salinea: anthy is watching you and her eyeglasses are all shiny (creepy anthy)
Sexism In Sherlock


Yesterday, my husband and I rewatched Season 1 of Sherlock. It’s an awesome show, and one that was made even better by repeat viewing in all respects save one: the treatment of the women. I’ve blogged before, pointedly and with bitterness, about the terrible things Steven Moffat routinely does to his female characters in Doctor Who, and though his motives seem to stem more from ignorance than malice, the results are nonetheless unpleasant.

Early on, we’re introduced to Molly Hooper, Sherlock’s contact at the morgue. His obliviousness to her interest in him is played for laughs, which is fine and as it should be; what’s less fine is the way he consistently and cruelly criticises her appearance, which is also played for laughs.
[...]
salinea: Emma Frost, sitting comfortably (chill)

Like with other issues of sexism in comics, the problematic narratives revolving around female characters becoming dangerous and insane / evil (the insane=evil thing in itself would be very much worth the examination and could be easily seen as worse than gender issues, but I’m not sure I’m up to it) as a result of their power was something I’d heard of before I started reading comics; mostly revolving around Jean Grey, and a little bit around the Scarlet Witch with Disassembled and Decimation. Now that I’ve just read the X-Men storyline Inferno, I found it interesting to see how many characters are present in it which plays in various ways along those lines, and how really fucking bad it looks.

Now most of the characters in Inferno have more to do with a theme of corruption by evil than by insanity (though again, the two are too often seen as nearly equivalent), but power, though in not an obvious way, definitely plays a role in each one of those.

Those characters are Madelyne / Goblin Queen, Illyana / Magik, Lorna / Polaris & Warren / Angel. Two of those, Madelyne & Illyana, are placed right in the center of the story; whereas Polaris and Warren are more peripheral but still make an interesting counterpoint.

Read more... )
salinea: renee/kate hugging (femslash)
http://thoughtsonblank.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/do-you-use-boy-words-or-girl-words-or-the-other-words-but-i-cant-amember-them/
Do you use Boy Words or Girl Words? Or the other words, but I can’t ‘amember them.

I met Alec when he was 3 years old. I was coming over to babysit – I had met some of Alec’s parents (4 of the 7 of them) at a polyamory event. Seven parents, all over the gender and sexuality spectrum. Eleven children, ages five months through 12 years. Two big houses. Alec was the only kid in the living room when I knocked. He full on bounded toward the door.

“Hi I’m Alec are you the babysitter mommy said that we can go to the park if you want to and feed the ducks do you like legos?”

“Yep, hi, my name is Andy.” I said, kneeling down, “Let me talk to one of your parents first, ok?”

While I was saying this Alec was looking me up and down.

“Yeah ok, hey, Andy, do you use boy words or girl words, or the other words but I can’t really ‘amember them?”

I looked curiously at his mom, Amelia, who was busy tiding up the table.

“Oh,” she said, “he can’t remember the word pronouns.”

“Ah,” it clicked, “I use boy words. What about you?”

“I use boy words, too. Do you like legos?”

“Of course I do!”

In that 45 second exchange Alec showed me that he knew more about gender than most adults I’ve met in my 23 years on this planet. Alec was, of course, in a unique spot, having three parents who didn’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. But his question, “do you use boy words or girl words or other words” (he/him/his, she/her/hers, some gender neutral option) was really a variant of the “are you a boy or a girl?” that I hear from half the kids I meet. He wanted to know what to call me. I later learned that the kids asked this question of almost any adult who walked into the house, regardless of their gender presentation. They had learned that momma’s friend, who may have long blonde hair and big boobs and be wearing a pink dress, might not use the pronouns she/her/hers. The older kids even occasionally asked a person they knew again if their appearance had changed drastically since they last saw them.

a link

10 Nov 2011 11:22 pm
salinea: anthy is watching you and her eyeglasses are all shiny (creepy anthy)
http://hoodedutilitarian.com/2011/11/i-reboot/

It would be a mistake to consider these narratives, however, without the context of their time period. While they might be offensive to some today, these female characters are progressive for their time in terms of what roles women play. Uhura was hugely significant, because she was an officer who had a job that involved more technology and know-how than making coffee; Barbara Gordon was one of the first female action heroes who acted on her own.

