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Ladies, Please (Carry On Being Awesome)

Liannan smash
So I was walking home from the new Star Trek movie, which I have previously indicated I found to be awesome. I was pretty surprised by this, as the Star Trek TV shows had not caught my fancy, and expressed this surprise to my friend, who was a fan of the TV show.

SARAH: But now I see I was TERRIBLY WRONG.
GASTON: Great!
SARAH: I'll watch the series now!
GASTON: Cool, we'll have a Star Trek weekend.
PASSERSBY: judge us for these words
SARAH: Sounds good! And I will watch the greatest love story of all time unfold over many episodes.
GASTON: What? Which love story do you mean?
SARAH: The love story of (highlight to see a spoiler from the movie) Spock and Uhura, of course!
GASTON: Weeeell... about that... it didn't so much actually happen as... not happen...
SARAH: That's it, Star Trek weekend is off!
PASSERSBY: judge us for these words

Feeling betrayed that I had been robbed of the awesomeness I was imagining, I decided to go in search of awesomeness on the internet. Surely, I would find much love there!

I did not see much love for Uhura, who I thought was a clearly brilliant and fabulous character. Even in the comments to my parody, people seemed against or indifferent to her.

Of course, I searched and did find love for her, and indeed here is a really great collection of Uhura thoughts, with a spotlight on race and feminism.

But my search made me think some more about fictional ladies, and an audience's approach to them. Now, I have already gone over my thoughts on how girls in fiction are starting out from a tricky place, given that the traditional way women were written is problematic, and you can also go too far in the opposite direction.

But there's another question, and that's the audience: I do think all of us tend to be harder on women, even if the women in question are awesome. This is totally natural - the society we live in has plenty of issues about the ladies, and sometimes we don't even know we're being influenced.

So without further ado, and with Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Little Women, Harry Potter, my own book because responses to it made me think about these issues, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Dickens, Ilona Andrews and doubtless others mentioned, plus mangled song lyrics because... I may be crazy.

Ladies, Please Carry On Being Awesome - Girls and The Audience's GazeCollapse )

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serafina_zane
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
So true.
So depressing, in parts, but so true.
There are so many depressing double standards (call a girl a whore? she's useless forever! manwhore? lol funny joke!) but I think the trigger-happy Mary Sue reflex is one of the worst. Mary Sue is not synonymous for "female", it's an incredibly overused term meaning someone truly PERFECT BEYOND REASON FOR WHOM EVERYONE SWOONS. Not anyone remotely awesome or someone you dislike.
The gender-switching thing is always a fun/disturbing game to play... Especially with characters like Harry who I don't especially like in their current incarnation.

But the friend-bashing...I hate that so impossibly much. It makes me throw many a YA book (especially romance-centric ones) against a wall (in fact, I'm pretty sure I actually did this to one of the House of Night books. IF YOU LIKE THESE PEOPLE SO MUCH, WHY SO MUCH MENTAL HATE? I DON'T BUY YOUR LOVE IF YOU ONLY EVER TALK ABOUT THEIR FLAWS). Why, you really wonder, is this character friends with these seemingly inferior, dumb, chattering characters, if they can't stand them. If I spend all my time with my friends mentally bitching about their many flaws... Well that's when I go find new friends? Disposable best friend characters annoy me. Especially 2D ones who only exist to have occasional conversations (about boys, what else?) with the character and Just Wouldn't Understand... Or, maybe even worse, the ones who are always there for the character (which, really, is almost more 2D) and get treated like crap by the main character and never acknowledged.
Ugh.

The scariest thing for me, though, is looking through your own original fiction and finding lack of girls... Especially when you are one.
I'm guilty of writing
1) Girl MC with Guy Best Friend (Relative) and One Other Female Main Character In A Cast of Many
2) Girl MC With Seemingly No Preexisting Friends, and One Other Female Main Character (I am guiltiest about this one, but there are lots of werewolf-fighting complications going on...)
3) Girl With Five Different Female Best Friends, Who Are All Pretty Main Characters, Plus One Guy, which makes me feel a bit better.
But then again, am currently writing Male Narrator with Two Female Main Characters, one who is only introduced around halfway through. But that's slightly different (not much) with male narrator who attends all-boy's school...
Alas, awareness is the first step to striving to do better? I like to think that, at least, my female characters are all pretty awesome even surrounded by all the boys.

