Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Gender Issues

Reflection and Projection

One of the frustrating aspects of all this predatory men bullshit is how ardent and vigorous randos will defend a man they don’t know. It’s not just with the famous predators, either. It’s in real life, too. Many women have had the experience of trying to explain why they’ve uncomfortable around a man they know for maybe inchoate reasons, and the man they’re explaining it to gives a hundred reasons why the guy is acting the way he is. The reasons may make sense on the surface, but there’s a ‘yeah, but’ feeling inside the woman as she’s listening that she can’t squelch no matter how hard she tries.

I realized a long time ago that the reason some guys are quick to defend questionable behavior is because they can put themselves more easily in the shoes of the man than they can the shoes of the woman. It doesn’t matter if the woman is wearing pumps, flats, or heels, they’re still shoes the man has never worn. Even sneakers, as they’re smaller and tighter and–OK, I’ve taken this metaphor as far as I possible can. They hear about a man catcalling a woman on the street, and they think, “Hey, I’ve talked to a woman on the street before. I’m not a bad guy. Maybe that random guy isn’t a bad guy, either.”

There was a post at Ask A Manager by a woman who was pretty sure a coworker was hitting on her, but wasn’t sure how she should turn him down since he never actually issued an invitation. He didn’t work in the same division (if I remember correctly), but he was above her in rank. They were out of town at a conference, and they had gone out for drinks with coworkers once and another time with friends of her (it was her hometown, I think). The letter writer (LW) includes texts in which the coworker pushes to do things in private and she gives him ‘soft’ nos in various of ways. Reading the texts, it’s clear to me he’s hitting on her, and she’s politely declining.

Predictably, some people picked apart what the LW texted and did (going out to drinks with the coworker and her friends) without concentrating on how he escalated his requests despite her soft nos, even to the point of suggesting she change her flight to a later time so she could watch a game with him! She said no, she was going to stick to her plans, but it shouldn’t have had to come that far. There was far too much focus on what she should and shouldn’t have done, but thankfully, there were people also pushing back on it. They said it was a shame that women couldn’t be friendly to men without being taken as flirtatious.

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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part Three

This is post three on my David Cage screed, and we’re getting deep into it now. Here is part two so you can catch up. Heavy Rain is the game that pushed me from thinking David Cage is a creeper to feeling revulsion every time I see his name. He is lauded in some circles for being innovative and a creative thinker, and I firmly reject that on all levels. His story-telling makes no inherent sense, and his characters don’t act in a way that is logical. I’m not talking about logical in general because people often act in ways that look illogical to outsiders, but they don’t act logically for themselves. I said before it’s because David Cage is a raging narcissist who cannot empathize with how other people feel, so he just projects onto them and believes that’s how they would act. When we left the last point, I was going on a rant about ow David Cage is shit towards women, and I feel I have to at least note that he’s also shit towards men, but in a different way.

The problem is that David Cage thinks in stereotypes. People aren’t real to him, and it’s exceedingly clear in his games. His main characters if they’re male are ciphers with tics. In Omikron: The Nomad Soul, the protagonist literally has no body. Your soul jumps from NPC to NPC, which is interesting in concept, but not well-utilized in the game (a recurring theme with David Cage). There’s nothing to know about the main protagonist because of this conceit, so David Cage gets away with this shortcoming in this game. In Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), the main male protagonist is Ethan M–er, Lucas Kane, is a mopey, slim, depressed man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. That’s the extent of what we learn about his personality. David Cage seems to think the fact that he’s a good-looking dude (with dark hair because David Cage only likes dark hair. I mentioned it with the women in the game, but it’s the same with the dudes. Most of the important male dudes have short dark brown hair. They are brooding intellects with mental health issues. One of the times David Cage broke his self-imposed rule, the result was Tyler, a cringe-inducing stereotype of a black dude with swagger, so maybe it’s best he sticks to what he knows) is enough to make women drop their panties for him. There are no queer relationships in David Cage games, which, quite frankly, is for the best. I shudder to think what he’d do with it.

