Live Free Play Hard : GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER

By Porpentine on March 9th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Press X to kiss your boyfriend. Post-apocalyptic Loom. Multi-gender drifting…

A Russian Valentine by empty_fortress

Retro stealth game about Russian homophobia. Hold down X to kiss your boyfriend (best instructions ever) and gain a point. If the cops see, they’ll chase you, so you want to use the location of houses to minimize cop interference and have an escape route (they stop chasing if their line of sight gets interrupted). Creepy homing cops, ack.

Eventually I found a place behind a house where no cops could see me and I kissed my boyfriend forever. This was a peaceful cute feeling. I may live in a black void of identical houses and giant robot cops but goddamnit I’ve found the one xy coordinate in this whole reality where I can kiss my boyfriend.

Sinkh’s Lair by rimturs

Well what’s not to like about this?! It’s got your relentless monstrous laughter, it’s got your hideous zombie gurgling, it’s got your dying in helpless confusion as you fight the controls and enemies spawn into your body. It’s the whole package.

I like how the dungeon is small and static, a racetrack with crude idiosyncrasies to memorize, brutal acquisition balanced against escaping before the toxic air kills you.

The way your HP depletes is truly sensual…standing close to enemies silently drains your heart…an insidious slimy feel to damage, like if a dungeon crawler was designed as a somber treatise on the dangers of lead poisoning…love how your dying animation almost looks like you’re just really tired and you want to take a nap…this is what we in the vidgame biz call a “misery structure”…enter the maze…die…enter the maze…die…get stuck on something…die…get the blood…get the coins…truly this game brings us face to face with our deepest fears…on an unrelated note my right hand’s ring finger’s nail has gotten too long to easily play many games…any game where that finger has to touch the keyboard…but I keep it long because there was a time when my anxiety kept me biting my nails short and bloody…so my nails are kind of this visual indicator of wellness for me now…anyways game developers if you want me to review your games please send me one of those special theramine-style keyboards powered by the slightest touch of long beautiful nails…I think Logitech makes it…just drop it in the sewer…it will reach me…

Flippy Bord by OneMrBean

The Most Beautiful Flappy Bird Game In The World aka Flappy Bird made out of cardboard, with a wonderfully physical feel.

Olav & the Lute by Shelly Alon

Olaf & the Lute is like Loom set in the post-apocalypse, a short point and click adventure with musical spells. Each four-note melody has a ~magical~ effect, like Open Thing or Fill Thing With Water, and playing them backward has the opposite effect–filling a chasm full of water, then freezing it.

Gaming Cockroach by Jonathan Ellena

This is exactly what the title says. This is a cockroach playing Tetris. You crawl around the controller and jump on buttons. This is the Archy and Mehitabel of games. It’s less about Tetris and more about how hard it is for cockroaches to play Tetris. Flawless simulation A+++

Saturn V by Cosmo D

This feels like someone’s cozy dream house except in space (on their website they call it a “galactic tree-house”). It’s designed around the song Saturn V by jazzy classical electronica band Archie Pelago, and uses the 3D environment to present the band’s influences alongside the music, placing mundane tools of production like Ableton Live and a drawing board next to murals and sculptures. The song is dynamic, mixing itself based on your position.

// by Deirdra Kiai

Each passage in // flips between two perspectives: people from opposite gender expressions longing to cross over to the other side. The parallel structure is so good at mapping out gender harm. The way we’re forced to choose two rigid uniforms instead of flowing and adapting to our own expression.

[SPOILERS] The chronological structure hits so many dysphoric nerves, all these memories I’d suppressed across the spectrum of time. The ending is good because it doesn’t assume some perfect end point where you’ve figured everything out and attained 100% Gender, it just knows that having any of your shit together is a victory.

There is so much misunderstanding over what dysphoria looks like. I’m Miserable And I Don’t Know Why is something we’re taught to accept in the absence of diverse narratives. The truth is, dysphoria isn’t simple. God doesn’t beam an image of lipstick into your brain, rotating like a display car in a dealership as a salesperson extols the virtues of Gender. Everything in our society is intended to suppress, confuse, and distort dysphoria. You’re just Depressed For No Reason, get medicated, or you must be Bad At Gender…practice more gender!

There are numerous fail-safes intended to stave off the realization. Like, trans women pressured to be gay or cross-dressing, anything other than the gendercrime of Being a Woman and actually crossing over to HELL. And god forbid if you don’t fall into a neat binary. Then you’re really fucked, in this culture that permits more diversity in phone brands than it permits in gender (for the record, I’m a Cybiko).

Games like this push back against a culture designed to suppress our gender longings, which is why // is an important public service.

