Links of Great Interest: Whaaaaaaat. It’s NOVEMBER ALREADY.

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Signal Boost: Check out this kick ass film

Signal Boost: 

“Girlfriend” is about a young man with Down Syndrome who falls in love with a single mom. It’s the first US feature to star a Down Syndrome actor. Here’s the trailer: http://justinlerner.com/feature-films.html.

Only five of the 29 shortlisted films make it to the next round.They’re up against some pretty intimidating titles which is where you come in. They need your vote! And you can give it to them here: http://www.indiepixfilms.com/videocontest/IFP-AUDIENCE

The polyandrous office wife

WTF, Blizzcon?

Interesting book on pregnancy and access.

YAY NNEDI!

From Scarlett:

One good thing came out of CHOGM - they agreed to scrap outdated laws that any prince of the heir to the throne, even one twenty years younger than his sister, is first in line, so now the firstborn in heir regardless of sex. (Let’s not dwell on the principle that, by accident of birth, this girl/boy will become head of state of half the freaking world.)

PS. The monarch can now marry a Catholic. Don’t know which is more antiquated, the no-girls-allowed or the no-Catholics-allowed :p

Shira Lipkin’s The Changeling’s Lament is pretty freaking amazing. Like what you read? Donate!

THIS POEM IS GREAT TOOOO.

Jaym Gates’ post on the WFC Creeper.

 

From MC:

The creators of “Once Upon A Time” – this fall’s most woman-centric
show – didn’t want to write damsels in distress because they didn’t
think that was releveant for today or as interesting: “In our minds,
Snow White wields a sword and is more of a bad a** than a damsel in
distress.”

Comments

  1. Azzy says

    “Once Upon a Time” is rapidly becoming one of my favorite shows. The last episode, focused around the Evil Queen, really made me sad (but in a good way). She kind of reminds me of Victoria Grayson from “Revenge” (an excellent series, though one I have some issues with…). Seriously, they could be like the same person. I wonder if this is going to start a trend of complex female villains? I can certainly hope so.

    Also, has anyone seen “Grimm”? It’s also a “fairytales are real” TV series, except practically the entire cast is male. It’s like the monstrous offspring of “Once Upon a Time” and “Supernatural”. I do not mean that as a compliment.

  2. Maria says

    Azzy,

    See I kinda feel like the show is a step back for ABC because it’s so white. Didn’t they do that amazing multiracial Cinderella movie a few years back, with Brandi and Whoopi?

  3. says

    I saw the first episode of Grimm. It had more POC than OUaT (although they were still relegated to side characters) but every single female character–with the exception of the last 60 seconds of the episode–was a victim. No thank you.

    Azzy,

  4. The Other Anne says

    There are no words to describe my love for Who Fears Death and all things Nnedi Okorafor. She is such an amazing author and I CANNOT WAIT for movies based on her novels, for more books, for everything. I think one of the only things I miss about facebook besides the narcissistic satisfaction of posting all about me all the time is reading all of her updates.

    Ah, well.

    I also watched OUaT and Grimm back to back, and liked OUaT enough to continue watching, and decided I didn’t feel like bothering with Grimm, which didn’t even hook me the way SPN did years ago, and considering how SPN turned out I am just not in the mood for another crappy man-love show about men who do manly things like solve crime after all the women who ever appear on screen are murdered brutally.

  5. M.C says

    Maria,

    OUAT’s gender portrayal is awesome, but you’re right that the show is seriously lacking racial diversity. But since there have only been 2 episodes so far I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt – there’s still time to cast Lenora Crichlow as Sleeping Beauty.
    For anyone who doesn’t know Lenora, watch this and tell me she wouldn’t be the perfect fairytale princess stuck in reality who realizes there are no happy endings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlzotTO12mE

  6. sbg says

    Azzy,

    I would probably have given Grimm another shot if they had reversed the lead with the partner. The partner was far more interesting to watch. Alas, he is not white, and therefore can’t be the titular character. I think it’s in the by-laws.

  7. Casey says

    Denis’ story was heart-wrenching and the subsequent deliberate obtuseness/apologisim/”JUST GROW A THICKER SKIN, YOU’RE BEING HYPERSENSITIVE” trollin’ song and dance over in the LJ comment section is infuriating.

