Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Bite Me

(ps - why the article thinks that the girls that went to go see Hannah Montana are the same ones that made Twilight popular, I don't know. Either the fact that tweens like to pretend they are teens is confusing them or they are as stupid as the guy that thought that they added the action into the movie that wasn't in the book. wev. I never said they would get a clue about everything, just about the fact that teen girls exist.)

(pps - ok, so they moved HP and Nick and Nora went largely unnoticed. from what I understand, largely bc it was a lame adaptation. but still. any movie exec that doesn't at least start looking at the ya section of their BN deserves to lose $)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

OMG, ur such a girl!

Someone at a party was giving me shit for not wanting to read Twilight just last night. When I pointed out how completely bass-ackwards it was to have Vampires SPARKLE in the sunlight, and why does Edward have to fly, anyway, why can’t he just summon a My Little Pony and they can go riding down a friggin’ rainbow together, it pretty well ended that discussion.

Because the point is to turn something scary into something that is not.

The point is to turn the kind of femininity that culture accepts into something that girls actually want. Or, rather, to turn what girls actually want into the kind of femininity that culture accepts.

It's like every spunky literary heroine's decision to submit to her "one true love" - from Anne to Jo and everyone before, after, and in-between - expanded into an entire story rather than just shoved into a perplexing epilogue.

Which is annoying and not terribly healthy - especially left unchecked and unexamined - but is certainly better than the lack of explanation found in most stories of similar popularity. Now and previously.

Because the fact that so many girls want an entire story explaining this - and are increasingly unsatisfied with the ending - is a little bit revolutionary. Meyer certainly didn't set out to be revolutionary. If she had, the books wouldn't have gotten increasingly worse. It's also certainly no Buffy. But it serves a purpose. And that purpose is something other than to drive anyone who isn't a teen girl batty.

Also, and most importantly - teen girls like them.

We just had an extremely successful fantasy/scifi movie come out that was driven by and starring teen girls/young women. This may not be the holy grail, but it is s a good thing. yes?

I'm not arguing that anything that girls like shouldn't be thought of as good. I'm certainly not arguing that Twilight in particular is above critique.

But could we lay off the "omg teen girls are such girls" that most laments of the popularity of the series boil down to? Especially from feminists?

And while we are at it, let's ditch the unspoken and ridiculous assumption that teen girl's literary habits are fueled by the fact that they are idiots incapable of understanding the idea of fantasy and wish- fulfillment. As if Gossip Girls only became popular because teen girls are not only the shallowest creatures on the planet, but also believe everything they read. Yeah. That would be great, too.


ps - the first book was pretty damn good actually, btw. it was no Tithe or Valiant, but I would hold it up against most of L'Engle's realistic fiction for teens any day. which isn't really a fair comparison, but you get the point.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Criminal Minds at Paley Center - Introduction

First, Monday night was awesome.

Secondly, I drove, like, all over SoCal that day - including going out for drinks all the way out at Shoreline Village in Long Beach after the seminar. Which means I'm still recovering. Which means this recap is much later than I'd meant for it to be. Which means my memory may be fading already. Which means that in order to avoid misquoting people: *this* means they said something sort of similar to what is between the asterix while "this" means that they said exactly what is between the quotes.

Now - onto the recap!

Before they brought the cast and crew onstage, they showed us tonight's episode, which was very good. It was lots of fun to watch in a theatre full of fans. It also went by really quickly. Even though I watch everything on TiVo now, so I'm used to no commericals, I tend to pause a lot to get up for snacks or even to rewind scenes because they were just that awesome so the ending kinda snuck up on me. (The quickness of it, not the general way it ended.)

But I digress. The ep was good. (Reid tells a joke. To a class full of students. I shit you not. And it goes over about as well as you expect it to. And this week's shoutout goes to Numb3rs. And interestingly enough, it is more of a shoutout than a pointing and laughing kind of thing. There was a little bit of mockery, but much less than CSI got.) The ep was really good, actually. No surprise there.

Even better, though, was when it was over and they brought everyone out!

Kristen came first, then AJ, Ed, and Deborah. Which made sense because then no one had to walk past anyone else to get to their chairs. But then they mixed it all up and out came Matthew (who practically bounded down the stairs) then Shemar, Paget, Thomas, and Joe - except that they all sat in the reverse order. (It may be that Kristen, AJ, Ed and Deborah are the smart ones of the group and Matthew and the rest simply messed everything up by sitting in the first seat instead of the last. Or it may be that the Paley Center wasn't really thinking logistically. dunno.)

The point of this excess of information being that everyone in the front row had to awkwardly squeeze past increasingly more people to get to their seat - which lead to Thomas doing a fake dive past Matthew, Shemar, and Paget towards his chair.

Thomas Gibson? Is an absolute freakin' clown.

(and I mean the funny kind, not the scary serial killer kind.)

Sadly, I shall have to leave you hanging for now.

More to come, I promise!

Edited to correct Deborah Spera's name and to include Paget - how did I forget Paget!!!!!!??????

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Networks:


or at least, if you are going to insist on "happy" endings, give the kick-ass writers you hired enough time to come up with something less.....hollywood ending-ish.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Logic: You Do Not Have It:

(or it may be that language confuses you, it's a tossup)

From the comments at Zuska's:

If the power wielded is via the fear of sexual assault, then it is useless without the assumption that every man is a potential rapist.

Now look what happens when we apply logic to this sentence:

"If the power wielded is via the fear of sexual assault, then it is useless without the assumption that potential victims are unable to read minds."

The logical - and statistically supported - assumption that one can't tell which men are rapists just by spending time with them (much less just by simply looking at them) = / = assuming every man is capable of rape.

The only thing more annoying than women being cast as perpetually illogical is women's very logical decisions being used as "proof" of this.

Bad Numbers

Charlie is explaining stuff to Don and LAPD guy by talking about groups of high school students coming into a cafeteria at lunch time. Cheerleaders. Then Jocks. Then "mathematicians." ie - nerds. I get the cheerleaders and jocks being girls and boys respectively, but why the hell are all the "mathematicians" boys?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Oh My

and SQUEE!

I may be talking about politics this election cycle after all.

You MINX, You

The early demise of MINX has been done to death by everyone else already, but that's never stopped me from putting my two cents in before, so I don't see why it should now.

Needless to say, I agree with everyone saying "uh, golly gee, I didn't see that coming" and all the reasons given why: no fantasy, no series, overall just not the kind of stuff teen girls actually read, few female creators, low quality, lack of diversity, goals were apparently too short term, etc.

But I found myself getting inexplicably pissed at DC and RH for the mess they made.

Not just annoyed or peeved, but royally pissed off like I only do when people make the kinds of leaps of logic that make my head want to explode.

At first I thought it was just because they deserve it for such a poorly conceived effort, so I began ranting about that - on other blogs and in probably never to be published blog posts of my own. And I kept ranting until I realized that what I kept coming back to wasn't any of the things above, but this line from Comic Book Resources (quoted by Heidi McDonald, via WFA):

Multiple sources close to the situation agree Bond and DC aren’t to blame for MINX’s cancellation, and that this development should be seen as a depressing indication that a market for alternative young adult comics does not exist in the capacity to support an initiative of this kind, if at all.

At first this sounds like nothing more than pointing the finger at Barnes and Noble and the like for crushing DC's plan to "place MINX titles in the coveted young adult sections of bookstores."

The problem with this is that Barnes and Noble goes where the money is. That isn't to say that buyers can't be idiots themselves (see: how long it took them to move Gabaldon from romance to fiction), but the teen section is not the place where B&N tends to be set in it's ways. It's one of the most frequently rearranged areas of the store compared to it's size. Adding new non-fiction sections, changing the names of sections, adding and removing fixtures, etc. Plus, the fiction and manga section in particular probably has fewer backlist titles than any other part of the store, aside from Current Affairs. And the backlist titles that are in teen fiction? Tends to be very unrealistic fiction or required reading. All of which only makes sense, considering the target audience.

So who exactly, are these "inside sources" blaming here? Barnes and Noble, for not handing over to DC the prime real estate they give to Gossip Girl and the like? Or the teen girls themselves, for having the audacity to choose Fruits Basket and the Gossip Girl spin-off The It Girl over "alternatives" such as Regifters and Clubbing?

Whatever their intention, the ultimate "blame" for the teen market not being open to "alternative teen comics" like the MINX titles lies not on Barnes and Noble, who did very little to promote the Gossip Girl titles until every teen girl and her half a dozen friends came in asking for them, but on the teen girls themselves for being such silly flighty things who inexplicably choose L8r G8r, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist and Dramacon 3 over The Plain Janes.

The conception and execution of MINX was bad enough, but to put the blame on your target demographic in such a condescending way is a completely different level of low.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Well, Copying = Stealing, So....

