mindstalk: (lizsword)
9k word essay on writing women into fantasy "without quotas"; mostly it's a catalogue of the diverse role of women through history.

http://www.tor.com/2016/03/23/writing-women-characters-into-epic-fantasy-without-quotas/

Some random notes I took:

1300s Lollards insisted on equality of men and women

Napoleon’s civil code restricted married women’s property rights, for
example

In tenth century Saxony there is “plenty of evidence that women
accumulated, transmitted and alienated predial estate"hi

In medieval Valldigna, Spain, Aixa Glavieta “went to court six times
until she forced the Negral family return to her the terrace with two
mulberry trees”

Zhou Daguan on Cambodia: "The local people who know how to trade are all
women. So when a Chinese goes to this country, the first thing he must
do is take in a woman, partly with a view to profiting from her trading
abilities"

Anglo-Saxon Chronicles has king's sisters witnessing founding of a
monastery.

A woman of high birth in any stratified society will have companions and
servants commensurate with her position. ..She will also usually retain
important ties to her birth family, and will be expected to look after
their interests.

In many cases the one person a lord, prince, king, or emperor could
absolutely trust was his mother: only she, besides himself, had full
investment in his success.

[Alexander] appointed [Ada] to the governership of Caria as a whole.
This woman was the wife of Hidrieus—and also his sister, a relationship
in accordance with Carian custom; Hidrieus on his death-bed had
bequeathed her his power, government by women having been a familiar
thing in Asia from the time of Semiramis onward.
mindstalk: (Witch)
Speaking of Star Trek novels... I had a thought. Fanfic's reputation is of heavy dominance by women, as both writers and readers. F&SF published authors in general tend to be male, especially in SF. James Nicoll has a f/m tag bean-counting this for various publications.

But what about tie-in stuff? It's basically officially approved (not necessarily canonical) fanfic that's been contracted by a publisher. It's also lower status, which could mean "we let women do it because it's low status" or "it's low status because women do it". So, if I count lots of authors, will I find demographics more like fanfic, original fic, or something in between? I see no point to making a prediction, since I'm about to go count.

Methodology: so there's two variables of interest: number of unique authors of either sex, and books by either sex. I'll give both. For the record, it's easier to count books. If co-authorship was split between a man and a woman I counted it as half for each.

Star Trek novels

Source

Bantam original 1970-1981:
Authors: 3 f, 8 m. Doesn't include the New Voyages collections. f/t 0.375
Books: 4 f, m 9, f/t 0.31. (0.40 if we counted the mostly-female story collections:)
New Voyages: stories authors 8 f, 0 m, f/t 1.0
New Voyages 2: stories authors 8 f, 2 m, f/t 0.8

Wanderer + Archway 1982-1984:
Authors: 1 f, 3 m. f/t 0.25
Books: 0.5 f, 5.5 m. f/t 0.0833

Pocket Books 1979-present:
Authors: 34 f, 45 m. Not counting ST:TMP by Roddenberry. f/t 0.43

So majority male. But what I noticed going down the list is that there's been a huge surge of men in recent books. The most recent 26 books are all by men, and the last one by a woman is Unspoken Truth in 2010. That period contributes ten new male names; before it, the ratio is 34 f, 35 m. f/t 0.49

I picked the 20 year period from 1981 to 2001 as a likely breakpoint. There was apparently some editorial change: most of the books before 2001 are numbered, only the first one after it is.

Authors -2001: 33 f, 25 m, f/t 0.57
So there's been only one new female author since 2001, and 20 male ones.
Authors 2002-: 1 f, 20 m, f/t 0.04
Books -2001: 67.5 f, 42.5 m, f/t 0.61
Books 2002-: 11.5 f, 44.5 m, f/t 0.20

Yeaaahhh, that's a pretty big change.

E-books: Mere Anarchy (2006–07)
Authors: f 1, m 6. f/t 0.14
Books: 1 f, 5 m; f/t 0.17

The Next Generation 1987-present:
Authors -2001: 21 f, 31 m, f/t 0.40
Authors 2002-: 3 f, 11 m, f/t 0.21
Books -2001: 26 f, 59 m, f/t 0.31
Books: 2002-: 4 f, 35 m, f/t 0.10

Deep Space Nine (1993-present)
:

Authors -2001: 11 f, 22 m, f/t 0.333
Authors 2002-: 5 f, 8 m, f/t 0.38
Books -2001: 15.5 f, 23.5 m, f/t 0.40
Books: 2002-: 11.5 f, 19.5 m, f/t 0.37

Not much change here, and better than the other lines in the 2002- period.

