beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I get really tired of fanfic's tendency to swap out women.
When a show has only women of the week and the guys go home together, the slash is simples, and rarely has to bother swapping out women.
But the more women are in the story in the first place, the more some fanfic decides what a story really needs is to just reattribute their everything to a man.

I've read fics that were just episodes but with their preferred pairing instead of a woman.
I even liked them cause I hadn't seen that episode yet.
Felt icky when I realised.

In Clint/Coulson fics after Age of Ultron, well, the vast majority simply aren't after Age of Ultron, but the ones that are? I'm mostly left trying to decide if it's creepier when they give the farm to Coulson or make Laura Clint's sister.

Probably the sister thing, considering, but in the general case it's just creepy to erase a woman and give her everything to the nearest pretty guy.

It's also annoying because so unnecessary. I mean Coulson makes some little speeches in Agents of SHIELD season one that imply he had to choose between wok and raising kids, and then Clint turns out to have kids, so the poly fic really ought to write itself. But I haven't even seen a handful of those. Just the erasure.

I get fed up of het fic due to the increased tendency to get icky patriarchy all over everything, but this is not an improvement.

I'm kind of feeling like I should retrain myself to only read fic with women in, because wow am I fed up of white men getting all the stories.

But I'm in the habit so somehow the fic that grabs me is all white men all the time. Which is embarrassing.

When canon gives us awesome women doing things, or even mediocre poorly written token women doing things, it's really important to keep them around. And do better with them. Like we have been with the men for some decades.

We can write so many more interesting lives. We don't need to treat what they've already got like scraps to be fought over.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So I idly invented an alternate gender system for a fantasy world, because everything being the same is boring

so in my world, nobody is assigned a gender, gender and bodies has nothing to do with each other, people just choose to be a man or woman or person and can stay a person their whole lives or switch as many times as they want.

So then I go to populate this world
and I keep gendering everyone
by binary gender.

I made this stuff up and I keep failing at it.

I decided my main character is nonbinary and I keep typing she.

I feel like a fraud.

It's like my brain is so thoroughly colonised I can run through it with a burning flag yelling 'no masters' but in five minutes I'll be back to doing the same old shit anyway.


Some of it is because I'm populating it fanfic style and just throwing characters at it to see where they'd fit, but of course in the source they're basically binary gendered, and basically all cis and not fluid, and then they just end up staying the same and my world is disproportionately white guys again. Which is daft, because I just made it up, it should not be white guys.

Some of it is because it's one thing to set out to disrupt gender by using unfamiliar pronouns or singular they, and quite another to get your fingers to remember. Singular they bugs me, you lose data, but there I am using ambiguously general you and that doesn't bug me, so it's just habit.

Also the per/per/pers/perself pronoun set is tempting but the first per doesn't fit, we have she he they in that slot already, so clearly it should be pe, which is then unfortunate. It can't be Phe because that changes the P sound weirdly, and Peh belongs to another set.

I'm better at typing ze but for some reason best known to my subconscious it doesn't feel like it belongs in this verse.

So just, in general, thanks brain.

I shall type a first draft and then fix it later.

But seriously, gender is weird.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The thing that bugs me about dance is how gendered it can be. I mean, a song comes on, the DJ says girls on one side guys on the other, and even if he is clear we’re just choosing sides for the length of the song and anyone can stand anywhere, it’s still sides. I stay seated. Cause otherwise I’d be dancing somewhere in the middle.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Vampire and ghost, actually. And gender.

I know I've used it before but the idea that a single character can become undead two different ways at once, because the vampire gets their body but not their soul, has a lot of mileage.

And I have this idea for a trans character who looked around for a model of masculinity and decided: William the Bloody. Read more... )


Oct. 29th, 2016 01:15 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Poll #17718 Pronouns
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8

Which pronouns do you recognise

View Answers

E, Em, Eir, Eirs, Emself.
3 (42.9%)

ou, ou, ous, ous, ouself.
0 (0.0%)

per, per, per, pers, perself.
2 (28.6%)

they, them, their, theirs, themself.
7 (100.0%)

ze, zim, zir, zirs, zirself.
7 (100.0%)

Which would be best to use in a fantasy story where gender at birth is 'person'

View Answers

E, Em, Eir, Eirs, Emself.
1 (12.5%)

ou, ou, ous, ous, ouself.
0 (0.0%)

per, per, per, pers, perself.
3 (37.5%)

they, them, their, theirs, themself.
4 (50.0%)

ze, zim, zir, zirs, zirself.
0 (0.0%)

I'm pretending I'll start writing again any time soon, and this one 'verse I've been thinking on just doesn't assign gender, they wait until someone declares themselves. So I've been wondering if to stick with 'they' or to make it more obvious something unusual is going on by using unusual words. Except not always recogniseable are the unusual words. So, poll.


Mar. 30th, 2016 05:59 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It just occurred to me what bugged me about the women in the... last half dozen books I read by several different male authors.

Women as prizes are never women who choose between different options.