It’s relatively easy to compare social values of the sixties and of the current decade, and conclude that the position of women has significantly changed. What remains unclear is whether current treatment of women in fiction has improved proportionately. Reboots, meanwhile, provide the unique opportunity to directly compare the treatment of those values in narrative while taking into account the context of changed social environment. By taking the same story and telling it in two different time periods, one can easily juxtapose the treatment of values against said time periods.

[...]

However, there are some reboots in which the changed role of women in the narrative is not merely a recapitulation, but actually seems to be a regression. That is, not only has the treatment of women in narrative not improved proportionately to the changed role of women in society; some of these reboots would seem significantly behind their source texts even in the sixties. Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot, J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, and to some extent Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who sequels and Sherlock Holmes re-imaging in some respects make female characters of the sixties sometimes look damn good.
salinea: (squee)
Hey you know that flowchart about three-dimensional women in fiction that was more about bashing perfectly awesome female characters than it was about actual feminist critique or actual giving tips to writers on how to make strong female characters?

[profile] annwyd fixed it.
salinea: (Default)
I give you...


the Bronte Sisters as 80s Action Hero figurines.

I wanna be 8 and play with them. I really, really do *_*
salinea: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] femmefanvid is a new community for feminist and women-focussed fanvids and amvs. Ain't that cool? ^^

Some links

4 Mar 2009 04:15 pm
salinea: (Default)
The Race Fail 09 is still going on, although now it's become, basically, well... honestly I don't know how to comment on it so I'll give you the links I found particularly interesting:

http://coffeeandink.livejournal.com/901816.html

http://shewhohashope.livejournal.com/135685.html?format=light

http://veejane.livejournal.com/412361.html

([livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink by the way, is my favourite SFF blogger, I always found her posts to be consistently very interesting, well thought and articulated, and about a wide range of subjects related to SFF and fandom.)


Abigail Nussbaum and Hal Duncan both have some very interesting posts criticising the recent and less recent episodes of Battlestar Galactica, in particular in terms of metaphors mix-up; and how cowardly the tackling of dark, political themes actually is in the show.


[livejournal.com profile] zoeiona on the problems with sexism and racism in the SFF genre.


(I didn't find any SCC icons I liked, so I made my own. Lookie!)
salinea: (smug)
"Going Native" sf, anthropology and colonialism by [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink

There's a recent survey done by the Anti Defamation League about antisemitism in Europe http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3669706,00.html
A lesson in modern antisemitism and this other post by [livejournal.com profile] chopchica talks about it and about her own experience with antisemitism while travelling in Europe. As a French Jew, it's a little bit odd for me to see a post talking about this from the experience of an American on a trip, but actually it's a bit of an eye opener because there are many things I taught myself not to pay attention to just because I'm used to them. I'm also used to see my concerns dismissed and being treated like a pain in the ass when I insist on complaining about the lack sandwich with chicken rather than three different choices of pork or cheese at local RPG conventions.

Over at the westeros board (yes, I still read it, just lurking, shut up), Scott Bakker insists on showing his ass to the public in a thread (and its sequel) about the treatment of women in his books and people who think it's sexist (and people who think any reading about sexism and misogynism in a book is a grave insult that should never be done because it's so awful!! yeahhhhhhh right). On the same thread, several people, especially Kalbear, Maia and needle are being awesome.

There's a Celia Friedman interview at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist with some interesting discussions about sexism in fantasy as well, especially in the comments.
salinea: (Default)
So, I've been wondering for a few weeks now, how much I hate Bakker's answer to this interview (led by Pat of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, Larry of Blog of the Fallen and Adam of the Wertzone; three SFF review blogs I follow). And each time I go back to it, I see, that, yes, it is that bad, and even worse.


