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Why Law & Order's Gamergate episode pissed me off so much

Last Saturday night I curled up on the couch with my husband and dog, ready to chip away at some of the DVR backlog that inevitably piles up when I’m away on business for a week. I picked Law & Order: SVU, the show that sits half in the “guilty pleasure” and “I still watch this out of some sort of weird ass loyalty” categories for me.

When I saw it was “Intimidation Game”, aka the infamous Gamergate episode, I turned to Mike and said “if we’re going to watch this, I’m going to need a drink.”

This blog isn’t going to be a rundown of everything stupid, inaccurate, or overblown in the episode. Yes, I cringed when Ice-T robotically started talking about Civilization V: Brave New World. Yes, I threw up my hands and exclaimed “how can you only livestream something in 18 countries?!” and snickered at the crazy bizarroland of a video game launch the show created in order to have a plausible reason for their main victim to get kidnapped. All of that was stupid. But if you have seen as much SVU as I have (or even a couple episodes, really, because this happens all the time) you’ll know that their formula requires an over-the-top situation, they don’t love in-depth research, and even if they did perfectly research their topics, they still need to make it palatable and understandable for their audience and their genre. It’s not perfect. At least in the case of this episode, they tried to use gamer lingo and Ice-T sometimes pulled off his translation efforts as he explained to his colleagues what everything meant (although I posit that FAL is not something anyone ever says, although I’m totally going to try and make it a thing. It means “failure at life” by the way. Seriously.)

 

There are two things I’m pissed off about.

 

Stitch Fix, February, 2015

Welcome to February’s Stitch Fix! This month is brought to you by the color grey. Also: stripes. (This is not me complaining, by the way, but it is me looking at Cailin, my stylist who is pretty much the only reason I wear any color at all, and laughing maniacally.) 

Okay, on to the fix.

I asked for more formal stuff this time around: I have clothes to wear when I’m feeling lazy and for the price, I’d much rather get some nice stuff to wear out.

 

Stitch Fix Haul, January 2015

A new year, a new Stitch Fix! This month my stylist clearly got the memo that I didn't need any pants or skirts but I *did* need some darned sweaters to go over all the shells and blouses they kept sending me. Unfortunately, the stylist didn't quite hit the mark with what she sent over, but let's show the pictures while we discuss that part, yeah?

Stitch Fixin' in December

Over the past couple months I've received several requests to do another blog post about my adventures with Stitch Fix. For those of you who didn't read my first update, Stitch Fix is a subscription box service. You can choose how often you receive the box (I get mine once a month) but when you do, you receive five pieces of stuff to wear: clothing, accessories, or sometimes jewelry. These pieces are hand selected for you based on a pretty detailed style profile you fill out (and a Pinterest you keep up to date if you want) and over the months the styling gets more specific for your tastes based on feedback you give them each month.

This is my sixth Stitch Fix box, so suffice it to say I'm a fan of the service. I like it because a) now I don't really ever have to go shopping and b) it makes me go outside my comfort zone and wear clothes that I would likely never buy on my own. This is a good thing. I look more fashionable for it.

Okay, so let's get into this month's fix, shall we?

Top 10 Things I Like About San Francisco (and the Bay Area)

So we’re headed back to the East Coast next week after seven and a half years in California. If there’s one thing I have to say about the place it’s this: it grows on you. A lot.

Yes, yes: I still miss “East Coast” people. When I tell my friends I’m moving to NYC, they often say (even if they don’t know I’m from there) “ah, that makes sense. That’s more your speed.” And it’s true. In general, West Coasters are a bit more… mellow. Yeah, let’s call it mellow. The ones I’m closest to are transplants or, in the case of my best friends, odd balls who get an exemption from Being Californian.

All my griping aside, I will say this: I love San Francisco and the surrounding area. There is a bunch of stuff specific to my life I will miss (as well as general perks of the West Coast.) Simply put: there's a lot of stuff that you just can’t get in New York City or the tri-state region (at least, not nearly as conveniently.) So this blog post is an Ode to California and my very public acknowledgement that while I still believe y’all are going to fall into the ocean someday in an earthquake, I think you are pretty neat.

Help me raise money for Extra Life and Oakland Children's Hospital!

