Junot Diaz: I think that unless you are actively, consciously working against the gravitational pull of the culture, you will predictably, thematically, create these sort of fucked-up representations. Without fail. The only way not to do them is to admit to yourself [that] you're fucked up, admit to yourself that you're not good at this shit, and to be conscious in the way that you create these characters. It's so funny what people call inspiration. I have so many young writers who're like, "Well I was inspired. This was my story." And I'm like, "OK. Sir, your inspiration for your stories is like every other male's inspiration for their stories: that the female is only in there to provide sexual service." There comes a time when this mythical inspiration is exposed for doing exactly what it's truthfully doing: to underscore and reinforce cultural structures, or I'd say, cultural asymmetry.
SHE HAS NO HEAD! – NO, IT’S NOT EQUAL
”[…] It’s important to remember that idealization of the form is not the same as sexualization of the form. Something can be idealized without being sexualized. But in superhero comics, because the forms that female characters are based on have their roots in porn and models, the form becomes even more sexualized once it is idealized to perfection. Is there anything wrong with perfection in fictional stories? No. Is there anything wrong with superheroes being beautiful sexual beings? Of course not. Is there anything wrong with titillation for the sake of titillation? No, not in the right context. But because the vast majority of female superheroes are rendered this way, it leaves context out. It becomes ALL about titillation and sex, regardless of context. And that creates a problem. And it’s one of the many ways that anyone interested in looking at things objectively can see that…No, this is not equal.”
So I finally feel somewhat ready to collect my thoughts about Irene and Moriarty. So many people have written so many smart things. One thing I have noticed tho is people saying they’re so happy about the Moriarty reveal because they ‘hated’ Irene, cos she was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, cos she was a ‘Mary Sue’, cos she was too girly and pretty and Sherlock was in love with her, and i want to kindly object. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is an annoying trope and I’m so glad Elementary subverted it, but it’s important when we critique these sexist tropes that we don’t end up hating/critiquing women who embody these tropes, thus losing sight of the larger (white male) power structure controlling their narratives. There’s nothing wrong with a woman being girly, spunky, bouncy, flirtatious, quirky, soft, sweet, vulnerable etc. What’s problematic is when these traits are presented through a white male gaze, and become a composite of ‘ideal womanhood’ at the expense of other women, and are centered around serving the white male character’s needs.
I don’t even watch this series (and probably won’t as the genre isn’t particularly up my alley), but there is some really fucking fascinating commentary coming out of this finale.
For the ladies! You’ll need a Ph.D. to make as much as a guy with a BA.
Ladies, just cite this the next time someone tries to tell you that systemic sexism might be a thing of the past. We can do better.
So my dad bought battery-powered Christmas lights for a thing at work and then when he stopped using them he gave them to me, and I’ve been using them as “PLEASE DON’T HIT ME CARS” lights around myself since the jacket I wear is black and it’s dark when I get out of work and I know how crappy it is when pedestrians aren’t very visible!
But I’ve been getting a lot of bad attention when I wear them from guys? Like normally I wear bulky clothing during the winter (I still am!!) and even during the summer I never get comments because I’m not the stereotypical pretty person, but ever since I started wearing the lights I’ve had one guy tell me that I was his Christmas present and that I should go with him, and another guy whistled at me and hollered at me and then got mad when I didn’t reply back (I honestly didn’t know he was yelling at me??) and I really really feel uncomfortable wearing them now? I mean I’ve had other comments that are much more polite and Christmas-y and cheerful and kids think it’s awesome, but the unsavoury comments are just no thanks. I’m uneasy enough as it is when I have to walk places during the night; I don’t want to say I’d prefer to get schmucked by a car than have men harass me, but at least a car would be quick rather than nerve-wracking all night.
I just ?????? How do other women deal with this kind of stuff all the time???? This is why I like to come home and just talk to you guys ‘cause it’s ten times safer and you’re all lovely. U3U <33333
If I ever hear someone say “sexism is dead” (or its functional equivalent) in public, I am going to punch them in the throat, because of crap like this.
That said, maybe you should join me and put reflective bands on your coat sleeves instead. :(
Which is a shame because lights are adorable.
Also: hugs. All the hugs.
Honey Badger Patronus: Author Scott Lynch responds to a critic of the character Zamira Drakasha, a black woman pirate in his fantasy book Red...