Voyager 1995-present:

Authors -2001: 11 f, 12 m, f/t 0.49
Authors 2002-: 2 f, 2 m, f/t 0.50
Books -2001: 19.5 f, 12.5 m, f/t 0.61
Books 2002-: 14 f, 2 m, f/t 0.88
Worth noting that 12 of the later books are "post relaunch" and by two authors.  But, not surprising that the series with a female captain gets -- or is allowed -- more female attention.

Enterprise:

Enterprise starts in 2001 so I'll just count it as one.

Authors: 3 f, 6 m, f/t 0.33
Books: 3.5 f, 14.5 m, f/t 0.19

There's also New Frontier, 21 books by Peter David, and the Titan (2005-) series following Riker, which is 14 books entirely by male authors, and Vanguard (2005-), 9 books by male authors, and Seekers (2014-), 4 books by male authors.

I refuse to do the work to find the set of all the unique authors, but it's easy to combine books for the whole franchise:
Books -2001: 133 f, 152 m, f/t 0.47
Books 2002-: 45.5 f, 169.5 m, f/t 0.21

Babylon-5
from here

Authors 4 f, 7 m, f/t 0.36
Books 6 f, 12 m, f/t 0.333

Doctor Who: Virgin New Adventures Source

The featuring the Doctor list:
Books: 5.5 f, 55.5 m, f/t 0.09

Welp.  And it's just one woman, Kate Orman.  "Featuring Bernice Summerfield" isn't much better, one other woman gets in as a co-author, out of 23 books.

mindstalk: (YoukoRaku1)
That's a common saying by writers and publishers, that boys won't read books with girl leads, but girls will read boy or girl leads.  This always struck me as weird, personally -- I'm not doubting the claim, it just has no resonance to me.  These days I might read more female lead fiction than not.  But hey, I'm an adult, what was my boyhood like?

The most correct answer is "I can barely date exactly when I read anything".  But I have no memory of rejecting anything because it had a girl.  As to stuff I did read before college:

Heidi
The Secret Garden
the Alice books
A Wrinkle in Time (and both sequels, though Charles Wallace shares the spotlight in the third.)
Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, also Moreta's Story and Nerilka's Song.
The Narnia books, two of which have Lucy prominently and one has Jillian.
The Blue Sword, though I forgot reading it, twice.  (In college I had deja vu about having deja vu about reading it.)

And then there's Star Trek:
My Enemy, My Ally, which I've re-read a lot, and splits POV between Ael and Kirk.
Uhura's Song
Tears of the Singers -- I don't remember these all that well, but Wikipedia says both are Uhura-centric[1].
Dwellers in the Crucible.
Dreadnought! and Battlestations! aka the Piper (a woman) books.  They're also first-person perspective.

I think there was also a bit of dabbling in Ramona and Beverly Clearly or Nancy Drew, but by the time I found those I'd pretty much outgrown them.

All that (21 books, not counting the real kiddie ones0 doesn't seem like a lot for 10 years of reading (age 7-17), but then I doubt I could make a list that would feel plausibly complete for the time period.

[1] At some point -- I no longer think second grade, because none of the books were published yet -- I was given a box set of four Star Trek novels: the three mentioned before the footnote, and The Wounded Sky, which was mostly Kirk POV though did have a lot of extra and non-sexualized female characters.  All four were by women authors, too, two of them by Diane Duane.  Not that I paid much attention to authors before college.  In retrospect, this is an interesting box set for Pocket Books to put out.  Not like the books are consecutive or directly related.
mindstalk: (Mami)
Some articles on democracy (pluralist and feminist) among Syrian Kurds: NYTimes, FT, scribd copy of FT.

If we kept DST all year, or got rid of it.

A Madoka fanfic I'm reading. It's like Starship Troopers or Old Man's War crossed with Madoka crossed with transhumanism and Culture ship Minds. Kyubey said we'd go to the stars, and we did. Many fans think magical girls are potentially immortal, and here they are. I've been enjoying it a lot. Could have used some more editing passes, but generally fun to read, often funny, I'm engaged with the show characters and the original one. Downside: it's longer than Lord of the Rings and still ongoing, last update Oct 6.  I've read 34 chapters out of 44 and am thinking I should pace myself, maybe go read Ancillary Mercy while I still sort of remember what happened in Ancillary Sword.

Funny panel from the Fate/zero manga.

Japan is actually doing quite well per capita: low unemployment, very high employment to working-age-population ratio, inflation is back.  Abenomics, and Keynesianism, works.  GDP is shriking... because the population is, especially the working-age population.

