Appropriated from: How To Tell If Your Pain is ~Manpain~ by [personal profile] walkingshadow (with permission). Don't know what manpain is? You should.

"I am Darkstar" vs "I am of the night" -- discuss amongst yourselves!

[LJ | DW]
Huge tracts of land quoteage, ahoy. Bolding is mine, for emphasis or whatever.

Medieval women )

Courtly love )

There'll probably be more later, hahah. Woo also I made my font bigger yay.

[DW | LJ ]
So it was about a year ago that I did my meta post on mommies & ASOIAF. I never got around to the fathers one, maybe this year. But in the interim I wanted to talk a little about parenthood overall in the series, and in particular, the asymmetrical treatment they get from the author. )

As always I'd love to hear your thoughts, if I've missed anything or gotten something incorrect or if there's anything related to touch on. I've done my best to not talk about fandom's different approaches to mothers and fathers too much, but I'm not classy enough to be above bitching about it in comments.
So as has become usual [ profile] haremstress, [ profile] ender839 and I were chatting the night away and the topic of gender and talking frequency came up ... )

BUT actually the real reason I am posting (yay for ramblypreambly) is the idea of honor, maleness and privilege. This isn't overly related to the above, but I was thinking about it ages ago and never got around to posting, so there I am. It seems to me that it's very hard to find noble women in fiction. You have a strong presence of the noble honorable man, a man who has power and because he doesn't use it, is noble, righteous, honorable. Privilege is lurking here in the archetypes, however, at least it seems to me, because power favors men historically, so they have more of a luxury of showing their noble largesse. Why is it that I can't really think up a female Atticus Finch? Or why, if there was one, can I not envision her having the same appeal to people as the male one does? Atticus teaches Scout, yeah, and it's great, but where are the stories of adult Scout, teaching her own, oh I dunno, Jem II?

There's a lot of female archetypes that spring from the womb of that necessity born of lack, but when I think of the idea of the heroine (or if you prefer, female hero), I feel saddened by the fact that she apparently has to take a different form from her male counterpart to resonate. Because she has no mother, because she's the first, because there's no history to tap into and invoke the power dynamics that enable men to effortlessly occupy those archetypes. It makes me sad and frustrated even if it is just fiction, because though I roll my eyes at fan culture sometimes (okay, a lot), I'm still a fan and I don't like being told "No, you can't go here, off limits." And it's annoying because reality propagates, and that fact never stops being annoying in context of gender (and race, and other such areas). The lack of tradition makes it hard to get one going, unless you have the temerity to say that even in this day and age of supposed post-sexism, females having females to identify with in fiction is a worthy goal and not, in fact, a totally square one. Hell, males having females to identify with, how's that for zomg!original.

Unless I'm missing something. After all, being well-read is only an illusion I (happily enough) let others mistakenly believe of me. Is there a female Atticus? Where her plainness, idealism, and earnestness makes her larger instead of smaller? I'm just inclined to say "Not much" because it so much incorporates the playing-against-expectations idea that [ profile] summersdaughter and I have been talking about. Is it the kind of figure that could never hope to change perceptions because it already requires perceptions to have changed to resonate? There's a lot of other figures to pick on and make similar points, but I keep thinking of Atticus. I could say similar things about male characters in ASOIAF, but I just wanted to see if I was the only one who perceived this, um, privilege of archetypes? Not that I think thoughts that have never ever been thought up before, just would like some feedback, I suppose. Did that make any sense, privilege of archetype?

ETA: As soon as I finish cleaning up this journal I'll give access to the rest of the people I haven't yet given it to. [DW]

ETA2: Since ice cream (especially melted ice cream) doesn't really require biting or chewing, is it okay to have some after you've brushed your teeth for the night?
misstopia: (mad men: peggy)
( May. 12th, 2009 12:22 am)
So I'm doing my meta post on GRRM's Dying of the Light and I found a quote or few that helps me rephrase this women-and-GRRM questionthing I seem to keep dancing around:

and that's a big part of your problem, isn't it? On High Kavalaan it's not man and woman. No, it's man and man and maybe woman, but even then she's not so terribly important

She lay there, alive only by a quirk of fortune. Myrik Braith would not have cared had she died, nor would the others. Yet Garse would have granted the man who did this thing a clean and decent dying, would have given him the kiss of shared honor before taking his small life. I ... I care for Garse. Yet I could not let it be, t'Larien, not when Gwen lay so ... so still, and disregarded. I could not let it be.

