Thursday, August 16, 2007

16th Feminist SF Carnival

Welcome to the 16th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans!

Before we start, I have a confession to make.

I like science fiction, I really do. Fantasy too. I like the world-building and the hypothetical plots, the technology and the magic. All the things that make it science fiction and/or fantasy instead of something else.

But I have to admit that part of my love for scifi/fantasy is really a love for action heroes. More specifically, female action heroes. I spent a lot of time as a kid looking for adventure stories that featured - or at least included - girls, and a lot of them ended up being science fiction and/or fantasy stories. Women with swords, girls with magical powers, heroines with blasters. For some reason, leaving this world behind and building another made it easier for writers - and their audiences - to wrap their head around the idea that girls could love action and adventure.

When I was younger, the main obstacle to finding girl heroes seemed to be the relative lack of them. As I got older, I kept running into the uspoken and rarely broken rule that, when they existed, action heroines must be sexbots first and action heroes last. So when I stumbled across the commercial featuring "chicks with swords" (via The Hathor Legacy), I knew that had to be the theme when I hosted the carnival.

So without further ado, here is the 16th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans, chock filled with sword carrying women and all kinds of other great - or not so great - stuff.

It's a bird. It's a's Supergirl!

My thoughts on the new incarnation of Supergirl lean towards gibberish along the lines of "Pretty. Shiny. Me like. Me want more."

Fortunately, others have been much more loquacious than I.

First off, ami at Super Cute Rants of DOOM XD (totally the best blog title ever) writes about why she loves Supergirl:

Why do all heroes have to be angsty and mean? Why do they all need "reasons" to be heroes?

Can't we have some heroes who are just good ppl and dun have to become good ppl?

Why do girls need to be abused or live on the streets or be hookers in order to be heroes?

Can't they just crash land on a planet and be a hero? :D


Aren't we even allowed a few happy heroes? :)
Indeed, why must heroes always have "motivation"? I like characters with depth, but I don't think that means their reason for being good always needs to be complex.

Anyway, back to Supergirl.

Kalinara is one of the many who loves the latest issue of Supergirl:
Yes. Thank you.

That's what a real teenaged girl looks like. That's even what a real teenaged girl wears....She looks amazing.....Bedard's character is one I want to read about. Guedes's is one I want to see.

Brown Betty's praise is simple but oh so true for oh so many of us:
I just look at it and *siiiiiiiigh* with happiness.

A lot of the gushing over Guedes' art and Bedard's writing has happened in the forums, so I thought I'd include a few quotes from the ones hosted by (which I'm not sure is technically allowed, but I love this Supergirl so much I don't care!):
I have all-around feelings of joy for this issue. ^^

At last, fantastic artwork (only one upskirt shot and it didn't feel like fanservice because of the shorts!). And Supergirl actually tried to do something to fix her mistakes instead of just wallowing in it.

I loved this issue so hard. Supergirl - and the other characters! - looked human, and instead of sulking about her mistakes, which were so very much those of a superpowered teenager with a lot of naivety, she tried to do something about them.

For sure, the art in this was WONDERFUL. And I love how Supergirl and Wondergirl, despite both having blue eyes and blond hair, actually LOOK like two different women.... I really like how Supergirl is obviously a very young girl who is trying really hard to be a good hero.

Which brings us to the very sad news that a new creative team has been announced for Supergirl (via Occasional Superheroine)


(sorry for the interruption, that was my house blowing apart from the sheer amount of despair and rage inside my brain)

However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't still write to DC (if you haven't already) and tell them how much you are loving Guedes' and Bedard's Supergirl. Occasional Superheroine has some tips. (If you do, please keep in mind that Guedes' and Bedard's run was always meant to be temporary. Their departure is not (necessarily) a reaction to the idiots who think that Guedes' Supergirl is fat.)

Hermione is always right, unless she's being emotional.

(needless to say, do not click any of the links unless you've finished the series or don't mind spoilers.)