It's obvious once I've seen it. But when I was reading it was all from a male point of view and the most that happens is they compete for a woman but then something happens to take one out of the running and the other mourns for a while and then claims his default prize. It's never like in romances where there's the nice guy and the dangerous guy and a woman has actual opinions on both of them.

Women as prizes happen in the exact quantity required, exist long enough to prove they're worthy of their guy, and then just fade into the background.

It's creepy.

Now I have a sudden urge to rewrite something a bit more Pride & Prejudice... except I've not read that in a really long time and I'm not even sure I mean that one. So it's not my sort of rewrite that I'd be good at. Boo.

But also I was reading about the roles of women historically and how marriage was more about wealth and power than about love and it just struck me again how duty gets devalued by the romantic love narrative. I mean Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy because they die, but also because their stupid hormonal messing around gets other people killed. And yet there's a lot of people under the ridiculous impression it's romantic. Also any story where the lord runs off with the servant girl. It's all very well as far as it goes, it elevates the servant girl's social chances and is a much better gig than just getting the attention without the marriage, but there's a reason that a good aristocrat cares about his wife's wealth. Aristos are the boss of a really large number of people. They need money to maintain their estates, which means employing and feeding a whole lot of people, as well as doing things necessary to the community and being a good landlord. Yes there's not much guarantee they'll be good lords, but if they're good, they need the money for their people. Like reading the word Lord etymologically derives from Loaf Warden. There's the dude with enough bread for everyone. Marrying poor is bad not just for him but for potentially really large swathes of the country. That's not happily ever after, that's not romance, that's just ignoring duty for personal desire.

And yet that's a really difficult point to push, given how uphill it is against current standards.

Checking out someone's prospects is just trying to ensure neither the married couple nor their children will starve. And when a family was pretty much a business organisation, say with farming or weaving or any other thing, the extended family would be relying on strong marriages to keep everyone in eating.

Leaving all that behind, say to ride off on horseback somewhere, would be a bit like leaving with the company car, still on hire purchase, belonging to the company formed with relatives, and never seen again while not a breath of payment comes back.

Doing that for romance just means burning through your assets twice as fast, with more mouths to feed.

And if they're only your assets as part of a complex web of family investments, well, that's just rude.

So I don't get what's so wrong about going looking for a good investment prospect, seeing as you want to continue to eat without taking more than you return in food off the family table.

And the kind of fantasy adventure novel where the prince goes undercover and comes back with some pretty young woman who is at best trained to run a family business the size of an inn or a smallholding... it's like promoting the secretary to CEO because true love, it's really unlikely to work out well for tens of thousands of people.

... promoting the personal assistant to CEO because she's been running the company really well for years anyway is just a good investment.

But choosing the prince because he's a prince has a lot of drawbacks too. I mean, politics involves actual backstabbing. And if the kingdom falls apart you know who they'll blame, fairly or otherwise. And the new girl at court has absolutely no useful contacts.

If you're looking for a good place to raise children it's a hell of a gamble.

So 'romance' in fantasy novels is frequently a series of very poor choices, creepily presented as destiny with an ongoing lack of apparent choice.

I dislike it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The Bechdel-Wallace test, blunt instrument that it is, is not there to measure if women act in a stereotypical way. When it says 'are they talking about something other than a man' it is not a test for romance. It's not even just to filter out characters playing The Mother and The Sister and The Daughter, though it does that pretty handily.

It's there to test whether we exist in our own right. Women, plural.

Because if the film only has one woman, or two women that do not talk to each other, or who only talk about men?

Then women in that film only exist when observing or observed by men.


Women are half the world. Women should be half the movie. Very simple.
Instead we tend to get 2:1 male to female.
And that 1/3? Talks to and about men. And exists only in relation to men.

It's very easy to fix this. And yet it doesn't happen.

Making women the protagonists is important, essential, really great
and not sufficient.

We are not the lone exception. We are half the world.

Women exist. Plural. We talk to other women, with no men around, about things entirely not involving men.

Until media reflects that, it will come up short on the Bechdel-Wallace test, and fail at this really basic component of realism.

A film can have many other virtues, but the only way to get women to exist independently is to have it pass the test. And failing the test is a great big minus that drags the whole thing down.

I realise this particular rant might work better in relevant comments threads, but I am just not feeling that confrontational, so I'll rant about it here where people will either agree with me or be quiet. *sigh*

I like it that people like their favourite movies, I just get really frustrated when people decide this test doesn't matter, because often they're saying it doesn't matter if there's only one woman if she's sufficiently cool. But it matters. Nobody is cool enough to make up for the numerical disadvantage. We need to exist, and we need to talk, and we need to talk to each other.

Game worlds

Nov. 6th, 2015 12:11 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Last night I was reading GURPS Banestorm
and it just wound me the hell up
that they've cherry picked history to end up with two thousand years of AU that's more sexist.

Not just because the 20th century worked out quite differently.
They've just erased women in two easy steps.
The first one goes something like 'it is a historical fact that most warriors were men' and the second one just conveniently ignores the 'most' and continues as if history were entirely shaped by dicks.