James notes that Heinlein's first story is closer to Dickens' last novel than it is to us.  This will be more interesting when his *last* book is closer to Dickens than to us, but still.

Polio is judged to be even closer to eradication.

Portugal's Left Bloc, a party run by women.

Secret gardens and numinous fantasy

SF written in 1666 by Margaret Cavendish

mindstalk: (lizqueen)
"Theodosius II was made Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, at seven years of age. On July 4, 414 a fifteen-year-old Pulcheria proclaimed herself regent over him, then thirteen years of age, and made herself Augusta and Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Theodosius II died on July 26, 450, and Pulcheria soon married Marcian on November 25, 450. Marcian and Pulcheria were proclaimed Emperor and Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire. Three years later, in July 453, Pulcheria died and was later made a saint by the Church.[2] Pulcheria is known to have held a significant amount of power in her brother's reign as emperor. Pulcheria was also the greatest influence over the church and theological practices of this time by presiding and guiding two of the most important Councils in Church history( Ephesus and Chalcedon) , including over anti-pagan policies, church-building projects, and the debate over the Marian title Theotokos ("Birth-giver to God")."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulcheria

"Irene of Athens or Irene the Athenian (Greek: Εἰρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία) (c. 752 – 9 August 803) is the commonly known name of Irene Sarantapechaina (Greek: Εἰρήνη Σαρανταπήχαινα), Byzantine empress regnant from 797 to 802."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irene_of_Athens

There's others, like Empress Theodora, or the breakaway queen Zenobia, or the unofficial power of Livia, whose husband was Augustus. I do note it seems easier to find powerful 'Roman' women in the Christian Byzantine empire.

women in the Senate

2015-Jan-07, Wednesday 21:49
mindstalk: (lizqueen)
History of their presence, also horrifying sexism. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/senate-women-secret-history-113908_full.html

"She was the first senator to take to the floor to denounce Senator Joe McCarthy’s tactics in his communist witch hunt during the Cold War"

"Even McCaskill, who lauds the progress made over the past three decades, has stories to tell. The first time she tried to venture onto the Senate floor after taking office in 2007, she was barred by a doorman who told her there were no floor passes for staffers. "

"So notoriously predatory was Thurmond that when Susan Collins came to the Senate in 1997, she was warned to avoid getting on an elevator alone with him."

"The modern history of Senate women really begins in the 1980s with Barbara Mikulski" -- who became the second sitting woman Senator at the time.

"The Thomas hearings were the catalyst that brought four new women, all Democrats, to the Senate in 1992. " -- up to six!
mindstalk: (atheist)
Overwhelmingly male characters, speaking and non-, and the girls don't get to do much. http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2011/05/reading-dr-seuss-can-be-dangerous.html

'Nel notes that it was pointed out to Geisel that there was a line from ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’ that was sexist (“Say – anyone could think of that, Jack or Fred or Joe or Nat – Say, even Jane could think of that.”) and when asked to change that line, he called the request “beyond contempt”.'


Sample of Republican predictions about Obama's administration. Not exactly accurate. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/01/01/3607416/4-things-2015-obama-reelected/

(FB warning) description by a black Harvard attorney of how he's treated as a black man. Not well. https://www.facebook.com/yani.copas/posts/10152921411817114


I hadn't noticed before that the Nandor knew about hobbits. http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?745784-LotR-What-s-the-relationship-between-Rivendell-Mirkwood-and-Lothlorien&p=18612060#post18612060


men with guns feel like victims http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/30/opinion/police-respect-squandered-in-attacks-on-de-blasio.html
and go on effective strike http://nypost.com/2014/12/29/arrests-plummet-following-execution-of-two-cops/
union leader calls mayor an accomplice to murder http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/31/opinion/when-new-york-city-police-walk-off-the-job.html
NYPD "will only make arrests when it has to". As opposed to... when it feels like? http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-nypds-work-stoppage-is-surreal-20141231


why do women menstruate? http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-evolutionary-benefit-or-purpose-of-having-periods
mindstalk: (Nanoha)
The spark for the post: this article on a 1981 LEGO ad aimed at girls in a not-condescending or gendered way, compared with their new gendered toys ("You can report on cake!")

The substance of the post: talking about an anime series that's slowly grown into one of my biggest fandom obsessions right now, despite its flaws. There should be a word for that, when you know something isn't great but you're really into it anyway.

(After years of occasional vague fanfic ideas for various fandoms, I've actually finally put fanfic ideas to keyboard for this fandom; no I'm not going to show them to anyone yet, it's like my first fiction ever, almost.)