In Heavy Rain, two of the male protagonists, Ethan Mars and Norman Jayden, are basically the same person in two different roles. They look the same, and they both have psychological issues. Scott Shelby is different with a graying buzz-cut, a florid face (he’s an alcoholic) and being overweight–and older. Oh my god. I just realized that David Cage’s type–slim, white, short dark brown hair, dark eyes, gaunt face–holds for everyone of importance in his games. The fact that Scott Shelby was radically different looks-wise should have been a big red flag that he was the killer. Side note: I really like the idea that any of the main characters can die, including Scott Shelby, except he can only die at the end. I know at least Norman and Madison can die during the game, and I know Ethan and Scott can die at the end. Again, it’s a fascinating concept, but it’s not really well-executed in the game. In fact, Woolie had Norman die in his game, and that’s when he was done with the game. The controls for keeping him alive is way too fucking complicated, and Woolie was infuriated by it. Not to mention, in that scene, the guy who kills Norman is the epitome of black gangster thug. David Cage has never met a stereotype he won’t gleefully embrace.


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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part Two

I wrote a post detailing some of my issues with the self-impressed video game auteur, David Cage. I have so many thoughts on him because I’ve watched Let’s Plays of all his video games, and his thinking, while grandiose, is sadly common in the video game industry (which is still heavily male-dominated), so here is part two. Hopefully, we won’t need a part three, but I have a feeling we will. You can read part one here. Lessee. Where were we? Oh, yes. David Cage’s inability to imitate real human emotions, which is a theme throughout all the damn games. It’s especially egregious with women, but he does no favors to men, either. He also doesn’t do nuance, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit). One thing I should point out is that while David  Cage prides  himsel on his plots, they’re shite. Look, I’m down for convoluted and complex. I like labyrinth-like plots with twists, turns, and time jumps. I like multiple viewpoints and multiple protagonists. I like psychologically-driven media, and so, I can see why on first blink my ex-friend thought Heavy Rain would be a good fit for me. On paper, his games check all the boxes. In reality, however, it’s all skin deep and poorly-done. Side rant: Video games are great at a lot of things. Telling stories isn’t one of them. I’ve seen video game  reviewers trip all over themselves for how great the story is in a game, and all I can think is, “I read better stories on this same subject when I was in grade school.” Granted, I read The Scarlet Letter and tried to read War and Peace in grade school (on my own, both of them), but that’s not  the point. It’s difficult to convey a complex and intricate story in a video game because you also have to have good  gameplay (if you’re going to do a traditional video game). Even if you’re not, you still have to use visuals rather than text unless you’re doing a visual novel, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

David Cage confuses esoteric, confusing, and implausible with complex. He seems to think if you just make everything about the occult/supernatural forces, then anything goes. He doesn’t realize that even with outlandish ideas, you still have to have internal consistency. Trying to explain the plots of his video games is pointless, and let’s not even mention motivation. No, wait. Let’s DO talk about motivation. David Cage doesn’t realize what makes people act. Or rather, he doesn’t care. One of the guys (in the Let’s Plays) said something about how David Cage has certain moments he wants in the game, and then he writes the plot around them. It’s true that he does everything back-asswards. In Indigo Prophecy, there’s a scene in which the black cop, Tyler, challenges his white coworker to a basketball contest in order to not pay the money he (Tyler) owes him (the other guy). It’s clear that David Cage had the scene of the white guy practicing hoops while the black guy saunters in with rap music playing in his head, and he was going to have it in the game no matter what!


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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part One

Backstory: Many moons ago before I was into video games, I had a friend (emphasis on had. He was a hot mess, and I haven’t talked to him in years) who prided himself on finding the prefect game for every person (read, woman. It was one of his pickup techniques). He listened to what I liked in other media, and he pronounced that the best game for me was Heavy Rain by David Cage. I didn’t have a PS3 so it wasn’t an option, but I watched the beginning of a Let’s Play, and, let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. It was slow and plodding, and the *spoiler for a seven-year-old game* death of Ethan’s son felt cheap and unearned. I know it was meant to have the player bond with the protagonist, but because I knew little to nothing about the either of them or the rest of the family, plus it was set up so ludicrously, I just felt annoyed. I’ll get to that later when I discuss the game itself. I dismissed the game from my mind and moved on with my life.

Fast-forward to a few months ago. I decided to watch The Super Best Friends play Omikron: The Nomad Soul, the first and worst* of the Cage games. I don’t remember why I decided to watch it, but watch it I did. A quick primer on the Best Friends: they started out as Two Best Friends (Matt and Pat) for Machinima, and they’re huge. They’ve expanded to Super Best Friends which included Liam and Woolie, but is now just Woolie after Liam decided he needed a break from Let’s Playing. They’re Canadian, and Woolie’s family is from Grenada. This is important because there are very few black Let’s Players. I didn’t like Woolie when he first stared joining Matt & Pat because he didn’t really seem to add anything to the gang, but he’s really blossomed, and his and Pat’s Let’s Play of Dark Souls II really sold me on him being added to the team.