These stories - these were the only accounts of ancient days that I was given to work with.

Maybe I couldn't kill anyone. But, you know, I feel as if I could sometimes. And right now, Dirk, I would very much like to have a gun.

Emphases mine. OKAY, so I think GRRM knows that there is a certain disregarding of women in the stories and traditions that he draws from, and I think I sense that within ASOIAF itself, so that is why I hesitate to say that he is simply ignorant. There are things he is ignorant of, but while those things are definitely problems (I doubt he thought long about the lesbian fanservice thing, for example), there are some things I feel he knows are problems, and incorporates into his story because they're problems, because that is the way stories have been always told and this enables some kind of indictment. The question is, does this intentionality equal satisfactory reading? If not, is it because the intentionality isn't clear enough, or because it doesn't do enough in terms of controlling the flow of the story? Or is it simply that saying "I'm sorry women have had it hard" will never be as pleasing as saying "Here, women, pull up a chair at the table and have some pie" (or as the case may be, "Here, women, take the gun with your name on it and make a go of it") ... ?

THERE, I think I said it! Hahah, even if you have nothing new to say about this now-tired topic, at least be glad for me that I found a satisfactory way to get my thinky thought out. :D

[DW | LJ]
misstopia: (Default)
( May. 8th, 2009 01:11 pm)
Alright, I've been pondering for a few weeks now about what I'm going to use my Dreamwidth account for, pondering so heavily in fact that I totally missed the style-adjusting-permissible period (though I guess it's back in limited form for nonpaying members now ... I'm down with that!). Anyway, my time in Deep Thought I think has come to a natural close with me deciding that my DW journal is going to be, basically, my bitch blog. This doesn't mean I won't rant in my LJ, I'll be ranting as much as ever in my LJ, but for a while I've felt, for whatever reason, a little compressed by the Need To Be Nice on LJ, probably since fandom is so developed over there that I can feel the crowd. Nothing is changing all that much with the advent of DW, it's still the same interwebs and it's not like people can't hop over and read anyway. It's all in my head, absolutely, and it doesn't speak very well of my maturity. And I'm fine with that. Soldiering on and all that jazz.

So this is the place I'm going to allow myself to be just scathing and merciless in my opinions. I have a reputation among some (even if this some is rapidly revising the impression) that I'm kind of a nice person. Well, I can be, but I can really not be, particularly about Opinions And Other Pseudo-intellectual Pursuits. You know how I had that post about how people can easily get into my head? Well, DW is a clean slate, in some ways, not that my time on LJ (at this particular account) has been all that long or storied. But either way, it's a good way to separate business and pleasure and compartmentalizing life is one of my biggest habits and flaws, so here we are.

I've "friended" everyone who has asked. If you want to "defriend", that's honestly perfectly okay with me. I won't be hurt, DW Miss is Business Miss, and Business Miss is a lot tougher than the whiny creature you may have had the misfortune to encounter on LJ. In fact if I could I'd rename this blog Businisstopia (except I wouldn't because that's totally stupid but you get the idea).

The only thing I haven't decided on is my fannish outputs. I don't have all my fannish stuff gathered in one place, mostly because I don't consider it of much consequence or value (no I'm not fishing for anything here, I just consider my meta and analysis and shit like that, such as they are, to be my more meaningful contributions to fandom). I did create a community here on DW for my, ahem, "art", but I'm still not sure what the point would be to post that stuff on both DW and LJ. Thoughts welcome.

ETA: I just realized I totally was not clear at all. I think this blog will be for things like my reviews and analyses. If there is any interest I can link them on LJ either intermittently or immediately, and I can X-Post too but here I think I'll at least start by public posting again whereas on LJ this may not be the case. Yes, I do know I'm weird.
misstopia: (Default)
( Apr. 19th, 2009 03:21 am)
Okay, hello Dreamwidth. I've only just met you, so I don't really know what to do with you yet. If anyone stumbles across here and wonders what all the mess is, just gimme a minute to tidy up, man!
Some old things (2006). Letter to My Mother and Letter to My Daugher, from Alternet. For whatever reason, whenever I read about the mommy wars and the mother-daughter rift in feminism I more often find myself sympathizing with the mom/second wave even though I've had original thoughts that definitely are more in line with third wave influence (which I guess is to say I'm a post-structuralist). I wonder why that is.

