Women in Gaming

Stop talking about Anita Sarkeesian. Stop talking about Zoe Quinn. Let’s talk about some actual women in the gaming community that bridge the gap without being controversial. This list includes players, developers, and any woman related to the gaming community.

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn - Competitive Gaming (Starcraft II)

Sasha Hostyn (Scarlett) is a competitive gamer on the Starcraft II seen. She’s well known for managing to best high-tier Korean players in competition. She was deemed champion of the Red Bull Battle Grounds tournament in the North America region in the 2014 Summer championship. Sasha is also one of the few well known transgender female players in the competitive community.

Kellee Santiago - Developer

Kellee Santiago is a video game developer, a cofounder of Thatgamecompany, and has worked on several well known console games such as FlowerBraid, and Journey. Kellee was a primary developer of the game Flower which was ranked one of the top 10 Playstation games for two years running. 

iHasCupquake Let’s Player

iHasCupquake is a female Let’s Player with a focus on Minecraft and assorted indie games. She also implements baking into her videos. She is one of the first female Let’s Players to break 1,000,000 followers. 

Carol Shaw - Developer

Credited as one of the first female game developers, Carol Shaw worked on several Activision titles and later Intellivision. She worked on such titles as Polo and River Raid. She’s considered a pioneer for women in gaming.

Mary Demarle Writer

Mary Demarle was one of the co-writers of the acclaimed Deux Ex as well as Myst. Demarle also worked in design and story development, and has conducted interviews on the complex ethical questions in the Deus Ex

Barabra Dunkelman and Lindsay Jones - Entertainers

(Pictured from left to right: Lindsay Jones, Michael Jones, Gavin Free, Barabra Dunkelman). Employees of the highly popular video game themed entertainment channel Rooster Teeth, Barabra Dunkelman and Lindsay Jones are among the most present women on the team. Dunkelman is present in many of RT’s podcasts and skits, and Lindsay Jones Tuggey was the first woman to be considered a member of the Achievement Hunters. They also are both voices in Rooster Teeth’s short series RWBY. 

Kiki Wolfkill - Producer

Kiki Wolfkill, aside from winning the award for “Most Metal Name of Any Game Producer Ever” is a executive producer behind the wildly popular Halo 4. Wolfkill has also worked on other famous titles such as FableGears of War, and Mass Effect.

Rieko Kodama - Designer (submitted by lumforjustice)

This wonderful lady has worked on multiple games with SEGA. Most notably is a game she made herself; Phantasy Star. She also continues to work on the PS series.

Rinmaru - Developer (submitted by lumforjustice)

As a hobbyist, Rinmaru does not directly work within the gaming industry, but she does make her own dress up games on her website. Other than dress up games (and this is the important part!), she has made a visual novel called “Ascension”, which you can play the first chapter here. Right now, she is making a sequel to Ascension called “Ascension: Echoes in the Dark,” and RPG-style game. Unlike the first Ascension, you’ll have to pay for this one. So, I suggest you buy Ascension ETD when it comes out!

Tsunako - Character Designer (submitted by lumforjustice)

Tsunako is best known for her character designs for Date a Live, as well as the character designs and illustrations in Hyperdimension Neptunia.

Christie Golden - Writer (submitted by cyadine)

Writer of many Starcraft and World of Warcraft books - Her books cover so much of the story that is left out of the games and gives so much rich history! Also a writer for few Star Trek and Star Wars books.

Kayo “Kayo Police” Satoh - Competitive Gaming (submitted by she-who-defied-fate)

Kayo Satoh is a transgender model, TV personality and competitive Street Fighter player. She wrote a book about her experiences as a transgender youth called Re-Born. She’s become well known for defeating some of the best SF players in Japan.

Soyo Oka - Composer (submitted by thatspazinthehoodie)

Soyo Oka worked as a musical composer for Nintendo from 1987-95 on games like Ice Hockey, Pilotwings, Super Mario Kart and Wario’s Woods.

