You have been a role model/idol of mine for quite a while now! And though this isn't exactly your field, I was hoping for some words of advice/inspiration. I've been an aspiring video game developer/designer for over 10 years now. But sometimes it's a bit discouraging just because of the fact that I'm a girl and somehow, video games, comics, etc. are a "boy" thing. Any advice for being a girl entering a field that is usually perceived as "male dominated"?
Find the women in game developing who are really good at what they do and really driven and BOND WITH THEM.
And listen — I’m going to sound like I’m wearing a tin foil hat here, but this is the truth:
The system will try to turn you against each other. That’s how it keeps you down.
I know, I know, but it’s the God’s honest truth. Well-intentioned assholes* will try to set you against each other to be Queen of Shit Mountain. They will tell you that she’s jealous of you, that she wants your job/seat/man/lipstick/whatthefuckeverbullshit, they’ll tell you she’s crazy and that you can’t trust her.
Don’t fall for it.
I’m not saying you can’t compete with women — you can and will — but you do it like Helen and Carol, like Maverick and Goose, YOU MAKE EACH OTHER BETTER and you gain respect for each other in that competition. (And I’m not saying every woman is your friend, either. If she tells you she’s “one of the boys” or that “she doesn’t like working for women” because they’re “catty,” CROSS THE FUCKING STREET TO GET AWAY. Don’t wish her ill and don’t hasten her demise, but give her wide berth because she is poison and she will implode and you don’t want to be caught up in it.)
You give your sister a hand and you have her back EVERY CHANCE YOU GET.
I have male allies and mentors to whom I am intensely grateful and without whom I would not be where I am today. But none of them get it like Sana, Gail, Jeanine, Kathryn, Marjorie, Blair, Emma, Jordie, Lauren, Willow, Judy… the list goes on and on.
Sana and I FIGHT on occasion — we are not afraid to get into it if we both feel it will make the book better, but on a personal level, where the rubber this the road, as they say, she is MUH GIRL.
Job one: find your girls.
Job two: find the biggest guy in the yard, kick his ass and steal his cigarettes.
Job three: …
Forget that last part.
But the rest of it is true.
* Some day I will do a post about the well-intensioned asshole and how he thinks, but not today.
Ever since the so-called “Duke porn star scandal” hit the headlines, random people have repeatedly asked me if I am “embarrassed” by it as a Duke alumna.
The short answer is: “No.”
The somewhat-longer answer is: “No, are you freaking kidding me/what the hell is wrong with you/are you for real?”
Worth the longer read - no idea who the original poster was and I’d like to know.
As a recent Duke Alum whose thesis was about sex workers, and who also encouraged sex workers to apply to the school, I am beyond bummed. Not only am I embarrassed by the Duke undergrads who were so shitty (but to be honest, I was always kind of embarrassed by Duke undergrads), but I am sad that there was not more institutional support for this student.
When I was at Duke, I had a 70/30 reaction to the work I was doing. The majority of the faculty and administration were incredibly supportive of me (the MFAEDA in particular) but I ran into second wave feminist bullshit there, as well as a lack of opportunity to do unrelated work, because my thesis work was not about shaming the sex workers I was interviewing, but as about letting them tell their own truth about their work.I talked in my written thesis about being slapped with Whore Stigma - I got too close to these people and didn’t want to tell them they were wrong, or traumatized, and not everyone was ok with that.
I was able to work with amazing Political Science professors like Kathy Weeks, who were very interested in looking at sex work as an aspect of labor (which was totally my jam, thesis-wise), but I got very little traction in the rest of the university. (That being said - Kelly Wooten, the Women’s history archivist at the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke is the fucking bomb and a total ally, and was central in helping me bring out Melissa Gira Grant and Audacia Ray to speak to students.) But I did hear a lot of the kind of utter claptrap of the kind reflected in this article by a Duke professor, who clutches her pearls not at the outrageous amount of tuition charged by her institution, but at the KIND of porn Bell Knox did. Because, after all, well-adjusted ladies don’t really like that rough stuff, right? They only like the kind of sexy times where candles are lit, and smooth jazz is played. There is NO WAY that she could enjoy participating in that. NO. WAY. Even though she has told you that she does, SHE IS LYING. BECAUSE PATRIARCHY.
All of this by way of saying - there is a shitty shitty culture at play here that has more to do with double standards, capitalism, our refusal to take sex work seriously as labor or to listen to sex workers than it does with the nature of the porn Belle Knox participated in.