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95 Comments »

  1. pepperfez says:

    Best-ever combination of headline and image.

    • Porpentine says:

      That is the last known picture of Gender in the wild…amazing creature, really…astonishing…

  2. onomatomania says:

    wotthehell wotthehell
    there s a dance in these free games yet
    toujours gai toujours gai

  3. Premium User Badge

    Rizlar says:

    GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER BATMAN

    • DickSocrates says:

      Batwoman you misogynistic pig.

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        Rizlar says:

        I actually wanted to write ‘BATMAN NOT BATWOMAN’ to better reflect the subject matter, but cannot edit comments in this mobile browser damn it.

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          Rizlar says:

          Also // is really great. The fluidity of switching narratives is so potent, once it clicks you start to lose track of whose story is which and why that even matters.

          • Porpentine says:

            ahh that’s a really good point, i had a similar experience!

    • Muzman says:

      No no, it’s:
      GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER GENDER

      Mushroom Mushroom!

  4. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    LoomLute – thanks so much for that!

  5. Shieldmaiden says:

    Yeah, so, //. Umm, I just finished it. I think I’m going to go have a little cry now.

  6. David Shute says:

    Sinkh’s Lair is surprisingly good, once you get past the unintuitive (but at least consistent) collision detection. There’s more than a hint of Dark Souls in there – monster placements are the same every time, so it becomes a matter of practicing and refining your route through. Really dig the ZX Spectrum aesthetic too, and oh, I’ve just got the pun in the title. Haha.

  7. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    ” I may live in a black void of identical houses and giant robot cops but goddamnit I’ve found the one xy coordinate in this whole reality where I can kiss my boyfriend.”

    Your writing is half the reason I read this column.

    The other half being free games, of course.

  8. LevelHeaded says:

    Gender is a construct for oppressing women.

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      I’d say it’s a construct for oppressing the populace at large. While women definitely get the short end of the stick, it’s not fun and games for men who don’t fit the arbitrary standards and expectations placed on them either.

      • LevelHeaded says:

        You mean it’s hard for men who act like women. Yes, that’s because gender is a construct for oppressing women.

        • The Random One says:

          Not really. It’s not that men who act like women are oppressed; it’s that, because gender is set as a binary; men who don’t act like they are supposed to have their actions coded as feminine. Gender doesn’t exist specifically to oppress women (since, if it’s a construct, there’s no such thing as women); it exists to create a definitive line of oppressors and oppressed and a framework whereby opressors’ cruelty and the oppressed’s suffering are considered natural and inherent.

          If you are right, consider people who don’t identify with any gender. Under your model they wouldn’t be oppressed, but in fact they are even more oppressed than women, since for most people they literally do not exist. The system oppresses all that escape it, to the degree with which they escape it.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            Gender codes actions as feminine to associate them with women. That is why gender oppresses women. Remove your fedora please.

          • The Random One says:

            Yes, because it sets up a false category called “women” and creates ways to justify their oppression. I don’t disagree with you, I’m just saying that it’s the second part in their logic, not the first. I’m sorry that bringing up people who don’t identify with either gender apparently makes me an MRA nut; I was wearing fedoras long before they ruined them.

          • sinister agent says:

            @levelheaded That was a pitiful response. You’re clearly not even reading what people are saying to you.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            “Under your model they wouldn’t be oppressed, but in fact they are even more oppressed than women, since for most people they literally do not exist. The system oppresses all that escape it, to the degree with which they escape it.”

            The system is dichotomous, with masculinity hegemonic over femininity, which women are By Default associated with. Meaning, by default, gender oppresses women. Self-identification with a gender doesn’t mean anything since gender is a SOCIAL construct and therefore is what other people think. So no, lol, people who “don’t identify with any gender” are not “even more oppressed than women.”

          • LevelHeaded says:

            @sinister agent Nice no content reply.

          • The Random One says:

            So wanting to go to the bathroom in a public place and being unable to because there isn’t one for you isn’t being oppressed?

          • LevelHeaded says:

            There is a bathroom “for you” as far as gender is concerned. Remember, it’s an oppressive social construct. It seems like you have forgotten this. Gender isn’t inherent and it isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something other people think of you.

          • The Random One says:

            Yes, but a cis woman would be able to use the women’s bathroom and feel safe, while a trans* person would feel unsafe using either. How is the trans* person not more oppressed, in that instance, than a woman?

          • LevelHeaded says:

            Your argument is that people who aren’t participants in the system are more oppressed than the group of people the system is in place to oppress. Except that the system doesn’t allow people to not participate. If you are oppressed under gender, it’s because your qualities are those that match gender’s idea of woman: femininity.

