Re: Swashbuckling Bodice Rippers II, Revenge Of The Corset Lacing

1

Rings completely true to me, and perhaps goes a way toward explaining why I reread Robin McKinley's Outlaws of Sherwood and Tamora Pierce's Alanna books as much as I did.

Of course, I'm your age, give or take a few years, so that says basically nothing about Kids Today.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
2

Where do Enid Blyton's Famous Five / Secret Seven fit on this spectrum? They seem pretty evenly gendered thinking back, but also a bit too kiddy to run against this trope.

Oh and of course chock full of the English cast system.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:51 AM
horizontal rule
3

Now of course with His Dark Materials we have -- spoiler! -- children fuck to save the world! but it's probably not terrifically clear to children that's what's happening. Anyway, they also end up parted forever! so there's that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
4

I always found Enid Blyton extremely dull -- I don't know quite why, but her books utterly failed to give me any sense of excitement or adventure, even though obviously that's supposed to be their whole point.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
5

2. Oh, come on. In the Famous Five, George was portrayed as virtually a freak for being such a tomboy, and Anne was a total wimp. All the best action involved the boys.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:58 AM
horizontal rule
6

Swallows and Amazons FTW! Especially Amazons.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
7

4: Me too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:00 AM
horizontal rule
8

Perhaps that's a part of the reason for Hunger Games's popularity? Katniss's desirability is only enhanced by her district-saving skills.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:00 AM
horizontal rule
9

Oh and of course chock full of the English cast system.

The NHS has it's own way?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:00 AM
horizontal rule
10

"The real heroes didn't come home." ...Major Winters, Band of Brothers

You want a lot, doncha?

Yeah, the anime heroines, the droves of them, do not necessarily have terrific social or love lives. Sometimes they get PTSD, sometimes they get irritable, sometimes they die tryin.'

Adventurin' has a cost, like loneliness. Being caught up in bad times or bad situations is unlucky and can have consequences. Nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Saturday's hero fights nostalgia. Hometown can hate you if you save them.

Better lessons, I think, than happily ever after.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
11

This seems to be changing a bit: Hunger Games, Divergent.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
12

It's something that's changed so much that it's easy to forget how different things were when I grew up. People would cite The Hunger Games as a signifier of the Way Things Are Now, but there are many other examples to be found across the past twenty or so years. Going back as far as the 1980s, I think the romantic element in heroic stories had changed somewhat -- the romantic interests in the Indiana Jones movies are strong women who speak their minds -- but they definitely needed Indiana Jones to save them. Badassery is now an option that movies and books explicitly give to women and maybe that makes a difference in the way these kids are growing up nowadays.

Still, I don't know if the world in which, "We don't need you," can be said with confidence to any person of any race, sex, or ethnicity is particularly attractive. And it's not the sort of thing that I'd want to write. If we need to have messages, I prefer, "We need each other, or if not, go to Hell."


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:10 AM
horizontal rule
13

Hmm maybe I don't remember Famous Five in enough detail, haven't revisited it. Having a tomboy character that is constantly pointed out as a freak kind of reinforces the original point.

Enid Blyton was readable enough to me, though I preferred the Faraway Tree to FF. I remember my older female cousins slotting us into the Famous Five mold and taking the leading parts (as they were anyway older and dictating the story-game).

E Nesbit had more compelling books she just wrote about a tenth of the volume, and I can't remember anything in particular about her gender tropes.

I remember the Dr Who companions like Leela and Sarah-Jane being part of the adventure and not totally excluded as objects of desire, but that might have more to do with my age at the time than the writing itself ...


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:11 AM
horizontal rule
14

Fantasy (not just elves-and-dragons, just non-realistic) wish-fulfillment literature aimed at boys and men usually has a romantic element -- you're the hero, and because you're the hero you get the girl.

I don't think this is actually true, at least not of literature aimed at boys. Mowgli and Kim didn't get the girl. The Pevensey boys didn't get girls. (Targaryen-like, their queens were their sisters.) Jim Hawkins didn't get the girl, neither did Davey Balfour. Bilbo Baggins doesn't get the girl. Diana Wynne Jones' or Robert Heinlein's juvenile heroes very rarely if ever get a girl. (Generally they end up reluctantly becoming friends with one after she's proven that she is an equal or superior badass to them.) etc, etc. Boys' adventure stories are pretty much free from any suggestion of THAT SORT OF THING.

There's not much out there suggesting that anyone's ever going to love you explicitly for your swashbuckling feats of derring-do.

Unless you're Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley, in which case you get (briefly) Michael Biehn.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
15

It's a good thing too that the Pevensey boys didn't get the girl, showing interest in that kind of thing is going to keep you out of heaven.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
16

RE: DWJ, the pairings-off at the end of The Year of the Griffin seem like they might be consciously designed to undermine some of the standard conventions of fantasy girl-getting.

Did anyone here read Danbert Nobacon (ex-Chumbawamba)'s Three Dead Princes? VERY self-consciously feminist & anarchist fantasy novel with a female protagonist.

Also Westerfield's steampunk trilogy has an adventurous girl getting the guy, although of course there's the male impersonation aspect which muddies the waters a bit.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:18 AM
horizontal rule
17

Oh, there's a real split between children's books, which often/usually don't have a romantic plot, so they don't run into this, and the sort of thing that's explicitly written for adults but read by teens.

(I just watched Aliens the other night -- happened across it on a broadcast channel. I'd forgotten Biehn's character survived . Very appealing young man. I'd rescue him from a xenomorph any time.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:19 AM
horizontal rule
18

Diana Wynne Jones'...juvenile heroes very rarely if ever get a girl.

Wizard Howl, although that's a contra-indicator because it's really it's really Sophie's story and Howl is a heartless (ha-ha) jerk. (Also Christopher Chant, although Millie is awesome and not locked in a tower. And Polly in Fire and Hemlock does some proper Child's Ballads man-saving action.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
19

18 was me. I wanted to make a joke about Ellen Kushner's everyone-banging-everyone Swordspoint, but I guess that was not actually marketed as a YA novel.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
20

The Last Psychiatrist saysKatnisss Everdeen is no fucking hero.

I mean, you want it? I watch this anime shit to study this issue.

1) It is a very rare anime that does not have female badassery and heroism. Very very rare.
2) It is a very rare anime that has a lone badass. They run in packs, have friends and families. Somebody has to tighten the nuts on the 50 foot robot.
3) Japanese tend to like sacrifice, sadness, and tragedy more than the West I think. At the very least, adventure always changes you and bands of brothers split up and lose touch.

Women and girls sacrificing themselves, their interests, their happiness for their loved ones or community is a problem I have with anime. Should I?
See Major Winter.

4) Ain't so easy to maintain a relationship or keep grades up during the zombie apocalypse.

5) Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the world is gonna end and everybody's gonna die horribly. Sometimes it's just you. So why go on? Indeed. Also tiresome.

6) Anime heroines get laid more than male, cause otaku sleazes. Ancient evil is looking for your weakness, always, and your boy toy is def gonna die.
Keep that in mind.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
21

13: Nesbit is very good on girl characters who get to be active protagonists, although they're very much in a gender-role driven world still. Her stuff is firmly on the children's books side of the divide, so not applicable to this specific issue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
22

I just watched Aliens the other night -- happened across it on a broadcast channel. I'd forgotten Biehn's character survived .

He practically doesn't. He's dead by the start of Alien 3.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
23

Bilbo Baggins doesn't get the girl.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single hobbit in possession of a magic ring, must be in want of a wife."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
24

What we talking books, like text? Books aren't even last century.

We now live in a visual culture. I like it better. Manga is available by the truckload (American comics are evil), though you have to discriminate. I like the Narnia lady for raising her girls on manwha.

Join the 21st century.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
25

And come to think, Ripley doesn't "get" the Biehn character. She's the hero, he's subordinately heroic eyecandy, certainly, and there's nothing ruling out that they might have gotten up to shenanigans after the end of the movie, but what's in the movie is respect and a small amount of ambiguous flirtiness: the closest thing to establishing a romantic relationship is his saying, when he gives her a tracking device, "This doesn't mean we're engaged." Which is not all that close.

This is not a flaw in the movie, it is absolutely true that not all movies have to be romantic, it is one of the better big-guns-and-explosions movies of all time. But it's not a badass-woman-saves-everyone-and-her-man-falls-into-her-lap-as-a-reward movie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
26

It could have been worse. She could have gotten Paul Riser in the sequel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
27

Where does Buffy (and, I suppose, Joss Whedon's stuff in general) fit into all this?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
28

In the Disney movie, Mulan gets to be the badass and also gets the guy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
29

badass-woman-saves-everyone-and-her-man-falls-into-her-lap-as-a-reward

Her damsel in distress was the tough little girl.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
30

Columbo gets Mrs. Columbo but Jessica Fletcher gets nothing but some pathetic flirtation with the guy who was the dad on Happy Days. On the other hand, Mrs. Columbo has a bit of the "girlfriend in Canada" about her.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
31

ajay gets it right in 14. The bulk of the sci-fi I read as a kid was sexless and aromantic to the point of comedy. Which is why I so vividly remember those few moments when Isaac Asimov highly inadvisedly tried writing sex scenes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
32

It would have been nice if the movie adaptation of the first Stephanie Plum book was not such a, I guess failure is the word. Everyone seemed to hate it but apparently that was only because they hate Katherine Heigl.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
33

Bilbo Baggins doesn't get the girl.

But the Shire gets a confirmed bachelor, IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
34

Anyhow the canonical badass heroine gets the guy at the end movie has to be Fargo, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
35

This all means we're going to have to suffer through a grotesque Pixar Atalanta in a few years, doesn't it?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
36

Watching a body spray out of a wood chipper is the best aphrodisiac of all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
37

"Agora" was a very good movie until the cliches started piling up. The heroine doesn't participate in any of the fighting though.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
38

I thought it was a plus that in Brave, Merida didn't wind up with a guy. There was no suggestion that her toughness made her undesirable.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
39

But it's not a badass-woman-saves-everyone-and-her-man-falls-into-her-lap-as-a-reward movie

Could you give a few examples of the explicitly-written-for-adults-but-read-by-teens badass-man-saves-everyone-and-his-woman-falls-into-his-lap-as-a-reward books that you are thinking of as stereotypical?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
40

39: James Bond.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
41

Re the OP: A Wrinkle in Time - didn't Meg get Calvin's attention by saving her father, brother, etc.? And in one of the later Earthsea books, the young king finally gets reconciled to marrying the princess from ...Kargad? becasue of her bravery (in addition to being hott once she didn't have to wear a burqua-type thing).


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
42

explicitly-written-for-adults-but-read-by-teens badass-man-saves-everyone-and-his-woman-falls-into-his-lap-as-a-reward books

I suppose that could be shortened to "Swashbuckling Bodice Rippers".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
43

Watson doesn't save Mary Morstan's treasure but she marries him anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
44

40: sure, James Bond almost defitionally fits the mold, as do works derivative from it. Is that what we're talking about?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
45

Anyhow the canonical badass heroine gets the guy at the end movie has to be Fargo, right?

One of the best-portrayed screen marriages in the last thirty years, I reckon. For Pete's sake, Norm, of course they use the three-cent stamp. Whenever they put the postage up people need the little stamps! To make up the difference!

25 is a good point - shenanigans are completely ruled out because the film finishes with them being chastely deepfrozen, and he's been unconscious since they got back aboard anyway, and by the start of the next one he's dead. In the next one she gets Charles Dance. He doesn't last long either.

I did not know there was a Mrs Columbo. Do we ever see her?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
46

s/b "definitionally."

I mean, Moby Dick doesn't fit this description. Neither do lots of other books. I'm trying to get a better sense of what books LB is thinking of.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
47

45: She had her own tv show! Captain Janeway!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
48

27 came to mind for me as well, in addition to the Hunger Games, which I admittedly haven't seen or read but come on there's no way that doesn't involve both female badassery and romance. I feel like this particular issue is something the culture really has mostly changed/solved in the past 20 years, to the point where there's now an expectation that you both look like a model AND be a skilled martial artist who is capable of fucking up and evil villain with one punch to win romance, which may be its own kind of unrealistic expectation. I mean it's not like you can find counter examples but "badass girls are sexy and romantically attractive" isn't exactly a message that the culture industry's shy about putting out right now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
49

45.last: Not that I recall, but he mentions her all the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
50

And Bilbo Baggins, etc., identified upthread.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
51

I mean, Moby Dick doesn't fit this description.

All the romantic tension in that one is resolved at the very beginning, when the narrator gets the cannibal into bed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
52

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman gets hilariously buff eye candy. That's when society changed forever.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
53

there's no way that doesn't involve both female badassery and romance

There's fooling around and people in love, but the ending is completely and utterly unromantic (even if Katniss is paired off).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
54

Did folks read Ahab's Wife?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
55

I haven't. But I haven't read Moby Dick either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
56

30.last: In one episode someone tells Columbo he just missed his wife by a few minutes.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
57

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman gets hilariously buff eye candy. That's when society changed forever.

Strong support for "The Significance of the Frontier in American History."


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
58

Where does Buffy (and, I suppose, Joss Whedon's stuff in general) fit into all this?

Pretty poorly. I mean, pretty much the whole point of her character is that she doesn't get to have a normal life, including a romantic one, because of her badassery and the responsibilities it brings. She causes her first boyfriend to lose his soul, and, well, you know the rest.

