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Mar 27 2013

Hags of Lag/A Voice for Me – Not a Second Sarkeesian

The backstory is “here” as is the Kickstarter.

It’s a 9 year old girl wanting to go learn how to make games because “games are for boys” didn’t sit too well with her. So she started a fundraiser to go to a Camp to learn to make games.

But you know how the Internet is. We see a cool little project and we snork the hell out of it. The original pla was to raise $829. The current Kickstarter is at $21,000 odd…

A nice affirming story? A second Anita Sarkeesian! A project that exceeded it’s boundaries but since the person it’s for is 9 we can’t exactly ask her to produce a $21,000 odd game…

Ah it’s so nice to see something go well! Right?

Then again… This is the Internet and you too know how it can sometimes be.

Oh look! It’s the Men’s Rights Activist brigade sallying forth to… piss all over a little girl’s plan? To stop her going to a camp? To defend the payments of the investor (Which Kickstarter already does)? To boldly go (away?) where no man has gone before?

I know CNet’s covered it but I was watching the project with a little interest.

Well? It’s deconstruction time. Let’s start with the Reddit Post before dealing with the one inspiring it. I know the CNet article wails on them but I started writing before I saw that and I started so I am going to finish!

1. Why won’t she use Fund Her! She Created It!

I checked Fund Her It doesn’t work. In fact I haven’t heard about it. Want to know what I have heard about? KICKSTARTER! Why have I heard about it? Because it occupies the best “Crowdfund Donation” niche site out there (Next thing you know I will use the term Synergise the Mainstream) and so is well known. Even a man with no grasp of technology living in a place where people still won’t wear shoes knows about it.

Fund Her? On the other hand doesn’t seem like anything vaguely functional. Hell, I googled it and got porn before I got to the actual site with that name. Google A Million Gods and you get my blog on top, but Fund Her?

A quick look through the site simply demonstrates that the site is down. I suppose she could have opened a PayPal account and mentioned her needs but for that you require a platform and a readership and be sufficiently interesting (and lucky) enough to acquire those things. (Hint – Special Thanks to you guys and don’t worry! You get your comeuppance courtesy of the MRA later too!).

And I know how the MRA work. If she had used her own website and it was this successful they would be moaning about how she was abusing her platform to line her pockets.

2. Her previous Project was “Stupid”! Capes for Nerds? I believe the american tradition is to make an L with your right hand (reversed appropriately so that others may see it) and place it on your forehead while going “LOOOOOOOSSSEEEERRRRR”

Listen. If the Internet was free of “stupid projects” then Etsy and the fine art of making candles that look like alcohol. Would not exist. But damn if the Internet loves weird stuff.

It didn’t work. Frankly? Most people construct their capes out of bulldog clips and bedsheets, I don’t think there is a need for a custom cape manufacturer unless you are Noel Fielding (the image is from Vlad the Impaler by Kasabian and Noel Fielding is lovable and surreal). However blaming a failed fundraiser for future fundraisers is like not buying an iPhone because Apple Macs used to be very shitty with Office Software and you can’t play games on them all that well!

3. She Spammed! Look everyone she spammed!

I am sorry my dear delicate flowers but Spam is unfortunately a byproduct of a more connected world.

Want to know how Spam is Dealt With? Do Not Click On It. Your inbox is filled with offers for everything from 10 secrets to make a woman’s clothes instantly explode off and her to instantly fall in deep (and as temporary as you wish) love with you and do that thing you hear women love to do (Put the toilet seat down by themselves. AMIRITE GUYS?)

And honestly? Spam works. Social media is designed to spam each other. Hell, Twitter is designed almost explicitly as forming networks of people whose spam you read.

To demand that people not spam on it is to assume that the only people  allowed to use Twitter are deeply interesting people who churn out naught but wit and panache in every 140 character truth bomb..

4. She broke the Fund My Life rules! Teacher! TEAACCHEER!!!

The fund my life rules explicitly state that you cannot use Kickstarter to pay for “personal” things such as bills, tuition fees, vacations or “stuff you can use personally”.

