I Read the Internets – 1/6/07

If you’ve been reading Hathor for any length of time (like, say, since last week) you’re probably aware that many of us in the pop-culture-crit community have something of a chip on our collective shoulder about accusations that our analyses are frivolous. Because I spend so much time alternating between saying, “but what makes you think I don’t also contribute to [“real world” cause du jour], huh?” and “the cultural messages in film and television do so matter!”, I’m always happy to see someone using a popular culture narrative moment to segue into discussion of issues that are decidedly not confined to the television screen. So I was very pleased to see this excellent discussion of consent, kick-started by a scene from new show Dirt, at The Guns of Auguste. Probably nothing new to most readers here, but read it anyway – it’s always good to see common-sense arguments laid out so clearly that they really are common sense.

If you really get into the more text-specific side of analysis, I have a couple of good reads for you, too, this week. First up, Tekanji at Offical Shrub.com blog did a write-up of the Silent Hill movie, wherein she explores the ways in which having a cast made up almost entirely of women was both a good and a bad feature:

Women, not men, were the spotlight characters; from the main protagonist, to her helper, to the main villain, and beyond. It’s rare in films of this genre, even films that are trying to make a point about gender, for there to be so many visible women in main, supporting, and extra roles.

But this was proven to be a double edged sword; none of the female characters were just incidentally female; it was all part of a larger reaching set of tropes and symbolism”¦

Meanwhile, Skye of Heroine Content is disappointed by the one-dimensional women in Van Helsing:

What I can’t help but wonder is why? This is a fantasy film working with established characters and mythology, but I can’t imagine the film’s creators felt constrained by that. They put Mr. Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein, and a werewolf in one movie! I doubt their next thought was “Let’s make sure we don’t change the fucked up gender stereotypes, though! Could be dangerous!”

In other internets reading – I’ve been seeing a fair amount of horrible messages for little girls lately, and this week was no exception. Karen Healey wrote about creepy relationships in the manga CardCaptor Sakura in her well-titled post “In Fiction, No One Will Have You Fired”:

Rika, who is described as “nice”, “pretty” and “really mature”, has told her friends that she has an older boyfriend. After exchanging significant glances and blushes with Rika, the teacher gives her a ring, “as promised”, declaring, “I told the clerk that this is an engagement ring. Take care of it until it becomes a wedding ring.”


Rika, by the way, is ten.

On the American-comics-related side of things, I wrote in my LiveJournal this week about encountering some horrifying Supergirl Valentines at the grocery store. Valentines that say things like, I kid you not, “Saving the World can be Glamorous!”

Ugh. I’m still trying to clean that experience out of my brain.

Winding to a close here, in internets that I have no idea how to connect to the rest of this edition of IRtI, author Elizabeth Bear (have you read any of her novels? No? You should!) wrote a post this week that should appeal to those of you who are interested in queer characters and/or the experience of writing the other.

And in conclusion this week, because I always like to end with something silly, Ken Levine pitches a great new television series: LOST HOUSE 24. Part I, Part II.

See you guys next week – and if you felt that this week’s edition was a little short, go out and write me some internets to read, already!


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    OMG, thanks for the side-splitting LOST HOUSE 24. I really needed it after all this talk of… Jeez, people! Consent is consent! It’s not “didn’t not consent”! It’s consent! It’s not that complicated, which forces me to believe either a large number of Americans are too stupid to be permitted to reproduce or they feign confusion to cover the fact they think rape is pretty neat as long as it’s happening to that person over there and not them.

    As always, I find it simplest to go with an analogy: if I go walking alone at night, dressed in expensive clothes, and you mug me and steal my Rolex, is anyone going to ask me in a tone of reproof, “Did you tell him not to take your Rolex? Are you sure he understood you wanted to keep it?”

    As for Silent Hill and Van Helsing, they’re just further evidence that a lot of people are still only interested in women as they connect to men, not as people in and of themselves.

    And the 10 year old and her homeroom teacher leaves me speechless. If we didn’t live in a world where that relationship is abused regularly, it might be a harmless flight of fancy, but welcome to reality, people. Not only is it not a message for kids – it’s not a message for pedophiles, either.

  2. SunlessNick says

    Rika, who is described as “nice”, “pretty” and “really mature”, has told her friends that she has an older boyfriend. After exchanging significant glances and blushes with Rika, the teacher gives her a ring, “as promised”, declaring, “I told the clerk that this is an engagement ring. Take care of it until it becomes a wedding ring.”


    Rika, by the way, is ten.

    I’m sorry, I threw up a little.

  3. SunlessNick says

    Meanwhile, Skye of Heroine Content is disappointed by the one-dimensional women in Van Helsing.

    I did some calculations. Anna (the female lead) has to be rescued every fourteen minutes – or every eleven if you don’t count the portion of the film before her arrival – every male good guy gets to save her at some point, including the noncombatant. Not just that, but she’s written as arrogant and egotistical, convinced of her own ability to handle things and look after everyone, despite our being presented with no evidence for it.

    Even worse, on the DVD commentary, Sommers doesn’t realise that he’s made such a wimp – he seriously claims she’s a strong female hero and Van Helsing’s equal.

    [The film’s crapness aggravates me all the more, since the core part – what Dracula and his brides actually want to accomplish – is awesome, and deserved a serious treatment]

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    I really, really believe female characters are written like that not because the writers are retarded and can’t figure out that needing to be rescued every 14 minutes does not equal being able to handle things, but because the writers are trying to diffuse the “myth” we feminists are spreading: that capability does not favor one gender or the other. Some men and women are very capable; some men and women are not.

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