The bolded sections represent quotes from the criticism he received. All the z-snaps are in order.
Your characters are unrealistic stereotpyes of political correctness. Is it really necessary for the sake of popular sensibilities to have in a fantasy what we have in the real world? I read fantasy to get away from politically correct cliches.
God, yes! If there’s one thing fantasy is just crawling with these days it’s widowed black middle-aged pirate moms.
Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man’s world. It is unrealistic wish fulfilment for you and your readers to have so many female pirates, especially if you want to be politically correct about it!
First, I will pretend that your last sentence makes sense because it will save us all time. Second, now you’re pissing me off.
You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.
Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.
Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes “SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder.”
You don’t like it? Don’t buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears.
As for the “man’s world” thing, religious sentiments and gender prejudices flow differently in this fictional world. Women are regarded as luckier, better sailors than men. It’s regarded as folly for a ship to put to sea without at least one female officer; there are several all-female naval military traditions dating back centuries, and Drakasha comes from one of them. As for claims to “realism,” your complaint is of a kind with those from bigoted hand-wringers who whine that women can’t possibly fly combat aircraft, command naval vessels, serve in infantry actions, work as firefighters, police officers, etc. despite the fact that they do all of those things— and are, for a certainty, doing them all somewhere at this very minute. Tell me that a fit fortyish woman with 25+ years of experience at sea and several decades of live bladefighting practice under her belt isn’t a threat when she runs across the deck toward you, and I’ll tell you something in return— you’re gonna die of stab wounds.
What you’re really complaining about isn’t the fact that my fiction violates some objective “reality,” but rather that it impinges upon your sad, dull little conception of how the world works. I’m not beholden to the confirmation of your prejudices; to be perfectly frank, the prospect of confining the female characters in my story to placid, helpless secondary places in the narrative is so goddamn boring that I would rather not write at all. I’m not writing history, I’m writing speculative fiction. Nobody’s going to force you to buy it. Conversely, you’re cracked if you think you can persuade me not to write about what amuses and excites me in deference to your vision, because your vision fucking sucks.
I do not expect to change your mind but i hope that you will at least consider that I and others will not be buying your work because of these issues. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for years and i know that I speak for a great many people. I hope you might stop to think about the sales you will lose because you want to bring your political corectness and foul language into fantasy. if we wanted those things we could go to the movies. Think about this!
Thank you for your sentiments. I offer you in exchange this engraved invitation to go piss up a hill, suitable for framing.
I do love most of Scott Lynch’s writing (with the exception of the death of [ ] that came off disappointingly like fodder when I was totally expecting them to be a genius Big Bad), and Zamira is definitely one of, if not mymostfucking favourite. One of the reasons I was so excited to see Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is because I expect Aveline to pretty much be Zamira 2.0. If not I will be sorely disappointed.
All of that said, I’m kind of surprised that Lynch didn’t point out how blatant wrong this idiot was on one front: women pirates have been around as long as pirating itself, in history, in the real world. Many have been just as ruthless as the men, some were less, and a handful were much more capable. Take a look at some of this shit and be suitably impressed. (And those are just the ones that history’s remembered and Wiki has recorded.)
Seriously, how have you never heard of Mary Read and Anne Bonny? Of Ching Shih?
University of Alberta fraternity plans on racist "Western Bros, Nava-hoes" themed party.
The Delta Kappa Epsilons are already on the U of A shit list, having been suspended for 5 years because of hazing:
The incidents, which included forcing individuals to eat their own vomit, depriving them of sleep and confining them to a plywood box, were captured on video.
An eagle eye noticed that the Ranch Roadhouse, an Edmonton club, was hosting an event called, “Western Bros, Nava-hoes”. You can read their response to being questioned about this, in the link above. They later deleted that exchange completely. So I asked some people back home to take a look at the posters and find out who exactly was having this party…lo and behold, it’s the Dekes. Cue my utter lack of surprise.
They have a contact page here.
I think perhaps they need to hear from you.
Why do people think it’s okay to use my tribes name in a derogatory manner. It’s not cute, it’s not funny, it’s plain disrespectful. We are not “Nava-hoes”, we are not “Nava-HOS”, we are the Dine’. Maybe I should write to them..
It’s beyond disrespectful, it’s disgusting and sickening racism.
