Link Roundup: July 2021

Boys Don’t Cry (Except When They Do) | Pop Culture Detective (video, 27:25 min) – A detailed examination of movie tropes surrounding men crying.  Have I ever told the anecdote about how I used to cry when I was in elementary school?  The other kids would make fun of me, and I actually went to counseling because of it.  My counselor was a wonderful person who taught me a lot of important life skills, so I can’t say I regret how it turned out.  Telling boys they can’t cry is bad though, and hits really young.

Queer Games Criticism in 2021 (so far) | Critical Distance – It’s a link roundup of queer games criticism.  Yes, I’m plugging this partly because I’m in it.

If I were to highlight one piece, it would be Speedrunning Undertale helped me understand my gender better.  I’ve been reading queer games criticism for many years, so I’m very aware of the idea that speedrunning is “queer” in the sense of subverting the normative goals of playing a game–much like how queer people subvert the normative goal of forming a heteronormative family.  If that sounds weird, well that’s what academic queer theory is always like.  I think I’m not alone in having a hard time actually buying the theory that speedrunning is queer.  But this essay uses personal narrative to make it much more compelling, so I really appreciated it.

What’s up with Voldo from Soul Calibur? | Polygon (video, 13:42 min) – An video about physical expressions of gender in fighting, and why Voldo breaks the mold.  I played Soul Calibur 2 back in the day, and it’s probably the only “traditional” fighting game I ever got good at.  That was when I thought I was straight though, so Voldo’s aesthetic was much more mysterious to me back then than it is now.  I mained Xianghua and Ivy, not sure what that says about me.  Probably nothing.

Critical Race Theory: Questions, Answers, Feelings, and more Questions | Pervert Justice – Crip Dyke explains the who, where, when, and why (but not what) of Critical Race Theory in academia.  In the past several months, US conservatives have made CRT into a sort of bogeyman, and many liberals have countered that by defending CRT.  My reaction this whole time has been, but what are we even defending?  As an activist who occasionally reads journal articles, I’m very aware of the differences between activists and academics, and I would hesitate to defend an academic theory when I know nothing about it other than the name.  Is it better to talk about academic CRT, or is it better to question the framing of the issue?  Whatever the answer, it would help to have at least a surface familiarity with academic CRT, so I’m glad Crip Dyke is here to provide context.

Social Constructs | Philosophy Tube (video, 24:16 min) – Abigail gives a philosophically-grounded introduction to the concept of a social construct.  This is something my husband and I (playfully) argue about all the time.  He says, if everything is a social construct, what does it mean to say that something is a social construct beyond “this is a member of the set of everything”?  And he points out how people use “social construct” in ways that are totally inconsistent with each other.  I say that everything is a social construct, but when we talk about the social construction of X, we’re specifying a lens to examine X–a lens that we could in principle apply to anything.  People are admittedly not very consistent about what that lens says though.


  1. Bruce says

    One theory is that it’s not a social construction by the patriarchy that has made top chef jobs only open to males, but rather that only a person with a penis can chop an onion to death without tears. I don’t see how that would work, but it’s the only theory that fits what we all see happens.
    For those amab playing at home who want to be chefs, please don’t pick up a sharp knife with your penis, even if it sounds really logical to you right now. This is just gender framing that needs to be questioned and discarded.
    So if volatile organic compounds are deposited on your eyeballs by onion vapors, don’t flush those chemicals off like a girl. Just let them burn your eyeballs pointlessly like someone too stupid to come out of the chemical rain, like a stereotypical guy. I guess?

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