ARK works “Tête-à-Tête” with Taylor

All it takes to make a difference is an idea, and with enough passion the idea will grow into reality.  This is something that the founders of A.R.K. have experienced first hand, as well as seen in other remarkable, caring individuals.  Towards the end of last school year, A.R.K. was contacted by Taylor from San Diego, CA, who shared, “I love what you are doing to raise awareness for women’s issues.”

At the same time, we were greatly inspired by Taylor’s work. This ambitious rising high school senior started her own charity called Téte â Téte Hats, which helps chemotherapy patients and others who are in need of hats, such as hospitalized infants and children, by knitting and crocheting hats and donating them.  Since 2010, Taylor has been able to donate over 3800 hats to people in her local community, as well as across the United States.

We were happy to collaborate with Taylor, and she worked with us on creating not only hearts (to promote women’s heart health) but also ties (to promote women in government) to put on campus, as well as in the local community.

We would like to thank Taylor for collaborating with A.R.K. on raising awareness about important women’s issues!!!

Here are some photos from Taylor, showing the yarn graffiti that she collaborated with us on, promoting heart health.

Thanks again Taylor!!!

Feel free to email us at stricken4macht@gmail.com if you are interested in collaborating with A.R.K.!

Peace,

Rosie

Lebensfaden in Berlin, Germany: ARK goes international

Hey A.R.Kers!

Long time no see!  So I hope you can forgive the break…A.R.K. is here, just not in Claremont anymore. As I write this post, the delicious sound of thunder is singing to me, and I am currently in my apartment in a high-rise in Munich…yes, Munich, Germany. Deutschland. And Annie, fellow partner in crime, is in Morocco (but I’ll let her tell you about that another time!)  And the other A.R.K.ers…well, you’ll just have to guess ; )

Before coming to Munich, I was able to visit some friends and family in Berlin. And while Berlin is famous for its street-art, especially more traditional spray-graffiti, I was pleasantly surprised to see yarn graffiti on the rise! I thought I would share some of what I found with you all…

Along the Spree in Berlin

This particular yarn bomb was to promote sustainable water use! A.R.K. is a big fan of craftivism (combining the art of yarn bombing and activism!), and though the Spree is beautiful on its own, the piece definitely added warmth and much needed color to the railing!

Here is a close up of one of the tags:

Tag for Water

The tag basically says, water means life! Every drop counts! It also says how many “Lebensfaden” this person spun. This is a really beautiful term in German…meaning something like, “threads of life.” Now that I think of it, they really are threads of life- yarn-bombing allows for a space to be reclaimed, and it takes on a life of its own. The yarn is living, interacting not only with the space itself, but also with the people and souls who are touched by it (literally and metaphorically!)

Here are some more “Lebensfaden”, maybe not as seemingly impressive, but still made me pause, and smile.

Unexpected Lebensfaden

This particular yarn-bomb was in my old neighborhood in Berlin, and even though it is a small piece, it definitely brightened my day (and the pole’s day!)

I haven’t seen any yarn graffiti in Munich so far, or much street art at all for that matter, but I have a rather strong feeling that that is about to change…very soon (wink wink!)

So where in the world are you? Share with us! I want to know, have you seen any cool street art or yarn graffiti lately? Tell us in the comments! And if you can, send a photo of it to stricken4macht@gmail.com! We’d like to feature it on our blog as well.

Peace and Liebe Grüße,

Rosie

Photos: Women in Government

Hey fellow ARKers,

Sorry the photos are a bit late, but here they are all the same as promised! Now that finals are over (phew!), we hope to be able to post more! These are just SOME of the lovely ties we put around the Colleges. Enjoy : ) Also, for those of you who aren’t in the loop about what we have done/are doing, we recently yarn-bombed our campus with these ties to raise awareness about and spotlight women in government.  Because women rule!

Peace,

A.R.K.

P.S. We think ties are sexy.

Why are we so afraid of the “F” word?

Hey ARKers! I saw this comic today, and I think it really makes a good point about what, or rather who, feminists are.  I wanted to share it with you all, because I feel like so many people don’t understand what it means to be a feminist.  “Feminist” isn’t a dirty word, in fact, it’s something to be proud of. Because, if you aren’t a feminist, what does that make you???

Think about it.

-Rosie

Happy Equal Pay Day!!! Well, maybe…

Happy Equal Pay Day!!! Sounds exciting, right?  And yet, according to the American Association of University Women, American women earn about 23% less than males.  If we actually achieved equal pay, this day would probably become somewhat more irrelevant.

So, what should we be doing about this? The most important rule to remember: don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.

Also, be sure to check out this cool calculator—it’ll show you how much of a raise you should be asking for based on your current and goal salaries over the time span that you choose.  If you are not sure about how to do so, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

If you want to learn more, visit http://www.aauw.org/learn/research/upload/simpletruthaboutpaygap1.pdf.

Stay Strong,

Rosie

You can’t win if you don’t play the game

This past spring break gave me some time off from focusing on my studies—so instead, I chose to focus on me.  That might seem odd, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in my school life that I tend to ignore what is really going on, just me living my life.  As a freshman in college, something that is always on my mind is my future; where will I be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?  This can easily escalate into overwhelming and stressful thoughts, when I am not exactly sure about how I will fill in the blanks.  There are a lot of unanswered questions there, and that scares me.  But the one thing that stands strong and clear is that I want to make a difference in the world.  That is one of the reasons why I became inspired to start the Armed RevolutioKnits.  I wanted to combine two things I love and am passionate about—being creative and human rights—and channel this into something that could have a positive impact upon others.