- Are you baffled by the fact that, though you have pleaded your case several times, some readers continue to interpret your writing style as misogynic?

‘Disappointed’ would probably be a better word than ‘baffled.’ It’s human nature to mistake depiction for endorsement, I think. And I actually think the criticisms of more sophisticated readers, that negative depictions reinforce negative stereotypes, have a valid point to make–one that I would take quite seriously were I writing after-school specials. You know, stories about an Elfen child having difficulty growing up in a Dwarven home.

On the one hand I understand that many readers require overt ideological fidelity to enjoy books–why else would there be religious bookstores? People find agreement agreeable–full stop. On the other hand censoriousness is simply a fact of human nature, no matter where a person falls on the political spectrum. Since we all implicitly understand the power of representations, we often fear them as well. And of course, we all naturalize our values. So you have well-meaning fools like those behind the hate-speech legislation here in Canada, who have no real sense of just how prosperity-dependent democracy is, and so design legal tools to illegalize the public expression of bigotry, all under the daft assumption that those tools will always be used the ways they want them to be used.


I mean the question isn't asked in the most intelligent way in the first place, of course, but there's just no excuse for Bakker's patronizing superiority in his answer. It's simply disgusting to see him dismiss any critical reading of his text along sexism as well-meaning idiocy, that even what he calls the "most sophisticated" readers get called daft and dismissed as wanting afterschool special. It's insulting to all his readers.

And, you know, I love those books. I read them twice, now, and I find them fascinating and intriguing, very well plotted and with some deep explorations of power dynamics in relationships, the impact of philosophies on societies, and some great characterisation.

I love those books, but when I read this answer I wonder if I want to buy the next one. Sometimes writers should really learn to STFU if they don't know how to stay classy. :(

See previous entries on the sexism in Prince of Nothing here; and my overall review of the series here.
salinea: (Default)
It's that time of the year where it's freaking cold, and it's night so fucking early, and there's holiday decorations everywhere and I HATE IT. But most of all I hate the cold, makes me want to crawl to bed and stay there until spring x_x

Pretty interesting thread over at RPG.net Female warrior in fantasy art that look like credible threat, image heavy and NSFW but there's some interesting discussions, on posing, emphasis, fighting stances and cheesecake, and some very cool pictures. I think my favourite was these ones:

cut for big pics )

Offenses

21 Sep 2008 10:08 pm
salinea: (Default)
Today I learned of the acronym : "FO, DO" which is used to mean "if you Feel Offended? then you Deserve Offense".

Now I want to kill someone.

Linky

3 Jul 2008 12:05 am
salinea: (Default)
I should make my packs but I'm on the internet instead.

Have some links.

[livejournal.com profile] cryptoxin on Fandom and Lorde's use of the Erotic, on the difference between porn and erotica in a 70's feminist essay and it's relevence to today's dynamics of sex in fanfictions and other fandom works.

[livejournal.com profile] haremstress on the expression "strong women", asking what it means and doesn't mean

Is there Gender imbalance in Genre Fiction Publishing an article with that question posed to a number of professionnals of the SFF field, with some interesting answers and some infuriating ones. [livejournal.com profile] curtana is discussing some of the infuriating ones. ETA: Or you could read [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink latest roundup of links on that subject. (and then search through her tags, she's one of my favourite blogger for a reason and one of it is an awesome tagging system ^^).
salinea: (Default)
Still from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, interview of R. Scott Bakker, about the Prince of Nothing epic fantasy series which I reviewed here.


- The genre exhibits a strong (albeit recent) tradition for subverting gender stereotypes by presenting worlds in which strong, independent female characters are plausible or even expected. Yet your world is as patriarchal as the reality that inspired it. I expect that this theme makes up for a good part of the discussions you have about your creation, possibly detracting from what you actually want to talk about. Is it difficult to resist the temptation to put something like a bad-ass tomboy warrior-princess with snappy dialogue and a heart of gold into the books?

