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The Female Perspective: A Little Bit Of This & A Little Bit Of That

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

I’ll be honest dear readers, I am hot and tired from a long day of working and some uncomfortable back pain. Today I want to issue a blog post that’s a bit of a mishmash of various bits and pieces I have found but haven’t had the time to write up into a full-length blog. Let’s chat about a few things.

John Oliver and His Thoughts On The Internet

This past Sunday, John Oliver issued a beautifully worded and true commentary on how women are treated on the internet. Check it out below and be advised, this is Not Safe For Work or children.

I did a piece on Gamergate awhile back and felt the same way, these poor women were harassed to the point of needed police protect and safe houses…over a VIDEO GAME. Does that seem right to anyone? I sure hope not because that is bat-poop crazy sauce. America has free speech and to me that extends to the internet. The problem is, some people simply didn’t get the memo, they decided that free speech only means what they believe and if you disagree…well, better be prepared for some pretty vile comments about your anatomy and possible revenge porn.

Batgirl Has Been Fighting For Equal Pay For a Loooooong Time

Sure, this is funny but it’s also right on point, Batgirl doesn’t have it any easier than Robin, so why isn’t she being paid the same amount? Oh, that’s right, she’s a woman. Come on Batman, get it together and compensate your workers fairly and equally!

Batgirl Wants Equal Pay!

The World Right Now and The World Long Ago

I’ll tell you, the world right now is a crazy place and has been for a while. I see the events that go down in places like Baltimore and South Carolina and remember names like Freddie Gray and Michael Brown and my heart aches for all that is happening and all that has happened. As many regular readers of this blog know, I have a special place in my heart for Feminism and it makes me very angry when young women decide they don’t “need” feminism. Coming soon is a movie that I hope will remind those young women all that suffrage did for us, all that feminism has done and IS doing for us. It is a movie that touches my soul just watching the preview and I hope that everyone goes and see’s it because if you think you don’t “need” feminism? Take a look at this and tell me that feminism didn’t do anything for us.

We need people who are willing to take a stand against injustice and inequality. We need people to stand up and proclaim that love is greater than hate and we need people to wake up and realize that these people who have fought and died for the various causes they have represented deserve respect. If you feel as though feminism isn’t something you “need” that’s your choice, of course it is, but please, educate yourself on what feminism has done and don’t assume that all feminists are crazy because a few extremists have spoiled it for the whole movement.

That’s my blog for today, tell me YOUR thoughts on any of the items I’ve posted here or tell me what’s on your mind about any current events. I want to hear YOUR voice!

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The Female Perspective: From No One to Prom King, A Tale of Bullying

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

True Story.
True Story.

Bullying. I chose this topic for my blog today because I watched a video.

This doesn’t sound all that impressive, I mean, we all watch video’s all the time on the internet. It’s one of my favorite ways to waste time! Today was different though, I started watching this video about this boy who was bullied but then, he somehow turned everything around by doing one simple act of kindness. I’ll get to what his response was in a moment, but first I want to address the topic of bullying.

It’s something we are all familiar with, either it’s something we lived through in school or, if you are a parent, you have to deal with currently. Whether you are the bully or the one being bullied, it is, to me, a crime. When I was a kid, bullying meant people called you horrible names, maybe scrawled something on your locker (or, in one particularly memorable case, the bullies stole money out of my locker) and they definitely harassed you at every given opportunity. I was bullied constantly when I was a kid, Junior High was the worst for me. I was lonely, sad and even though I had friends who did their best to support me, the bullying crushed me every single day. It exhausted me and I remember crying every night that I had to go back there. Eventually, it did taper off but it never vanished completely. High School was only marginally better. Or, at least, I began to be proud of who I was, so the bullying didn’t bother me as much.

The fact is, kids today have it way harder than we ever did. Kids today don’t just get bullied at school. They get bullied on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, the bullying goes home with them. There are constant reports of kids, KIDS, killing themselves because the bullying is just too much for them. It breaks my heart to hear it because if only they could see the future, they’d see that outside of school, bullying means nothing. Your life will get better. Mine did.

It’s also true that women get bullied in the comic book and gamer world. It’s defined as sexism but it’s bullying just the same. Women (and the men who support them) are taunted online, called cruel and unfair names. The most recent example of this is of course, Gamergate, where a woman was harassed to the point of having to leave her home out of fear for her well-being. The sad fact is that bullying does continue into adulthood, but as adults we have better tools to handle it (hopefully). Kids simply don’t. They do not have the perspective to realized that this moment in time is only a moment, that it too shall pass.

But I digress, what started this post was a simple, but powerful, video (that you can watch at the end of this post). A young man was being bullied. He had recently lost his father and moved to a new town. He was quiet, reserved, in mourning and different. The kids ripped pictures out of his locker of his deceased father. The boy felt invisible and realized he didn’t want to be anymore. He finally couldn’t take it anymore. Instead of fighting back with anger or cynicism he did the most simple thing you can think of. He began holding doors for other students. Yep. You read that right, he became a doorman. He also became Prom King.

What amazes me is that at first, the other students mocked him, made fun of him and were confused by this act of simple kindness but, as the voiceover in the video suggests, soon the kids began to look forward to seeing this young man in the morning. A big smile, a hello and an open door for them. The other kids enjoyed it so much and were so grateful for his kindness, they voted him Prom King as a way to say thank you. It’s an amazing and uplifting story on how sometimes, you can combat hatred with kindness and come out on top.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful. It inspired other acts of kindness throughout the school and it turned this young man onto the idea of public speaking, to advocate for the bullied, the sad, the loners. To help them see that being courageous doesn’t mean screaming to be heard, being courageous can simply mean doing a small act of kindness for someone else. Holding a door open, smiling or even just making eye contact. It’s a powerful message. It is also one that everyone needs to hear and it is why I share it here today.

