Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Monks in Geek Culture

monk mene funny

image via funnyjunk

Last year I wrote an article about nuns in geek culture. Nuns and religious sisters of all stripes have such great potential as iconic feminist characters, but writers spend more time casting them as evil sexy sirens in black and white costumes. But what about the nun’s male counterpart, the monk? Monks are men who take vows of virtue and live apart from society (usually in a community with other monks). They’re mainstays of both Western and Eastern religions. Monks challenge popular stereotypes of what real masculinity looks like. And yet monks face a problem similar to nuns: we can’t seem to break them out of a handful of inaccurate stereotypes.

Spoilers for Doctor Who and Avatar: The Last Airbender after the jump.

Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: Immortal Men and the Mortal Women Who Love Them

I want to discuss a strange one-sided trope I’ve noticed, and why I have a problem with it: immortal male characters who have a series of mortal girlfriends. For some reason, this trope appears in geek media fairly often, yet I can’t think of a single example of the reverse (i.e., immortal women with several mortal boyfriends) or of a queer version. In fact, immortal women tend to only be allowed to have a single male lover, and must spend the rest of their long lives alone after their lovers die—or else give up their immortality. This perpetuates the double standard that it’s okay for otherwise good men—heroic men, even—to have multiple lovers, while if women want to remain “pure” and upstanding, they can only ever love a single man. This whole issue is worse than a double standard; it’s a matter of differential power in relationships.

Slight spoilers for Doctor Who, Watchmen, Sandman, Lord of the Rings, Stardust, and The Last Unicorn below!

All 13 Doctors

Yes, the Doctor is pretty much immortal… as long as he keeps making money for the BBC.

Continue reading

Lady Geek Girl & Friends’ Best of the Blog Fridays

Hiatus Spongebob Pic FridayWe’re still on hiatus until January 6th. Happy New Year, everyone, and we’ll be back soon!

Fanfiction Fridays: seperis’s Reboot Series. Saika urges us to read a fic with awesome lady Vulcans, slash, and space pirates.

The other major part of this series is the real reason I wanted to rec this work. The sequel to You’ll Get There in the End is called War Games, and where the previous work was all about the Kirk/Spock relationship and sex and romance, the sequel is in essence a rollicking space pirate adventure story.

Fanfiction Fridays: The Serendipity Gospels by urbanAnchorite and schellibie. Rin introduces us to an epic Homestuck fanfic.

Howdy, readers! How would you like an adventure story for today? A story full of intrigue and political plots? A story that’s almost as confusing as the canon it comes from? Then grab a seat and get ready to hear about the most intense Homestuck fanfic I’ve ever read.

Continue reading

Doctor Who: “Death in Heaven” Review

doctor who death in heaven artWell, Whovians, Season 8 has been a wild ride. While the first half of the season may have been a bit bumpy, the second half seemed to have a slightly more cohesive story, chugging forward toward the two-part season finale.  And oh what a finale it was: action, drama, and feels galore. One of the most common criticisms of Moffat’s work as Doctor Who showrunner is that he won’t give his characters lasting, meaningful consequences to their actions. This time we get some serious consequences. I can’t say much more without a spoiler warning, so here we go!

Continue reading

Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Can Religious Violence Ever Be Good?

We geeks have a complicated relationship with religious violence. We live in a world where religious fanatics are practicing conversion by force, and that’s putting the situation in the Middle East in the most sanitized terms possible. It’s hard to find anyone today who would condone any type of religious violence, or try to defend it. Even historical religious violence, which occurred in a different cultural context than our own, makes us uncomfortable. With such an intense reaction to real religious violence, one would think that our pop culture would reflect it. Instead, geek culture seems to accept religious violence in some contexts, but not others. So why is that?

Spoilers for His Dark Materials, Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra below.

Continue reading

Checking in with the Doctor: Doctor Who Season 8 Midseason Review

doctor who series 8It’s been a while since we last checked in with Doctor Who’s Season 8. We last covered the Season 8 premiere, and I had some mixed feelings about it. The next five episodes haven’t followed much of a cohesive plot. Rather, they’re one-off ideas for what might make an interesting Doctor Who episode. Steven Moffat seems to be asking a lot of questions about who the Doctor really is, and what it means to be the Doctor. We’re also finally getting some character development for the Doctor’s companion, Clara. So has Moffat produced some quality Doctor Who? Sort of.

Spoilers for the first half of Season 8 below.

Continue reading

Magical Mondays: Making the Normal Abnormal

I often revisit old columns to get ideas for new posts, and Lady Geek Girl’s post on the magic in Welcome to Night Vale is one that’s stuck with me for a while. The strange and popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale makes the abnormal normal, and uses it to critique some of the ideas we have about our society. If you’ve heard any of the Night Vale episodes, you’ll know that Night Vale is the weirdest place ever, full of carnivorous librarians, dog parks with no dogs, and strange floating cats. (Also, actual diversity in its cast. Hah.) Possibly the only normal thing about Night Vale is Cecil and Carlos’s relationship, and the storytelling focuses on this more than it does the abnormal, things. The audience thus gets the reinforced message that yes, the entire world is crazy, but this gay relationship is normal, disabled people should be treated with respect, pronoun choice should be followed, and racism shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s really shockingly effective. And the interesting thing is, when you take this idea and turn it around—when you make the normal abnormal—you can teach lessons and explore characters just as effectively.

Spoilers for Supernatural and Doctor Who below.

Continue reading