About fifteen minutes ago, just as I was opening up a new window in order to sort this week’s links, the contents of the top shelf of my desk (mostly manuscripts) fell on my head, then knocked over my nearly-full can of Mountain Dew on their continuing journey floorwards. The Dew beat them there, and when the first of the large files slammed into the puddle, the impact forced sugary liquid up into the air and all over the nearby wall and filing cabinet.
My whole week has kinda been like that. Painful, exasperating, messy, and just a little bit funny. I’m thankful for that last quality, for sure.
Anyway! Do accept my apologies, dear readers, if my reading of the internets this week has been less thorough than usual, or if my commentary is less amusing. And now, on to the internets:
As I suspect most of you are aware, this month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Rachel Edidin is doing a great series on her blog, Inside Out, connecting SAAM to comics. I’d quote my favorite bits from the entries she’s done so far, but I really want to encourage you all to go on over there and read the whole thing.
I think writers of all sorts could benefit from the advice Rachel is giving in her series. Over at Heroine Content, Grace touches on some of the same issues that Rachel is raising when discussing a biographical film she recently was unable to finish watching:
how does one responsibly portray violence, particularly rape, in cinema? In the case of this film, the rapes were not added to thicken the plot–they really happened–but did they need to be shown in such a way as to leave me unable to finish the movie? What purpose did that serve? Did the filmmakers (director Shekhar Kapur, who also directed Elizabeth and writers Ranjit Kapoor and Mala Sen) really need to show all those rapes? Did portraying Phoolan as an ultimate victim in the film’s first hour somehow magnify her (I assume) glory in the film’s second hour? Does a woman have to be a victim to be legitimized as a bandit?
In other film reviews this week (and, seriously, when are all of you fabulous writers of the internets going to post some more of those? Its like everyone got so involved in writing about 300 that they haven’t dared to watch any movies since, or something…), Skye (also at Heroine Content) had some really thoughtful things to say about the Tomb Raider films:
I promise I won’t say that Lara Croft is a feminist statement. I promise. The marketing is all about her skintight clothing. They go out of their way to draw attention to her breasts throughout both films. Honestly, I almost sprained my eyeballs from rolling them during the first 20 minutes of Tomb Raider. Look, Lara’s being held down on her back in a struggle with a killer robot! Look, Lara’s taking a shower! Look, Lara’s walking walking around nude while mocking her butler’s statement that ladies should be modest!
But if you can get past the “look at me” vibe, Lara has a lot of heroine content going for her.
Like Skye, I really appreciated the ways in which Lara Croft is constructed as a strong character in those films, despite her goofy outfits – I do constantly wish, though, that more female characters in all forms of visual media who are supposed to be physically kicking ass would actually look like they could kick some ass. And it goes beyond the outfits, of course, and into the realm of dear God, why do these women have no muscles?!? Apparently, I am not the only person to feel this way! LiveJournaler furikku has a post up this week with pictures of some potential models of feminine ass-kickery, just in case superhero comics illustrators are ready to take a look. I most heartily approve.
Then again, sometimes I think I’d rather comics creators didn’t read feminist critiques and suggestions regarding their work. The results usually make me lose respect for the creator – and it looks like I’m not the only one. Ragtime has a post this week examining some recent writing by Karen Healey, and Bill Willingham’s moronic response to same at Comic Book Thoughts:
As you can see, I started out pretty pro-Willingham in defending him against Karen’s criticisms. That is, until he opened his big mouth and tried to defend himself, which is making me wonder whether I was giving him too much credit to begin with.
I still think Snow White acted largely in character, and was not upset with her choice of a traditional wedding vow. Sometimes that’s just simply “how it’s done,” and if King Cole is the one who is performing the service, sometimes you just go with the program.
But to say I disagree with Karen’s conclusions is not at all to say that I think she was wrong to raise the issues, or that I think she’s trying to brainwash me, or I don’t think she’s making a lot of good points along the way.
While I’m thinking about those mythical feminist brainwashers and thought police that so many privileged dudes seem to be worried about, I’d like to recommend a great post by The Angry Black Woman titled “In Defense of Political Correctness.”
As I wind to a close this week, I want to remind all the gamers out there that the deadline for submissions to the first issue of Cerise is rapidly approaching (as in, it’s tomorrow) – so get your stuff in, if you’re going to do it.