On the other hand, Firefly shakes out fairly well, or at least contrary to the usual pattern. Mal, the archetypal male adventurer hero, doesn't get the girl. Zoe has a very healthy and loving relationship with Wash until you-know-what happens. Even Kaylee gets her man in the end through her badassery. River has all sorts of issues beyond badassery.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
59

I haven't. But I haven't read Moby Dick either.

You'd like it. The whale reminds me of you somehow.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
60

I am a white mammal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
61

No, that's not it. Have you ever sunk a boat?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
62

No, but I once served as a metaphor for the power of nature.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
63

That's probably it. Did you have to bite anyone's leg off?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
64

I think he's making another poop joke.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
65

Speaking of nature, the average annual temperature in Pittsburgh is 50 degrees regular. This means that a cob house cannot have a cob floor set directly on the ground.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
66

a badass-woman-saves-everyone-and-her-man-falls-into-her-lap-as-a-reward movie

paranormal activity?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
67

I'm slightly wary of bringing these up for obvious reasons, but the Pern books worked against this trope for me as a youngin. Because I definitely remember imagining stories and the period of time when I had to switch from fun adventure stuff to being rescued. It was right around when I was wondering if I wanted to be a nun in fact.

48: As for Hunger Games, I haven't read it either but I have heard there isn't actually that much sex/desire in it on the part of Katniss. Which is kind of the point I think. You can be the female lead adventurer but you can't have desire for men (or women).


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
68

I suppose a fair amount of this reflects the fact that for a good chunk of history, "getting the guy" for women meant that you now got to stay home and push out babies. So even if you caught the eye of some guy through badassery, having romantic success meant that most of your running around being badass days were over. Having control over your own fertility makes a huge difference, to the point that many fantasy authors today will now retcon in some form of contraception (GRRM, I'm looking at you, dude) so that their female heroines don't need to become totally domestic.

Of course, this is part of what makes Eleanor of Acquitane such a totally awesome role model, in that she continued to have a major influence on politics and court fashions while pushing out eight kids for Henry (after two for Louis). But I assume the pregnancies at least slowed her down a little.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
69

Right -- she fills the badass matriarch role otherwise so sadly underpopulated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
70

I have heard there isn't actually that much sex/desire in it on the part of Katniss. Which is kind of the point I think. You can be the female lead adventurer but you can't have desire for men (or women).

Yeah, and Hunger Games just isn't the other kind of wish-fulfilment adventure story. It's all about The Prices You Pay and How Things Suck, so it's not incidental but a central theme that one of the things that Katniss' circumstances have done to her is to pith her of the ability to enjoy much in the way of healthy romantic or sexual pleasure.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
71

I have heard there isn't actually that much sex/desire in it on the part of Katniss.

I think this is wrong. Or sort of wrong. She's explicit about feeling all tingly for one boy, trying not to think about him, getting jealous of another possible girlfriend, teenagery stuff, but as rfts says, everything sucks and she's completely broken and so it just doesn't matter.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
72

one of the things that Katniss' circumstances have done to her is to pith her of the ability to enjoy much in the way of healthy romantic or sexual pleasure

Somehow I think this is what made The Hunger Games so marketable, the idea that sex must be really difficult for the underclass.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
73

Beyonce is aiming for (more accurately already occupies) the powerful matriarch niche. "I took some time to live my life, but don't think I'm just his little wife."


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
74

73: Does Beyonce have a lot of kids or rule a nation? How easy is it to be a matriarch these days?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
75

I disagree with 58. Buffy works, because she's highly desirable, in no small part because of her ass-kicking. That her hero-life interferes in a practical sense just renders her like Batman and all the other superheroes who probably had personal life headaches as well. The key is that the ass-kicking make you desirable to others.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
76

72: You don't think super-glamorous and pretty but with a Tragic and Doomed Relationship that Will Never Work Because Obstacles is smart marketing? Because Stephenie Meyer has a swimming pool filled with blow saying otherwise.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
77

58 Even Kaylee gets her man in the end through her badassery.

But isn't Kaylee sort of the stock character who's somehow treated by the other characters as if she's unattractive because she does unfeminine things, even though she's beautiful?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
78

Janet Jackson ruled the Rhythm Nation.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
79

At least as of 1814.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
80

Anyway, as long as we're talking about TV allow me to mention Veronica Mars.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
81

76: But doesn't Twilight all work out happily in the end, if you include having your vampire baby claw its way out of you (survivably!) and immediately start dating your werewolf ex as a happy ending.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
82

81: Sure, but at the time of Hunger Games' monster sales success, there was no clue that Katniss wasn't going to get her own monstrous vampire baby at the end. The first book, which is the only one I've read, certainly leaves open the possibility of ordinary YA love triangle complications and a happy ending.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
83

77: Nah, I'd give Whedon Kaylee as a counterexample. While she's a comic-relief hick, and not the superglamorous sexworker, she doesn't seem to me to be treated like a sexless tomboy. She's more Ado Annie with a wrench.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
84

76: I don't really know about Stephenie Meyer's blow; others can speak to it I'm sure. I think that The Hunger Games essentially serves corporate interests though. I don't know or care whether its marketing budget was a savvy allocation.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
85

Overall, I think it's much worse now. When we were kids, at least not every single thing about the toy aisle is PINK VS. CAMO. And now I've got these students who have decided they're not trans* in any way, but they hear the word "she" as an insult, and expect everyone to recognize that they're not some weak objectifiable useless female that can be dismissed with a feminine pronoun. I have tried explaining that perhaps people are just speaking English, a language that tends to refer to female-bodied persons as "she" unless told otherwise. But they are certain it's an insult.

When I was a kid, I was allergic to representations of femininity for children--hated Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, and all human dolls. So I played with stuffed animals, a combination of My Little Ponies and GI Joes. There were other reasons that people thought I was a lesbian, but it wasn't the fact that I wasn't a princess.

It turns out that Heebie's childhood fantasy is correct in one way, in that heterosexual dating in any profession tends to model the hero/damsel situation rather than the other way around. Academic women who decide to get wives throw their hooks around in places where the women will be impressed by their status and knowledge. (Ooh, a professor!) Academic women who want to date men find that their skills and knowledge--if not actually unattractive--are not any kind of mark in their favor to men of any sort. I've become a lot more queer-identified since getting my degree, in part because women find my knowledge and skills attractive. With men, it's a strike against me, if anything.

I'm not sure representation matters all that much for identity formation. You're going to be yourself, for the most part. (Queer and trans* people of the past 300 years managed to exist without much or any pop culture about them.) What representation does is teach the people around you how to reward or punish your behaviors.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
86

s/b Academic *men* who decide to get wives


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
87

A story in which Katniss gets to have sex might actually be a populist story, and would not have been so popular among people who choose marketing budgets at studios. That is what I'm saying.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
88

This conversation reminds me that I now know about teenage popular culture almost exclusively from news reports, profit participation statements, and lawsuits. Still: girl power sells.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
89

Cabbage Patch Kids

I had one of these, as did several of my male friends. I wonder if that has to do with changing mores re: the roles of fathers. I don't think we were outliers, though maybe we were.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
90

And now I've got these students who have decided they're not trans* in any way, but they hear the word "she" as an insult, and expect everyone to recognize that they're not some weak objectifiable useless female that can be dismissed with a feminine pronoun. I have tried explaining that perhaps people are just speaking English, a language that tends to refer to female-bodied persons as "she" unless told otherwise. But they are certain it's an insult.

Huh. I just had a softened, more conventional version of this talking to a twenty-something volunteer -- I was talking about the etiquette of using "Esq." (the rule I was taught, which isn't the most logical thing in the world, is that if you're drafting the document, you "Esq." other lawyers but not yourself. Address a letter to Jane Doe, Esq., but sign it plain Roxanne Roe). And because I am predictable, that set me off into my little routine about being mildly annoyed that I have to be referred to as "Esquire" rather than "Demoiselle" or something -- it's a gendered honorific and it's wrong. Something originally genderless would be fine, but I'm irritated by being required to dress in drag to be a lawyer. (This is a comedy routine more than an actual grievance, of course.)

And she reacted very strongly that she had been to law school and wanted the masculine title -- that a feminine form would necessarily be lower status.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
91

85.last: I'm no expert on this, but I understand there was a whole genre of penny dreadfuls in C19 that had to do with homosexual attraction and crime and murder and stuff. It was all presented as "ooo, look at how horribly, horribly deviant this is" but as we know, that's usually the hook they use to get folx interested in various types of pronography.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
92

I've got these students who have decided they're not trans* in any way, but they hear the word "she" as an insult, and expect everyone to recognize that they're not some weak objectifiable useless female that can be dismissed with a feminine pronoun.

Sorry, am I reading this right: you have female students who have female bodies and identify as female in every respect, but object to people describing them as "she" because they think it's insulting?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
93

But isn't Kaylee sort of the stock character who's somehow treated by the other characters as if she's unattractive because she does unfeminine things, even though she's beautiful?

Not at all. She's lusted after by Simon, for a start, and that layabout mechanic in the flashback in Out of Gas. Several of Jayne's "I'll be in my bunk" type comments are in response to Kaylee as well.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
94

The "trans*" thing is really confusing to me. I keep looking for a footnote.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
95

More of 90: Because I was surprised by the vehemence of her reaction, I brought up the similarly annoying issue that Justices of the Supreme Court used to refer to each other as "Brothers" (it shows up in opinions), but stopped completely as soon as O'Connor was put on the court. If it meant having to say the word "Sister", they weren't brothers any more.

She, oddly to me, had the same reaction, thinking that avoiding "Sister" as a title was reasonable, but wondering why the other justices didn't refer to O'Connor as their brother.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
96

92: Precisely. They want to be called "they." They don't tell anyone this; they just complain to me about other, obviously ignorant and cruel people doing it. I've had this conversation with four or five students this past year. These are students who wear clothes from the women's section, go by feminine names, often wear makeup and earrings, etc. (and are more feminine than I am in almost every way). They.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
97

I think 85 last is a (typically) great point. These things don't matter so much for identity formation but can matter a lot for response to that identity. It seems to me that the narrative now allows a lot of support for adventurous/sporty young women to have romance, so long as they ALSO are cute and feminine and sexy. Both excessively wussy feminine behavior and excessively butch appearance are strongly disparaged.

Anyhow, I got punched in the face at the gym not too long ago by this chick who seems to personify the current ideal.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
98

Sorry, am I reading this right: you have female students who have female bodies and identify as female in every respect, but object to people describing them as "she" because they think it's insulting?

I think you're being too literal. It's more that they readily agree that most women are weak and pathetic, and they want an asterisk by "she" when applied to themselves.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
99

Are you sure they're not taking the piss?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
100

I'm not sure representation matters all that much for identity formation.

This is basically the social conservative's line, isn't it? "We like our b.b. guns and its natural that we should, so go talk about something else."


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
101

At American colleges, the piss isn't usually stored anywhere you can take it from.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
102

94: Sorry. I think trans* is the preferred general term when not needing to specify -gender, -vestite, -sexual, etc.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
103

It seems to me that the narrative now allows a lot of support for adventurous/sporty young women to have romance, so long as they ALSO are cute and feminine and sexy. Both excessively wussy feminine behavior and excessively butch appearance are strongly disparaged.

Accurate!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
104

I mean, if I was a not very mature student, and I had a teacher whom I knew was very keen on using the correct form of address, not pigeonholing anyone etc, I might well come up with something ridiculous like that and see if I could get her to go for it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
105

92: Those politics are all pretty incoherent at this point, but don't worry, everyone's still fucking a lot.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
106

I think trans* is the preferred general term when not needing to specify -gender, -vestite, -sexual, etc.

and, of course, -former. ("I self-identify as a Volkswagen Beetle.")


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
107

Very similar to the stereotype of the hott tomboy who can hang with the guys and drink beer and be skinny and says "I don't have female friends because I don't like all the cattiness."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
108

85/95: It sounds like we're on the verge of finally accepting "he" as a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
109

They want to be called "they."

Goddammit. There goes 108. So much for small victories.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
110

I find myself pronouncing trans* as 'transtar,' which seems to me how you ought to use it in general conversation.

Also objecting to being referred to as 'she' is silly and buys into a big pile of patriarchal bullshit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
111

98: One of my students is clearly processing a lot of internalized misogyny, along with some guilt at not actually being a lesbian or trans*. They want guidance from me about how to more fully embody queer theory, and I'm like, uhhhh, you're not going to get self-help about sex and gender presentation--especially fashion advice--from queer theorists. How did I come to be myself, with my butch haircut and bravely masculine wardrobe?, she asks. I just, um, do what I want? Try that!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
112

102: Frowner can explain this better, but I think the asterisk is actually supposed to signify that there are different, equally valid cultural models of non-binary gender expression which should be constantly acknowledged lest we fall into the bottomless pit of Euro-American cultural hegemonic discourse and never get out. Which fine, whatever, but folx might want to have some kind of PSA campaign if they don't want everyone else to walk around being confused as all get out.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
113

I want to have some kind of PSA campaign about not putting typography symbols into words like they were regular letters. #fuckingtwitter


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
114

Naw, but seriously, it's a language of exclusion. If you're part of the tribe, you're going to use all the correct pronouns and what not, and if not, then people can feel good about otherizing you.