Awesome post, though. Provokes the best kind of rantiness.
miladygrey
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you for citing the House of Night series! If there was ever a Mary-Sueier character than miss Zoey Redbird, queen/high priestess of everything and beloved of the goddess, whose tattoos are so much cooler than yours, I have yet to meet them. The series started out interesting, but it's at the point now where there's absolutely (for me, anyway) no suspense, because whatever Kalona and Neferet and those mean old People of Faith try to do, Zoey will thwart it. She'll worry, she'll angst, and there'll be a lot of emo conversations with her and her clique, but in the end, her powers of Goddess-given Awesome will prevail. And that makes her incredibly boring and annoying.
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harborshore
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
My point is, I'd like to watch a show with two attractive brothers and a focus on horror movie examples of the week mixed in with a road trip through America. Who wouldn't? But I can't enjoy something without ladies in it. Yes, this. And yes, Supernatural is just one example. I like it when things pass the Bechdel test, not the least because it feels like a more real story. Ladies in real life do not spend all their time hating each other.

I recently finished reading Gail Simone's run of Birds of Prey, because I asked a friend of mine for recs of comics that would work for me (lots of female characters being awesome and not being rescued by men, because they're superheroes and in general wouldn't need to be), and oh man, yes. Such fantastic friendships between the women, no fighting over men, and a lot of rescuing themselves and others.

Anyway, thank you. I very much agree with the points you make about heroes and heroines, and the difference in our response to them. It seems like the automatic response to a girl being awesome is Mary Sue or worse things (oh man, how much would people not love Edwina Cullen?) and it pisses me off. I see this a lot--I'm in a music-based fandom, and the lady in my icon catches a lot of flack for being a lady. One of those things where a girl in a short skirt is a slut (and she's a terrible bassist, obviously), but a guy in jeans with holes everywhere in them and super-tight t-shirts (the uniform of male rock stars) is just hot.
serafina_zane
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Reading through the comments, I feel compelled to give a Lyn-Z thumbs-up here. Because she is awesome. (And a lady. And an awesome lady. In MUSIC. Hating be damned!)



...not so awesome is how I keep typing 'lazy' instead of 'lady', because that is just completely different.
greenhoodloxley
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
random ramble...

I don't why women are harsher on female characters, but they most definitely are. *le sigh* It's very depressing at times. It can be rather hard to think of favorite female characters. *ponders* Might have to try making a list.

However, I do think it's possible to enjoy a story that doesn't have a main female character. (Same goes for stories about where the protagonist is a girl, and there aren't any men around. On the other hand, nobody seems to write those? Hmmm...)

In which I ramble about the various female characters of Supernatural. Apologies.

But there are cool ladies in Supernatural. They're not there every single minute because, frankly, that doesn't work with the story. (I mean, if the Winchesters had a younger sister, that would make sense for them to take her along with them. But as it is, eh.)

Mary Winchester - yes, technically, she's dead...But great female character! Flashbacks and dream appearances. Throughout it all she remains one of my few favorite 'mother' characters. (Normally they drive me crazy.)

Ellen Harvelle - She runs a hunter's bar! She doesn't take crap from anybody. (Yeah, she's not been seen much since Season 2, due to scheduling conflicts, I think? Meh. There's a rumor though that Ellen will be back in the next season. *crosses fingers and hopes it's true.*)

Jo Harvelle - her daughter. She wants to be a hunter, like her dad. (Also possibly coming back next season, yay!)

Ruby - Now a lot of people don't like Ruby, but she was there a lot during season 3 and 4. I enjoyed her. She was snarky, kick-ass, and saved the boys several times.

There's also Bela and Anna. Bela was fun, though her ending not so much. Anna...I thought they were going somewhere else with her story, and they went the other way. C'est la vie.

Eee, sorry, I rambled. ;)
greenhoodloxley
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
Re: random ramble...
PS. Also. The friend bashing? REALLY SUCKS. Same goes with siblings. I can't stand books where the sibligns (or friends or whatever) are being bitchy to eachother every single minute. How can they be friends if that's the case?
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anna_wing
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
My great regret about the Potter books was that Harry wasn't a girl. In my mind, he is. This is because the books are basically boarding-school stories, and in boarding-school stories, heroic pupils are always girls. Boys in boarding-school stories are comic relief (see Billy Bunter and Jennings). Harry Potter is a (mostly) heroic boarding-school pupil, and is therefore a girl, really. Her full name is Arianrhod.

