mysticalchild_isis: (captain america)
My dislike for Mark Millar really begins with Marvel's Civil War (don't even get me started), and only became more intense due to the Ultimates (and the way in which he is misogynist, racist, and thinks domestic abuse is funny), but it really and truly coalesced for me while reading his first issue of The Authority.

I am not at all amused by the fact that in this issue, he mocks comic book fans and denigrates creators and writers in the industry. It takes someone with a certain level of both ego and idiocy to make fun of the people that make up your fanbase, not to mention the people that pioneered the industry that allowed you to have your job. But I suppose one could write this off as particularly mean-spirited lampshade hanging, and this is not why I loathe Mark Millar (though it does get tallied into the column of why I do not respect Millar).

No, the reason I despise Mark Millar can be condensed down to a single moment in this issue of The Authority. The Doctor and the Engineer are breaking into a secret desert base when challenged by a number of soldier-types. When the Doctor is told to cease and desist, and that the soldiers are serious, he responds with the following:


"Man, if you were serious, you wouldn't be pointing those things at someone with the power to give you Double-D sized breasts just by clicking his nicotine-stained fingers."


The Doctor has immense powers- as taken from the Wikipedia entry, "The Doctor's abilities work by drawing a detailed mental picture and letting reality build it for them, therefore enabling each Doctor to do anything that they can imagine."

So The Doctor can do anything he can imagine... and with all that power and all that possibility, the worst threat he can offer is to turn the soldiers into women. (Well-endowed women, at that, because of course, big breasts are great until you put them on a man.) With one line, Mark Millar shows that he hates femininity so much that a man being turned into a woman is made a serious threat in the arsenal of a character of immense power.

And this is why I am disgusted by Mark Millar.
mysticalchild_isis: (avengers 2)
Once in awhile, I'll get "why didn't you recommend fics X, Y, & Z" or "why don't you rec fics of this particular genre" questions on my Steve/Tony fic rec list, so I figured I'd answer this with a post about my general policies, preferences, and opinions.

Under cut )
mysticalchild_isis: (captain america)
I already posted something on Tumblr about Captain America and fandom assumptions, linking to and expanding on another excellent post about many of the misapprehensions people often make while thinking about Steve, and the time he grew up in. I find Tumblr to be a clunky vehicle at best for text posts and meta conversations, so I thought I'd throw this up here, and add some more things to it.

1) In several places, I have seen people use the "well, my grandparents are conservative/racist/sexist, so Steve must be, too" argument. In debunking this, first I have to ask- how old are your grandparents? Unless they are in their 90s, they were born later than Steve, and would therefore have had a very different experience. People who were born in the late 30s or the 40s did not grow up in the Roaring 20s and the Depression. Their formative years were instead spent in the post war boom of the late 40s and 50s, which was a very different time. And even if your grandparents are in their 90s, a lot of people become more conservative as they age. There's a quote falsely attributed to Churchill that states, "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain". This certainly isn't true of everyone, but it does happen. We all tend to be resistant to change, and there's often a backlash. Meanwhile, Steve might have been born in 1918, but he's still a man in his 20s, and he didn't live through all the changes of the 20th century. And finally, one's experience is also dependent on race/class/location/religion. Someone who grew up on a farm in Kansas or a small town in Mississippi wouldn't have had the same experience as someone living in New York.

2) Some notes on sex in the 20s, 30s, and 40s:
-Condoms were already in regular use. The latex condom was invented in 1919, and as noted here, "By the mid-1930s, the fifteen largest makers in the U.S. were producing 1.5 million condoms a day". I get the impression that most of them were not, in fact, being used to make funny balloon animals.
-Margaret Sanger helped to introduce the diaphragm to the US in 1916. That same year, she opened a family planning clinic in Brooklyn. She was in the news a lot due to the various charges thrown at her and lawsuits she was involved in, so I imagine Steve would have heard something about it.
-As I mentioned in my Tumblr post, bisexuality was actually rather trendy among the bohemian crowd in the 1920s, and WWII was actually a huge part of the rise of lesbian culture. (Lillian Faderman's Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America is an excellent resource for anyone who is curious about the rise of gay and lesbian culture in the first half of the 20th century.)
-Kinsey had already started collecting data in the 1930s for his reports. (The first of which was published in 1948 after Steve was frozen, but a lot of the data about people having premarital sex and homosexual sex came from Steve's time.)

