I do very much apologize for the recent silence. Thankfully, I can say that the real-life nonsense that was occupying all of my spare bandwidth has been mostly resolved, and I intend to get right back into the swing of things, blogging-wise. However, since my writing muscles have definitely atrophied in the almost-month that I did not write anything whatsoever, I figured I’d ease back into blogging with a links post.
I know, I shouldn’t have. I’m too kind.
Some of these links are a bit old, since I’ve been collecting them for the last few weeks. Hopefully you’ll still find some things of value worth reading.
Things that suck 
I’ll admit to not following Jared Axelrod’s fiction podcast The Voice of Free Planet X. However, this particular episode is a non-fiction interlude in which Jared very clearly and concisely spells out “what we talk about when we talk about con harassment“. I particularly enjoyed how Jared takes pains to address the commonly raised point that convention harassment policies penalize socially awkward men who don’t know how to talk to women without being awkward by stressing that, in fact, convention harassment policies are actually targeted at predators – who are almost always frighteningly socially adept. It’s well worth a listen.
Recently, some student’s at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center were given an assignment to create a video game that dealt with sexual assault prevention… that didn’t also suck. The resulting game – Decisions That Matter – looks like a very interesting game that manages to be hard-hitting without resorting to the usual victim-blamey “strategies” for sexual assault prevention like not walking alone at night or not dressing a certain way… You can read an interview with the games creators here, and the game itself can be played here (though content warnings for harassment and assault, so please take care if you do check it out).
The next time you encounter someone who complains that women just aren’t straightforward enough and why can’t they just say what they think (yes this is an actual thing that I have heard actual people actually complain about), you can link them to this piece about the arrest of a 17-year-old Canadian kid from BC who made a habit of SWATting women who turned down his romantic advances. Because nothing says love and devotion like causing someone’s home to be invaded by SWAT at the potential cost of life and/or limb. But sure, it’s women who have the problem here. Right.
This piece on The Mary Sue is from last month, written by Brianna Wu about the chilling number of credible threats that have been made against her, threats of which she has prosecutor evidence, and yet no charges have been laid. Which just goes to show once again why demanding that women take evidence of their online harassment to law enforcement is such an unhelpful response. It’s just yet another obstacle that is being set up that women have to clear in order to be taken seriously.
Over on Offworld, Leigh Alexander wrote this heart-rending piece about what it’s like to be a “woman in games”. I really can’t do it justice, so please just go read the whole thing.
This excellent piece by Whitney Phillips argues that we should call trolling what it really is: harassment that is centered around enforcing white male supremacy. It’s a great read.
Polygon can be pretty hit or miss, but this piece by Tauriq Moosa about gaming’s issues with racism as illustrated by Rust and Witcher 3 is very solid, if depressing.
Related: #Gamesowhite was created as an attempt to talk about gaming’s problem with race, and went about as well as you’d expect. (Not well.) Leigh Alexander chronicles some of the response over on Offworld here.
Things that are awesome
If you are a children of the 90s, you are going to absolutely love this Tumblr: Feminist Lisa Frank.
The ever-fantastic Misha B recently did an interview about roleplaying as a parent, and the difficulty in balancing gaming as a hobby with the time-intensive responsibilities of being a parent. I certainly found that a lot of this rang true for me.
I’m sorry I didn’t have more positive things to share with you, so make up for my failings, please have this corgi in a mailbox:
 I apologize that this section is so much longer.