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The Moose Mystique

June 6, 2011

Recently, Moose and I went to go visit some friends. While there, the husband of the couple introduced Moose to table top gaming. This is something I’ve been hoping to get Moose involved in, because he is often bored when we’re at conventions together, and I think he will enjoy them more if he has something to do besides sit next to me at the table and push jewelry.

During the course of the game, our friend used the word “rape” to describe a crushing defeat of the monsters in the game. His wife protested once, and when the friend did it again, Moose spoke up and told him that really, he shouldn’t use that word. From there on out, the friend not only tried to refrain from using “rape” to describe an enemy’s defeat, but he consciously corrected himself whenever he slipped up.

This is not a story about how proud I am of my husband for speaking out against rape culture, though I did feel a little thrill when he did. Nor is this a story of how awesome it was of our friend to recognize and attempt to change his contribution to the culture, though it was really great to hear him say that he was going to try and avoid using the word so casually in the future. Nope, this is a story of how little pieces of progress can gradually lead to huge changes in the long run.

Moose is a fairly typical late 20s male. He grew up with a strong male father figure, played sports in high school, and enjoys video games. He is the sort of geek who prefers player verses player type games, or games with a physical element. Live action role playing holds little appeal unless it involves a padded stick. He has been mistaken for a military man, and those who have dismissed him as a Dumb Jock Geek have often found themselves quickly reevaluating their opinion. He is smart, he is quick, and while some of his opinions are conservative, he is amazingly open minded.

In the years that I have known and loved Moose, we have had many, many discussions about a variety of political topics. Quite a few of those discussions have led to blog posts like how lucky I feel to have health insurance and the very real damage being done by educational budget cuts. Frequently, these discussions are on a subject we’ve mutually categorized as “casual sexism.” And while we may not always agree, I feel like on the subject of feminism at least, we have similar viewpoints. And every time I point out some inequality, I feel that his viewpoint is growing steadily broader.

In addition, Moose also notes that part of his willingness to speak up when someone uses the term “rape” in a gaming context is due to his World of Warcraft guild. Their motto is “Play nice, show some class.” After hearing a fellow guild member chastize someone for using the term, he realized that the guild member was right. The term didn’t fall within their motto of “stay classy,” and that there were a lot of other terms that were better to use which weren’t offensive.

A lot of feminists have stories of men who steadfastly refused to acknowledge sexual inequalities until another man pointed it out to them. Which is why it is so important to have male allies in our fight for equality. Moose may not always immediately recognize inequality when he sees it, but I am proud to say that he is quite willing to consider the possibility when it’s pointed out to him, and is getting better at speaking up when he does. A lot of small moments in his life, where people have pointed out little inequalities, are gradually turning him not only into an ally, but a vocal one at that. When your side is already so imbalanced by history, culture, and ingrained societal pressure, it is always nice to find you have a Moose at your side.

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