Reagan Villet 6/13/16
For those who know me, they often know that I am a big feminist. Equality for all is a very important issue to me, so I am less than impressed by misogynistic cultures and ideologies.
Today was a very interesting day, but also left me feeling a bit disheartened. We started the morning speaking with Brian Baglow, a self-proclaimed “video game expert” who has worked for many video game companies, including Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto, anyone?)and currently the Scottish Games Network. He spoke to us about the increasing gaming industry, and the rise of the app. Technology is evolving faster than it ever has before, and with that, gaming is evolving too. We were told that the gaming industry is trying to move on from the old cliches and stereotypes of gaming.
At the end of the session, my peer Ally asked a question about sexism in the gaming industry, because there is a huge stereotype that gaming is only for men. Brian told us that sexism is huge in the industry, and has been an especially big issue with “gamergate” this past year. It was very unfortunate to hear this after having just heard about what a great time it is to work and be involved with gaming.
Later in the afternoon, we went to Kinloch Anderson, a luxury Highland Dress retailer. It was really amazing to see the time and passion that went in to the beautifully crafted kilts and traditional garb. Kinloch Anderson is a special store, because it has been a family owned manufacturer of the finest kilts in Scotland for over a century (six generations!). In fact, the royal family gets their kilts from this prestigious store, and Kinloch Anderson has commissioned a special tartan specific for the queen and her kin.
While it was amazing to see the history of the franchise and have a detailed introduction to how to make a proper Kinloch Anderson kilt, I left feeling like a “lesser being” (in the loosest sense of that because I know I am amazing and as equal as everyone else!!!). While we learned about the history of Scottish kilts and the culture surrounded them, it was constantly reiterated that Highland Dress is for men only, and any woman who wears a tartan does not have an original kilt, but has the lesser “kilted skirt”. We were also told that Scotland is “man’s country”, which WHAT???? The workers at Kinloch Anderson said that (in their opinion) Scotland has the best national dress, yet only men are featured in this dress. Women do not have traditional Highland Dress, and are therefore not as significant to the national pride associated with heritage and kilts. While I understand that Kinloch Anderson really does have the best of intentions, I was somewhat annoyed by the unequal “power” and misogyny echoing throughout our talk.
That being said, I really enjoyed hearing about the immense culture and care that goes in to each individual kilt. Because they are all made by hand, it takes eight hours to complete each one. We also learned that there are hundreds of different tartan patterns, some for family names and clans, companies, and even different colleges (MSU even has a spartan print!). Although I am not Scottish, I had a great time looking for my peer’s family tartans, and seeing the different colors and patterns in each one.