Even the most masculine focused history books I've read included Boudicea and the Iceni.
But the gaming AU version? Rome! Rome forever!
Conquer the multiverse with some frozen in amber single most sexist moment, where nobody struck back ever.

And which is more exciting to play? Do you want to bestride the continent as the single most efficient war machine history has ever known? Or do you want to be the tiny tribe on an island in the arse end of nowhere that stood up and made them burn?

Banestorm takes little bits of Earth cultures and dumps them via storm portals onto a whole other planet, where they can develop differently. Or, for gaming purposes, not develop.

But it takes the most sexist stereotypes of the most sexist centuries, and then ignores the fact that each and every moment is one of dynamic change. Women didn't just sit around for nineteen hundred years on every continent entirely content to be told they could not. Women did. Women did all the things. Pick a thing, and women have done it. Led armies? Pirate queen? Queen regnant? Founded universities? And yeah, spun and wove and embroidered, made lace and knitted, but you know the fibre arts weren't so heavily gendered when they were a widespread industry. And see 'peace weaver' for another highly respected alternative. Or abbess, how about that, head of a joint house where male religious did what they were told. I know very little history and I know all those things. And it can't be that there's no room in the game book for the because it took me all of a paragraph to write them out.

So pick up your random bits of Earth culture and dump them next door to orcs if you will, but realise you could be taking them from an Anglo-Saxon era where men and women both could be 'lords' or 'throne worthy', could be land owners and bread winners, defenders and diplomats. Even if you want Christianity, you could have the Celtic version where women were (at least closer to) equals. In this timeline sexism won, imperial and religious both, but why keep that?

A few centuries later you could have the survivors of the Black Death, pulling together to survive, with women doing all the work because there weren't enough people left to make a fuss about it. Sure, before and after that they were locked out of a lot of paths, but for a while they were everywhere because that was the only way to survive.

And you know what happens when you've got a few thousand humans on an alien planet surrounded by orcs? Because history suggests it's not bloody sexism. See world war 2 for the most recent model. Necessity isn't just the mother of invention.

Plus GURPS specifically says the Banestorm pulled people from the crusader era, without considering that if all the fighty ones and many of the males have buggered off to go hit the neighbours, the villages back home getting portaled over could have a bit of a different balance going on. More Maid Marions than usual. Actually fewer Norman knights. Play through that as if the cross coated never came home and what could happen?

So you can pick your bits and pieces of societies from all over, take them from moments where women were already doing things, and weave together an alternate history where sexism died.

And it's more interesting, richer, more varied, gives you far more game possibilities, and isn't something we've seen a billion times before.

Are there RPG sourcebooks specifically about women? Templates for famous historical women, that sort of thing? There should be.

Maybe I should make one.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm bouncing off a book I tried starting reading today. So far instead of book I have had lunch, had a nap, played on the computer twice, and done my nails again. Also stared into space. A lot.

I've read a few chapters in between those things but it's not going great. I may take this one back unfinished. I have until Wednesday, I kind of expected to finish it in one afternoon like usual, but no.

There's two point of view characters, one bloke, one bird. The bloke is fed up of women because they're all so vain and fluttery. The woman is Not Like Other Women, who she finds vain and fluttery.

That's the big. That's what I'm utterly done with. That assumption, that women were actually sitting around being pretty all day every day with not a thought in their head, except for Our Heroine, Not Like Other Girls, who has secretly acquired an education and earned money!

I'm not saying there's no bits of history where you'd find fluttery vain women. I'm pretty sure said women were often shrewd political actors using the power available to them, but that gets called vanity.

The thing is there are so many other bits of history. Why are our fantasy novels not set there?

Like I was reading about English History from the library last week and it said stuff like Anglo Saxon women could be Lords, because the word hlaford usually translated as Lord was actually gender neutral. Women were landowners. They built forts, they ran abbeys, they owned many things and kept them jointly if they got married. They were in charge. And inheritance, at least for kings, was drawn from a pool, the aethelings I think it said, and those were everyone descended from like the great grandfather king. I should look it up, I'll do a more precise post before I send the book back. So whoever turned out to be best at the kinging job got it. And then the Normans turned up and they had that primogeniture rule where the firstborn son got everything and the rest of history was quite a different shape.

But if you're writing a fantasy book then why not draw on a system where ranks are gender neutral and the best person for the rank is drawn from a pool? Drama and competition! Everyone needing to be good at all the jobs! Equal opportunity fluttery vanity among people who know they're not going to get the job on their own merits, if that sort of thing appeals. But mostly, women, women everywhere, doing all the things and being just as good at them.

The telling of history has perhaps been uniformly sexist in mainstream sources for a long time now. The living of it was not. It wasn't a straight line of progress from women as property to women now, we had property and ruled stuff long times ago, it just got took away somtimes.

Also there was a bit about Boadicea and I've always heard she, like, inherited being the boss because the blokes around her died, but the way this particular book tells it it was more that the locals found it unremarkable for a woman to be in charge so she was boss of course. What it says was just "like other Celtic peoples they accepted the authority of female leaders." And then the Romans turned up and were like 'no, where's the bloke in charge', only in Latin and with more swords. They did what they did to her partly because Rome wasn't having any of that women-in-charge stuff.