Junior high never ends: The stakes just get higher.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
115

113: We should bring back the early 90s trend of arbitrarily replacing c's with k's. That was kompletely kool.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
116

I mean, I like b.b. guns too but I'm willing to have a conversation about how that came to be.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
117

If Paraquat is a herbicide, does that make kumquat a spermicide?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
118

Hermione Granger is on the asskicking adventurous side of things and gets the guy, though it's not clear that he loves her explicitly for the asskicking.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
119

I don't know what 117 is to, but I don't think it is reliable birth control advice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
120

It seems to me that the narrative now allows a lot of support for adventurous/sporty young women to have romance, so long as they ALSO are cute and feminine and sexy. Both excessively wussy feminine behavior and excessively butch appearance are strongly disparaged.

Absolutely.

I'm surprised to see in a lot of 80s movies, girls who are definitely tomboys (even with short hair!!!!) being depicted as highly desirable, either as a main character or as the main love interest for the boy.

Now we're back to the "female lead" looking like a pinup model, except she has to also be good at asports.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
121

118: But she doesn't get The Guy. She gets The Guy's Best Friend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
122

Those politics are all pretty incoherent at this point [...] people can feel good about otherizing you

This, precisely.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
123

I think trans* is the preferred general term when not needing to specify -gender, -vestite, -sexual, etc.

Further on this, I'm seeing people who think "cis" is the new word for "heterosexual". No, people started applying the word "cis" to humans a few years ago because it's the opposite of "trans".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
124

117 is a joke from one of my stoner friends in HS, prompted by the wave of nostalgia engendered by 115.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
125

I also think that many of Terry Pratchett's novels fit the bill (although Pratchett heroines, like Buffy, tend to settle for being loved from afar, rather than living a coupled-up happily ever after).


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
126

The werewolf is reasonably happily-ever-aftering with her (unusually tall) dwarf, right? And Lady Sybil's fairly badass, although admittedly a peripheral character.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
127

Yeah, come to think of it that last part mostly just applies to witches, and not even all of them. Just Tiffany Aching and Granny Weatherwax. I forget the details regarding Agnes's romantic life.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
128

Magrat and Nanny Ogg are married, though.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
129

To men. Not to each other.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
130

girls who are definitely tomboys (even with short hair!!!!)

I think those girls are all gay in pop culture now. It's one of the ways that an increased diversity of representation has led to a greater fixity of appearance standards. Like, if you want to cut your hair and be a queer, go ahead! What if I want to cut my hair and be straight? Honey, it's OK to come out by cutting your hair; go ahead!

That's one of the things that is making me nuts about this student. They're so obsessed with fashion as an externalization of one's most core self that they have no sense of play or exploration--it's all deadly serious. As I think I've said to them at least once before, maybe queerness is about how and you fuck, and not just about whether you find a rakish angle for your backwards baseball cap that nonetheless avoids reifying the kind of male-centered rape culture of fraternity life.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
131

s/b how and whom you fuck.

Goddamn it; my game is so weak.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
132

not just about whether you find a rakish angle for your backwards baseball cap that nonetheless avoids reifying the kind of male-centered rape culture of fraternity life.

I'm not sure I'm on board with all of 130, but this turn of phrase is brilliant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
133

Trams activism, from my limited experience, is the weirdest combination of fighting against extreme oppression -- and let's be clear, the level of genuine oppression faced by trans people is like 50 notches beyond anything faced by any other minority group in America, people are getting murdered with impunity, can't get jobs, complete social exclusion -- and the most ludicrously hermetic and pointless obsession with nitpicky language policing and endless identity politics debating ever. The latter seems like a total counterproductive waste of time given the former to me, but the better rule I guess is that people who are being genuinely fucked over can be called what they want and be into the issues they want to be into.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
134

Like, if you want to cut your hair and be a queer, go ahead! What if I want to cut my hair and be straight? Honey, it's OK to come out by cutting your hair; go ahead!

Wait. What? Lots of straight women have short hair.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
135

134: On TV? I don't watch much, but it does seem like if you're a woman on TV in a male-dominated profession (cops, lawyers, etc.), you have to have waist-length curling-ironed hair.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
136

I don't watch much TV and when I do watch, it is usually old episodes of Columbo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
137

Also, I'm out of touch with what the kids are doing these days and Pittsburgh seems to run several years behind on most trends.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
138

Further to 54, which seems not to have gotten any affirmative response: this review puts AW squarely into the thread, I think.

I loved the book, and gave out several copies the year it came out.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
139

I endorse 133. One of the many lectures I have tried offering my student is the one about how it's hard for me to be some kind of queer mentor to a young person because, frankly, their complaints sound like complete bullshit compared to the actual problems that have been faced by older or poorer people. I'm like, every old queer you know has been beaten up, raped, rejected by family, denied work, and/or seen friends die of AIDS. I am not going to rage with you over an email from student services that calls you, a female-identified female-named female-bodied person, "she." And yet, looking at the groups of older LGBTQ friends I have (they would HATE being dumped into "queer"), they are constantly arguing about the politics of terminology and that kind of stuff. Some of it seems relevant to me, but the passing fashions of terms pass so fucking quickly that it's really hard for me to believe that someone is going to have a breakdown because your QUILTBAG didn't have two I's in it or whatever.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
140

Lots of celebrity women have, or have recently had, very short hair: Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence, Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Rihanna.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
141

136: The Most Interesting Man In The World.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
142

People like AWB is talking about: Themen
People who are confused about what pronouns to use for those people: Cisyphists.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
143

140: In character as a representation of a woman with a serious job? Maybe there is and I'm missing it! I'm thinking of this sort of thing. The woman on the left is supposedly some kind of fact-trap genius forensic pathologist, and the woman on the right is the tough-as-nails cop who doesn't blink when people she cares about get shot between the eyes. How do these women maintain those Pantene-commercial curls?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
144

I think AWB is right about the ubiquity of the Pantene hair. To do otherwise is daring, or elderly, or possibly Ultra-practical-mom.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
145

Uh, so, I basically never watch cop or lawyer TV shows, but I am pretty sure based on the endless promo images for Law & Order SVU showing the female lead with short hair that 135 is wrong and also confusing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
146

re: 143

Walking around London, about 60% of the women I see look as polished as that. I assume most of them have proper jobs. People just seem much more groomed now than a few years back. Half the time it seems like people are playing dress-up, as 'Sexy lawyer/sexy finance adviser/sexy IT manager', etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
147

They're so daring!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
148

147 was to 145.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
149

Hrm, I've been watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine (shut up, I like sitcoms), and they give the hard as nails badass woman a big head of curly hair as well. The gentler, femmier woman cop pulls it back into a more realistic (for an active job) ponytail.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
150

145: I think she has longer hair on the newer episodes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
151

142.2 is brilliant and works on several levels.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
152

By the way, I'm camping this weekend and will probably not be able to post until Monday evening or Tuesday.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
153

I have gotten as far as comment 1 in this thread, and Witt has nailed the author recommendations I was going to make. The Blue Sword by McKinley is also great for being a story about a kick-ass heroine having adventures (and saving a kingdom) and getting a king as a husband to boot. (Uh, spoiler alert?)

Off to read the rest of the thread!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
154

A lot of attention has been drawn to the hair of the female lead on The Blacklist, compared to her normal hair which both is not an ugly wig and is more appropriate for her character anyway.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
155

Not only does Mulan get the incredibly handsome guy, but she's not just a badass but an engineer. And her family is still alive at the end! And in the source material she has a child! (while passing as a man; her armor gets hammered out into a big convincing potbelly. Nursing is harder).

The sequel is boring and also so incoherent that it's offensive to both complementarians and feminists.

Most of our hopeful examples -- DWJ, for instance -- are later than my adolescence. I remember Female Adventuress Gets the Boy as a missing option. Maybe Alyx the Theif. 'Doc' Eddison characters, a little. Eowyn.

65: Hat and boots, Moby.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
156

154: until The Blacklist became just another excuse to air torture porn in primetime (along with Scandal and seemingly every other show -- yes, I am old and getting older every day), we watched a couple of episodes. In that brief time, we remarked at least a few times on the lead's hair, which is weirdly retro and ill-suited to avoiding being tortured, which is seemingly most of what she does for a living. Anyway, I'm glad to see that other people have noticed.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
157

McKinley's Sunshine (heroine has skillz and adorable lover completely independent of her badass dramz vamp storyline) and the one about accidental dragon-raising are superb non-normative realistic fantasy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
158

156: Enough with the torture porn already. One murder for gain is entirely enough for me to give a damn. That knob doesn't need to go to eleventy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
159

I wrote "seemingly" twice on purpose. You'll never guess why!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
160

All of my comments from now on will be written in Buzzfeed house style! Click here to find out why!!!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
161

Female Adventuress

That reminds me of the opening of Up.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
162

158: yes. It's fucking stomach-churningly gross. I kept waiting for Walking Dead's ultra-violence to have some point. Nope! Same with Scandal*. Nope! It's just that some people are really turned on by seeing victims tortured by very attractive protagonists wearing nice clothes, I guess.

* And The Blacklist and whatever that show with Gillian Anderson is called, which show is actually pretty good, but still, I can't deal with watching any more women (or men, come to thin of it) stalked, tortured graphically, and then murdered. Not to mention children in peril. E-fucking-nough already.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
163

133 and 139 are true.

I have a friend who prefers "they" and, though I find it less perplexing than zie and zir and stuff, I find it surprisingly awkward. The other day I slipped up and used "she" when talking about them (FTM then just trans*) and I assume it was an unconscious rebellion.

I think Justin Bond has Justin Bond's own pronoun and honorific (the latter is Mx. but I don't remember the pronoun) which is really just fucking annoying. But Justin Bond is treated in NY cultural circles in a magical-transperson font-of-wisdom so I assume people indulge this.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
164

If you have Netflix, you can still watch Columbo. Somebody dies in every episode, but they don't go on and on with the actual dying part.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
165

Shorter me: if I wanna see Saw, I'll rent it, thanks. And yes, I said "rent". Because I'm really, really old, that's why. I'll rent Saw on VHS and watch it on my Victrola, okay?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
166

141: 136: The Most Interesting Man In The World.

Moby or Columbo?


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
167

I also saw Rent. And have a Victrola. What?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
168

I mean technically a Brunswick, but "Victrola" as a generic is certainly not deprecated.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
169

163: When I have written emails about this student to administrators, I know that the administrators wouldn't understand the use of "they," and if the email is ever shown to the student, they would be outraged at the betrayal of "she," so I just use their name every time, even multiply in a sentence. Molly does Molly's work in a timely fashion. Molly has been engaged during class discussions, and I look forward to seeing Molly in my seminar next semester.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
170

The last part is a polite fiction?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
171

153,1: The Outlaws of Sherwood

McKinley did an amazing job with the Marian character (as well as the Marian-Robin relationship), but when all was said and done, Richard the Lionhearted was the Big Kahuna of patriarchy (even though enlightened...).


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
172

Perhaps what we should have been battling all along was not the patriarchy but the violence done to antecedents by the pronounarchy.

Meanwhile, I do not get Buffy as a feminist thing. Notably and somewhat ego-syntonically dim, not fond of school, physically like unto Barbie, and when not killing bad actors in prosthetic foreheads, mostly mooning over a boy.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:02 PM
horizontal rule
173

I think a few years ago I predicted that by 2015, all movies would have a torture scene, including romantic comedies. It is something of a drag if you are not really into torture.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
174

170: I genuinely like Molly. But Molly's problems are definitely rich white beautiful coddled substance-abusing young-person problems that I don't identify with. Molly is very very needy and cries a lot. But Molly is also a deeply empathetic person with sincere intellectual interests. The part that annoys me is that Molly's intellectual interests are interests insofar as they tell Molly something about Molly's self.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
175

I hadn't heard of Mx before, but see that Justin Vivian Bond's website uses the Mx. I also find JVB magical, but can't speak for NY cultural circles.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
176

At least she did the killing herself, though? Anyway, Willow was the real feminist icon, right? And Tara? (nb: I have not ever delved into the criticism. At all. So please forgive me if I've transgressed against the "canonical" (intentional irony designed to ingratiate myself to the gatekeepers) interpretations of these sacred texts.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
177

176 to 173, I think.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
178

also: )


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
179

Precisely. They want to be called "they." They don't tell anyone this; they just complain to me about other, obviously ignorant and cruel people doing it. I've had this conversation with four or five students this past year. These are students who wear clothes from the women's section, go by feminine names, often wear makeup and earrings, etc. (and are more feminine than I am in almost every way). They.

At the same time, there's a counter-trend in contemporary language-based queer activism where we fiercely deprecate trans men and butchness because these people clearly and universally overvalue masculinity, take up to much space, are just as transmisogynist as cis or straight people, etc.

But you know, if someone wants to go by they/them pronouns, that's fine with me. Some observations: I run with a crowd where there's a lot of non-standard pronoun use (I actually know a person who uses xie/xim ("zee/zim", basically)) and I've found that the more I just roll with it, the more it seems to open up space in my own thinking about gender. I've also found that I see gender really differently now - I find that gender is sort of deprioritized in what I notice about people's physical presence and I find that some of the more deep-rooted and automatic stereotypes I had about gendered behavior and speech have fallen away. Getting out of the whole "all people are really adequately described by either 'he' or 'she' and anyone saying otherwise is just bullshitting" mindset has been a net improvement, regardless of certain hipster intellectual trends.

I think that cultural norms about experience of and understanding of gender are radically in flux right now - that's why we have both the camo/princess thing [which is reactive/anxious/reactionary, for all its awfulness] and the whole trans*/they-them/"hard femme" business. Both these things are the visible signs of a deeper and more complicated situation.

