Posts tagged reading
Posts tagged reading
I’ve read a lot of great essays about how fandom is female-majority and creates a female gaze and a safe space for women and etc. But spend five minutes in fandom and you’ll have an unsettling question.
Why does a female-majority, feminist culture hate female characters so much?
It’s not a question of if it happens. You know it does. You can go into any fandom and see it. Some fandoms are worse than others, but it’s always there. Scroll down the Tumblr tag for any show, movie, book, comic, whatever, and you’ll see nothing but love for the men, and a lot of unjustified hate for the women, maybe with a few defenders here and there insisting on their love for the women in the face of all that hate.
To be clear, we’re not talking about female villains. Male villains get just as much hate. It’s fine if you hate Bellatrix Lestrange or Dolores Umbridge, you’re supposed to. (I personally stan for Bella, but I realize that wasn’t the authorial intent.) This is about people hating Hermione, Ginny and Luna, but loving Harry, Ron and Neville. This is about how ambiguous male antiheroes, like Snape, Zuko, or pretty much any male vampire protagonist can get away with walking that fine line between good and evil and not only remain sympathetic, but be even more beloved for how ~tortured~ he is, but when a female character is morally gray that bitch has to die.
So you can’t tell me it’s okay that you hate Sansa because you also hate Joffrey and he’s a dude. They’re not comparable. It isn’t even comparable if you pick a female antihero. Let’s do this apples to apples, here.
We all know that fandom does this. We all know that it’s fucked up and symptomatic of internalized sexism. What’s really fucking weird about it, though, is that the women doing this hating often aren’t ignorant. These are feminists. These are women who can go on meta-analyses of the writing. Some will hide behind pseudo-feminist reasons for their hate—oh, it’s the writing, we just aren’t given strong female characters! (I saw this used for the women of AtLA: Katara, Toph, Azula, et al. This was about when I just backed away slowly because I know a lost cause when I see it.) I’ve seen women who denied being sexist, but couldn’t name a single female character they liked. And it’s always that the female characters aren’t good enough, even when they obviously have a double standard, and they’re measuring women on an impossible scale full of contradictions and no-win binds, while the men are just embraced and loved pretty much for existing.
The reaction nearly every time one of these women is called out is not to say, “Huh, you may have a point, I should examine the way I judge and process women’s actions more closely,” but an insistence of their feminism, followed by a more detailed description of why that particular woman is terrible and she hates her, as if the whole point were not that fandom is already oversaturated with that kind of hate, and as if the person doing the calling out were not already 110% done with that bullshit.
Particularly telling is that male-dominated corners of fandom do not have this problem. They fetishize, they objectify, they ignore. They don’t hate like this.
We know it happens. What I want to know is WHY.
Theories follow below the cut.
This is long and wonderful and logical and important and you should all read every fucking word of it.
Why fandom hates female characters, and what we can do to make it better.
Read it. Really. It’s amazing. A bit close to home sometimes, but that’s a good thing, as many of these are things I’ve been guilty of and still work on.
but what people don’t realize is that, when it comes to fictional characters, they are just as real to us as our friends or lovers or siblings or parents. it doesn’t matter that we can’t touch them or visit them or engage with them in conversation. what matters is that they’ve made an impact on our lives and that is what makes them real.
BECAUSE IT IS.
Pop culture is culture. It IS literature. Every book you ever read for English class, every play and poem and short story, it once was new, and fresh, and contemporary.
Shakespeare was like the Whedon of his time (or the Kripke, or the Rowling, or the Moffat, whoever you like). People lined up to see his plays, they lost their everloving mind over his dirty jokes and innuendos, and yes, they even asked themselves, am I reading too much into this? Is all this really there?
And look, look, five hundred years later we still lose our everloving mind over these plays because pop culture is literature. It always has been and it always will be.
They teach you these skills of analysis and critique in school for a reason. Because they expect you to use them.
So go ahead. Pick apart your pop culture. Examine it from every angle. Dig through canon. Make theories. Read too much into things. It’s okay. You’re not just allowed to do this; you’re supposed to do it, because that’s the point of story: to engage, to inform, to inspire. It’s why we invented it in the first place.
Let us all be BOOKWORMS.
“Stories that you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely visit.” ~M is for Magic, Neil Gaiman
This is the coolest thing I’ve ever reblogged. I think about this all the time.
Nobody can even comprehend this fact. There are 7 billion people on the Earth. You can’t comprehend an afterlife because it seems too crazy? Well I can’t comprehend this current life and nobody’s going to tell me it doesn’t exist.
Think about it.
YES YES I WAS TRYING TO REMEMBER THIS THE OTHER DAY because I have this all the time, especially when I travel by train which is one of the reasons why I DO travel by train a lot.
I’M REALLY GLAD THAT THERE’S A WORD FOR THIS WOW
—Grant Morrison, Supergods.
Books break the shackles of time. (x)