Wow, for a bit I thought this was a parody.
But trust me, one day in your first trimester it’ll hit you that for each of the six billion people on the planet, a mother was pregnant and went through what you’re going through. It’s the most ordinary thing in the world and yet, when it happens to you, it’ll be the most extraordinary experience you’ll have had to date.
In a way, telling yourself that you’re not ready to become a parent is like saying, “I’m not ready to broaden my horizons.” Or, “I’m not ready to be humbled on a daily basis.” Or, “I’m not ready to feel my heart swell up with admiration and pride.”
I know it seems like a big step. I know it looks like motherhood is giving up yourself. It’s not. It’s just shedding the parts of you that you don’t really need anymore. There’s no guidebook that can prepare you for that; you learn through the experience of it. Motherhood is like boot camp for the soul.
So… motherhood turns you into a zombie? Notice she doesn’t mention fatherhood. This is about her passing judgment on another woman (and by extension, all women who don’t want children) because she’s internalized patriarchal bullshit and wants to harangue every other woman into becoming as fucked up as she is.
The best part is that Kovac was addressing a straw-woman. The “career woman” that she so resents isn’t even real but a caricature she painted to look shallow, silly, and useless (unlike her, the superior all-knowing mommy). Amusingly despite having shat out what she believes is an “open letter” that’ll make people sympathetic to her and contemptuous of the straw career woman, counter-articles instead sympathize with the fictional Doris and tear into Kovac instead. Even other mothers feel Kovac is a self-righteous, condescending piece of shit. Incompetence in action!
Yes, parenting is joyful, ego-shattering (in a good way), and awe-inspiring. But parenting is not the only endorphin-oxytocin-dopamine natural high out there. And it’s certainly not the only way for a woman to reach her highest potential—do you hold the same rite of passage to fatherhood as wholly necessary for a man? People everywhere soar high and engage in meaningful, excellent, and fulfilling lives without children (or dogs for that matter).
Nightmare Mode has an explanation for the gamer mentality.
We throw tantrums, as if our games were holy objects and that a particular gun being available “only at Gamestop” somehow violates our sacred human rights.
It does not. My own insistence that games, their developers, and their critics bend to my will betrays an ugly truth about human nature that is accentuated by videogames: I am fundamentally self-centered and unloving, desperately concerned with my own well-being to a lopsided degree.
Games didn’t train me to be this way, but they provide an outlet for it. They provide constant positive feedback – regular assurance that even if I fail repeatedly, I am still always “leveling up.” They go out of their way to assure me that I am accomplishing goals and unlocking enough to justify the activity. Games fall over themselves to win me over, and to show me that they are worth my time.
Merritt Kopas talks about Oppression and Play.
Because dys4ia requires active participation by the player, it draws them into the logic of a system bigger than the individual. It gives non-trans players a tiny glimpse of the frustrations of living in a society that tells you over and over that you do not exist, and that, when it on occasion deigns to admit that you do, then drops obstacle after obstacle in the path of your desires and goals. Here, one student said that the game helped them to better understand the process of transition and all of the institutional and societal barriers involved. Another told me that the game helped them to better understand the idea of ideology as a force bigger than the individual, something that can structure one’s options and choices in life without one’s knowledge or consent.
Another Nightmare Mode piece takes on Sometimes games want you to think they’re critiquing violence, but instead they legitimize it.
The engineer explains: “We do not know our enemy. How can we hope to stop something we do not understand? If we can capture one of these creatures alive, we may be able to…communicate with it.” The military personnel immediately understands: “…and interrogate it,” he intones.
And I can’t help but feel like this is the exact same conversation that took place before the Executive Branch of the United States started performing extraordinary renditions.
The actions that we take have consequences that aren’t immediately apparent. The scariest part is that those actions don’t have to happen in the “real world” to have serious effects on our day-to-day meatlives. XCOM, in some small way, legitimizes a certain way of acting in and thinking about the world.
Mattie Brice’s Would You Kindly.
This is why the recent public foray about video games and violence is rather laughable. Games are clearly overestimated when it comes to the kinds of topics and play is actually there. American society, at least, has identified guns and violence with boys and men for as long as I’ve been alive, and most likely before the first video game. It reminds me of an anecdote Brendan makes in his book, that cover shooters remind him of playing games of pretend as a child. Video games are currently a translation of that, a reincarnation of stereotypically boys’ activities that do impart cultural values, but do not simulate anything real. We can see this throughout all other media, and can attribute the homogeneity of both the artists and the audiences they target. This is why our Vice President calls a meeting to solve gun violence over the rare attack at a predominately white school and not the frequent, systematic murder of transgender women of color.
I know many developers and players are excited about the avenue of satire. The ‘gotchya!’ is easy to formulate and punctuate an otherwise typical game. But letting business as usual carry on until the final stages serves no one any good- it creates the illusion that these problems are outside of us, easily boxed away when we please. Indeed, challenging the player from the get-go with actual problems might not be fun and require the help of someone who isn’t white, heterosexual, nor a man.
Basically, Nightmare Mode is the best gaming site around. Read it sometime. Related (re: the Dead Island mutilated bikini torso): It Belongs in a Museum.
Ronan Wills read Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim. Trigger warning: pedophilia, of the “she’s really an adult but looks like a twelve-year-old” sort as embraced by Sheri Tepper et al, but with more frills. Kadrey doesn’t really understand gothic lolita, but he doesn’t understand much of anything.
Urban fantasy is well known for being a cess-pit of terrible writing produced by stunted, illiterate racists. It’s possibly the single most worthless genre in all of fiction. So of course when I was offered a copy of Sandman Slim by the proprietor of Requires Only That You Hate I jumped at the chance. Partially this was due to the front cover blurb describing the book as a “dirty-ass masterpiece” which is quite possibly the least appealing endorsement I’ve ever seen. I feel like I should be wearing gloves every time I pick up my eReader.
Yes, I do go around offering copies of truly horrendous books to people who then read ‘em so I don’t have to. Win-win. (See also this review of Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns. I’m hoping for a similarly thorough review of the sequel. Bread? Well and truly snatched from the author’s mouth! Or his neckbeard, it’s hard to tell.)
Did I say talking horse palate cleanser? Arthur B reviews Waters Rising.
Horses who are rapists: 1.
Rapist cartoonish villains who get some form of comeuppance: All.
Rapist horses who get a pass because they get upset and yell at you if you call them a rapist: 1
Probability that Tepper thinks the horse isn’t actually a rapist: Uncomfortably high.
“But Arthur,” you may be saying at this point, “you don’t understand! I am a complete moral vacuum who doesn’t care how odious the opinions put forth by a novel on ecology, rape, mass drowning and eugenics are. Surely I can at least enjoy this novel as an ethically reprehensible but competently written science fantasy saga?”
Nope, ‘fraid not. The miserable failure of The Waters Rising as a novel is something which we can all agree on. Come back, Steve Stirling! Take up your axes and ride out with me, oh hordes of Robert E. Howard fans! We can all find something we hate with this novel! Reactionaries will hate the eco-feminism, ecologists and feminists will yell “Get the fuck off my side!”, and all of us can be united in one common experience: the fact that reading this book is an incredibly tedious process.
I think he actually read through the whole thing, too. Could I interest you in Sandman Slim, Arthur? It even has the same pedo schtick.