WGSS414: WK7 Blog / Power, Privilege and Control as Entertainment in Gaming

According to David J. Leonard, “Systemic racism is the most dominating controller inside and outside of virtual reality, a world produced by the White male-dominated video game industry” (Leonard, 141). Mainly, once the virtual world in video games is critiqued, systemic racism, heteropatriarchy, and violence against women and Black people are used as entertainment and thus contribute to the axes of oppression and erasure that marginalized folks and communities experience. As a queer person and casual video gamer, the violence, harm, and systemic oppression viewed and experienced in video gaming are unavoidable, even more so in the online chat that occurs through gameplay as well. While Leonard primarily discusses Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) since then, games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, another release from Rockstar gaming creates a similar virtual world that does not challenge white-male dominated gaming and society. Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) is another Rockstar series where the “othering” of marginalized people and communities are efforts that maintain power and control or frankly, “move white characters forward” (“The Intersection | Racism, Liberalism, and ‘Red Dead Redemption 2′”). 

Besides, moving white characters forward in the virtual world is the core of the american history of white colonialism. Manifest destiny, the genocide of Native Americans and Indigenous Sovereign Nations and people, and romanticizing the “Wild West” as a feminine spiritual rebirth to be controlled, diminished, and dominated is precisely the toxic and oppressive environment that Rockstar games created in Red Dead Redemption Series. Ultimately, both the Grand Theft Auto series and Red Dead Redemption series are part of the contemporary institutionalized racism, or rather new ways for the white-male dominated gaming industry to play colonizer or a virtual manifest destiny. Whether conquering and controlling people and businesses in Los Santos or becoming a “cowboy” in the West to save your family, men are in power, and other characters exist within the real-life axes of oppression, with unstable family lives, classist, and sexist portrayals. In a white male-dominated society, these virtual worlds and types of gameplay only contribute to systemic racism and oppression of women and are part of the institutional violence towards marginalized communities and women. 

Works Cited

Leonard, David J. “Grand Theft Auto V: Post-Racial Fantasies and Ferguson Realities.” The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online, edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, vol. 105, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc, 2016, pp. 129–44.

“The Intersection | Racism, Liberalism, and ‘Red Dead Redemption 2.'” THE DEVIL STRIP, 13 Feb. 2019, https://thedevilstrip.com/the-intersection-racism-liberalism-and-red-dead-redemption-2/.

WGSS414: WK6 Blog / The Digital World and Identity​ Erasure

Sarah T. Roberts’ article “Commerical Content Moderation: Digital Laborers’ Dirty Work” identifies how CCM employees, mass media, and corporations control and maintain systems of oppression affecting women and other marginalized communities. For example Roberts explains, “It can appear that content just naturally exists, and should exist, in the digital ecosystem, rather than it often being the result of a decision-making process that has weighed the merits of making it available against the result of removing it, or a system that simply has not been able to deal with it yet” (149). Mainly, when digital content or UCC challenges these social normatives, marginalized communities may remain silenced. Ultimately most social normative or “standards” of beauty, “coolness,” sexuality, age, and (dis)abilities create unearned privileges for women and folks within a white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, higher social class, and higher educated people. Silencing and erasure of their truth and experiences are controlled, approved, or denied through CMM workers at the guidance of mass media and corporations. Futhermore, the censorship of content in the digital world has the power to either challenge or advance institutional violence, as well. Accordingly, when specific content is deemed (in)civil, or too challenging to unspoken rules, regulations, and sociocultural normative which all uphold institutionalized racism and oppression for marginalized communities, US mass media and pop-cultural become signifiers and part of the systemic oppression. What content brings more money to a platform, corporation or company, or has the chance to become viral, regardless of the harm and violence it may cause or sustain will go uncensored, or be appropriated based on cultural differences in efforts to capitalize on financial profits. Like all scenes, words, actions, and beyond are orchestrated in film making and other media types of popular culture, we must critique the digital world through these same lenses. We must work to dismantle the hate, harm, erasure, stereotypes, and violence that leak into these platforms and support the axes of oppression within folks’ social locations and identities.

Works Cited

Roberts, Sarah T. “Commerical Content Moderation: Digital Laborers’ Dirty Work.” The Intersectional Internet: Race. Sex, Class, and Culture Online, edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, vol. 105, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc, 2016, pp. 148–59.

