones explode into supernovas of animated gifs. And where, if you're a misunderstood satire that initially garners a bevvy of outraged responses, you can spawn a full-fledged internet meme-turned-actual fandom in less than 24 hours. It all started when Tumblr user beekkake [intermittently NSFW], perhaps in response to recent sexist trends across the internet (such as these takes on the female audience for The Avengers), decided to mock the "me v/s THAT WHORE" dichotomy that pop culture, even geek culture, expects girls to participate in and perpetuate. In other words, using proper tumblrspeak, she made a cute picture that got taken out of context with amazing results.

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  5. 15 Women Who Could Direct Catching Fire Instead of the Actual Candidates

    Power Grid

    Are you still smarting from director Patty Jenkins' ousting from Thor 2? Well, don't hold your breath, because unless Lionsgate is hiding some female directors under their hat as their trump card for the rest of the Hunger Games franchise, that sinking feeling of despair that women never get to direct major franchise films isn't going away any time soon! But we here at the Mary Sue can at least help dull the pain by reminding you that if you're looking for talented female filmmakers, the odds actually are in your favor.

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  6. Is Manga Obscene? Canada and Amazon Seem to Think So

    Essay

    Things aren't going so well for graphic novel and manga publishing. In March of 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund issued an advisory about transporting comics and graphic novels across international borders. Two months later a comics fan named Tom Neeley was detained at the Canadian border, and his copy of the comic anthology Black Eye confiscated by customs. CBR reported then that Canadian censorship seemed particularly aimed at Japanese comics and gay-themed material. Last week Comics Alliance reported that criminal charges of child pornography possession had been dropped against U.S. citizen Ryan Matheson, who, in 2010, "entered Ottawa on vacation with a laptop that contained comics images that Matheson described as 'anime illustrations from art books' and 'drawings of fictional anime and manga characters.'"

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  7. Fifty Shades of Grey and the Twilight Pro-fic Phenomenon

    Essay

    Last year I wrote about my frustration with the publishing industry, and discussed ways for fandom to make a space for itself in the world of publishing and beyond. As it happens, the Twilight fandom was already way ahead of me: Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic novel by E.L. James, is a NYT #1 bestseller and an e-book phenomenon that began its life as a hugely popular fanfic. With over 250,000 digital copies sold, the trilogy that opens with Fifty Shades recently sold print rights for 7 figures in an astronomical bidding war. But Fifty Shades isn't just "mommy porn," as many have dismissively labeled it, purportedly due to its popularity with Manhattan wives and mothers. Fifty Shades is a phenomenon within a phenomenon within a phenomenon: that is, it's the mega-hit from a group of successful published pro-fics which have all come out of the immense Twilight fandom.

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  8. Attack of the Drones: Torrent Sites Launch Air-borne Servers

    The Future Is Now!

    Look! Up in the Sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's digital piracy being taken to a whole new level. We here at The Mary Sue don't endorse piracy, but we do endorse cool stuff, and even we have to admit The Pirate Bay's latest plans for thwarting the internet censors look pretty durn cool. And by "cool" we mean "likely to terrify us, cause a cyber-war, and bring back apocalyptic fashion."

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  9. Thanks, They’ll be Here All Month: Free Online Film Fest Celebrates Real Women

    We Can Be Heroes

    What does Shadya Zoabi, a 17-year-old Arab-Muslim karate champion from Israel, have in common with Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize? Both of them share their stories in free online documentaries this month as part of ITVS' Women and Girls Lead Film Festival. Eleven hour-long films in all are being showcased as part of Women's History Month, including the 5-part PBS Miniseries Women, War, and Peace. The fest features documentaries from all over the world and topics ranging from a group of prison moms who formed a Girl Scout Troop, to the problem of misogyny and homophobia in hip-hop culture, to Shadya's story as the 2003 Israel national karate champ.

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  10. YA Publishing Industry De-Gays Books: What Are The Options?

    Essay

    I'm going to try to do this in a hurry, because if you pay attention at all to the publishing industry, then there's absolutely nothing new or shocking about Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith's revelation in Publisher's Weekly that various editors and agents attempted to de-gay their Young Adult novel, followed by many similar confessions in the comments of that post--because you've just seen it all before. And after a while, you (okay, I) get tired of saying the same things over and over. So let's just recap the last 5 years or so of YA publishing, shall we?

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