So there's one version of history as if the Roman way was the normal way, but there were Celtic peoples here long before and after the Romans turned up, doing things their way, with female leaders being normal.

Why aren't they in the fantasy books?

Even the ones by women often rework particular sexist eras, with sexist assumptions, shaped around the idea that the version of history that's all battles and who had the biggest army is the important one.

It's never about diplomacy or arranging a good marriage as a business and political transaction that holds kingdoms together. It's always looking down on women as fluttering vanity trying to snare a man for personal ambition. The nuts and bolts day to day work that should have gone with that ambition, that's nowhere.

Or it's there, but because she's Not Like Other Girls.


Our brains got poisoned by wrong teaching. Need to think more better.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Something that has been bugging me lately about texts that get called feminist and groundbreaking: they're usually not that new.

It feels like spinning wheels in mud, to be told something is new and shiny over and over again. Look at all the progress we made! Working so hard!

So when prejudice and misogyny get shown, they get pushed back as far into the before as possible, so it's something that happened to grandparents maybe. Parents if you must. But it's in the before. And it's meant to be high contrast, because they show the stuff that's so obvious and ugly, and then haha, punch it in the face, that'll totally work.

And then we're meant to be happy that we get such a new and shiny female character, who can kick butt and be feminine, wow, we never had that before!

Read more... )

Maybe I'm watching the wrong shows. I'd love to hear about shows doing all the things I want. I mean I don't watch much that's on TV lately, I end up getting DVD box sets, I'm probably missing a bunch of cool.

But I get somewhere between tired and scared when something gets proclaimed again as all all new! and groundbreaking! because it's like being given last year's worn out christmas presents and being told we're happy with them.

Gender pay gaps still yawn hugely, casting ratios still run at about 2:1 male to female, women directors are losing ground as a percentage for some years now, women's stories are considered lower priority so female characters are expendable, and whenever we get a female led show or movie announced everyone crowds around it cheering like someone lit a campfire in alaska. But we should be lighting it up all everywhere, taking half the places, half the screentime, half the stars.

Don't settle for anything less.

And don't forget. Don't let them recycle progress.
We should have had it all along.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I made a new year's resolution to write 1000 words per day, just to get started doing any writing at all again. So far I've made them by complaining about Big Finish Audios, but to listen to more of those I'd have to change devices, so, I need some topics to ramble on about.

Today: Designing female superheroes.

Read more... )

I guess if I'm going to invent or design a female superhero, for one thing I'll make them in a set so they've got other powerful women to relate to, and for another what I'll really be trying to do is remake or rescue existing supers. Because what I really want for those women has, sometimes, happened. Paradise Island and Amazons and a competition to find the best and Wonder Woman comes to man's world, trying to live up to her mother, and inspires women everywhere, including two more Wonder Girls. Batgirl takes up the mantle of her own will, and so does Batgirl and Batgirl after her. Black Canary and her daughter Black Canary. Oracle. Power Girl. Fire and Ice. They've all had their moments where they were exactly what I wanted, needed, them to be.

I'd want to take all the best bits of that, and then, somehow, I'd want to make sure they never got screwed over again.

... to invent lady superheroes the way I want them, I would have to combat systemic sexism in the media.

... which inventing them right would be only a small step towards doing.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Yeseterday I listened to two 7th Doctor audios, Starlight Robbery and Daleks Among Us.
There was plenty of plot with running around doing things, and I usually like 7, but my lingering impression at the end of the story was, that's a lot of dead women.
Read more... )

I'm sure nobody sat down and consciously decided that the trouble with Doctor Who is having too many women doing too much. They just sat down and decided that men were more interesting, and wrote a three disc story arc accordingly.

So I was bored, and felt strongly that the story didn't want me around.

Doctor Who gave me that feeling.


Read more... )

So here's the thing: The latest season of Doctor Who on the TV almost all annoyed the hell out of me, with two episodes that were acceptable. Listening to new Big Finish audios is feeling tedious and seeming full of the same gendered problems as everywhere else. Relistening to old Big Finish is just feeling like seeing cobwebs when the lights come on.

I appear to be bored of Doctor Who.

This is not a thing that should be possible, and is somewhat alarming.
... well, theoretically alarming, but mostly seems more just tiresome and blah.

I need to figure out what would be exciting. What would be interesting and engrossing and fun.
... having done cultural studies the list is never simple, but there has to be something.

It has to be something that invites me in and wants me there. That sounds basic but it's by no means guaranteed. And Doctor Who should give me that. The Doctor always wants new friends. He's standing in the TARDIS with the light spilling out and his hand out making an offer. All of time and space! Meet new people and mostly save them! And so many awesome women in this story!

Except the longer I'm here the more I see how we're treated, how we're always pushed aside and eventually kicked out, how we have to choose to follow his awesome life around and so very seldom get an awesome life of our own out of it.

