I Read the Internets – 12/2/06

As someone who not only spends a lot of time reading the internets, but who writes on them occasionally, too, I sometimes wonder whether anyone out there is reading me. When this curiosity strikes, I assuage it via a combination of IceRocket and Google, and look up my screenname, my real name, and the names of all the blogs I write for. Oh, hush. I bet you do it, too! And if you haven’t done it before, I bet you’re opening up a new tab right now so you can try it.

Anyway, it was while I was so engaged, earlier this week, that I discovered that our own Jennifer Kesler has been quoted in a book, Adult Themes. For reals! Scroll down, and you can see that The Hathor Legacy is cited as a reference in this sample chapter. Very awesome.

In other literature news, I read on the internets this week about a service called DailyLit, which is designed to make it really easy to finally get around to reading all of those classic novels that’ve been on your “to read” list for ages and ages. I signed up for Emma right away, but I see that they’ve got several neat classic geek selections as well as all of the capital-l Literature. For example, you could have daily installments of The Enchanted Castle, or Flatland, or Frankenstein delivered to your inbox. THL readers might also be interested to note that there’s a Women’s Fiction category – though I’m not sure what criteria they’re using to decide what should be in there. I mean, Moll Flanders?

In other Things that Make R Boggle news this week, as everyone who is connected to comics fandom will have already heard, DC is launching a new line of graphic novels called “Minx.” The line is meant to be aimed squarely at teenage girls, which some people think is good, some people think is bad, and most people I’ve discussed it with have very mixed feelings about.

One thing lots of bloggers and commenters are agreeing on, though, is that the name is pretty dumb. Karen Healey does a good job of exploring why “Minx” is objectionable to many people in her post titled “Deny Thy Marketer And Refuse Thy Name“:

There are rules, here. “Minx” is almost invariably prefaced with “little” when used by the hero as a description for his lady-love: “You little minx!” Duke Dashingworth declared, fascinated by her saucy and anachronistic defiance of social constraints. “Marry me!”

Sometimes, it’s the bad guy: “You little minx!” Lord Scowlington snarled, ripping her bodice open. “I must have you!”

Very occasionally, it’s a disapproving society matron: “That little minx has deceived my son with her tricksy ways!” the Dowager Duchess sneered sneeringly. “From this day forth the Ton shall shun her!”

But does the heroine ever describe herself as a minx, little or otherwise? No. It’s a term directed towards women, not a self-description. In male mouths, it’s often a term of approval for the heroine’s sass and fiery strength of character – but it’s then masculine approval. So applied, it’s a word that trivialises feminine anger, boldness or resistance as necessarily sexual, and is directly concerned with the attractiveness or otherwise of such cutsey, flirtatious impudence.

For more reactions to Minx, check out this thread at Girl-Wonder.org, and this post at Feministe. The comments at Feministe are particularly interesting to me because some of the commenters are coming at the issue from a feminist perspective, but not necessarily from a comics-fandom-specific feminist perspective. The discussion between commenter Koneko and Karen Healey (comments 27, 33, 38 and 44) about two different – and not necessarily coincident – ways to depict powerful women in media that has both text and pictures, got me thinking about the ways in which feminist discussions can come to rely on concepts that are assumed to be familiar to every person participating in the discussion, and how this can get particularly problematic when the discussion is as specialized as feminist fandom conversations can be.

So I was very pleased to see, a little later on this week, Andrea Rubenstein’s new series of posts at The Official Shrub.com Blog on The Gaming Beauty Myth (start at the bottom, work your way up). As Rubenstein explains:

Since this blog is primarily aimed at people at least somewhat familiar with feminism, I often take it for granted that people know what I’m talking about when I say things like women are “the sex class” or that female geeks are made into “Second Class Geeks” by the way we’re treated as potential dates first and geeks second.

But what does that mean for female gamer culture?

Those of you who are interested in gaming and haven’t checked out our new forums yet might want to do so – we’ve got a few really interesting discussions going on about gender issues in video games and tabletop RPGs. During one of these, gpweekes recommended a game that he thinks is just perfect for novice gamers (which is what we kinda think most marketing types mean when what they say is “women gamers.”): Guitar Hero.

I seem to recall several favorable mentions of that game at Penny Arcade, and so I was thinking to myself that I should probably check it out, now that I’ve essentially had two recommendations from sources who know whereof they speak when it comes to good video games. This enthusiastic review of Guitar Hero II by my friend bbcaddict is, I think, the little shove I don’t really need.

In closing, three quick links to things I can’t figure out how to segue into gracefully! First, at Chaos Theory, I read this week that the soap opera All My Children will be introducing a transgender character. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle that.

Meanwhile, at the Urban Legends Reference Pages, a number of doctored images of models like the one that Jill at Feministe used in her post about Ana Carolina Reston (linked in IRtI last week) have been collected. I think it’s too bad that the Mikkelson’s describe the original photographs as “without alteration” – at least one of them looks like an advertising image for a magazine or something, and it’s silly to imagine for one moment that it wasn’t manipulated in some way before publication.

Finally, the call for submissions for the Eighth Feminist SF Carnival has been posted at Dance of the Puppets. If you’ve written (or read) something eligible under the guidelines, submit it! If you haven’t yet, there’s still time!

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    Oh, Daily Lit is too cool! I just bought a PDA, so how perfect is that?

    Karen makes a good point about Minx – given that Minx is always an observation made about a woman, not by a woman of herself, it suggests that the standard male viewing lens is comfortably in place, as always.

  2. says

    Yeah, all snarking about the various possible meanings of “minx” aside, I do think Karen has highlighted the most troublesome aspect of the name.

  3. says

    I’d just like to nudge you a little further toward buying Guitar Hero–the game is excellent, if a bit hard on the left hand. It’s my understanding that the first game is a bit easier than GH2, but I haven’t tested that myself. SO much fun.