However? The entire point of Kickstarter is to outlay equipment. Want to make a Game? Then thou needests a computer. And the amusing thing is? For $10 you can have a copy of the game. That the 9 year old girl is giving donors free copies of the game in the same way that the lovely people behind Prison Architect or Shadowrun did. You didn’t “buy her a laptop”, you pre-paid for a game…

And that is perfectly within the scope of Kickstarter. You are allowed to give incentives to donations. Hell, Prison Architect was offering digital immortalisation for a whopping $1000 and I didn’t see anyone go “HARRUMPH! THE FIENDS!”. Instead people who wanted to genuinely see an interesting game get made paid $1000.

5. Girls in STEM subjects! Stop Milking It! I don’t like it when women mention they are in STEM! Can’t they just shut up about it?

Women in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics are pretty rare outside some countries (India has a LOT of female Tech/Engineering/Math students and grads. In fact? My cousin is emigrating to the UK to try her hand at working in Technology and is amazed when I told her how few women are in the field.).

The fact of the matter is that there are rising numbers of women playing games but few working in games and honestly? We need to see some change or else the industry will stagnate and I will have to endure another summer listening to people tell me how Call of Battlefield 12 – Shoot the Foreigner is the best thing ever.

6. The cost is $829! Why offer rewards for $10,000

Because some people have a lot of money to donate and do so without qualms. I know at least 3 of my readers threw a (to me) fairly large sum of money at my Laptop fundraiser and if I had a Kickstarter or a product, I would want them to get free samples. The best I can do is keep writing but since this family has a product (however silly it is) they are within their rights to offer it.

7. She portrayed her sons as mean oppressors!

You mean in the way that older kids oppress their younger siblings all the time and how young boys don’t like young girls? I think MRAs are the only ones who went “She is throwing them onto the sacrificial altar of feminism to fight a mythical patriarchy” when the rest of the world went “Oh yes! Just like all boys of that age group who suddenly think girls smell!”.

She portrayed her sons as “boys” who do behave like that and who do grow out of it.

Well… some of them do.

8. Oh Noes She Recognises that women are poorly funded and so aren’t as economically powerful.

This may as well be labelled “Why Amartya Sen is a dick? Women don’t deserve any stinking money!”

9. She is a Millionaire

Clearly not if she is flogging her husband’s capes as a business venture. Imagine if you came up with that plan and took it to Dragon’s Den or some american equivalent show. It… It would get eaten alive. There is literally no market for it and I am a goddamn nerd who has worn a cape (If you must know… I Dressed as Lando.)

Clearly she is not a millionaire. CNN says “look out for her” but you know what? Nearly 75% of new businesses close in the first year. Most fail to turn a profit. Being an Entrepreneur at the ground level is “fucking hard”.

In the UK we have a reality show called Dragon’s Den. Yes, it mocks the ludicrous inventions and ideas of some people who no one has told that their plans are “stupid“. But out of all that there are some genuinely interesting products, some of which have become house hold names.

A lot of which flopped…

And Susan Wilson by her own admission didn’t do as well as she expected. The economy is pretty crummy and investment is hard in a poor economy. She apparently wrote in to indicate that she isn’t some hot-shot millionaire and that her meeting people or in nice shoes has nothing to do with her current state of income. I have know millionaires and I have met them too. Doesn’t mean I am one.

10. The Comments

Just the comments. You have everything from “Business? SHE MUST BE A MILLIONAIRE” to my personal favourite “Making Videogames is not STEM, RPG Maker? 9 Year olds should be learning something harder!”.

My personal favourites are these.

Instead, it seems like now we’re pampering a generation of youngsters, teaching them not to worry – that there’ll be somebody around the corner to give you a hand or help you advance your career. You don’t need to do it alone – you are underrepresented and therefore deserve special treatment to get a leg up. 

Fuck all the teachers and lecturers and books. You learnt all that alone right?

Also? I must point out that there is naught wrong with being a minority hire. Minorities got to start somewhere with representation. If it wasn’t for FTB’s dedicated plan to increase diversity then A Million Gods would still be sat on blogspot and would have probably died by now (dead laptop remember? The only reason it’s got a future is because it’s on FTB).

she is nine fucking years old, in two years she might not even care about video games anymore!

All money spent on children is probably going to be wasted. I did not become a concert violinist or a pianist. I never became a famous actor. I never played cricket, football or rugby. I don’t have any gold medals on my walls from being an olympic swimmer. I don’t even play games professionally and not one of my photographs has ever won a Pulitzer.

RPG maker is piss easy. You don’t even need to use coding to use it. It’s literally a drag and drop interface to put together pretty low quality JRPGs.