My escapist fiction just keeps kicking me out of it. On purpose. Repeatedly.

And I know with Doctor Who specifically the only way to fix this, the proper only way, is for the Doctor to regenerate as a woman. After the scripts for the season have already been written, so nobody gets any bright ideas about everything or anything having to be different.

But there has to be other stories where we fly the damn ship.

I think I need to go look for those.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I dreamed that walking between this familiar universe and the universe next door was, in some locations, as easy as trying to see a magic eye picture. Look at the world one way and there's our road along a cliff edge, look at it another and there's the wall between worlds and a door through it. And on the other side it got weird, to the point that the appearance of identical humanity was just concealing an entirely alien culture.

There were at least six genders. But they were indistinguishable to our eyes. To us they looked just masculine and feminine, but to the locals they were clearly also at least three different modes of being. There were natural born humans, creations of biological origin, and creations of non biological origin. And these were perceived as gender lines, with distinct roles in courtship, mating, carrying children, raising them, as well as distinct relations of power.

Read more... )

So there were Princes, Princesses, women who couldn't bear children but could make creations of biological origin, creations of biological origin, and creations of non-biological origin. And men. That's at least six, but maybe ten, genders.

The creations of non biological origin intrigued me. I never figured them out in the dream. Thor in the Allspeak called them something like scathach, which while asleep I didn't understand at all. Having looked it up it's Gaelic for something like Shadow/y or Shade/y, or the personal name of a Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher. That makes me think Immortals, because warriors. But there's a lot to work with in an order of creation called Shadows.

Read more... )

Of course if you leave out the Immortals entirely you can get a tidy six part system: born humans can have genes copied to make creations of biological origin, and either can have minds copied to make creations of non-biological origin.

Other systems tend to treat these more like races, yesno? Racial discrimination based on mode of being, owning creations perhaps? But the way the differences are all about procreation and possible futures kind of lends itself to a gender system. And that's still about power. And defamiliarising in this way can highlight that.

I do like the idea of recombining shades to make a new person from two or more minds. If I keep the mechanism as Immortals and Quickenings then it's going to have to stay fanfic, since that style of Immortality through energy transfer is specific to Highlander rather than a generic mechanism. Filing the serial numbers off would be tricky.

Of course making a story out of all this would be tricky. It didn't have a plot, just an unraveling of why we weren't using words or recognising each other in the same ways. I'd have to tie that to some life and death stuff to get it to move anywhere.

I just liked the new toys it presented though, gender and reproduction broken down into new elements, and how very deeply different that would make a society however much else appeared the same.
beccaelizabeth: dollmaker girl, short and wider than most dolls, red hair, red shirt, red fan, katana, rainbow socks, and converse.  Be. (avatar)
There's a fic series where Clint Barton is the Slayer, and I just cannot get past the first page, not because writing, but because of how wrong headed it is to make the Slayer a guy.

I mean, they mocked the idea within the series, with Andrew saying how a guy would be cooler. And imitator series have tried making the Slayer a guy and been really really bad. And the idea of the Chosen One being male? Not exactly rocking any boats. So why flip the gender back to guys doing violence, unless they're actively trying to prop up patriarchy.

The Slayer was a girl, in canon, because she could be both bait and trap. She would look small weak defenceless tasty, and then get the stake out. Make a guy like Clint Barton a Slayer? Who would be dumb enough to read him as weak? No bait, no trap.

Read more... )

Guys as Slayers though... when it's girl Slayers being pounced by guy vampires in alleys and then fighting them all off it's a metaphor about resistance to the dominant patriarchal power that sees them as available to slake their biological urges on. When it's a guy being pounced? Either it's other guys, when it's just the model of masculinity whereby they solve problems by violence, and the admittedly useful side where it makes monsters and wrecks lives, or it's girl vampires, and it's male violence against monstrous women yet again. It gets skewed ugly real easy. Angel being the monster first and trying to deal with it by eliminating other monsters, that was mostly noir about how that worked really badly. Give a guy super strength and it does not, on the whole, improve things for him.

So for all I know this fic could be awesome. I haven't read it, I've read the tags at most, I have no idea. But I just can't get started on it because the simple gender flip for me undermines all the basic point of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It could very easily have a different basic point about a different set of inequalities (because in the end it's about power). But by using specifically Buffy to illustrate them, it loses me on page one, because that was girl power, and they don't get to give it back to the guys.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just got around to watching the last Sherlock. I'm afraid I have to agree with much of tumblr: That was stupid. Also, sexist. Also, stupid.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, cartoon style, bored, using one of those bats with the ball attached. (Blue Beetle)
Chinese takeaway Friday continues to work. The noodles were weird today, like someone forgot an ingredient, but still food is good.

Mostly today I played Fate and listened to Big Finish audios. 159 The Emerald Tiger. 5, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa. It was okay I guess, but I wasn't impressed. Also someone should have checked it for colonial problematic aspects. Read more... )

Then I watched Batman the Brave and the Bold disc 2, which is the one that ends with The Fall of Blue Beetle. So, kind of upsetting. :-( Ted! :-( But I like it better than the comics version. Read more... ) Also, Wil Wheaton is the voice of Ted Kord, thus crossing the streams on two of my favourite things. Teenage me would be squee for ever. ... okay, not just teenage me.