The guys are rude, crude, and often juvenile. They have some questionable material, but they are also really fucking hilarious. It’s usually best when it’s just two of them because of my Theory of Guys**, but sometimes, the three of them can be pure gold. I think Pat mentioned the Omikron Let’s Play in another playthrough, and I was immediately intrigued. I’ve tried to play Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), widely-praised as an innovative game (Cage’s second game), but after an hour or so, I got frustrated by how stupid it was and gave up. It starts with–you know what? We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, we’re talking Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

When I started the Let’s Play, I was anticipating the game would be terrible and the banter funny. I love Let’s Plays of awful games. For example. I was obsessed with Quick Looks/Let’s Look Ats of Ride to Hell: Retribution, which is widely regarded as one of the worst games of all time. It was so bad, it was yanked from Steam, and you can no longer buy the PC version. I watched all the videos on it I could find, and I was seriously tempted to buy it to play it, but I waited too long, damn it. Anyway, I thought it’d be more of the same with the guys and Omikron. Another note: this is the last of the David Cage games that the guys played, even though it was the first chronologically. That means the guys knew all of Cage’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, which they made fun of relentlessly.

Matt*** joked that all the women would be short-haired, white, slim brunettes because that’s what ALL the women in all David Cage games are. Seriously. Most of the women who speak in David Cage games are slim but busty, have angular faces, and have short or shoulder-length dark brown hair. In fact, I’m pretty sure David Cage (and yes, he’s David Cage. Not David and not Cage. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know) wanted Ellen Page for Beyond Two Souls because she’s the physical manifestation of his MPG**** fantasies. It’s creepy how obsessed he is with this type of women, and I’ll talk more later about his even creepier ideas of how women think/behave later on.

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Me, Too

I’ve been ranting and raving about the Weinstein situation ever since the news broke. I’ve written about it here several times, and I’m sure I’ll be writing about it again in the future. This post is not about Weinstein, not directly, anyway. In the wake of the whole debacle, a day of ‘me, too’ emerged on Facebook. The point was to write ‘me, too’ as your status on FB if you’re a woman who’s been sexually harassed/assaulted, etc. It started, I assume, to model itself after the #MeToo on Twitter, which I didn’t see while it was happening. Please note: I know men are sexually assaulted, too. I would have been supportive of any man or nonbinary individual who stood up during the day of ‘me, too’. However, the microaggressions and sexual harassment that happens on a daily basis are more common for women, much more common, so that’s what the focus of ‘me, too’ was. I just wanted to get that out of the way so there won’t be a derail. Yes, men are abused, too. Yes, women are abusers. On with the post.

I didn’t participate in the day of ‘me, too’ except to click the sad face emoji on women’s posts. Why? It’s not because I haven’t experienced sexual aggression/harassment/abuse; I have. I’ve written about it on my blog several times. I’ve been very honest and open about it in the past. I am not ashamed of my past (well, not as much as I used to be. I’m still working on it), and I have no problems with discussing it if asked about it. It’s not because I haven’t talked about it on FB; I have done that as well. I have no problems with posting statuses about it, especially in connection with whatever current event is happening (see, Weinstein assholery). I’ve ranted on the mean Twitter streets ad nauseam about my experiences and railed against the inequities of our society that allows this bullshit to continue.

So, in theory, when I saw the ‘me, too’ posts on Facebook (I didn’t hear about the #Metoo on Twitter until after the fact), I should have been the first one to write a passionate post about it with a ME, TOO shouting in the lede paragraph. I should have written about the sustained sexual abuse, the date rape that turned into an abusive relationship, the friends who’ve cornered me while they were drunk and pawed me while I waited for them to let me go. I should have written about living in the East Bay when I used to walk everywhere, and I couldn’t leave my house without getting hit on. I especially remember one drunk white dude coming up to me when I was stretching before my walk, pressing close to my body, leering at my tats and showing me his. How he laughed at me as I ran away, and how my heart was pounding because I was afraid he’d follow me. In broad daylight. I should have written about when I was in Thailand with my college and staying at a hotel. There was a worker who started hounding me whenever I was in the lounge. Asking if I had a boyfriend. Hovering. Not going away even though I studiously ignored him. Making suggestive statements. I stopped hanging out in the lounge. When I later told my teachers about it, they said maybe it’s cultural* and brushed it off.

