Posts Tagged ‘pop culture’
Here’s the part I left out yesterday.
If we buy my theory, then soulbonding is no weirder than praying.
Yup, I said it.
I’ll stop here to say that, from what I understand, there are a lot of ways to soulbond and a lot of ways to pray. That being said, we can’t compare being married to Snape on the astral plane to closing your eyes and reciting a quick Lord’s Prayer before you hop into bed; apples to apples, please.
So how is muses/characters telling writers how the story goes any different than divine inspiration? You’re interacting with some kind of unseen entity who tells you things. As your friendly neighborhood godless heathen, this seems like a fair comparison to me because taken out of context* the Bible is a book. (You are free to shoot me for heresy at any point in this discussion.) I don’t have the time, energy or expertise to get into a debate about the historical/scientific accuracy of the Bible, but lets go with the easy argument: there is no objective evidence for the existence of anything divine.
So, talking to Mary (or whoever) in prayer is not, in my opinion, any more or less “crazy” than talking to, e.g., Gandalf; believing you’re a reincarnated human soul is no different than believing you’re a reincarnated elf, a reincarnated Na’vi or even a reincarnation of a specific character from a book or an anime or something. (Okay, it’s true that humans could have existed on this earth and elves or Na’vi would have to have been on other planets or planes of existence, but isn’t heaven itself supposed to be in another dimension/realm/thing?)
I have this horrible feeling like I’m going to be dragged out into the street and shot. Before you do that, let me say that I’m not defending or attacking either side here, just drawing attention to the parallels that I see between them
*okay, I will give you that thousands of years of history is a hell of a lot of context
I knew as soon as this commercial started that it was going to crash & burn. I hoped, briefly, that it would be funny or subversive somehow, but no.
I feel like it speaks for itself, but one thing that the transcript fails to mention is that the female geek – whose geek specialty we are never told – comes with “accessories.” You know that was intentional, you’re supposed to see that and think dirty thoughts, what with the way she’s posed and the way the customer is drooling at her.
A few days ago, Sociological Images* had a post about the evolution of the Dungeons & Dragons player handbooks. I mentioned that it would be interesting to see a cover with a monster woman and a sexy man, the reverse of the current cover, and Leigh mentioned that “[t]here is also a risk of putting a strong, non-human female on the cover and being accused of making strong women monstrous,” which is an interesting point.
Then today, J posted a link to this article about Bayonetta.
Having never played either Dungeons & Dragons or Bayonetta, I can only comment on the content of the articles, and I feel like the XKCD strip sums it up for me. We have this problem because women in the media haven’t been individuals; all women are symbolic of Woman. (Laura Mulvey might mention something about this in Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, look under “III Woman as Image, Man as Bearer of the Look.”)
This is not the fault of individual artists (note: see edit), but rather, of a systemic, cultural problem. If men are A, women are not-A. (I can’t find the article that I got that from, since I don’t remember the title or the author; you try Goolging “men a women not-a” and tell me if you find anything relevant.) Since women are not-A, they are the Other, and all Others are interchangeable; thus, if Bayonetta’s super sexualized, all women are (or should be) super sexualized; if Kairi’s useless, whiny and annoying, all girls are useless, whiny and annoying.
Now, a big part of the problem in media is that, for a long time, female characters were few and far between. The token girl was usually a sidekick, and a helpless one, at that. Moreover, even when she was awesome, she was a stand-in for all girls; boys could chose between being the Blue Ranger or the Green Ranger or the Red Ranger or the Black Ranger or the White Ranger, whereas girls got to be the Pink Ranger or the Yellow Ranger, and even that’s an improvement because there were two, instead of just one. (Maybe a better example is that boys could be Brock or Ash, whereas girls had to be Misty. This example repeats: Harry, Ron & Hermione, Morpheus, Neo & Trinity, etc.)
… ’cause as we know, all girls(women) are the same; they aren’t individual girls(women) they’re Girl(Woman).
I think that as we see more female (lead) characters of varying types and personalities, these issues will begin to ease up, but until we, as a society, move away from the idea that women are Woman, we’ll keep running into it over and over and over again. Female characters should be free to be as sexy, girly, chaste, tomboyish, weak, strong, badass, helpless and varied as male characters without those traits being applied to all female people. I shouldn’t freak out with joy when a series has not one but multiple awesome female characters and no female characters I want to punch in the face; I shouldn’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I throw a mini fangirl party every time a series has strong, interesting, varied, deep male characters.
tl;dr » xkcd makes you smart, SocImages is awesome, I want to be Riza Hawkeye when I grow up.
edit: this is not to say that artists don’t have any responsibility, here
*my personal favorite blog ♥