There were other episodes that did not have Blue Beetle in. But I have priorities.

So far Batman the Brave and the Bold is plenty watchable and I like the way tv cartoons have little morals about teamwork and heroism and how everyone is valuable in their own way (unlike comics which were busy being grimdark when I gave up on them). I mean, everyone needs stories with that theme, those are plenty good themes.

I just really, really wish there would be at least one superhero woman per disc.

Read more... )

So if you count Katana because she ends up good at the end of the episode, they managed one woman on this disc, and if you count evil women then there's always some, but, you know, that's a problem.

I like the character design, I like the themes of the stories, I just ... I should put this on a banner at the top of the journal, really:

Stories need more diverse characters, especially the heroes.

All it takes is some basic maths.

And not being attached to hegemonic ideological constructs of normality and the inherent heroism of the dominant groups.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been poking the internet trying to find a timeline for trans inclusion in the military.

... because I was 'verse-translating a character and they had space alien future mpreg, and plain mpreg in the here-now is a bit tricky but ftmpreg happens. So.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: Zatanna's hand, in fishnet glove, reaching out with fingers spread. (hand Zatanna)
There was going to be a Wonder Woman movie. There's often going to be one, and yet here we still wait. I went around reading what was planned for it, and something about it bugged me. The writer, whose work I otherwise liked, was talking about Diana first arriving in man's world, and learning about it.


Diana is not here to learn. She is here to teach.

Her weapon is truth. She is here to make the whole of man's world look at itself and see the truth of what they have become. To see the injustice, the inequality, the harms subtle and gross that they have built into their systems, that they do to each other day after day after day. And she is here to show them a better way.

When I was growing up, reading Wonder Woman, what I understood from it was this:
Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was reading a thing where a(nother) female writer of science fiction said how she has to use a gender neutral nym to get respect / sell in that market. She said she was frustrated by it because gender shouldn’t matter.

I have to disagree. Gender matters. It’s just not a disqualification for anything.

When I go to the book shop I have a two step sort process on books. One, is it by a woman. Two, is it about a woman. Anything in the SF&F section that matches those criteria and isn’t from a series I gave up on already is going to get bought.

I am not, on the whole, overburdened by books.

Read more... )

I want to read women doing heroic acts for selfless reasons based in compassion and a strong sense of justice and a need to protect others. I can name a lot of guy books where they do that. It’s not actually hard. I want to read about awesome competent women who have skills they gained by study and hard work. That’s not actually unusual, right? I mean, the world works like that. So where are we?

I’ve been looking in the by+about women books in the hopes we can reflect our experiences in our work maybe better than annoying men can. I am not a damsel or a tower princess, at least not while I’m reading. I want to be a starship captain or a fleet admiral or a paladin or a book learned witch. Why can’t I find where to send my money?

So, women authors: it’s totally up to you which name you use.

Just tell me how to find you if y’all are hiding for the dudes’ sake.

Cause it matters to me.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I very nearly didn't watch this one at the cinema. Even without reading past the spoiler cut, none of my friends seemed excited, or even vaguely approving. There wasn't a sudden explosion of fic, or indeed any fic that turned up where I was reading, where there had been for the previous movie. And I was somewhat apprehensive about that whole 'Darkness' bit, since grimdark is a pervasive problem.

But hey, it's Star Trek! I always watch Star Trek!
... but now I've watched it I am far from convinced it is Star Trek.

Plus some of the more familiar complaints would apply even if it were just some random movie with spaceships.

So it's kind of hovering on the line between 'those hours could have been better spent sleeping' and 'kinda wish I hadn't given them my money'.

But it only actively pissed me off when it was most directly a remix of previous Trek. And at those points, it really and sincerely did.

Read more... )

So was there any of the film I liked?

... I liked the music. I stayed to the end of the credits listening the music.

*really big sigh*

So maybe this wasn't my best day for watching. I've been awake a really long time. My original plan involved coming home much earlier, but I just finished college (all! finished! Work returned and log book picked up and Done now!) so I wanted to Do Something.

This particular something leaves me wanting to write my spaceship movie. Not wanting to watch this one.
beccaelizabeth: Knight with sword out, defiant; word balloon says NO. (No)

Government to tell parents how to make their children "aspirational" and "ambitious for themselves".
Because clearly the solution to structural inequalities is to tell individuals they need to try harder.

I guess this may not be obvious to people who have achieved the sort of power that can make this stuff happen, but: sometimes, wanting is not getting.
Telling girls to want more... have we not been asking? Have we not been trying? I rather thought we were.

But no, not according to this bollocks. Apparently we hold ourselves back.

This is not feminism. This is the same old same old in high heels.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am reading a long thing about how historical fact and the stories that get told don't match up in very many places

which linked to another thing I'll read in a bit

both are about how women actually did exist in history. women did all the things. but the stories that we're soaking in try and tell us different.

