We here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends have analyzed fanfiction in a number of ways. We have discussed in particular how, despite what some people may believe, fanfiction is not just porn for women. And let me start off by saying I completely and utterly believe that; fanfiction is not just porn for girls. That’s not to say that erotic fanfic, or smutfic, doesn’t exist. And many fanfic readers enjoy reading them (myself included). However, many feminists have praised erotic fanfiction but talk about how evil or wrong live-action porn starring real people is. This attitude often seems to come off as people attacking porn but praising something that is almost exactly the same when it comes to fanfiction. I cannot speak for all women or all feminists, but I can at least talk about my own reasons for preferring erotic fanfiction over pornography. And this YouTube video in particular sums up many of the reasons I prefer fanfiction.
The other day I was catching up on episodes of Regular Show and reruns of Kill la Kill and began to wonder to myself: what exactly is the appeal of these shows? Sure, on the surface, Regular Show is a comedic fantasy steeped in absurdity, but I wondered if there was more to it. For me, the characters are very relatable in their mundane activities, but that couldn’t be the only thing. Kill la Kill is an action-packed anime with heavy fanservice that also revels in the absurd. I believe that the way each of these shows handle absurdity seem to be where they shine, and I think there is some room to analyze deeper points.
Welcome back, friends (or whoever you people are). This month Agent of Asgard has taken a detour into a universe-wide Marvel event called Original Sin. To be honest, the Original Sin storyline has proven fairly bland overall, but it could potentially be bolstered by Thor and Loki forming flimsy brotherly bonds built on layers and layers of Loki’s lies and deceit. You know, really heartwarming stuff. With these high hopes begins Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #1.
Side plot: when did Loki also become a pro bodybuilder? Did I miss something?
My dismembered girlfriend?! That’s an awful surprise!
Several years ago, comics writer Gail Simone introduced the term “women in refrigerators” as a way to describe women in comics who have been hurt or killed as a way to further a man’s pain. Since then, it’s entered the general geek vernacular as a way to describe any woman who ends up dead for manpain’s sake, and while more and more people are likely to call out The Powers That Be for writing women this way, it does remain an often-used trope. The whole premise of Supernatural revolves around two fridged women, Mary Winchester and Sam’s girlfriend Jess, and women regularly are hurt or die to make its leading men sad. (A short list: Anna, Sarah Blake, Pamela, Meg, Amy Pond, Jo, and Ellen, just to start us off.) Barry Allen’s origin story in the upcoming Flash series centers around his mother’s death. Rachel’s death in The Dark Knight was purest fridging, and so were Allison’s death in Teen Wolf, Frigga’s death in Thor: The Dark World, and Spock’s mom Amanda’s death in Star Trek XI.
The problem with this trope is that it reduces women from people with agency into objects that are acted upon; they go from characters who make choices to tools whose purpose is to make someone else sad or angry or motivated, and that propagates the idea that objectifying women is a legitimate storytelling technique. One interesting thing about this trope, though, is that it’s become so expected that writers have started to use it in a subversive and surprising way.
Spoilers for Arrow Season 2, Elementary Season 1, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 below the jump.
There’s a high price tag on being a woman in our society. And I don’t mean financially, although cis and trans women both can easily spend thousands of dollars trying to meet the minimum social requirements of femininity—tampons, makeup, clothes for passing as female, gynecologist appointments, hormone treatments, as well as pepper spray and self defense classes, add up to a pretty penny. I mean the fact that women’s bodies are considered public property. In both fictional media and real life, women must be beautiful before they can be anything else, and we are at fault for not upholding those standards of beauty to an impossibly precise degree.
An oft-cited real world example is the difference between the media receptions of Lance Armstrong losing a testicle to cancer and Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy—while the former was treated as a sad but necessary loss for Armstrong in his struggle with cancer, the latter was met with significant outrage. Didn’t Jolie know she was a sex symbol? By having her breasts removed for the important and personal reason of cancer prevention, didn’t she know that she was selfishly depriving horny guys around the world the ability to jerk off to them?