On the "trans*" front - as far as I can tell, many people from outside mainstream white US culture have experience of genders which are not best expressed as "trans". (Bakla, two spirit, muxe, etc.) None the less, it's convenient (for the same reason that we have GLBTQ/QUILTBAG (god, that is such an ugly term, there are certain kinds of cute radical humor that just leave me cold) to have one word that can do duty for all "not cis" genders. "GSM" for "gender and sexual minority" is also gaining traction, but has a weird clinical/negative quality.

Again, I see most of this stuff as symptoms of flux and I'm okay with that. I do find it rather depressing that people so often frame remembering people's pronouns as some kind of huge giant burden against which we rebel or with which we grudgingly comply.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
180

Holy crap, that looks like an emoticon, when it fact it was an attempt to close my parenthetical above. Okay, time to stop digging.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
181

173: The Act of Killing is, surprisingly, fairly torture-safe! Everyone talks about torture a whole lot, but not in much detail, and the re-enactments by the torturers are stilted and campy. (The truly unnerving performances are done by the people playing victims, many of whom had family members who had been tortured and killed by the main guys.)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
182

I'm happy to adjust to gender pronouns if people just fucking TELL ME. What I'm getting from students is this sidelong "let's make fun of or hate this person for using 'she' and being so square as to not recognize what an insult that is" shit. No, unless people are told that you want to be called something else, they don't actually consider "she" to be an insult.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
183

I'm not sure why mooning over boys disqualifies Buffy from being a feminist icon.That's not all she was concerned with, and who didn't spend their teen years mooning over someone?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
184

183 this is true and occurred to me while I was typing it but hoped maybe it was good trolling anyway. Mostly I just didn't like the show much except for Anya. And Xander, but just because he's cute.

I missed the whole Kiki and Herb thing and my only real exposure to Justin Bond is people talking about Justin Bond and Shortbus in which Justin Bond was slightly annoying but it also was just kind of a failed project (and I say this as someone who regards Hedwig as, without hyperbole) a work of great worth and beauty. It turns out the pronoun is V and there is a little essay about it on V's website that seems tongue in cheek but maybe is not.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
185

I'll respond to the rest of your comment once I figure out what "ego-syntonically" means.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
186

Uh, misplaced end parenthesis. Von Wafer what is with us? Planet Parenthesoid must be in retrograde.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
187

144: I am sporting a cute curly pixie-ish cut which everyone at work is calling my "mom haircut." Urg.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
188

185: It's a thing I way overuse because I think it's funny, which is objectively isn't.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
189

I do find it rather depressing that people so often frame remembering people's pronouns as some kind of huge giant burden

This! I get so tired of my stepdaughter complaining about having to call me "Your Excellency".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
190

188: Mx Smearcase, objectively not entirely funny.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
191

187: Have you tried wearing a corset and/or bodice?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
192

I was also not on the Buffy train.

The larger issue, perhaps, is that I don't believe in pop culture as a reasonable source of self through consumerism. I had a big argument with a student who is really sure that listening to Lady Gaga made him a radical queer and the existence of Macklemore should make us all grateful that we're so free now to express ourselves. Maybe it's the grumpy Baptist in me, but I just don't believe that anyone should hitch their wagon to pop cultural representations to find out who and how to be. Like that shit about Beyonce's feminist statement? Sure, it's better that a pop icon aligns herself with less rather than more oppression. But she didn't say anything that feminists haven't been saying for hundreds of years. The way blogs and journalists were touting it, you'd think she'd finally articulated something no human had ever thought before. I thought it was pretty retrograde stuff, but, you know, she's good-looking and an energetic entertainer. Why does she also have to be a feminist icon?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
193

What's Macklemore?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
194

The long coiffed hair thing for a detective isn't unrealistic because they're not first responders in that role and not doing a lot of tackling and fighting people and whatnot. Female detectives do often have their hair down or more styled then they would on patrol. TV shows are actually not too bad on this score. Think Danny on The Shield warning the little female hispanic cop about how hoop earrings will get ripped out or how Debra on Dexter will often have her hair down in plainclothes but when she's in blues it's always pulled up in a tight ponytail.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
195

Meanwhile, I do not get Buffy as a feminist thing. Notably and somewhat ego-syntonically dim, not fond of school, physically like unto Barbie, and when not killing bad actors in prosthetic foreheads, mostly mooning over a boy.

Come on, Barbie is much taller than Buffy.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
196

193: Macklemore is a white straight rapper who likes to chastise the rap community for wearing expensive clothes and calling each other f*gs.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
197

Ugh, this should totally be my thread and instead I'm sick and busy and miserable. Hmm.

187 reminds me of the memoir by a lesbian academic I can never actually find in which she and her partner move to my city from NYC or something and her partner is blown away by all the out lesbians with their polo shirts and sensible haircuts and sneakers, only to find that no, they're just moms. This would be less true as the world gets more polished, but not a whole lot less true.

And have we ever talked Princess Academy here? Midgrade adventurish novel basically about The Pedagogy of the Oppressed but with a little extra very mild adolescent crushing and so on. Kidnapping but no torture. Popular with boys who can get past the title. I haven't read the sequel(s?) yet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
198

CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE, MACKLEMORE

PRIVILEGE CHECK PRIVILEGE CHECK

BY WHICH I MEAN SHUT UP

I HATE YOU


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
199

Meanwhile, I do not get Buffy as a feminist thing.

I've thought about this question, from time to time, because I do think of Buffy as feminist, but it's hard to pin down why.

This thread makes me think that the explanation may be quite simple -- Buffy and Willow are thin and conventionally attractive (and blonde in Buffy's case), but they are in no way tokens. Buffy isn't the badass blonde who is strong and independent until the story starts to roll towards it's conclusion and then becomes just one of the team supporting the main character. Buffy and Willow are protagonists, full stop.

Perhaps that sets the bar for "feminist" too low, but I'd argue that's pretty significant.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:35 PM
horizontal rule
200

I do find it rather depressing that people so often frame remembering people's pronouns as some kind of huge giant burden...

If you have a shit memory (as I have) and can barely remember people's names, then the additional burden of dealing with their special princess pronouns is a real pain in the ass, and I resent people for making me jump through that hoop so they can perform whatever little weird thing they are performing. It sucks being a minority, especially a trans person, and I have no desire to make anyone uncomfortable, but buggering up language and expecting everyone to go along with it reeks of narcissism.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
201

197 is totally true!!! When I left the east coast for the rural plains, I was like, BUTCHES EVERYWHERE HOORAY! But then you'll hear the stoniest butch you've ever seen in your entire life tell some young man that she hopes to see him soon--his flirtation gives her such a thrill! I think, oh honey you protest too much... but then, nope, she's straight!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
202

their special princess pronouns

Not, probably, entirely apt phrasing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
203

The long coiffed hair thing for a detective isn't unrealistic because they're not first responders in that role and not doing a lot of tackling and fighting people and whatnot

So, maybe the hair is the most realistic thing in Rizzoli and Isles. Rizzoli does lots of tackling. Isles, the medical examiner, even gets involved in a skirmish or two.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
204

. . . she and her partner move to my city from NYC or something and her partner is blown away by all the out lesbians with their polo shirts and sensible haircuts and sneakers, only to find that no, they're just moms.

Tangentially this makes me think of my favorite scene from Lianna (John Sayles), in which the title character is just starting to realize that she's queer, is walking down the street looking at all of the other women and elated by the possibility that any of them might be queer as well -- a lovely understated moment, which if I recall correctly, communicated just by the camera work.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
205

But she didn't say anything that feminists haven't been saying for hundreds of years. The way blogs and journalists were touting it, you'd think she'd finally articulated something no human had ever thought before. I thought it was pretty retrograde stuff, but, you know, she's good-looking and an energetic entertainer. Why does she also have to be a feminist icon?

We perhaps read different blogs, but my take-away was much more "here is a black woman who embodies certain standards of beauty, success and status which are usually reserved for white women and who is speaking about feminism as a black woman, referencing another black woman and prioritizing an audience of color". It also reminds me, of course, of the great feminist fuss that was made over Madonna in the eighties and early nineties.

I also surmise that each generation needs its own feminisms and that there really isn't any way around reinventing the wheel.

I have been teaching/facilitating a series of feminist science fiction and science fiction classes through a local community ed project and it's a constant struggle to get past the "but this story from 1974 does not reflect 2014's understanding of gender so we need to discuss the story in terms of its failures". Recently I've decided that this is just the result of being a short-lived species and there's nothing I can really do about it.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
206

Huh, that is totally not my stereotype of the rural plains re. femininity. Short haircuts, yes, but clothing-wise I think of bright pastel colors, "outfits" (bought that way, as opposed to things that you coordinate yourself), and lots of ugly mall jewelry store jewelry. Maybe butchier in that there's a lot of shapeless clothing.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
207

I think a lot of gay men around my age experience Madonna as some kind of figure of spiritual liberation and queer awakening.

I just wish she had at some point learned to sing with support.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
208

206: Speaking only for here, neither rural nor plains, there's a huge overlap in the either spiky gelled or unfashionably bobbed hair/mascara/small earrings/sports sweatshirt/jeans/sneakers demographics between lesbians and (presumably straight) moms, though only a small minority of the lesbian moms I know fall into that category.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
209

Does the cone bra count?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
210

209 to 207, I think.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
211

191 to 207 last, with pronouns changed.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
212

Suburban Mom Wows Family With Most Androgynous Look Yet


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
213

Pwnedish, at least in the knowledge that Moby would have made that joke.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
214

this is just the result of being a short-lived species and there's nothing I can really do about it.

Write an SF story about a species that lives for centuries and has varieties of feminism that would blow our puny human minds?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
215

Rizzoli does lots of tackling. Isles, the medical examiner, even gets involved in a skirmish or two.

I haven't seen it but I'd probably that aspect unwatchable the same way I do for CSI. My wife is ready to smother me for always pointing that kind of thing out, even in shows I like. I don't understand why it has to be that way. These are big budget shows. For what they would consider peanuts they could be getting guys from the local PD's training unit to run their people through some basic firearm and building clearing drills. End of Watch was quite good in that regard. Of course aspects were over the top but how they moved on calls and the banter back and forth all in all was really well done.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
216

Sort of on the topic about reinventing the wheel w/r/t feminism, is there any book that is today's equivalent of The Feminine Mystique or The Second Sex, something that one could give to one's 20-year-old sister who has been raised in a reactionary religious tradition and appears dangerously close to deciding to marry the first nice guy who has shown an extended interest in her at college?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
217

The link in 212 is great in that, if I'd seen it on the Onion website when it came out, I'd have skimmed it without a laugh, thinking it missed whatever mark it was aiming for, but in the context of this discussion it made me nearly laugh out loud.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
218

I love Princess Academy; have re-read it a bunch of times. The sequel is less good. Book of a Thousand Days is good too. But Princess Academy and Ella Enchanted (who is very self-reliant and scores the Prince by wit and will) are my favorites.

Remember when Kaylee got to go to the ball in her beautiful pink gown and drew a large group of men around her by talking authentically about ship engines?

I love that Katniss is no hero and that she is overtly motivated by self-interest (her immediate family included). She was selected by lottery (essentially), not on merit or for her intentions. She had an exceedingly clear view of the stakes and responded intelligently to them. I always thought Haymitch's disapproval because Katniss didn't have genuine romantic feelings was misplaced. Katniss may have grown into romantic feelings in a few more years, but she didn't ask to be thrown into a triangle, and there were far more pressing concerns to handle at the end of every chapter.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
219

Write an SF story about a species that lives for centuries and has varieties of feminism that would blow our puny human minds?

Strangely, this is a subplot of Timmi DuChamp's very large, unconventional and [to me at least] extremely gripping Marq'ssan series. (Feminist lizard aliens create a super-EMP, use their alien powers in an attempt to overthrow oppressive Earth governments. This opens up some possibilities but does not work as planned. The series was inspired by (among other things) DuChamp's activism during the Reagan administration, her experience with victims of torture by US-backed regimes and her experiences in....grad school! It's a great series, truly weird. Also a book by a straight woman where all but one of the important female characters are [plausibly written] queer women and a series where all the viewpoint characters are women. But sadly, the feminist lizard aliens are probably the least interesting part of the books.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
220

216 is a good question. There should be more than one, depending on the assumed background. Ask at the Hairpin?

I thought the feminism in Buffy wasn't Buffy's character particularly, but the spectacularly lampshaded patriarchal injustices thinly camoflauged by paranormal woo. Obviously, Angel's post-sex betrayal, and the `you have power but it's all for our good' Slayer origin. But the ep in which Giles undercuts her because she's eighteen, and doesn't tell her, and she has to be a member of the sex-class... that got me. Also the capitalist slave-labor one. Also some others. Perhaps the biggest feminist message is that even if you're a cute kickass blonde playing dumb you're going to have to attack the underlying structure (with a sisterhood, yeah!).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
221

217 -- it actually read just a touch too mean spirited for me. It's sort of the flip side of the phenomenon I described above -- are you both lame (because,Mom) and too butch? No romantic life for you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
222

Write an SF story about a species that lives for centuries and has varieties of feminism that would blow our puny human minds?

Oo, also Matriarch and the other books in Traviss' series. Creepily effective genetic and environmental engineering.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
223

Nobody gonna respond to 216?

bell hooks? Jessica Valenti?

I mean, I read Butler, Irigaray, Kristeva and Cixous (and more specialized writers) and I love Theory but I wouldn't recommend them to a general audience.

Nancy Fraser and Martha Nussbaum are philosophers.