And as a bonus note unrelated to mores and sexuality, but still a good note on research:
-I remembering seeing someone complaining about all the stories that have Steve eating pizza like it is an old familiar friend. From what I understand, the modern American pizza was really developed in the 1950s, though pizzerias were already present in NY as early as 1905, and Uno's Pizzaria was founded in 1943 (though that was in Chicago). If you want to know what Steve probably would have eaten, The Food Timeline is an excellent resource. They even have a section on USO Canteen Fare.
mysticalchild_isis: (hedwig & the angry inch)
For a very large number of reasons, I do not want children. I have never once in my life wanted children. I am very pleased that my parents chose to have me, and I adore my nieces and nephew. I did an Americorps year working as a reading teacher with second and third graders, and I loved it. I have no problem with children, I have no problem with other people having them, and I frequently enjoy their company.

But I, myself, do not want to have children. However, because I am a woman, I constantly run into people who take serious umbrage at this fact. I cannot even tell you the number of times I have been told "you'll change your mind!" (Pretty much any time the fact that I do not want children comes up, at least one person informs me that I will change my mind, from my parents to random strangers.)

For one thing, I find it really offensive that people believe that I don't know my own mind, especially now that I'm thirty. I still think it's obnoxious to tell a teen that she'll change her mind, but hey, there are a lot of things I've changed my mind about since adolescence. But I am an adult. I am an adult who has over many years very thoroughly and deeply considered all the pros and cons of procreating, and I have made an informed decision that it is not for me.

But still people tell me that I'll change my mind, that I don't know what I want, that it is the best thing I could ever do with my life, that I will regret it if I don't, that my biological clock will start ticking, that I'll meet the right person and they'll convince me, or that I'm a crazy, man-hating feminist. (Feminist, yes. Man-hating, not usually.)

I know sometimes that it is a knee-jerk reaction from someone who thinks that my choice not to have children is somehow a criticism of their choices. But it isn't, and they shouldn't take it that way. Usually, I can identify the people that are having this particular reaction, and generally, I find it less offensive. On the other hand, men who condescend to tell me that I don't know what I want/that I will be unfulfilled/that I am a man-hating feminist/etc are the ones that make me want to pull out my motorcycle boots and start kicking heads. Especially, because on the whole, men who don't want kids don't get the same sort of negative reaction.
mysticalchild_isis: (xena rawr)
At my book club last night, we got off topic a bit (as we so often do), and one of the librarians who works in a high school was mentioning that she's been reading The Odyssey with a class. She was rather disturbed to find that all the girls disliked Penelope, and thought that she was useless, weak, and did nothing.

This led to a discussion about how it's unfortunate that a lot of girls only see Strong Female CharactersTM as having their own agency, and how very problematic that is.

Don't get me wrong; I love BAMFy women who kick ass (Buffy and Xena being two of my favorites), especially if the actress playing them is even halfway decent at martial arts. I savor a well-executed roundhouse kick like a glass of fine wine. However, too often, Xenafication stands in for actual character development... and makes it so that people like the girls mentioned above think that the only defining characteristic of a strong woman is her ability to kick ass. With a corollary of the fact that many people then think that if a woman is bad-ass, she must be strong, and don't see the problems (and sexism) that so often pop up in these types of characters.

I'm reminded of the version of Irene Adler that popped up in this season of Sherlock. I found her extremely problematic for a number of reasons. But because she was smart, beautiful, and had a certain amount of power (largely sexual) and control, the underlying issues were slightly masked. I'm not trying to dictate which characters one should or should not like, or identify with. We like who we like, and we see characters in different ways. But when there is a widespread epidemic of characters who on the surface seem strong, but underneath are teeming with poisonous ideas (you know, like "oh look, this woman's backstory is rape and torture porn, but since she is a BAMF, it is totally fine that her only character development is rape-as-backstory"), I feel like it is an issue that needs to be addressed and discussed.

Especially because characters who might not be able to swing a sword or shoot a gun are no longer seen as "strong", no matter how well-rounded they are or how much agency they have.

