Tag Archives: feminism

On Slave Leia

From a Metafilter discussion about Disney retiring Slave Leia collectibles:

“Yes. I was a kid when I first saw it, and it wasn’t the sexy that bothered me, it was seeing my Lone Representative of My Gender, who also happened to have proven herself a badass, (a rare thing!) get degraded for yuks.

“You may not know this, but until very recently, if you were a girl who admired a girl character in a media property, you also repeatedly experienced the sinking, shaming sensation of seeing your hero turned into a tits n’ ass parade at some point, or otherwise having her female status used to make her Less Heroic than male characters.

“Has Captain America yet had his turn onscreen in nothing but a chainmail banana-hammock and fetters, being slobbered over by a repugnant slavemaster who appears to want to rape him, until a fully-clothed group of female heroes rescues him? No. And outside of fanfic, he won’t, because it’s upsetting for men to see their heroes treated that way.

“It’s not about prudery.”

Full discussion http://www.metafilter.com/154467/Disney-To-Retire-All-Slave-Leia-Merch#6274851

Movie still from Return of the Jedi.

Diane Freeleng, Feminist Horror Movie Icon

My sister and I are HUGE HUGE HUGE fans of Poltergeist. It was one of the movies that played 24/7 the summer that we had cable as kids. Schlock Corridor makes the case for a feminist reading of Poltergeist (1982) – focusing on JoBeth Williams’s portrayal of Diane Freeleng as the take charge one:

“While Steven has a mock gun battle with his neighbor, Diane is giving Carol Anne her first understanding of mortality, creating an almost Egyptian-level sarcophagus for the corpse of Tweety.

“This is the first time the film presents us with one of its themes: only women can get things done. Throughout the movie it’s female characters who are forced to actually effect change, and it all begins with Diane’s tender ceremony for Tweety. Later Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Strait) is the glue that holds the parapsychology team together, then Tangina is the key to the final rescue of Carol Anne – which Diane must do herself while Steven can’t even hold the rope correctly.

She’s a cool mom who seems to understand where Dana is coming from as she goes through her adolescent angst – possibly because she was around Dana’s age when she got knocked up. She’s also a stay at home mom. In 2012 this character probably couldn’t exist – she would have to be a writer or a painter or sell crafts on Etsy because the modern movie world doesn’t truly respect stay at home moms. But for all of her fond remembrances of ‘the old days,’ Diane doesn’t seem unhappy to be at home with the kids. Steven’s adulthood has turned him into a person he doesn’t truly recognize – it’s turning him into James Karen, in fact – but adulthood has been better to Diane.

I like to think that it was Carol Anne’s birth that started it all, though. It certainly fits thematically with what comes later – her closet turns into a huge vagina, and she is returned from the Other Side in an ectoplasmic birth caul. The rescue of Carol Anne is a rebirth, almost quite literally when she and Diane aren’t breathing in the tub. It also helps explain why The Beast is interested in the girl. It seems unlikely that the Freeling’s pool is the first serious digging in Cuesta Verde, but it is plausible that Carol Anne was the first baby born on the development. That makes Carol Anne’s rebirth a cleansing new start, a reclamation of the birth process.

“Carol Anne as the focus also feeds into the film’s essential feminism. The Beast wants to use Carol Anne as a beacon to attract the souls trapped between this side and the other; it’s her life force – something that comes from the feminine – that attracts them. The Beast is specifically said to be male – a male entity that is abusing the warmth of femininity to devour innocent souls.

The diminutive psychic is the final element of the film’s feminist trilogy – the cool mom, smart doctor and tough as nails medium seem to make up the life cycle of childhood.”

Here’s the trailer for the new remake (with a male psychic – boo!!!):

Bjork on Women, Music, Auteurs, and Authorship

Bjork talks to Pitchfork about her new album (coming after the collapse of her marriage) and about the unique challenges of women in the music industry:

“I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times. Girls now are also faced with different problems. I’ve been guilty of one thing: After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas. I became really good at this and I don’t even notice it myself.”

On the music press’s refusal to see her collaborators as contributors without removing her as the auteur voice:

“I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I’m saying to you now helps women, I’m up for saying it.”

“I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him. It really is strange.”