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            Foosnark says:

            You keep insisting “gender is a social construct”, but gender is many different things. You can’t pretend there are neat boxes anywhere — not between masculine and feminine, male and female, or “social construct” and intrinsic aspect of self.

            Society thinks I’m male, though not particularly masculine (but not feminne either). My gender identity is nonbinary. I have to suppress my own expression of the gender I identify with in order to attempt to avoid social repercussions. Is that not fair to say that I am oppressed, while at the same time enjoying (in a certain sense) male privelege?

            None of this shit is as simple as people who think it’s simple think it is.

          • The Random One says:

            So how come a person who was assigned the gender “male” at birth, presently does not identify as either, does not pass as either gender either due to their mannerisms and dress, and wants to go take a piss in the mall but can’t because people will look at them as an intruder regardless of where they choose to relieve themselves? Are you arguing that this person is oppressed because by not allowing themselves to be identified as “male” they are registering as feminine (and therefore oppressed)? If so, how come a person who was in the exact same situation but who hade been assigned the gender “female” at birth could find themselves likewise unable to go potty?

          • LevelHeaded says:

            You don’t “register” for a gender. You are assigned one by society. Since it’s a social construct. I feel like you’re not reading.

          • The Random One says:

            Then how come, in my example, the person who was assigned a male gender is oppressed even though they don’t act explicitly female?

          • Phasma Felis says:

            > Gender codes actions as feminine to associate them with women. That is why gender oppresses women. Remove your fedora please.

            …You’re actually a troll pretending to be a TUMBLR SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR, aren’t you? I mean, that was my immediate first impression, and I’m only doubting it at all because you seem to know the jargon pretty well, but seriously you sound exactly like an asshole fratboy aping what he thinks feminists believe. “Fedora,” really? Are we still doing this?

          • Zarathruster says:

            Yes, it does sound like a curiously well-informed fratboy, agreed. But then, this is RPS. I’d like to think our trolls are just a cut above the rest.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Levelheaded. You argue that gender is a social construct and that those who identify with the female side are discriminated against. You state that it’s hard for anyone who society deems to be a female because this is the oppressed gender.

            If someone that people think is male acts in a masculine way, he is not discriminated against in a gender themed way
            If someone that people think is male acts in a feminine way, he is discriminated against in a gender themed way
            If someone that people think is female acts in a feminine way, she is discriminated against in a gender themed way
            If someone that people think is a female acts in a masculine way, she is discriminated against in a gender themed way

            Hell, I’ve probably discriminated against someone by using the words he and she how I did.

            I can’t disagree with any of these assertions (though it most certainly is an over-simplification of a complex picture), nor can I necessarily disagree with your point that no matter how gender neutral you think you look, everyone who lays eyes on you makes a snap reflex judgement on your gender. Maybe they change it later, but that is what people do – to those who identify with a gender that perhaps society wouldn’t naturally accept, please understand this is how people are – perhaps you have trained your brain away from those concepts and I respect you so much for it, but most people haven’t ever had to think about gender as deeply as you and it is unfair to expect them to display your level of analysis.

            But back to what you are saying Levelheaded, while I don’t disagree with any of your ideas, I do think you could have been less, hmm, lets say whip-snap with how you answer people – your aggressive demeanour puts people who perhaps needed to clarify the meaning of your words (and your wording was fragmented, your true meaning came out over several posts in terse and curt replies) off you. Some people might describe you as rude and unpleasant, arrogant and self righteous; and here you experience a different type of discrimination – the discrimination of the impolite.
            People do not listen to those that they consider rude, they like to try to show them up, prove them wrong because in our society we revel in stories where the unpleasant people to be around are found to be stupid, wrong and their arguments flawed. It doesn’t matter how valuable your arguments are, if you present them in a rude way, you will not be listened to. Given that you also make the world just that little bit worse, this is a discrimination I don’t want to see abolished. We should celebrate the kind and the patient, the polite and the humble and abhor their opposite, that which you have represented today. It’s a shame you derailed your own argument, but ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, your argument would never have made a difference no matter how you presented it, so the response you received today was a little learning step for your social skills. Use it to be a better person in your life!

          • geerad says:

            @Sheng-ji Thank you for this comment. I don’t have anything to add, but I feel that your commentary greatness should be celebrated! Well done!

        • Shieldmaiden says:

          No, actually. Not every human trait or behaviour fits into neat, binary gender boxes. Take most hobbies and interests considered the realm of geeks or nerds, for example. While frequently being male-dominated, they’re also considered insufficiently masculine and those who indulge in them are singled out for scorn and ridicule.

