Manda Collis is a manager of the Roleplay Hub Network, where she spends her time helping build a community of online roleplaying gamers. She's also an ISBN Manager for Evil Hat Productions and a freelance writer. Keeping up with the challenges of her various roles is a real-life dose of making tough decisions between rocking your character class or branching into multiclassing. I talked to her about the challenges and rewards of being fully immersed in the gaming community.
When have you been distinctly aware of gender or sexuality while gaming?
MANDA COLLIS: Interestingly enough, I tend to play male characters during tabletop games! One of my favorite characters is a total dude-bro who is nearly an airhead and looks like he belongs on the cover of a romance novel. While I'm playing that character it's not so much that I'm aware of gender or sexuality, but I know that by playing a stereotype I'm making others aware of it. I've had quite a few guys at the gaming table comment to me after a session that they understand how girls must feel after seeing me play this completely ridiculous character!
Before I got too much farther in "Isn't He Lovely," I figured it would be a good idea to chat with a male about this whole "male beauty" business. Hugo Schwyzer is a proud feminist, the Gender and Sexuality Editor over at The Good Men Project, and a professor of history and gender studies at Pasadena City College. Schwyzer fielded questions about how the beauty myth applies to young men these days, how body image standards affect non-white and non-straight men, the intersection of male grooming and dress, and the modern male's latent fear of developing "man boobs."
Not many bands mix post-punk with feminism, with Jewish heritage. At least, no one does it like the Brooklyn-based four piece the Shondes.
Alyx Vesey, who's a Bitch contributor and runs the blog Feminist Music Geek spoke with the Shondes—Louisa, Temim, Eli, and Fureigh—at this year's South By Southwest Festival. Feminism and activism is an important part of how the Shondes make their music, and in the following interview you can hear how it impacts not just their writing but their work in the studio and on tour. The band also talks about reclaiming the word shonde, Yiddish for "disgrace," what it's like to deal with heartache as an activist, and their affinity for Bruce Springsteen.
People unfamiliar with veganism—and hell, even people within animal rights movements—tend to think of vegan and animal advocacy issues as predominantly white concerns. It's a fair accusation that white privilege is rampant in AR movements and that many animal rights groups are constructed in homogeneous ways—because generally speaking, it's true.
One of my favorite blogs has always tackled issues of animal rights and race in tandem, as their tagline explains, "Because we don't have the luxury of being single-issue." Johanna Eeva, founder of the increasingly popular, always informative, and thought-provoking Vegans of Color blog, recently corresponded with me about the site and the challenges of deconstructing interlocking oppressions in an online forum.