Objectification in Nerd Culture
I do not consider myself to be overly sensitive to being objectified. Quite frankly, even when I was thinner it was never an issue for me. It's definitely not an issue now. Recently, in an attempt to branch out with my social media circle in an effort to promote this blog, I joined a bunch of "nerd" communities on Facebook. I've found that there are quite a few issues with how these groups are run, but I'll save that for another post. Something that I've found that troubles me is the blatant and vulgar objectification of women. By both men and women.
Let me explain…
In multiple groups, a picture of a scantily clad cosplayer is posted. Sometimes by the cosplayer themselves and sometimes by a random person who "appreciates" the cosplay. What follows are crude comments about how hot the girl is (because it's always a girl) and how turned on these guys are by her and her cosplay and please excuse them while they go masturbate. For those of you who just went "uh…what?", I wish I was making that up. Grown(ish) men, online on Facebook declaring for everyone to see how uncouth they are.
Somehow we've decided this is OK. Women themselves, cosplay these outfits and post them online in these forums seemingly to obtain this sort of sexual validation. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I genuinely don't understand. While these posts should be about the cosplay and craftsmanship itself, they end up being the verbal equivalent of this…
I think that what bothers me most is that there is no longer a filter for anyone online. Granted this is part of a broader conversation in general about politics or religion or really anything; but my point here is the fact that people feel completely at ease with the complete deconstruction of societal norms. I can't tell you the number of times I have typed out an angry retort to something I have seen online that is rude or ignorant. I always have to stop myself and ask what purpose my angry response will serve. Is it just to make me feel better? Am I truly trying to change the minds of these people or am I just reacting to them in the way their desire in order to feed their need for attention? I then consider, why is it that I am wired to stop myself when others are not?
Nearly every convention I've been to has to remind people that Cosplay is not consent. In other words, just because someone is scantily clad, does not mean that you have their permission to put your hands on them. What I struggle with is why this has to be said at all. You wouldn't walk up to someone you don't know in the grocery store and put your hands on them. Why would you think it was OK to do so at a convention?
It's interesting to have seen this evolution occur. I'm old enough to remember a time without internet, but young enough to have been involved in the AOL chat room boom of the late 1990's. The internet was this amazing place where a person could be their true selves without repercussion. For someone like me who had a ton of social anxiety, I was able to speak freely and be myself and there were countless people who truly got me. There were trolls then too, but we ignored them because they weren't as prevalent as they are today.
It's hard to see the forest through the trees on this issue. You have women who are self-objectifying and men who think that ogling and making lewd comments is appropriate. I think we ought to get back to what we ought to have been taught as children in which we treat everyone with respect. We are not body parts. The idea that people (or their parts) are reduced to sexual objects that are fodder for masturbation is terrifying to me. Our respect for our fellow humans and our ability to connect on an emotional and intellectual level is part of what separates us from the animals. I have no answers for this issue, despite my want to wave a magic wand and fix it.
What do you think? Have you witnessed this yourself? Do you think that I'm overreacting and that this sort of behavior isn't that bad? Let me know in the comments.
Articles for further reading:
Confessions of a Book Addict
My to be read pile continues to grow. Right now between my physical shelves and my Kindle shelves, I currently have enough reading material to last me at least three years based on my reading speed. And yet, I still buy more books.
I can't help it. I continually look for deals and my wish list on Amazon for books alone is about four pages long. Three days ago someone introduced me to a website in the UK that also carries a good selection at a low cost. Normally I stick to Amazon. They typically have the lowest prices. Barnes and Noble has decent online prices as well, but considering I go to Amazon for literally everything else, it's easier to stick with them.
I was scrolling through my news feed and saw that someone had a paperback copy of the fifth book in a series that I have been waiting for. I've been waiting almost a year for the paperback. Along with being a book lover/hoarder, I'm also incredibly particular. If I start a series one way, then I have to finish that series in the same format. In other words, I have the first four books of this series in paperback. I can't just switch to Kindle or hardback now. It doesn't work that way. I see this book in my newsfeed and immediately asked where they got it.
Apparently the United Kingdom releases hardback and paperback books at the same time. Who knew? And why don't we do this in the United States? That's a frustrating thought for another time. The important part is that now I can get these books when they come out instead of waiting nearly an entire year. I know it's silly but it's partially about the cost and it's partially about the feel of the book in my hands. I treat books in a way that they will last a long time. The binding is never broken and when I've finished with them, you'd think it was still brand new and unread. Books are to be handled with care.