Share the love, share the kindness. We adults have a thing or two we can still learn from kids.


Fight Back With Kindness

What about you? Have you been the victim of bullying (when you were a kid or an adult)?

How did you handle it?

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The Female Perspective: A Non-Gamers Thoughts on Gamergate

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

Here’s the thing, from what I can tell in reading various articles on Gamergate, it’s a big ole mess. It started because people (aka a bunch of angry internet folks/gamers) were angry that an indie gamer released a game to great success. Then, her ex-boyfriend began spouting lies about her using her feminine wiles to get good reviews. He has since retracted what he said, saying that Quinn did not sleep with the journalist for reviews but the damage has already been done. The information was out there and people began to choose sides. Things began to quickly spiral out of control (which is what often happens on the internet) when Quinn became the recipient of death threats and multiple hacks to her various social media accounts.

I admit that, as a woman, I might be a bit biased on this subject.
I admit that, as a woman, I might be a bit biased on this subject.

What Gamergate reveals is the rampant and violent misogyny that runs throughout the gamer community. In industries such as video games and even comics, women are simply not given a fair shake. Women are treated differently and are often treated badly. And by badly, I mean, women are in fear for their lives. Let me repeat the fact that Quinn had to leave her home because she was in danger of being attacked. One of the many problems with Gamergate is that there was no organization to it, no clear leader. Therefore, the attacks ranged from condemning the lack of ethics in journalism to outright hatred against women in the gaming industry. So what was the “real” issue here?

Carolyn Cox from The Mary Sue puts it well when she says,

“This ongoing uproar in the gaming community is not about journalistic ethics, it’s about systematic misogyny and abuse, the ease with which harassment occurs online, and the fact that publishing an article calling for empathy could engender enough hate to make you want to quit writing forever.”

Technology is great but one of the downfalls is that hate is spewed towards women (amongst others) every day on the internet. Being able to hide behind a computer screen/keyboard makes people (aka trolls, bullies, bigots, sexists, etc) feel invincible and untouchable. The fact is, they mostly are. The video game world has seen the rise of females in their male dominated world for years now, in a blog from 2011 I found that women made up 12% of the people working in creating games, not to mention, women have been influential in some of the biggest games around such as “Gears of War 3” and “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”.


According to an article in The Washington Post,

“America’s 190 million gamers, 48 percent of whom are women, still play in a harsh frontier. About 70 percent of female gamers said they played as male characters online in hopes of sidestepping sexual harassment, according to a study cited by “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace” author and law professor Danielle Keats Citron.”

Intermingled with this feeling of technological invincibility is the gamer world. It is a male dominated one and if anything is clear from Gamergate, it is an industry that is unwilling to accept women into the fold. (I want to make it clear that I, by no means,  speak of the entire gaming industry. I am well aware that there are many who support women). To try and keep women out, the men establish a culture of hatred, violence, sexism and threats. I know that even though I am not a gamer, I see the commercials for games like “Grand Theft Auto”, I am often horrified at the way women are portrayed in those games. I have read numerous stories about how the female characters are often sex workers who are attacked and murdered for fun. Yeah, for FUN. If you’ll allow me an “old lady” moment,  I honestly don’t know when video games became this way. I remember a time when you very simply had to get Link through various trials to rescue Zelda or you bounced Mario along some toadstools to rescue Princess Peach. Maybe I’m old but it saddens me that there are now video games that are all about killing and assault.

As of 2011, about 18 million women were playing video games.

As of 2014, that number rose to 70%!

When journalist Anita Sarkeesian (no stranger to online harassment for her feminist views) mentioned that maybe in video games women don’t have to be nameless sex workers nor do they need to be murdered and/or attacked in every video game, she received so many threats she had to leave her home for a safer location.

Let me say this pretty clearly so everyone understands, no one should have to leave their homes for fear of their safety for speaking their mind. Last time I checked, we lived in a country founded on the principles of free speech. When did that change to ‘free speech, except when it’s women denouncing female abuse in video games and/or receiving praise for a well-done video game?’ For sure, I am a bit confused that the only argument being made is to try and frighten the women who are speaking their minds. Where is the logical, open discourse? Where is the intelligence? We live in a culture of bullies and I, for one, want it to stop.

What has come out of Gamergate for many is a need to address the misogyny and violence against women (and their supporters) in the gaming industry. For something like this to reach a level of violence where women are fearing for their own well-being means that there is a huge flaw in the system. Actually, it means the system is broken. Everyone should be able to do what they love. Everyone should be able to speak their mind (unless, obviously, it’s harmful).

I realize that this may sound somewhat unclear, but here’s the thing. The people making threats or hacking accounts to “get back at” these women are the problem. They are abusing the right of free speech by trying to shut down those who are fighting for it. By abusing it to this degree they no longer deserve that right (in my humble opinion) because once we descend to threats of bodily harm, who are we? Barbarians? Monsters?

I, for one, want to live in a world where I can speak my mind without fear of being harmed or threatened.

There is an upside. There are organizations like WIGI (Women In Games International) that is made up of both male and female members whose sole purpose is to work to include women in the gaming industry as both players and developers. Make sure to check them out!

Tell me, did I miss something about Gamergate? 

Not being a gamer, I would love to hear some feedback!