“I killed people, dear”
RED (2010 movie)
I often tell people that I’m the biggest self-aware misogynist I know.
I was writing a scene last night between a woman general and the man she helped put on the throne. I started writing in some romantic tension, and realized how lazy that was. There are other kinds of tension.
I made a passing reference to sexual slavery, which I had to cut. I nearly had him use a gendered slur against her. I growled at the screen. He wanted to help save her child… no. Her brother? Ok. She was going to betray him. OK. He had some wives who died… ug. No. Close advisors? Friends? Maybe somebody just… left him?
Even writing about societies where there is very little sexual violence, or no sexual violence against women, I find myself writing in the same tired tropes and motivations. “Well, this is a bad guy, and I need something traumatic to happen to this heroine, so I’ll have him rape her.” That was an actual thing I did in the first draft of my first book, which features a violent society where women outnumber men 25-1. Because, of course, it’s What You Do.
I actually watched a TV show recently that was supposedly about this traumatic experience a young girl went through, but was, in fact, simply tossed in so that the two male characters in the show could fight over it, and argue about which of them was at fault because of what happened to her. It was the most flagrant erasure of a female character and her experiences that I’d seen in some time. She’s literally in the room with them while they fight about it, revealing all these character things about them while she sort of fades into the background.
We forget what the story’s about. We erase women in our stories who, in our own lives, are powerful, forthright, intelligent, terrifying people. Women stab and maim and kill and lead and manage and own and run. We know that. We experience it every day. We see it.
But this is our narrative: two men fighting loudly in a room, and a woman snuffling in a corner.
This is a really interesting article about the way media, fiction and narratives repeated in society shape the way we see and assume reality to be, specifically (in this case) about how narratives about women being victims, or supporting men, but not being fighters or soldiers create the idea that women never did that, and it’s only a modern new thing that we think they could, when in fact that’s not true at all.
Also, specifically relevant to this blog are the parts about how that affects us when we create stories ourselves, and can end up adding to this narrative consciously and subconsciously. It’s the same with how women are depicted in illustrated fiction. I honestly don’t think a lot of the boobs and butt poses, or women in bikini armor, are drawn by people consciously thinking sexist thoughts, I think they’re just doing What You Do. This is a female character, this is just the pose we’re used to seeing women in. We don’t think twice about drawing her like that, because it’s just how we’ve become conditioned to seeing women pose in the medium. Same with stuff like this. It’s how we’re used to seeing female armor, and when we think “female warrior”, our imagination just instinctively runs in the direction of what we’re used to seeing. It’s just What You Do with female armor, and female characters, and female poses.
Since starting Escher Girls, I’ve gotten quite a lot of mail from people telling me that they never realized just how often they put their female characters in boobs and butt poses, or gave them bikini armor, just because that’s how they saw women drawn in video games and comics and never thought twice about it. It’s just what seemed “right” to them, and that they’re now a lot more conscious of it and try to have more variety in the way they depict women, and often in ways that make more sense to the story. :)
I think it’s just important to catch ourselves sometimes and think are we creating something because this fits what we’re doing, and this makes sense, or are we just doing What You Do? (This applies to all sorts of tropes and stereotypes too.)
Party like it’s 1799, because that’s the year this trowelblazing woman-the “greatest fossil hunter ever known”-was born.
Mary Anning came from a poor family of religious dissenters, which was partly the reason why she began to look for fossils-in the early 1800s, visitors to the Dorset coast loved to buy fossils as curiosities.
Not only did she discover the first specimens of what would later be recognized as Ichthyosaurus, but also a complete Plesiosaurus, along with specimens of Pterodactylus and Squaloraja (a fossil fish).
We could go on listing her discoveries all day-she also was the first to realize that ink could be made from belemnite fossils and that coprolites (then called bezoar stones) were actually fossilized feces.
Dickens wrote about her in 1865. Though we disagree with his assertion that she was a dull child until being hit by lightning at a young age, thus somewhat dismissing her innate intelligence (and in fact, she would have been only 1 year old with the date he provides), we liked that he also had this to say:
“The inscription under her memorial window commemorates her “usefulness in furthering the science of geology” (it was not a science when she began to discover, and so helped make it one), “and also her benevolence of heart and integrity of life” (Dickens 1865: 63).
So thank you Mary Anning, for all you did for geology, paleontology, and science. We raise our trowels to you!
Written and posted by Suzie
Bought Horslips’ The Táin which is an album I’ve been meaning to get for a few years. The whole album is fucking sweet, but “Dearg Doom” is still probably my favorite track
Such a good album though, it really is
You know, the one that gives housewives/full-time mothers a pension— wages for housework?
It’s ONLY A HUGE VICTORY FOR FEMINISM, SOCIALISM, AND WOMEN OF COLOR. Not a big deal or anything. Tumblr is mysteriously silent about this.
“To this day, it remains a good thing to say about something when you don’t want anyone to know what you actually think of it.” From The Hairpin, Etymological Origins of Words Related to Insults. (And we really like that nice is on there.)
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
The world is a fascinating place
Agreed. Learning more about everything is always a good things. Well mostly.
I suppose it depends on what we mean by knowledge but generally I think learning in and of itself is always a good thing, even if it makes us sad or angry at the way things are.
But I suppose that’s just a generality and there are things I would not care to learn about, and there were classes I had to take I found completely worthless as classes but still… I’d love to learn everything had I a long enough time to do so.