Game of Thrones Sexism – Part 2

So I realize that stating that I’ve watched only one episode is probably not helping my argument, but luckily, there is this great article on Tiger Beatdown that points out every scene with rape, molestation and/or domestic violence in the Game of Thrones books. Yes, I’m jumping from the televised series to the books, but still, this is by far the best resource I’ve found that proves my points. You should read it, it’s funny and sad and horrible all at once.

I really did try watching the second episode. I stopped at the scene where the ripped barbarian dude is raping the blonde chick… again. Sorry, that “gritty realism” is just too much for me! Again, this isn’t simply because I can’t read about rape. There are plenty of books that tell the story of rape in a non-offensive, serious way (I’m looking at you, Hild).

This may very well be the last part of my Games of Thrones Sexism series. I can’t find any reason to commit another hour to watching (or reading) something that doesn’t ever seem “get better” w/r/t being sexist.

A Very Quick and Easy Beginner’s Guide to Internet System Administration

I believe that there is a point in every web designer’s life wherein they veer towards the path of developer. This is happening partly because, in post-financial-crisis times, we are expected to put on many a hat in our working lives, and in general to do more with less. It should be no surprise to us, who know the ins and outs of the internet (or at the very least how to google it) that it is now our job to make sure that “things work”.

I said this would be quick and easy so I’ll get right to it. You’ve only ever messed with CSS and HTML before, and now you’re tasked with something that’s server-related. What should you do? My best advice is this: take time to really understand what it is you’re doing.

The problem is the easy part. Usually it’s something very simple, like:

  • Your website isn’t loading
  • Your website loads, but it’s just a blank page
  • You can send emails but you aren’t receiving them
  • You can send and receive email, but you don’t get the emails your website’s contact form sends

If you have absolutely no idea where to start when it comes to troubleshooting things like this, you need to learn about how this very complex system we call the internet works. But where to start? The quick and easy version of this is to simply link you to sites I’ve found helpful.

How Does the Internet Work? – You should start here, because if don’t really understand what’s happening when you try to access a webpage, troubleshooting problems is going to be pretty difficult.

UNIXhelp for users – Once you know what’s supposed to be happening, the next step is to understand how web servers works. Most web servers are going to be running some flavor of UNIX, so knowing what UNIX even is and how to use it for server administration is going to be important.

Taking the time to go through both of those guides should be a good start for anyone who is just trying to start out as a web developer or system administrator.

Game of Thrones Sexism – Part 1

As the first official post of the new year, I’m going to go back to talk about what is apparently a very interesting thing to my readers: sexism. This time, it’s in the very popular TV series, Games of Thrones (yes, I’m about three years late). I’m still new at this blog thing, which is a funny thing for me to say considering I spend a good amount of time during my working life coaching clients on how to write posts. But still, it’s true; I don’t really know exactly what about me or my writing is going to be interesting to the types of people who wind up here.

As a preface, I’d like to say that most of what I’m writing about when it comes to feminism, sexism, and pop-culture is researched. I get made fun of because I can’t put actor’s names to faces, I can’t remember what they’ve been in, and I can barely recall what happened in an episode or season of something (even when I enjoy/obsess over it). I like to think that this is benefiting me by freeing up brain capacity to be used elsewhere, but deep down I know the truth of it: my memory sucks.

Preface 2: I have watched episode 1 in it’s entirety and parts the last 3 or 4 episodes from the most recently aired season (three?). I haven’t read any of the books. Still, when I wrote about Mass Effect’s sexism I had only played half a day’s worth of game, so previous experience leads me to believe that it doesn’t really matter. With that, let’s get to it.

Game of Thrones Sexism.

For those of you who actually follow this blog via RSS or by simply typing in the URL, and thus have not seen the other search results for searches like “game of thrones sexism”, let me first say that this is actually a topic that has been covered elsewhere. This short piece by Maris Kreizman is a good place to start. To get another angle, there’s this article by Alison Herman which happens to be in direct response to what Maris wrote. There’s also this post by THE OPINIONESS OF THE WORLD (how cool is that?) that I think (especially if you also read the comments) really sets the stage. Should I feel weird about all three of those blog posts picturing the character who gets raped (by the man she learns to love!!1) in the first season? Moving on. The Opinioness mentions two things I find intriguing.

  • The Bechdel Test (a fun test to run on your favorite movies or shows)
  • TV Tropes (something I had known about and then forgotten about and now know about again)

I think the biggest thing for me after watching episode one is the creepy, worrying way the show fetishizes rape. The scene in question is the one where this ripped barbarian dude takes the “wife” someone sold to him by force. I don’t get that people can watch this scene and not freak out about it. Maybe it’s that it portrays how hard medieval life was. But wait, isn’t this a fantasy show? It’s not historically accurate, so what’s the point? If there are zombies and dragons why have the same tired tropes that depict rape graphically and from the male gaze? Yes, I realize there’s a tomboy and a badass short-haired lady knight, but being sexist isn’t about weighting a scale to equality. No amount of strong female characters is going to offset blatant sexism.

Resources and thoughts on creating your first website

Some people are surprised to hear that I didn’t have any formal training in web design. I always get asked about how I first started learning to create websites, so I thought sharing my personal journey might be helpful.

I honestly think a beginner should start with a pure HTML site to start out, with PHP being the end goal. My own experience with Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator allowed me to use Dreamweaver as both a building and a learning tool. Adobe programs are very similar in the way they function, so that was the most comfortable for me. I worked through a tutorial that was specifically designed with a first website in mind.

Of course, not everyone is going to invest in a professional program like Dreamweaver if they don’t know anything about web design. In that case, I would recommend following the tutorials on Mozilla’s web technology documentation. It’s really easy to follow and understand, and you can do it all in a text editor like notebook or textedit. My advice would be to start with the HTML and CSS tutorials. After you’re comfortable with that, you should read up on FTP servers and hosting, because that’s what you’ll be using to actually put your site on the web.

The next step for me after I had a finished, pure-HTML website on the web was to convert it to a WordPress site. WordPress uses PHP, which is more flexible and (in my opinion) more professional than just using HTML. I also came across a more functional text editor called Submlime Text 2 and I highly recommend it over notepad or textedit.

For someone who’s interested in getting into web design, the best advice I can give it to just jump right in and learn as you go.

Whoa, I have a blog

So yeah, hi. Sometimes I forget that I have a blog, and then I remember I have one and I go into WordPress and update all of my themes and stuff, and fix things that break, and then when I’m finished with that I say “Well, now that it’s updated I should probably post something.” So here we are.

A lot has happened in the past year (has it really been that long since my last post?). I’m officially a web developer now (and by that I mean now I get paid to do the nerdy shit I used to do at 9pm on Friday night for fun), and I’ve learned A TON about web hosting, system administrator, and programming.

I’m hoping that this year that I’ll be doing some very specific things with this site:

  1. Write more web design/development knowledge articles
  2. Start posting some new art and/or comics.
  3. Write more about feminism. The best response I’ve received so far on a blog I expected no one to read has been from the Mass Effect Sexism post.

I also promise to keep the site updated, and make sure weird things don’t happen, like when the footer was jumping up to right below the sidebar. Also, pleasantly surprised to find people actual visit this thing.