The connection between the two is one of the things I like about it. The article talks about the new LEGO TV van toy, with a female figure reporting on cake and a male figure as camera operator. "Technical stuff is hard!" I thought about toys where the reporter and operator were both female, and then I thought about Nanoha because that's pretty much true there. It's not a series where everyone is female but it's pushing the line. Female roles:

Read more... )

***

Oh hey, maybe I should say something like what it's about. It starts out looking like a standard magical girl show: girl in Tokyo runs across an animal mentor who teaches her magic which she uses to catch loose Jewel Seeds before they wreck her city. It sounds, and for that matter looks, a lot like Card Captor Sakura.



[girl on our left is Sakura, girl on our right is Nanoha. You may notice some similarities.]

Except there's a blink-and-you-miss-it mention of programs, and the viewers now the animal mentor is actually a boy. Or had a boy form, anyway. That's unusual.

Even more unusually, "transformed boy living with a girl" isn't played up for the sitcom laughs it might be. Yuuno gets a couple embarrassed moments but that's it; even when Nanoha finds out, she quickly recovers and is fine with him still living in her room. They *are* 9, after all.

It may be the only magical girl show where our heroine runs from the cops because of all the property damage she's just been party to.

It's also fun watching her progress from "can't use magic" to "can't fly" to "flies like a chicken" to "okay, that was cool". Particularly stage three; I'm not used to seeing heroes progress methodically through stages of sucking less.

The opening alone spoils us for there being two magical girls, one dark (clothing, not skin; no skin color diversity points here, except for the very brown Zafira but he's not human at all), and they're fighting a lot, and I'm told that's unusual; the show is even the trope codifier for Dark Magical Girl. (Also for many other tropes.) It certainly isn't the Sakura mode, nor I think the Sailor Moon mode.

Still, like I said, the pacing at first isn't great, but then Everything Changes, and I don't want to talk about that because I hope to get to watch someone as the change hits. Kind of like "you should watch Madoka no I can't tell you why just watch it through episode 3, okay?"

There's also summary movie versions of the first two series. I've seen people recommend watching the first movie and then the second series, A's, as pretty much all fans agree the second series is the high point of the series: solid pacing, best characters, fewest problematic elements. A's was actually my entry point, which might be why I'm so attached; I think of the franchise as "this really cool thing, plus that other stuff I can mine for ideas."

Man, I feel like I rambled. I hope someone got osmething interesting out of this.
mindstalk: (Default)
'During the 16th century the queen's move took its modern form as a combination of the move of the rook and the current move of the bishop.[12] Starting from Spain, this new version - called "queen's chess" (scacchi de la donna), or pejoratively "madwoman's chess" (scacchi alla rabiosa) - spread throughout Europe rapidly, partly due to the advent of the printing press and the popularity of new books on chess.[13] The new rules faced a backlash in some quarters, ranging from anxiety over a powerful female warrior figure to frank abuse against women in general.[14]'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_%28chess%29#History
mindstalk: (Default)
Inspired by this I thought to look at the gender balance of books I've read. As I have digital records back to 2004, and paper ones back to 1997, this is in principle doable; as my records consist of "name, author" it's not easy. But I counted the past few years by hand.

2011 books:
54 by male authors, 26 female
2012 books:
79 male, 20 female
2013 books:
75 male, 47 female
2014 books so far:
52 male, 19 female.

Conclusion: I didn't read as many books in 2011 (so what was I doing? well, I didn't even move into an apartment until April), while this could be a blow out year.

Female author percentage ranges from 20-40%. Fiction and non-fiction lumped together. Graphic novel or manga volumes generally counted individually. Some books left out because I didn't know the author, especially RPG books.

The 2014 imbalance is due in large part to binging on all the Fables related books, so that's nearly 30 graphic novels by Bill Willingham right there.

Books in queue: Sufaces and Essences (M), Morgaine cycle (4xF), My Side of the Mountain trilogy (3xF), Steles of the Sky (F), a bunch of Spanish language books of mixed or unknown (Robin) gender.
mindstalk: (Default)
Myths about sex workers http://www.policymic.com/articles/89867/9-lies-we-have-to-stop-telling-about-sex-workers
and about trafficking http://www.policymic.com/articles/82433/what-the-media-gets-all-wrong-about-sex-work

"I am not your rescue project" http://www.bustle.com/articles/13651-sex-workers-were-not-a-rescue-project-not-trafficking-victims

France continues having its moral panic http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/valeria-costa-kostritsky/french-debate-on-prostitution

'“ Anyone receiving rent from a prostitute while being aware of her activity can also be accused of pimping. The client who falls in love with a prostitute and drives her from her home to her place of work can be considered guilty of help and assistance given to a prostitute and he becomes a pimp too.”