Full interview http://pitchfork.com/features/interviews/9582-the-invisible-woman-a-conversation-with-bjork/

Ignoring The Shy Nerdy Girls

From Male Nerds Think They’re Victims Because They Have No Clue What Female Nerds Go Through:

“Science is a way that shy, nerdy men pull themselves out of the horror of their teenage years. That is true. That is so. But shy, nerdy women have to try to pull themselves out of that same horror into a world that hates, fears and resents them because they are women, and to a certain otherwise very intelligent sub-set of nerdy men, the category “woman” is defined primarily as “person who might or might not deny me sex, love and affection.”

“(And you ask me, where were those girls when you were growing up? And I answer: we were terrified, just like you, and ashamed, just like you, and waiting for someone to take pity on our lonely abject pubescence, hungry to be touched. But you did not see us there. We were told repeatedly, we ugly, shy nerdy girls, that we were not even worthy of the category “woman.” It wasn’t just that we were too shy to approach anyone, although we were; it was that we knew if we did we’d be called crazy. And if we actually got the sex we craved? (because some boys who were too proud to be seen with us in public were happy to fuck us in private and brag about it later) … then we would be sluts, even more pitiable and abject. Aaronson was taught to fear being a creep and an objectifier if he asked; I was taught to fear being a whore or a loser if I answered, never mind asked myself. Sex isn’t an achievement for a young girl. It’s something we’re supposed to embody so other people can consume us, and if we fail at that, what are we even for?)

Full article http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120653/nerd-entitlement-lets-men-ignore-racism-and-sexism

Quote referenced here.

 

Shonda Rhimes on the Glass Ceiling

Influential executive producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder) receives the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award and gives an incredibly moving speech. Full transcript on Medium.

“Woman after woman. Each one running and each one crashing. And everyone falling. How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?”

Full article (and where I got the image from) Shonda Rhimes at THR’s Power Women Event: “I Haven’t Broken Through Any Glass Ceilings”

Let’s Ruin Video Games

Found this rant via Metafilter:

“My name is Arden, and after a few days of thinking I’ve decided that I’m going to ruin video games.

I’m going to be doing everything in my power to destroy them completely. Walking simulators about feelings and emotions as far as the eye can see! Guns that shoot kisses! Lady characters that aren’t designed to cater to the whims of straight men! I’m hiding loving queer couples in every treasure chest instead of new armor. Every game will now be required to have at least one section that can be described as “too” personal. Fuck, if I’m feeling really bold, I might even throw some non-white characters into a game or two! I’ll magically replace every copy of every big-budget first person shooter with either Gone Home or Dear Esther and listen to the agitated shrieks of gamers.

Non-men have been “ruining” games for a long time, of course, by virtue of existing and trying to make the medium and the spaces around it more inclusive and less festering garbage.”

Full essay at http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/95229096014/lets-ruin-video-games

Part of Ruin Jam http://itch.io/jam/ruinjam2014

Arden’s newest project is a game called Date or Die http://dateordiegame.com/

Photo from her game Kindness Coins http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/47442539017/funny-comady-man-you-play-as-a-person-that-a

From this Metafilter thread http://www.metafilter.com/142425/Ruin-Jam-2014

How to Raise Independent-Minded Daughters

From a parenting discussion on Metafilter:

“You don’t have to have a degree in women’s studies or a nuanced understanding of gender politics to raise independent-minded daughters. My father certainly didn’t – he went to trade school instead of college and that kind of theoretical book-study was really not what he was into.

“But what my father did do, though, was encourage thinking in general. And he let me see that that was something in me that he valued. I’ve talked before about how Dad liked playing devil’s advocate in discussions just for the sake of getting a discussion going – I was actually one of his favorite sparring partners, in fact. I remember when I was in high school and we somehow got going on a conversation on the death penalty one night at dinner, and at one point he said something that just really got me fired up to the point that I forcefully put down the fork I was holding and said one of those “now, HOLD UP a minute” kinds of comments that lets you know that someone’s about to launch into an impassioned statement – and I was surprised to see Dad burst out with a grin like a kid on Christmas and hear him mutter, “oh, I love this.” And that’s when it hit me that Dad was excited to hear what I thought, and valued that I got impassioned about ideas.