This entitlement leads men to treat women as sexual objects first and people second, and this mentality is pervasive in our culture, including geek culture.
Somewhere in the dark, shadowy, and very wide valley between “body positivity” and “objectification”, there’s a herd of lost, confused people stumbling about blindly and shouting that feminism is some contradictory bullshit. Lest those poor souls waste away down there, I think it’s time we illustrate just how big and treacherous and sexy that valley is.
Thanks to movements like Escher Girls and The Hawkeye Initiative, which bring attention to objectification through humor, the geek community is becoming more vocal about the problematic ways that women are depicted in certain comics, manga, and video games. The problem, of course, isn’t unique to illustrated or computer-generated media, but because artists aren’t limited by trifling little things like biology or the laws of physics, they can pull off fascinating maneuvers like the boob sleeve:
This bread dough I’m smuggling has developed sentience! (gif via knowyourmeme)
So, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is upcoming for the PS3 and PS4. That’s probably pretty exciting news, and the game will serve as capstone to the MGS era of Hideo Kojima’s career. So, a reasonably big deal. In case you didn’t see it, here’s the trailer from E3:
Okay. So, the other day, a funny thing happened. Dan Ellis, who works for 343i, a game developer known for its work on the Halo series, got on Twitter and called out Kojima on some new character design. MGSV will feature a sniper character, supposedly fairly important to the story, named Quiet. She appears to the right. Ellis referred to the character design as “disgusting,” and would later go on to tweet that he was in an industry “full of man babies.”
As with any form of geekery, there are certain anime that it’s sort of assumed that everyone has watched. Needless to say, not everyone has actually watched all of them, even the ones that are considered staples of the art form.
I’ve been meaning to watch all of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex since high school, when I received the first DVD as a gift one Christmas. I don’t know what happened with that, really. I remember watching the opening animation—which is, for some reason, CGI despite the rest of the series being standard animation—and thinking the operatic-sounding Russian OP was cool. But I don’t remember watching the episodes or caring about the characters. I took away enough to recognize Major Kusanagi cosplayers and to enjoy the Mary Elizabeth McGlynn Q&A that we stumbled into one Otakon while looking for Yuri Lowenthal.
Then, during my last Japanese topics seminar in my senior year of college, we watched the original Ghost in the Shell movie. I really enjoyed it, which led to me thinking, “Goddamnit, that means I need to watch Stand Alone Complex. Add another anime to the list…”
Well, a year and a half later, I have finally found time to sit down and finish watching this show, and let me tell you what: it’s actually really good. Continue reading →
MadameAce: If there was one thing to praise Teen Wolf for, it would be its treatment of rape culture, and this can be shown through the actions of Matt, Kate, and Peter. The show doesn’t condone their actions, though it doesn’t try to draw a large amount of attention to them either. Teen Wolf doesn’t do those annoying specials that other shows do, where they present a serious topic and devote the entire episode to giving a lecture on it. Teen Wolf instead presents rape culture as something that not only exists but often happens that people have to deal with.
Warning: Discussion of Rape and Sexual Assault Below!!!
Well, this was not the post that I had been planning on doing since I started reviewing X, but after some sound rebukes on Tumblr from my last post, Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Sexism, I decided to not delay. And oddly enough, though I also knew what I wanted to say for my next post, which is also about sexism in Final Fantasy, some of the comments I received just really put into perspective to me how much people let Final Fantasy, or rather that they don’t notice it, get away with certain things.
It also made me realize that I certainly didn’t make my points as well as I should have. And so, before I get into the sequel and sexism, which was what I originally had planned, I’m going to address some of the things that people pointed out, because they are things that need to be addressed. And after the reactions of the last post, I also feel the need to add a disclaimer to this.
If you are under the delusion that Final Fantasy can do no wrong and is perfectly amazing in its representation of female characters, you are not going to like anything that is after the jump.