But I also think that a lot of supposed differences are "mere" dialoging problems, like:

We want to fight the good fight, but we want to make sweet love too. We want our partners -- girl, boy or something radically in between -- beside us. We want boys to be less buttoned-up and more down for parenting and dancing to stupid '80s music in public; if they pay for dinner, unlike Maureen Dowd's hyperbolic claims, it doesn't mean we are riddled with '50s-era nostalgia. We just don't take some things as seriously as you do.


Men and women are different in ways crucial to the way that businesses are run and social infrastructure is put into place. I think women will govern in a more collaborative way and take the effects of their decisions on women and children more into account than men do presently. Perhaps when men have had years of experience with hands-on parenting, more permission to experience their own feelings and a chance to expand their focus beyond the quickest way to get up the corporate ladder, then I'll revise my assessment, and these differences won't exist in quite the same way if they exist at all.

? Not actually incompatible. Obviously.

I'll admit that sometimes I think third wave indignation is more just the need for a rebel to have a cause, young people are like that, non? But mostly I think it's just that when messages spread it's hard to be both portable and precise all at once, and so inevitably not all messages can get out at the same time. That's probably one thing waves are good for, you can have pioneers and then settlers and then developers etc etc. I still get a little turned off by the element of third wave feminism that seeks to distance itself from second wave feminism. Not all of what the second wave said is irrelevant, not for everyone, and it feels sometimes like those who have progressed further get impatient because they have the luxury to.

And sometimes it feels unfair for a third wave feminist to blame a second wave feminist for being so serious. It was a tougher fight then, and it just ... always feels really unfair to me to blame people for getting angry at things they really have every right to be angry about, just because it's not as fun. Not that I think that that is all the third wave is about or that all third wavers have think that way. Just, yeah. Sometimes. Annoyed.

Blah blah blah. Why am I so old.

How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart
Yo Mamma" Hillary Clinton as the battleground in the war between mothers and daughters
NPR: Feminist Mother, Daughter Reconcile their Past
More Than a Mother-Daughter Debate

Mothertopia: "The ones who betray women the most are other women."
Girl on girl crime is ever so endlessly ironic.
misstopia: (asoiaf)
( Mar. 11th, 2009 04:40 pm)
Bran had been left behind with Jon and the girls and Rickon. But Rickon was only a baby and the girls were only girls ... - Bran, AGOT

As ladies die in childbed. No one sings songs about them. - Brienne, ACOK

Do you think GRRM is interested in telling a story about women?

I've heard (er, read) him muse on telling the story of Robert and Ned and such from pre-AGOT times, and of course the Hedge Knight revolves around male characters. I think he realizes that literary tradition marginalizes women, but ... does he really care? Undoubtedly he loves Aryas, but can an Arya grow up and maintain his interest?

And I mean as a person, not as an object. Because that's no substitute.
misstopia: (Default)
( Mar. 9th, 2009 06:37 pm)
Interesting post on Jez about art and "women's art" -- nothing new, but not a bad topic to think about from time to time, regardless of the art context, though that helps frame the general conflict about gendered traits. What's missing of course is the fact that men cling to masculinity so much, but then I guess I don't know if the metrosexual backlash is over yet or not.

ETA: Comments I like:

This is just about the masculine as norm-the masculine is considered universal (see: rights, work, art, literature, film, etc)and the female is considered the other.
The question is based on the predication that "art" is men's art.
Also we, each of us, are a whole bunch of things jumbled together so gender is always present and important but does not function in a vacuum and intersects with a variety of identities such as ethnicity, class, etc.
In short, "women's art" is a reductionist product of the patriarchy that privileges men and collapses half the world's population into one experience.