First, let me say that I think I should be called out on the carpet on this issue, simply because I cover some pretty troubling ground. I certainly don’t believe in "quota characterization," either to be politically correct or to broaden the "gender appeal" of my books. Leave this for the after-school specials. I also don’t think that depiction automatically equals endorsement. The question that people should be asking, it seems to me, is one of whether I reinforce negative gender stereotypes or problematize them. If the books provide enough grist to argue this question, then the answer, it seems to me, automatically becomes the latter.

But the fact remains that a lot of people get hung up on my female characters: On the one hand, I self-consciously chose the harlot, the waif, and the harridan for my female characters, yet some seem to think a kind of unconscious moral defect chose them for me. If so, it would be a truly colossal coincidence that I would happen to pick the three misogynic types - I mean, isn’t it obvious that I’m up to something critical? On the other hand, I wanted my fantasy world to be realistic, to temper our yearning for premodern times with a good look at how ugly things got, particularly in times of war. When bad things happen to my female characters, it’s the circumstances that are being criticized, not the characters themselves!

But people get hunches while they read, and once they do, confirmation bias goes to work (and this is simply one among many reasons why we always buy our own bullshit), and the text, I think, possesses more than enough ambiguities for people spin any number of self-validating interpretations. It’s when they insist their interpretation is the only interpretation, or even worse, that it captures what’s really going on in my bean, that I become baffled.


Now, I'd argue with the form of the question (it's arguable whether it's a genre convention "to subvert gender stereotypes by presenting worlds in which strong, independent female characters are plausible"...), but the subject of females characters in that series is certainly interesting.

For those who haven't read it, the world presented is indeed inescapably gritty and brutally violent, especially against women and there's a strong sense of realism to it.

Of the three characters that Bakker mentions, though, I'd say that only Esmenet, the "harlot", is a real success, she's the only one that can be seen as sympathetic and strong, and her story is compelling. The two others serve more as plot device than anything IMHO. The "harridan" doesn't even have a PoV and is intensely creepy (not that creepiness is exceptionnal in those books ^^), and the "waif", Serwë, is victimised, shallow and stupid enough that despite the sympathy I felt for what she lived through, I would never say I found her interesting as a character.
I do agree about Bakker's point about "problematizing", which is worthy enough, although in this case one should also take into consideration the context of the genre, because if every story is one of gritty realism, then the problematization may be more of a reinforcement than he would think.
Then there's the issue which he fails to mention, which is the treatment of sex and sexuality, and of the bad guys of the setting utilisation of sex in extremely creepy way, and how it relates to his treatment of gender.

Thoughts?
salinea: (Default)
meme from [livejournal.com profile] masqthephlsphr

Your Boy Side
[x] You love hoodies
[x] You love jeans.
[ ] Dogs are better than cats.
[ ] It's hilarious when people get hurt
[ ] You've played with/against boys on a team.
[ ] Shopping is torture.
[ ] Sad movies suck.
[ ] You own an X-Box.
[ ] Played with Hot Wheels cars as a kid.
[ ] At some point in time you wanted to be a firefighter.
[ ] You own a DS, PS2 or Sega.
[ ] You used to be obsessed with Power Rangers. (after my time!)
[ ] You watch sports on TV.
[ ] Gory movies are cool.
[ ] You go to your dad for advice.
[ ] You own like a trillion baseball caps.
[ ] You like going to football games.
[ ] You used to/do collect baseball cards.
[x] Baggy pants are cool to wear.
[x] It's kinda weird to have sleepovers with a bunch of people.
[x] Green, black, red, blue, or silver are one of your favorite colors.
[x] You love to go crazy and not care what people think.
[ ] Sports are fun.
[x] Talk with food in your mouth.
[ ] Wear boxers.