A lot of it is also about the difference between casual perception and actually counting. Read more... )

We need better stories, and I think getting stubborn about parity is baseline necessity towards that.
Thinking of what all them women should do really ought to diversify the storylines, as long as they exist in the first place.
beccaelizabeth: TV studio audience turned into big white bunnies. (audience bunnies)
... oh dear, that's a terrible mental image...

ANYways: weird tropes that are common in fanfic and vanishing rare elsewhere - weird things fanfic does with gender.
It's not just the sex swaps that flip characters, either so they were always girls instead of guys or whatever, or so they get cursed or drugged or superscienced and have to deal. I've seen that in manga and a couple of SF things.
But this A/B/O thing that's mostly made of porn, it invents a whole new set of genders, and societies to go with them. The porn mostly makes me *facepalm* but the SF playing with gender stuff I can see the appeal of.

So now there's starting to be A/B/O sex swap, or letter swap anyway, so far I've seen people stay male but become alpha or omega, rather than get swapped to alpha female. They're treated as two different things, m/f and a/b/o, and I have only seen swaps within one letter set. And it seems like these fics are two tropes out from usual, like when SF posits a single change to the ordinary world, but subsequent SF can build on that story to tweak that change, and so on and so forth. So these stories only work because already the tropes genderswap and a/b/o exist.

There's also more than one thing around trying to use genetics and those grids or squares to figure out a/b/o biology and make it look like science. Most of them I feel would benefit from understanding the difference between chromosomes (such as X and Y) and genes (such as eye color). But it's not like I've studied biology for a couple of decades.

so the bunny part of this post is, why make it genetic? if a 'verse can have people get cursed or superscienced to make new and interesting bodies, couldn't a/b/o be that? I vaguely feel I've seen something of the like to do with werewolves. That's an infectious curse, but it's bundled with a lot of not-gender stuff. But say infectious curse is the why of a/b/o, then if it has been around for centuries or millennia everybody would be used to it by now. You couldn't predict letters by regular genetics, and it would drive scientists nuts trying. Or it could be more like the current state of genetics and sexual orientation, where there's people sure there's connections, but it's a big blurry mess picture not a neat little square. But their society would have been reshaped by this mysterious extra gender factor already.

Then add visitors from another planet.
I'm thinking Stargate style, goa'uld experimentation with nanotech, sudden infection, and instead of getting old or whatever everyone wakes up a different letter. Which would kind of resemble the Land of Light mess? But with more brain most of the time. That would be slow to notice as well, so it could be too late to quarantine by the time they realise anything is different.

Or visitors from another universe.
Always fun when someone mirrors in to a bdsm universe or something with such different basic assumptions. But then they go home and decide those dudes are weirdos. Well if they bring the weird home with them...

Trouble is if you get sudden change of whole societies by adding all the messy biological urges in a/b/o fics, you're pretty much looking at mass destruction and a whole lot of awful. Not the happy fun porn. Boo.

But there's already fics that go the dystopia route with this trope, a ton of them, so maybe there'd be a readership for a plague that messes with physical sex.

It could even be a helpful plague dropped by aliens who think we must be so screwed with only the two genders. Depending on how you decide the a/b/o thing tweaks fertility it could be meant to help with population problems. Like, switching humans from every month to rarer heats.

Stargate had that sterility plague. That was a thing people in that universe do to each other.

... Stargate has done some really weird things...

the other way to do it is to add it to the posthuman menu. Like, someone figures out how to do an upgrade that makes a/b/o. The mpreg upgrade, with interesting side effects. Then people would be choosing to become the new sexes. Society would have to adapt/adjust.

I like the social scale that a/b/o 'verses work at. a lot of fic, or superhero or SF or fantasy TV stuff, has a one off weird thing happen to only the protagonists, who get over it by the end of the story. The return to the template so the next writer has the same toys and sandbox. But picking any one invention/innovation and seeing what it would do to society is the SF fun stuff.

Bujold's Vorkosiverse has a combination of the box that makes babies, the minority group hermaphrodites, and sex change operations that are simple and effective. Any herm has decided to stay a herm, because it would be simple for them to be he or she if they wanted. Similarly anyone sticking with the two earlier sexes. And while the boxes that make babies apparently need the genetic contributors to be one male and one female (see Athos sending out for the female contributions), anyone can switch themselves so they, personally, grow male or female parts to contribute. But each innovation, existence of herms, box that makes babies, sex changes, is only explored separately. If you add them all together the possibilities multiply a lot.

And that's without thinking about quaddies or what can come out of a lab on Jackson's Whole.

Marvel's mutants who are just born that way are one kind of interesting, but seeing how society responds to people making themselves over to match their dreams, that's a lot of kinds of interesting. Like, there's a whole set of rhetoric about how people are just born this way (whichever way, sexuality, race, disability), and it's usually aimed at the idea that they can't help it so people should just live and let live. But what if all that stuff is optional? more fighting, less, same but different?

the future is going to look very very complex to us.

you know, if humans survive to get there.

