I found myself doing the mental equivalent of writing “iawtc” over and over as I read the internets, this week. One post that inspired a particularly strong bout of identification was Yonmei’s “Opening paragraphs build worlds and close doors“, over at Feminist SF – The Blog!:
In a single paragraph Niven built a world that pointedly excluded me from anything but the state of being observed. That I liked the story itself – it was precisely the kind of hard-SF story that I do like, the sort that opens up a window to what-it-would-be-like-if-we-could – meet aliens; travel from world to world; go find the most unusual planet in the galaxy; see lifeforms that use liquid helium for blood – just made it worse: hard-SF stories don’t need to exclude women so pointedly, so why did Niven so decide? Did he even think about it? Was the invention of a narrator who makes a point of letting you know he’s male, heterosexual, and doesn’t have much time for women, something Niven thought through, or did he just assume that’s the kind of person an action hero ought to be?
I had just finished reading Robert A. Heinlein’s Red Planet moments before I read Yonmei’s post, and the sense of iawtc was quite strong. I like a lot of Heinlein’s stories. He did some pretty awesome worldbuilding, you know? But he also wrote a lot of crap like this, taken from a speech by Doctor MacRae (who reads like one heck of a Heinlein self-insert, by the way) in the tenth chapter:
Now as I see it, this is a frontier society and any man old enough to fight is a man and must be treated as such – and any girl old enough to cook and tend babies is an adult, too.
“¦Yeah. Red Planet is full of afterthought-style mentions of “girls” (but hardly ever women, even with all of the attention paid to describing adolescent boys as men), as well as charming little turns of phrase like “the best joke since God invented women.” Somehow, I feel a little more object-than-subject after reading stuff like that! Can’t imagine why!
Next up on the iawtc list is Grace’s assessment of Mr. and Mrs. Smith at Heroine Content, wherein she points out that the Mrs. half of the couple is rather more bad-ass than the Mr. My take on the movie was quite similar, as longtime readers of Hathor may recall. And while I’m doing the happy “omg I totally said that one time, too!” dance, here’s a post by Sarah of Still Life with Soup Can about Battlestar Galactica and why she digs it more than Star Trek. Among other interesting things, Sarah writes [post since removed]:
I like that Starbuck looks like she could kick some ass. That’s one of my pet peeves about female warriors as depicted on TV and in the movies. Come on. Did you really believe River could knock out all those Reavers in Serenity?
Nope. I sure didn’t.
For those of you who can’t get enough discussion of women in sci-fi television shows, a much-linked post at Megatrouble – “Four Reasons Why Heroes Bothers Me” – will no doubt be of interest, too.
Moving away from sci-fi into the no-less-totally-bizarre world of reality television, I read this week on the internets about a new show that, apparently, is about “When Women Rule the World“:
FOX posits on some potential drama by wondering, “How will the men react? How will the women treat the men? Can women effectively rule society? Will the men learn what life is like for some women in today’s world? Will this new society be a Utopia or a hell on earth? And in the end, who will be man enough to succeed in the new social order?”
So, uh, speaking of “reality,” another thing I read on the internets this week was this really kind’ve bizarre New York Times article about how HD TV is making porn – or, rather, the bodies of women in porn – too realistic. I don’t even know where to start with that. All I’m gonna say is – can we please stop calling adult women “girls”? I mean, come on! If it’s not cute when Heinlein does it, it’s definitely not cute when porn directors do it.
This was public service broadcasting, shocking, infuriating and eye-opening, and I hope it has as much of an impact as A Complaint of Rape, the 1982 documentary following a rape investigation by Thames Valley police, which forced the police to change the way they treated rape victims. Consent should do for jury trials of rapists what A Complaint of Rape did for rape investigations. Because, sadly, it seems that the blame for Britain’s dismal rape conviction rate at trial can largely be placed on the jury.
Read her whole post for a very thorough review and many informative links.
Those of you who surf the feminist blogosphere will have noticed a lot of posts about Blog for Choice Day this week. I read tons, and found them all interesting, informative, and moving by turns. One that I think might be of particular interest to Hathor regulars is Ragnell’s at Written World, in which she highlights a comic which portrays a woman’s choice whether or not to have an unplanned child with a great deal of depth.
Ragnell also started a new blog this week that might be of interest to many of you – First Woman [blog since removed], which will:
follow the media coverage and public reaction to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, with comparison to how they react to the male candidates, but don’t be surprised to see discussions of how the media responds to Condeleeza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, and other prominent women in US politics.
And now, to close the week with a little silliness! Many of you may have guessed that I have something of an appreciation for the intersection of geekiness and sweets. It is not surprising that I find Lord of the Peeps pretty hilarious. Also quite hilarious is the Brain Hurting Fanfic Pairer. Denethor/Dr. McCoy? Hah!