Kim Swift - Designer (submitted by thatspazinthehoodie)

As a graduate of Gigipen, Kim Swift and her team developed Narbacular Drop, the portal based game which would lead to her being hired by Valve and creating Portal. Swift was the leader of the Portal team, and a level designer for it. She was also involved in both Left 4 Dead games on the development team. She left Valve in 2009 to join Airtight Games where she would lead a team and develop the game Quantum Conundrum.

Amy Hennig - Designer/Writer (submitted by thatspazinthehoodie)

Hennig started work in the game industry back in the late 80’s. She assisted development of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain after moving to Crystal Dynamics in the late 90s. She would the work as directorand writer for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance. She left Crystal Dynamics to become creative director of Naughty Dog where she began her most notable work as the head writer and creative director for the Uncharted series. She has since left Naughty Dog for Visceral Games to work on Star Wars games.

Roberta Williams - Designer/Writer (submitted by jake-from-state-farm-school and like a bunch of other people)

Co-founded On-Line Systems, later Sierra On-Line/Sierra Entertainment, with her husband. Essentially created the graphical adventure game with Mystery House, later designed the King’s Quest series (all eight of the classic series), the first animated graphical adventure game and pioneer of the open world, which led to Sierra, along with Lucasarts, basically being -the- names in adventure gaming. Also wrote and designed Phantasmagoria, which is not only one of the few good FMV games from that era, but would probably cause Sarkeesian to scream misogyny. 

Jane Jensen - Designer/Writer (submitted by jake-from-state-farm-school and also a bunch of other people)

After working on other Sierra games, including co-designing King’s Quest VI, Jane Jensen her first solo outing with the Gabriel Knight series, still my favorite adventure game series and the second game, The Beast Within, also managed to buck the usual trend of FMV games. Has also worked on other fairly good adventure games recently, such as Cognition

Janett Carr - Entertainer/Producer (submitted by dmranything)

This is Janet Carr, gamer, executive producer and creator of Australia’s only gaming show, Good Game. The show has become a big hit with gamers all across Australia, and both the hosts (Steven “Bajo” O’Donnell and Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, another great woman in gaming) and the crew are gamers who love what they do.

Karen Traviss - Writer (submitted by sunbleached-jacket)

Karen Traviss, who wrote many Star Wars and Gears of War books, including the entire series of Star Wars: Republic Commando.

Jade Raymond - Director (submitted by failedturingtest)

Jade is an executive director for Ubisoft Toronto, working as a producer for the Assassin’s Creed series. She has also worked for EA. Currently she is on the Board of Directors for for Women in Film and Television International, an organization designed to help advance women in media and entertainment industries. 

DexterityBonus - Entertainer/Journalist (submitted by justwestofweird)

DexBonus is a Let’s Player and commentator, making several videos covering popular gaming events, and several series including Newz (which covers gaming news) and Swords and Stitches (which demonstrates gaming related crafts).

Suzy Berhow - Entertainer (submitted by justwestofweird)

Aside from being a model and animator (seen on her channel Meeperfish), Suzy is also a member of Game Grumps. She is featured in many Game Grumps videos and is a returning member of Table Flip which focused on tabletop games. She has advocated for mental health awareness, making a video about her experiences with ehr own manic depression.

Holly Conrad and Jessica Merizan - Cosplayers (submitted by justwestofweird)

Both popular cosplayers at PAX and other gaming conventions. Jessica was also a community manager for Bioware.

Carmen Kennedy - Executive

Founder of Imagery Media, along with her husband Robert, Carmen was among one of the first to begin designing simple flash games for the Internet professionally, as well as educational programs for e-learning initiatives. The company has designed flash games for Cartoon Network, FedEx, and Canon.

Have anybody to add? Do so! It’s strange to me how people suddenly care about female developers when they make the news because of some controversy, typically one they themselves caused. But are quick to ignore the many women who gladly go about their position with grace and poise. 

- Mod Dawes Sr.

Timeline of Ferguson

At the bequest of those who think we aren’t talking about Ferguson enough, I’m going to try and formulate a rough timeline of what has been happening. I will be citing sources as I go. Maybe a little commentary. Almost definitely actually - I can’t help it. 

