I Read the Internets – 2/10/07

I’m going to kick off this week’s IRtI, as I often do, with some carnival links. First, the call for submissions for the 11th Carnival of Feminist SF and Fantasy Fans is up at But Can She Spin? You’ve all got until February 25th to send in your links – get going!

I read about the genesis of a new carnival, this week, that isn’t particularly connected to geeky media feminism, but which I think is a damn good idea. I suspect that there are at least a few readers of this column who’d be interested in submitting posts for the Ourstory Carnival [since removed]- go read about it, and see what you think.

Now back to our regularly scheduled geeky media feminism”¦ Purtek’s been doing a great job here at Hathor of taking on some of the problematic aspects of Veronica Mars. Readers who’ve found those posts particularly interesting will want to check out Page Rockwell’s post about a recent episode, over at Broadsheet:

This week’s award for major disappointment during prime-time network programming goes to the generally talented crew over at “Veronica Mars,” who egregiously and stupidly conflated emergency contraception and RU-486 in Tuesday’s episode.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day (actually, a little early, but it made for a good segue, right?), Karen Healey has a post over at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) about those horrible Supergirl Valentines I was rolling my eyes at a while back:

Yes, fashion can be powerful. It is, for example, a really powerful way of enforcing rigid gender roles and unattainable standards of ideal beauty! It’s very rarely empowering.

One such rare occasion where fashion actually helped rather than hindered women existed for about three minutes in the mid-to-late 70s when punk came into being. For a very brief time, punk fashion worked against the status quo as anti-romantic, anti-sizeist and occasionally anti-clothes. And then the status quo promptly co-opted it – to the point where shiny silver safety pins and gothic curlicues are on valentines.

These cards use the cutesy pretence of pretty-in-pink girl power to negate any message encouraging girls to be actually powerful. If you’re female, it’s okay to be strong, as long as you’re still a beauty.

I heartily encourage you to read the whole post, and I’m not just saying that because Karen says nice things about me (why yes, that is awesome you can see coming out a little bit at my gills!) – I’m saying that because, in addition to Karen’s excellent analysis, there’s a picture at the end of the post by another great Karen which is well worth viewing.

Supergirl’s ability to irritate feminist readers isn’t confined to her tangential product line. A lot of people have been pretty vocally annoyed with her portrayal in comics, lately. Loren Javier of one diverse comic book nation has a good round-up of several of the problems in the most recent Supergirl issue, complete with links to other bloggers’ posts on the subject, here. And when you get done reading all of that, be sure to swing by Dean Trippe’s LJ to check out the fabulous “Draw Supergirl!” meme, which just might make you like the character again.

Rounding out the comics coverage this week, Rachel Edidin (who I am totally looking forward to hanging out with at WisCon) is starting a new blog – Inside Out – where she’ll be sharing some of her perspectives as a woman actually working in the comics industry. Bookmark it!

Shifting over to books without pictures, Reb has a post over at Adventures in Lame with an extensive analysis of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy:

The premise is fantastic, and the first book (which contains all of the aforementioned set up) is by far the best of the three. I think there are a number of reasons, but the key is that in the first book, Tally has the most agency, and she’s easily relatable. The society is a parable for the sorts of body and self-esteem issues that today’s teenagers (girls in particular) cope with, and in the first book, Tally is worried about human seeming things. She’s dreaming of growing up and how being more attractive will solve all of her problems. She’s torn between loyalty to friends. She has a friend who’s done something stupid, and needs to decide if Shay really knows what she’s doing, or if the adults are right and Tally should fess up about everything she knows. These are situations which, despite being set centuries in the future, very strongly relate to real, tangible life.

Unfortunately, the series changes tone abruptly between books one and two”¦

Tekanji’s latest addition to her Gaming Beauty Myth series at the Official Shrub.com Blog, in which she tackles the concept of “femininity”, is a natural chaser to Reb’s post about Uglies. Read the whole post – and read the conclusion at least twice.

I don’t have any LOL-funny new webcomics or anything to link to in closing this week, but here’s a link to a page that I’ve known about for ages but which often gives me a giggle – The Gender Genie. Try putting in a couple of different styles of writing samples from one writer – I, evidently, blog like a woman, but write academic papers like a man. Hmmmm!


  1. MaggieCat says

    LOL- apparently The Gender Genie thinks half of my pieces were written by male and half by a female. That result was consistent across both fiction and blog entries, and it wasn’t like the results were just slightly in one camp or the other- it was very convinced it was right in both cases.

    It reminds me of my friend Jamie who once told me “You argue like a Yankee, but your sentence structure is very southern. You’re… confused.” (And she’s an English professor born and raised in Texas, so I guess she would know.) I’m getting a little worried that I may have some sort of split-personality writing disorder. 😉

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    I blog male, write fanfic like a female, and write original fic like a male.

    That’s really odd that my fanfic and original fics are that different in voice.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    I do, too. But looking over my samples, I think I do use a different voice writing fanfic. It’s like I approach it more carefully, out of respect that it’s someone else’s project originally.

    With my own fic, I feel more bold. And that certainly fits one of the gender stereotype designations: caution=feminine, bold=masculine. To be clear, *I* am not saying things are masculine or feminine: those are pointless designations we dole out as a culture. But the Gender Genie’s algorithm comes from the same culture I come from.

  4. SunlessNick says

    Loren Javier of one diverse comic book nation has a good round-up of several of the problems in the most recent Supergirl issue, complete with links to other bloggers’ posts on the subject, here

    One of those links – Ragtime’s – has this titbit:

    So which of the girls wins the fight? Well, I guess Kara’s Dad Zor-El does, since he’s the one who installed the latent exploding-crystal thingie. In a fight between two girls, the winner is a long-dead man.

    Which says it all really.

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