There are some good thinkers coming out of MENA in the last couple decades Reading Lolita in Tehran?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
224

My reaction to that Onion piece was more like, "Hey, good for her. She clearly doesn't give a shit what all the assholes think." Also, the haircut on that women in the accompanying photo is great!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
225

224: Yeah, I didn't understand the piece because I was kinda thinking I'd hit that.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
226

In character as a representation of a woman with a serious job?

I have no idea. I was just countering 130's "What if I want to cut my hair and be straight? Honey, it's OK to come out by cutting your hair". All the women I listed in 140 are famous women who are (or have been) famously involved with men.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
227

85 Academic men who decide to get wives throw their hooks around in places where the women will be impressed by their status and knowledge. (Ooh, a professor!) Academic women who want to date men find that their skills and knowledge--if not actually unattractive--are not any kind of mark in their favor to men of any sort.

You know really different kinds of academics than I do.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
228

I think what essear's saying is that no one's getting any tail with "hey baby, I'm a physicist".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
229

216: Jessica Valenti wrote a book for young women called "Full Frontal Feminism."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
230

"GSM" for "gender and sexual minority" is also gaining traction, but has a weird clinical/negative quality.

And frankly, who wants to be stuck on 2G in an LTE world with beamforming 4x MIMO LTE-A just round the corner and 5G technologies in active research?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
231

no one's getting any tail with "hey baby, I'm a physicist".

PIERRE YOU MAKE ME GLOW IN THE DARK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED MADAME CURIE | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
232

I actually find 85 to be incredibly accurate.

The female academics I know (in science at least) have a terrible time meeting people at non-academic events because "I'm a professor" turns away 99% of men. I think it's mostly intimidation, since I think most men have a lot of trouble being the obviously less smart half of the couple. It's so bad that almost every female professor I know is dating another academic.

Granted, men saying "I'm a professor" isn't exactly a winning pick-up line, but you still have a chance to add on to it or make up for it. At least people don't run screaming from it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
233

I am on my way to a townie bar tonight where, I guarantee, my male professor friends will be hit on by every woman in the place, while the men will pull me aside to ask me if I think I know so much, Dr. Bear, do I know all about [whatever]?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
234

When I was single I would have loved to date a sexy science professor. The problem was that they all had annoying hobbies on their OK Cupid profile that seemed totally unbearable, like square dancing or Burning Man or being hardcore "makers."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
235

234: I don't get the impression essear does any of that stuff! Too bad you're married.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
236

Anyway, I'm an asshole but the thing in 232 is totally true and many guys will admit it pretty frankly if pressed. Sucks for you, smart chicks.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
237

Let me be the first to suggest something cleavagey.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
238

Strangely, this is a subplot of Timmi DuChamp's very large, unconventional and [to me at least] extremely gripping Marq'ssan series.

I love this series, too, although I think it's very much not everyone's cup of tea (and the fact that she didn't really anticipate shifts in IT dates it badly, and made it a bit hard for me at first to appreciate the depiction of bureaucracy). Buy it DRM-free from the publisher!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
239

Oh, and Frowner, I'd love it if you posted a syllabus for the classes you've been teaching.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
240

Holy Shit. I just found out that my neighbor's husband was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a fire he set to defraud his insurance company killed two people in an apartment above. And another arson that killed nobody. And dumping toxic chemicals. And not convicted of bribing a public official because he turned state's evidence and wore a wire. And that he didn't serve much time in prison because he successfully got the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the conviction with the dead people because of double jeopardy.

I've lived here ten years. Nobody told me shit.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
241

This kind of explains why my neighbor's son, who used to also be my neighbor, was in and out of so many high schools.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
242

And it definitely explains why my newer neighbor who bought the son's house has so many complaints about the shoddy remodeling and incomplete disclosure. I think he won a lawsuit.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
243

Why the fuck does nobody take new people aside and say, "She moved here after her husband went to prison and they spent all their money on lawyers and she barely avoided doing time for manslaughter herself."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
244

Who the fuck was that?


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
245

Oh man, I just read a bit on that case. Good times.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
246

If that dude even looked sideways at you holding a lit match you'd probably be legally justified to shoot him in the face.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
247

Were there no indicators? Like, "for an American this dude is weirdly into Guy Fawkes".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
248

Never met the father. Also, all his fires were for profit, not celebration.


Posted by: GF | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
249

"When your OKCupid profile said you were hardcore into burning man, I had no idea this was what you meant!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
250

IT WAS FOR GOD AND COUNTRY, NOT CELEBRATION, JERKFACE.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GUY FAWKES | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
251

Robin Wright in House of Cards has short hair and a strong professional identity and is presented as very desirable:
http://d1oi7t5trwfj5d.cloudfront.net/ac/ea/c2e937d541a99a8d66cac85ee0ce/robin-wright-house-of-cards.jpg
http://www.wornjournal.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/wornfashionjournal_houseofcards5.jpg


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
252

If you have Netflix, you can still watch Columbo.

If you have British TV, you can watch Columbo, like, every day at 2pm.

Remember when Kaylee got to go to the ball in her beautiful pink gown and drew a large group of men around her by talking authentically about ship engines?

Shindig! It's my second or third favourite ep.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
253

Guess who that was.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
254

Meanwhile, I was just thinking about how I wish the Heart of Gold ep had died in a fire. Really, there were several not so good episodes, and also Book. I have very mixed feelings about Firefly, but what I liked I did like quite a lot. Also at some point we're going to have to show it to Jane, if only because of (a) Jayne, and (b) the fact that my real life first name (!!) is also that of Jayne's gun.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
255

||

238: Buy it DRM-free from the publisher!

I don't want to threadjack, but I have a question about this: why does it matter if it's DRM-free? DRM-free means you can copy it, right? Would you want to be able to do that just in order to read it on several of your devices? I ask because there's apparently a ... thing, seeming scam-like, going on in the bookselling world whereby a 'seller' offers a copy of a book s/he doesn't actually have, then orders a print-on-demand copy if someone orders it ... but these are books that are still very much copyrighted. All I can figure is that the 'seller' has a DRM-free e-version and is getting someone (a subsidiary of Ingram, apparently) to print it, on demand. Some small publishers are getting seriously screwed by this behavior; I can't figure out how a fake seller is managing this without it being utterly illegal, why the print-on-demand outfit is willing to do it. I can't figure out how this is possible. (Also am not sure why a publisher would offer a DRM-free version.)

Trapnel, can you email me to help me in my confusion?

Carry on!

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
256

||

I am coming to really appreciate youtube. This performance of "Mack The Knife" is really funny (and fabulous), and not something I would ever have seen normally.

Seriously, I highly recommend watching that video.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
257

255: People are concerned that DRM means that you don't actually own the material you have purchased. Cf. the perfectly ironic claw-back of a digital edition of 1984 from people's e-readers a couple of years ago.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:27 PM
horizontal rule
258

Regarding the scam, what is the precise concern? Are people misrepresenting the books as being other-than print-on-demand? Obviously, that would just be plain old fraud. But if you actually wanted a "real" edition of the book, you would presumably still want it after receiving your print-on-demand version.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:30 PM
horizontal rule
259

why does it matter if it's DRM-free? DRM-free means you can copy it, right? Would you want to be able to do that just in order to read it on several of your devices?

There are lots of reasons you'd want a DRM free copy. Here are some:

1- DRM ties you to particular programs, and you might not like those. For example, on Android, FBReader is much better than the Kindle reader program: you can use the volume keys to page-up/down, allowing one-page reading (... the fruit, it hangs low); it also has much better flexibility about margins and contrast and so on.

2- Relatedly: DRM stops you from doing some things that you might want to do, and ought to be able to do, but publishers don't want you to do. Text-to-speech is the most obvious thing here. Or, yes, if you want to print something out for some reason--maybe you're going to the beach, and want to print out a chapter but not bring your electronic device.

3- You might care about privacy. Kindle tracks everything about how you read "your" books; I imagine the same is true of Nook, Overdrive, etc.

4- You might want to be sure you can read the books years from now, when the current vendor of the DRM software might have gone out of business, or something otherwise goes wrong in the chain of the validating authority verifying that you have the right to access X file residing on your hard drive. Even without DRM, when it's just a matter of file formats becoming obsolete, this can be a serious problem; with DRM, it's much worse (because now the format could be obsolete, *and* it would be a crime for would-be preservationists to create tools to make it readable).

5- And yes, you might want to read on multiple devices. Typically DRM vendors will allow a few, but maybe not enough, and it's annoying to have to think about activating/deactivating permissions for specific devices.

What you're talking about--someone selling PoD copies of books they don't have the rights for--certainly sounds illegal, yes (and not very nice, at least in an American context--although I don't think it'd be wrong in a low-income country with no real market to speak of). The PoD outfit probably prints them for the same reason file-hosting services host unlicensed content--they're getting paid, and they (correctly or not) don't think they're likely to face much liability. They're probably a fully-automated operation, and putting in place a system to ascertain rights would be difficult and expensive, and inevitably involve a lot of false negatives.

As for why publishers would offer DRM-free versions, well, because a DRM-free version is a better product, for all the reasons I gave above, and sometimes companies realize they should sell better products rather than worse ones, all things considered. In addition, it's cheaper--DRM vendors charge the publishers for the privilege of making the books less useful to the customer. And because of nature of DRM makes it almost always crackable (the person you're trying to keep from opening the lock is the same one you're giving the key to), and the nature of digital files means it only takes one de-DRM'd copy to turn into millions, DRM doesn't actually do much if anything to stop file-sharing. So: it annoys customers, limits your pool to those with the right hard/software, and costs extra money. Why *would* you use it? (Note that other techniques--watermarking the file with the name of the purchaser--don't have nearly the same drawbacks.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
260

If you want to read a polemical story about what's problematic about a world built around DRM and licensing, here's "The Right to Read". As a story, it's not very good. But it's short and gives you a sense of where some folks are coming from.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
261

258: Are people misrepresenting the books as being other-than print-on-demand?

Apparently. And buyers can't tell the difference. The fake sellers are underpricing the small publishers themselves by offering these "New" copies at less than the publisher's price (both appearing on Amazon), and then having them printed on demand.

It's an extension of another phenomenon that's become rather rampant on Amazon: fake sellers (who have no books) offering "New" copies of books, and when one is ordered, they themselves order (under a different name, a buyer name) one of the used "Like New" copies at a much lower price and have it drop-shipped to the customer. Instant profit; customer may or may not get a New-seeming book. Amazon makes a double commission, and apparently knows all about this. It's a head-scratcher, and is becoming a real bane.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
262

Okay, the thread has moved on, and this doesn't quite fit ... but it'll fit here as well as anywhere. I just read my 6-year-old daughter "Mrs Frisby & the Rats of NIMH" (first time I've read it since I was a kid) - and it was so cool to read a book where the adventure-having hero is a mother, who's motivated by her desire to take care of her children, and who does lots of exciting/adventurous things. And no love interest. A very different sort of hero-character and motivation than any other kids' book I can think of. Really good stuff. And well-written.


Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
263

So what kinds of books does this happen to? It seems like it could only be profitable with a very narrow range of titles.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
264

259: The PoD outfit probably prints them for the same reason file-hosting services host unlicensed content--they're getting paid, and they (correctly or not) don't think they're likely to face much liability. They're probably a fully-automated operation, and putting in place a system to ascertain rights would be difficult and expensive, and inevitably involve a lot of false negatives.

Except that the POD outfit is allegedly this one. Not someone I'd think would slouch over this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
265

I should correct this:

261: when one is ordered, they themselves order (under a different name, a buyer name) one of the used "Like New" copies at a much lower price and have it drop-shipped to the customer.

I don't know why I'm being kind or prevaricating: they'll actually order whatever used copy they can find, presumably the best one they can find and still maintain a decent profit, and have it drop-shipped. It's entirely visible in their feedback: complaints from buyers who ordered "New" and got some beat-up thing shipped from an entirely different seller. I fucking hate these people, to be honest. It's an utter con. We ship to their customers very reluctantly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
266

263: So what kinds of books does this happen to?

Does what happen to? The POD thing, or the sending another seller's used copy in place of your non-existent New copy? The latter happens for anything that sports a decent enough number of copies available. It's everywhere on Amazon. See Daily Deal USA, or anybook, or several others.

The former ... I don't know. I heard of this from a very small publisher/author of a mere 17 titles. As I say, I'm still scratching my head over it, and have asked the guy for clarification.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
267

262 - The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes! By the guy who wrote the book for Porgy and Bess!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
268

Right, I can see the send-whatever-cheap-copy-you-can-get would work for pretty much anything, although with no repeat business, and do they have some scam about the feedback? Seems like it would become apparent that something was wrong on Amazon right away.

But the other thing just seems weird. I mean, wouldn't most people be able to tell that it was not a regularly-published book most of the time? If they didn't care, why wouldn't they just print it on demand themselves?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
269

It cracked me up when I (very, very belatedly) realized that NIMH in Mrs. Frisby and etc. was, you know, NIMH. How many other children's books have government grant-awarding agencies as the faceless villains? Snark?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
270

The video in 256 is fantastic.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
271

256: "Well he's not dead yet!"


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
272

The video in 256 is fantastic.

Seriously. I've had a rough week, and seeing that made my evening.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
273

The video in 256 is indeed fantastic.

As for Mrs. Frisby, I think I already said here, but a while back I recorded it for my nieces and nephews. Fascinatingly, of all of them the five-year-old has become consumingly obsessed with it, having now listened to it hundreds of times. (And it's five hours long!)