Have you ever come across the old BBC science fiction TV series "Blake's 7"? Late 70s, early 80s. Four seasons. Many interesting and awesome characters, male and female, including the senior villain, Supreme Commander (later President, by coup, how else) Servalan, the greatest Dark Lady ever written and the only known Dark Overperson of any sex in fiction who actually wins, or at any rate, survives the heroes.
parenthesised
Aug. 25th, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)
Harry Potter is a (mostly) heroic boarding-school pupil, and is therefore a girl, really. Her full name is Arianrhod.

um, you just made me spurt tea onto the computer. Thank you?
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tea_egg
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
Oh Sarah, I love you and your way with words. This is an awesome essay, and thank you so much for writing it.

I think another reason many readers many not like female leads as much is because they themselves (the reader) are ladies, and are interested in the male lead. And so when the female lead becomes a love interest they become jealous or disapprove of her choices, or the way she does things, because that is not how the reader would have do it.
Just my two cents.

When I was young, my mother would only give me books to read where the main character is a girl, and is extremely kick-ass, usually with a sword. After a while I did get bored of such genres, but I will always still love them.
Still I wish that more ladies could be awesome and strong without putting a sword in her hands. An example of which is Arwen from the Lord of the Rings movies. She is awesome and strong and stead fast in her love for Aragorn, and even gives up her mortality for him. And you have Eowyn, who is also awesome and strong, but fights for her love of her king and country. Both are great ladies and I love both of them equally.

Personally, I think that, as a girl who is generally more interested in girls than men, I tend to like female leads more than lots of people.
For instance, if we are talking about your book, I absolutely loved character B, because she was charming, cute, confident, and scared all at once, like any real person. But I rather disliked character A for the first 80% of the book because he was rather a jerk. (but by the end, I loved him). And so I was rather surprised by how many people seemed to dislike B and adore A when reading reviews.

Lastly, I think you would enjoy Lynn Flewelling’s Tamir trilogy, and how the gender roles are handled. I read it recently, and loved every moment of it. :)
greenhoodloxley
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
And so when the female lead becomes a love interest they become jealous or disapprove of her choices, or the way she does things, because that is not how the reader would have do it.

Agreed. They think the guy character deserves someone better, etc. *sigh*
musiclily88
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Interesting food for thought! Thank you :)

I definitely get what you're saying, too. The books I keep rereading and coming back to are the ones where ALL characters are multi-dimensional-- and I love the female characters for being real and flawed, because that's the way people are. Flawed, real people are awesome. And a girl shouldn't be hated on for being awesome!
Re: Bechdel Test: I feel that when I write protagonists, male or female, I try to create characters whom I would personally be interested in knowing. And I think that only having conversations about Significant Others can get SO tiresome. Talking about love and boys and dating and girls is certainly interesting, but it can't be the only interest a character has.
...I also feel like my personal test of a well-rounded and well-written character is if I feel that I could learn something from them, even if I would never want to be friends with that person in real life. Good or evil, hero, heroine, villain...

(Also, an example I keep coming back to is A Tale of Two Cities. I really don't like Lucie, as I feel her characterisation is completely flat and boring, yet I like Sidney a lot, and he falls in love with her. She doesn't love him back. This part of the book seriously set my teeth on edge! I'd have less of a problem with the plotline if Lucie were kick-as; instead I end up befuddled, because I really don't think she's all that awesome.)
musiclily88
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
....Hm, not sure if I explained that well enough, I think I meant to say I'd actually PREFER that Lucie turned him down if she WERE awesome. But as it stands it just looks kinda petty.
fatgirlrules
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
To be fair to Supernatural, the writers have introduced several strong, compelling female characters to the show over the years. I can think of three right off the top of my head--and these were good characters. But us fans...we like our boys. Give us Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Castiel and we will pretty much be happy if you don't even have any female extras. The fans bitch until the female characters die spectacularly. I'm not actually one of those fans, I've liked several of the reoccurring female characters, but you have to understand that the writers and producers of Supernatural follow our blogs and everything and the the show definitely reflects their findings. There are so many Dean-is-gay jokes in S4 and lets not even get into the episode "The Monster At The End of this Book". Seriously, it's us, not them.

