I Read the Internets – 5/5/07

Internets, I hope you are ready for some serious reading! The 13th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans is up at Words From the Center, Words From the Edge, and if I had to describe the collection in just one word, I would choose “comprehensive.” As is often the case, many of the posts linked in the Carnival are ones that have been mentioned in previous editions of IRtI, but there’s oodles of great stuff from corners of the internets that I had not previously visited (and also stuff from bloggers I read all the time, and had somehow missed…). Number 14 will be at Heroine Content, and you have until the 27th to get your submissions in.

Also on the internets this week is the 37th Carnival of Feminists (the more general, less dorky version), hosted at KitKat’s Critique. I always mean to read the Carnival of Feminists and can never find the time – Katie’s enormous roundup is probably going to be a tough one for me to start with, but I’m determined to make it through.

There’s also the first issue of Cerise, this week, for further reading. I really enjoyed working on it, and I suspect that those of you with an interest in gaming will enjoy reading it – and perhaps you’ll want to submit something for the second issue.

Most weeks, I mention at least one way to get your work out there if you’re a writer. This week, I also read about an opportunity for artists – specifically, for pencilers and colorists for a comic book: Tommy Roddy (who is, seriously, one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of communicating with) is looking for summer guest artists for Pride High.

I read a post by The Angry Black Woman this week that I’ve seen widely linked, but which I want to give as much attention as possible: “How to Promote Diversity in Fiction Markets.” At the end, she sums it up thus:

To promote diversity in your slushpile and then, by extension, your market, you must:

  1. Make sure a wide range of people know that your magazine accepts unsolicited submissions by reaching out and posting notifications in venues frequented by non-white and non-male individuals.
  2. Put your money where your mouth is. Publish more stories by established authors that feature non-default people and non-default settings so that newer authors (and readers) will see your market as open to diverse views and ideas.
  3. Update submission guidelines to very clear statements of what the market is looking for or lacking.
  4. Get creative with ways to attract more diverse subjects, settings, characters, and writers.
  5. In the fiction selection process, think carefully about the stories you choose. Publish stories that reflect a true balance (but don’t lower your standards to do so).

ABW is also hosting an upcoming carnival, the Erase Racism Carnival, for which she particularly invites more posts on “the topic of race and racism in the SF/F/H genre.” I’m looking forward to reading it.

LiveJournaler deconcentrate had some interesting things to say about diversity in genre fiction [article since locked], this week. Specifically, about diverse characters in comic books – and about the standards to which they’re held:

You know, unless I’m mistaken, equal rights is about the radical notion that people who aren’t white, male, heterosexual, and Christian are people too. And that means they have a right to be just as generic as everyone else.

After tekanji’s “The beauty myth and character design” post last week, I found Lisa Fortuner’s “Obligatory Power Girl Boob Post” (in her new column, Just Past the Horizon, at Newsarama) particularly interesting. The way she talks about the visual representation of a character as part of characterization, and the images she chooses that show Power Girl’s non-breast attributes are things that I think more artists should see.

Karen Healey also wrote about Peeg’s breasts this week:

I like my breasts, hard as such reception makes it. But they aren’t the most important thing about me. They’re not even in the top ten. If I have to have a radical double masectomy, I’ll miss my breasts, but losing them won’t mean losing myself. I’ll still be me. I’ll still be a vital human being, still bold and quick to anger and eager to fight injustice.

So how do you think I feel, watching writer after writer and artist after artist saying “Yes, Power Girl is bold, she’s angry, she fights the good fight – but don’t ever forget the breasts! It doesn’t matter if that personality isn’t evident in the art! Emphasise the boobs, always, over everything else!”?

Karen’s boob post resonated with me particularly because of another post she wrote this week, “I Think We Need A Bigger Barda,” wherein she calls for Big Barda to be drawn with the “hefty,” “large,” “lummox” body type that the text claims she has. Big Barda is probably my favorite comics character, and I first became interested in her in large part because she’s this gigantic, physically powerful woman. I’m only 5’5”, myself – a far cry from seven feet tall – but I’ve often been described as “looming,” even so. Just as Karen has been sometimes made to feel that her body is inappropriate because of her large breasts, I have often felt that my muscular biceps and huge thighs make mine an inappropriate body for a woman (my own modest A-cups certainly haven’t helped with that). There are very few images in any sort of media of women with bodies like mine. But every once in a while, an artist draws Big Barda so that she almost looks as big as I feel. I can’t even express how powerful those images are, to me.

And after all of that heavy (hah!) stuff, here’s a link to an xkcd comic that made me giggle.

Happy reading!

Comments

  1. Patrick says

    Power Girl is one of my favorite superheroes, and Lisa Fortuner’s article perfectly expresses why. It’s not about her boobs, it’s about her attitude.

    I always love Karen Healey’s posts, but “my deep-seated urge to hit bears with an axe” may stand as the greatest thing that she has ever written.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    The amount of crap that generates is astonishing. I still remember the last teenage boy who snapped the back of my bra, because he looked ever so surprised when I finally snapped and turned around and smacked him.