I've been watching various Daily Show clips in which they make fun of Republicans and talking heads for asking people to respect Palin's family's decision to have Bristol keep the baby, but then on the other hand, saying that other people shouldn't be trusted to be able to make the same decision themselves.

What I find really interesting is that they are having such a hard time defending themselves from this argument.

If they really believed that abortion was infanticide (as Gingrich claims he does) then the response is a no brainer. All they would have to say is that if murder was not illegal, but they were trying to make it so, no one would consider it hypocritical of them to applaud people's decisions not to murder.

But they can't do that.

And they know they can't do that because most people don't think that abortion is murder - and they know that the only reason the "abortion is murder" argument gets them any points is because we make such high demands on mothers (women in general, really) to be perfect and to sacrifice themselves for their children. For most people, women who get abortions are "murdering" their children in the same way that overprotective mothers "smother" their children.

There are a lot of reasons why abortion "feels" wrong to people. Most people, however, don't think that it's wrong the way that murder is wrong. Often, they mainly think that it's wrong the way that they think that candidates leaving their infant children at home while they go campaigning is wrong. They may agree or disagree with someone's decision, but they mainly think it's their decision to make - with the caveat that mothers (and mothers to be) are judged differently than fathers (and fathers to be).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

If You Have to Ask.....

...then I'm not sure that I can explain, but I'll try.

I'm not going to waste your time trying to convince you that comments about Palin such as:

Okay, she's a whore who defeats all espectations.


There is nothing remotely attractive about Barracuda Girl.


NOT hot. ... Plastic. Barbie doll.

are sexist, unnacceptable, and hurt the cause - both yours and mine.

This isn't a feminism 101 post. I'm not going to hold you hand and explain that yes, gendered slurs are gendered slurs and that aiming them at awful people doesn't magically make them not gendered slurs.

But I can understand why some people who only barely passed FEM 101 might be a little confused about certain things. Such as why the following response to "I am striving to be gender neutral when criticizing Palin in general." is absolute fail:

I would like to.

Except that she's trying to help the GOP screw other women out of our rights.

The main problem with this argument is that it is a complete failure of logic - if one considers being "gender neutral" refraining from using sexist slurs. And since the second commentor was also responsible for several sexist comments, including the third one listed above, this does appear to be the case. This isn't the only type of behavior being shoved under the misnomer "being gender neutral" but it is the one where logic fails.

One can certainly criticize Palin for being hypocritical when it comes to women's rights. She's not quite Phyliss Schafly, but there are definitely commonalities between SP and PS, which means there is a lot we can call Palin on.

But to use sexist slurs to do so amounts to criticizing her for simply being a woman, which means complete FAIL for obvious reasons. Obvious as in feminism 101 obvious.

So what makes this slightly beyond feminism 101? Because it's not always obvious what consitutes a gendered slur. While the 'NOT hot" part of the comment is obviously wrong, "Barbie doll." is not always a purely sexist comment. One can give such insults a context that makes it clear that the woman being insulted is being insulted for something that she did, rather than being insulted simply for being a conventionally attractive woman.

One good example of this insult working might be comic fans complaining about their favorite superheroine being turned into a Barbie doll. While slip-ups can - and very often do - still happen in this context, there is at least a foundation for making it clear that the issue is not that she is female or even feminine, but that she is a generic, uninteresting, stock female character; that she lacks the seriousness and strength of personality to be a good superhero; or even just to make snarky comments about the homegeniality and over-sexualization of superheroines in general.

This? was not one of those cases. The only "context" is that Palin is female and pretty. Which means that "Barbie doll." is still a gendered insult in this context. Even though other complaints from the same commentor make it clear that there is substance to the ire directed at Palin, the potentially sexist insults that are said are not at all related to the complaints listed - making them simply gendered slurs. (Except perhaps for "plastic", but that one seems rather out of the blue and only related to the Barbie doll insult itself rather than any of the other complaints. it's possible that I'm missing some of the connections on that one, but, well, see next paragraph...)

Keep in mind that creating clear context is very, very hard. It's really easy to accidentaly turn what should be an insult about someone's unhealthy obsession with conformity to the modern, media driven definition of femininity, into simply another way of saying that girlie stuff sucks. Or add unintended sexist overtones to what was simply an attempt to call someone plastic or fake.

Your right to free speech certainlly allows you to say whatever the hell you want (although, be forewarned: not on my blog), but ask yourself if it makes sense to do so. I'm not going to try to tell you that you catch more flies with honey, because there is just so much that is so very wrong about that "advice." What I will say, however, is that being clear about what you mean is a not a bad thing.

If what you mean is that she's a bitch, then by all means, call her a bitch.

But if what you really mean is that she's a narrow-minded, abrasive, douche just like her running mate - but you are feeling the urge to call her a bitch because it sounds more powerful - you may want to rethink calling her a bitch. Because that's what bitch may mean to you, but to those of us that have been called bitch, usually just because we aren't willing to be doormats or fuckholes, it means something else entirely. And no, we aren't going to give you the benefit of the doubt. (especially when you also discuss how fuckable she is as well) Neither, btw, are the Republicans. Both the ones that will hypocritcally call you on your sexism and the ones that will applaud you for putting the bitch in her place.

Still not sure you are ready to go back out into "the real world" and not be an accidental sexist asshat? Then let's try another example of bad logic:

i think palin's hotness is the issue

if you imagine her as a boring looking dude, you get a fundie with a lightweight resume and a brewing influence scandal

but everybody is blinded by the giant cute

it'll wear off...

Palin's "hotness" - and gender - is very much an this context. It is not, however, an issue in and of itself. In other words, the issue is McCain's reasons for choosing her, not the fact that she is female and "hot." Statements like this are right on the money (aside from the fact that i hate "hot" as a stand in for sexy)....except when they are used to defend "debates" about whether the debaters would like to fuck her. (which this exactly what this comment was meant to be) It may be useful to debate if her looks are the right kind of looks to get McCain votes (assuming that's even possible). It is not useful, however to simply discuss whether or not you think she is pretty - especially as if this were the most important thing about her that one could possibly discuss.

Now that we've done the warm-ups, we are ready for the trickiest bit: the generic sex jokes. Which, by definition, ought to be non-gendered. Except that nothing is non-gendered about sex in our society. So on the odd chance that you weren't able to make the previous disctinctions yourself prior to coming here (and yet are still willing to listen to advice from me for some odd reason) I will leave you with this one last bit of wisdom:

Stay far, far, away from "generic" sex jokes. At least until this whole post seems like elementary logic to you.

If you do not, you may be the unwitting perpetrator of such idiotic and unfunny slurs as:

Does the governor do anything?

She once had a three-way with Michele Bachmann and a moose.

Seriously people, the only thing funny about that "joke" is the moose part*. And no, I wouldn't have an issue if it were Cheney, Bush, and McCain. (i still wouldn't find it funny, either, but wev) And yes, it makes a difference that these are women we are talking about. Not becuase it will always make a difference, but because you and the media are the ones making the two jokes mean two different things when you all obsess about how fuckable Palin/Hillary is, but whether you'd like to have a drink/dinner with Bush/Obama.

Now, go forth and bring McCain/Palin down! Only now working with the wondrous power of feminism, not against it.

(all quotes are from the thread for this post:

*actually, the crack about the moose having the best rack was the funniest part of the whole thread. but that's just cuz i'm a sucker for bad puns

Friday, August 29, 2008


I'm re-watching the first dvd I ever owned - Pleasantville - which I haven't seen in years.

and it's freakin' cracking me up.

not because it's so funny, but bc

1) the logo swish at the beginning of the dvd is for "New Line Home Video"

2) there is no sound on this dvd until the movie starts

3) I'd totally forgetten about Reese Witherspoon and Don Knotts

4) didn't that syrup just spill onto the table?

5) omg! Paul Walker!

6) and Marc Blucas!!!!!

7) how did I miss that lack of toilets in the restroom all those other times I've watched this movie?

8) why does Pleasantville even have a lover's lane? (I guess even Pleasantville needs something to caution their kids about)

9) kids screwing causes a king sized bed to appear at the department store?

10) the portfolio

11) ha! the townspeople that make up the crowd are arranged in neat rows when "Bud" gets his medal

12) dude! Jonathon!

(I always hated how he explained Huckleberry Finn)

13) Pleasantville Public Library - the sign is color!

14) Big Bob is pinning George :)

15) ok, so, the make-up explains the skin, but how did the hair go back to b&w?

(I love that when she asks if it looks ok, he doesn't answer yes, he says that it looks like it did. i also love that Bill is more interested in the impressionists and abstract paintings than the naked people)

16) and David explains the movie to the stupid people in the audience

17) so....the kids don't know what rain is - but the adults do?

