Announcements, IRL

Achievement Unlocked: Homecoming

Three years ago today, I opened a little space on the internet. It would take me on a wild ride across the country, meeting people who I’ve come to hold very close to my heart, and fighting for visibility in an industry that too often ignored and outright harassed entire swaths of fans and developers alike. We’ve accomplished so much since then. I say we because none of FemHype’s success would have been possible without you, the crew that came together — stayed together — and formed an absolutely incredible community that I’m deeply humbled to have been part of. You taught me so much, and for that, I can’t begin to thank you enough. Each and every one of you is so important to me. Thank you for existing. Thank you for fighting. And thank you for being you.

I know this sounds like a goodbye, and it is — sort of. A while back, I gave myself a deadline. If I couldn’t pay writers for their work, I would close FemHype, which is where we’re at now. It simply wasn’t sustainable, and I feel too strongly about fair compensation to allow this to continue. So after three rewarding years of advocacy, gaming, and friendship, this will be the last post you’ll see in this space. But don’t worry! All past articles will still be available to read and enjoy, and I’ll keep the social media active for as long as there are people following. If you have a project that you need boosted, a thought you want to share, or anything you think the crew might like? Tweet at us! Send us a message on Tumblr!

Paige and I are also very much still around, too, and we’d love to keep in touch. If that’s something you’d be interested in, you can reach out to Paige on Twitter @GLaDOS_hype and me @jillifrans.

It’s been one hell of a ride, friends. And I, for one, am super grateful to have met you. ❤

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Feminism, IRL

#BadassBitchesTour: Dismantling the Patriarchy One Museum At a Time

Our tour group in front of the Florine Stettheimer exhibit. I’m second on the right! 🙂

In 1989, an anonymous group of art activists calling themselves the Guerrilla Girls dropped a little factoid that rocked the art world: the Metropolitan Museum’s Modern Art section included less than 5% of women artists, while 85% of the nudity on display featured women. Think it’s gotten any better come 2017? Uh, no. That staggering number now stands at only 6% of featured women artists to the tune of around 70% nudes. If you’re a fairly regular visitor to the Met like I am, you’ll be hard-pressed to find decent representation.

Enter: Museum Hack. Their team is working to offer an affordable set of tours that attempt to dismantle the inaccessible, overly academic language that so often surrounds museums. They’re also out to challenge the patriarchal stereotypes that exist throughout the art world in a fun and interactive setting. It’s a tall order, but somebody has to do it.

So when I was recently invited to attend a tour of my choosing, I was surprised to find so many options at my disposal. Museum Hack covers five major cities in the U.S. (Chicago, D.C., L.A., NYC, and San Francisco), and of the tours available in my area, I went for the one appropriately titled “Badass Bitches.” Because of course. Also, the intro sounded amazing:

“Remember when feminism happened, and Georgia O’Keeffe kicked butt, and now museums and the art world totally treat male and female artists with equal value? JK JK IT’S STILL SUPER BAD!”

As you might have guessed, this officially marks FemHype’s first foray into pop culture. We’ve covered events and conventions alike, but now we’re excited to open up the floor to talk about more than just games! (Shoutout to the women enthusiastically swapping Overwatch stories before the tour began on Saturday, though. It made me giddy.) If you’ve been waiting to submit something unrelated to games, congrats! Your time has come. Swing on over to our submissions page and we’ll get you started. ❤

While I was invited by a member of the Museum Hack staff to write this review, I was strongly encouraged to be honest about my experience. If I had a bad time, I definitely wouldn’t be recommending it to any of you now, but I think it’s still worth noting that I was asked to tag along in the first place. All good? Onward!

Continue reading “#BadassBitchesTour: Dismantling the Patriarchy One Museum At a Time”

Announcements, Community Response

Poll: Should We Expand FemHype to Cover Pop Culture?

Did you know that we’re rapidly approaching the three-year mark since opening FemHype? It feels totally surreal to me that only a short time ago, I hadn’t met any of you amazing folks who continue to make this space such a joy to run. Let me start by thanking you — all of you — for sticking around and teaching me new things every single day. I’m a better person having known you, and I’m so glad that you’re here with us now. ❤

When Paige and I started discussing new ideas for FemHype’s future, I knew I wanted to make sure we opened up the floor to our community for feedback. It’s important to both of us that you have a say in any big changes we make, which is where this quick poll comes in!

For almost three years, FemHype has offered women and nonbinary gamers a positive space to chat, critique, and share their personal experiences related to games. We’re still very much committed to that vision, but we thought now might be a good time to expand just a little bit. Would you like to see articles related to movies, television, and all of pop culture, too? What about other subjects? The sky’s the limit!

Please take a few minutes to participate in our poll below. You’re also encouraged to drop into the comments section with any questions, concerns, or ideas you might have. Paige and I are here to ensure that FemHype remains your space — just as it’s always been. We need your help to make that happen!