Total = 7

Your Girl Side
[ ] You wear lip gloss.
[ ] You love to shop.
[ ] You wear eyeliner.
[x] You have some of the same shirts in different colors.
[ ] You wear the color pink.
[ ] Go to your mom for advice.
[ ] You consider cheerleading a sport.
[ ] You hate wearing the color black.
[ ] You like hanging out at the mall.
[ ] You like getting manicures and/or pedicures.
[ ] You like wearing jewelry.
[ ] Skirts are a big part of your wardrobe.
[ ] Shopping is one of your favorite hobbies.
[ ] You don't like the movie Star Wars.
[ ] You are/were in cheerleading, gymnastics or dance.
[ ] It takes you around 1 hour to shower, get dressed, and put on make-up and accessories.
[ ] You smile a lot more than you should.
[ ] You have more than 10 pairs of shoes.
[ ] You care about what you look like.
[ ] You like wearing dresses when you can.
[ ] You like wearing body spray/perfume/cologne.
[x] You wear girl underwear.
[x] Used to play with dolls as little kid.
[ ] Like putting make-up on someone else for the joy of it.
[ ] Like taking pictures of yourself with your cell phone/camera when you're bored.

Total = 3

Does that mean I'm neither? XD
salinea: (Default)
There's a whole discussion that happened last week on Ran's Board which my friends from there most probably know all about, but about which I'd be curious to have some other opinions. (BTW, I use the nickname "Stranger" in those forums).

It all started with a post about Kushner's novel Priviledge of the Sword started by Pat, who beyond his activity on that forum also manages a Fantasy blog, which I think has a pretty good reputation.

Anyway, one of the thing that caught my eye was that Pat, among other things, called Priviledge of the Sword "chick lit through and through". Other people gave good or bad opinions about that novel or Kushner's novels generally speaking. Ran, notably, denied that it was Chick Lit, whereas Calibandar called it "the girliest books I've laid my hands on in recent years".

Discussions about the "male-ness" or the "girly-ness" of specific books is something I have seen often, and which I may have sometimes made use of myself, even though I don't like it, to refer to some hard-to-define aesthetics. So I started a thread about that subject, using Pat's thread as an example, in which I asked a lot of questions to people : Chick Lit, What is it? Why isn't there any Boy's Lit?

I had two agendas with this thread : pointing out the sexism in calling some books Chick Lit in order to dismiss their quality, and questionning which specific images and idiosyncracies were associated with which gender and why. The thread saw much more discussions about the first point, both in agreement and disagreement, although some people did good effort to answer my second point as well. The discussion grew in some points somewhat heated and even wanky, but wasn't uninteresting.

A certain amount of people did agree that "Chick Lit" described a specific genre of book about female protagonists in urban, modern setting with an irreverant tone and some sexual situations, that such a genre had nothing to do with Kushner's writing. Some people also agreed that Chick Lit wasn't a good name for such a genre because it described what kind of market the genre is aimed at instead of the content of the books; and because it can cause confusion about other books, like Kushner's. Although lots of people still disagreed about that, so I'd hardly call it a consensus.

Last part of this little debate, Pat's eventually posted his final review of Priviledge of the Sword at his blog yesterday. Unsurprizingly, he was still mostly negative about it, but also persisted in calling it "Fantasy chick lit" and "one of the 'girliest' novels [he's] ever read", moreover he extrapolated this description by saying :

"There's a very "girly" approach to the narrative. It focuses on undying/forbidden love, corny romance, flowers, jewelry, gowns, fabrics, and an inordinate amount of emo moments. For crying out loud, the characters shed more tears in this book than bridesmaids at a wedding! There is only so much crying one can take, after all. In addition, the emo male characters are not authentic."

You'd think he was talking about about badfanfics ^^ I'm not entirely surprised by this reading because earlier at Ran's Board, I'd seen ErrantBard, who appeared quite sane otherwise, say about Swordspoint :

what I would say classify it as "chick-lit" in my mind is, from memory:
  • Flowers and effeminate looking men with open shirts on the cover, first
  • Prominence of homosexuality in the relationships
  • Pure love
  • Invincible yet sensible, fragile, honourable hero.
  • Insufferable whiny useless support characters you're supposed to pity rather than wish dead, for some reason
  • A plot revolving around the feelings some people have for each other.


