A Nerd Girl's Perspective

My Thoughts on News, Politics, Food, Crafting, Geek Culture, Sociology, and Much More —— Courtney C Horne

Tag: feminism

“Pretty Privilege”

If you asked the average person, they would say that being “pretty” – conventionally attractive – was a big advantage for a woman to have. And indeed in many ways, prettiness can be a source of benefits. It also can be as significant of a source of problems. Despite this, most women would certainly chose to be conventionally attractive if possible. Our society places such an emphasis on the physical appearance that the privilege of being “pretty”‘s complications are often overlooked. This emphasis reduces women, both those with the “pretty privilege” and those without, down to a sum of their looks. And it makes a lot of people a lot of money.

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Sexism in Strange Places

I play a lot of nerdy board games. Recently we have been playing Carcassonne- it is a map building game where one gets points for completing roads or cities. 

I decided to pick up the expansion “Mage and Witch” for it. The package has a male mage and female witch on it. The game dynamic introduced causes the mage to double the value of a completed road or city while the witch halves it. 

It’s a little thing, but I noticed it and so did my friends. 

I recently read an article suggesting the lack of female magicians has to do with creepy/scary portrayals of female witches. (and maybe even the history of burning women for “witchcraft”) Then I see that in this game female magic workers are a bad thing while male ones are a good one. 

Carcassonne is a great game – takes a lot of thinking and strategy. I don’t think they are sexist. Rather I think they are reflecting a sexist social trope of bad female witches and good male mages. 

How International Women’s Day Led to Me Seeing Someone’s Internalized Patriarchy

A Russian coworker was expressing excitement that her friend was having a baby girl on International Women’s Day. Only she said “It is Women’s Day in Russia” not just it’s Womens Day, or its International Women’s Day. Another person and I pointed out that it’s women’s day everywhere and she asked why it wasn’t celebrated in the US then. It made me a bit sad that my whole interaction with the day had been online..

And then I mentioned that I had put up a link to a video about portrayals of women in video games to honor the day. Another woman started talking with me about it. She questioned the idea that there was anything wrong with the women are portrayed in video games. Defended the absurd nearly nude costumes of female fighters in games..

So I moved on to how the game industry treats women who work in it. (I will say that by this point she had called herself an anti feminist so I knew I was going to be unhappy) Talked about developers who reported being treated like secretaries etc. She said most women just weren’t good at video games/ being programmers.

At that point, I went to the wage gap in general.. That’s when it happened. She asserted that women make less than men because women aren’t generally as good as men.

I was floored. I focused on pointing out that even if you account for differences in career choices women make less and that literally women get paid less than men for doing the same work. I pointed out that math differences don’t hold up if you look at averages and not at just high scorers. (turns out guys have both more high and more low scorers based on recent studies whereas women’s scores are less extreme outliers) Eventually though, after she made some “women’s rights movement didn’t do any good” remark I told her I disagreed strongly, another woman chimed in with me, and I chose to leave the room because I couldn’t keep being polite at that point.

Part of me wanted to say that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other  women.

Instead, I took a deep breath  and tried to educate as much as I could.

Ratification of the 19th Amendment

So the fact that Mississippi just ratified the 13th amendment has been all over the news recently. I was looking up some stuff about the 19th amendment (women’s suffrage!) because on the 100th anniversary of ratification I think there should be a bunch of events and I am going to start pestering people now, seven years in advance.

In the course of looking it up I came across the dates that some of our states finally bothered to ratify it. And it’s pathetic.

Florida 1969

South Carolina 1969

Georgia 1970

Louisiana 1970

North Carolina 1971

and… Mississippi 1984 

Tropes vs. Women- Video Games

Tropes vs. Women- Video Games

In honor of International Women’s Day, watch this video about the trope that places women as the damsel in distress in video games.

Interesting Facts about Women in Congress

Interesting Facts about Women in Congress

We sent a record number of women to congress! Nowhere near the 50% which would be population proportional but still.. Jezebel put together an article with interesting facts about our congressional ladies. 

I find this one : ” 16. Chellie Pingree (D) ME Has authored and produced five books on knitting. ” to be especially awesome. It’s a pretty entertaining list. 

Though I will say I feel that they could easily have came up with something way better than this for Mary “73. Mary Landrieu (D) LA Her father, the former mayor of New Orleans, goes by the name “Moon.” I maybe would have added to the end “(Her brother is the current mayor of the city)”. Or I would have used a more interesting tidbit.

There was the whole plot to tap her phones by O’Keefe. I think that is a bit more interesting than her dad’s name. 

Plus she was involved in Bernie Sanders super long real talking filibuster against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. (in 2010) She spoke for a while to give Bernie a break. 

Both more interesting facts. But oh well. I am sure people from other states could point out more interesting tidbits about their house reps and senators. 

Violence Against Women Act Expires Because of House GOP

The violence against women act that provides resources for women who are victims of domestic abuse, rape, etc has expired. It happened because the Senate (with bipartisan support) wanted to make sure it protected undocumented women, native american women living on reservations, and lgbt women. The GOP in the house thought that ensuring those women were protected was unacceptable.

Republicans, if you don’t want people to say you have a war on women maybe it would be advisable to pass the violence against women act even if it protects women who you think are icky. Because guess what, lesbian women do experience domestic violence too and they deserve the protections a heterosexual woman would get. And undocumented women shouldn’t be afraid to report if they are raped. And taking away some measure of security from all women cause you don’t like those groups? Well that is a war on women if I ever saw one.


I think most of the internet has already seen this.

Somehow I find this vile anti-equality rhetoric so much more disgusting because it is written be a woman. By a woman who can vote because women fought for her. Fought against the claim that it wasn’t a woman’s place to vote. Fought against the idea that women voting would to use the author’s phrasing “remove men from their pedestal.”

She can make decisions about her own fertility, take birth control if she wants, because the women she is vilifying, the feminists, fought for it.

She can have a job writing because other women fought to be respected next to male authors.

But she says women should “surrender.”

Her life is much better because of thousands upon thousands of women who fought, who didn’t surrender. For the right to vote, for fair pay, for control over their own fertility, for the right to an education.

She implies that she thinks that gender politics of the 1950’s were more appropriate. The gender politics which would not be friendly to her working. The gender politics which didn’t acknowledge that it could be rape if a man forced himself on the woman he was married to. The gender politics where women couldn’t decide whether they wanted to go through pregnancy after pregnancy, even if it threatened their lives. The gender politics where a woman as a lawyer, a doctor, a stock broker where all strange concepts. In 1950, there were 10 women in congress. How a woman could call for a return to the gender politics that gave women so few opportunities is beyond me.

Personally I look forward. To a future where the still existent pay gap between men and women disappears. A future where congress is divided close to 50/50 by gender and reflects the make up of our nation.

And if the men are pissed off about women standing next to them rather than sitting below them, too pissed off to get married, then perhaps they should grow up and learn to deal with not having a built in maid and wife who isn’t allowed to tell them no in the bedroom. Women aren’t going to be property again in our nation and hopefully not for much longer throughout the rest of the world. Men will just have to learn to cope.

Complicit In The Patriarchy

Complicit In The Patriarchy

When Pretty Women Act Stupid & When Smart Women Make Themselves Ugly

I have a friend who is the picture of “pretty”-conventionally attractive. She has the blonde hair, tan skin, the barbie doll figure, always 100% put together and polished. I sometimes wonder if she pops out of bed every hair in place and fake eyelashes already applied. She is also very smart but many people she meets don’t get to see that. She plays dumb, ditsy and dense.

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