Being a book addict is problematic. The main issue is that it's expensive. Unless you're buying second hand, even a new paperback can cost up to $20 depending on the subject matter or where you're buying from. The second issue I face is time with its close companion, mood. Because I still work a full forty hour a week job, reading is relegated to my breaks during the day and when I get home from work. I can normally get through about fifty to seventy-five pages an hour depending on the subject matter so a 400 page book can be read in a six hour sitting. Those books I call brain candy. They tend to be all fluff and adventure. The ones that are more introspective and technical can take much longer.
On the bright side of things there are local libraries here in the United States where a person can borrow books for free at any time. Even better, there's a app called Overdrive that syncs your library with your e-reader or Kindle and it let's you borrow e-books and audiobooks through your library digitally. The possibilities are endless. The most exciting part of that for me is the audiobooks. Audible is a great subscription based service for audiobooks, but if I can get the same books on my phone for free through the library, then I'm set for a while.
So here's where I have an issue. I have all these books to read and yet I can't stop buying more. I have five tote bags worth to take to the used book store and the pile keeps growing. I follow people on Instagram that love to read as much as I do and every time I am scrolling by, I see another book I'd love to read. I've ordered twelve new ones in the last three days and won two via Goodreads giveaways. I inhale these things. Granted, it gives me things to write about so as to entertain you, but it's a lot.
I keep wondering when I'm going to find the time and then I find it. I don't know how but it just works. So what do you think? Are you as addicted to reading as I am?
Road Trip--Vacation Part 2
If you read my last post, you know that my annual family vacation is meant to gather my family together for a week or two in the summer so that we can reset and enjoy each other's company. The tricky part of this is that we're a bit spread out. Travelling 1500 miles is a lot and most would fly. I had intended to fly this year but there were circumstances that prevented that from happening.
I found myself needing to drive the entire trip on my own which is incredibly daunting. For this particular trip I break it up into three days' worth of driving. It's about a twenty-one hour drive from my home, so it's too much to do alone in a day. I could technically do it in two, but I've yet to find a hotel that's at the halfway point that is clean, takes pets, and feels safe. I break it into three days. Eight hours to the hotel, six hours to my sister's and then six hours to the place where we all meet.
Planning something like that takes a little bit of time. Packing for a road trip is not the same as packing for a flight. Especially when you have a dog to pack for too. There are food considerations to make. Snacks and drinks are definitely cheaper outside of the convenience stores. I like to bake muffins for the mornings of the trips because you never really know what you're going to get when it comes to continental breakfasts.
This year the drive got off to a rocky start, I wasn't even fifteen minutes into the trip and I got stuck in traffic. There was a massive accident involving multiple cars and eleven people who had to be transported by ambulance back into town. What should have taken about thirty minutes of driving ended up taking two hours. After that it stormed. It stormed like I'd never seen before. I grew up in Florida. It's the lightning capital of the United States. I've driven through plenty of hair-raising storms. This storm made me seriously uncomfortable. I've never seen so many lightning strikes so frequently. The storm was so intense I nearly pulled over. If you're a Florida native, I hope you appreciate how serious that statement is.
Somehow I made it to my first stopping point unscathed. I didn't get there until 1am which was unfortunately but I had my audiobooks to keep me company as my dog snoozed in her bed on the floorboard. After checking in and walking around for a bit so the dog could pee, it was back in the car for some Taco Bell. It was the only place open at that time of night and even though I can't stand it, but it was better than nothing.
The nice thing about this extra stop is that I can sleep in the next day. There's no rush for the second leg of the trip to make sure I get in by a certain time. The second leg of the trip was totally uneventful (thank goodness) and I managed to get to my sister's house before dinner.
One of the things I like best about solo travelling by car is the total control over the trip. If I need to stop and take a break from being cooped up? I do. I can listen to my audiobooks instead of the repetitive radio stations. I leave when I like and I arrive when I like. It's nice in a way, to not have to make conversation, to be alone with your thoughts if you choose to have them. It's weirdly therapeutic to be able to focus on a single thing…driving…instead of the hundred other things that you normally think about in your daily life.
The downside to all of this is that with the longer road trips, if you're alone, there's no one to help when you get too tired to drive. This was the first year of driving this trip where I felt like I had to pull over and nap. I did it a few times. It's odd to sit in your car by yourself in a public rest area and sleep. I kept the car running with the A/C on. It is the summer after all and temps were anywhere from 85-95 depending on where I was and I was NOT going to get sick from the heat. Each nap was really only fifteen or so minutes long, but it replenished my energy and I was able to get back on the road and continue on.
Overall there were six days of my twelve day vacation that I drove during. I finished six audiobooks in that time. This was over last year's trip in which I finished four. My co-pilot puppers slept the entire way. She's cute, but not always the most engaging company.
I wonder about the other people on the road with me. Do they enjoy the drive? Or are they hating every minute of it?
What about you? Do you road trip solo? With your family? What's your favorite part?