I should start writing fiction and not just bunnies.

I've had Avengers bunnies so long they're about to get Jossed by actual Joss.

... and yet all I do is keep telling myself to start any kind of thing at all...
beccaelizabeth: animated: Oz from Buffy the vampire slayer, looking at a piece of paper, then up at viewer, puzzled. (studious)
I am cranky, coughing, and nauseous, and I had to go back to bed in the middle of trying to make notes because I felt too ill. This is highly inconvenient. I don't have the time for this. So then I get more cranky, and aim it at texts.

I have been reading

Garner, Beattie and Mc Cormack (2010) Impossible Worlds, Impossible Things : Cultural Perspectives on Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures
Cambridge Scholars publishing.

The Regeneration Game: Doctor Who and the Changing Faces of Heroism
John Paul Green

This chapter focuses on the articulation and rearticulation of masculinity and British heroism through the use of 'regeneration' in the popular science fiction series Doctor Who.

I'm very glad to have got hold of this book because it gives me something to argue with, Read more... )

Each of the Doctor’s regenerations offers a performance of masculinity, although rarely does the Doctor fulfil (thankfully) dominant images of masculinity. It is still a case of intellect over might, although throughout the series the Doctor has aligned himself with male companions who have been, or are, in active military service.

This is the bit I want to poke quite a lot. Because at first glance I felt like agreeing, but then I had a think about it. Because by what definition is the Doctor's masculinity not the dominant model?
Read more... )

I feel, since the rise of the Detective, the triumph of intellect over might is the standard model. And the dominant model of masculinity, at least in a ton of the media.

Read more... )

So the flaw in this argument is once again the thing where women are also doing the same things. If and when they are. Women are being detectives, but are they being this kind of cranky intellect detective? I don't watch detectives (unless they're steampunk RDJr ) so I don't have a great deal to draw on.

but I'm going to bet they are, even if you need to watch the numbers carefully before making an argument about the 'rise of' or the 'era of'. Because most things, lately, women get to do. They even on occasion get to do them in networks of other women that talk to each other. Which is pretty cool.

Gender is a stupid game I don't wish to play, so it irritates me when so many things do. Read more... )

I'm not saying there's equality. Just counting and Bechdel consistently shows actually there's less women and they don't get to talk to each other about the same range of things. But the borders of possibility are nice and wide now, and I reckon numbers is most of the remaining difference.

plus how things get seen. where's my stereotypes icon... nope, doesn't seem to be here... well it wasn't very good anyway. But, stereotypes: People can see the exact same things done by a man and a woman and they'll read them differently through the filters of pre-existing stereotypes. Read more... )

... the cake jumping thing could not be called stereotypically masculine. And while both RDJr's Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor dress up as women that one time, that's not exactly part of the standard model either. So there's quirky bits.

Plus the times gender as a discourse gets raised within the text it's all about how bad the Doctor is at performing it. Trying to be a 'normal bloke' with Craig in The Lodger? Hilarity ensues. But what you really see there is the masculine version of how gender performance is always class specific. Read more... )

So what I've been arguing I guess is that the Doctor is a particular stereotype of masculinity, and a socially and culturally dominant type. Not even getting into the 'Time Lord' / Lords Temporal House of Lords hence aristocracy connection, he's a knowledge professional of independent means who never has to worry where the next meal is coming from. He assumes the right to talk to Monarchs, is friends with Prime Ministers, and his best mate is a Brigadier (not a Sergeant he also spent time with). He acts like he owns the place and backs up that authority by knowing more than you do. His intellect is the boss of, well, everyone. And that's a kind of masculinity. Compared to the Sherlockian detective, it's a very common kind of masculinity that is the boss of all it surveys. And he's friends with people in military service because he's being the kind of person who traditionally aims them.

Thoughts? Discussion? Telling me I'm wrongity wrong wrong?

I'm likely to get in an argue with myself later anyway.

... quite a lot later. I'd rather like to go back to bed again. Or at least get another paracetamol.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Okay, there's other stuff in there, but I keep poking River's story a lot.
... despite choosing to focus on the one episode where she appears mostly as a very small baby. :eyeroll:

So: there must be meta around about River Song. And arguments. And wank.
And it has now become relevant to my degree to wade into that lot and see what people think of her and why they've got a problem with her.

... I'm probably going to regret this.

Anyone know where to find some good arguments about River?
Good in any sense you like, good as in convincing or good as in they've been rolling on for years now and show no signs of stopping.

I know what I think about her after reading all these theory books, but I'd like to see what other people think, and there's a weird shortage of academic essays about women in Doctor Who.

... if anyone knows any academic essays about women in Doctor Who, please to link those too, for they are very relevant.

Today I am not having a tantrum yet. Is good.
... #xfingers#

Now I must go and think of an introduction to explain why I am writing about these things that is not 'the Doctor told me to' because academic discourse doesn't think that's a proper good reason.
(I know proper good reasons but I've got to go line them up and write them down)


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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