The fact she says she needs “money” to make this at all is disgraceful, though.

Venupuncture is piss easy too. However when one lacks the skills and is indeed nine then her grasp of what’s easy and difficult is a bit skewed.

Why is anyone surprised by this? Feminism has always been a movement by upper-class women, for upper-class women.

Which is why most of my patients could not afford a Happy Meal in the UK. Because you know “I am an upper class woman and I am doing things for upper class women”.

Oh and I might remind people that the MRA were quite happy to weigh in on India where they were more appalled by women having designated seats on buses and separate train compartments than women being locked up in houses and kept behind curtains. If feminists don’t care about poor women then MRAs are out there actively excusing the oppression of women.

Now swap the genders. How much do you think the people donating to this young lady, who has never needed and never will need donated money, would donate to a young boy from a trailer park?

Who wanted to make RPGs? Find one, make a fund raiser and prove that the only reason she got money was her gender.

I am confused about this women in programming business. As a female programmer, I am the minority but I feel like that is because of interest rather than ability. Just like men in nursing. They are the minority but ability has nothing to do with it.

Men in nursing are routinely discriminated against by the women in nursing, the system and society and are fighting for equality. I WANT more men in nursing. Nursing is not for girls. We are improving it but you know what? Society would be a lot lot better if we didn’t assume nurses were all women.

Handmade by U.S. veteran family business.

Nobody’s mentioning how much of a heart strings tug attempt that is?

By not supporting her you’re directly harming US veterans!

The same Veterans whose bandwagon the MRA are quick to jump on?

Ah yes. I forgot. Reddit MRA are “the worst”.

Although I must end on a quote from a link I got through the reddit post.

It’s pretty much the same thing as a somebody else asking for a $1000 for a new camera, or computer they need – it should not be done.

 To which my response is this.

If you require a camera or a laptop for something you do (I don’t know. You play games online like TotalBiscuit) and that is a significant portion of the service you provide to people and indeed your “reader/customer base”, then there is nothing wrong with asking for one to maintain your reader/customer base.

I am lucky that Justin and Jason were able to give me a suggestion to fix my laptop on the cheap but frankly it’s no longer a laptop but a very light desktop at this point. It’s usage as a laptop has ended.

If you don’t want to support say “Medicin Sans Frontier” but want to support the “Red Cross” then that’s fine. If you don’t want to support either of these two things and instead want to purchase cheap laptops or help a soup kitchen or even just get kids some toys to play with then that’s ALL FINE. Saying “I won’t help local kids because these kids are more tragic” is just moronic. Saying “A Laptop? Why That’s a luxury for me! Those kids don’t need laptops” is to be incredibly stupid.

What can a 9 year old use a laptop for? My Little Pony and discussing Boy Cooties (I don’t know what 9 year old girls are stereotypically into.). But this one wants to learn to be a little game maker and by all means I want to see what she can make. The world does not end if a 9 year old doesn’t get to learn to make video-games. But if she does learn and forges a path where more girls can get into an industry that’s heavily dominated by men then isn’t that a good thing?

4 comments

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  1. 1
    oolon

    I think you really need to post that picture of you dressed as Lando….

  2. 2
    otranreg

    RPG maker is piss easy. You don’t even need to use coding to use it. It’s literally a drag and drop interface to put together pretty low quality JRPGs.

    The fact she says she needs “money” to make this at all is disgraceful, though.

    I find this bit particularly stupid. What does simplicity of a tool or its use have to do with its limitations? You can learn to sloppily play a very simple melody on guitar or piano quite quickly, how would it mean that all music played on guitar and piano is simplistic and shitty? (granted, there are musical instruments that are quite hostile towards beginners, and require some training before a semblance of a musical noise can be made)

    “You don’t need to use coding.” doesn’t mean “You can’t use coding.” The guy should brush up on his modal verbs and his understanding of what education is for.

  3. 3
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Instead, it seems like now we’re pampering a generation of youngsters, teaching them not to worry – that there’ll be somebody around the corner to give you a hand or help you advance your career.

    Did you hear that, venture capitalists?

  4. 4
    Cynickal

    Internets comments: this is why we can’t have nice things.

    Sometimes I believe the story of the Frog and the Scorpion. They can’tsstop themselves, it’s just their nature to be ignorant assholes.

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