I should have written about how I used to have an avi of my chest  tattoo on Twitter, but I took it down because I was tired of guys sliding into my DMs to compliment me on my ‘tattoo’. Side note: I have learned the difference between an honest compliment and one that is dripping with sleaze. Most women can see behind the veil of plausible deniability, and it’s just annoying. I should have also written about being on Craigslist and explicitly saying in my personal ad that I don’t want anyone with an Asian fetish or dick pics and having So. Many. Dudes. disregard either or both of those requests.

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The More Things Don’t Change….

I spent much of yesterday morning ranting about Harvey Weinstein on Twitter, and I still have Things To Say about it, so here goes. I said I would write this post, and I’m keeping my promise. More and more women are coming out and Weinstein assaulted them, too. Several famous women who come from Hollywood families. Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are two of the top names, and while I don’t want to focus on them, the fact that they are included on the list indicate just how much of a systemic problem this is. They’re from Hollywood elite families. Steven Spielberg is Paltrow’s godfather, for fuck’s sake. And yet, Weinstein felt free to sexually harass them, probably thinking they’d know it was just part of the culture. I had an argument with a friend about the ‘this is just the way we did things in the seventies’ part of Weinstein’s statement. She maintained that it wasn’t OK at that time, either, even if it wasn’t talked about. I said in his industry, it was absolutely OK. It was tacitly condoned, and I would bet overtly in some cases. In other words, there’s a reason Weinsten thought it would be fine to harass Paltrow and Jolie, and it’s from being steeped in the culture.

I saw statements from more than one male star claiming they had no idea and were horrified. (To be fair, I also saw a few female stars, including Meryl Streep, make the same claim, but it was way more men.) It was after I saw the statement by Benedict Cumberbatch that I snapped. I hasten to add it’s not because of Cumberbatch, and I really appreciated that he added the part about zero tolerance going forward, but I have to say, really? Really you had no inkling? Because shit like this is an open secret. So much so, Seth MacFarlane made a joke about it at the 2013 Oscars and everyone laughed. So much so, Jessica Chastain tweeted about how she’d been warned about Weinstein when she first got into the industry. Glenn Close released a statement in which she admitted she’d heard the rumors but dismissed them. She was frank about how toxic the industry is and that she’s angry.

I wrote a series of tweets to Hollywood dudes who want to know what they can do, but I think it can be used by men in general when they want to know how they can help dismantle the mindset behind systemic sexual violence.


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Emotional Labor and Why I’m Resigning

I’ve been thinking lately about romantic relationships and why I’m terrible at them. This is not me being too hard on me–this is objectively true. I haven’t been in one in six years, but I doubt I’ve changed that much in the meantime. Actually, I have changed quite a bit, but it’s still my bugaboo. Here are some of the major things I’ve put up with:

  1. Being lied to by an ex who said he had broken up with his last partner before I came into the picture. When I found out it wasn’t true and confronted the ex, he said he had opened the relationship, even though the other woman wasn’t happy about it. I’m not sure it was open except in his mind, but even so, it’s not the good way to do polyamory. Even later, I discovered that this person suggested opening the relationship specifically to date me, which made it even more suspect as he had been my best friend up until that point. We broke up and got back together more than once. He wanted to date me and his ‘ex’ at the same time, but then put his foot down when I started dating someone else. We ended up monogamous, but I’m pretty sure he was messing around with the ‘ex’ on the side.
  2. Being told by another ex that he wanted to open the relationship, and then he freaked out when I became interested in someone else. Dumped me because he wanted to be open and I didn’t (in the end), and then found out from reading his LiveJournal that he found my love ‘so tiring’ which was never mentioned once in the four years together. I got the last laugh, though, when he wanted to be monogamous with their next girlfriend, and she dumped him for the other guy she was dating.
  3. This one is complicated. I became involved with a couple. He went abroad, and she and I started dating. She had a problem with alcohol, and I had to drag her out of the Gay 90’s (sic) (gay club) because she was acting so obnoxious, one guy told me to get her out before she got herself in trouble. I dragged her to my car, and she started fumbling with the door as I was driving. I screeched to a halt, and she puked (thankfully, after opening the door). When we got to her apartment, I dragged her upstairs and deposited her on the couch and sat with her for half an hour. I made sure she was breathing before leaving. In addition, she stopped the sex once she started feeling guilty (though she and her boyfriend were open), but then would tease about what she would love to do to me even though she wouldn’t do it.
  4. Emotional abuse and the very real fear of physical abuse with a healthy side dish of gaslighting.

Any of those should have been deal-breakers, but they weren’t. At the core, it was about the fact that I had absorbed the idea that I should be with someone at any cost, that I was not worthy of someone better, and that I should be grateful that someone, anyone would want to date me.


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