Over at Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty, Maia hones in on one of the main complaints I've been hearing about Deathly Hallows:
'I'm going to leave you because I'm putting you in danger' is my least favourite relationship device ever.....What I find so frustrating about this, is that limiting women's choices for them is portrayed as a romantic act....Loving someone shouldn't mean limiting their agency.

*e, at A Blog Without A Bicycle, ponders the newest movie villian and brings up a good point:
"...I just wish that it wasn't her (overly) stereotypical "feminine" traits that made [Umbridge] so memorable. What if a female villan was just...villanous?"

I'll admit to being one of the many who enjoyed Imelda Staunton's Umbridge, but it does bring up the classic feminist dilemma when it comes to femininity: how does one analyze the limitations created by traditional femininity, or create a feminine villian, without bashing femininity itself? Hopefully with more finesse than the movie manages to have.

Sara of Sara Speaking discovers that sometimes gems do lurk within Amazon forums, after stumbling across this excellent question about power and gender in Potterverse:
I can understand how men would be better at physical fighting than women, but simply waving a wand in the air using spells based on pure intelligence….??? Hello?????......Where was the female equivalent of Dumbledore?
Sara adds:
I find it a very valid question, especially since it’s a fantasy book. Why should it have to conform so closely to the male-dominant standards of the society we already have?....And why, oh why, is it called the wizarding world — when there is a clear gender-based differences between wizards (men) and witches (women)?

I think that fireeyedgirl sums up a lot of feminist fans' feelings towards the series as a whole when she writes that
I don't hate the Harry Potter books because of [it's treatment of female characters], I just am sad because I feel like there was potential in this series, written by a woman who is also the mother of a daughter, for a rebel girl heroine who breaks rules and succeeds.

All of which makes it that much sweeter to learn (via Jessica at Feministing) that Emma Watson, the talented young woman made famous by her role as the always clever Hermione Granger, considers herself to be "a bit of a feminist."

And on that note, Sara also points us to an illustration by makani of one of the few showdowns between female characters in the series.

"No....there is another."

There's a great article over at Jive Magazine about why "Star Wars fans hate Star Wars."

Never is this more true than when it comes to feminist fangirls who love Leia. (ie people like me) The knowledge that Leia was capable of becoming a Jedi, and yet was not the one who brought about the Return of the Jedi epitomizes why being a feminist SF fan is often a bittersweet experience.

Princess Leia was My First Idol, my first hero, the kind of princess I've always wanted to be.
She didn't just wait around and pray to be rescued.....[and] She told the scary bad guy that had us all quaking in our boots to fuck off.

And guess who else loves Leia:

“Outta my way, nerf-herders. Guess it’s up to me to save our skins—again! ZAP!”
- from the always amusing mind of Meg Cabot.

No wonder why Mia is such an awesome princess.

Also, fellow Star Wars fan Sarah (Still Life With Soup Can) made some cool shirts for herself at Cafe Press and was surprised when other people bought them. I'm not surprised that the most popular are her Girl Revan shirts mocking "LucasFolk['s decision] to go and ruin the fun by declaring "Canon Revan" to be a light side male." Revan being a playable character in various Star Wars games, for the two people other than me who are unfamiliar with the name.

"It Slices, it Dices, and Makes Julienne Preacher." - And Other Sharp, Shiny Objects

Yes, I know Buffy's signature weapon was a wooden stake, but let's face it, we all loved her best when she was wielding something sharper than the pointy end of a picket fence. Which may be why Grace's summation of the best and worst of Buffy at Heroine Content features Buffy with a sword, not a stake. Like me, Grace
didn't watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it was first aired...[does]not believe the show deteriorated when it moved to the UPN.... [and] loved it from start to finish...
she adds
All that being said, I've never seen anything on television so in need of feminist and anti-racist analysis as Buffy. The show gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "so close but so far away."

