Category Archives: entertainment

Comments from hell: the very worst of the internet

The comments section: a bastion of democracy or merely a cesspit of hate speech? If you’re ever in any doubt about the need for feminism in the 21st century, you need not look any further than the comments section of any digital news outlet. A wasteland of pejorative remarks and intolerant invective, the comments section was designed to be the voice of the people, yet its current use is far removed from its original purpose. The sheer bigotry expressed through this digital soapbox paints a bleak portrait of humanity, but is oft highly entertaining.

Our latest project – Comments from Hell – curates the most comical comments from the every corner internet, from Kim Kardashian’s Instagram, to political websites and national news outlets.

Here’s our first roundup to eradicate your faith in humanity:

1. feminism-cut

2. f-cut

3. f-cut-2

4.  “EWW. BYE.” photo (5)

 

 

 

5. number1

 

Follow Comments from Hell on Instagram @CommentsFromHell 

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Gamergate Campaign: The Fight For Change In Video Games

The gaming community has long had a reputation as a violent arena fueled by a reluctance to adapt to the rapidly-evolving gaming industry.  The ever-growing population of women working in the gaming industry is a positive leap in the direction of gender equality – particularly in such a male-dominated industry — but many gamers do not welcome the new female presence in the gaming world.

Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist cultural critic and creator of the Gamergate campaign, was forced to cancel her speech at Utah State University after receiving an email warning that a shooting massacre would take place at the event. Yet, this was by no means the first time; the Gamergate campaign has long been a target, and receives a constant stream of threats.

So, what exactly is Gamergate?

According to Recode, Gamergate is a “sizeable online community of videogame fans who are upset about growing criticisms of their favorite hobby, especially claims that today’s games often depict women in demeaning ways.”

This backlash against female gamers isn’t anything out of ordinary. Working as editor for Girl Gamer Vogue (GGVogue) — a website that aims to build a new gaming community free from gender bias — I have experienced first-hand what these women go through. Journalist and founder of GGVogue, Jennifer “Narz” Vargas is passionate about targeting this issue that plagues today’s gaming industry.

Centered on this policy to promote equality amongst all gamers, it was mind-boggling to learn that Jennifer would be against covering Gamergate. This was her chance to display a crisis affecting all female gamers and a tangible manifestation of what she fights against each day. It was difficult to understand her reservations with it all. She wasn’t receiving any threats yet and I strongly believe that the moment you piss people off, is the time for you to act and make way for change. Vargas was reluctant to agree, and felt apprehensive of getting the wrong kind of attention adding that,

Anita [Sarkeesian], is strong for moving forward with this but I only want to create a holistic community where we all support each other no matter our gender, background or affiliations. The self-proclaimed politics of the gaming community don’t interest me. I will continue to create, promote, and sponsor workshops for both men and women in gaming for those that need it. I don’t need to justify my point of view of the matter because my actions do. – Vargas

This is what it comes down to. How hard are we willing to push for change?

I understood her reservations completely and people (myself included) don’t realize how difficult it is to take a stand for change in any particular matter. Is Vargas a coward for wanting to steer clear of this whole mess? Sarkeesian decided to cancel her workshop at Utah State University because of fears that the aforementioned threats were all too real:

This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it. – NYTimes.

Some believe she made the right decision, while extremists have expressed concerns that she knuckled under the demands of the ‘gamer interrupted.’ This sequence of events, however, has had a ripple effect leading avid girl gamers, like Vargas, to pull back and focus on why they became involved in the video game world in the first place.  The fact that a movement that’s making waves across the country is placing people’s lives in danger is, quite frankly, eye-opening and deeply troubling.

This wouldn’t be the first time the gaming community has gone all Call of Duty on us, however. Veteran and game developer, Ralph Koster received a number of hate messages after making changes to a specific online game. He discusses his experiences faced with the level of hate stating that there’s almost an expectation for gamers, adding that “gamers have had that for quite a while”. This happened in the early 1990s, rendering his creation part of the first wave of multiplayer web-based games, and was consequently a significant development in the gaming world at the time. This begs the question if this culture of hate is only an issue with women in games.

