With February ending, Black History Month is also coming to an end. But March brings us Women’s History Month! Like a broken record, I’ll say, representation matters. (The changing of these months, though, should remind us to keep intersectionality in mind as well.) This repeated mantra may feel a bit stale without a solution to the question: how can we get better representation in our games and media? One answer would be to diversify the creative forces. Today, I want to talk about some of the efforts to improve this deficiency.
Double standards are everywhere in geek cultures. Most of them are easy to spot in such things as clothing and armor options for genders. Such standards extend into character archetypes as well. A very well known trope that is often reserved specifically for women is the Damsel in Distress trope. We’re all familiar with this, but one character archetype that seems to skip women is the Jerk With A Heart of Gold.
I smoke tobacco pipes. I’ve enjoyed them since I turned 18 and even make them. So, I am pleased when I see television or movies including characters smoking their pipes. You’ll never know where pipe smokers are going to turn up in these things, from Colonel Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds to Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. Even the First and Fourth Doctors in Doctor Who were seen smoking pipes. However, I’m almost always infuriated when I see how they smoke them. This is because many times the characters smoke their pipes wrong. Typically, these characters seem to be most interested in making as much smoke as possible. This isn’t wrong because of arbitrary etiquette, but rather is wrong because it ruins the taste of the tobacco, burns the mouth, and can ruin a pipe over time.
Looking back on my childhood, I can’t help but notice that there were some terrifying things in my seemingly innocent kids’ movies. And one of the most surprising and terrifying things is Satan showing up in my Disney movies!
And no, I don’t mean that Disney has some underlying satanic message or some evil satanic plot. Disney is a company founded in the Western world that for the most part has dealt with themes from Western culture, which includes Christianity. There are many instances of God showing up in Disney (but we’ll talk about those later). And of course, there are many instances where God seemingly passes judgement on villains in Disney movies and almost literally sucks them into hell.
Well, if there is a hell, there has to be a Satan, right? Disney has many devil’s bargains in their movies, such as in The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Frog, and while it’s never really Disney characters selling their soul, the parallels are pretty clear. There are even instances where it seems that the devil or demons—something evil—is influencing the Disney villains. But there have been a couple times when the devil himself has literally shown up in Disney movies. This post was originally just going to be about instances of Satan in Disney movies, but then I started to notice something: when the devil does show, it’s always with women…
As a woman it is sometimes difficult to deal with all of the judgements you receive on a daily basis, especially when it comes to your sexuality. And geek culture isn’t always helpful when it comes to those issues. Woman must deal with being considered prudes if they aren’t sexually active, and if they are sexually active then they are considered “sluts.” Women are judged for their sexual activities or perceived sexual activities based on how they dress and act. These ideals that are forced on women are reinforced in attitudes that can be found in geek culture.
So, “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits”… Yeah, it wasn’t very good, was it? Worst of all, the internet is abuzz with comments about this particular episode being, well, racist. And is it racist? Well, let’s just say the whole thing could have been done way better. Especially with the portrayal of the relationship between Portia and James. Yeah, it was pretty bad.
But before I talk about any racism or sexism, let me just review the episode in general, because I know that most of you will not read the rest of my review if you get pissed off at what I say about the above issue.
Do you ever get frustrated with women in the mainstream music world? I do! I remember a couple years ago I tried to sit down and list some of my favorite female musicians/singers and was dismayed to realize that there were surprisingly few. I further noticed that almost every song was about love, break ups, or “angry women songs,” as I like to call them. “Angry women songs” are usually my favorite because it’s all about the ladies being pissed off and finally standing up for themselves. However, though there are exceptions, many of these angry women songs were very romance centered. The theme seemed to be “my man was an asshole so I left him and now I’m awesome and empowered. Fuck yeah!” Now there isn’t anything wrong with these types of songs, but every so often I’d like to listen to music, made by women, that reflects my life and the life of other women a little more realistically.
Enter this week’s Web Crush: Garfunkel and Oates.
Ye seekers of fierce women, ye bards of kick-ass characters of the fairer persuasion, lend me your ears. Long have we searched for stories that may sate our palate and quench our insatiable need to see women take center stage, not necessarily as the love interest, but as three-dimensional characters that can hold their own against their counterparts. Women with drive. Women with desires. Women of violence, of lust, of undetermined morality. Seek no further, my peers, for I have found a treasure trove (the motherlode, so to speak) and have come to share my bounty with you lovely readers.
Today I bring you the ‘Heroine Big Bang’. Much like a kink meme, which I have previously discussed, a big bang is a collaborative effort of many writers from all walks of life; however, unlike a kink meme, a big bang doesn’t stop at writing. No sir-ee, here we have writers and artists getting together to create large-scale works of art by combining their talents. Now as the title of this specific big bang implies, all the stories and artworks are going to focus on female characters from a wide variety of fandoms!
Now, you notice I used “going to”. Future tense. You see, this big bang is in its infancy meaning that there is still time to sign up for both authors and artists alike! If you feel so inclined, I would heartily implore you to sign-up yourself, dear readers! There can never be too many participants and hey, I would love to see whatever you guys want to put out. Either way, I know I’m going to be keeping an eye on this.
“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
Around Halloween I tend to hear women say one of two things; either:
I wanna be a sexy [insert costume name here]!
Oh my God, there are so many slutty costumes. I can’t believe anyone even wears these.
Every Halloween women’s costumes become a big deal and it seems that everyone is talking about them. As the Mean Girls quote above explains, Halloween is a time for girls/women to dress like “total sluts.” Now I don’t want to suggest that women who wear sexy Halloween costumes are sluts. First of all, I hate the connotations of that word. Second of all, I am not about to go around slut-shaming other women. If you want to dress in a costume that is revealing, that is fine with me. I can’t say that I have never worn a revealing costume (one year, I was a sexy sailor). Everybody likes looking sexy. There is nothing wrong with sexy.
That being said, I do think society has put more pressure on women to wear sexy costumes than men.
It’s Web Crush Wednesdays again and its time to crush on all your favorite BAMF Girls.
I love Comediva and I have talked about them before when I crushed on Geek Therapy, but Comediva has done it again by giving us the BAMF Girl Club. Imagine all of your favorite badass female characters living together as roommates! BAMF Girl Club brings together Hermione, Katniss, Lisbeth, Buffy, Michonne, and …Bella… all in one house. Watch them try and get along!
If parodies like this are the only good thing we’ll get out of reality TV I think it’s worth it.
Watch the video, then like and subscribe to my latest Web Crush!