WGSS414: WK5 Blog / Wikipedia As Activism

Both online and offline, social normative gendering is evident in many ways and contexts. Everything from folks being assumed a normative gender in a polite public conversation, to products in the health and well-being sections of stores, clothes, toys, mass media, etc. While identity safe-spaces online and offline in my personal experience, seem to be improving, the change is mostly based on idenity-safe language becoming normalized and in turn, social spaces more inclusive because of visibility. Wikipedia, whether intentionally or not, supports and is part of the social change taking place to create identity-safe spaces both online and offline. Online, using gender-neutral language allows for any folks being described, citations and sources not to have their gender-identity assumed or become part of hegemonic gendering from editors who may not know how a person identifies. Furthermore, at times, gendering may be irrelevant to the article and content.

Mostly, social change occurs through both smaller instances of activism and more extensive outreach. The gender-neutral language used on Wikipedia signifies activism efforts that contribute to creating identity-safe spaces online and as a result, are a part of an intersectional social movement. Collectively identity-safe language and spaces in mass media and pop culture are necessary to confront hegemonic ideas of gender. Within Wikipedia’s policy, folks who embody many social locations may feel further welcomed to make contributions to Wikipedia articles. Ultimately, the more diverse and marginalized communities that have access to these articles and also feel safe, making contributions are part of the activism that challenges several social normatives.

WGSS414: WK4 Blog / The Round House and the genocide of Indigenous women

The Round House by Louise Erdrich succeeds in revealing the layered ways in which Indigenous women and folks navigate the axes of oppression. Particularly after learning about the act of violence against Geraldine and how critical it is to understand the exact point of the location where the attack took place. The location of the attack essentially determines who has jurisdiction over processing the crime, all of which allows different rights and sits within a complicated territorial line of stolen land and nation sovereignty laws. Additionally, the discussion of location and how to proceed is regularly handled by men in power, both Indigenous and white. However, it all revolves and exists within the systems of oppression facing women.

Erdrich confirms how land rights are part of the systemic oppression and state violence suffered by Indigenous women and folks daily. With this knowledge, understanding the complications surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous women becomes even more apparent. The story of Geraldine in The Round House helps understand a crucial part of how and why so many cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women go unsolved, along with how many missing and murdered Indigenous women are not afforded justice through the acknowledgment of violence. All of which contributes to the erasure of their identities and stories.

Moreover, there are currently four federal legislation acts to address the state violence that is the crisis and genocide of missing and murdered Indigenous women. In addition to the federal legislation, the following states also have state legislation to address, share data, and declare emergencies: Arizona, California, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.

Works Cited

Goforth-Ward, Meg. “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Legislation.” Urban Indian Health Institute (blog), May 17, 2019. https://www.uihi.org/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls-legislation/.

“MMIW Crisis,” September 13, 2019. https://www.doi.gov/ocl/mmiw-crisis.

WGSS414: WK3 Blog / Wikipedia Knowledge Gap

The Wikipedia article Masculinity has many underdeveloped sections. While it briefly touches on the social construction of gender, there is limited content to support these points. Reading the article, “‘Night to His Day’ The social construction of Gender” by Judith Lorber, would support and add depth to the Masculinity Wikipedia article. The section on the development of masculinity would benefit significantly from added content–mainly by references and citations added specifically the sub-topic title “The Social Construction of Masculinity” that address knowledge gaps and support the idea of gender as a social construction. Although there are multiple ways to be masculine in the world, the article is a bit misleading as it downplays representations of hegemonic masculinity or toxic masculinity. The article then goes on to discuss anything other than “normative” performances of gender as effiminate. For example, Lorber states, “Gendered social arrangments are justified by religion and cultural productions and backed by law, but the most powerful means of sustaining the moral hegemony of the dominant gender ideology is that the process is made invisible; any possible alternatives are virtually unthinkable” (356). Mostly, the Masculinity Wikipedia article potentially is part of the erasure of any performance of masculinity outside of hegemonic masculinity by using terms such a “normative” in juxtaposition to effeminacy. The comparison of normative masculinity and “effeminacy” masculinity, whether intentional or not, ultimately others all things outside of “normative” masculinity in the Wikipedia article and also generalizes gay men as a static identity. The language used in the article has the power to continue to uphold and participate in hegemonic masculinity. Furthermore, the subsection on hegemonic masculinity contains only one citation and is labeled confusing from Wikipedia.