  • A number of which terms had me raise my eyebrow in regard of Swordspoint. But hey! People read books are see different things in it. It happens.

    It makes sense that a certain lack of sensitivity about specific genres that one doesn't like mean that one blurs the distinction between those genres. Thus romance, mannerpunk, and Chich Lit elements are all confused and equally dismissed as if they were equivalent although to anyone looking into those seriously it's obvious they're very far from being the same. The fact that all these different elements are, for some reason, associated with female taste and female writing is of course what makes such confusion problematic and sexist.

    The thing that really makes me angry there is that several people as well as Pat have defended their use of the term by saying "what is so bad about works written by women that cater to what women want to read?" even though they're very obviously using the word "Chick Lit" or "girly" to dismiss and criticize a specific type of writing : "corny romance", "inordinate amount of emo moments", "the emo male characters are not authentic."
    That's not the description of a genre of writing that one doesn't like but that's still considered as legit. That's a description of bad writing, through and through. A bad writing that is typified as female.

    Now, while I'm still infuriated about the structural sexism of such use of terms, I'm also still curious about which elements are associated with specific genders and why.
    salinea: Magneto going *?* (wtf)
    So I'm reading RPG.net, which is a big and quality board about roleplaying games, and someone raises the idea of "Harlequin Romance... the RPG" as a possible licenced RPG to touch a previously untapped market. So I miggle in the discussion, and mention my view about the similarities between RPGs and fanfics, and freeform RPGs within the fandom community, and their potential as a RPG market. It's an interesting discussion.
    Then there's this guy that comes and mentions the game he publishes, HeartQuest, which a game meant to simulate the Shoujo manga genre. Cool. Very fitting to the discussion. I google quickly the game (because I didn't know it before, does any of you guys do?) and find a blurb description (very cute) and a list of the writers :

    Written by: Michael Hopcroft, Robert Pool, Dimitri Ashling, Ewen Cluney, Robert Boyd, Robert Bain, Ismael Alvarez, Travis Johnson, and Douglas Larke.

    Hum? I think. I'm not sure about Travis and Ewen because I'm not that good with American names, but all of the others are very, very male names. That's an overwhelming majority (at least) of male writers to write a RPG to simulate the Shoujo genre.
    So in the discussion I mention I'm surprised by that, and the guy asks me why, so I elaborate.


    Quote:
    Why should that shock you? It isn't like all shoujo stuff is written by women, nor is it's audience all young girls (despite being marketed to them). Just like the fact that all romance novels aren't written by women either.

    Well, that not all shoujo is written by women or read by women is all well and good, and what percent of it is written and read by women? I'd be surprised if there wasn't a very big majority of women involved there, but I could be wrong, I only have my personnal experience to judge by.

    I assume you've done market researches about that game? That you have some data about Shoujo audience in the US? The profile of people more likely to be interrested into that kind of game? With this game, I assume you're trying to tap onto shoujo readers (that's why you mention the next ed in manga form, no?)
    I'm a shoujo reader. I'd especially kill for a game that'd let me play an unholy alliance of Shoujo Kakumei Utena and Princess Tutu complete with meta-narrative tools and fairy tale on crack ambiance. I'd probably also love to play X1999 RPG.

    However I also remember a French amateur RPG which was called "Lycéenne" which was plain horrible. Shoujo seen by males and full of ill-adviced stereotypes at its worst. So I'm suspicious. And I'm Roleplayer so I know how sexist the average RPG scene can be, so I'm doubly suspicious. If I see a long list of male names as authors, I get even more suspicious. Doesn't seem like something for me. Seems like something for guys who are already into RPG and who wants to play shoujo for exoticism's sake, the kind who think Hina Love is a shoujo.

    I don't know anything about the game, as I told you, I just googled it. And that's my first impression. Maybe I'm not typical of the market you're trying to touch either


    Then the guy gets angry :

    I find charges of sexism against my products made by someone who has not read them to be incredibly offensive. While the HeartQuest line was written before I owned the company, I still stand behind them 100%. I also find charges that they weren't written by knowledgeable individuals to not only be offensive but you are also veering into personal attack territory because at least two of the authors are members of this very board.