          • The Random One says:

            That was my thought as well. There certainly was a time when playing games was considered unmanly if you were a man and unladylike if you were a woman; I’m sure there have been times when the same was thought of reading books. That’s why I say gender is a construct to exclude whatever it deems fit to exclude, under the banner of deviancy from an invented norm.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            But I’m not arguing that human traits actually fit gender binaries? As a dichotomous social construct, gender sets up an oppressor and oppressed. Gender is what other people (social) decide about you (construct). Trying to “extend” gender to handle certain behaviors is a symptom that betrays gender’s purpose: to establish hegemonic masculinity.

          • The Random One says:

            Then why do some behaviours register as both, except always the opposite? And wouldn’t a system design to oppress, by defnition, make hegemony undesirable at best and impossible at worst, since it needs to have a class of oppressors and a class of oppressed?

            E: To clarify, I’m not arguing that the act of playing games is either masculine or feminine; I’m arguing that if the system was as simple as “masculine = good, feminine = bad” then any undesireable activity would be considered feminine (i.e. bad) and therefore videogames would have been considered feminine at inception and masculine as they gain more acceptance. This does not seem to be the case, so I argue that the system does not punish exclusively femininity, but deviance as well (so undesirable actions are always portrayed as deviant – homosexuality is probably a way better display of that than videogames). The system is designed to provide an oppressed class but at the sime time makes itself to be ubiqutous, so those that are outside the system are also oppressed.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            Uh no, it would do the opposite?

          • Shieldmaiden says:

            You appear to be arguing that gender is a simple construct that sets up masculine and feminine qualities, then enforces the idea that masculine is good and feminine is bad. If you’re not, I apologise, but you’re doing a poor job of explaining yourself.

            I would suggest that it’s more accurate to say that gender sets up defined masculine and feminine roles, of which the feminine role is inferior, and then penalises anyone who doesn’t fit into those roles.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            But the feminine role is not set up to be inferior in the absolute sense. Historically being a mother is probably highest achievable goal of ‘being a woman’ but there are few authors which would write that men are better at being mothers than women. In 19th century novels women are also frequently attributed nigh magical capacities for emotional observation which usually is written explicitly to be far superior than that of men.

            I know this is treacherous ground to tread, but I feel that the abstraction of gender roles to ‘women are inferior’ is dangerous by itself because it gravitates away from an intersectional view; it is easy from there to just deal with ‘women’ and ‘men’ without taking into account the various other factors that determine oppressive roles, such as we find in intersectional writing. In today’s world, where we need to fix the wrongs of thousands of years of cultural turmoil, we cannot be intellectually so lazy as to make ‘gender’ about one power structure, we have to face the many power structures.

          • The Random One says:

            Well, part of oppression is to take up roles that are clearly inferior and make them sound great, (i.e. if you’re a poor working class person working yourself to death you’re a stoic hardworking hero), or taking roles that are clearly superior and making them sound like chores (i.e the white man’s burden). So gender roles don’t explicitly say WOMEN SUCK EW but set aside for them a smaller array of roles that, if they follow, make them largely unable to provide much of worthy to society. A man’s greatest aspiration may be a president, a scientist, an artist, but a woman’s greatest aspiration must be to raise a family; and therefore not contribute to the public life. Even nowadays, women are expected to juggle family and career, while it’s acceptable for man to sacrifice their families for their careers.

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            AngelTear says:

            /me sends hugs and kisses (or cats, if you prefer those) to TheRandomOne for having the patience to have that discussion, again.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            Not to be facetious, but I doubt that working class hero’s environment was hospitable to his dream of him becoming the president. Just getting food for his family was probably what his environment expected and not to fall out of line otherwise. I honestly doubt the singular narrative of men going out doing all these amazing things and women meanwhile being taught how to be useless, which is what I would speak out against. Rather it is a collective of narratives in which many wrongs arise; for instance, there are few periods in history in which parents would be happy to hear their son become an artist. And the idea that any boy can become the president is certainly historically less sold to, say, black boys in the US. &c.

            I do want to heavily underline that I think we should shed our power structures and social expectations based on traits (gender, sexual orientation, skin colour, class). I would, however, focus on the social expectations of various groups, rather than adhere to a ‘women got all the crappy jobs and were taught to be happy with it’ narrative because it feels, to me, a simplification of a far more complicated matter and is a narrative that displays its own hint of valuing things (i.e., child rearing being a crappy job).

            I am not arguing the oppression of women is a lie, but I am saying it needs to be seen as a part of a wider historical perspective that goes beyond a binary division with binary consequences… as intersectionality in some strains hopes to achieve.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            Addendum @TRO;

            Reading your other posts I assume we are on one line, but I think in the heat of the discussion I am losing track of what argument comes from where and by whom. My apologies if I seem to have honed in on details in your writing and mistaken them for your view.