    It IS astonishing. I’ve had a lot of bigger-than-average friends over the years and I’ve seen them get everything from random strangers hassling them on the street to people assuming they’re sex maniacs, all on the basis of their breasts being large.

  3. MaggieCat says

    Hee. I still think my favorite is the agenda for the Feminist Comics Cabal, including the extremely memorable Items “World domination, mass emasculation, burning all pictures of ladies prettier than us, destroying comic book industry” and “Ignore oppressed women everywhere, sip champagne from slippers.” Oh that reminds me, I need to pick up matches. ;-)

    And the fact that the Power Girl post even needed to be written pisses me off, since I agree with almost all of it. I’m either a double or triple D depending on the brand, the last time I could look down and see my feet I was 12. The amount of crap that generates is astonishing. I still remember the last teenage boy who snapped the back of my bra, because he looked ever so surprised when I finally snapped and turned around and smacked him. Spending years hiding in high necked tunics and t-shirts that are 3 sizes too big, hoping today might be the day that everyone makes eye contact. Being 14 and realizing that men older than your father are staring at your chest. The horrible posture that I’m still trying to correct. The fact that you continuously have to prove that IQ is not inversely proportional to cup size.

    What I wouldn’t give for one, just one female character with similar proportions who wasn’t turned into a docile statue or a sex toy. Damn it, if they’ve done it to Power Girl, what hope do the rest of us have?

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    You shouldn’t have to ignore it, though. Well, firstly no one should have to learn to deal with that sort of harassment. But a bodily feature you can’t help certainly shouldn’t make you MORE of a target.

    It’s the women who act like you did something on purpose to make them feel insecure that really get to me.

    Now, that’s just ridiculous. I’ll never understand why people resent those who have what they wish they had: resent the circumstances, if you want, but not the person.

    Resent the culture that makes you feel like you NEED unnecessarily large breasts to be attractive.

    One thing I love about the movie “9 to 5″ is that some of the women in the office are so quick to believe Dolly Parton’s character is sleeping with the boss (she’s not). There are only two possible assumptions the women can be making: that big-breasted women are sluts, or that southern women are sluts. Both are definitely assumptions I’ve seen not only being wielded, but going completely unprotested by folks who would call someone on assumptions based on, say, race.

  5. MaggieCat says

    I could live with that actually, it’s at least a brand of stupidity I’m familiar with and I’ve (finally) learned to ignore most of it. It’s the women who act like you did something on purpose to make them feel insecure that really get to me.

    Reading my first post back, it came out a little more strident than I intended. That’s what posting after functioning all day on 2 hours of sleep will do, I suppose. Heh.

  6. Patrick says

    I’d forgotten about the feminist comics cabal. For that article, it’s a toss-up between the “champagne from slippers” line and

    Item 7: Paper presentation: “Slash and the Superhero, or, How Gay Are Superman and Batman for Each Other?”
    Item 8: So Gay.

  7. MaggieCat says

    There are only two possible assumptions the women can be making: that big-breasted women are sluts, or that southern women are sluts. Both are definitely assumptions I’ve seen not only being wielded, but going completely unprotested by folks who would call someone on assumptions based on, say, race.

    Dolly hits the trifecta for unfair assumptions and stereotypes since she’s also blonde. As a kid I adored Dolly Parton (red lipstick, rhinestones- what’s not to love?) and I’ve always loved that movie, even before I really understood the depth of what they were satirizing. I love those movies that make more sense as you get older. There were rumblings of a sequel around the time the 25th anniversary rolled around and if it happens I’ll be the first in line. (Which is saying something, since I think the last movie I saw in the theaters was The Pianist.)

    Now I suddenly have the urge to go look for Straight Talk on DVD…

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    You’re right! Sorry, I forgot that blonde women are naturally lacking in morals. My mistake. ;)

    Dolly used to tell a story from her childhood in which she a lady who was all dolled up with long polished nails and lots of makeup and so on. Dolly thought it was so cool and asked her mom why the woman looked that way, and the mom said nastily, “Because she’s trash”. “But lord,” Dolly said of the incident years later, “I wanted to look like trash.” :D

    Good for her for not caring what people thought.

  9. says

    My family watched Night Court when I was super young and my sister was fairly young, which frequently featured prostitutes who had been busted as bit characters. Apparently, my sister at one point declared she wanted to be a hooker when she grew up – they had the coolest hair and clothes.

    I saw 9 to 5 when I was very, very young, (like…6?) and while I don’t remember it clearly, I *do* remember that I saw it, and one or two specific scenes, which is pretty impressive. It’s one I kepe meaning to find a copy of.

  10. Jennifer Kesler says

    LOL, I remember Night Court! They did usually look like 80’s punk rockers or something.

    9 to 5 is very dated stylistically, but terrifyingly up to date in terms of how much has not changed. The movie ends with the women scoring a bunch of changes (but not equal pay), and saying, “But this is just the beginning”. Sadly, we’re still at “just the beginning” because not one damn thing from the movie has come to pass widely.

    I should review it sometime.

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