    As a publisher I take allegations against my products very seriously and I strongly suggest that you rescind your comments, as they are based out of a lack of knowledge of the books. I do welcome anyone checking out the HeartQuest line but I find your comments to be ill-formed and offensive to both myself and the individuals who wrote these books.


    I tell him he missed the point.

    So he starts getting on how shoujo is totally not about women, and gender is irrelevant about discussion on RPG adaptations of Shoujo.

    I don't see that shoujo or romantic fiction as being a gender issue. I don't think one gender "gets it" more than another, any more than I think that is the case for any other genre. Saying otherwise does a great disservice to those individuals, male or female, who are interested in those sorts of things.


    And that's where we are.

    Apart from the part where he's trying very hard to intimidate me, I find his exhuberant outrage very funny.
    salinea: (Default)
    While browsing, today, I happened onto a link to this essay on Why do fanboys hate fanfics, especially slash and This is Our Garden. We Like It.. The article fits in a context of several commentaries a few weeks ago about the exclusion of the female experience of fandom by the majorly male fandom - some of which I saw at the time, some of which I missed.

    [livejournal.com profile] cupidsbow's essay How Fanfictions makes us Poor which I already linked to was part of it too, I think.

    Anyway, there's a lot of stuff on these discussions that made me angry as a woman against the systemicized sexism in fandom... but there's also something about the issue of gendered fandoms that really upsets me.

    I've spent a majority of my "fandom life" within male dominated fandoms - first generalist Science Fiction newsgroup then Roleplaying Games clubs and forums. The kind of places where women make about 10 to 20% at most of the overall population. I've had to suffer to a lot of sexism, outright misogyny and sexual teasing. I went along with it because I wanted into the fandom and I didn't know anywhere else to get it and also because I'd been ostracized and bullied enough previously that the attention as the token girl and object of sexist and sexual jokes seemed actually an improvement.

    Later on, I found some previously more mixed fandoms. ASOIAF has got, I think, about 40% of women at Ran's board. The part of Buffy's fandom I frequented, Masq's awesome ATPoBtVS had, I believe, a majority of women with a very significant male presence as well.

    But it's only when I joined the Clamp's Tokyo Babylon/X's fandom in 2004 on Livejournal that I really found myself within female dominated fandoms. Fanfics as a fandom is extremely majorly made of women, I don't think men make more than 5% of it. In many ways the resulting dynamic rather surprised me. There's a lot I enjoyed from it. The welcome of feminist and queer-friendly values for one, and the warmth of people. No more dissing the female SF writers, or fantasy as a whole, or other ridiculous stuff.

    There's also some things I disliked, such as the frowning upon any kind of disagreement/non positive comments, and all the things people sometime characterize as the "Cult of Nice". I'm not sure I'm so much more a fan of the Cult of Mean either, which is often horribly self-entitled, but I love debate, and I love getting helpful constructive criticism, and sometimes I'm being an ass in a discussion and I need someone to point it out to me politely (after which I can cool off then appologize). I also miss a bit of the obsessive mapping out details and powers and worldbuiling elements and stuff. Actually screw this, because people do it just as compulsively in female fandom, what I do miss is obsessive symbolical and thematic analysis which seems to catter to specific fandoms regardless of the gender makeover. What I do occasionnaly miss in female fandom is the way people don't seem to get the inherent kicking-ass awesomeness of ninja and pirates (unless talking of Jack Sparrow I s'pose) and Kung-Fu Jesus and heroin-pissing dinosaurs*

    So when I get annoyed with that side of fanfic fandom and want a little bit of the other side I miss, I get back to lurking at, say, the RPG.net board, where I can see someone explaining his dilemna about one of his player telling him "No bitches at the table"

    Insert visual of me face palming.