Linkage

Jan. 4th, 2012 08:53 am
mysticalchild_isis: (snow white)
Just popping in quick from work to link to two different blog posts I thought were particularly insightful: first, Tiger Beatdown has a post on curating safe(r) spaces in online comment threads, which among other things, links to this fantastic the origins of Devil's Advocacy, and how it has been twisted.
mysticalchild_isis: (xena rawr)
Spoilery )
mysticalchild_isis: (dr who 4)
You may have noticed I haven't been very active in Who fandom lately, and there are several reasons for this: the fact that I still haven't finished watching the most recent season being the biggest one (nothing against it, it's just I've been watching almost no television lately- I haven't even seen the new episodes of my favorite guilty pleasure, True Blood, nor have I even watched very many Red Sox games this summer). Of course, I've been rather involved with some other fandoms ::cough DS cough::, and heavily into my 50 book challenge, not to mention studying for the GRE.

But being the opinionated person that I am, I couldn't really pass up expressing some thoughts on the latest to-do. [livejournal.com profile] amaresu is a friend, so I saw her post first, and then read this post that was linked from [livejournal.com profile] metafandom, and the post it originally was originally inspired by. I'm sure I've missed tons of other stuff, as those are the only posts I've read.

Under the cut, as this gets kind of long )
mysticalchild_isis: (dr who rose)
I hate to keep harping on a subject, but one of the comments to my previous meta set me off on this one.

Rose & Mickey- thoughts on double standards )
mysticalchild_isis: (xena rawr)
Further Thoughts On Fandom Misogyny

You know, I'm disturbed by how often the male characters who treat people (especially women) like crap are the fandom darlings. They become the woobie who can do no wrong, because he's deep, he has layers, he's had bad things happen to him, he's misunderstood (especially by all those evil female characters). They often have huge communities devoted to them and metric tons of fic describing how wonderful and perfect they are. I'm not trying to criticize people for loving the characters they love. We all have our preferences, and deeply complex characters are interesting, and often feel more real.

What's really bothering me here are the gender politics that go on in fandom, and the double standard between the way female characters are treated versus male characters.

Let's take Tony DiNozzo from NCIS. Yes, I like him too. He is a complex character, he's had some wonderful moments of heroism, and he has struggled with some tough times in his life. But let's be honest: he's rude, he's dismissive, he bullies people, he objectifies women constantly, and he also tends to blame women ("it's always the wife "). Before anyone jumps in to accuse me of misunderstanding poor Tony, let's take a step back and deconstruct things a bit.

Take some time and really, truly, and honestly think about this: if Tony was instead a woman, let's say Tonia, what would you think about her? When she constantly objectified men while simultaneously dismissing and blaming them, how would you feel? When she bullied, belittled, and tormented Tim, would it seem just as funny (because, after all, she really does love Tim like a brother, right)?

There are some people who can truthfully say they'd love Tonia just as much as Tony, because it really is just about what they like about the characterization, regardless of gender. Tonia has probably also gained some brand new fans, who like her because she turns the dominant paradigm on its head- they'd enjoy watching a woman constantly objectifying men, and running roughshod over everyone.

But be honest: how many people would call Tonia a slut, a bitch, a whore, or a harpy? How dare that uppity woman torment poor little Timmy! Who does she think she is?

Let's try an opposite sort of example, and take Rose Tyler from Doctor Who. Rose consistently gets accused of being a Mary Sue, a selfish brat, a chav, and all sorts of other similarly offensive things. Imagine, however (honestly and deeply), if Rose was instead Ryan, played by someone like Bradley James. Let's say we now have a young man who doesn't have much in the way of education, but who pick things up pretty quickly, someone who's compassionate and friendly, and who loves the Doctor deeply. Ryan is suddenly reminding me a lot of a modern version of Jamie McCrimmon. How many people hate on Jamie, or call him a Gary Stu, or accuse him of being selfish for loving the Doctor? Just how many of the people who despise Rose would hate Ryan just as much?

Try taking any female character you dislike, and transforming them into a man... how does this change how you look at them? There are still going to be plenty of characters you dislike, regardless of gender, because they're still a cat hater, or a Yankees fan, or they look just like that math teacher who used to call you stupid. But how much time would you spend bashing them? Do you think there would be whole communities devoted to hating them? Would they be constantly vilified in fanfic?

But what does it matter if we bash female characters? They're only fictional, after all. I'll just say this- I don't think it's a good idea to spend a lot of time disparaging and despising women, even if they aren't real, as that's the sort of thing that can become a habit.

Yes, I'm oversimplifying things, being judgmental, and the people who see this are almost certainly the last people on earth who need to read it, but I had to throw it out there.

Thoughts, critiques, attacks, opinions?

You're very welcome to share this/link to it.

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