While doing a little soul-searching, I came across an article called Lessons to My Younger Self: A Series by Inspiring Women.  The piece showed me that I don’t need to worry about the future so much as just happily absorb every moment of the present.  What’s more, I realized I don’t need to be afraid.  Friends and family often describe me as a dreamer, or an optimist, as if it were a bad thing.  But I believe in myself and in my dreams, and just because they are wild, imaginative, and crazy doesn’t necessarily make them impossible.  Besides, you can’t win if you don’t play the game. 

I dedicate this post to you, readers.  Dream big. Conquer fear. Do the impossible.  And please, read the article.  It shares advice and stories from women who did just those very things, and made it to the top. Even if you are not a woman, this applies to everyone.  Learn from their experiences, and what they would have told their younger selves.

…Unless of course, you’d rather learn things the hard way?

I didn’t think so.

Peace,

Rosie

 

 

G@m3r G1rlz: Sexism and Gaming

When one of our members, Sacamano, shared a video on sexism in nerd culture with A.R.K., I realized that this is one area that seems to go unscathed when it comes to the women’s movement.  And the more and more I thought about it, the more frustrated I got.

The video by Bob Chipman, which was posted on The Escapist, talks about how sexism in nerd culture is “NOT OKAY”.  Recently, on Cross Assault, which is the company Capcom’s online reality show, Aris Bakhtanians, the coach of Team Tekken, made persistent sexist remarks to Miranda Pakozdi, who was the only female member on his team.  The coach commented on her breast size, among other offensive remarks.

As Giant Bomb stated, “Pakozdi’s contract obliged her to stay in the competition so she had little choice but to endure it. Eventually, to escape this unpleasant situation, she stopped trying to win matches and got herself knocked out of the competition.”

Yet, when challenged about his behavior, he defended his blatant sexism arguing that sexism is part of the gaming culture, and if removed, the fighting game community would no longer exist.  So…does this mean that it was Miranda Pakozdi’s fault that he got to act douchey? 

Sadly, the incident that occurred on Cross Assault barely even scrapes the surface of the sexism that does occur on a regular basis in the gaming world.  For instance, the language used among gamers.  Is it really ok to harass women? Or to use sexist slurs as a form of violence? And since when did it become acceptable to use the word “rape” as a casual word, used as a synonym for defeat?  As stated in one article,

“When complaining about the way I was treated at a certain event, I was told I just need a ‘stiff dicking.’ In what other industry is this even remotely acceptable behavior? 

This is why I care. Because I know I’m not the only one who has to deal with this, and I know I’m certainly not getting the worst of it.

”

Besides the language, what about how women are portrayed in games? For instance when designing female characters, most designs are not based on playability, but rather, on fuckability, admits LaToya Peterson.  Game designer Jonathan Jacques-Bellêtete tries to “always trying to have very beautiful female characters.” I am not arguing against having attractive characters; I am arguing against characters that are purely defined by their appearance.  And for those of you whose retort has to do with empowerment via liberated sexuality, there is a fine line.  Are these women created to be sexually empowered, or are these women purely created because men want to see them looking a certain way?  In other words, are these women created to be more than another male fantasy? And yes, there are female gamers who try to be “g@m3r g1rlz”, thinking that if they are seen as an object of desire they will be treated better.  But, usually they are quickly labeled as attention whores, and are not respected.

At Freeplay, an independent games festival held last year in Australia, there was a panel titled ‘The Words We Use’ that quickly developed into a conversation including sexist statements about what women’s place in games criticism should be.  Tracy Lien, editor at Kotaku AU commented on her reaction of complete silence while sitting in the audience saying,

“At Freeplay I was afraid that had I said something I’d have been dismissed or ignored…I was afraid of hearing someone say (or tweet) that I should just suck it down and deal with it, that I’m making a big deal of something that means nothing to them, that no one cares, that my kicking up a fuss was just a sign of my weakness. As a woman, I felt that my gender somehow made me less qualified to speak about gender issues that directly affected me; that people, especially those who needed their views challenged, would be less willing to listen to a woman (yes, I see the irony).”

Does anyone else see the problem here? Women should not be forced to be distanced from gaming as a result of sexism.  This will only further perpetuate the same issues, and punishes the victims. Can we just move forward from here? I don’t see this as a problem that will go away on its own. And why is there such resistance to talking about sexism in gaming culture? I am not trying to say that everyone thinks like Bakhtanians about sexism in the gaming community.  I know that most gamers do have good intentions, or at least that is my hope.  But at the same time, even if sexism was an integral part of gaming culture, does this make it any more acceptable? Should sexism be an integral part of any culture? And “Because, this is the way things are, so why are we even talking about this?!” doesn’t seem like a sound, steady argument to me.  Would people rather the media provide even more criticism and scrutiny on the gaming community, or can we just grow up, address our own problems, and take the high road here?  Please don’t tell me you need to keep up the boy’s club because you aren’t finding social acceptance beyond the gaming world.  You are better than that.  And yes, I know it is highly unrealistic to entirely eliminate sexism from the gaming world. This hasn’t really occurred in any other cultures or communities either.  But at the very least, this should be the beginning of the end.  And it starts by talking about it!

Do you think that sexism in gaming culture should be left alone? How do you think this problem should be addressed?

Peace,

Rosie