    Lately it feels like I've seen more and more people talking in terms of fangirls and fanboys. The categories were new to me, but apparently they come with specific, different stereotypes where the fanboy is your everyday Dork and the fangirl squeals a lot about characters/actors being hotties. I've seen at least one person say she wouldn't like to identify as a fangirl but that it was okay for the fanboy because the stereotype had somewhat mellowed and become more hype and cool since big geeks like Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith and Tarantino started taking over Hollywood or something whereas the fangirl stereotype was still depraciated as hell which rather rejoined the whole point of the essay I mentionned at the start of this post.

    But behind this I also get the impression that it's true to people. That women and men are whole different brands of fen, that they want something radically different from the text, that they play differently with the toys. That they don't fit in the same sandbox.

    I'm not a fangirl. I'm certainly not a fanboy either. I'm a fan. Period.

    I'm a fan who likes fanfics and roleplaying games, obsessive symbolical analysis, sociological meta, compulsive reviews of details and powers and worldbuilding stuff, and occasionnaly even fanart and fanvids and of course, the books/shows/texts too. It's all one for me.

    It's not that I disaprove of what the essay talks about, about the whole fact that women said 'it's a big internet', took their stuff and the toys given by the text, and used them to play with it in their very own female space. I think that's really cool and proactive and awesome.

    It's the fact that what I'd like to call my garden would be a place with equal parts of male and female point of views and welcome them all - just for the sake of diversity. (And gays, and non Americans, and gender queers, and Blacks, and people who don't have always a very correct syntax, and, and, and, too)

    There's the question of whether it'd be even possible. If being just an even fraction of "regular" fandom would mean that the female part be co-opted and the female experience of fandom end up marginalized as it's once more 'All about the boy'.

    I'd like to believe that it is. I've known places on the internet that were at least a little bit like this. That doesn't mean that they should not be female spaces as well...

    But I'd really love to belong, myself, to a non-gendered fandom. I think that's the place where I'd be the more at ease.

    Is that a bad thing to want?



    * this is an obscure reference to the Role Playing Game Exalted which has canonically dinosaurs who eat Opium and pisses Heroin. It's a lucrative business. Exalted isalso an awesome game where homsexuality, gender queerness, bestiality, incest, and reincarnated magical bonds are all canon. It's a bit like the Harry Potter fandom of roleplaying games that way.

    ETA: -- Spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire - A Storm of Swords in the comments --
    salinea: (Default)
    [livejournal.com profile] mechaieh posted a transcript of the sermon she gave at her Unitarian Church on the subject of bisexuality

    Here's the blurb :

    "Ambisexuality"

    As individuals whose sexual preferences do not fit neatly within traditional "either-or," "all-or-nothing" beliefs about relationships, bisexuals often face unflattering assumptions about their personalities and morals -- including negative perceptions about their refusal to declare or accept what seems to many to be a simple choice. As individuals whose spiritual needs do not fit neatly within traditional "either-or," "all-or-nothing" beliefs about creeds and covenants, Unitarian Universalists often encounter unflattering assumptions about their personalities and morals -- especially perceptions about their refusal to declare or accept what seems to many to be a simple choice. This morning, we will take a look at how to welcome ambiguity and complexity, and why bearing witness matters so much.

    Go read the full transcript here

    I find this subject fascinating, not only the topic of bisexuality (which [livejournal.com profile] mechaieh spoke about wonderfully) , but the idea of comparing sexual orientation with other identity categorizations and when they are or appear too vague, or too "in-between" and the difficulties and prejudices people face because of that.

    [livejournal.com profile] skuldchan's rant about gender identities answering an article about "feminized male" in Japan makes me think along the same way as well.

    As humans we tend to think in oppositions. We classify everything around us. Dark or light, female or male, dead or alive, yin or yang, good or bad, old or young, hot or cold, wet or dry etc. Symbolical systems of categorization almost always end up pairing things in opposites.
    There's a certain laziness in this way of thinking that often lend itself to easy amalgams. Such as thinking that anything that doesn't belong to one category, must belong to the other one. And that something that does belong to one category, cannot belong to the other.

    long rambling that might or might not be relevent )

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