Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anatomically Correct Armour

I am not a fan of online gaming. I do not know how to play any computer games, well except solitaire and word games. The only time I tried playing any online game was playing farmer in Farmville. I forgot my plants. The next time I remembered them, I cannot remember how to enter the farm and left it at that. Off-hand I cannot name any games, especially games that has powerful women characters or warriors.

I am all for giving power to women, power over their bodies, their future or whatever and wherever they wanted to use their power on. I admire women with power. Sometimes I envy women with power. As an avid observer and admirer of powerful women or women with power, these online games with powerful women warriors and characters should be one area where I draw inspiration from, but I hated the women in these games. Rather I hate how these seemingly powerful women are portrayed.

Heck, I even admire women criminals. So why do I dislike how these women are portrayed? It’s their costumes! Any sane woman, including the frumpiest and most socially inept would agree with me of the importance of the correct dress to the correct occasion, even if the difference is only between pressed and un-pressed clothes.

Ancient and brutal games have evolved into civil games and sports such as boxing. Their modernity and civility now involved dress codes, including a mouth piece if applicable. Fencing, that very polite game for the thoughtful and philosophical is so polite that when players are hit, they don’t just grunt, they say “touché”. Beach volleyball of course has the skimpiest attire ever. But then it is not a contact sport and no one is wielding any pointed and sharp objects waiting for a chance to hack your body into as many pieces as possible.

Meanwhile, in the real past, ancient history of humanity, women warriors who wielded swords wore body armours including the all important head-pieces. Just like the men warriors do.

However, in the make believe ancient and future worlds of online games, women carry swords as tall as they are, knives as many as their limbs but they wear next to nothing pieces of clothing. Their clothing are not only very tight fitting and scanty, these also include flying, dangling and excess ribbons of cloth or leather that will not only hinder their own movement but can be used to pull them near, anchor them for the death blow or more spectacularly to strangle them slowly to death.

If I am a woman warrior vain enough to expose my thighs, arms, midriff, and upper chest, I should think I am also vain enough to keep my skin blemish free. (Among other things, one reason men portray these women warriors near naked is their beautiful skins.) Now if you say, these women carry their battle scars as trophy so they won’t mind being wounded, so be it.

But clothes, aside from it being protection to dubious modesty, are also protection from the heat of the sun or from the cold weather. You can’t be an effective warrior if you are shivering with cold or literally burning and losing energy with extreme heat. For all warriors, more practically, clothing is protection to skins that will surely bleed if nicked. A cut on the skin may determine how long a warrior can last in the fight without fainting for loss of blood or pain. It is a given that women warriors who wear bits and pieces of cloth do not care for modesty. Therefore they won’t mind very much if they’ve become totally naked during the fight. But damned if breasts, pert or sagging, are not another exposed appendages. Damned if I, a woman warrior fighting another woman warrior, do not look at it like several square inches more of exposed skin, another tempting target for slicing and hacking and jabbing.

And let’s not forget the very high heels some of these women warriors are wearing. Surely gymnastics, another elegant sport, surely its disciples should have already mastered landing on and from the balance beam on a four-inch pair of heels. Surely they’ve perfected by now to wear high-heels on the floor, flying and leaping, tumbling and back-flipping, swirling those ribbons, catching those balls, shaking those, ugh, musical instruments. Surely, a gymnast’s feet would look better encased in glittering shoes than wrapped with generic bandages. Are the swans in Swan Lake wearing high heels yet? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to see Swan Lake except on TV. Surely all these metered, calculated, choreographed movements with no one threatening to slaughter you at every turn, they’ve managed to combine with wearing of high heels?

If it is a hand-to-hand combat, are there polite rules. Is it possible to shoot an advertisement for hair products, er, flying hair during hand-to-hand combat is just stupid. You can as easily whack your enemy with your long, lustrous hair as she can use it to hurt you. Or is hair-pulling foul? At the height of my romantic and sexy phase—growing my hair long, I never thought to grow my nails long too. It is not practical to wash clothes with let alone to play a civilized volleyball with. I wouldn’t know if it is possible to make a fist with long nails. Maybe it can be done, but would it have the necessary power to smack your enemy’s face with? Who’s to say my enemy can’t pierce one of my carotid arteries with her long fingernails? There are so many possibilities to hurt your enemy using long fingernails; I can’t all describe them in words but I can try. You forced her palm to stay open; then you smash the tips of her fingers with the long nails to the wall or the floor or anything hard.