Also, topical.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
274

That Hideous Strength, I guess?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
275

268.2: yeah, I can't really figure out what's going on there.

268.1: do they have some scam about the feedback? Seems like it would become apparent that something was wrong on Amazon right away.

They sell in very large quantities, and most of the time, buyers don't complain. There is a bit of a scam in the feedback: the moment someone complains, they offer a full or partial refund and ask that the buyer retract/delete his or her bad feedback. Many people seem awfully grateful about being given a refund, and think the customer service is just awesome therefore. A number remain disgruntled and say so, but the sheer numbers of feedback drown them out.

It's a fascinating exercise, really. In how to sell books without having any.

Please, folks, don't order books from these people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
276

256 is fabulous.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
277

They want to be called "they." They don't tell anyone this; they just complain to me about other, obviously ignorant and cruel people doing it. I've had this conversation with four or five students this past year. These are students who wear clothes from the women's section, go by feminine names, often wear makeup and earrings, etc. (and are more feminine than I am in almost every way). They.

This is fascinating as a sociolinguistic phenomenon.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:00 PM
horizontal rule
278

If it catches on, English might eventually lose the gender distinction in pronouns altogether, and with it the last vestiges of grammatical gender. The end result wouldn't be that unusual typologically; lots of languages don't have gender.

Potentially more interesting, if "they" ends up replacing the third-person singular pronouns, and keeps its plural agreement pattern, that would mean the loss of the number distinction in the third person as well, which is much less common but would be exactly parallel to what has already happened in the second person.

If, as is probably more likely, "they" replaces "he" and "she" but "it" remains, then the gender distinction in third-person pronouns would effectively be replaced with an animacy distinction. I don't know how common that is cross-linguistically for pronouns, but animacy as a grammatical category is pretty common in general.

(Of course, the most likely scenario is that this doesn't catch on and English retains its gendered pronouns indefinitely. Still, it's interesting to think about.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-17-14 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
279

Mandarin distinguishes "he" and "she" in print but not speech!

I think.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
280

279: Also interesting!

On further reflection, in the "they"/"it" scenario the animacy distinction wouldn't really replace the gender distinction. Animacy would just remain while gender disappeared.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 12:35 AM
horizontal rule
281

Yeah, "he", "she", and "it" are homophones in Mandarin. To be fair, it's a pretty homphonous language, in that they get a lot of mileage out of not too many distinct syllables.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:05 AM
horizontal rule
282

279,281: Yes, but Mandarin first and second person pronouns are genderless in both written and spoken forms.

Though 你, second person pronoun, has a "person / man" radical so is somewhat gendered, there is no female version in common use, though it seems I can make my computer write 妳.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:31 AM
horizontal rule
283

280: "It" and singular "they" are also homophones ...


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:33 AM
horizontal rule
284

Mandarin Chinese A Gender Neutral Pronoun Gains Traction ...just Slate, December 26

Well, it's not quite right to say that no attempt was made to differentiate the three forms in pronunciation, since there was a half-hearted effort to introduce yī for feminine and tuō for neuter, but it didn't catch on.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:24 AM
horizontal rule
285

Oh. The above originally appeared at Language Log.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:26 AM
horizontal rule
286

I guess the thread has moved on, but Nausicaa (of the valley of the wind) is another interesting female heroine, in that she's quite bad-ass but in a way that is distinctly different from the male characters. On one hand she's altruistic, conciliatory, and doesn't like to fight. On the other hand, she is the only person in the whole story who understands what is really going on, and when she decides to fight, she wins -- in true shock-and-awe smoking-hole-in-the-ground fashion.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
287

Nausicaa

There was a fascinating discussion of Nausicaa at SEK's blog a while back (please ignore my rambling on in an effort to keep the conversation moving).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
288

That said, let me offer an attempted threadjack:

I watched Thelma And Louise last night. I hadn't seen it before, and it's an interesting movie, we should talk about it (I realize that's a not shocking response to one of the most discussed movies of the last 25 years).

The things that struck me, aside from the fact that it's just generally a great movie were (1) it's such a great commercial Hollywood movie. I think it improves the film that Ridley Scott is clearly comfortable with the crowd-pleasing / entertainment aspect of film making. The movie is interestingly balanced between on one hand being closely observed and realistic (or, at least, attempting verisimilitude) and, on the other hand, embracing the inevitable story logic of the movies. Why do they keep running into the same truck driver? Because that's what the script says, and there's no reason to think too hard about it. (2) Harvey Keitel is great (as is Michael Madsen as Louise's boyfriend, but Keitel has the challenge of carrying the few scenes that don't have Thelma or Louise in them). (3) Having heard a lot about the movie before seeing it, it was darker than I expected (I think the movie poster gave me the wrong impression). I'm sure that was true of some of the 70s road movies that it pays homage to, but, I feel like more recent movies are more likely to reach for "black comedy" or "action comedy" moods which it resists for much of the movie.

In the context of this thread you might say that a strength of Thelma And Louise is that it presents the two women as really lacking power in the world. They gain power and freedom temporarily, but only in the very confined context of their road trip, and it's clear from the beginning that they don't have many options (and there's Louise's line when she dismisses the idea of going to the police, "we don't live in that kind of a world").

Finally, it's interesting to look at some of the articles written in 2011 for the 20th anniversary of the movie.

The most interesting one that I found:

At a screening of "Thelma & Louise" earlier this month, I was struck by how many lines of dialogue I remembered word for word. I was only 9 when it came out in theaters and I didn't see it until many years after it was released. When I finally did, at age 25, I was electrified. At 28, I was again entranced, silently mouthing my favorite lines along with Sarandon and Davis, laughing semi-hysterically at every sad-funny scene featuring Thelma's twitchy-eyed sexist jerk of a husband, and choking back a sob when Louise bade her final farewell to Jimmy.

After the screening, there was a panel discussion of how far women had come twenty years later. "This movie would never get made today," sighed one of the panelists, and the audience members murmured their assent. It's shocking enough that it was distributed in 1991, but at least back then American women were experiencing something like momentum: Anita Hill stood up for herself at Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearings, Callie Khouri won an Oscar, and, when four women were simultaneously elected to the United States Senate, 1992 was dubbed the "Year of the Woman."

I'd disagree with this

In fact, Thelma and Louise is one of the only action films I've seen that does not over sexualize its female characters. The two characters start out the film as traditional, beautiful young women of the South. As time wears on, they de-feminize more and more.

One of the better articles contrasting it with Pretty Woman

An ingénue is a dramatic and literary archetype. "The ingénue symbolizes the mutable character par excellence, the blank slate in search of an identity," the French scholar Julia V. Douthwaite wrote about the role of the ingénue in Ancien Régime French fiction. The ingénue is defined by her age -- that crepuscular moment between adolescence and adulthood -- and also by her innocence. A naïf in a complex, urbane, foreign world, she moves unaware of the hypocrisy, duplicity and exploitation all around her. . . .

When Julia Roberts appeared in "Pretty Woman," her character, Vivian, seemed like a conscious reprieve from the psycho career women ("Working Girl") and sociopaths ("Fatal Attraction") that popped up in the films of the '80s. But a reprieve for whom? As the movie's title made clear, Vivian's primary function was decorative. She was professionally sexy, compliant and perfectly willing to skip the "romantic hassles" for a fee.

Thelma, on the other hand, was an ingénue's ingénue. Whereas both of them start out childlike and cloistered -- Thelma by her repressive marriage to the chauvinistic Darryl; Vivian by her rather alarming denial -- and both embark on a journey of transformation, only Thelma transitions into a new, more independent self, while Vivian finds a way to be preserved as a wide-eyed child-bride forever.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
289

This is a great thread.

Way up at 133: Trams activism, from my limited experience, is the weirdest combination of fighting against extreme oppression [...] and the most ludicrously hermetic and pointless obsession with nitpicky language policing and endless identity politics debating ever

Feminism went through (goes through) something similar, ongoing between what we think of as its classically first and second waves, from the '30s through the '60s, before the bra-burning antics we think of as second wave. Excellently outlined in The Other Women's Movement: this feminism focused on class differences and allied itself with labor -- or attempted to, but was often shut out -- in order to address the concerns of working class women, the facts on the ground of economic oppression. It didn't have much patience for what it considered the identity politicking of the sexual revolution.

The nature of the tension in feminism is not the same as that in, or for, the LGBTQ community, but the difference in level and direction of activism is there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
290

Let me join the 256 fanclub.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
291

288.last:

Thelma, on the other hand, was an ingénue's ingénue. Whereas both of them start out childlike and cloistered -- Thelma by her repressive marriage to the chauvinistic Darryl; Vivian by her rather alarming denial -- and both embark on a journey of transformation, only Thelma transitions into a new, more independent self, while Vivian finds a way to be preserved as a wide-eyed child-bride forever.

As it happens, I re-watched Pretty Woman recently: I absolutely loathed it when it came out, but thought I'd try to reassess lo these 15 or so years later, when I might try to be more clinical about it.

I put aside my knee-jerk loathing and just saw Vivian as captured by Richard Gere's wealth. Sure, at the very end she was going to bootstrap herself into going back to school, since she had to stand on her own two feet, right? But Gere rides to the rescue in a chauffeured car, shouting up the fire escape to her crappy apartment at the last moment that he lurves her. Julia Roberts fails for being in that movie.

If I remember correctly, Pygmalion (the Henry Higgins/Eliza Doolittle version of the story by Shaw) ends with Eliza walking out, no?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
292

Oops. Initial paragraph in 291 should be a quote from 288.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
293

By the way, before this thread goes entirely dead, those interested in the roles women play in television shows might check out Orphan Black.

The main actress plays a number of characters: in one, the chief protagonist's character, she's a trash-talking lower class Brit, sometimes impersonating an American detective cop. In another, the same actress is a soccer mom. Another, a corn-rowed grad student in biology. Another, a butch German with pinkish hair. Another, a freaked out frizzy-haired psychotic. Soon to be more fully introduced, a corporate type with a pageboy haircut.

The same actress playing all these roles, convincingly. It's a great exercise in the people each of us could be, or could have been, and the actress is terrific.

If you decide to take this up (if you haven't already), the second season starts in April; recommended to watch the first season first.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
294

287: Rich Puchalsky in that thread approaches one of the standard criticism of Miyazaki, the recurrent pattern of nurturant sexless Earth-mothers healing and growing and going back to nature. My Neighbour Tortoro.

Oiishi, of Ghost in the Shell is the urban alternative, and a cosmopolitan alternative.

"Back to the village" and "women are the heart of the country" has even more context in Japan, and during the 20s and 30s were a key part of fascist ideology.

Contrast the flower garden scenes with the bathhouse in Spirited Away and I remember the modern cafe girls of interwar Osaka and Tokyo, and the narrative of the "pure" farm daughter lured to the big city.

It's like seeing Riefenstahl's The Blue Light and only seeing feminist empowerment.

Miyazaki ain't all that, but it is no wonder Americans like him.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
295

A good question to ask is

What is Miyazaki's Other?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
296

Whisper of the Heart comes closest, and it takes place in the suburbs. And Miyazaki wrote it but didn't direct it.

The key plotline involves the John Denver song "Take me back country roads, to the place I belong."

Quick...name a Miyazaki scene with a skyscraper or modern urban landscape. Just one.

Quick...name a Miyazaki movie that directly references or includes a non-Japanese culture. Porco Rosso which was work-for-hire. Name two.

Any blacks, browns, Koreans, Chinese in Miyazaki movies?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
297

OTOH, Anno Hideki of Neon Genesis Evangelion started his career with the Very Dark Brown Nadia in a series set in Europe and the Atlantic with a very mixed cast of non-Japanese characters and a non-Japanese mythology.

Miyazaki is bad news.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
298

Pygmalion (the Henry Higgins/Eliza Doolittle version of the story by Shaw) ends with Eliza walking out, no?

Shaw has an afterword explaining what he thinks happens next, which comes pretty close to (in a genre not providing for literally badassery) "her man falls into her lap as a reward for her badassery." Freddy (the rich young man who's fallen for her) loses his money somehow, they get married and run an expensive greengrocery, which is successful because of her brains and drive and his impeccable air of gentility which impresses the customers, and they all live happily ever after, remaining friends with Higgins and Colonel Pickering.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
299

293 I heartily second the recommendation for Orphan Black. I started watching it because hey, it was on after Doctor Who and quickly got hooked. Tatiana Maslany is a blast to watch.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
300

OK. Not sure how that amounts to her man falling into her lap. She was going to marry Freddy regardless, no? I didn't think Freddy was rich, though; rather, fallen rich already, from the outset.

Small matters, though: I'm not sure Thelma and Louise should be compared to a Pygmalion story in the first place.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
301

Miyazaki is bad news.

It's okay for every single comment bob mcmanus ever makes to be about Japan, but not for a Japanese filmmaker to focus on Japan.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
302

I'm not sure Thelma and Louise should be compared to a Pygmalion story in the first place.

I think Thelma and Louise was being contrasted with Pretty Woman which was compared to Pygmalion.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
303

300 to 298, obviously.