At 100LittleDolls, Shions_Glasses also reminds us that sexism often goes hand in hand with racism. (warning: spoilers for Rogue Galaxy within)
Of course the only woman of color in the game has to hail from a "backwards" tribal jungle planet. .....On top of that, her bow is pretty worthless in combat.
Obviously, Lilika deserves better clothes, a better backstory, and a better weapon. XD

A sword, maybe? ; I

Amber Night finds yet another fantasy game with sword-wielding women sporting unlikely armor.
in the world of WAR, do they just go for the legs? ....You could make an entire suit of normal armor just out of her leg armor. Which…you know…probably would have been a good idea, given that her guild seems to be short on armorers able to craft from the crotch up.

Meanwhile, Tekanji uses a picture of a sword carrying girl to demonstrate (at the dangers of assuming that your good intentions will mean your message is clear, even when the context is ambiguous. (I'm not going to quote the posts because it's more of an audience participation experiment. Just follow the links. It will take you to the girl and her bloody sword and explain who she is.)

"We rule Terabithia, and nothing crushes us!"

Alice, at Wonderland gives us some pictures of the incredibly awesome woman who won BlizzCon's costume contest, and her kickass getup.

BomberGirl (Girl in the Machine) talks about why she loves Heather from Silent Hill:
Throughout her story, we come to root for Heather. She's not perfect; she has flaws, from her short temper to the freckles on her face. She stands as my most favorite video game character of all time (just take a look at my icon!). And here at Girl in the Machine, game developers hand us so much to be negative about, and it feels wonderful to celebrate the positive aspects of women in games.

Kotetsu gives favorable reviews to two recent anime movies, Paprika and Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. Regarding the former, she writes:
One thing that I love about Paprika, however, is the heroine....Like in all of Kon's movies, a woman takes center stage. Sure, there are lots of male characters, and sure, they're important - but they're only important in the sense that they interact with and support the heroine. It's almost the complete opposite of most Hollywood (and Japanese) movies.

Lyle, at Crocodile Caucus lets us know about an interesting possibility on the upcoming season of Supernatural:
Unfortunately, one thing that’s always kept me from fully getting into Supernatural is the show’s WiR-ness......Now, an interview with series creator Eric Kripke gets me excited about Supernatural for the first time. There’s no money quote, but, at the least Kripke shows an awareness of the problem and seems like he’s looking to correct the course.

Lastly, I'm apparently not the only one that adored Spider-man, Fairytales #1. Pervyficgirl writes:
I love this comic. Possibly I read it six times. Possibly I will be sharing with my eight year old niece. Something I dearly wish I could do in good conscience with Black Canary or current Wonder Woman.

Also, it is implied that Peter is going to make his Spider-costume out of the remains of MJ's red hood. Awwwwww. I love you, Peter Parker. You wear your strong woman's clothes.

"It's just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf... what's the point of living... if you don't have a dick?"

The latest version of the Smurfette Syndrome is brought to us by the new Transformers movie. Ragnell eloquently rants:
Why is being a girl so fucking special? Why is it that every other fucking robot has a male fucking voice and no one questions why they have gender coding but the fucking second you bring in a female voice and god forbid you put it in a feminine color you have to suddenly explain why everyone has gender?

And the next time someone tries to argue that it's all because girls don't like action and explosions and the like, feel free to spit out the stats from a recent study that says otherwise. Mighty Ponygirl (from Feminist Gamers) summarizes:
While the numbers still show that boys play more videogames than girls, the gap is not as wide as people would like to believe: while 2/3 of boys reported playing a violent video game at least once a week, so did a full 1/3 of girls interviewed. This means that even the remaining 2/3 of girls who play videogames may still play violent videogames, just not as often as once a week.

On a more "high-brow" note, Eleanor at Ambling Along an Aqueduct has some thoughts on why there don't seem to be as many female SF writers:
I think there is a double prejudice operating here. One is a prejudice against the life sciences as opposed to physics and engineering.....
The other, of course being that it can't really be "hard" SciFi if it was written by a woman. (Women being soft and gooey and all, I guess.)