Development, Feminism, IRL

#CSForAll: Girls Make Games Just Made History at the White House

Girls Make Games
Ruthe Farmer, White House Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion

In light of some deeply troubling times that have persisted in our neck of the woods, I’m absolutely delighted to share a bit of positive news with all of you. Did you hear that Girls Make Games — an international organization committed to providing young girls with access to game development workshops — just got to visit the White House? Heck yeah.

It’s part of the Obama Administration’s Computer Science For All initiative, which provides American students with the skills necessary to succeed in the rapidly expanding digital landscape. That includes game development, and who better to consult for assistance than the bright minds of young girls?

Twenty very lucky participants between the ages of 11 and 14 headed to the White House on December 7, 2016 for a two-hour intensive workshop. We’ve got a ton of uplifting pictures to share from the event, and even a super adorable tweet straight from Ruthe Farmer, the White House Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion.

We’ll not only be sharing more about this lovely story, but also the names of similar organizations that you might be interested in applying to or supporting! Let’s keep this message of positivity and inclusion going, shall we?

Continue reading “#CSForAll: Girls Make Games Just Made History at the White House”

Analysis, LGBTQA

Telltale’s Leading Men Are Trapped in the Closet, Bro

Batman

OSWALD: I have great affection for you, Bruce.

Telltale’s latest venture, Batman: The Telltale Series, is a wonderful little romp through familiar territory. I’m not even that much of a comics fan, and yet I found myself swept up in all the excitement of Gotham’s seedy dive bars and dimly lit alleyways. I desperately wanted to unravel the secrets lurking behind the Wayne family, and I was utterly delighted by the complex discussions regarding Harvey Dent’s health. Therapy option? Better mental health facilities? Hell yes. Telltale even subverted the time-honored tradition of fashioning Catwoman into a walking trope, offering her agency and motivation in spades.

And yet, it was the introduction of Oswald Cobblepot that gave me pause.

Since attending grade school with Bruce Wayne, Oswald has gotten himself into quite a bit of trouble — there’s a laundry list of illegal activity and jail-time, which visibly upsets Bruce. You see, the two used to be very close as children, and Oswald wants to meet up again after all these years. Their little reunion is sidetracked by a flurry of close combat, and you have to fight off a few criminals alongside your old flame. After, Oswald licks his thumb and reaches forward to tenderly wipe a bit of blood off Bruce’s face. The moment is undeniably charged, and Bruce doesn’t so much as flinch — as if he’s familiar with that kind of intimacy from Oswald.

But you never get the opportunity to seal the deal. Unlike with Selina Kyle, who you also fight alongside and share a romantic moment with, there isn’t any dialogue choice to close the distance between Bruce and Oswald. You’re not allowed to explore bisexuality in Batman: The Telltale Series, and as I reflected on all the games I’d played from them in the past, a distinct pattern began to emerge. Every time the leading men of Telltale edge closer to a revelation that challenges their heterosexuality, the narrative rushes to reassure us that the moment never took place. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Let’s take a look at what signals the characters are sending us, shall we? There will be some minor spoilers for Tales From the Borderlands, and a major spoiler for Telltale’s Game of Thrones.

Continue reading “Telltale’s Leading Men Are Trapped in the Closet, Bro”

Analysis, IRL

Perfect Illusion: The Sinister World of Fame in ‘Tuber Simulator’

As you can see, I'm still trying to become a dragon.
As you can see, I’m still trying to become a dragon.

If you’re not entrenched in the dizzying, Labyrinth-like world of YouTube personalities, Tuber Simulator may just seem like a fun little distraction for your phone. (It’s free, by the way. Just saying.) But if you’re a content creator — particularly one who carefully monitors the number of subscribers they have in hopes of one day scraping together a living wage — this game might make you a little uncomfortable.

And it’s supposed to.

While PewDiePie needs no introduction, his game development company might. The team is called Outerminds, and the concept they came up with is fairly simple: you’re a budding YouTube star who must produce as many videos as possible in order to generate more views, which will allow you to purchase new items. As you proceed to each new level, your chosen handle rises up the list of actual YouTubers who exist in real life. It’s fun to see your own name among such a star-studded lineup, but the road to achievements is presented as far less savory than their perfectly edited vlogs make it seem.

None of this comes as news to the YouTube community at large. Many, many popular content creators have bravely opened up regarding their struggles with mental health in the wake of their popularity, including BFvsGF, Chris Oflyng, Michael Buckley, and the SHAYTARDS — just to name a few. The pressure is real folks, and it’s important to remember that real people are affected by it. I sincerely hope that anyone looking to enter into this tumultuous platform remembers that there are many resources at their disposal.

The siren call of a massive YouTube following can lure you in and consume every part of you, which is precisely what Tuber Simulator does.

Continue reading “Perfect Illusion: The Sinister World of Fame in ‘Tuber Simulator’”