I Read the Internets – 4/28/07

….And I’m back!  Without further delay, here are this week’s internets!

I have no doubt that many of you will enjoy this directory of stories and other stuff uploaded to the internets in honor of International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, as compiled by Dusk Peterson.  Mmmm, free fiction…

At Feminist SF – The Blog!, many of the regulars have been talking about how class issues can limit participations in certain kinds of fandom activities (hardback books can get really expensive, as can con attendance, and so on), lately.  Laura Q. has a short post about “Kelly Link, feminist SF, and Creative Commons” which continues that conversation.

N. K. Jemisin, guest-blogging for The Angry Black Woman, has a fantastic post up this week titled “No more lily-white futures and monochrome myths”:

It is not enough for the SF world to have an Octavia, or even three or four. It is not enough for the SF world to passively wait for PoCs, and women, and all the other groups that currently disdain SF — because SF has disdained them — to come to it. They won’t come unless SF makes an effort to reach them and let them know that they’re welcome now. And SF can’t do that unless SF wants to welcome them, which I’m not so sure it does. I think, unfortunately, that most of SFWA really does exemplify “the establishment” of the SF field: an elite club whose sole purpose is to protect the status quo because that’s how they made their money, and who don’t give a damn about changes in the market because hey, they’ll be dead soon. In truth, they have no incentive to pursue diversity, because that might force them to learn how to write nonwhite or worse yet, confront their own unacknowledged prejudices.

The thing is, they will be dead soon, as will their old-school audience. What happens to SF when that happens?

Read the whole thing.

Moving away from the print world and into film, new LiveJournaler Lily Cain posted this week about “Grindhouse, the Mo Movie Measure, and comic book covers,” and discovered that, apparently, well-developed female characters are as important in the average film as ponies are:

I was discussing this with a male friend of mine on Saturday, and he expressed disbelief that I would use these criteria to evaluate a movie. “That’s like saying every movie should have ponies in it,” he said.
I didn’t even know where to start with that one. Eventually I got myself together enough to say, “Okay, replace ‘female’ with ‘male’ and ‘man’ with ‘woman’, and think of a single movie that DOESN’T fit the criteria.” Once I put it that way, he understood that well-developed female characters are not analogous to ponies.

At least he didn’t say pink ponies.  Small comfort, I know.

Sticking with the “horror movies sometimes have surprisingly good female characters in them” theme, Skye wrote about Resident Evil at Heroine Content this week.  I’ve never really been able to appreciate the horror genre in film, partly because the special effects tend to make me physically ill (I kept my eyes shut through about two thirds of The Exorcist when I saw it for the first time at age 18), but I might have to give Resident Evil a try.

At Official Shrub.com Blog, tekanji has a post this week about “The beauty myth and character design” in video games:

Simply put, the point I try to make every time I bring up how female characters are hypersexualized is that it is inappropriate sexualization, which puts many women off (not all of women are interested in playing characters created for a presumably male player’s wank fantasy) and perpetuates the idea of “attractiveness” in women being inseparable from sexual availability.

A link that someone sent me earlier this week, “This is not Sex: A Web Essay on the Male Gaze, Fashion Advertising, and the Pose,” makes an interesting follow-up to tekanji’s blog post.  It’s slightly vintage internets (looks to date from around 2005), but the points being made are still current.

It was just after typing that sentence, dear readers, that my computer dramatically ceased to function last night.  Happily, the trouble turns out to have been merely a short in the power supply, and thus fairly inexpensive to repair, as computer problems go.  Huzzah!

And while I was waiting for full functionality again, Ragnell sent me a couple of interesting links that I’m pleased to be able to include in this week’s IRtI.  At Women’s eNews, Sandra Kobrin laments “the quality of women on TV” in her article titled “Prime-Time TV Sweeps Women to All-Time Lows”.  One of the issues that Kobrin raises is that women “are less than 40 percent of the characters on prime time and are underrepresented as creators and writers” – a concern that is echoed in the film world in Sharon Waxman’s “Hollywood’s Shortage of Female Power” at The New York Times:

Martha Lauzen, a professor at San Diego State University, found that the number of women working as directors, writers, producers and editors declined in 2006 from the year before, to 15 percent from 16 percent. And she estimated that the number of female executives in the studios is only slightly higher, perhaps 20 percent. “We’re at same place we would have been in 1999,” she said.

Waxman’s article also discusses the types of movies that typically appeal to women, prompting Girlistic blogger sojourness to ask:

Also, what gives a movie “woman appeal”? I myself didn’t like or have much interest in many of the movies they listed for women… But I can understand that there are plenty of women in the world who aren’t interested in gory war movies or what have you.

THL bloggers and commenters have often noted in the past that most of us are more interested in action films, epic fantasy, or awesome sci-fi than in the genres that are popularly considered to appeal to women.  And I think we’ve all jumped on the “let’s make fun of Lifetime movies” bandwagon.  But zuzu at Feministe made me see Lifetime in a newly appreciative light in her post “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? Well, just as long as you don’t marry him, honey, he might turn out to be an MRA” – any television network that can make a dude like David Usher nervous is fine by me.

Closing with humor, those of you who cracked up at Karla’s “Wheel of Blogging” on Home on the Strange last week will be delighted by this handy web-based version of the Wheel.  And anyone who has ever read a comic book will find something to chuckle over in kphoebe and brown_betty’s list of things superheroes would write.  Check out the comments for further cleverness.

See you all next week (assuming my computer is still working)!


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    The ABW post once again backs up the purpose for this site: the centrality of whites is ubiquitous, whether it’s the writers or the people paying them at fault.

    You know, I originally went to Hollywood with the intent to write more POC roles into my stuff. There, I was smacked in the face with the realization that my own demographic – white women – was victim to this artificial segregation that says “You can be awesome, you just can’t upstage Mr. White. And it’s even better if, after kicking ass, you give Mr. White a BJ, okay?”

    The pony remark: oh, yeah. I’ve been told insisting on good women in a film is like insisting on a film containing dwarves, explosions, river-rafting… I can’t remember them all. Of course, there are plenty of guys who get it and agree with me. Sadly, some of the ones I’ve dealt with still didn’t get it even after I presented Lily Cain’s counterargument. It was only natural a story contain well-developed men! How could it not? But women? Superfluous!

    I thank folks like Joseph Campbell for that.

    I somewhat disagree with the “This is Not Sex” article: I don’t think the women are saying “I control your gaze: I’m successful and powerful”. I think they’re saying, “I know men can only see me as order-giving Mommy or compliant little girl, and if I’m to reach even the glass ceiling of accomplishment they allow me, I must appear boinkable.”

    Hmm. I’m going to have to LJ this, actually – I’ve got some developing thoughts here.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    Oh, and am I evil that I almost kind of agree with one of Usher’s points? He mentions that women initiate half of domestic violence, and frankly I have no idea where he’s getting that or if it’s accurate at all. But I DO know that not every case of domestic violence is a case of Man abusing Woman. Sometimes it’s a plain and simply physical fight because frustrations have boiled over, not because anyone’s out to overpower or injure the other party – they’re just not being heard, and eventually the human psyche reverts to animal instinct. And sometimes women physically abuse men.

    I know this will offend some people. I come from a family in which some women have emotionally abused their husbands and sons, and then their sons because abusers of women. I just feel it’s important to recognize all sides to the abuse cycle, and identify all contributing parties and hold them accountable.

    Without ever, ever suggesting the victims are responsible for their own victimization.

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