August 9: 18-year-old recent high school grad Michael Brown was shot in Ferugson, MO at about noon. He was declared dead in the middle of the street. Brown was with a friend, Dorian Johnson, was with him before and at the time of the shooting. On the same day, a robbery was reported as QuikStop and Brown identified was a potential suspect. [x] 

August 10: Public unrest related to the event picks up. The Ferguson PD announces that Brown was unarmed, and claims he resisted/assaulted the officer. Citizens of Ferguson held a candlelight vigil in honor of Brown. During the vigil, others, considered unrelated, committed lootings and property damage. Citizens claim the rioters were from outside the town. [x] [x]

August 11: The investigation of Michael Brown’s death is turned over to the FBI. A news conference is held in which Brown’s parents speak about his death. The first official protests in Ferguson occur. Police and SWAT teams were brought in and broke up crowds using tear gas. There are reports police also used rubber bullets to disperse crowds resulting in many documented injuries. [x] [x]

August 12: Dorian Johnson, a witness and friend of Brown’s, does an interview with MSNBC. Johnson claims the officer continued to shoot Brown even as he surrendered. Protests and police clashing continues. 

August 13: Photographs surface of police pointing rifles and snipers at protestors, and begin limiting media presence, including arrested two journalists (Wesley Lowry and Ryan Reilly). At least one man is reported to be critically wounded. [x] [x] [x] [x]

August 14: Governor Jay Nixon visits Ferguson and announces that security in the city is being handed over to Captain Ron Johnson and the Highway Patrol. Johnson speaks to and marches with the protestors. President Obama addresses the events in Ferguson. [x] [x] 

August 15: Ferguson police name Darren Wilson as the officer who shot Brown. The police also release video surveillance of the QuikStop which was robbed, identifying the robber as Michael Brown. However, the police also claim that Wilson was not aware of the robbery, and that he approached Brown and Johnson because they were walking in the street. Protests once again become violent as the Ferguson police return. A pastor is reported shot by a rubber bullet leaving a large gash. [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

August 16: Governor Nixon announces a state of emergency and begins enforcing a curfew ending in several arrests and more use of tear gas. [x]

August 17:  Attorney General Eric Holder demands another autopsy of Michael Brown’s body. The autopsy determined that Brown had been shot six times, twice in the head (once in the top of the head). [x] 

August 18: Obama dispatches Eric Holder to Ferguson. Michael Brown’s mother demands the arrest of Darren Wilson. The autopsy of Michael Brown is still being analyzed by generally believed to support the story of witnesses, but not of the officer. Photographer Scott Olson is arrested. Another journalist, Robert Klemko, live tweeted his own arrest. SWAT teams attempted to drive through the crowd after a protester reportedly started throwing rocks at the police line. The police fell back into line and the crowd was calmed in part thanks to Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party. Governor Nixon calls in the National Guard. [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

At around 8:45-9:00PM (PST or EST? I’m not sure) Tweets poured in claiming the police had once again began using flashbombs and tear gas to disperse the crowds, as well as stun grenades. Some claimed to hear gunshots which the police claimed were not the police. At least one man rushed the police line and was shot. Protesters are seen returning tear gas to police. Journalists were caught in the gas as well. At about 9:45PM police demanded all non-journalists leave the area. [x]

August 19: Citizens of Ferguson begin demanding Attorney Bob McCulloch be taken off Michael Brown’s case because of his history representing Ferguson police. Huffington Post revealed that another member of the Ferguson police force who was fired from the St. Louis police for multiple occasions where he hit a child. Details about the man shot on August 18 is revealed - reports indicate the 23-year-old black man charged at police with a knife and had been behaving erratically prior. [x] [x] [x]

Photographs taken in Ferguson during the protests
PolitiFact on Governor Nixon’s claim he’s been in Ferguson “almost every day”. (Rated Mostly False)
List of live Ferguson Tweeters
PolitiFact on comedian John Oliver’s claim on SWAT raids. (Rated Half True).
Sybrina Fulton’s (mother of Trayvon Martin) open letter to the Brown family

Petitions and Resources: Petition to Require Ferguson Police to Wear Cameras.
White House Petition to Require All Police to Wear Cameras
Feed the Children of Ferguson Fund
Michael Brown Memorial Fund to pay for legal and memorial costs
Ferguson protester support fund
“Leave a Porch Light On” Awareness Event. (This has ended, but some people are still participating).