Other than that, though, you made several very good points. I will watch out for this from now on.
sarahtales
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
Well, you know, hence the rallying cry for everyone, creators and audience alike, to embrace ladies being awesome. For, it is awesome when they are.
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afortiori
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
true!
Thank you so much for this. I often read books and mostly enjoy them,
but then find myself having niggling doubts and unhappinesses that
I can't describe. And then you come along and write a brilliant essay
about exactly what I was having problems with but couldn't pin down.
(This happened when I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and I couldn't
describe to my friend why I didn't just absolutely adore Mary Russell,
and why she left me feeling a bit ill.)

And now you've done it again, except I'm also feeling a bit guilty for occasionally being on the girl hate team. There's also a problem in a lot of books and tv series where there's a strong female character (go her!) in some male-dominated place, be it knights in medieval fantasy or lead detectives in cop shows. But there's just the one female who's always being unapologetically strong in a room full of boys, and when other women appear, they're either boring and dull, or they're strong and evil, or they're also strong and good but clashing heads with the main female, and almost always somehow portrayed (or, I admit, just interpreted) in a negative light.
evilslieutenant
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Great thoughts, as usual, Sarah...Maya...Sarah...Oh God, I'll never get used to this.

There was one thing I felt compelled to mention, though. I watch Supernatural and...like you..I kept waiting and wondering when a worthy female character would come along. The boys are great. I love them, they're alternatingly endearing, aweful and hilarious, which, to me, is the best mix for any character.

And I think they pass the MALE version of the Bedchel test? Is that how it's spelt? They're brothers/buddies, who spend a lot of time together being just that...with occasional discussions about girls...girls are very important to them (if not to the show).

So I came to the conclusion that this show was just not about THAT sort of relationship. ANd I'm fine with that...though once in a while I still cringe when a 'femme fetale' bites the dust with a stake through her heart AGAIN...

Now, what I want to know is, where's the GIRLS' version of Supernatural? Why isn't there a show about awesome, gun totting sisters/gal pals, roaming around the country in an awesome car, shooting shit up and occasionally talking about boys that come and go in their lives?

I mean I'm aware that this show is kind of empowering to its audience in that it places (I think) the boys in positions of FEMALE GAZE previously only ever alloted to pretty women in shows...coming out of showers slicked wet, valnerable while sleeping, all those semiotics...so I guess one could say a show about pretty boys being pretty and shooting things is pretty empowering to the women watching it....I say this because a lot of my guy friends get really really bored watching it..so I assume that it has to be girl centric...which SURPRISED the HELL out of me.

I'm rambling...but I guess what I'm saying is...maybe we don't need to ADD girls to stories...we need to give girls equally COOL stories themselves, which is I think the REAL problem... Unless it's a certain TYPE of story, most networks/audiences/writers don't really explore how far they can take a woman. *sigh*
sarahtales
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
Sarah, please. It's my name.

I don't think that there is a male version of the Bechdel Test, because so much stuff passes it: dudes talking about war, about land, about cigars: we could go back and see hundreds of years of passing that test.

Adding girls isn't what I meant - I'd like to see them always there, and always part of the action, since they are in most of the real world.

But I agree I'd like to see a girls' version of Supernatural, and am interested in your thoughts on the female gaze. I do not recall from my admittedly misty memories of watching season one, but I did love the privileging of the female gaze (and it taking over a very traditionally male gaze) in Casino Royale when Bond himself was the Bond babe, with Daniel Craig emerging from the surf in clinging wet swimwear. Daniel Craig isn't even my type, but I liked it for the empowerment.
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evilangel101
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
This is epic and it is awesome and generally kick ass. My mother is a feminist Historian so my youth was based around women being awesome (also she loves Anthony Trollop as well and agrees he cannot be judged too harshly). Thank you for writing this.
snottygrrl
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
i'm too tired to post anything brilliant, but had to thank you for your wonderfully written observations. i was forced to link to this so my BFF and mum could read it. [*nods*]
marisahsaaaa
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:24 am (UTC)
Very interesting read!

I recently realized that I tend to judge female characters more harshly than male for petty reasons, like that I'm comparing them to myself and I'm jealous and wish I was that cool, pretty, etc. I think a lot of other girls have done that as well.

