Lake Desire’s Intro

Hello.  I’m Ariel Wetzel, also known in virtual spaces as Lake Desire.  I’ve blogged about feminism and videogames since 2005 on my site New Game Plus.  I’m also a contributor at Feminist Science Fiction – The Blog! I’m thrilled to be invited to a group feminist gaming blog.

Ariel (Lake Desire) at at her dinosaur themed 25th birthday party.

Ariel (Lake Desire) at at her dinosaur themed 25th birthday party.

Identity-wise, I am 25 years old, white, working-class, cyborg, vegan, temporarily able-bodied (I learned that term on this blog!), queer (bisexual but currently in a relationship with a queer cis-man), and mostly cis-female with some gender-queering habits.  I’m a first generation university student, and somehow have been accepted into the ivory tower as a graduate student in English at University of Washington. I study science fiction, women’s studies, radical politics, and cyberculture.  Politically, I am a social anarchist, meaning I believe in a non-hierarchial participatory economy that is run democratically by workers and consumers.  I also believe in collective liberation, which means that all of our struggles against oppression are interconnected and we will all benefit from the liberation of one another.

I’ve been less active in blogging over the past few years as I’ve gotten more involved in offline activism, but I am slowly trying to integrate blogging and non-academic writing back into my life.  Currently, I am active in organizing my fellow graduate students against privatization and demanding more democratic control of our workplace and university.  In the past, I have in the past been active in feminist, anarchist, animal rights, anti-war and anti-racist groups.

I may not sound like your typical gamer, but I’ve been playing since I was a toddler.  I’ve tried to quit a few times, especially after I spent my entire freshman year of college playing Final Fantasy XI instead of making friends, but these days I manage to keep a balance.  Gaming, for me, is largely social, whether it’s board games and D&D, or a Wii party game or Xbox Live.  I’m frugal, so I’m usually play whatever last year’s hot game was.  I’m currently playing Resident Evil 5 with a friend, and recently beat Bioshock and Mass Effect.

I look forward to getting to know you all.

P.S. I am “lakedesire” on Xbox live if you’d like to friend me.

About Lake Desire

Lake Desire, real name Ariel Wetzel, has been blogging about feminism and videogames since 2005 at her blog New Game Plus. Lake also writes at Feminist SF - The Blog! Lake Desire is an English graduate student at University of Washington, studying science fiction, feminism, and cyberculture. At work, Lake participates in rank and file labor organizing and the anti-budget cuts struggle. Lake believes in direct democracy, queer liberation, and opposes white supremacy, patriarchy, and imperialism. Lake is white, queer, feminist, anarchist, and of course a cyborg. Lake may not sound like your typical gamer, but has been gaming since a toddler and never managed to quit.
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14 Responses to Lake Desire’s Intro

  1. Brinstar says:

    Welcome, Ariel! We’re so glad you could join us as a contributor!

  2. Twyst says:

    *arm flailing* YEYYYY! :D So glad you are here, Ariel! :D

  3. Lake Desire says:

    Thanks! I’m excited to be here, and see some old friends are still around. I’m motivated by the existence of this blog to write more!

  4. Alex says:

    Yay! Welcome, Ariel! It’s awesome that you had a dinosaur party, I’m jealous! XD

  5. Gōsuto says:

    Hullo! *waves*

    So, you’ve sparked my curiosity. In your case, what exactly does being cyborg imply/involve?

    • Lake Desire says:

      Hi! A cyborg is a human-machine interface, or person and machine engaged in a feedback loop. I’m a cyborg when I drive a car or ride a bike. The machine responds to me, and I respond to it, so we’re temporarily creating one organism. Other examples include prosthetics that become extensions of our bodies or technological “improvements” like glasses or vaccines. Or when we go online we prosthetically “project” our consciousness out of our bodies into cyberspace. So many people are cyborgs! Can you tell I’m really interested in people’s relationship to technology and how that changes what it means to be human?

      • Gōsuto says:

        I like to think I have a pretty fair understanding of the general implications of being a cyborg, but I was inquiring as to the specifics of your case. How exactly do you define your self as a cyborg? What specifically makes you one?

        Human relation to technology is a very interesting subject. To broaden the scope of the subject, I often find myself pondering what defines someone as human. Is it out physical appearance and genetic composition, or is it more metaphysical than that? Before one can effectively ponder how technology changes the definition of humanity, one must first have a solid definition of what humanity is.

        In order for me to understand your thoughts on how technology effects humanity, I much first understand how you define humanity, as I’m sure your definition varies from mine. So tell me, if you don’t mind sharing, what exactly do you define as humanity?

        • This might be helpful for ya Gosuto, Donna Haraway’s original essay on feminism and cyborgs:

          http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html

        • Lake Desire says:

          I don’t have a fancy definition of human. I suppose a human is what it’s not: not a [nonhuman] animal, not an alien, not a machine. Cyborgs complicate that last bit about not being a machine. Humans use technology to direct our own evolution. I’m a cyborg because of the ways technology extends my physical and mental capabilities.

          • Gōsuto says:

            By applying your definition of a cyborg and your definition of humanity, I can see what angle your coming at this from; mine happens to be rather different.

            My definition of a cyborg is a bit more broad. I define a cyborg as a living being (not just human) whose abilities have been augmented with technology (Half-Life 2 combine anyone?). Our definitions mean pretty much the same thing, I’ve just applied it to a larger spectrum of entities.

            I define human in a more metaphysical way. In my eyes, we aren’t just what we look like and how we are built. What defines us as human is our mannerisms, our form of conduct, and how we think and interact with the world. Humanity goes deeper than the skin.

            Let’s remove technological limitations for a minute. Say you were to remove a person’s brain and transplant it into a completely robotic body (e.g. Ghost in the Shell). Are they still human? I’d say so, because even though they no longer resemble a human, they will still think the same way, act (mostly at least) the same way, and feel the same emotions.

            So, does technologically augmenting someone’s physical body make them any less human or make people view them as any less human? Do the glasses on my face and the pound’s worth of titanium plates and screw in my left arm make me any less human? Does a pacemaker, or prosthetic limb make a person any less human?

            What it all boils down to is whether we define humanity as a physical, emotional and/or mental state of being. You seem to define humanity as a physical state of being, where-as I define it as an emotional and mental one. I’m guessing you would say the human brain controlling a robotic body is less human than myself, and that I am slightly less human than the average person. However, I would say each of the above examples is just as human as the next.

            I’m going to refrain from divulging the specifics and implication of my views on humanity, for now. I’ve dug myself some pretty deep holes by presenting my views to people who do not completely understand my logical thought-process and are not privy to my entire spectrum of opinions, or at least the vital parts. I’d much-rather avoid another such mess.

            So bottom line: I’d say the introduction of and development of technology has not changed, in my eyes at least, what it means to be human.

  6. oliemoon says:

    Glad to see you blogging about games again!

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