I am hearing that they ‘can’t change the name because the tickets are already printed’, although apparently they will ‘discuss it’. I’m trying to get some photographic proof of a poster, or the tickets. But yes. If they are going to discuss it, having people tell them it’s unacceptable will certainly help stop this shit from happening this time.
Bull. If the tickets have the location on them, changing the event name won’t make a rat’s ass of difference. In fact, if they change it prominently and then explainwhy it was wrong in the first placeto people who ask questions about why it changed, that could quite possibly be one of the best way to recant — through apology and education.
They haven’t provided either. The utter lack of sincerity in their Facebook response is disgusting.
Women of Protest: A Feminist History Refresher
It wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted suffrage, but it was 1917 when members of the National Women’s Party — Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others — picketed outside the White House, burning copies of Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and demanding the right to vote. What resulted — mass arrests (most for “obstructing traffic”), unlawful imprisonment and bloody beatings — became known as the Night of Terror, though it’s fair to say most among my generation don’t know it.
The Night of Terror took place on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Workhouse Prison, in Occoquan, Virginia, ordered his guards to teach the suffragists a lesson. For weeks, the women’s only water had come from an open pail. Their food had been infested with worms. But on this night, some 40 prison guards wielding clubs beat the women senseless — grabbing, dragging, choking, kicking and pinching them, according to affidavits recounting the attacks.
* Lucy Burns (bottom left) was beaten, then chained to her cell bars and left hanging for the night.
* Dora Lewis (bottom center) was hurled into a dark cell, her head smashed against an iron bed. (Her cellmate suffered a heart attack.)
* Alice Paul (bottom right) attempted a huger strike, but was tied to a cell chair and force fed with a tube down her throat.
Another woman was allegedly stabbed between the eyes with the wood from her broken picket sign. The beatings made national news, and two weeks later, the protesters were released. (The DC Court of Appeals declared their punishment and arrests unconstitutional.)
But it would take three more years for women to win the right to vote.
A FEMINIST REMINDER: DON’T TAKE YOUR VOTING RIGHTS FOR GRANTED.
—This is an edited, fact-checked and condensed version of an email making its way around the web. Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Friend: YOUR THOUGHTS? :|a?
Me: I THINK IT'S INTERESTING but I think "masculine" girls don't get much play either so I'm willing to take what I can get in this case. (Also as a "tomboyish" girl myself, I identify with her a lot more than I do with, say, Sailor Moon.) I don't think Korra not being feminine in and of herself is saying that feminine traits can't be strong and powerful. If there aren't ANY feminine girls at all who serve as a positive and strong influence in the series, though, that does.
Me: The one thing I mostly take issue with in Korra so far is the lack of positive female role models for her, period. I read a few articles a while back commenting on how most series with female protagonists have the protag surrounded by and/or mentored by guys, with other female characters (role models in particular) being either antagonistic/abusive, irrelevant, or dead/absent. Whiiiich Korra is unfortunately falling into:
Katara - Absent after the first episode.
Lin Bei Fong - Antagonistic (to an extreme, really).
Asami - Antagonistic (as a relationship rival, aaand probably going to wind up a villain because really she's got all the tropes). (If she does turn out to be a villain, she'll actually be contributing more to the "traditionally feminine girls can't be strong/positive" stereotype than Korra is.)
Senna - Absent after the first episode! (I don't think most people even know her name...)
Pema, Ikki, Jinora - Partly absent, partly irrelevant. (Korra really gets more meaningful interaction with Tenzin, all things considered.)
Every female pro-bender - Antagonistic AND irrelevant.
Female fire nation representative - Doesn't get a personality or more than a few lines, much less a name.
Other Female Characters - ?????? ABSENT ??????
SO YEAH THIS IS. A THING. THAT BOTHERS ME A BIT. It's even more blatantly obvious in some of the promo images, where you see Korra with Bolin, Mako, and Tenzin to represent the four elements. Three guys and a girl.
Friend: Yeah, those are my feels, personally. I enjoy Korra's "tomboyish" tendencies, and I enjoy that gender and sex isn't a thing for her despite how she acts and that no one in the series comments or treats her differently for it. I never noticed the lack of female role models which is... hm. A very unfortunate and frustrating thing to have pointed out 8|a And makes me hope that Asami doesn't betray Mako even more because I really don't want her to fall in that trope :(
I hear a lot about how LoK treats female characters really awesomely, which I think it does, but... yeah. I think it also has a long way to go, apparently 8|a
Me: She might fall into it and then pull a Zuko and do a heel face turn, but yeah, it'd be better if she never fell into it in the first place honestly.
