Monday, August 29, 2016

This Is Why We Fight

It’s everywhere.

Cruising around with my daughter as she peck, peck, pecked at her cell phone, she snorted in disgust.  “This stupid game,” she sneered.  “You see what I have to deal with?”
At the next stoplight she showed me what was on the screen.  She had been playing some silly little High School Sim, and at various points the game required the payer to answer a question.  She explained that these weren’t quizzes, but surveys.  Here’s the survey that caused her mucosal disdain:
Free to play: just consume our anti-scientific propaganda
about the field of science.
This is an innocent freemium style game, and they just can’t resist including a survey question designed to remind girls that they are victims, that they need help, that their natural interests are badwrong and need to be addressed.
Now, the easy response would be to tell her to shut off the game, delete it, and move on.  This is undoubtedly the tip of a pernicious iceberg.  Instead, we had a nice (and from her perspective no doubt mercifully brief) discussion about how this survey question is just another salvo in the war for her soul. 
The good news is that she immediately recognized the underlying assumption of the question, looked for the response to attack that assumption, and on finding that questioning the assumption was not on the list, selected the choice that least served the goals of the game’s makers.  The best she could do, as evidenced by the green check mark, was to respond with a non-committal, “I need to learn more.”  And learn more she did.
We ditched the vagueness of the assertions and drilled down to the notion that the culture warriors are trying to sell her on two ideas that diametrically oppose each other.  The first that she is a victim forever cast about and directed by the whims of the bad old patriarchy.  The second that she is a strong and fierce and independent go grrl, or at least she could be if she simply allowed the culture warriors to save her from herself, and to do all her thinking for her.
We talked about how, if she surrenders her liberty and rational independent thought to the feminists, they will knock down all the barriers that prevent her from making her own choices…provided she chooses to do what they want her to do with her life.  Like, maybe go into the STEM fields for a living.
“And if I just want to raise a family,” she asked?
I explained that that was just the patriarchy talking.  She should just choose to do what the feminists think is best for her: get a degree, work for twenty years, try to have one or two children a full decade after her primer fertility years, and then continue to work in a cubicle farm to pay somebody else to play with her children.
She thought that sounded dreadful, and then asked how their deciding that more girls should love science is any better than others deciding that girls shouldn’t.
I didn’t have an answer for that question – I was just proud that she asked it.  I’d hoped she would, given that I was leading here right to that point with my own loaded questions.  But then, there really isn’t an answer for the contradictions and inherent rejection of reality buried deep in the heart of all feminist thought.
And that’s why I encourage my children to play those sorts of games and watch those sorts of shows.  They will be exposed to the constant tidal flow of propaganda for their entire lives, and the only way to inoculate them is to constantly stand over their shoulder and chant, “Remember thou art being sold a bill of goods,” over and over.  Based on her bringing this little quiz to my attention, that strategy seems to be working.
Man, I love homeschooling.
So, score one for the video game company – their little app inspired a conversation all right.  I just don’t think it was the one they’d hoped.

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