Updated 7:31PM PST, 8/19

This will be updated and reblogged as more occurs. 

- Mod Dawes Sr. 


It is complete. Because of the restrictions of Tumblr’s picture posting, I could only make ten of these to post, so I decided to pick one person to sort of represent difference facets of video game development and the community. A few things to note: I combined Barabra, Suzy, and Lindsay because I didn’t want to just pick one as the face of the entertainment side of gaming, but I they produce different content than iHasCupquake so I wanted them to have their own image, so I decided to combine them. For developers and creators I tried to also display the games most commonly associated with them or their most recent games. For Mira Shimazaki, there are actually few pictures of her and none big enough to fit the full size image. She seems to speak and represent herself through her work, which is awesome, so used Bayonetta as her full picture since that’s who she’s most famous for. 

Obviously there are a lot more women than this in the gaming community in all capacities. They work on all levels and in every avenue, and you can see here, it ranges from independent work to multi million dollar affairs. But I hope you guys enjoy this either way. Here is the link to the original post which includes way more amazing women. 

I wanna talk about something for a second because it kinda pissed me off. 

At this point we all know who Michael Sam is. The star defensive end was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round. Plot twist: he’s gay. More importantly, he came out as gay prior to the draft, becoming the first openly gay college football player to be considered for the NFL. While in college he was awarded the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award, one of the highest honors a player on the defense can win - this is important, remember this. Ever since he was drafted Sam has received a ton of media attention, not all of it positive, and his play has been more scrutinized than any other rookie defense player, possibly any other defensive player in general. Despite sparkling performance on the field, and even the Rams coach saying he is completely fit for the NFL, he was cut from the team in final cuts, and even cut from their practice squad. Fortunately, he was picked up for the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. 

So why am I pissed? Here’s why. 

Michael Sam is the first player to received Defensive Player of the Year and NOT be drafted in the first round. In years. His field performance, while limited to his position (he’s not as versatile as other players) was flawless - an important trait for defensive players to have is the ability to put pressure on the quarterback. Not a lot of defenses can pull this off. But he managed to sack the quarterback three times in four games - this included even veteran quarterbacks. He stood on the field against the New Orleans offense, one of the most frightening offenses in the game, and managed to hold his own, even sacking Luke McCown a couple times. 

And yet people are calling this kid mediocre. Saying “who cares about a seventh round pick” (lets ignore that Tom Brady, regarded one of the best quaterbacks in the league, was a sixth round pick). And they keep trying to justify it. Find every excuse to say it isn’t homophobia. 

But it is. It is. Homophobia is why he wasn’t drafted round one despite every DPOY being drafted first in years past. Homophobia is the reason people are taking his top ranking preseason stats and going “Well it’s just preseason (notice they don’t do this with Manziel or any other rookie)”. Homophobia is the reason despite being so phenomenally capable that he only got signed by the skin of his teeth to an incredibly desperate team, and this was only AFTER Cowboys owner Jerry Jones asked the majority of the players if they were okay with it. NO OTHER PLAYER gets this type of scrutiny. So why did Sam get it? Because he’s gay. Because unlike every other player, people look at him and think he has to “prove” it. He has to play twice as hard and twice as well, to “prove” it. 

And that’s fucking bullshit. To think that if he didn’t come out, we may never have heard his name, but he would’ve been drafted first round and put on the team with no question. People saying “He just wants attention” but don’t realize, he’s risking his career by saying this. I’m not going to pretend he’s perfect. But he’s REALLY GOOD. He deserves to play in the NFL. Any other player with his stats, it wouldn’t even be questioned. 

But because he is gay, suddenly every tackle has to be justified. All his stats come with qualifiers. That’s bullshit. People keep saying “Who cares if he’s gay? Just play the game!” Evidently a lot of people fucking care. This kiss happened. Now people care. Your adamant “color blindness” which seems mostly to be “If I pretend it isn’t there maybe it’ll go away” doesn’t change the fact that this kiss sparked lobbyists trying to ban all gay players, many an NFL veterans taking to Twitter to express their disgust, fans all over the country throwing out slurs everywhere on the Internet, and most importantly, endangered the successful career of a kid who has all the potential to be a great player, as testified by the very coaches who cut him anyway. 