So Orphan Black and Vikings are good. What else? I turned into a sucker for Graceland, which sounds like just another cop show from that write-up, but is actually pretty gripping: characters are developed and are in conflict. Plus one of the lead characters, Daniel Sunjata, is hot, and used to be in Denis Leary's Rescue Me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
304

294, 296: In Spirited Away the squatty witch character can't be taken for a Japanese person. Also, the little girl is a brat from the city, or possibly the suburbs, who needs to learn self-reliance and the importance of doing useful things for others by cleaning up after ghosts and such. I haven't seen Kiki's Delivery Service but it appears to be about a very western sort of witch (and she's nice). I am impressed though at the imagination required to call Miyazaki a fascist.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
305

302: Oh, I see. I tend to think of "compare and contrast" as the same thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
306

It's kind of hard to talk about the lack of a cultural "other" in Ponyo. In that one, I guess the "other" is a fish-girl. Is she Japanese? It's hard to say if she's ethnically a Japanese fish-girl in part because of the way people are drawn in Japanese anime, but she's definitely not culturally Japanese. She has no idea about Udon.

I'm not sure Miyazaki likes any sort of adult people well enough to be considered a fascist. If I had to guess his politics, it would be a very green form of anarcho-syndicalism.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
307

Oh now I'm to have the piss taken on "contrast". Either way, it's not exactly a fascist narrative for a wealthy urban or suburban girl to grow and learn new things by being exposed to a bunch of bizarre creatures and new experiences.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
308

God bless you Bob.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
309

Does Princess Mononoke recommend going "back to the village"? Not if the village is going to do anything to harm the trees, which includes all forms of warfare. I would contrast that movie with any notion that Miyazaki should be feared for his politics.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
310

"but this story from 1974 does not reflect 2014's understanding of gender so we need to discuss the story in terms of its failures".

On the other hand, it is disappointing to read The Dispossessed and realising that the sole two female characters with actual speaking roles are the hero's loving and supporting wife who sacrifises her own well being for his quest and the foreign lust object the hero sort of rapes.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
311

Oh, Miyazaki gets all misty when he thinks of Meiji. Unquote.

Maybe just some sort of nostalgia for the rural 19th century and early twentieth, as kind of anti-modernism. IOW, just another old hippie with granola and granny glasses.

Tom Robbins of Another Roadside Attraction but definitely not Cowgirls

The question is whether that kind of nature-loving essentialist anti-urban anti-modernism, which was prevalent also in pre-WW I Germany, is something that prefigures fascism.

I am working on how Meiji became Nanjing.

Current reading:The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan which deals with the roots of nationalism, racism, and fascism in late 19th-early 20th century China. Wait, you thought Chiang Kai-Shek and the Guomindong were good guys?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
312

It is impressive seeing how hard it is for someone whose actual thinking on gender issues is fairly advanced to tell stories that use that thinking as a backdrop -- for many people, storytelling drops right back into the assumptions they're surrounded with rather than the more advanced positions they expressly hold. Le Guin again, but the original Earthsea trilogy (which I love) is terribly sexist, in a way that characters we accept as authoritative in every other regard see as fundamental to the nature of reality. She tried to fix it in the later books, but in a way that seemed to me to simply disregard the original trilogy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
313

The question is whether that kind of nature-loving essentialist anti-urban anti-modernism, which was prevalent also in pre-WW I Germany, is something that prefigures fascism.

This is interesting. I think Miyazaki's nostalgia is centered in a period which precedes the 19th Century, though his imagination is sparked by a bunch of different eras. But more to your point, I don't think we need to fear his crunch or granola. You will find pre-modern nostalgia in most modern societies. Some of those societies did embrace fascism, but I don't think nature loving was an important causative element. Sure, Germans loved their mountains in the 1930s, but then the English have loved their countryside in almost every era, and Tolkien did not prefigure a wave of anglo-nazis.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
314

I guess this same argument could be used in support of listening to Wagner. The Nazis latched onto him; he didn't summon them; in a different setting they would have latched onto something else.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
315

bob is of course trolling as always but I think there is something to his argument here. There was plenty of proto-fascist stuff going on in Britain and the US in the inter-war period, and I think the main reason it didn't develop into full-blown fascism is that the Germans got there first and we fought a big war with them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
316

I'm upset that I never got into Orphan Black for the sole reason that I found her British accent utterly grating and unconvincing. Must give it another go.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
317

315: Did the Germans get there first or did the Italians? I'm not sure about Great Britain, but I'll concede that there was proto-fascist stuff going on in America in the 1930s. Was that proto-fascist stuff really all about getting back to nature and not littering so much? I don't think it was. Would the Americans have been tipped into fascism if only we had our very own Wagner or Miyazaki? No, I don't think we would have.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
318

Miyazaki isn't anti-modern. His movies are attempts to reconcile a love of nature with inevitable, necessary urbanism.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
319

317: The Italians first of all, of course, but the Germans before us, and then came the war. And I think a romanticization of nature and (especially) rural life on the farm was definitely a part of the thinking of the American extreme right in those days, though of course not the only part. I know nothing about Miyazaki and have no opinion about whether he fits into this pattern or not.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
320

318: I don't think Miyazaki is all that optimistic about the possibility of that reconciliation. He mourns the degradation of nature (of course his movies also do other things). He also hand-draws all of his movies. So in both those senses I think he can be considered anti-modern without actually moving into the woods.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
321

And I think a romanticization of nature and (especially) rural life on the farm was definitely a part of the thinking of the American extreme right in those days

As a move from an extremely general concept to an extremely specific one, this statement offers little of value when drawing comparisons. A romanticism of nature and rural life was also an element of Jeffersonian thinking.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
322

Let's be sure to separate the guy who defended his right to own other people on grounds of his purported racial superiority from fascists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
323

Yes, if we want to be at all coherent we are going to have to consider Jefferson and fascism to be different things, despite the fact that slavery was evil. Another good way to be coherent is not to start with a huge, amorphous category, find it related to two different small categories, and then assume that the two small categories are themselves related.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
324

Which is to say, yes, let's separate Jefferson from the Nazis for now.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
325

Rex Stout isn't big on non-passive female characters, unless you count stealing underwear from the woman your husband loves, but it's grown on me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
326

That is, Nero Wolfe novels have grown on me, not stealing underwear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
327

On the other hand, it is disappointing to read The Dispossessed and realising that the sole two female characters with actual speaking roles are the hero's loving and supporting wife who sacrifises her own well being for his quest and the foreign lust object the hero sort of rapes.

Oh, I'm not really talking about that kind of thing. There's a Joanna Russ story in which a planet which has been, due to a [handwavey] plague, only populated by woman for hundreds of years. Men arrive from what is apparently a particularly awful patriarchal Earth and are clearly going to colonize and ruin everything. [The story is much better than this makes it sound.] The group was pretty upset that the women were all depicted as smaller than the men (since not all women are smaller than all men) and that in all this time on the women's planet there were no trans men or gender nonconforming people - that is, they felt that after five hundred years it would not have been possible for the planet to remain a planet of women and that it was transphobic to suggest that it had. They were also upset that Russ had depicted the original settlers of the planet as "selected for intelligence" because this suggests that intelligence is a unitary quality.

I don't know. I think all those things are true, but I felt very frustrated because it gets really tiring to try to find stories that are both significant SF of the seventies and conform perfectly to contemporary understandings of gender, race and everything else. Because these are classes for radicals, there's a lot of pressure to critique stories for having the wrong politics to the exclusion of everything else, and it sucks all the joy out of the classes for me, plus it makes me really nervous.

It's not really a question of not wanting people to criticize; more that there's a particular arms-folded attitude of "your story probably sucks and has misogynist and patriarchal values and you have a lot to prove". There's no "let's consider ways in which this story is radical and ways its radicalism is limited" and there's certainly no "this story might speak powerfully to some people for reasons that are not in fact despicable".

Like The Dispossessed for example, which is all kinds of flawed (as Samuel Delany pointed out in a really, really mean review). And yet The Dispossessed has been instrumental in radicalizing a lot of people I know personally and as far as I can tell, many others - even people who, like me, are not comfortable with big chunks of it. I don't think very many people have been radicalized by, like, Dhalgren. The Dispossessed does so much as an SF novel - it centers the boring little "offstage" people on their boring little moon instead of Exciting! Space! Adventures!; it foregrounds appropriate technology and non-expansion; and though it says that women and gay people are equal while showing them as not, it was and remained until the early nineties (when I read the novel) a pretty big fucking deal merely to say those things. I'm not arguing that this excuses the failings of the novel, but I do get weary of the constant reinvention of the "Disposessed is actually all sexist" wheel, particularly when the discussion is framed as if Le Guin was actually interested in endorsing sexism instead of struggling to get past it in her work. It just seems like an incredibly reductionist, "gotcha" way to treat a novel.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
328

To continue: If someone is at all interested in the history of radical or feminist science fiction, it's important to situate The Dispossessed - it's hugely influential and it was a response to/critique of a lot of other stuff going on in science fiction. It is very worthwhile to examine how the limits of The Dispossessed shape the science fiction that it influences, certainly, but I feel that it's also important to consider the state of science fiction written by and about women in the early seventies.

Honestly, I don't think that the purpose of reading science fiction is finding stories from which to take a blueprint for a radical future; I think it's figuring out how to understand change.

I also get really depressed by the radical tendency to read the past strictly in terms of lack and failure - Le Guin sucks, naturally, because while she was trying to be all feminist she was still sexist!!! (If we're feeling really charitable, we might allow that she wasn't gleefully being sexist but just unable to totally escape her conditioning.) And then we either assume that in the glorious now we have absolutely the last word on gender or else that in the future, people will totally forget our struggles and sincerity so that they can focus on interpreting our present in terms of lack and failure.

I find parts of The Dispossessed disappointing and parts of it creepy (Shevek's thoughts on the spaceship about the feminine curves of the cabinet). But I also find myself wondering why those would seem like such reasonable and natural things to include - Le Guin isn't stupid, she must have felt that those things were powerful ways to argue her case.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
329

Honestly, I don't think that the purpose of reading science fiction is finding stories from which to take a blueprint for a radical future; I think it's figuring out how to understand change.

Or, in the case of the original Star Trek, to make thinly disguised references to current events.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
330

if we want to be at all coherent we are going to have to consider Jefferson and fascism to be different things

Coherence is overrated.


Posted by: Ezra Pound | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
331

Antisemite.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
332

311: Well Miyazaki's coming and last film is about the designer of the Zero fighter plane learning from the Italians, so it does fit your second culture criteria, if not exactly deflect the fascist association you are drawing ...

Would it be trite to invoke and contrast Walt Disney's politics at this point?


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-18-14 11:58 PM
horizontal rule
333

I thought we had recently discussed Disney and concluded that he wasn't actually a fascist, he just hated unions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 12:07 AM
horizontal rule
334

Well, Miyazaki doesn't appear to hate unions

"Soon after starting at the company, Miyazaki became a leader in a labor dispute. About a year later, he became the chief secretary of Toei's labor union."

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art23305.asp


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 1:52 AM
horizontal rule
335

Fair enough. As I said before, I know nothing about Miyazaki.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 2:45 AM
horizontal rule
336

I'm not sure about Great Britain

I am. There was straight down the line Fascist stuff going on, none of your "proto". Fortunately there was also organised resistance to it, which I believe was also the case in America.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 5:29 AM
horizontal rule
337

Wait, did these two threads happen without an explicit mention of blatantly retconning genders to female?

http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2013/12/18/one-weird-old-trick/

Maybe I just missed it.

I have to admit I can't quite reconcile myself to it yet, even if I can believe it could be pretty powerful.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
338

337: "Luke, I am your mother."


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
339

"I find your lack of pants disturbing stereotypically gendered."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
340

133: ...and the most ludicrously hermetic and pointless obsession with nitpicky language policing and endless identity politics debating ever

I was under the impression that the introduction of "trans*" was an effort to get away from that. Trans* gets to be used as a catchall term and thus bypasses the nitpicky language policing. (C.f. Trans*Enough)

It's an inclusive word and lets us stop at LGBTQ instead of having to argue about whether QUILTBAG leaves anyone out or if we have to figure out a way to cram another letter into it. I kinda like it.


Posted by: wink ;) | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
341

I've only been paying half attention to the conversation about pronouns for people who have changed sexes. As a general rule, people should be able to refer to themselves in whatever way they want, with the understanding that if they make it too complicated, eventually people will just stop referring to them. To get around that rule, people who want to refer to others in any way they want will typically try to make things look more complicated than they are. This second class of people are assholes and I would probably never get tired of telling them that.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
342

328: And then we either assume that in the glorious now we have absolutely the last word on gender or else that in the future, people will totally forget our struggles and sincerity so that they can focus on interpreting our present in terms of lack and failure.

Well said. Thanks for articulating all this, Frowner.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-19-14 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
343

Quick...name a Miyazaki movie that directly references or includes a non-Japanese culture. Porco Rosso which was work-for-hire. Name two.

"Howl's Moving Castle". "The Wind Rises".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 3:10 AM
horizontal rule
344

Kiki's Delivery Service is pretty clearly set in a European city. Miyazaki says it's supposed to be Swedish.

Quick...name a Miyazaki scene with a skyscraper or modern urban landscape. Just one.

Ponyo.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 4:30 AM
horizontal rule
345

Kid A wanted us to watch Orphan Black. I watched the first episode, thought it was crap (I remember saying to her that it was a good idea but maybe they should have cast someone who could do accents) and haven't watched any more. I don't know whether she persevered.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 5:24 AM
horizontal rule
346

344: wow, it's almost as though bob doesn't know even the basic facts about the most famous Japanese director in the world.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 5:47 AM
horizontal rule
347

Well, ajay wants you to believe Wind Rises is not about Japan, so take his word. Of course I haven't seen it, not have I seen Ponyo or Howl. I would guess that WR also has urban scenes.

Kiki is weird, but it isn't as we are immersed in Scandanavian history and mythology. There's a zeppelin, but is there electricity?