18) so.......the national anthem isn't allowed (if it's recorded)?

"Across the Universe" is such the perfect song to end on .....and it makes me want to re-watch Across the Universe

overall, I love the unsubtleness of it all. anvil-sized metaphors and themes to be sure, but back in the dark ages before the internets - before finding people who I could discuss tv and movies with - (and in the absence of any decent media literacy in school) I must admit that I kinda needed the anvil-sized metaphors to help me see that movies could be more intellectual than Sneakers. that's part of why i love Buffy, too. that show taught me more about film as literature than just about anything else out there.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forgive Me If This is a Stupid Question

But what exactly is so bad about erring on the side of being overcautious about possibly fostering harassment - even if it means kicking out a few clueless but otherwise nice con-goers?

(Especially over the course of a single convention, in an attempt to set a new tone for the following years.)

We are talking about getting kicked out of a con, not being fired from a job. The con people can make up all kinds of rules about who they get to kick out (so long as no one's civil rights are violated) and have every legal right to enforce it. There's no reason why cons have to rely on legal definitions. If they feel the need to toss out people who are not acting illegaly but are still making the con a less pleasant place for others, they can certainly do so.

A part of the problem is that this stuff feeds off of itself. Anytime you go someplace new you test the waters and see whats considered normal for that group/place. Habitual harassers take that one step further and seek out places that have lax rules or enforcement. (Yes, sometimes even if it costs lots of money. Creeps have hobbies and options on where they can spend their money just like everyone else.) By pretty much ignoring known instances of harassment, (some) cons help make the situation worse than it would be otherwise. Their lack of action is seen as permission by people who are testing the waters and as an opportunity by outright creeps.

I'm not asking for the con to throw out every guy who oogles a metal-bikini-clad Leia. (Or every manga-fan who rudely glomps a fellow cos-player without gaining permission.) What I'm asking is for them to take note when shit happens (such as someone who is spending his day insulting female - and only female - artists), issue clear warnings, and follow through with the warnings as much as possible.

I'm not asking that every male con-goer be scared to speak to any female con-goer for fear they will say the wrong thing, I'm asking for a system that makes it clear to certain people that what they consider reasonable (glomping w/out permission) is not in line with what everyone else considers reasonable, so they may want to be a bit more cautious in the future - or face the consequences.

And yes, as part of the management team of a new library that gets literally thousands of (very noisy) patrons daily, many of whom had never been to a public library until we opened, I do realize what a huge task I'm asking the cons to do. Just the hundreds we have at once are overwhelming at times. I also know from experience, however, how quickly it can go from bad to out of control if you don't do something - or even when you limit the "doing" to giving warning upon meaningless warning. And that a part of why this happens is because your lack of even bothering to lift a finger drives away the best-behaved people, so bad behavior becomes even more normalized.

Kicking people out of the freakin' library pisses people off. Kicking people out of a con is going to cause most people to go nuclear. But it also shows that you mean what you say. And it makes the experience more pleasant for everyone. Often even for the person you kicked out last year.

The fact that there are cons where this shit is an issue but they don't even have a stated policy - much less give warnings and follow through on them - just completely blows my mind when I stop and really think about it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

For Example:

The first comment on my previous post was this lovely bit of troll droppings:

It isn't obvious to you but to me, after getting involved with and then getting kicked out of girl-wonder I can tell you that feminists and those who pander to them are fucked-up! Wish it were different but it's not. I'd rather put up with all the stupidity and rudeness that "normal" people throw at me than deal with that sort of convoluted thinking. Just try asking a simple question or making an innocuous statement on girl-wonder. Those clints treat it as if it were a bomb about to go off.

Let's see, we've got # 4 broken before the first sentence is even halfway done. Dan, I'm aware of the kinds of people that get "kicked out of girl-wonder" (I believe you mean get booted off the Girl-Wonder forums, btw) and if this comment is any indication of your normal cordial personality, I'm sure your exile is well justified.

Then we finish with a double dose of of both #2 and #3. Did you even read the damn post?

Of course not. Which is made doubly obvious by the fact that nothing in the comment addresses anything I wrote at all (I believe that's #1), unless you count deliberately ignoring the advice/rules.

Another bit of information that was overlooked? The part in the banner above that says that I write about feminism. Combined with the tone of the post the comment was left on, one would think that I may, possibly, be one of those fucked-up feminists Dan is complaining about. Crazy, I know, but certainly possible.

Even more shocking, however, is that I generally don't publish comments from people who call me names. It's pretty much a knee-jerk reaction to hit "reject." I couldn't pass up the opportunity, however, to mock such a self-absorbed asshole. FYI, Danny-boy, the post in question had nothing whatsoever to do with Girl-Wonder in particular. That particular post was inspired by an accidental troll over at Shakesville. Deliberate trolls such as yourself don't get snarky advice, they just get snark.

Two more things before I go:

The word you were trying to call me is spelled cunt. And that's FUCKING CUNT to assholes like you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dear Privileged Asshats,

(Those of you that do not intend to be trolls, anyway...)

A few guidelines for posting on feminist blogs:

1) If you ever think you may find yourself writing anything along these lines later in the conversation:

All right. We disagree, and that's fine. I probably picked the wrong...thread in which to make my wider point, as this one is about something we all agree was unacceptable, for which I apologize. I just happened to be reading this one when I decided to set out my thoughts.

DO NOT POST whatever it is you are about to post.

Why? First of all, that's rude no matter what. It's called derailement. It's called get your own blog.

Secondly, and more importantly, when the thread was about sexism (ie, the kinds of post that make the blog in question a feminist blog), derailing the thread amounts to arguing that such things are not worth discussing.

In other words, just don't. You will either find your ass handed to you or you will end up kicking your own ass when you find yourself illogically wasting your time arguing that we are wasting our time on something that isn't worth arguing about.

Quite likely both.

2) When the "wider point" one is making is that it's really not that big of a deal (for whatever reason), that's not a "wider point," that's calling into question the validity of the post itself and, by extension, discourages people from calling others out on their sexist bullshit.

It's bad enough when you blindly imply that sexism isn't worth discussing, so it should be a no brainer that you really don't want to excplicitly argue the same stupidity. And that we will be much less forgiving in the latter situation than the former.

Chances are, in fact, that you just violated the comment policy (see #6) and your kernel of wisdom will never see the light of anyone else computer screen. At least, not with it's vowels intact, anyway,

3) If you ever find yourself wanting to say anything that even hints of accusing feminists overreacting, just DON'T.

Step away from the keyboard.

Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down.

And then, maybe, maybe, write something explaining how you see/feel about things. If you do, remember that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar....and condescension is full of vinegar. Also, see read through the rest of the rules/advice before posting.

4) Remember that just because you are the minority on this blog/board, that doesn't mean that your thoughts/arguments will be new to anyone there.

You are probably not the minority anywhere else, and we don't live 24/7 on our cyber-feminist-utopias, so it's highly unlikely that your disagreement will really be all that novel or illumnating to us.

In fact, there is a very good chance that arguments like the one you are about to make are exactly what we are responding to in the first place. Just because we don't spell it out in every thread for visitors doesn't make it any less understood amongst ourselves that just about every feminist argument is a counter-argument to the rest of the world.

5) More words/phrases to avoid:

"I don't get..." when paired with anything that amounts to "I think the differently."

Well, obviously. Those two are a little redundant together, yes?

More importantly, don't you think you ought to try to "get" whatever it is before coming to a conclusion? Because otherwise you are pretty much saying that you are the smartest of the smart and no one else could have a legitimate perspective. Considering the corrollaries to #4: "you've probably never heard our arguments unfiltered before" and "every thread (on a non-femism 101 post) starts halfway through the conversation" that's an especially stupid assumption to make.

(Special minus points if this is paired with breaking #4.)

6) Follow every good authors advice on how to be a better writer: Read. Read. Read.

Read (the FAQ). Read (the comment policy). Read (previous posts/threads). Before posting anything.

I know you think we just can't live without your little gem of wisdom (see #3 please) but if you really want to argue effectively, it's a good idea to study the native customs before getting involved. While that's pretty good advice for any new community you've stumbled across, that goes double triple quadruple for the privileged participating in non-privileged communities. On-line or elsewhere.

That is all for now.

Its a Bird! Its a Butterfly! It's....

Do you know what part tends to trip me up in debates? When people ask the kinds of questions for which the answer is so obvious you've never really thought about why it is, you just want to bang your head against the wall repeatedly that someone felt they had to ask it.

But never fear!

Here to save the day is Girl-Wonder!

No, seriously.

Yes, we all know that TPTB thought that Girl-Wonder was going to crawl back to her little pinkified mini-batcave once her namesake had been resurrected. You'd think they'd have learned by now that if anyone deserves to be shanshued* around here it's the ever-persistent and always optimistic heroines that run Girl-Wonder.