Me: AtLA was sliiiightly better for female role models, if only because there were a lot of girls who openly relied on each other in different ways: Toph, Katara, Suki, Ty Lee, Mai, Azula, etc. But again, older female role models were antagonistic or mostly absent: Kanna, Kya, Ursa, Kiyoshi, Hama, Yangchen, Poppy, uh. Man I can't even think of any more.
Friend: Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think AtLA was better on female roles in general... as much as I love Korra and as much as I think she's a trope subversion. But we're early in the series, so I guess we'll see!
Fiore (as Mako forces herself up): You’ve never felt that is was unfortunate that you were even born…
(green tinted flashback, a girl and boy are discussing Mako as she sits under a tree. She’s chewing on a staw weed, her hands behind her head, legs crossed, her hair covering one eye so she looks a little ferocious)
Girl: Did you hear she injured someone again in a fight?
Boy: She’s getting expelled for sure this time.
Girl: No one would ever approach a violent person like her.
Mako’s ostracism was also pretty consistent, and also with pointed social commentary. Even though the R movie is an anime movie, I consider it in continuity with the anime because it does draw on continuity just to explore it all deeper- Ami was isolated for her intellect, Mako was kicked out of her last school for getting into a fight, Mamoru did lose his parents when he was about six and hang out in the hospital with amnesia for a while feeling super lonely, and the continuity gets even more specific later on.
Thought the anime did have random friends of Mako show up, it’s been pretty consistent that people did avoid her for both her appearance and reputation as “violent”. Boys also rejected her romantically for this. Boys are expected to get in fight, but girls are NOT.
I have no idea how it is in Japan, but in my own experiences, guys who hit me tended to get away with it while I was always punished harshly if I hit boys or girls. Three seperate occasions in middle school- a boy pile-drived me, an older boy slapped me, and a boy threw rocks at me- I didn’t fight back and reported it to the teacher each time, but these boys were not suspended. The older boy merely got “you shouldn’t hit girls” as an admonishment, apparently I had deserved it for getting in his face, I’m not supposed to be aggressive when boys are easily provoked after all.But the two times I hit a boy (admittedly he didn’t fight back either and I wasn’t justified, I’m not saying that) and the one time I hit another girl (this was in response to her strangling me so I was pretty within my rights) I was suspended right away. In high school, a boy hit me and one tried to force kiss me, but I didn’t bother to report it because I knew they wouldn’t be punished, but I would be if it was discovered I had hit the boys back. Girls aren’t supposed to do that shit.
Most of the fights with civilians we’ve seen Mako get into are taking down a gang of guys who were terrorizing and victimizing a girl. She’ll also defend guys being beat up on. It’s pretty much 100 percent certain that it was this sort of fight that got her kicked out of school. She took down so guys who took advantage of their power to threaten, hurt and dominate someone physically weaker than them, she defended people who didn’t have the power to fight back and she was punished for it because she should have just let boys be boys and she was a “masculine, violent girl” and therefore suspect. Society lets boys off easy for abusing their power, what’s rejected is the idea of a girl fighting back against that. She’s expected just to take it, and if she doesn’t, there’s something wrong with her. Especially if she “flaunts” her strength.
What’s more, people avoid her for this sort of behavior and boys reject her because they are threatened by her strength. But despite all this, Mako continued to do what she does, because she can’t let injustice go.
I love Mako and everything she stands for, I’m so glad she found friends who adore her for her strength and fighting back. Also I appreciated how she looks like a bamf even when she’s all sad about people dissing her.
Mako has always been very close to my heart because of her courage and strength and her passion for fighting injustice.
Favorite one tied with Mars. (Yes I watched Sailor Moon. COME AT ME, BRO.)
Favourite one ever.
Mako particularly hit a chord because I also got suspended for fighting in school despite my (often male) harassers hardly ever getting disciplined. Pretty much verbatim what the OP described up above (only instead of rocks I was usually targeted with tennis or dodge balls). I wound up doing a lot of stuff I’m not proud of in response, but I distinctly recall being the only one seriously punished in the vast majority of cases.