          • The Random One says:

            We are on one line, but it’s good to have slightly divergent views. Your arguments make a lot of sense and it’s true that some approaches or simplifications may result in narratives that work against what we want (and even though we know that narratives don’t exist, they’re the only way we can experience reality in a meaninful way, so we have to pick one eventually).

            @AngelTear I’m only doing this to get laid, obviously.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Gender may be a social construct that is *used* to oppress women, but it wasn’t “invented” for that sole purpose. This is obvious when you consider that gender roles exist outside of, and predate humanity. We didn’t invent gender, we inherited it.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          “Oppression has to always look like what I want it to look like.”

          I’m as far from a men’s rights activist as one can be, but holy shit you’ve got an axe to grind against males! Yeah, non effeminate men can be harmed by gender stereotypes and strictly binary gender roles in society, you goof. Men aren’t Conan the Barbarian or the campy guy on Will & Grace, with nothing in between.

          And you have the perfect out! “If you point out that I’m an idiot, I’ll call you a hipster.” How bold of you, going that route. Gonna call me out for having a neck-beard next, while we’re stealing the insults of funnier and smarter people?

      • The Random One says:

        “Each one of us, of course,” the Controller meditatively continued, “goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space.”

      • waltC says:

        Gender is the simple reflection of anatomy. *SHOCKING*–”There *is* a difference!” Gawwww-w-www LEEEeeeeee.

        • pepperfez says:

          I can almost agree to this! If you replace “simple” with “confused, haphazard, largely unconscious and frequently horrendously wrong,” then you’re right on track.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Well not really: ‘sex’ is generally the anatomical distinction and ‘gender’ is a social construct. Although the two are related, the one does not suppose the other.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction

          • pepperfez says:

            But the social construct “gender” is in large part an attempt to make sense of the (more or less) binary of biological sex. Not exclusively, obviously, but “reflection” (albeit a hazy and distorted one) seems to sum up the relationship pretty well.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          I’m yet to meet very many people that don’t believe gender differences exist at all, and the ones I’ve heard suggest such things haven’t explained themselves well enough for me to take it seriously.

          The problem is that a lot of the gender differences are stupid, not-universal, or simply made up for some outdated purpose like securing inheritance rights.

    • derbefrier says:

      yeah i really hate it when people ask if my dog is male or female i am all like QUIT TRYING TO OPPRESS MY DOG YO

      or could it be these labels are by themselves not a horrible thing and that its our own preconceptions that lead to oppression and not simple scientific language.

      • LevelHeaded says:

        You think gender labels are scientific. Someone doff this man a round of fedoras.

        • dE says:

          Quite the curious case of picking the wrong nickname. Either way, if you don’t mind, could you stop identifying and condemning other people by their gender? That would be great and might help your point too. For someone that claims to be all about the removal of gender as a concept, your every attack in this comment section is based on gender and gender based ascriptions.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            Wow so many words that don’t mean anything. Libertarian or just dumb?

          • dE says:

            Okay, thank you for the clarification, that you are in fact just trying to pick a fight and rile up people, without any real interest in the actual debate. In short, you’re just flamebaiting.

          • sinister agent says:

            something something passive aggressive sneer something invent a claim and attribute it to you something something fedora

            Oh hey now I’m winning!

          • El_Emmental says:

            @dE: mind if I favorite this comment for later use ? (I like the word “ascriptions”)

            @LevelHeaded: But what if I identify with a fedora/a character wearing a fedora ? Like Sarah Bernhardt’s role in the play “Fédora”, where she is “Princess Fédora Romanoff” wearing that very hat ?

            Wouldn’t it be extremely oppressive of you to constantly and repeatedly use it as an insult and assimilating it with sexist male humans ? Such strong stereotyping reminds me of the segregation era in the US in the 50s, or the antisemitism in Europe in the 20s/30s, where a minority was used as a scapegoat of all the vices possible (criminality, theft, greed, sadism, rapes, etc).

            I actually never wore any hat myself (only a winter cap when it’s snowing, because it’s pretty cold), but seeing all the hate flying around all these hat-wearing people makes uncomfortable.

            That kind of online harassment of strangers, by posting their uncensored pictures and profiles online to various angry mobs… I’ve seen that before in the last 10 years, and it only led these victims (most of them teenagers) to depression and suicide. I’m not sure you realize that, “LevelHeaded”.