Not content with forcing the big boys to pretend that making feminist comic book fans happy was what they had intended all along, Girl-Wonder has recently turned their attention to the abysmal way in which female fans are often treated at comic book (and other) conventions. Not only have they put together a whole website about it, they have put together one of the most awesomeist FAQs ever:

6. Why do cons need to spell it out that sexual harassment is unacceptable? They don’t tell anyone not to murder someone else on the con floor.

And there aren’t widespread reports of people murdering others, so clearly that’s already understood. But some people seemingly feel that harassment is con-appropriate behavior, and it’s important that cons clearly tell them it’s not.....

7. Why is this even a problem? People should be flattered when someone lets them know they’re sexy.

Harassment isn’t about polite and respectful admiration. Polite and respectful admiration doesn’t tell the admired person how they “should” feel about it.

Tell me again why people say feminists aren't funny? I'd guess that maybe they all just think that one can't be funny and dead serious at the same time; except that then they would have to be completely ignoring the existence and popularity of The Daily Show.

(bonnet tip to hoyden about town)

* not that they need to be, not being vampires and all

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Apologies for the light posting. I've been moving all my crap and trying to get all set for school. Both are taking far too long.

In related news, it turns out that I own a lot of books. Who would have guessed that?

While I've been organizing my books (hmmmm....should my favorite kids books go between the winnie the pooh bookends, or my autographed kids books?) and otherwise unpacking, I've been catching up on some of last years shows that I missed. I am 2/3 of the way through The Sarah Connor Chronicles and OMG! do I love this show.

You know what else I love? This:

Normally I find any advertising for anti-wrinkle cream annoying, but the knowledge that my fellow 30+ female viewers are (part of) the target audience for the the Terminator TV show (and it's website!) is most definitely a thing of beauty.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Research is Your Friend

So I'm watching HGTV. (I'm doing that a lot lately.) And the designer is showing and explaining his design for a kid's Star Wars/space themed room.

And it looks really cool. The bed is a spaceship* and the walls will all be painted to make it look like it just docked inside another large spaceship. It even looks quite a bit like Star Wars. The style of the docking bay is pretty good and the spaceship is fairly similar to a ....

.....a Land Speeder?


Dude. Land Speeders do not fly more than a few inches above the ground. A big tip off that this is the case? They are not enclosed. You just created a scene where the equivalent of a golf cart flies through space.

just sayin'

*also? in SW they just call them "ships" Calling them spaceships is kinda like calling a car a "horseless carriage."

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I finally have an apartment.

Which means I will also soon* have a Wii and space to do my crafts.


*I have the keys, but I need to actually move all my crap. Official move-in date is set for a few weeks from now.

Friday, July 11, 2008


There is just too much stupid in this world.

In case anyone needs further proof of this, I suggest you go read naamen and Willow's posts about a would be scifi writer who submitted a story that featured an Islamic villian that does not suffer from "the typical error of trying to make this evil bastard sympathetic, or give him human qualities," (cuz, you know, that's alway been my beef with genre fiction and Muslims, the latter are just far too humanized!) the patronizing bigot who rejected his manuscript, and all the usual stupid that seems to always spread like a bad disease whenever something this stupid is brought to the light of day.

These Are Not the Droids You're Looking For

I made the profound mistake of listening to KROQ's Love Lines as I was out picking up dinner tonight, just to see if it was as bad as I remember.

Dear god, it's worse. Much, much worse.

Right before I turned it off, Dr. Drew was answering the question "I'm 27 weeks pregnant. Is it ok if I use a vibrator?"

(Do these people not have access to Web MD? It's a lot faster and doesn't moralize quite so much.)

The host of course decided that what he was going to jump on was the fact that she was 17. (Which they only knew because they always require that callers state their age. Which not only makes sense from a medical standpoint, it better facilitates slut-shaming as well!)

Which wouldn't have been so bad, except that the first thing out of his mouth after "You're 17. You're pregnant" was "You have a vibrator." A teenager with a vibrator. (lucky bitch, most of us have to make do with all sorts of weird household objects) This is a bad thing? Why, exactly?

But that, dear readers, is not the best part.

Neither is the fact that the question directly before that was from another teen girl who asked "I'm almost 18. I heard that most girls get orgasms at age 18. Is that true?" You might think the best part was Dr. Drew's answer to that question, which was essentially "yes, most women orgasm for the first time in their early 20's."

(because - WTF? That's your answer doctor? Simply to state that most women have their first orgasm in their early 20's? With no other commentary or explanation? As if this all happens for the same reasons that most girls get their period at around age 12 and most kids get their first visit from the tooth fairy in second grade?)

No, the best part was that the same guy that was slut-shaming the pregnant 17 year old for having a vibrator of all things was also the one making fun of the fact that the other teen girl was treating orgasms as if they were simply something that women got at a certain age (like the ability to vote). Because, you know, it's not like the latter idiocy is at all responsible for the stats Dr. Drew was spouting earlier. Don't worry though, dear readers, Stryker knew better than to make fun of the good doctor for pepetuating the idea that physiology alone is to blame foir most women not having their first orgasm until nearly a decade after they hit puberty.

(Cuz, you know. That's the most logical conclusion ever.)

In other, completely unrelated news, the only reason boys peep into windows is because we have antiquated clothing taboos. Plus they are curious. Or something like that.

Girls don't do the same cuz we just aren't as curious. Plus there's not really much that's interesting about the male body. Or something like that.

Move along. There's nothing to see here. These aren't the droids you are looking for.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Kit and Abigail

So, in all my gushing over how cool Twilight looks, I've failed to note that Kit's movie is coming out very soon.

I'm not quite as sure that it will do well in theaters, but it should be noted (but won't be by newspapers) that it will be a smashing success on dvd. After all, it was the huge success of the two previous made for TV/straight to dvd American Girl movies that prompted the idea of a theatrical release to begin with.

Which was again built on the insane success of girls reading stories (and playing with expensive dolls) about girls who had adventures and saved people and rebelled against the establishment. And wore really interesting clothes and had tea parties.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I had to do an online sexual harassment training today for work (bc I'm now a supervisor) and it was just as aggravating as you'd expect it to be.

I desperately wanted to smash my computer screen when the training told me that a pat on the back was not considered inappropriate, even though the person being patted has one of those fake smiles and the lesson directly before had featured a guy telling a joke and coworkers with mixed reactions, including one coworker faking a laugh.

Of course, their point in the previous lesson was that you can't tell by how someone reacts what they are really thinking about the joke. But since I correctly guessed what everyone was thinking, I think the more important lesson was "learn to properly read facial expressions, you idiots."

and that was just the beginning.......

I am so effing sick of people using the word "offensive" when it comes to harassment and discrimination.

1) Learn to use a thesaurus people. Legal term or not, there's got to be a few others that you can use without confusing the lawyers.

2) That really isn't the fucking point. The frickin' point is that it's disrespectful. I am not offended by porn. I think that's it's disrespectful and inappropriate to look at it in the workplace. I am not offended that you notice my DD's. I think it's insanely self-absorbed when people can't keep such observations to themselves or need to be told that they ought to do so.

Also, that "pat on the back" thing is still bugging me. Keep your hands far away from my neck people, or I will go apeshit.

On a related Free Credit Report Dot Com just went from illogical (and yet.....still illogical) "If I had gone to some stupid website I would have found out that my girlfriend had horrible credit and I could have left her before we got married!" (did you just not bother to ask your future wife what her credit was, or was she lying and yet you still decided to stay with her?)

Number One Theme of This Year's ALA

Reading (storytelling/information gathering) is at it's heart a social activity.

If you want to get more people (kids/teens) reading, give them opportunities to share books with other people. Let them join (listen) to books group discussions/activities/etc. even if they haven't read the book. Chances are at least a few of them will find it interesting enough to read

Keep reading to your kids. Harry Potter was popular not just because the kids made it so (by word of mouth - ie socializing) but also because parents and kids read them together/simultaneously. At the very least, show an interest in the stories they are reading, not just the amount and level they are reading.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Librarians Invade Disneyland!

Despite the fact that ALA wasn't any more useful professionally than CLA (possibly less), it was vastly more entertaining.

Largely because

1) Holly Black is completely awesome and I am so very cool bc I (and several dozen other librarians) own signed ARCs of her new book - which isn't out until October.

2) Cory Doctorow is even more awesome in person than in cyberspace. I did not think such a thing was possible.

3) Publishers love to give away free books (and posters) to librarians. (or sell them so cheaply they may as well be) We love publishers back. (our feet and back both disagree, however)

4) Authors like to sign the free books. We already adored the authors. We're not sure we can possibly adore them more than we already do.