  8. Azzy says

    Maria,

    I’ve noticed the overall whiteness as well, but I suspect that if they’d made any of the fairytale characters anything other than white, there would have been a slew of comments along the lines of, “I’m not RACIST, but what are colored people doing in my EUROPEAN fairytales?!” And by European, they would mean white.

    That being said, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. In avoiding the racist shitstorm, their cast is less diverse.

    I’ll just take any female characters where I can have ‘em, at least. While there are currently other shows with female-centric casts, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: Revenge, Ringer, Pretty Little Liars, even Gossip Girl–all series relying on the premise that women are deceptive liars who lie a lot, and scheme behind everybody’s back (including each other’s), and have deep dark secrets.

  9. says

    Azzy: I suspect that if they’d made any of the fairytale characters anything other than white, there would have been a slew of comments along the lines of, “I’m not RACIST, but what are colored people doing in my EUROPEAN fairytales?!” And by European, they would mean white.

    I’m not so sure. Robin Hood (2006) had the occasional black person, and Merlin (2008) cast a black woman as Guenivere. There’s probably no historical basis for that at all, and these are both stories placed in very real historical contexts. Fairy tales surely have more license than that.

  10. says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Guen in the Merlin show gets some hate from the fandom for being of color. She was mentioned in the article from 10/21/11’s LOGI (fandom and women of color).

    I’m not defending this line of reasoning at all, I think if your audience is suspending their disbelief for things that have never happened ever, like MAGIC, then they can suspend their disbelief one half centimeter further for things that did happen all the time, like people of color living in medieval Europe. (Because there were totally were POC in Europe back then. Not showing them is the unrealistic part.) But saying, “They’re just doing it because the fans are racist” is half right; the fans are racist.

  11. Casey says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Keep in mind that an ungodly amount of Merlin fandom hate Guinivere seemingly due to the fact that she’s a WOC in a (white) European historical fantasy setting and “ZOMG MORGANA IS SO MUCH BETTAR~!!” IDK about any venom the fandom had towards POC characters in Robin Hood, though.

  12. The Other Anne says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Gwen is a bad example. I ADORE her and she is my favorite female character, and tied with Merlin for fav all around, but she is NOT liked AT ALL by a huge number of fans and there isn’t a reason for that I can see since they don’t hate the white women of the show. And some of the white female characters are just ugh. The other black characters have all been sidelined or killed. And by other I mean like the two non white characters in the whole show besides Gwen: her father and that one knight. Merlin is not a great example of race all around, IMO.

    I hope they add some diversity, because between this and the oodles of anime I’m
    Following right now, unless this really makes itself worth it, I’m just goin to watch anime instead. (OMG I am so fan-girling over Natsume Yojinchou right now, or natsume’s book of friends. So a better fairy tale story, though I’m biased because I like japanes fairy tales over anything else.)

  13. The Other Anne says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    I wouldn’t have commented had I known there were other comments queued saying the exact same thing! Though yes, you are very correct that it’s doing great. I wish Guinevere was featured MORE but I am very glad they cast that actress as her. hopefully in this upcoming season she’ll be around and that one knight will get more to do!

    AND your main point, that these are fairy tales, with dragons and magic and heck in OUaT it’s a town on the USA East coast, stands.

  14. M.C says

    Regarding the Merlin fandom: I think alot of fans hate Gwen because she’s Guinevere, not because she’s played by a WOC. The Camelot fandom hated Guinevere too, who was played by the white Tamsin Egerton. Guinevere always get alot of hate in every Arthurian fandom either because:
    1. She cheated on Arthur with Lancelot or because
    2. she’s an enemy of Morgan Le Fay, who has had many fans ever since The Mists of Avalon was published.

    Of course in the oldest Arthurian myths Guinevere neither cheated on her husband nor was she an enemy of Morgan (who wasn’t evil in the first tellings either). But as soon as some misogynistic Christian monks got their hands on the Arthurian legends and retold them, suddenly Guinevere wasn’t a wise queen anymore, but an unfaithful wife, and Morgan wasn’t a healer anymore but an evil witch.