Works Cited

Lorber, Judith. “‘Night to His Day’ The Social Construction of Gender.” Readings For Diversity and Social Justice, edited by Maurianne Adams et al., Fourth edition, Routledge, 2018, pp. 354–59.

WGSS414 WK2 Blog / White feminism: Digital and Social Influence

When the hegemonic identity or default / standard human existence and experience is white, social systems of power not only impact online spaces but also sustain and preserve white colonists’ ideals. We live in a white, heteronormative, capitalist patriarchal society. Furthermore, this is the social system of normativity that has power and social influence in several overlapping social, digital, and institutionalized spaces. However, this is not to say that social change and activist efforts are not on-going and have been on-going. However, what this does tell us is that similarly to social norms, digital norms, and online spaces are considerably influenced, occupied, and appropriated by white folks. Most specifically, in terms of feminism, hegemonic white feminism consumes and upholds digital and social power on the internet. For example, Daniels argues, “Without an explicit challenge to racism, White feminism is easily grafted onto White supremacy and becomes a useful ideology with which to argue for equality for White women within a White supremacist context” (Daniels). Mainly, without an intersectional lens, where women at all social locations have safe spaces online to create content and create social change and justice, feminism online is part of systemic racism and oppression of women who challenge social norms.

Continuing, the lateral violence in the social justice and social change areas that white heteronormative capitalist patriarchal power causes include the perpetuation of colonialism, and the erasure of Indigenous folks, people of color, and anyone who challenges social norms, as well as the appropriation of their experiences. ancestral knowledge and cultural value. Additionally, when white folks imagine solutions to social problems without an inclusive and intersectional approach to the many systems of oppression women in all social locations experience, the risk of institutionalized violence exists, along with state violence through the prison industrial complex. Without a critique of whiteness and its racial power, white feminism in digital spaces is dangerous, harmful, and rooted in white supremacy.

Works cited

Daniels, Jessie. “The Trouble With White Feminism: Whiteness, Digital Feminism, and the Intersectional Internet.” The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online, edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, vol. 105, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc, pp. 41–60.

WGSS414 WK1 Blog / The Intersectional Internet Ch. 1 Summary & Wikipedia Project

Wikipedia Project

I checked out the Wikipedia article regarding parenting practices that are relevant for counter systemic bias. I believe that parenting is an exciting topic because parents can often set a foundation or framework in which their children can view, experience, and live in the world. However, the Wikipedia project page is rather undeveloped, but there are some ideas around the first topics and articles to consider for the page.

The intersectional Internet: race, sex, class, and culture online

Part One: Cultural Values in the Machine / Chapter One Summary

The essence of Digital Intersectionality Theory and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Brendesha Tynes, Joshua Schuschke, and Safiya Umoja Noble is to examine social media, especially twitter, regarding how hetero-patriarchal ideals can still overtake activism in social networks. A brief understanding of how race is constructed in a digital world and theory around how social media content ultimately defaults to a hegemonic framework which frequently allows space for hegemonic social norms to be upheld is a critical point to this article and argument. Tynes et al. primarily discuss the trajectory of the #BlackLivesMovement after conception and how lack of intersectional internet spaces in social media rewrote a narrative that primarily focused on Black males, despite the movement rising from the thoughts and passions of Black women.

Moreover, the #BlackLivesMatter founders encompass several different social locations, and the concept behind the movement is an attempt to create an intersectional movement for all Black people in all social locations. However, only after several submovements and social media activism was a space formed where Black women and girls of all social locations started to take back the space that is #BlackLivesMatter and be seen and heard. Furthermore, Tynes et al., cite the importance of an intersectional approach to the internet in all aspects, such as critique, lenses, practices, and activism. Social media is a unique space where social change has the opportunity to transpire quickly and, thus, sometimes be appropriated. This article acknowledges the importance of intersectionality in social media and guidelines for activists and allies to support social change in this platform without the erasure of folks and to challenge hegemonic narratives and social norms.

Noble, Safiya Umoja, and Brendesha M. Tynes, editors. The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc, 2015.