The Whorer Awards (2015)

What got our gutchies in a googoo outside of horror in 2015? We thought you’d never ask!

CarcassonneCarcassonne: Winter Edition
Full disclosure: I was going to give praise to Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Next Generation and it totally deserves it (and for more than just the nostalgia factor), but I received Carcassonne: Winter Edition for Yule and I’m addicted. It’s a tile-laying board game where you get points by building cities and roads and farms and monasteries. It won’t take you long to catch on to the mechanics, but as Meredith says, “it’s thinky.” The artwork is awesome (courtesy of Anne Patzke) and full of snow and woodland creatures, including a cute mythical fox. You might notice that Meredith and I talk about board games a lot. Perhaps The Whorer will delve into horror-themed games in 2016. #GatherYourPartyFem

Art Angels by Grimes
Grimes’ previous album Visions fueled many a late night / early morning work session. To put it succinctly, it was dreamy. She took a lot of misogynistic bullshit in the music press as to whether she is a great tunesmith, or just a flash-in-the-pan novelty act. Doubters were slayed divine retribution style with the release of Art Angels. Sure, I do wish it was more industrial / goth, but there is no more b.s. about whether she’s a producer to be reckoned with. The next Bjork? Possibly maybe. Shortly after this album came out, I was at Fem’s apartment listening to this record on headphones mumbling about “a million dollars… a million dollars.” She screams at me, “what are you saying about a million dollars!” “Oh, I was just thinking I hope Grimes makes a million dollars.” –Meredith

Locas II: Maggie, Hopey, and Ray
I know, it’s a dude writing about women, but Jaime Hernandez rocks my socks. I’ve never really been into comics, but I’m into Locas. These stories definitely fit the “punk-fem-queer” bill. I first read Locas: The Maggie and Hopey Stories (Love & Rockets) in 2006. I’m a couple years behind considering Locas II was released in 2009, but better late than never. I can’t recommend these stories enough. – Fem

Cave EvilCave Evil
If the goal of the The Whorer Awards is to give nods to things not horror-able, perhaps Cave Evil is much too horrific. It’s a black metal themed, squad level, tactical combat board game. Most games like this are straight up gun fetish. In Cave Evil, you play a necromancer trapped in a series of tunnels. The goal is to kill the other necromancers and please the evil most high, errr, low. Most “Ameritrash” board games with such a fun theme never achieve the tactical feel of an old school war game. Cave Evil does just this and it is a triumph. The board is Avalon Hill 1981 hex and counter, but the rest of the graphic design is heavy metal to the point of illegibility. Both of these are contemporary board game design sins. These sins are Cave Evil‘s strength. –Meredith

Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis
I was turned on to Betty Davis a few years ago and she’s since become my Lady Gaga. I never really thought too much about what happened to her until I discovered the Nasty Gal Indiegogo campaign promising to tell “the true story of…the elusive 70s funk queen who blazed the way for women in music.” To top it all off, she’s apparently been laying low in Pittsburgh – my hometown area! You bet I threw in my own money to fund this venture. – Fem

Stoya calls out James Deen
I’m not sure if anything to do with rape constitutes an award, but when I think about 2015 I think about this happening. I know they are not a couple anymore but when this went down the first thing that popped into my head was, “this is the porn equivalent of Hilary Clinton publicly accusing Bill Clinton of rape.” (Many women have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. Lest we forget.) She had nothing to gain and it was brave. The porn world’s response was fascinating in contrast to mainstream Hollywood’s; e.g., Bryan Singer, Woody Allen. Many of porn’s biggest names publicly declared their support for Stoya, and two of the largest studios announced they would no longer work with Deen. I realize my headspace is a sex positive feminist, pro sex worker rights media-sphere. I am sure there were some horrible responses too, but I missed those. As Deen has made a career of physically abusing women on camera, I can only snicker at the perception of Deen as “feminist.” Compare Deen’s reputation to Derrick Pierce, one of the few male porn performers willing to say anything negative about Deen. Pierce is frequently requested by female performers due to his decided lack of misogyny, dedication to clear communication, and respect for limits. It should be noted that Deen is not just an actor, he is also director and producer and has a small amount of mainstream name recognition. In his biggest mainstream role he played a sexual predator. Perhaps it was observers outside of the sometimes hermetically sealed (because of social taboo) world of porn who perceived Deen as feminist. (I don’t work in porn. Perhaps this is also effecting my perception of Derrick Pierce.) Though I never perceived Deen as feminist, the accusation that he was an abusive troll caused me to interrogate my own feminism which I probably should be doing all the time anyway. Check out the always astute Stoya’s thoughts post-revelation which, appropriately enough, she posted on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. –Meredith

Runner-Up:

Feminist Lisa Frank
Do I have to explain why I like this? – Fem

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