    Anyway, apparently the first coloured female fairytale character on OUAT will appear in the 4th episode: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lu73pjGqxC1qexizio10_400.jpg
    Go on, show, you’re just one step short of casting Lenora Crichlow as Sleeping Beauty. Do it now! I know you want to. ;)

  15. says

    The Other Anne,

    But it’s good you did, because if only one person had said it, it would just be one point of view. Instead, three said it, so it’s a consensus. :)

    M.C,

    That’s true. I’ve always resented Guenivere because she’s generally portrayed as a bag of puke AND she’s the origin of my first name, goddammit.

    I do think a lot of times when there’s major character hate for a character of color, there’s at least some (often unconscious) racism going on there – that’s just statistically likely. It’s hard to guess where that leaves off and the predisposition to hate any version of Guinevere begins. There’s also the whole thing in fandoms about which characters should be in love with which others, and female characters tend to catch a lot of that fallout since they’re so rarely used as anything but a love interest. Dunno how much that comes into play here.

  16. Casey says

    Jennifer Kesler: That’s true. I’ve always resented Guenivere because she’s generally portrayed as a bag of puke AND she’s the origin of my first name, goddammit.

    I must suck at the English language ‘cuz I did not know/realize that Guinevere —> Jennifer :O

  17. Dani says

    I’m really enjoying Once Upon A Time so far. Grimm was…well, I agree with above comments about how the lead’s partner is a much more interesting character (plus, it would be great to see a POC in the lead). I remember during the first episode (I haven’t watched the second, yet), during the scene when the nurse commented on the main character’s relative (?) and how much she was scarred, and then asking what she did for a living. The main character replied that she was a librarian, and I immediately thought that I would much rather watch a series about her than about him. Aside from the fact that the cop-drama thing has been done to death – so much so that not even a shot of fantasy can really add much to it – the main character is just so…boring. A female librarian fighting off supernatural baddies would be so cool, a non-white cop with an interesting personality fighting supernatural baddies would have been great, but a cookie-cutter white guy with no personality? *Snore*

  18. says

    Dani: A female librarian fighting off supernatural baddies would be so cool

    The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow. A motorcycle-riding librarian realizes pets and children are going missing, so she does some research, learns it’s a demon, does some more research, learns how to make magic weapons, and kills the demon dead. By herself. Because someone had to and nobody else was. Then the magic cops come poking around and that’s where the main story starts.

    Also, the librarian’s love interest has a dominance/submission vibe going on (he needs to be “owned” but he’s pretty territorial) so if some mild kink isn’t your thing you may want to skim parts.

  19. Casey says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    I’m just embarrassed about it ‘cuz I have a not-so-casual interest in name origins, plus now that I see it, Guinevere into Jennifer seems really obvious to me now. :P
    Also, my name comes from the Gaelic “Cathasach” which means “vigilant”, so Cathasach –> Cayce –> Casey

    …and I’ll stop going off-topic now. :P

  20. says

    Azzy,

    Kristin Kreuk (mixed) played Snow White in one of my sister’s favorite interpretations of that story. Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, which is showing its age some, was a staple in my house growing up. And I know it’s not a fairy tale, but Disney did a really great animated version of The Little Match Girl set in Russia where the girl appeared Cossack/Kazakh imo. I also dig everything I’ve seen of Michel Ocelot’s, particularly Cine Si/Princes et Princesses.

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Re: diversity in medieval Europe, The Secret of Kells did a great job of showing a multiracial multiethnic multinational brotherhood of monks gathered in Kells, though obvs the Norse are demonized, and there is a lack of female presence aside from one character and a cat (but even though Aisling is a pagan entity, she is never relegated to Feminine Evil or Heathen Idolatry or any such nonsense).

    Sylvia Sybil,

    That book sounds amazeballs.

    Jennifer Kesler,

    My name shares the same root (what what), though apparently it can be either Germanic (Kenowefa) or Welsh (Gwenhwyfar) in origin, before the Romans were all up ons with the Latin variants, and it’s almost always is translated as having something to do with either whiteness or junipers. But Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders wasn’t bad! I share a name with a cartoon dog, so I think you might win.