5) Disneyland!

and best of all:

6) Book Cart Drill Team Championship. This so needs to be an Olympic Sport. I'd travel to another country to see that event.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Things I Would Not Recommend Doing:

* sneaking into mgg's house and dyeing all of his socks the same color

* setting your comments to "moderate before publishing" and then completely forgetting that you have done so, and wondering why no one is commenting anymore

* getting a hold of the first season of Supernatural and deciding that the best time to start watching it is at midnight, in the dark, alone

* saying bloody mary three times in front of a mirror

now guess which of these I've done lately

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Bad, More Bad, The Good, and The Messy Aftermath

So, this crap annoys me. Obviously.


Also, regarding the idiocy found in this article (linked to in the comments of the post above) about how they just don't make kids like they used to -

Who cares if kids nowadays don't yet know what an old-fashioned trolley is. Do you think I knew what one was when I was 5? Do you want to know how I learned what one was? By going to Disneyland every year. So, really, I think Disneyland of all places might just survive having some old-fangled machine that kids don't recognize right away.



.....this? Is just so cute its completely distracting me from all my justified annoyance.

Help! I don't know what to do or how to feel!

(and I'm a little worried that I'm a bad person for thinking it's cute. the cultural appropriation smells a bit too fishy to me to completely pass the sniff test.

but..but...but...they remind me of those key rings they sell at my local comic shop! how cool is that? plus...her ears are crab claws. OMG!!!! I think my brain just exploded from the sheer awesomeness of ears that are crab claws!!!!!!!!)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Selective Memories

Now, I'm not going to argue that the plethora of remakes and sequels is a good thing.

But I do have to point out the idiocy of complaining about people destroying your childhood memories by remaking/doing a sequel to an R rated movie that came out when you were nine, and then using a quote from the director about how 12 year-olds today are a fresh audience for the remake/sequel/reboot to claim that the director is going to water down the movie in question.

If you didn't see it as a child, then it's not your childhood that they are messing with.

If you did see it as a child (as did, by the way, a great number of us) then one ought to allow for the possibility that the director is being refreshingly honest rather than planning on remaking it as a G movie. Especially seeing as how the director also talks about seeing the R rated original as a kid as well. At the very least, doing so would be less self-contradictory on your part.

The Problem With Feminism Lite

I'm not yet done watching all of the Christy episodes, but it's already pretty clear where the shows version of feminism fails.

The best example is in A Man's Reach, the episode where Christy helps Rob Allen prepare for a test that could win him a scholarship to Fordham University. The subplot of the episode revolves around Zadey Spencer, the daughter of Fairlight Spencer and a fellow student in Christy's class.

Zadey is a foil for Rob Allen. While Rob has a tremendous talent for the written word, Zadey is gifted in math and science. Rob faces prejudice from a culture that sees high literature as unmanly and unproductive. Zadey must deal with a society that not only sees her talents as unfeminine but that also often fails to believe that she even has them.* Rob is on the cusp of adulthood; in the end he decides to stay in Cutter Gap because of the responsibilities he has to the family that depends on him. Zadey is just entering adolescence, which means she is suddenly misbehaving and acting selfishly in ways that she never even did as a young child. Rob story ends with him deciding who he is and the kind of person he wants to be. Zadey's story is all about how adolescence is a time of uncertainty of identity, and the confusion and possibilities that brings.

Zadey's subplot also revolves around Christy learning a lesson as well (of course). In this case, it's that becoming too focused on any one student makes it hard to see when others need her too. Zadey's is hurt at being left out of the older girls giggles and confidences. Which is made worse by Christy ignoring her need for validation and purpose in her schoolwork. This is resolved at the end with Christy apologizing to Zadey, admitting that she still has a lot to learn as well, and promising to help her study when it's her turn "to go to college."

The first part of Christy's apology to Zadey, where she does the actual apology and admits that she is still learning herself, is very sweet in the sappy way that makes me love the show. It's very nicely done in that "gosh I wish I always knew the perfect thing to say" way.

It's the last bit that turned the light bulb on for me as far as exactly why the show gets feminism wrong.

Because, of course, knowing what it's like to female and talented at math and science at the turn of this century, my first thought was "And who's going to offer her a scholarship to study math - in 1912?!?!"

It's not entirely impossible, but it's a lot less likely than Rob Allen's offer, and that was rather unrealistic itself. (Rob Allen entered a writing contest. He didn't win, but one of the judges was a professor at Fordham University and wrote offering him a scholarship - if he passed the test.) It's not like newspapers hold math contests, and science projects usually take a lot more capital than writing stories.

But there is no mention of that, or reassurances from Christy - who has just spent the past episode pressuring Rob Allen to go to college - that she will take the time to try to find a scholarship for Zadey Spencer, who, unlike Rob, is expressing interest in college long before an out of the blue offer to go.

Most of all though, lets not mention that the University that was so generous to Rob won't even admit women until Christy's great-granddaughters are ready to matriculate.

This is the false feminism that makes people think that feminism is no longer needed. The feminism lite that pretends that Christy promising Zadey Spencer an equal amount of time in tutoring her for college scholarships equals an equality of opportunity for Rob Allen and Zadey Spencer, even back in 1912.

*No one tells Zadey that she can't do math, but there are lots of comments about how girls aren't good at math. In Zadey's presence.

The way Zadey reacts to this felt very real to me, but I was frustrated with how the adults handle it. Fairlight has a great handle of how adolescence is affecting her daughter, but her response to Zadey's confusion about her gender identity and her frustration at sexism is to say (to Christy) that John (Zadey's oldest brother) being a boy isn't ever going to change. And while Fairlight and Christy can see that the age difference is part of why the older girls are leaving Zadey out of their talk of boys and the like, they fail to see or address how the girls use Zadey's lack of gender conformity (minor as it is, Zadey's never shown as a tomboy) to imply that her problem is not the age gap, but instead that she isn't "girl" enough.

Also, they left out the scene where the other kids ignore Zadey's right answer. And instead put in a scene where Zadey strives to get Christy's attention every time she knows the answer, which is always. Which, again, not very realistic. If Zadey actually did that regularly, she never would have been friends with the older girls in the first place; she would have been shunned long ago.

Zadey is much too old to want to always be the one that's called on in class. She's already at the age where her issue is that her peers don't respect her talents, not that she feels shunned by the teacher. Which Christy does make mention of at the end, but she suggests that the solution is that she calls on Zadey more in class in order to let her show off, which isn't really the problem that needs addressing or the solution that Zadey needs.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Comment Policy - Or Lack Thereof

I've never felt it necessary to have any kind of comment policy. Mostly because hardly anyone reads this and even fewer people bother to comment.

But this is the second time in as many months that a newbie (in the case of #2, a drive-by, most likely) has left a comment that discusses a woman's looks in a way that is absolutely irrelevant to the point of either my post, their comment, or both.

So, oh wise and benevolent ones that are gracious enough to grant me the honor of your fine words, to you I say:

It's not just that you insult how a woman looks, or that your manner of doing so make you look like a petty high school bully, it's that you say it as if it has any bearing on the worth of her actions or words.

It's not just that you are crude in your appreciation of a woman's looks, nor just that you try to preempt criticism of such behavior (on a feminist blog, no less) by being "cute." It's not even that you think I give a shit, it's that you have the audacity to come to my blog and make it clear that you don't give a shit about anything that I have said at the same time.

I'm hardly above caring how people look. I have the tag "pretty boys" for a reason.

But there are plenty of places where you can discuss to your hearts content whether or not a woman turns you on. Most of the places I have to spend my time in are places where you can discuss to your hearts content who turns you on.

Just in case the "feminism" in the subtitle didn't make it clear - this blog isn't one of those places.

If you want to comment here on how a woman looks, it had better be relevant to the actual post in question*. Otherwise, expect deletion without prior warning.

*gushing about grand dames like Tyne Daly - even if it's include looks - are considered on topic. Comments that subsist of nothing more than "All I know is that Kellie Martin is hot. Hubba-hubba." do not. Especially when the only sentence in the post about Kellie Martin herself is on her acting abilities.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Random Thoughts on Christy

Was I really already in high school when I first watched this? I didn't think I was so old.

Wait, high school? God, I was so young back in '94.

Speaking of being young, it's really weird watching it now and getting what the doctor is saying from the start, rather than agreeing with Christy all the time. I mean, I get where she's coming from too, but he seems like less of a cynic/stick in the mud this time around. And not just because I know how it ends.

Watching the scene where they talk about the moonshine in the pilot episode is very different when one has yet to ever drink, versus watching while drinking a White Russian (with ice cream, yum). As a member of Friday Night Live, you are pretty much just thinking "alcohol bad!". As the Kalua drinker, you mostly just feel bad that they had to make do with moonshine.