Oiishi, Patlabor GitS dude, also has a couple scenes in Avalon that take place in a rural environment, yet Oiishi remains an artist of urbanity.

The questions were phrased to make people think about the issue and general trends. I suppose maybe I should have done a frame by frame analysis and count the fricking trees.

Miyazaki remains a ruralist and nostalgic for a kind of pre-modernity.

And before anyone praises Miyazaki for resisting the otaku on female representation, you might ask yourself why he has no, ok to be safe, little, work with positive images of mecha. There's bad mecha in Nausicaa, I think. Forty years of anime and no mecha?

I haven't glommed on what the obsession with flying means.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 7:08 AM
horizontal rule
348

Kiki is weird, but it isn't as we are immersed in Scandanavian history and mythology.

Speak for yourself. Britain's national epic is about someone from what is now Sweden, who goes to Denmark to deal with a spot of bother there.

Miyazaki remains a ruralist and nostalgic for a kind of pre-modernity.

I don't think anyone would dispute that. It's pretty bloody obvious. Mononoke doesn't so much have subtext as sledgehammertext.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
349

348.1:I meant immersed during the movie, in the text of Kiki. It's pretty generic Sweden. If all you know is Miyazaki, you don't know how often and easily, though not usually, ambitious directors set their stories outside of Japan.

Haven't seen Lupin or Future Boy Conan yet either. I think Conan uses balloons.

The flying thing kinda fascinates me, Miyazaki was steampunk before it existed, whatever steampunk means.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
350

Britain's national epic is about someone from what is now Sweden, who goes to Denmark to deal with a spot of bother there.

The one with the monster or the one where ABBA has to deal with an unscrupulous promoter?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
351

The one that Tolkein stole wholesale for The Hobbit.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
352

344: Ponyo is set on an island, which is fairly densely populated by American standards, and is a modern landscape, but isn't exactly urban. I don't recall skyscrapers in it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
353

It doesn't have skyscrapers, no. But it's clearly a contemporary town, a fishing port, rather than a rural or archaic setting like many of his films.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
354

Well, ajay wants you to believe Wind Rises is not about Japan, so take his word.

No, bob, that's not what you said. You said:
"Quick...name a Miyazaki movie that directly references or includes a non-Japanese culture."

"The Wind Rises" is about Japan, but it includes non-Japanese cultures. Caproni is an important character and part of the film takes place in Germany.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
355

353: Yes, it's a contemporary fishing town, not a modern urban landscape. I don't know why Miyazaki needs to draw pictures of modern urban landscapes in order not to be a fascist. That has yet to be explained.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
356

Maybe we're talking at cross purposes. Town = urban to me, even if it's a pretty small one. I'd agree that Miyazaki doesn't set his films in modern cities, if that's what we need for comity.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
357

I'm not going to reread it, but has this thread gone full Goldberg yet?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
358

356: Fair enough; let's have comity. There's a lot of traffic in Ponyo. A person might see that and think, "urban."


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
359

Everything I know about Japanese culture comes from Pokemon and bob. This is probably not the best advertising.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
360

Pom Poko has skyscrapers and modern urban landscape -- that's the whole fucking point of it. I think Spirited Away, which is of course, heavily invested in Japanese mythologies, has a lot to say about the interface between that kind of pre-modernity and the urban landscape. It takes place mostly in a disused Japanese bubble-era theme park that's clearly based on western models, but which has been detourned by the spirits for their own purposes. Likewise, when the characters travel, they go on board a '40s era spirit train. And Castle in the Sky, which is of course Miyazaki's reworking of a French film, is set in a landscape deformed by industrialism and literally in the shadow of ancient high technology. Far from being some aberration, interpelating the liminal area between rural, traditional and spiritual pasts and urban, modern and rationalist futures is what the whole Miyazaki canon is about, in many ways. It's a cat bus after all, not a cat wagon.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
361

this thread gone full Goldberg yet?

Rube, Jonah or Variations?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
362

If it were the first or third, I would totally reread it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
363

360:Pom Poko is a Takahata Isao film, not Miyazaki. Also Takahata did Grave of the Fireflies for another somewhat less nostalgic and less positive view of the countryside.

Nihonjinron Post-War

Furusato

Because of context (what was going on in Japan ideologically 1975-95), history (how do certain symbols and narratives resonate with Imperial Japan), and ideologically (how does the content counter hegemony).


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
364

If it were the first and especially the third you would have to reread it.


Posted by: Opinionated Douglas Hofstadter | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
365

Miyazaki is co-auteur of all the Ghibli films, in my estimation.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
366

(To the extent that I even believe in la politique des Auteurs which is minimal at best. The DP, the editor, the art director -- lots of people have a huge influence on the finished product. And the projectionist has the final cut.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
367

I suppose that could be shortened to "Swashbuckling Bodice Rippers".

This point may have been made above, but swashbuckling bodice rippers are written by women, for women, so to the extent they aren't built around a high-achiever woman heroine getting the slack-jawed admiration of beautiful, passive, and less accomplished male hunks as a reward for her extensively detailed achievements, that may be telling you something about womens' tastes.

Many adult thrillers written by males retain the weird asexual pre-adolescent vibe around sexuality. E.g. Tom Clancy features a few women, but you can tell that in his world the hero really wants to get the Barrett M-82 50 cal sniper rifle, not the girl. He'll spend his nights lovingly polishing that thing in his bachelor den.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
368

||

Signal from Rosetta.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
369

(I remember saying to her that it was a good idea but maybe they should have cast someone who could do accents)

This makes me feel better.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
370

365:You're wrong. Ghibli has had some shared or collaborative projects, and they started Ghibli as collaborators, but Takahata is independent in his later credited works. Isao Takahata. Also five years older, and invited Miyazaki to join Ghibli, rather than the other way around. He was the bigger deal back at the start, especially in the tv work of the 1970s.

Miyazaki is very complicated. I don't hate the guy or think he is a monster or even fascist, like I said, more like an old hippie. I love Whisper of the Heart. I also don't think he is much of a feminist, his representations of females have more to do with flipping off otaku culture.

Mamoru Oshii is a very good second source for understanding Japanese culture or as a contrast with Miyazaki that might help understand both.

I like Oshii a lot better, but he is not just avant-garde and arthouse. He worked with Takahashi Rumiko (woman) in making the Urusei Yatsura series for three years.

Yes, Oshii makes work for adults, or at least college kids, but why does Miyazaki produce for little kids and their mothers, anyway?

Not to mention the rest of anime, much of which is easily available, though not on a big screen.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
371

366:It's a way of organizing and analyzing visual media, which of course is massively collaborative. That's why you have to watch a fuckton of stuff to pick the individual contributions out.

I have watched a lot of stuff that replicate what I consider Miyazaki's flaws. Only Yesterday by Takahata might push rural nostalgia to the limit.

But there is something about, inside Miyazaki (sometimes) that rubs me really wrong. Maybe it's that the people who like Frozen also love Miyazaki.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
372

If the animation was done, as it was, by Studio Ghibli, and if Studio Ghibli is primarily Miyazaki's creation, then I think it is very reasonable to say that he must share credit or blame for what his company produces. We're not talking about the Walt Disney Co. here -- Michael Eisner never got down in the trenches to draw his own cels for their animated features. Furthermore, as I pointed out above, Pom Poko fits very well into one of the fundamental themes that runs through all Miyazaki/Ghibli work. From Up on Poppy Hill serves as a bit of a counter-example here, suggesting that Miyazaki Goro is going to push things in a different direction.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
373

Also, Wikipedia says you are all wrong about Takahata -- Miyazaki brought him on at Ghibli, not the other way around (though they had essentially been partners at other studios for a long time before). So, perhaps it would be most correct to say that Takahata and Miyazaki have indubitably been significant influences on each other for their entire careers, and attempting to discern where one's work stops and the other's begins is probably going to be pretty fraught at best. And Takahata was never an animator himself, so clearly, at a visual level, Miyazaki's influence is going to make itself felt no matter what.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
374

Yay Rosetta!


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
375

373:Well, technically wrong, but all the material above that sentence in the Takahata article shows that a) M & T were joined at the hip, and b) each was always/often inviting the other into projects.

Production of Nausicaa

As I said, I think Takahata was somewhat the bigger deal, although Miyazaki had the immediate hit. It's a whole lot closer to the founding of Dreamworks or United Artists than Miyazaki giving his starving friend a break.

As far as influences or collaboration, there is no way Miyazaki would make . Only Yesterday is closer to some of M's work (Whisper, Ocean Waves) but had an adult protagonist, quieter animation than even Whisper, and used pastels.

Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree on Takahata being Miyazaki's charity project and artistic puppet.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
376

html fail

"...no Way Miyazaki would make Fireflies"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
377

Miyazaki is very complicated. I don't hate the guy or think he is a monster or even fascist, like I said, more like an old hippie.

Generally I would not start from these beliefs if I were to warn others about watching cartoons. I'm also pretty sure that these statements contradict positions that Bob took earlier in the thread. Also I have no idea about the internal politics of studio Ghibli, though it is true that its directors probably influence each other. But those are just some nits, hardly worth mentioning.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
378

Then again, what would this blog be without some nits?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
379

I'm also pretty sure that these statements contradict positions that Bob took earlier in the thread.

You know how you're supposed to work that, don't you? This is a demonstration.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
380

I suppose I'd throw them in your face, Bob, if I thought that anyone, even you, were taking this argument seriously. It's just the standard nattering.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
381

If it's simply numbers you're after, I guess I could scroll up and find them for you.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
382

||

Anyone know how to find a ranking of U.S. cities by environmental attitudes? I'm consulting with a company that wants to market a green product to small businesses, and I want to pick a list of chambers of commerce to reach out to. I could make up a list of college towns or what have you but a little science would be nice to show the client.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
383

382: Not necessarily attitudes, but this Green City Index sponsored by Siemens might be of some interest (larger cities only). There is a pulldown menu with subcategories that might be more specifically related to the project (and presumably even more info in the overall report).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
384

Thanks, I'll tinker. I'd love to find something like the PPIC California Political Geography but for cities and nationwide.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
385

I have to admit it's pretty entertaining to see bob giving text a tutorial on trolling.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
386

k-sky, this list and its sources might be helpful: https://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2008-02/americas-50-greenest-cities?page=1%2C1


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
387

you can tell that in his world the hero really wants to get the Barrett M-82 50 cal sniper rifle, not the girl.

Which is just weird and disturbing and wrong.

Now the Accuracy International .338 Arctic Warfare Magnum, on the other hand...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
388

386: Thanks d00d, that last criterion is what I'm looking for.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-20-14 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
389

232, 233: A few years ago, my wife and I met a couple of newly-minted women lawyers on a cruise who were complaining about much the same thing in the law school dating scene. I suggested that they try dating starving artists, who might value a woman who was capable of being the major breadwinner in a relationship, while not being intimidated by intelligence. They weren't interested in going that route (and admittedly, it does require being able to distinguish the poseurs from the actual artists). I don't know if it would work here, but it's a thought.
My sister and brother-in-law have made a dynamic like that work for years (quick plug: his web site is here, with photos and video of his work). He has his studio in the basement of their home, and was able to provide the majority of the childcare while she taught school. So I know it can work, but I don't know how easy it is to find.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 01-21-14 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
390

Britain's national epic is about someone from what is now Sweden, who goes to Denmark to deal with a spot of bother there.

Saga Noren, Malmo County Police?

(No one will ever read this joke, but it was honestly the first thing that came to mind.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-21-14 11:51 PM
horizontal rule
391

I read it, but I don't get it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-14 11:59 PM
horizontal rule
392

I mean, I get the basic gist of the joke, but I'm unfamiliar with the specific reference.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 12:00 AM
horizontal rule
393

Rube, Jonah or Variations?

Well, the last one was commissioned as a soporific.

Alternate response: Iceberg, Goldberg; what's the difference?!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 1:11 AM
horizontal rule
394

390: I haven't seen either version of The Bridge and assume both would be too brutal for my tastes, but do you recommend that one for more than just jokes? Or maybe I should just decide that having read The City & The City means I've checked the complicated cross-jusisdictional crime box and have no further story obligations on that front.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 1:42 AM
horizontal rule
395

Or maybe I should just decide that having read The City & The City means I've checked the complicated cross-jusisdictional crime box and have no further story obligations on that front

Only if you've also read Beowulf.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 2:15 AM
horizontal rule
396

Beowulf as a police procedural would be great.
The Hwire.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 2:18 AM
horizontal rule
397

Sure, and Dominic West could probably use the same accent!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 3:48 AM
horizontal rule
398

Sorry, it should of course be The Scyld. Michael Chiklis as Beowulf.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 4:27 AM
horizontal rule
399

Or a noir. "I knew in the end it would come down to a dame."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 5:02 AM
horizontal rule
400

I've long thought that CSI:Hangzhou, set during the Southern Song Dynasty, would be good TV. They had police forensics manuals and everything.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 6:27 AM
horizontal rule
401

Judge Dee?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 6:36 AM
horizontal rule
402

"The ultraviolet light will reveal if the bed covers have any yin on them."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
403

Judge Dee gets part of the vibe but I've never had a proper crack at it.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
404

389: I have gone that route, when living in a city that had starving artists! I even did it in a small town with starving artists. I like them. Here the only starving artists are 23 or actually not artists, just meth heads.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-22-14 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
405

Here's a list for you:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/world-leaders/140108/the-badass-women-history


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01-23-14 11:17 AM
horizontal rule