  21. SunlessNick says

    A thing about Gwen is that the Arthurian myth is set at the ass-end of Roman times, with leftover Romans in the population – some of whom will be from other parts of the Empire, including Africa (more than one African skeleton have been found in Roman York for example). And since the wealthy got to travel more, black people would have tended to be in Britain’s wealthier classes, which makes a black Gwen nowhere near as anachronistic as she is assumed to be.

    I have no TV any more, but I’m looking forward to a chance to see Once Upon a Time.

  22. says

    SunlessNick,

    Thanks for that! I had no idea. The one rule I’ve learned about history: everything always goes back further than you think. So: Daniel Jackson’s theory of cultural cross-pollination among the ancients is sounding better and better all the time. ;)

  23. M.C says

    So, did you guys watch the last episode of OUAT? Because I just read this review about how rare it is in quasi-period pieces to have a romantic male lead who has social and physical power over the female lead and doesn’t even threaten to use them: http://mswyrr.livejournal.com/375542.html

    This is so true!

    I’m falling in love with OUAT more and more.

  24. M.C says

    Sylvia Sybil:
    M.C,

    That review makes many good points,

    Yes it does. And it got me thinking: How the hell did we end up living in a world where we expect the hero of a story to sexually threaten the heroine?! It’s nice that OUAT isn’t taking that road, that their prince really is a good guy who would never think of raping a woman – but he should be the norm, not the exception to the rule.
    It’s times like these – when I hear someone say that they were pleasently surprised that Prince Charming didn’t threaten Snow White with sexual violence – when I realize how deeply ingrained rape culture is in our society…

  25. Dani says

    Sylvia Sybil: The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow. A motorcycle-riding librarian realizes pets and children are going missing, so she does some research, learns it’s a demon, does some more research, learns how to make magic weapons, and kills the demon dead. By herself. Because someone had to and nobody else was. Then the magic cops come poking around and that’s where the main story starts.

    Also, the librarian’s love interest has a dominance/submission vibe going on (he needs to be “owned” but he’s pretty territorial) so if some mild kink isn’t your thing you may want to skim parts.

    Thank for the book recommendation!

    MC: That review was excellent. The point about James not being sexually threatening was spot on, and I really liked what she had to say about he and Snow in general. But, yeah, Charming’s non-threatening nature does make me realize how many “romantic” male leads use sexual intimidation to threaten (oops…I meant “woo”) the heroine. To be sexually threatening is a characteristic that seems to span all genres. It’s very sad.

  26. sbg says

    M.C:
    Anyway, apparently the first coloured female fairytale character on OUAT will appear in the 4th episode: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lu73pjGqxC1qexizio10_400.jpg
    Go on, show, you’re just one step short of casting Lenora Crichlow as Sleeping Beauty. Do it now! I know you want to. ;)

    Er, I don’t know if anyone watched, but this first appearance of a PoC fairy tale character lasted less than 30 seconds, and she showed up as as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Who got blown up (I remind you again, before the 30 second mark) by Rumpelstiltskin, a white dude who has been given a much bigger story than his actual fairy tale did.

    I just don’t even know what to do with that.

  27. says

    sbg,

    I heard that, and ever since I haven’t watched another episode. I’m not purposely boycotting the series, I might get back to it eventually, but it’s just not selling itself real well to me right now.

    • sbg says

      I saw it and really had a , “Whu, whu, wait. That was our PoC fairy tale character?” moment, and it was only after it was too late to appreciate her >30 seconds.

  28. The Other Anne says

    sbg,

    That was really disappointing. I even missed the first 30 seconds and watched the whole episode wondering when this POC character was going to show up. Rewatching those 30 seconds was really awful. Would it have been that hard to make Cinderella or her prince a POC? No, not even a little. Seriously, I am thoroughly unenthused by this years new fall shows. Blah.

  29. Dani says

    sbg: Er, I don’t know if anyone watched, but this first appearance of a PoC fairy tale character lasted less than 30 seconds, and she showed up as as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Who got blown up (I remind you again, before the 30 second mark) by Rumpelstiltskin, a white dude who has been given a much bigger story than his actual fairy tale did.