        • yazman says:

          Why do you hate fedoras so much? I don’t get it. That’s such a bizarre thing to use as an insult. Next thing you’ll be calling people “scarves” or “converses”

    • RanDomino says:

      Fuck off TERF scum

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      That’s a circular arguement.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Godammit, RPS. This ludicrously trollish comment (and and the unfortunate conversation that followed) was apparently killed and disappeared by someone on your end several hours ago, but now it’s back. You should have left it where you buried it.

    • HugobertingtonEsq says:

      Only on RPS would you find a silly pleb-tier troll joke spiral into walls of righteous and passive agressive gender/sexual politics

      “He’s dead! He’s already de-e-a-ad!”

  9. inertia says:

    parallel ( // ) is super excellent; hit a lot of nerves

  10. Crane says:

    “Everything in our society is intended to suppress, confuse, and distort dysphoria.”

    No, I’m sorry, I’m not letting that past.
    God knows our society is horrible for trans people, and it’s absolutely true that dysphoria is marginalised.

    It is not true, however that ‘everything in our society’ is designed by some nebulous shadowy cabal to suppress a condition which nobody knew existed until well into the twentieth century.

    Asinine hyperbole like that is exactly the kind of thing which makes those of us who want more equality look like rampaging assholes. Please stop it.

    • LevelHeaded says:

      Gender “fluidity” and “dysphoria” are recent symptoms of gender being an oppressive dichotomous construct. Why would you try to make gender fit the gamut of human expression instead of throwing it away as obviously not up to the task?

      • joa says:

        On the contrary gender is up to the task of explaining much of male and female sexuality and there’s a wealth of scientific evidence to support this. You can talk about the “gamut of human expression” all you like – but in the end we are simply very clever animals. We’re not magic beings who would flourish if not for all that pesky oppressive culture – we’re driven by very base desires.

        Fluidity and dysphoria are not “recent symptoms” of any construct – but actual psychological conditions referring to a mismatch of body sex with brain sex. As above, there is a wealth of scientific evidence to support this.

    • Porpentine says:

      I think people and organizations at all levels of society are constantly making decisions to enforce gender binaries, not because Illuminati central command is buzzing signals into their brain, but because we were all raised in an oppressive system and most people just don’t act against their own selfishness and do the self-examination required to clean that crud off.

      It may not be rationalized as such, but it is a pervasive problem, to the extent that even going outside is dangerous, physically and/or psychologically, for gender non-conforming people. Many have to literally disguise themselves to go walking, to procure jobs, to get the groceries. I think my statement correlates with this oceanic oppressiveness.

      • joa says:

        Why ascribe to malice what can more easily be explained by ignorance? The truth is that transgender people make a very small portion of society. And like with any small portion of society whose experiences and needs differ greatly from the majority’s, people are unaware and often do not understand.

        Oppression implies some kind of active attempt to put people down, which is just not the case. It also does not help that trans people disagree amonst themselves about the nature of being transgender. So to expect non-transgender people to know instinctively how to help transgender people seems silly. To expect non-transgender people to try to be respectful as best they know how is reasonable, but to expect them to get this right all the time without being told is not.

        • pepperfez says:

          “Oppression” doesn’t imply a systematic effort (ED: or an “active effort”) at anything; cf. “this oppressive heat”. It’s quite easy for a non-malicious system to be oppressive just by denying people what they need to flourish.
          And really, that’s true in every civil rights/social justice campaign: Calling out oppressive conditions need not be taken as a personal attack on everyone living comfortably under those conditions.

          • geerad says:

            “Oppression” doesn’t imply an active effort, but “intended to oppress” does.

            I don’t deny that it may sometimes (or even most of the time) FEEL to trans people that everything is intended to oppress them (I am privileged not to have that experience.); however, I think there are many things in our society which have the effect of oppression without any malicious intent behind them. A lot of cis people don’t know any trans people (or maybe don’t know that they know trans people), and trans people don’t have the same kind of visibility that, e.g., gay people do now, so it’s difficult for some people to understand.

            Certainly there are people who are malicious; there are also people who are perhaps well-meaning but ignorant, oppressing without intending or realizing it.

          • The Random One says:

            Yes, which is why it’s important to point out oppression; so people who are doing without realizing it may start to stop.

            The only problem is that the word ‘oppressor’ carries a negative meaning, but if ‘oppression’ is such a fitting term for what those people feel, why should we change it? (Also why argue so much about semantics instead of just saying ‘things be fucked up, let’s fix it up’?)

        • Porpentine says:

          There are so many trans people

          • Premium User Badge

            Lambchops says:

            There are but if’s easy to see how someone could not be aware of having met anyone who is (I put myself in this bracket, at least away from the internet).