That said, thank you to the Dallas Cowboys who gave him the chance he rightfully deserves. I’m not a Cowboys fan, but my roommate is, and she’s quite excited about Sam’s prospects, as am I. 

- Mod Dawes Sr.

Don't Get Scammed

I’ve seen a recent trend on Tumblr is users asking for money. Most of the time it is for things like food, housing, medical needs, etc. This has become a bit problematic for me…while there are many a legitimate need out there, there are also many willing to take advantage of good intentions by using this method as a means to get money not for any actual need but rather for selfish gain. So, here’s a helpful list to avoid scams on Tumblr:

1. Never do transactions directly, including through PayPal. When you engage in a transaction like this, you leave out a non-biased third party which can intercede if it turns out to be a scam. If you believe a claim is legitimate, but they are asking for direct donations, you can direct them to one of the many free fundraising sites out there like GoFundMe or YouCaring 

2. Keep an eye on how the person spends their money. If a person claims they need money for food, but frequently post expensive or unneeded purchases, it may be a sign that they aren’t managing donations the way they were meant to, or that they don’t actually need those donations. Don’t assume as the items may have been gifts or pre-owned. 

3. Always question other options for getting money. If a person clearly owns several items that can be quickly and easily sold for money, ask why they haven’t considered that first. If that is their only source of entertainment, it can be understandable, but keep in mind this lesson: I have had situations on many occasions where I had no money and had rent due, or needed to buy food. I compensated by selling a DS, an XBox, several games, and at one point even a laptop. If the need is something very immediate like food, people should be willing to give something up to make ends meet. That’s an unfortunate reality of life. But not doing that doesn’t necessary indicate a lack of need. 

4. Don’t think questioning a person makes you a bad person. Sympathy is great, but blind sympathy can be dangerous. If a person is asking for money, then potential donators are owed information before they hand it over. If you’re attacked for asking questions or if your questions go completely ignored, it is likely there is some dishonesty going on. 

5. When in serious doubt, seek proof. A person late on rent will get a notice from their landlord. A person trying to pay medical expenses will have bills. 

6. If you can’t decide, then save your money. Scam artists are very good at trying to reel you in with a sob story but the fact of the matter is, you can’t believe everything you hear. If something seems like a scam to you in any way, then turn the other way. If you still wish you can give, find an established charity and donate to them (there you have the ability to research and understand those companies since most are required to be completely transparent). 

And remember the general rules of any online financial transaction - don’t give someone your credit card information or social security number directly, don’t give out personal information, see if a person is tracking and transparent about their donations and how they’re spending them, and remember that giving directly to a person is NOT tax deductible but counts as a gift - only donations directly to a non-profit organization are tax deductible. If a person claims your donation to them is tax deductible, it is likely a scam. 

This post isn’t to indicate all Tumblr fundraisers are scams but many are, and many others may not be scams but are clearly not well run and may be unsafe to pour money into. Proceed with caution because while you might be saying “But I have good intentions” the money you give to scammers is money that could’ve gone to people who legitimately need help. 

- Mod Dawes Sr. 

anonymous asked:

Is this really a race thing? Wasn't it proven Mike Brown robbed a store and then had an altercation with the cop? The cop was protecting himself...he felt threatened.. Definitely not a race thing. He was just doing protocall and defending himself

1) The robbery had nothing to do with the altercation and Wilson was on a completely different call.

2) The response to an unarmed assailant when your an officer of the law should not be “shoot to kill”.

3) The issue here is justice. Michael Brown will never see his day in court because he is dead. Shot dead by Darren Wilson in a moment of panic. Wilson on the other hand got a hearing just to see if they would CHARGE him, let alone a trial for his actions.

Justice means Michael Brown should’ve gone to court for what he did. But he’ll never get to testify. Because Officer Wilson killed him.

- Mod Dawes Sr.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association was not happy that members of the Rams came out for Sunday’s game in a “don’t shoot” gesture, and they want them disciplined.

