What’s wrong with Minecraft’s new pocket edition skins?

Minecraft skins

I mentioned several months ago that Minecraft Pocket Edition only allowed players to play as Steve. This wasn't a big deal if you played on your own (you wouldn't generally actually see yourself, after all), but became more of an issue when playing with others on a shared wifi connection. Well, Minecraft has since updated its app, and users now have their pick of a variety of characters.Yay!Well, almost yay.You can choose Steve or Alex (as my readers pointed out on a previous po … [Read more...]

The Tomboy in Skirts


My six-year-old daughter Sally wears dresses, well, basically, all the time. If she's not wearing dresses, she's wearing skirts. I can't think of the last time I saw her in shorts, and she swore off pants last year. Too uncomfortable, she said. When it's cold, she wears leggings under her dresses. Dresses, dresses, always dresses.  This is weird to me. I grew up in a conservative evangelical homeschool culture that valued female domesticity. When I was 13, I swore off pants. I believed women … [Read more...]

Patriarchy and the Gender of God


I recently came upon an interesting blog post by Sarah Moon of the progressive Christian channel on Patheos. In it Sarah pushed back against a blog post in which Roger Olson of the evangelical channel on Patheos argued against calling God "mother." While I'm no longer religious myself, I was struck by the role gender constructs played in Roger's post.Roger starts by noting the following: Some Christians struggle with calling God “Father” for three reasons. First, some say addressing God as F … [Read more...]

Any Time I Hear Someone Say “Traditional Marriage”

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Traditional marriage. Traditional marriage. Traditional marriage.This week Fox News published an opinion piece by Cal Thomas titled "Will we erase the boundaries that have guided humanity for generations?" In it he asked this: If human history, tradition, the Bible, the Constitution and biology are to be ignored or re-defined, on what basis do courts say "no" to anything? Of course, these same questions were on the justice's minds during last weeks' Supreme Court hearings.Justice … [Read more...]

Gamergate Comes Home


I am not and never have been a gamer. My interest in various fandoms (I'm a Whovian) and my friendship with progressive feminist women who do identify as gamers has given me a window into the community, but it has always been as an outsider looking in. As I've followed Gamergate and various controversies over sex and gender in video games and in the wider cosplay community, it has always been with a certain feeling of detachment.And now, here I am.My six-year-old daughter hangs with the … [Read more...]

Steve Is a Man: On Minecraft and Gender


Like just about every American child between the ages five and fifteen, my daughter Sally is a huge Minecraft aficionado. As I've watched her play, I've found myself bothered by gender issues that should be easy to fix but instead seem ubiquitous in our world today.The default Minecraft character is a man named Steve. Mojang recently added a default female-looking character (Alex), but it took them five years to do so. Five years. And even today, the pocket edition of Minecraft---the one pl … [Read more...]

What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality


Evangelicals support a strict gender binary and see the patriarchal family structure---with a breadwinning father and a homemaking mother---as both natural and in some sense biologically universal. The Bible frequently talks about male and female animals, and, growing up in an evangelical home, I remember being taught that there is no homosexuality in the animal kingdom. That certain animals mate for life was also emphasized in an effort to enforce patriarchal norms.Now sure, I also learned … [Read more...]