            Googling this came out near the top in terms of population percentage (http://www.transgenderlaw.org/resources/transfactsheet.pdf). So bearing that in mind let’s take it from the upper limit of 5 %. Of the last 100 people I’ve met more than once I’d not even know a fair number of their names, have no idea whether they are married, have partners and so on and so forth. The chances of either me getting to know one of those 5/100 people well enough for them to talk about that sort of deeply personal matter (or indeed the chances of one of those 5/100 being comfortable enough to mention it off the cuff to a stranger) can easily be seen to get rather slim, rather quickly.

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that, while you are right, there are a lot of trans people; it doesn’t invalidate Joa’s point that people will perhaps unintentionally not be fully attuned with how to respond in certain situations.

            Of course the same might be said for absolutely bloody anything under the sun; it’s a case of just trying to behave with a level of respect and decency and to adjust to the emotional needs of others as you get to know./understand them better.

        • LogicalDash says:

          “Design” implies neither malice nor ignorance. Badly designed gender constructs may be designed under either of those constraints or any number of others I might think up.

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      psepho says:

      It’s not hyperbole.

      Gender dysphoria may have only been identified relatively recently as ‘a thing’ but it is the exposed tip of a far bigger iceberg in terms of the largely arbitrary expectations that hang from the established gender binary. That mass of structure conditions huge portions of everyone’s daily life — and it is absolutely oppressive: not just for transgender people who most visibly kick against it, but for everyone even if they don’t know it.

      I don’t know any transgender people at all IRL but I still see the insidious impact of gender on a daily basis: Fathers who are ludicrously described as “baby-sitting” their own children; successful women constantly defined by reference to the difficulties of balancing work and family (no-one ever says that about successful men); my mother-in-law’s persistent efforts to give ultra ‘girly’ toys to my daughter; the simple fact that(cis)men are expected to piss happily in company, simply because they have convenient plumbing. etc etc etc bloody etc

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Whilst the central point of your argument may be correct it doesn’t change the fact that the “everything in our society” bit is the very definition of hyperbole – absolutes usually are.

        Is peoples preference for neatly mowed lawns intended to suppress? What about people giving money to animal charities? Trial by jury? Secular humanism? “Society” is a vast and nebulous concept and it is simply not possible for every part of it to be aiming for a single goal.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Thirith says:

    Concerning post-apocalyptic Loom, does anyone remember this?

    http://spacequest.wikia.com/wiki/Boom

  12. The Random One says:

    I knew this would happen eventually, but Sinkh’s Lair’s review is proof: Porpentine ate thecatamites.

    E: Oh boy make sure to try entering the Konami code on Gaming Cockroach, as the FIG page suggests.

    EE: How do I wake up the drunkard in Olav & the Lute :-(

    • Porpentine says:

      i think its the healing spell, poison backwards?

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      Bluerps says:

      You can even wake him a second time, later. It doesn’t help you progress, but I think it’s neat that you can do it.

  13. akbarovich says:

    What about MINI METRO, is not only indie free game for PC, is also FUN! however, is not game as art or political statement, so perhaps not belong here…
    http://dinopoloclub.com/minimetro/

  14. altum videtur says:

    DENGER

  15. LogicalDash says:

    GENDERCATS

    HUOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  16. cautet says:

    Gender is clearly not a social construct for oppressing woman. Such a statement is both facetious, inflammatory, and doesn’t contain any evaluation or appreciation of the subject matter involved. Nor does it serve useful purpose in any context.

    Any attempt to define and limit actions based on a set of defining characteristics is obviously going to be oppressive for every person so defined or limited. Gender is a mix of different social and biological constructions and an attempt to homogenise a heterogeneous population to make decision making easier. However, to abandon gender and to some extent gender roles completely is not feasible. A very simple biological description of gender has it’s uses in many areas, and is not harmful if only used where necessary.

    Where biological definitions of gender become dangerous is when either there is social or political pressure to conform to a mean or medium biological gender definition or to a set of social norms as it is well known that the population is not homogeneous biologically, nor are the various social constructions either consistent, logical, or applied in a consistent manner.

    Gender itself is just part of the picture. Pressure to conform is a sociological feature of many societies, and it is inevitable that will include both biological and sociological gender structures that cover a multi-dimensional spectrum including sexual preference, clothing, career choices, child-care, emotional and hormonal variations, accepted norms and deviations, physical requirements, fulfilment and attainment objectives, and so on and so forth. This is further complicated by the impact on each of other sociological structures such as class.