    I just don’t even know what to do with that.

    I was completely stunned by that. So much so that it ruined the whole episode for me. First, they write her as what is essentially a servant, and then they blow her up. Within 20 seconds of her first appearance.

    My first thought was “what were the writers (casting directors, whoever thought this was a good idea) thinking?!” Apparently, it takes more of a brain than I thought to understand that casting your first (and, so far, only) POC as a magical character serving a white girl, and then blowing her up before she even speaks three lines, is a terrible idea? Ugh.

  30. M.C. says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    I was baffled too. Then I read one fan arguing that the show can’t be racist, because Lana Parrilla, who is Puerto Rican and Italian, is one of the main characters. When I replied that having one single not white actress playing the villain is the perfect example of Tokenism, this fan really didn’t seem to understand it…
    Is it too much to expect any work of fiction to exel in it’s portrayal of gender, race and sexual orientation? This reminds me of an interview I once read with the creator of “Bend it like Beckham”, who said that initially the main character was supposed to be a lesbian, but the studio made her change the script, because having a film about race and cultural differences was controversial enough.

  31. says

    M.C.,

    Yeah, I hear you. And I’m not trying to deny Ms. Parrilla’s racial identity, but having your token POC be one who is White-passing is a perfect example of colorism. I at least didn’t recognize her heritage until you pointed it out.

    About Bend It Like Beckham, it’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I suppose that interview would explain the subplot where she’s suspected of kissing her female best friend. And the subplot with her gay male best friend.

  32. M.C. says

    Sylvia Sybil:
    having your token POC be one who is White-passing is a perfect example of colorism.

    Yeah, they pretty much did the same thing on Smallville. They had one main character of colour: the female lead played by Kristin Kreuk, who is Dutch/Chinese. Kristin can easily pass for white, and the producers cast white actors to play her parents, as if they were desperate for the viewers to not notice that there’s a coloured actresss on the show… That’s also how they treated gay characters: there was exactly one recuring gay character that we know of, because he mentioned once that he had an off-screen boyfriend.

  33. Maria says

    M.C.,

    M.C.,

    Interestingly enough, that happened to Taylor Lautner in Abduction — both sets of parents appeared white. It was actually REALLY weird because I feel like they did something funky with the lighting to make him appear lighter, as well.

  34. Patrick McGraw says

    M.C.,

    Yeah, they pretty much did the same thing on Smallville. They had one main character of colour: the female lead played by Kristin Kreuk, who is Dutch/Chinese. Kristin can easily pass for white, and the producers cast white actors to play her parents, as if they were desperate for the viewers to not notice that there’s a coloured actresss on the show… That’s also how they treated gay characters: there was exactly one recuring gay character that we know of, because he mentioned once that he had an off-screen boyfriend.

    What was really ridiculous was when they did a story about Kreuk’s character seeking out her biological father… and he was white, too.

  35. M.C. says

    Above I said that Guinevere gets alot of hate in Arthurian fandom because she cheated on her husband.
    But there is one other cheating couple in the Arthurian legends: Tristan & Isolde. Isolde was married to king Mark, but betrayed him with the bard Tristan. People usually like Isolde because she never chose to be unfaithful to her husband, she and Tristan accidentally drank a love potion and they were unable to break the spell.
    Guinevere and Lancelot on the other hand chose to sleep togheter and that’s why many fans hate them.

    It’s interesting that the latest episode of “Merlin” took this approach to the betrayal storyline: Guinevere was enchanted by Morgana so that she would cheat on Arthur with Lancelot.
    So as mysigynistic as the show sometimes is, they did manage to portray Gwen in a more sympathetic and moral way than I’ve ever seen in a film/series.
    I only know one other version of Gwen who was so likable: the one from Joan Wolf’s “The Way to Avalon”. In this novel Gwen betrays Arthur after he betrayed her. And then they actually sit down and have a long talk about how they both made bad decisions, how their marriage just isn’t working and how they’re better off being just friends. As a reader you want to hug them and congratulate them on being so mature and reasonable human beings.

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