Point One: Good on you, Rams, for taking the opportunity to make a statement.

Point Two: Really SLPD? Really?

- Mod Dawes Sr.

Let me be clear - I think both sides have their issues. I think modern feminists often don’t focus their priorities correctly and I think a lot of anti-feminist pages tend to get too far into the abortion/pro-life side of things and both sides are definitely guilty of cherry picking. 

But at the same time…I can’t not call myself a feminist, because I at least believe strongly in the original principle, even if it has been distorted in the public view. Distortion isn’t a reason to abandon it, in my eyes. If anything, it means trying harder to put the correct path back in focus. And part of that correct path is this - real feminism means supporting and empowering women to come to their own decisions and opinions. Even if those opinions reject yours. 

When people look at anti-feminist women and try to demean them, belittle them, claim they don’t get it (while offering no clearer explanation and ignoring why they feel the way they do), and basically dismiss them, they’re basically violating one of the earliest feminist beliefs - the concept that women are capable and should be encouraged to think for themselves and formulate their own viewpoints. This wasn’t just without the help of a man - this was on an individual basis. This was one of the principles set forth during the days of suffrage. That we’ve gotten this far and suddenly seem to be forcing women to believe a certain way, often under the guise of “well look what feminism got for you” ironically enough, is nothing short of despicable. The minute you start telling a woman what to think, what to say, or what to support, or convincing her that she HAS to think that way, then that’s when you stop supporting women. 

To anti-feminists - whether I agree with your or not isn’t important here. I disagree with a lot of people. All the time. But you should be free to say what you want and voice your opinion without shame. That, in the end, is what I want more than anything. Even if it is something I disagree with to my core, you should have every right to say it without being talked down too or told you’re brainwashed. 

Remember, feminists and anti-feminists both makes signs which are personal to them. Here’s mine - feminists should support all women, even if you don’t always agree with their opinions.

A Lesson About Culture

I feel like Tumblr has a general misunderstanding about what culture is. When I see people talk about it, it seems to be a very limited and usually kind of a negative thing (either culture is only ethnic or it’s used to describe phenomenon like “rape culture”). But I don’t think I’ve ever seen people actually discuss what culture IS. So here’s a helpful lesson about culture. 

1. Culture is not purely about ethnicity. Or geography or region or skin color. Culture is what happens when people with a shared group of ideas congregate and exchange social ideas. And it can be anything. There are political cultures, gaming cultures, fashion cultures, music cultures, sports cultures. There are subcultures of every culture and then there are subcultures of that subcultures. And each of these cultures have unique factors, and they have factors that they share with other cultures. Tumblr has a culture, many cultures even. All unique in how they interact with people, their attitudes, their beliefs. Culture is not something that is only significant on a single scale. 

2. Ethnic cultures are not one culture. Think of the United States. Think of all the areas of the United States. There are some limited aspects all people in the United States share. But you could count those aspects on one hand. Truthfully, there are hundreds of cultures in the United States, and they differ significantly. The culture in California is vastly different from the culture in Louisiana, or New York, or Montana. Even in specific regions - in my home county, you can see the shift in culture just by crossing city lines. The same holds true for every continent, country, and city in the world. 

3. No one is culture-less. This one kind of irritates me. It seems the common belief on Tumblr that the United States, or specifically white people, do not have a culture. Or that the culture they have is boring, stale, or predicated only on sapping the life out of other cultures. This is wildly untrue, but the reason people think it so is because most people on Tumblr come from white countries, and when you are so close to a culture, it becomes normative. The issue is that we teach culture as if it is something special, when truly it is so natural we observe aspects of it in non-human animals. White people have a culture. Many cultures. All over the world. European ethnic cultures vary incredibly widely, and always have. And again, within those ethnicities, ever city and region and group may have their own unique culture. No person is without a culture.