If these outfits and posturing are meant to divert men’s attention from the fight at hand, then it is not very effective. Or else women warriors with sexy clothes would have been redundant. And like I mentioned it is not always men who are the enemy. Is any warrior that good, they can’t and hadn’t been wounded? If they are that good, they might as well use their index finger to point and their enemies will all just fall dead. But that’s another fantasy altogether.

Oh, hey! How stupid of me, these women in online games are fantasy women. They can do anything they like. They can hover in the air, shoo their hair out of their eyes, et cetera, et cetera. But if they’re human, they can’t help but bleed when wounded. There is no going around that fact. The most fantastical imagination has perhaps imagined a human being evolving without blood to live and function, ice water in the veins, some chemical substitute? But the human mind has not reached a logical explanation for this possibility. And if we can imagine a human being without blood in their veins, let’s imagine a human being too that does not bleed. But they do die in these fantasies too, don’t they? How else can you earn and gather points if no one dies? I know at least that!

And let’s not forget, that in the brutality of war, rape is not too far away. Men have been known to have sex with dead women. What’s to stop them from raping a half-naked and half-dead woman warrior? If you say rape is not about how women are clothed, but about power, then there you are power over an insensible enemy. And it will be supreme irony indeed, if the woman’s struggle is about injustice and rape in the first place.

The most powerful women are probably the most practical. Ask your neighbourhood powerful woman, how practical had she been.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reticent No More

There hadn’t been any posts these last three months not for want of topic to write but for the sudden reverting to form, reticent.

I’ve rejoined, more regularly than the occasional weekend visits, the bigger and more dynamic society of Cebu City. There is so much to observe and think about. There is less chance for narrow points of view. There is less time for self-absorption and self-indulgent essays. There are less of provincial observations and conclusions.

One thing I discovered with myself these last months, I’d like to be a teacher or a facilitator of a learning process. I suddenly found myself exhilarated sharing my knowledge, observations, ideas and being able to construct and deconstruct concepts to anyone open enough to listen to them.

My reticence has its roots with how my parents and grandparents trained us in pursuit of knowledge. They taught us, my siblings and me, not to ask obvious questions. You can only ask an adult a question if you do not understand how a book explained it or if you cannot find the answer in any book. Hence, I never asked questions in class. If I have questions, I research for the answers. And so far, it worked just fine. With reticence in asking questions, comes reserve in sharing what I think. I rarely ever joined class discussions. Grades did not matter to me. They are not always a true reflection of what I know or do not know.

Just as I’ve always known, not all articulate people are really logical. Some of them say what is on their mind whether these are relevant or not. Some just find it so easy to speak and it’s not necessarily the correct explanation or explication. This rediscovery has led me to think; why not let others learn from me than from these kinds of people? Because whether we like it or not, these people will always have a follower. If we can prevent more misconstruction of theories by speaking out then it’s the least we can do for humanity.

One problem arises though with this new-found and profound need to share knowledge. I don’t think, if I become a teacher, have the necessary patience or false encouragement style of teaching to say to anyone, “yes, you have an idea”. This type of support does not always stand. Sometimes it has become euphemism for “no, you’re wrong, but I don’t think as a teacher I have the right to discourage your learning process".

There is always time and place for philosophical blah, but for a study that has half its roots firmly in science, technology and technological innovations, nah. Philosophical discussion is especially not suited to discussions on definition of terms in science and technology. All we can do about definition of terms is to understand it and split it to its most basic. Even as forgiving and less rigid a science as anthropology and sociology, “yes, you have an idea”, will not always float.

It is so much easier to teach oneself not to be afraid of an audience, than to teach oneself critical thinking. As it is, my knowledge, understanding and logic may not be profound but it at least is sound. Fluency will not be a problem.

I, as a lifelong learner would rather be told I am wrong, than to go out into the world thinking the world of myself. I’d rather have the fleeting humiliation than have an incorrect view of my ability and capacity, because in the end, it might not only be just humiliation but death.