I find it intersting that this is hailed as such a Christian show. I know it's mostly because the book is (books?) but this particular adaptation? Aside from Christy's internal monologues and her conversations with Alice, not a resounding endorsement for organized religion. There's a reason Christy picks the doctor over the preacher.

Also, there's just too many parallels between the doctor's arguments in favor of the moonshine and the situation of the modern poor, whether it's farmers in Afghanistan growing poppy or kids in "inner cities" that get involved in selling drugs. That's not really a perspective that the bulk of those that speak for American Christians and "family values" really get behind.

Wow. I can't believe I liked the preacher more than the doctor the first time. He's so young! Oh wait, that makes sense. And Christy is really young too.

Wow is this a surprisingly feminist show.

No wonder why I liked it. Now I feel less bad that I completely missed Buffy when it first aired. I'd recently abandoned fantasy/scifi for romance novels and historical fiction, and horror would not be on my list of things I liked for several more years. Buffy completely passes me by until the sixth season or so when I caught a rerun of Hush on FX. But Christy was totally on my radar.

Why is it feminist? Well, aside from the part where Christy not only says that she wants to do more with her life than keep home and have babies, the show lets her qualify that statement by explaining that it's the lack of purpose of being a female member of (high?) society that feels pointless to her, not the raising kids part. The mothers in Cutter Gap are all shown sympathetically (if at times cowed) and often as important members of the community, albeit not officially.

Most importantly though, there is Christy's relationship with Alice, which is just awesome. How often do we get to see older women mentoring younger women? Especially when the women are not related? This is a professional mentoring relationship, which grows to include the spiritual and emotional. I just love it so much. In no small part thanks to the fact that Tyne Daly is perpetually awesome. And Tyne Daly with a shotgun, more than awesome.

(Oh, wait, I need to add Cagney and Lacey to the list of dvds I need. I think I'm going to forgoe getting cable - or even any kind of broadcast television - when I move, and just spend the money on buying shows on dvd instead.)

And Christy's friendship with Fairlight? Very cool as well. I mean really, how many shows that aren't about Housewives or girlfriends in the City (and their relationships) do we have on now that center around a female character, her job and the people around her, with half of the main people around her being female?

Yes, sadly, there is a reason why it was shortlived. And Kellie Martin's sophmore acting wasn't it reason. (I think Kellie Martin can act, but Christy was not her best work. Not the pilot anyway.)

I hated David's sister the first time I watched this. Now I just hate him. Manipulative, self-centered asshole. I doubt she had very many other prospects, and what kind of a bitch would people think of her if she left her poor brother to fend for himself in the wilderness? As I said, not resounding endorsement of organized religion.

PS - it's hot. I hate trying to get to sleep when it's hot.

Can You believe That One of My Friends Once Called Me Unromantic?

I was in the middle of a Buffy marathon (quite literally; I was about halfway through the fourth season) when what do I spy at Target?



I loved this show back in the day.

I was so pissed when they started making the preacher guy not the love interest, but by the end I was as love with the doctor as Christy was.

God, I loved this show.

(I just hope I still do.)

So...the Buffy marathon has been interrupted and the Christy marathon begins in it's place. :)

(now all i need is Avonlea, the Cadfael Mysteries and that Heidi sequel on dvd, and I can die happy)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Interesting Sidenote

The LA Times has an article today about Susan Kare, designer of the icons for Mac Classic and more, and it not only mentions that she graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1975, which is normal enough, it also points out that MHC is an all-women's college - without that fact being referenced anywhere else in the article.

Which, I just find kinda funny for some reason.

It's like, "so and so went here. Oh, and by the way only girls go there isn't that weird?"

And omg, I want, like all of these.

Not only are they cool, they are from an MHC alum. Double cool!

Ooooh. and they are on sale. Which means they may be gone soon. I should buy myself an early birthday present. Or two.

There Are Times When Being a Supervisor Sucks

One, I hate disciplining my employees.

Unless they've pissed me off. Which isn't really the best way to handle things.

And oh, completely unrelated (NOT), coming up to a coworker and rubbing their shoulders, aside from being inappropriate* to begin with, is sexual harassment, even if the person getting the shoulder rub never complains. At least, it's sexual harassment if person doing the rubbing is male, the person being rubbed is female, and the person doing the rubbing would never dream of doing that to a male coworker. (vice versa, as well, of course)

And really, when how often is that "if" not true?

And why the fuck can't my supervisor see that?

I'm almost happy we didn't deal with this already, bc I'm totally making that point before we talk to the employee in question. I'm ok with the talk being more of a heads up than a warning, because of how the policy is written and because of how we generally deal with other types of disciplining. But only if my boss is agreed that it's not just inappropriate but also sexual harassment even if no one ever complains.

And yeah. I'm going to be a bitch about this - fuck, I'm going to be a man-eating cunt about this - because the other employes that this particular person works with the most also happen to be my youngest and least assertive employees.

And having people assume your body is community property because it's female not only sucks, but is really hard to fight when you are 17/18/19, don't have the language to describe any of this properly, and your bosses don't address the problem properly.

*perhaps in some workplaces - especially those that don't involve the workers being out in pubic view at the time - this is not true, but it is at my workplace.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Libraries Aren't for Playing on myspace!

If I hear read one more animal rights activist argue that yes! animal rights are just like children's rights! I am going to fucking scream.

The point of the title? I'm guessing a strong overlap between these kinds of people and those that are shocked that some crazy libraries/schools think that they are there to serve children themselves, and not just their parents.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is Rainbow Brite Scifi?

(A question from this thread, via the Hathor Legacy)

The thing about "girls don't like [X]" is that they are always redefining what [X] is until that statement becomes partly true.

The Care Bears, My Little Pony, and Strawberry Shortcake are all very much fantasy stories, and, aside from a few fangeeks that are very into one and not the other, most people see SciFi and Fantasy and so analogous to be practically interchangeable. Certainly more interchangeable than Mysteries and Romance novels anyway.

Yet, somehow, I have a feeling that Rainbow Brite would not be on anyone's list of '80s scifi cartoons. I'm willing to bet it wouldn't even be on most people's lists of '80s fantasy cartoons.

Certainly there is a difference between ray-guns and the Care Bear Stare, but the biggest difference between "girl" and "boy" cartoons is not in the storyline or even the amount of action vs. drama (was any '80's cartoon more melodramatic than Robotech? Any 90's cartoon more soap opera-ish than Gargoyles?), but in who the story is marketed to. Which boils down to mostly window dressing and the number of times the weapon of choice is wielded by female characters.

This isn't to say that He-Man was really all that much like Strawberry Shortcake or vice versa, just that they both have equal claims to the fantasy genre, but only one gets used as an defining example of the genre. It gets to the point where The Smurfs and The Gummi Bears are not considered to by definitive examples of fantasy cartoons for kids either, despite the obvious untruth to that statement, simply because they are both less violent and less reflective of stereotypes of adult fantasy than Dungeons and Dragons.

Obviously, all of these strategically shifting definitions make for very circular logic when one then turns around and claims that boys are more into fantasy or scifi.

It's the same kind of effect we get from pretending that women played no part in history until we gained the vote. Ignoring girl's and women's experiences makes it really easy to flat out lie about what girls and women do and like.

Likewise, when one ignores or glosses over the connection between Lord of the Rings and Victorian fairy tales like The Princess and the Goblin, it's really easy to pretend that modern fantasy is completely disconnected from the princess stories my niece likes to act out. Which in turn makes it sound completely ridiculous to suggest that Rainbow Brite was Fantasy (rather than fantasy), much less science fiction.

Kind of the same way that ignoring scientific data makes it really easy to pretend that evolution is all made up.

And yet, aside from the flying horse, is there anything (other than gendered assumptions made by people that never watched the show) that cause us to define it as fantasy, rather than scifi? Or worse yet, fantasy-lite? What makes Teenage Mutant Turtles scifi for kids, but not Rainbow Brite?

Yes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles featured a bit of comic book inspired* radioactive gook in their origin story (which itself is very much a rip-off of the magical elixirs and pools in myths, which is why faatasy and scifi are so often lumped together). But ignore for the moment the rainbows and the martial arts, ignore your prejudices that says that boy = scifi and girl = fantasy. Which of the two characters below looks like they belong in a fantasy? A science fiction story?

Which of these two characters lives on another planet? Cavorts with friendly aliens? Uses technological tools? Fight enemies that use technology as well? Whose story features intergalactic travel? Uses basic physics (light and color) as a thematic metaphor?

Which character uses weapons designed centuries earlier? Whose story features lots of mystical sayings spouted by a Wise Old Man? Who fights enemies that wield mysterious powers? Even the very idea of animals that talk is a very fantasy-like element - despite the scientific origin story.