4. Everyone suffers from cultural appropriation. Again, I think this stems from the idea that somehow, white people don’t have a culture. This leads to the idea that their culture can’t be appropriated. This is untrue. In fact, in the United States, we spend an entire day dedicated to the diminishing of a unique white culture through St. Patrick’s Day. Dressing up as a stereotypical gunslinging cowboy is a caricaturization of Southern culture. In Japan, a fashion subculture called Yankii basically serves as a gross misrepresentation of Southern American cultures. Appropriation can happen to any culture, but at the same time…

5. Appropriation doesn’t mean what you think it means. Appropriation is what happens when one group takes the bare, simplistic description of an entire culture and whittles it down into a joke. It is not when a person from one culture wears or emulates a single aspect of another culture. If the aspect is something spiritual or sacred, it could be disrespectful, but even that isn’t technically appropriation - it’s just a naive action. But if the simple act of wearing or doing or using something from another culture was appropriation, than using a computer or speaking another language or wearing jeans could also be appropriation. This is ludicrous of course.

6. Culture is everything you do. Culture is not just the most important things. It is not just what’s sacred. It’s not in the symbols and abstractions. Culture influences all aspects of your behavior. If it didn’t, there would be no need to study it on a scientific level - it would be purely a historical level. But in studying biology, psychology, sociology, we have to understand it, because otherwise we lose an aspect of that behavior and never gain a full understanding. 

7. Culture is not static. Culture changes. A lot. Constantly. All of them. But I’m not saying this to just say that, because that should be obvious. But rather so that you’re aware - as your culture changes, so can others. There are some aspects of culture that is bad. Again, this is a universal - no culture is absolutely pure of any faults. Understanding culture doesn’t mean excusing the bad things because “well it’s just their culture”. It means understanding where those actions come from, and not approaching it simply from an ethnocentric “that’s wrong” approach, but a reasonable approach that can explain why from that cultures point of view. Female genital mutilation is a cultural norm in many parts of the world. Does that make it right? No. But to do anything about it, there has to be an understanding of why it is in the norm in that culture. That’s how you make appropriate change. Historically, before culture was understood, those changes were forced, and it created many horrific problems. That doesn’t mean the act of desiring a change is wrong, it just means that you have to approach it from the right perspective - from THAT cultures perspective.

That’s it. Lemme know if you have questions or need expanding. I just wanted to put this out there. :)

- Mod Dawes Sr.

Writing Tips for College

I was bored, so decided that in preparation for all the new college students who will be diving in at the end of this month (or beginning of next month, or whenever quarter systems start) that I wanted to write up some tips on college level writing. It’s been my experience that high school doesn’t always prepare people for the writing they expect in college, and on top of that, most people don’t really like writing. In any college course I’ve taken where students are given the option between an essay or an exam, most students will take the exam. 

I’m a total weirdo though, because I happen to love writing academic papers, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it (I once wrote a 12-page research paper in the course of about 7 hours and got a 195/200 on it, granted that the research was done beforehand). 

So here’s my tips going into college writing:

Bonus Tip #0: Never ever ever be afraid to ask for help. From professors. From writing resources on campus. From online resources. Literally the only help I wouldn’t rely too heavily on is fellow students - and you should ask them too for feedback, but make sure you use other sources too. I say this because while peer review is important to learning and writing effectively, it’s not going to be the biggest help to you when trying to perfect a final draft (one of the banes of my existence is peer review, because while I’m borderline obsessive when it comes to it and will virtually take out a red pen and rewrite a person’s essay for them, most of my classmates will mark an occasional spelling error and go “It looks good to me”. My favorite peer review comment: “I dunno, it was kinda boring”.)

Tip #1: Use outlines. And by outlines, I don’t mean what you might be accustomed to. For those who don’t know, a basic outline goes about like this:

I. Introduction Paragraph
   A. Point One
   B. Point Two
II. Body Paragraph

IXIFED. Conclusion
(IXFEDI. ????
IXFEDII. Profit!

