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Observing sexism

Yesterday I was riding the subway back to campus with a bunch of other 1L guys who generally seemed like nice dudes. At some point they started talking about a Robin shirt one of them (let’s call him Person R) was wearing.

Person A: So who’s Batman?

Person R: I also have a Batman shirt.

Person A: (pointing at Person B) I thought he’d be Batman.

Person R: Nah, he’d be Batgirl.

Person B: Batgirl? I’m insulted.

But Batgirl is badass. Batgirl is awesome. Why would it be an insult to be compared to a crime-fighting vigilante who regularly saves Gotham without superpowers?

It’s because of the default sexist assumption that once you add “girl” to anything, it becomes lesser and inferior, especially when men are compared to women.

…Now I’m sad.


Jai Rani Alisha: The Glorification of White Crime



Take a facet of crime, and then look at television shows/movies that feature those criminals as protagonists.

White mobs.


White pirates.


White serial killers.


White political corruption


White drug dealers


I mostly want to talk about this as a TV phenomenon, but pick a crime, any crime, and Western media has probably made a movie/TV series/play/etc. with a white person that romanticizes the criminal activity. No matter what, a white person can do whatever terrible crimes and still have a TV/movie fanbase that loves them.

When you see black or brown people committing crimes on screen, you are to see them thugs and criminal masterminds and people to be beat down.

When you see white people committing crimes on screen, you see a three-dimensional portrait of why someone might commit that crime, how criminals are people too, and how you should even love them for the crimes that they commit because they’re just providing for their families or they’ve wronged or they’re just people and not perfect. This is particularly a luxury given to white male characters, since there few white female criminals as protagonists.

If and of the above shows were about black or brown folks, there would be a backlash of (white) people claiming that TV and movies are romanticizing criminals and are treating them too much like heroes and that it will affect viewers and encourage violence and “thuggish” behavior. And yet fictional white criminals get to have a deep fanbase who loves these white criminals, receive accolades and awards, get called amazing television that portray the complexities of human nature. Viewers of these characters see past the atrocious crimes and into their humanity, a luxury that white characters always have while characters of color rarely do. The closest that mainstream TV has come to showing black criminals as main characters is probably The Wire, and even then, the criminals share equal screen time and equal status as main characters as the police trying to stop them.

The idea that crime can be so heavily romanticized and glorified to such a degree is undoubtedly a privilege given to white characters. The next time you hear someone talk about Dexter Morgan or Walter White in a positive way, it may be an opportunity to rethink how white people can always able to be seen as people no matter what they do, while everyone else can be boiled down to nothing but a criminal.

I always felt extremely uncomfortable with this trope because, not only is it racist, but it tends to feed into the already too common propensity society has to humanize, romanticize and exonerate irrevocably terrible white men. Like if you’re a white man and you commit awful crimes, you will likely go down in history as a legendary celebrity and historical figure

Adventures in Guild Wars 2 leveling, post-September patch

Since a lot of people have been like “Don’t judge the new leveling system until you’ve tried it” I decided to give it a shot and level an asura necromancer.

Thoughts so far (level 1-5):

- The opening quest is now boring as hell since all you do is autoattack. You don’t even have any incentive to kill the rampaging enemies because you can’t unlock your other skills (I know, pre-patch, sometimes I would go after the enemies running around because I wanted to see what cool skills I could unlock. Not anymore).

- Because all you can do is autoattack, it feels like you get a massive DPS drop. This may be profession-specific (I know the mesmer now starts with a sword instead of scepter, so that’s more DPS for mesmers), but as a necro, I was at 1 health for most of the boss fight, a.k.a. I should’ve died, and it was absolutely ridiculous because the opening quest is not supposed to be hard. I noticed some of the default heal skills changed as well, and it was pretty bad for necros in particular because now the default heal skill has a whopping 40 second cooldown.

- Seriously, why did they have to remove the rallying system? Was it too hard to have a tooltip saying “You’re downed! Use these skills and if you kill your enemy, you’ll rally!” Because the current system doesn’t do a better job of teaching you what the downed state is, it just delays new players from having to figure it out sooner.