I like action, adventure, and even violence. And I think that a lot of "girls" cartoons could have done with a bit more actual action and a bit less less running around. More importantly, the writers could have bothered to give their audience more credit for being intelligent. But lets not pretend that quality is what defines something as scfi or fantasy. (If it was, we could simply pretend that the Gor novels have no connection to the genre either.)

Most all, lets not forget that Gummi Bears was not only vastly better than Dungeons and Dragons but also a much better example of Fantasy cartoons for kids.

PS - if anyone feels in the mood to add some more arguments for why Rainbow Brite - or any other "girl" cartoon - was really scifi and not fantasy or anything else, I may feel grateful enough to go digging through old photos and find the one of me all decked out in the incredibly awesome Rainbow Brite costume my mom made for me in third grade. :)

*appropriately enough, since it was originally a comic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Conversations With Young People

So, I was chatting with a teen that comes into the library a lot.

Her friend is a volunteer and the three of us squeed over Dramacon a couple weeks ago, so we talk about what manga she's reading when she comes in now.

Anyway, she was showing me her artwork and mentioned that she had drawn some yaoi*, but that it was hidden underneath another drawing (in the clear plastic sleeve on the cover of her folder) because the boys complain about it.

I noted that they never seem to have a problem with the opposite. Which, in fact. is acceptable enough to be a common joke in mainstream movies.

Yes, I am on a mission to corrupt them all, one kid at a time.

*exceptionally tame, yaoi, as it turns out, in case anyone cares.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Someone Needs to Be Wrong

I got home from work about an hour ago, I'm tired, I'm frustrated, and I'm in an all around pissy mood.

Someone needs to be wrong somewhere on the internet - so that I can go yell at them.

Pretty please?

Friday, May 02, 2008

When Space Westerns and Lifetime Television Collide

Lifetime Makeover - now Dress-up Challenge - includes Princess Leia buns as a hairstyle option.

(and they say girls don't like Star Wars)

Leia, ready for a night out on the town.

I seriously cannot stop giggling.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I've Decided That It's Simple After All

After reading through the thread on feministing, I've figured how to articulate why the violence against prostitutes in GTA bothers me so much. (by stealing from everyone else, of course)

Robos A Go Go argues

Shooting at police, stealing cars, and running down pedestrians are widely discouraged in other areas of life. Sexism and violence against prostitutes is not. In fact, many people feel that prostitutes invite violence upon themselves by virtue of the "choice" they make, or at the very least accept abuse of sex workers as a matter of course rather than a problem that should be as much of a concern as random assaults of pedestrians and law enforcement officers.

yup, yup, yup

Later, noname asks

Where in that video.... did you see forcibly performed sex acts?

doh, how silly of me, none of the prostitutes ever say "no!" There's no sexualized violence here!

More seriously, correct me if I'm wrong, but none of the prostitutes who are "propositioned" ever say "no," yes? Which means that instead of going right out and making it "real" rape, Rockstar has instead chosen to hide behind rape apology arguments (prostitutes never say no) in order to make sexual violence more palatable. Kudos to you Rockstar!

(Also, I'm fairly certain that the police occasionally survive one's attack. In fact, they have guns, themselves, yes? As do other characters? But do the prostitutes have weapons? Are they occasionally not dumb as rocks and aware that johns often want to hurt them? Do you ever get to proposition women who are not prostitutes or strippers? I think I may die of shock if any of these are ever true.)

nonam also tries to argue

There is an anti-male equivalent to killing prostitutes. Killing men.

just _pat points out what should be obvious:
That's not equivalent at all. I can't kill men:
a) As a member of the opposite gender.
b) As someone who is paying them for sex.
c) As someone being paid BY them for sex.

I also can't go to a club and wait for asshole guys to try to pick me up and/or drug me, only to pull out a weapon and exact vengeance upon them.

There's no equivalent.

sgzax adds what should be even more obvious:
Yes, because there are two sexes: male and prostitute. Exactly. Thank you noname for playing all your cards at once like that.

spike the cat then gives us our deep thought for the day:
People just won't admit that killing feels good. But killing a ho feels even better.

Funny, I thought that whole visceral reaction I was talking about earlier was because while killing (in video games) rates as a "meh" to "gotcha!" in my book, murdering prostitutes makes me want to barf.


Kristen answers the "can they say no?" question.

The hookers even have to like you enough to let you pick them up.


I disagree with her assertion that "There is no sexual violence in this game," however. There may be no outright rape, but if you watch IGN's fan trailer...oh, wait, you can't because IGN took it off their site. (dorks) It's on youtube though. no idea for how long. Anyway, if you listen to the trailer, ("I'm a hired killer and I pay for sex. My mother would be ashamed") "violence" and the "sex' are hardly divided into neat little categories. Sexualized violence isn't just about rape, after all. Often it's simply about normalizing the idea that they go hand in hand.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Don't Get It

People that normally make a lot of sense to me have tried to defend GTA to me before.

The advances in game play are mentioned. I am reminded that it is a game, it's not real. It is explained to me that no, there isn't anything anymore disturbing about controlling such action than there is watching it in a movie. And that, of course, the game actually discourages such behavior - really!

But I still don't get. I still don't buy it.

(Perhaps partly because I think sexualized violence poorly done and overdone in most movies as well.)

I don't "get it" anymore than I'd "get" a video game where players go around trying to lynch PoC.

But my reaction to it is more emotional and less intellectual that it is to things like Resident Evil 5. Which means that I have a lot of work to do on becoming a better ally, and that I have a really hard time coming up with coherent arguments that explain how not ok this is.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

They No Longer Spend Pitch Meetings Looking for the Button That Opens the Secret Trapdoor

You have no idea how much I wish I had a copy of the recording they did of the panel on Superhero Comics at the Festival.

Its not that I want to listen to it over and over again (it was funny, but not that funny) its that there were tons of hilarious quotes that I can't really quote 'cuz I'm not going to get them quite right. So as you read all the stuff below? Remember that it's being filtered through my crappy auditory memory. Take even the stuff in quotes with several teaspoonfuls of salt. Also, I make no claims to accuracy when it comes to the order in which things were discussed.

With that said, here goes:

The panel was kicked off with each creator being asked to describe how they got from Comics to Hollywood. Mignola and Niles had fairly similar stories. Someone fairly influential liked their comic and wanted it made into a movie. For Niles, it was Sam Raimi. For Mignola, it was Benecio Del Toro - not that Del Toro got things going, more that he kept them going and made sure that things went well. Both at this point and throughout the talk, both Niles and Mignola were very emphatic about having a powerful ally working on the project who was also a fan of the comic itself being essential to it being a decent movie that still resembled their work. Or something like that, anyway.

Loeb said that it went the opposite way for him. He had always loved comics, but started out in Hollywood instead (didn't think he could make a living at comics) and then one day DC called him up and asked him if he would like to write a comic for them.

Before I continue, (1) Loeb is an awesome oral storyteller; I very much fear that my recap will fail to do any justice to his talent. (2) I'm sure there was more to this story than he let on. See #1

Loeb said "of course!" and "Can I write Superman?" "Um, we already have someone for that." "Batman" ditto and on down the line. Turns out they wanted him to do The Challengers. (and yeah, that story is even funnier in retrospect now that I'm more familiar with his resume)

The second question had to do with graphical nature of graphic novels and whether that made them easier to translate into film. All said yes. Having pictures helps studio people visualize what you are talking about, especially when those pictures closely resemble storyboards. Loeb (or Mignola?), mimicking execs internal diologue: "Oh, so you meant this really cool spaceship, not the pencil shaped thing that was in my head." Niles also mentions that, when originally pitching 30 Days, the studio people probably pictured scores of vampires running across the snow in Bela Lugosi capes.

The next question (I think) had to do with whether or not it's easier to pitch Superhero movies now than it used to be. Everyone's reply can be boiled down to "duh - you have seen the figures for the Spiderman movies, yes?" (I kept thinking, don't forget LoTR! It's success certainly helped as well. Geeks Unite!) Someone - Mignola or Loeb, I think - pointed out that time has helped as well, that it it's not just a single hit, but several successful movies, and people getting used to the idea of Superhero movies, untill finally Superhero movies are treated as just another genre rather than an unknown. (File this thought away, it will come up again later.)

They said that it was still hard to pitch comics as movies, especially if you aren't pitching one of the big names (Spiderman, Superman, Batman) but that "It used to be that they seemed to be looking for that secret button that open the trapdoor under you." Not anymore.

One of the other things that helped, obviously, has been the advances in cg. There was talk about how they used to say that movies would never replace comic creators, because there was stuff they could do that would just look dumb in movies. You could never get Spiderman to swing from a web and make it look real! Loeb: But then (?) and I went to the screening of Teminator 2 at Comicon. Beforehand, we weren't really sure what it was going to be like because Schwarzenegger actually had to talk in this one. We left the screening and I turned to him and said "we're screwed."