But anyway, since I realized that, I've been trying, instead, to use these awesome ladies at inspiration, and now my all-time favorite characters are female. (Hello, Donna Noble, Toshiko Sato, Jordan Sullivan, and Cordelia Chase!)
narutootaku
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
OMG! I love Donna Noble too! I love her to bits! XD one of my favorite female charachters ever!
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themadfish
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
I love Supernatural, completely and utterly adore it.

But I hate the fact that there are no strong, lingering female characters.

There were lots of potential female characters, that could have been even more awesome than they were, but they never went anywhere.

I also have problems with the lack of racial diversity.

Despite those two flaws, I can still enjoy the show at least.
narutootaku
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC)
I am so glad you put out another essay. They always have such awesome points and are funny on top of that.
I agree I do think girls judge women charchter more harshly than others. A funny thing happened when I lent The Demon's Lexicon to my male freind though, he was more critcal of Nick then he was of Mae.

Also as for girl heroes not loveing the guy who loves them, I am totaly fine with that. Like in the hunger games! I love Katniss to peices! And in Buffy when Spike becomes her love interest, I didn't hate her for not liking him (even though I desperately wanted her to!) In fact I am more skeptical of the Girls who do fall in love with the guy right off the bat. In a lot of books I feel that the relationships they get into are too perfect and without struggles and trials. Also I love awkward courtships and people who are clueless that others like them!

Well thank you again for another awesome essay! I must go pimp it out on my LJ and facebook!
akarii
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
Now that you mention it, you're absolutely right. Boys often do get more license in terms of romantic relationships. My own theory is that women, unlike men, tend to mistrust each other, because they are viewing the others as potential rivals. I often feel that men are drawing their self-assurance from getting the woman they want, whereas women are focussed on keeping 'their' man. That's why women may have a bigger potential for jealousy.

melusinahp
Aug. 25th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
♥ Awesome essay.
zeffy_amethyst
Aug. 25th, 2009 07:43 am (UTC)
....This makes me realise how terribly biased I am. I have nothing against strong female characters, but I like them to have flaw. I judge them so horribly when they don't have flaws.

But apparently I won't hold that against the guys. That is to say, I'm more forgiving of awesome males when they display little, or insignificant, flaws.

Oh hell.
elij_0650
Aug. 25th, 2009 08:16 am (UTC)
Maybe random but ...
Perhaps the whole way we look at gender (in books, films, TV, RL) is skewed by our society & upbringing.

I have always appreciated Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody. Her friendship with Evelyn starts the series and is a constant from book to book. Also her (overwhelming) need to mentor young women and give them a wider direction in life than just wife & mother.

Also:
I really enjoyed this essay when I stumbled on it yesterday:
http://www.storytellersunplugged.com/apparently-i-write-like-a-girl
Quite an eye opener looking at editors who jump to conclusions as their main form of exercise.
insane_duckfish
Aug. 25th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS. :D I loved Uhura and I love so many female characters that too many other people hate. It's one of the greatest (and saddest) ironies of fandom that it's mostly made up of women and yet female characters tend to be despised.

And I'd like to state for the record that I loved Mae to bits. Not just coz her name is my (correctly spelled!) middle name. I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear the next book will be from her perspective!

Also, thank you for all the book recs! I will be looking out for these, they all sound awesome.

There are a couple of episodes with Spock/Uhura moments in the first season of TOS (I can't speak for anything after that), but, uh, it's probably not worth it. I made the mistake of showing my girlfriend an episode of it without screening the episode first, and we both spent an hour yelling at the screen for all the gender!fail. Not all of them are that bad, but I tend to prefer the ones where women hardly do anything, because at least they're not being treated really badly by the show in those cases. It makes me so depressed that I favour the ones without women but it's not exactly shocking, given the time period.