It’s Extra Life time! And that means… Elizabeth is live streaming herself playing games in order to raise money for the Oakland Children’s Hospital!

The past two years I’ve streamed for 24 hours straight (oh dear god, never do this) while hosting a show on behalf of my previous (and amazing) company Trion Worlds. It was awesome and actually last year I was the 58th top ranked fundraiser out of 43,416 people (not humble brag right there – but it was a lot of work!)

This year, since I don’t run a community team at a gaming company, my husband and I are doing Extra Life on our own (in conjunction with Thursday Knights, the livestreaming tabletop roleplaying group I’m part of – and they are rad, you should check us out!) I’ve set my sights to raise $200 but I want to make you guys a part of my fundraising, so here’s my plan.

If you donate over $5 to me, you can select one of the below games and I’ll send you a gift code. Just leave your game selection in the comments when you donate (also add in your Twitter name so I can DM you the code!) First come, first serve.

Thank you, Jonathan Mann (AKA my post on the "Factual Feminist" video and its unfortunate attempt to weigh in on issues around women and gaming)

Lately, I've been pretty involved in the discussions around women in gaming and what we do about promoting equality, respect, and safety within the gaming community. Truth be told, it's been a difficult journey for me. Since I'm no longer a visible figure in the gaming industry and don't run a communications department where my personal opinions might draw more attention and endanger myself or negatively impact the company and products I work to promote, I've found myself being more engaged in this topic and help further this conversation in a productive way. 

Man, it's been fucking exhausting and oftentimes soul crushing. 

This week, The Factual Feminist published a video on YouTube asking "Are video games sexist?" Not gonna lie - at the end of the 6 minute video I was actually shaking and wanted to personally say some very unkind things to the woman in the video. Instead, I decided to write up a point-by-point rebuttal to the video (since that seems like a more productive way to further the conversation while also squashing really asinine and bullshit viewpoints.) Those thoughts are below - however, I'm excited to say that Jonathan Mann made an amazing autotune of the video, complete with well-sung points refuting all the claims and assumptions bandied about in the 6-minute monstrosity. Jonathan's video also has an added bonus: I no longer have to post a video I think is so terrible I don't ever want to promote it but I still have a very awesome way to show you that original content (with breaks so you get a breather in between the infuriating blather!) 

Check out the video and give my thoughts a read - and please, remember to think critically on these subjects. These issues aren't black and white. 

Weights and Measures

For the past couple years I've been on a pretty hardcore fitness kick. I'm not one for crazy diets or workout regimens - I've subscribed to the belief that if you eat a little less while paying attention to the content of that food and couple that with lifting weights and ramping up cardio, you'll be a healthier person. 

elizabeth get a dose of fashion sense (aka Stitch Fix is awesome)

I'm a big fan of monthly box subscriptions. They're basically gifts that you give yourself every month. Want fresh veggies? Awesome! Hopefully you like the shit we send you! Want to get cool stuff for your dog? There's a box subscription for that. (It's called Barkbox and it's awesome - but that's an entirely different blog post. I did shamelessly leave my referral link for you, though!)

Last May, I decided I wanted to find myself a subscription box service to help get me some fashion sense. See, if left to my own devices I'd pretty much wear black shirts or sweaters and jeans with oxfords until the day I die. One of my best friends, Cailin, has worked tirelessly with me over the past couple years to help inject some color into my life (read: she makes me buy white or something bright for every black article I purchase) and she's also made me fall in love with dresses. But Cailin can't always be there with me and I'm a pretty stubbon shopper, so I figured getting a mystery box full of clothing once a month, stamped with fashion approval by a stylist, would be the perfect thing to help me.

It is getting better

This is a short blog post, but it's an important one.

There's a lot that needs to improve in the world in terms of equality. I spend a lot of time advocating for equality, pointing out problems, and asking difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions. But the fact of the matter is that things are getting better - not universally, and not as quickly as I think they should. But things have still improved. 

Here's an example: Naughty Dog's development team has more females in it than I think I've ever seen before - and apparently only about 2/3rds of them. I worked at devs I thought had a fair number of females, but their ratios paled in comparison to this picture (and while I don't know the jobs of each of them, it sounds like the diversity of skills is kick ass.) 

Thanks, Naughty Dog. You are awesome. Keep making awesome games and being pretty goddamned rad.