- Underwater combat is such a unique feature of Guild Wars 2. I sure am glad that the game now locks new players out of it at early levels so they can’t experience the diversity of combat in the game early on. (/sarcasm)

- I also really really hate locking the profession-specific skills, because it was a great way before to give people a sense upfront that each profession was unique. Now I just feel like if I were a new player, I’d be thinking “So necromancers are different from other professions because…their skills are black and green?” Hell, they even changed the minion heal skill and the auto-generation of clones for mesmers with the scepter because apparently minions/clones are Too Complicated for new players to understand.

- At least in Metrica Province, they changed some of the heart quest locations around…because it will clearly be Too Confusing to new players to have to follow a map marker to an area farther-but-not-really-that-far from where they’re currently standing.

- Because there are no more bundle items, the heart quests themselves are more homogenous and also more tedious at times. Really, if bundle items were really that confusing, they could just put a notification on the screen like “You’ve picked up x! Interact with y to help the NPC!”

- I absolutely hate the removal of the personal story until level 10. I used the personal story as a way of leveling, so if I got tired of heart quests I had some variety, and also the personal story was often pretty fun. I really don’t understand why people were complaining about this, because in the previous system, you COULD bundle the personal story quests together if you wanted; no one had a gun to your head saying “You’ve hit level z, now you MUST do your personal story.” My sister basically ignored her personal story because she didn’t like the way it was broken up and went back to do it all at once later, but the thing was, you had a choice. Now? Everyone’s forced to wait to do their personal story in 10-level bundles.

Again, what I really don’t get is that if these were such significant problems, why didn’t they beta-test this before launch? They marketed Guild Wars 2 as different from other MMOs. They had to realize that this would attract some people but also turn some people off. Trying to compromise by going back on their earlier promises to secure the crowd who doesn’t like an MMO that isn’t like other MMOs is…not a good move.

One of the most interesting bugs I’ve seen in Guild Wars 2.

So that’s my sylvari mesmer up there, Halcyonstar. While I was waiting for Tequatl to spawn, I was looking around and thought, “Hey, that sylvari looks a lot like me, let me check it out.” Then I went up to it and…it WAS me. Or more specifically, a clone that wasn’t targeted on any enemy and was just hanging around. Although when enemies spawned nearby, the clone would start attacking them, but when they died, mysteriously enough this clone wouldn’t shatter.

It was…kind of surreal.





Lavoisier is having none of your shit.

Heeeey so fun fact: the woman in that painting is Lavoisier’s wife, Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze, who not only acted as Lavoisier’s lab assistant but also translated English and Latin texts into French so he could read them. But she didn’t just translate, she pointed out errors in the chemistry in some of the texts. Her observations of these errors convinced Lavoisier to study combustion, which led to his discovery of oxygen. She was also critical to the publication of Lavoisier’s Elementary Treatise on Chemistry in 1789. She kept strict records of every experiment they conducted together and drew detailed diagrams of all their equipment. She also threw amazing parties and invited all the brightest minds in science so her husband could pick their brains. After Lavoisier was guillotined she secured all of his notebooks and equipment for posterity.


Also, a side note: My historian husband-to-be pointed some things out to me about this painting. Notice that Madame Lavoisier is looking at the viewer, and all the light is on her, while Lavoisier himself is physically smaller than her, in shadow, and looking up to her in reverence. This isn’t a candid photograph- all of these choices are deliberate. The painting isn’t of Lavoisier- Madame Lavoisier is meant to be the central subject. 

I can just imagine Lavoisier telling all his colleagues that his wife is really the one with all the clever ideas, and them patting him on the back and telling him he’s sweet for saying so.

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Even though I told myself that I would stop hiding myself in law school the way I did in college, I still have moments of panic when I think “Did I reveal too much of myself to this person I was talking to???”

The sense of panic is really dumb, because rationally I know that I’m under no obligation to impress anyone, those who would judge me are not worth being friends with anyway, people will probably forget what I say, etc. etc. But I still can’t help that knee-jerk reaction.

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