Charleanders at She's Such a Geek! asks us to help Free Julie Delpy!. She also asks:
Why does Steven Spielberg get to make dozens of increasingly braindead films, when Julie Delpy doesn’t get her shot?
Good question!

On a similar note, while the statistics are not about Science Fiction/Fantasy in particular, gillpolack points us to some interesting, but depressing, stats on gender in movies:
72% of speaking character parts are male;
83.5% of crowd scenes are male;
83% of narrators are male.
Ouch. I can't imagine the stats are better when one looks at just scifi/fantasy.

(note: the link to See Jane's research seems to be broken. Their site is currently being reworked, and that may be why. I'll try fix the link when/if I can.)

At Feminist SF - The Blog! lizzard let's us know that
Juno Books’s Paula Guran is looking for stories for Warrior Women [a reprint anthology]...Amazons to warrior princesses to space cadets—strong women who meet the challenge of fighting the good fight.
If you have any suggestions - send them in!

I'll admit that I don't know much about LiveJournal, and many of the postings about the recent controversy over LJ banning various fandoms and fanfiction journals has left me more confused than enlightened. However, Mastor Erestor has some strong words to say on the subject:
"Obscenity" is the perfect tool to weed out everything that doesn't fit in a nice, clean, straight, male-dominated and preferably white world.
(sigh) Isn't that always the case.

Ahh! Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal!

Bellatrys, at Nothing New Under the Sun, takes one for the team and reviews the first two Gor books. Her reason?
After about the fifth or sixth reiteration of the (usually-male-made) claim that "the first ones weren't so bad, the misogyny and male dominance stuff didn't come in till later," I resolved, in my Chaotic way, to challenge this dogma and put it to the test.
What she finds is scary in so many ways.

While I'm sure everyone knows by now just why the lamentable Gor series is getting more dicsussion lately, it should also be noted that, as J. E. Remy (Die Wachen) points out, apparently
Dark Horse feels it not only appropriate to support the subjugation and victimization of women by republishing this long out-of-print work, but to market it to “all age groups.”
(emphasis mine)

Remy's posts critiquing Dark Horse's decision also include all kinds of contact information in case you want to write letters to the parties involved.

Because I cannot end this on a bad note, I leave you with 1) Space Invaders Against Sexism!

(Yes, it's from kotaku - but it's space invaders against sexism! - and it's via Jade Reporting. I think......It's been a long couple of days.)

And 2) a reminder that Ragnell is still looking for someone to host the 17th carnival.

That's all folks, thanks for coming!


100LittleDolls said...

Wow, it's huge! Excellent job. And yes, Jade Reporting linked the Space Invaders against sexism. :)

Mickle said...

yes, it does kinda go one forever, doesn't it? I kept finding great stuff and I'm really bad at making hard decisions and I had a month and a half to cover. So, loooooooooooooong carnival. I hope people make ti to the end. :)

Mickle said...

oh! and thanks!

Revena said...

Fabulous job, Mickle! I'm seeing lots of bloggers here that I've not read before, too, which is always thrilling. :-D

baby221 said...

D'aww, I'm in it =^-^= Thanks to whoever suggested me ...

And great reads, the rest of you! It's great to see such an active edition of the carnival =D

Mickle said...


Thanks, that was part of the goal.


That would be me, actually. :)

I didn't get any submissions about Harry Potter (maybe partly because the carnival was announced so long after most of the discussions) but I'm a children's librarian! I had to include something!. And when I saw your post, my first thought was "oooh, good point!" and my second was "and one that I hadn't heard before!" So I knew I had to include it.

Did I get the name right, btw? Your posts aren't signed, so I just assumed you were the Sara part of Sara Speaking. Do you want me to change it?

Ami Angelwings said...


I'm here!

Yay :D

I'm glad you luff my title ^^

Nenena said...

Sorry for the delayed comment, but thanks for an awesome carnival, and thanks for including my post!

Alice said...

Great Job! I am a great fan of Leia, and I never miss any of her StarWars movies. I have a huge collection of princess Leia costume. She is one of the famous super girl and princess.