Although, I have to say, Star Trek is about one of the greatest love stories of all time. Just... you know, not that one.
jademcivor
Aug. 25th, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree to the things you say. Yet it makes me wonder: how can we make female characters more appealing to a larger audience? Of course you can try and balance the awesome with some flaws and give her strong female sidekicks and whatnot, but I wonder if people will then think "Hold on a minute, something isnt RIGHT here..." Just a thought.
Personally, my hated heroine is Tess of the D´Ubervilles. Oh God. She does everything wrong you possible can, then mopes about it and then doesn´t MOVE ON, but ruins her happiness by dwelling on the past. Urgh.
A positive examle of strong female characters that are adored by the audience is the (unfortunately prematurely cancelled) show Firefly. The crew has three regular female members plus a crrraaazy cool girl. Zoe is your typical strong girl with a weapon who´s got her man whipped. Kaylee is a sweet little girl who can whoop any guys ass in mechanics, and is beloved by the audience. Then there´s Inaara, who is a courtesan by profession, but has so much quiet inner strength... So kudos to Joss Whedon ( who generally, IMHO, createes brilliant strong female characters with strong female friends.)
bookblather
Aug. 26th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Someone else pointed out that they'd like to see more women who are strong without a weapon in their hands, which I think Joss manages with impressive regularity. Firefly is a pretty good example, with Kaylee and Inara. Yes, Inara can use a sword, but it's not her main strength, and then there's little awesome Kaylee, who is pretty much my favorite character and can't handle any weapon to save her life. I like seeing women strong in all roles, not just traditionally male roles, and Joss, whatever his other flaws, does a really good job of that.
(Deleted comment)
empresstria
Aug. 26th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Ahhh QC icon <3
deva_fagan
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:10 am (UTC)
Wonderful post!

I am not a huge fan of the original Star Trek tv show, but I did love Uhura, and I did read a lot of the ST novels. Two of my favorites feature Uhura prominantly: Tears of the Singers and Uhura's Song. In the former Uhura gets a big romance and there are singing aliens. In the latter there are giant cat people and plagues.
live_momma
Sep. 1st, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
I read both of those ST novels in high school, and they're two of the VERY few whose titles I still remember.
blamebrampton
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:22 am (UTC)
Alison Bechdel!!!!!!!!

Oh, bugger it, !!.

Dykes to Watch Out For was the comic that made me smile through my twenties and which both taught me that comics could be a brilliant form of storytelling, and that other children of lesbians had to deal with the same lunatic fringe that I occasionally encountered. I even stole a few quips, attributed, of course.

I am beyond thrilled that she has her own test, she's splendid. I hope you've had the chance to read some of her work, Fun Home, her memoir, is so good I have bought four copies and given away three since it came out.

This is an excellent essay. Whether in fiction, or in life, keeping your points in mind would Make Things Better. Mae's determined courage (which is quite Battle of Britain in many ways) was one of my favourite things about TDL.

And I quite agree with you about Spock and Uhura; they're the only two sane people on the bridge, obviously they belong with each other.
lady_ganesh
Aug. 26th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's a really good point-- Alison Bechdel herself writes awesome stuff with great women!
(no subject) - blamebrampton - Aug. 26th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
misscam
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
I love me some Uhura. And that she and Spock have it going is plain awesome in my book. (Sometimes, I love a romance where both characters are pretty awesome - with weaknesses of course! - to begin with and it's not played like one must earn the love of the other.)

The rest of your essay is kinda depressing and I've had a lot of the same thoughts watching fandom and female characters over the year. It's not that female characters don't get love - often they do get fans who like them very much. It's often how they get hate and for what that just makes me sad. A lot of it seem so rooted in sexist shit and double standards.

Society needs to rethink a few things, I think, and maybe we can all help influence that a bit. Start with the little things - even how you write females in fanfic can matter a little.
highlystrung
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC)
I .... had thought I had posted a comment .... and once again instead I had comment fail. *hangs head*

So, uh, the gist of it was to say thankyou for posting this. You are right, and it is difficult to remember at times. I have just battled it out with myself over a female villain, which my impulses were saying should be older! seductress! uses her sexuality as power! and my brain was saying 'ohmygodshutupshutupshutup you are so stupid.' Thankfully my brain won.

Also, I loved OS series, and was quite OK with Spock/Uhura (did you know if your LJ background is black white-text does not work? Somehow I only found this out today. I feel stupid. And like maybe I should go change my layout.) until about maybe ... half way through the film? At which point the constant macking irritated me, and more importantly, I grew very tired with Uhura's sass and spunk and smarts that seemed to constantly want to remind the audience that she was the most!awesome!girl!in!space! It was just like 'can't she only be a little bit awesome? Or maybe just have some character instead of quite so much spunk?' I guess for me, to steal your excellent analogy, she really was like the Northern Lights, only with absolutely no stars anywhere to be seen.
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