They still fuck everything up, though, apparently :) (shocker, I know) Niles talked about some guy who was working on 30 Days in the script stage. Nobody seemed to get why the Vampires were in Alaska. (wha?) So this one guy suggested that maybe Vampires were searching for a diamond that was buried underground in Alsaka. (wtf?) A diamond that would make them daywalkers! "He doesn't work there anymore. Not because of that, but I think he tried pitching the diamond idea for every movie." There was also mention of certain people wanting to call the Hellyboy sequel HB2 Instead. (why, exactly would one want to do that?)

This is where my memory gets a bit fuzzier, but the conversation at some point turned to DVD sales, what is still hard about pitching Superhero movies, and how much money movies actually need to make. The gist of that part of the conversation was: studio people don't pay enough attention to DVD sales because DVDs and movie production are different divisions, but it's getting better. They always want to change lots of things, some of which needs to change because comics are so much longer than movies, some of which is completely in opposition to the heart of the story, and some of which is necessary in order to appeal to a larger audience. "The truth is that even the best selling comics only have a fraction of the audience that movies need to make money." Or something like that.

I don't remember when or why, but the topic of what terms people prefer came up (ie, comics, graphic novel, etc.) and they all agreed "comics." Niles joked about Raimi referring to comics by some complicated term "graphical something or other." Someone (Loeb or Niles) made the amusing remark to a studio person that it was ok to call them comics, "graphic novels was the term we made up for you guys!"

It was also established that we were all "geeks." "You all know the difference between geeks and nerds, right? All of you in this room right now, you're all geeks, not nerds." (I beg to differ, but then I'm the idiot that didn't even know he worked on Heroes before he mentioned it, so I think he'd make an exception for me.)

At some point Loeb told several amusing stories about working in Hollywood:

The first movie he worked on was this low budget film called Teen Wolf (cheers from the crowd) While working on it, he'd tell people about it and mention who was in it and people would say. "Oh, that kid from Silver Spoons, right?" But then two things happened, Family Ties was moved to directly after The Cosby Show and Michael J. Fox was picked to be the star of a little movie called Back to the Future. heh.

That lead to the story about the movie thought he was going to be able to retire on: Firestorm. It was starring Howie Long. No reaction from the audience to that name, prompting Loeb to say that we obviously weren't football fans. That prompted some laughter. :) He explained who Howie Long was and that the great thing about Howie Long was that you knew he could talk. Anyway, things were going well and it was getting closer and closer to the release date, and then an Important Studio person broke the bad news. The studio had just finished making the most expensive movie ever made. And it was going to completely flop. Loeb knew he was telling the truth because people were literally packing up their offices in cardboard boxes and leaving. It was going to be that bad. So they needed to release a bunch of other movies at the same time to cover their losses. Firestorm was moved from fall to January. That's ok, Loeb thought, it should still be ok.

So, the flop? Was Titanic.

His last story was about the call that got him working on Heroes. A Hollywood buddy of his called him and said he needed some advice. Loeb figured that he was buying a vineyard and retiring or something, 'cuz he couldn't think of what this person would need his advice for. So they met and it turns out that this buddy had the brilliant idea of doing a Superhero type show and needed to talk to someone who knew Superheros. They spent hours talking, with the guy pitching ideas and Loeb responding by saying, that sounds fantastic, but you can't do that, it's (insert name of character) Marvel/DC will sue you. Repeat for several hours.

That's it. that's all I remember. Recordings will be available in a few weeks, I might try and clean this up when they are released for sale.

Oh, were wondering why I was left yelling (well, muttering, really) Wonder Woman.

Yeah, so, at some point near the end - it might have been during the questions - Loeb or Mignola made some comment about Superhero movies needing to appeal to non-comic readers in order to make money. Loeb added "like how do you get women to go see your Superhero movie?" (Or something like that anyway.) To which I muttered Wonder Woman! and started ranting in my headspace about how the arguments made earlier about Superhero movies and needing to let people get used to seeing them as just another kind of movie and not a fluke can just as easily be applied to movies with female action heroes.

Ditto for non-white (and non-kung-fu-asian) action heroes, as well, of course.

Personally, I still think Runaways would make a kickass movie. The ending is a disappointing in terms of racial diversity, but it's still a step in the right direction. (Especially if it does well enough to warrant sequels.) Plus, I think it would not only appeal to a larger audience, it would appeal to that teenage audience studios are so hung up on. Provided it's done right, of course. That's always the catch. But seriously, while the point about comic sales being only a fraction of what the movie needs is valid, better-selling is better than not-better-selling. And better-selling to a wider audience (ie, bookstore patrons, not just comic store patrons) has got to be huge plus as well. So here's to hoping Twilight is the insane success I think it will be, and to studios everywhere mining the YA lit for ideas.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

LA Times Festival of Books Comics!

So....I went to the Festival of Books today, and it turned out that two of the three panels that I was able (and most wanted) to attend were on graphic novels. (Owing to the frustrating scheduling mentioned earlier.)


The first was panel titled Comics: Superheroes of the Page & Screen and featured Jeph Loeb, Mike Mignola, and Steve Niles. Geoff Boucher moderated.

Loeb was hilarious, Mignola was pretty damn funny as well, and all three were entertaining and interesting. The overall conversation left me (internally) screaming "Wonder Woman!" But sadly, not in a good way.

Also sadly, no autographs as I was pretty ignorant of all their work beforehand and so wasn't prepared to go the the signing. More importantly, I had less than a half hour to get to the next panel, and UCLA is a freaking big campus.


The second panel I went to was titled Tween Series Writing: Other Worlds and featured Cornelia Funke, Erin Hunter and Rick Riordan. Moderated by Sonja Bolle.

Funke is sweet and kick-ass smart, Hunter is sassy and funny as hell, and Riordan is just the kind of teacher you wished you had in middle school. Plus, there were tons of kids there, which was super-cool.


The third panel was Reading Manga: A Japanese Phenomenon Comes to America, featuring Liza Coppola, Lillian M. Diaz Przybyl, and Frederik Schodt. Charles Solomon moderated.

This last was not quite as hilarity filled as the other two (although laughs were to be had, this is manga we're talking about), which may be due to it being made of reviewers and editors rather than writers. Or it could have been the heat. But it was still interesting and informative - if perhaps a bit basic at times, as anything involving manga (that isn't held at a con) must sadly still be.

Unfortunately, the manga fans were the ones pulling the stupid crap that comic fans gets stereotyped as doing (although, being manga fans, the "questions" centered around fanfic/art and scanlations.) I kept wanting to tell them to act their age, but the main problem did seem to be that they were.


My most prized signature of the day was from multiple-Caldecott-winning-author and illustrator David Weisner, who signed my newly bought copy of Tuesday, possibly the first (mostly) wordless picture book I ever read. Since it was my love of wordless picture books (along with my love for the X-Men movies) that got me thinking maybe there was something to this whole comic book stuff, the day seemed more like "sequential art day" to me. :)

Oops! I forgot!


Angry Little Girl buttons!

Cute! Colorful! Angry!

And Lela's right, the bags did look kind of like bags of candy. Cute, colorful, angry candy.


Mirror, Mirror

I'm sure I'm not the only privileged white girl who has been watching the most recent chasm between certain feminist bloggers with the sinking feeling that I really ought to be much less confused by all this than I am.

If that describes you as well, I suggest you go read this. Also this. I'm still feeling confused, but much less so, and a little more ashamed. Which is almost certainly a good thing in the long run.

(And, needless to say, if you don't even know what they hell I talking about, you really ought to educate yourself. Here is a good place to start. And this is a must read as well.)

Even though I'm sure it's been said several times already - on the links above for starters - I think this is important enough that it bears constant repeating:

It is one thing to make mistakes, or have learned racism from a racist society. It's something else altogether, though, to do racist things while claiming not to be a racist. And yet another level of wrong for self-described anti-racists to get defensive when someone points out their racism.

It may be true that it is the system more than any minute decision of yours that contributed to you benefitting from privilege - whether it be a book deal, attribution of an idea, or anything else. But don't dare call yourself a progressive and not acknowledge that being a progressive means pointing out that such inequalities exist and working to dismantle them, rather than ignoring them when they benefit you.

On a personal level, I can understand why Amanda reacted as she did. I rather suspect I would have done the same.

However, she is also a member the feminist blogosphere, a very visible one at that, and that carries with it a higher expectation than the average Jane on the street. An expectation that amounts to "not pulling shit like this."

Ragnell is right as well, it's our responsibility as fellow members of that community - especially those of us that also benefit from the same type of privilege - to call out our fellow feminists/progressives out when they act like this. Not doing so gives everyone the message that it's ok to do it, and while it may be understandable in a "I can see how that happened" kind of way, it's never ok.