Are gamers being dangerously sexist or are they just pulling anything from their sockets to oppose to any changes within the gaming industry and community?

Koster endured his threats with grace even after his house was set on fire and someone wrote a note on his personal website saying he “wished the game designer had died in the blaze.” So, naturally gamers are prone to going ballistic about matters that make them… uncomfortable? Or something like that.

In any case, we cannot deny the impact the Gamergate Campaign has on gaming, and Sarkeesian is doing something right if so many are speaking (and that’s putting it lightly) against this. While I do believe that she, her campaigners and the gamers in support of this movement should continue the fight in spite of these threats, I can’t help but concede on Jennifer Vargas’ point. Working on the grander scheme of things to encourage gamers to play video games in harmony rather than fighting violently is the goal here. However, focusing on the latter can only go so far and where does one draw the line? I suppose gamers can define that for themselves much like Vargas did when this all broke out. Gamers however, may never be satisfied and like life, games and the industry will continue to change.

Watch a preview of “Girls” Season 4

Gone are the days of terrible job interviews, awkward sex and bad decisions, “Girls” will soon be gracing our TV screens with its eagerly-anticipated fourth season. So, what’s in store? Well, last Friday at her Southbank Centre appearance in London, Lena let slip that she’d been watching “Call The Midwife” in order to research a graphic birth scene. Is Jessa going to take on motherhood? Or will Hannah and Adam take their relationship to the next level? Maybe Marnie will bear Desi’s secret love child?

In this behind-the-scenes preview, Lena states: “This season of “Girls” is….the girls making smarter choices and realising that life is still hard.” So how will they cope?

Check out the preview below to see what’s in store for Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna!

Beyoncé’s ***flawless VMAs act: feminism’s most powerful moment in pop culture

Earlier this week — the 25th day of August, to be precise — the world awoke to a remarkable, and powerful sight. As I lay in bed, bleary-eyed and dry-mouthed I went through my morning routine of checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yet, this was no ordinary Monday morning. My feeds were ablaze with a very potent image, and I immediately sat up in bed. The scene was this: Beyoncé Knowles at the VMAs standing proudly in front of an enormous screen emblazoned with the word ‘FEMINIST’. The most powerful celebrity on the planet was sending the world a very clear and very poignant message.

Beyoncé, during an incredible 15 minute medley of her album at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, performed ‘***Flawless’; a song which samples Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s iconic and utterly inspiring TED talk ‘We should all be feminists’. 

We teach girls that they can not be sexual beings in the way that boys are. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls “you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man.” FEMINIST: the person who believes in the the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

As I watched Beyoncé standing sentinel in front of the 8-letter F-word, I listened to the song that has become my anthem of late and I was moved. I had already seen the tweets and comments from the naysayers and eye-rollers of the world — one of which even held Beyoncé’s physical beauty as justification for her not being a feminist — and I, in turn, rolled my eyes even harder at them. I was in no doubt that I had just witnessed a historic moment for feminism. Why? Well, there are several reasons.

Feminism has in recent years been dubbed a ‘dirty word’; something proponents of gender equality sought to distance themselves from. Here Beyoncé stood in an act of defiance, reclaiming that word as something infused with beauty and power. As something to be embraced, and most of all, something to be proud of. Just as Germaine Greer reclaimed the C-word, Beyoncé was reclaiming the F-word.

Moments earlier, Beyoncé had performed a very sexy clip of ‘Partition’, in which she pole-dances flanked by beautiful dancers wearing nothing but g-strings and bras. It is no coincidence, then, that the ‘Flawless’ opened with “we teach girls that they can not be sexual beings in the way that boys are”. Not only was this a reclamation of the word, but a statement on the nature of femininity itself: that women, too, are sexual beings, and that feminists are pretty fucking sexy.

Furthermore, the fact that the most famous performer in the world stood up on stage to proclaim herself a feminist exemplifies how far we have come. Not only are we living in a world where feminism is no longer a shameful, hated word; this is a world where feminism is being celebrated. And it’s about time.

This is a woman with massive reach, who has the potential to teach young women to place value on gender equality, and to inspire other women to carry out similar acts of courage, and to proudly wear the badge of feminism.