Basic idea. Most people who write outlines like this get really really broad, which can be fine when you’re just trying to figure out where to put general ideas, but when you actually buckle down to write an outline, you should start including a lot more details. Your final outline should look something like this. Notice there are sources in there too? That leads me into tip #2…

Tip #2: If it is a research paper, NEVER STOP RESEARCHING. For papers that are reaction papers or reviews or anything like that, you can disregard this. But as you enter into college you are eventually, regardless of your major, going to have to write a research paper. Terrible and feared beasts as they are, most students are terrified of the dreaded research paper. But fear not - they can be beat. Most every college is going to have online resources where you can easily look up journal articles for free - this is where most of your research should come from, but you should also check out books, utilize Google (yes I said that - also check out the sources in Wikipedia pages, but never use Wikipedia itself because professors don’t like that), basically try everything to get what you need. The main point is, there is never a time that you STOP researching. Up until you have printed the paper out and turned it in, you should be prepared to look something up if you need too. This helps a lot with forming what you want to say as well, and more important, provides the foundation for your paper. 

Tip #3: Proofread proofread proofread. Even the most experienced writer is going to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over them. Just make sure you catch them before you turn in the final product, even if you have to throw the paper at parents, roommates, and your cat, and demand they read it to make sure there aren’t any spelling errors. 

Tip #4: Know your audience. This is actually a pretty important step, because depending on your professor and the class, you’re going to want to write papers a little differently. If you have a professor who likes to use anecdotes, it’s often wise to use anecdotes in your paper. If you have a professor who’s very fact driven, you should have a lot of citations. If you have a professor who is very personal, it’s often smart to focus an essay around a specific person or anecdote (for instance, if you were writing about immigration, you would focus around a story, preferably true, about an immigrant). Never try to fake it - if you aren’t good at writing certain ways that appeal to a professor, then don’t force it. But if you can manage it, it often helps the professor connect. This might sound like just a tip to getting better grades by playing to biases, but it’s actually pretty crucial to academic writing - if you go into a field that requires professional writing, knowing your audience is very important (this is all professions by the way - one day you will have to write a cover letter, and this tip is pretty much all a cover letter is). 

Some Extra Basic Tips: Don’t use street language but also don’t go overboard with the vocabulary. Your first instinct might be to break out a thesaurus, but honestly, you only want to do that if you catch yourself using the same word a LOT in one essay. You want to be able to describe your point in a way that is succinct. Throwing in a lot of needless pseudo-intellectual words tends to become a game of padding the word count. Make sure you know ahead of time what kind of formatting a professor uses - most use MLA, but an increasing number use APA. Remember, format is about more than just citations - it determines everything from font size to where you put the numbers on your pages (side note: Some professors don’t follow the formats exactly, so clarify that too). Try to give yourself plenty of time, especially if you have a difficult time writing. At the very least space out your research so if it comes down to the wire, you know you have at least some of your sources prepared. Create a file specifically for one paper and keep it on the cloud - I suggest Google Drive. That way you always have access. 

On Plagiarism: In college, you never (ever) want to get caught plagiarizing. For some students this could basically be a death sentence, and often it can happen by accident. To avoid this 1) always make sure you have your sources in line, 2) always try to paraphrase everything - even a single sentence can trigger the alarms, 3) if you must use quotes, keep them short and infrequent, and ALWAYS source them. Something I didn’t learn until last year is that you should literally source every single fact in your article, even if you already cited the source it came from. Even if this means using the same source for multiple sentences in a row, this is a situation where you are better safe than sorry. 

And finally, if you ever want help on a paper, I love to grade papers because I fancy myself an English professor I guess. If I have the time, I’d be happy to take a look (if I don’t have the time, I’ll tell you so, and try to get around to it!). 

Hope this is helpful. Here’s some extra resources:

MLA Formatting
APA Formatting
On Academic Writing
Reverso Grammar Checker
Google Scholar

- Mod Dawes Sr.

I had this stunning epiphany this morning about the movie Mulan and I wanna share it with you guys.

So you know how Disney tends to follow this formula with the Disney princesses? Where their parents are either absent, incompetent, or tyrannical. Most of them have no mother or even a mention of a mother, especially the earlier ones. The one princess who doesn’t fit this though is Mulan (she’s in the official line up, just go with it). She has two parents who survive the entire film. But there is a character who fits the Disney princess formula in the movie - it’s Shang. Shang, like princesses of days past has no mother ever mentioned, father dies halfway through the film, and is rescued by the hero Mulan. Twice. I guess the point I’m trying to make is, Shang should totally be in the Disney princess lineup.

- Mod Dawes Sr