    Some sociological constructs are deliberately enforced to ensure adherence to rigid socio-economic structures. It is worth noting that someone commented about gaming being both effeminate when played by men and unladylike when played by woman. Also, the label ‘nerd’ being both lacking in feminine charms and being un-manly. This is clearly an attempt to use gender roles to encourage people to pursue physical rather than mental activity which is caused by class pressure to conform to a working class stereotype because having lots of strong stupid men and women who are only considered and judged on how they look is good for those who would rather people didn’t think too carefully at all, let alone about why a few people have all the money and power and at the same time fills their factories with strong people that work hard and actual discourage their peers from intellectual discourse and non-conformity in any form.

    • drvoke says:

      Well, this is why many trans or otherwise non-cis gendered people get in a twist when they’re told if they want to cast off the oppressive nature of society, they need to anarchize that shit. They want to have their cake still after having eaten it.

      They look at the modern affluent western capitalist ideal and desire it while failing to see that it is propped up by the very oppressive structures they rail against (but railed against only in the narrow sense of gender discrimination, not the general dehumanization of all people within the system).

      I have very little time or patience for people who want to cast off their own bit of personal oppression but aren’t revolutionaries. They aren’t concerned with having solidarity amongst the oppressed, they simply want their place among the oppressors. I’m not debating anarchism vs. capitalism here, but if you want to smash gender oppression without smashing the state, you’re just looking to take your place within an oppressive power structure, not fighting against it, and I find it hard to muster a lot of sympathy for that position. An anarchist can make a philosophically coherent, holistic argument against gender oppression (and oppression of any kind), that can’t be said for those who uphold the political ideologies of their own oppressors.

      Obviously, not all people who fight against gender oppression are capitalists (or whatever) who simply want the freedom to be oppressors in their turn (that’s why trans and gay are well represented in anarchist and other revolutionary movements in modern times), but try to explain that you can’t fight against gender oppression without being a revolutionary pretty much anywhere the discussion is happening and note the results.

  17. Junon says:

    I knew the artwork in that Saturn V screenshot looked familiar:

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=209786155

    No idea if that art is original/exclusive to DmC but it was immediately recognizable to me…

  18. hungrycookpot says:

    I’d like to submit my entry for this year’s most unpopular opinion;

    What if gender dysmorphia is not a natural state, but a type of psychosis? There is a similar condition called Body Integrity Identity Disorder in which some people come to believe that their own limbs are not in fact their own, and that they would be happier as an amputee, and want these limbs removed. These people have been known to go so far as to purposefully mutilate themselves and their limbs in order to necessitate amputation of their unwanted limb. One would worry that this unsound thinking would lead to great regret once the symptoms subside, but in fact many sufferers who arrange for their own dismemberment report lasting satisfaction with their new foreshortened body image.

    Though there is some controversy around this, modern medicine and science tells us that these people are mentally unbalanced and need intense therapy in order to relieve these thoughts and symptoms so that the patient no longer feels the need to cause harm to themselves in order to reconcile their dysmorphic image with what they see in the mirror.

    And yet modern culture tells us that we MUST accept people that identify as another gender and celebrate their decision to undergo radical surgery to remove or otherwise mutilate healthy organs. What if these people are also victims of mental stress/psychosis and need treatment as well? Of course you’re free to do as you wish with your own body, I’d never think of telling anyone otherwise. But I just think it’s strange that we draw a line between these two types of thinking?

    • Josh W says:

      There’s more to trans stuff than just “the body”, there’s also the social relationships made easy or difficult by other people’s attitude to your body. Basically, it’s about a mess where symbolism/encoding, social roles/behaviour and embodiment collide.

      This means that unlike BIID, there’s a kind of political aspect to it which means that even if there is a talking cure approach, where someone can find a way to get you to feel comfortable with your body, any similar approach has to deal with the fact that it could easily run into replicating the very problem it seeks to solve, because the mechanics of most psychotherapeutic approaches rely on exactly that question of seeking to get someone to take on unfamiliar interpretations of themselves, their life and it’s events. It lives in the same space.

      Fundamentally trans identity stuff is mixed up in one of the problems we have mixing issues of identity and diversity with medicine, with the problems of “cures” being used as a substitute for understanding difference on the part of people on the outside, and the natural reaction against anything that could be a similar kind of veiled attempt and enforcing conformity.

      Instead the trans community has developed an opposite practical/supportive approach with people trying out changing themselves, not being focused around dysphoria on a symptomatic level but the struggles faced by those transitioning in some way. This inverts the political problem, in that those people who are supporting you are in some fundamental sense agreeing with that sense of wrongness, and seeing how the world or your body can be changed to make it right. This doesn’t inherently lead to better solutions, (in the sense that it may be possible to do otherwise if only we could get there) but at least the way is open in that direction for discussion and exploration to be made. There is hope of progress.