It's a really tough topic. I took a class called Women Filmmakers last semester, and we spent a long time talking about how it was a problematic (yet necessary) categorization. Necessary at this point because Film History I and Film History II might as well be called Men Filmmakers, but problematic because of the essentialist separation. We got into the issues of essentialist vs anti-essentialist feminism. I have a friend who, when I asked if he was a feminist, called himself a humanist. He says that we all just need to think of ourselves as people. Artists make art, whether they are male or female. I read a quote from an artist in Bust magazine that said something like, "I don't consider myself a woman artist.I consider myself an artist, who happens to be female."
The problem with this approach is, of course, that it's prematurely post-feminist. To get to the humanist stage, I believe we have to be post-patriarchy.

ETA2: Essentialist vs anti-essentialist feminism in brief.

Also: )
misstopia: (Default)
( Sep. 18th, 2008 02:26 pm)
Some of you might be interested in this. I believe it made the rounds on Jez a while ago but I wasn't there for it, so it's new to me, hence, it's new :P

In doing so, they're challenging the notion of what a geek should look like, either by intentionally sexing up their tech personas, or by simply finding no disconnect between their geeky pursuits and more traditionally girly interests such as fashion, makeup and high heels. In fact, calling them "nerd" is no insult at all [...]

These girl geeks aren't social misfits; their identities don't hinge on outsider status. They may love all things sci-tech, but first and foremost they are girls—and they've made that part of their appeal [...]

However they choose to geek out, they consciously tweak the two chief archetypes of geeks: that they're unattractive outcasts, and that they're male. "For a long time, there's been this stereotype that either you're ugly and smart or cute and not suited for careers in math, science or engineering," says Annalee Newitz, the co-editor of "She's Such a Geek!", a 2006 anthology of women writing about math, tech and science. "One of the big differences between Generation X geeks and girls in their teens now is really just an attitude—an indication that they're much more comfortable." [...]

Depictions of geeks as socially awkward math whizzes date back to caricatures in tech-school humor magazines from the 1950s, such as MIT's Voodoo. But the geeks of MIT were strictly male, as were subsequent takes on the stereotype, such as the nerdy men of 1984's "Revenge of the Nerds," and Screech on "Saved by the Bell." Today's girl geeks are members of the first generation to have been truly reared on technology. They grew up on gender-neutral movies like "Hackers" and "The Matrix," and saw the transformation of Willow on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" from awkward geek to smart and sassy sex symbol. [...]

Yet there is still a dichotomy between the culture and the workplace. Forty years ago women made up just 3 percent of science and engineering jobs; now they make up about 20 percent. That sounds promising, until you consider that women earn 56 percent of the degrees in those fields. A recent Center for Work-Life Policy study found that 52 percent of women leave those jobs, with 63 percent saying they experienced workplace harassment and more than half believing they needed to "act like a man" in order to succeed. In the past, women dealt with that reality in two ways: some buried their femininity, while others simply gave up their techie interests to appear more feminine. [...]

I also keep finding it interesting that "sexiness" is considered female, and of course this doesn't address deeper feminine perspective issues that abound in career and education choices beyond the external "girly" signifiers, but I'm always up for watching the entrenched maleness of geekdom take a few hits ;) The fact that "sexiness" = female is probably an indictment of that entrenched maleness on some level anyway.
misstopia: (Nerd)
( Sep. 17th, 2008 02:44 pm)
Keep in mind this is about your impressions of general readers, not just your personal opinion of characters.

[Poll #1261493]

Somewhat relatedly, I found this comment that really made me happy, since it means my reading of male gaze into the "Maidenform" episode of this season's Mad Men was not off. I really think you people who like some of these issues in ASOIAF like I do would love Mad Men; Betty, Joan, and Peggy are three priceless female characters who together cover so so many issues that sadly still stay invisible in our reality fifty years down the road. Seriously, whenever ASOIAF fandom makes me o_O I go find sane people in Mad Men comms, it's ever so nice.

PS I am really really really really really really really really really sick of male gaze.

PPS Since I am so sick of it, have this too. Its not selling sex per se, but the idea of being sexy, being wanted. Most fashion advertising appeals to what Maslow called "self-actualization," when consuming a product or performing an activity is considered an expression of who you are as a person. One is supposed to see themselves in the models (LOL, right?!) and associate not only the product, but more importantly, the brand with outwardly expressing who they feel they truly are-desirable, sensual beings.