My father valued my brain, and let me see that he valued it. He put value on me as a person rather than as a girl, and let me know that. And that’s a big part of what made me a feminist. Reading about gender theory and such can help you wrap your own brain around things, but your daughters may respond much more to having an example of a person who treats them as a whole person.”

Full thread http://ask.metafilter.com/254119/Feminist-basics-for-dads#3692024

Image from this post about Girls Who Code http://thenextweb.com/us/2013/01/24/girls-who-code-expands-across-the-us-with-summer-programs-in-detroit-san-jose-and-miami/

Frames, Feminism and Men’s Rights Advocates

“Feminism seeks to address gender inequality not just because doing so benefits women and girls, but because the presence of sexual discrimination and sexual violence is bad for everyone. … In the MRA view, mens and women’s interests sit in opposition to each other – if women win, men lose. When mens rights activists call for men to stand up because “feminism has gone too far”, they are implicitly stating that women and men can’t both benefit from gender equality. Whenever women gain power, men must lose it, and feminism has caused men to lose so much power that they must now fight to take some back. The gender struggle is a zero-sum game. So, feminists and mens rights activists disagree on two fronts: They disagree about the facts – whether women really have gained “too much” power at the expense of men (feminists would argue that living in a sexist society makes it difficult for men to recognise the true extent of the male privilege they still enjoy). But more importantly, they disagree on how the issue is framed; the MRA view men’s and women’s rights as being in opposition to each other, while mainstream feminists see gender equality as a net good to everyone.

Commenter on Metafilter

Venn diagram from Angstier Than Thou

Lavaballs and Dealing With It

“[I]t’s when someone sits on public transit and, presumably for reasons resulting from an unbearable, scorching heat in their groin, must spread their legs wide. The vast majority of the time, this is a man. The vast majority of the time, they encroach on the personal space of a woman. When this happens to you, you are dealing with it. The encroachment has already happened; you must respond. You can cross your legs, give way, open the space he’s insisting on. Or you can plant your legs and refuse. This requires physical contact for the duration of your intent, or the duration of his intent to claim what he thinks is his. You run the risk of him taking this as a challenge, as a flirtation, as an offense. I’ve lived in this city for almost a decade. I chose my lavaball strategy early. I have big legs; thick, muscular. When I sit, I sit with legs straight and feet on the floor, using no more space than necessary. When I am lavaballed, I dig them in and hold firm. If you want a five-second social experiment, this is it. Some men get angry. Some men hit on you. Some men – the honest men, maybe – without ever acknowledging your presence, will push harder and harder against your leg; if they can’t will you to do it, they will force you. All of them, every single one, is surprised to encounter resistance. Once, a guy pushed as hard as he could for twenty minutes. He gained no ground. He then moved to the opposite bench – that had been empty the entire time – sat down, and spread his legs as wide as he could. He never looked at me. I never moved. (Sometimes that’s how you deal with it: you do nothing, as hard as you can.) When I sit down now – when I sit anywhere – I take the aisle seat. I’m dealing with it. I have no choice.”

via Genevieve Valentine – Dealing With It found via Metafilter

‘The Great Gatsby’ Still Gets Flappers Wrong

“That’s the piece that most people forget: The flapper movement wasn’t simply a fashion trend… it was a full-blown, grassroots feminist revolution. After an 80-year campaign by suffragists, women were finally granted the right to vote in the United States in 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. When the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, many women entered the workforce, and when the soldiers returned in November 1918, their female counterparts were reluctant to give up their jobs. As a result, young, unmarried women experienced far greater financial independence than they’d ever had before. Bicycles, and then cars, allowed them to get around town without a male escort. The spread of electric lighting allowed nightclubs to flourish, just as the Prohibition Amendment of 1919 forced them to go underground. Drinking at illegal “speakeasies” became a thrilling part of flapper culture. Suddenly, it was possible for women to go out and enjoy freedom and rebellion in a way they never had before when they were beholden to their fathers or husbands. She rejected the notion that women should be submissive and keep to their “separate sphere” of the home. She proved that women could work and live independent from men—and party just as hard. She opened up new conversations about dating, sexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases. Along with all those feminist hallmarks, she also created a new, more demanding beauty standard for women that requires wearing makeup, tanning, and dieting and exercising to stay lithe and youthful.”

(via Metafilter: ‘The Great Gatsby’ Still Gets Flappers Wrong)