This is how French law on pimping works. Here, even the child of a prostitute can be accused of pimping if prostitution funds his or her higher education. According to this very extensive definition, the only way of being a truly independent prostitute is to have no ties – be it with a landlord, friends, lovers, family. '
mindstalk: (Default)
I know Dawkins has gotten himself into some gender hot water, belittling Rebecca Watson's elevator experience and saying Western women don't have much to complain about compared to Islamic ones, or something like that. I've read most of his books, but not followed his internet presence.

But there's something I wanted to dig up:

"The present book goes further. To dramatize it a bit, it attempts to free the selfish gene from the individual organism which has been its conceptual prison. The phenotypic effects of a gene are the tools by which it levers itself into the next generation, and these tools may 'extend' far outside the body in which the gene sits, even reaching deep into the nervous systems of other organisms. Since it is not a factual position I am advocating, but a way of seeing facts, I wanted to warn the reader not to expect 'evidence' in the normal sense of the word. I announced that the book was a work of advocacy, because I was anxious not to disappoint the reader, not to lead her on under false pretences and waste her time.

The linguistic experiment of the last sentence reminds me that I wish I had had the courage to instruct the computer to feminize personal pronouns at random throughout the text. This is not only because I admire the current awareness of the masculine bias in our language. Whenever I write I have a particular imaginary reader in mind (different imaginary readers oversee and 'filter' the same passage in numerous successive revisions) and at least half my imaginary readers are, like at least half my friends, female. Unfortunately it is still true in English that the unexpectedness of a feminine pronoun, where a neutral meaning is intended, seriously distracts the attention of most readers, of either sex. I believe the experiment of the previous paragraph will substantiate this. With regret, therefore, I have followed the standard convention in this book."

This is from the preface to The Extended Phenotype, dated to June 1981. I read it sometime in the 1990s and was struck by the surprise gender issue in a genetics/evolution book; I'd probably been sensitized by Douglas Hofstadter's essays on gender, especially his disturbing Person Paper on Purity in Language, though I think Dawkins was writing before those came out.

On the one hand, Dawkins chickened out of it, even though it was just a randomization, not making the feminine default all the way through. (Though maybe switching would be worse?) On the other hand, it's easy as a modern reader to judge someone for not taking risks with their second book, in 1981, publishing in England. (On the third hand, I wonder what computer he was using at the time.) On net, I think I still give him a bunch of points for even caring about the issue and being on the right side.

For the 1989 reprint of The Selfish Gene he obliquely mentions the issue again, saying the publisher wanted to reprint the original book, "warts, sexist pronouns, and all", plus a couple more chapters. The one new chapter I looked at switched between gender neutral and male language: the proverbial nice guy quickly turned into 'it', but the Prisoner's Dilemma is illustrated with two men, not two people.

For his later books, I don't know; I didn't find many passages with generic people or pronouns that would need a gender. In The Ancestor's Tale there's "we are people" that could have been "we are men" in an older writer; "man-made artifacts", but then "All Humankind" for Rendezvous 0. But then a couple of hypothetical ancestral shrews are Henry and Eric. And, welp, "Every time an individual has a child, exactly half his genes".

***

Unrelatedly: Climbing Mount Improbable is printed in some trippily wide Centaur typeface. Seflish Gene looks quaint and not in a good way... Times? Extended Phenotype, also from Oxford University Press, looks better but also weird. Ancestor's Tale looks normal, but my paperback must be high-acid paper or something, it's browning pretty badly already, despite a 2004 copyright.
mindstalk: (Homura)
Harvard Science Center has a museum of scientific instruments. Free, but mostly only open during work hours. http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hsdept/chsi-exhibitions.html I went yesterday, spent maybe an hour just looking carefully at the first wall of astrolabes and sundials and stuff, and an orrery, then skimmed other stuff. Also hopped upstairs to the second room on Time.

Earth in the orrery seems to have two moons; no one on the spot knew why, but the online catalog says the small one is indicating the lunar node.

I also got told of the Semitic Museum, http://www.semiticmuseum.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do which is also free but open 4 hours on the weekend. First floor has stuff on early Hebrews, including a model house, second has Egyptian and Hurrian stuff, third Cyptiot; I spent an hour+ combing the Cypriot floor.

Neither museum is all that big, if you tend to just walk through it wouldn't take long. If you read all the cards and look closely at stuff and compare pots to each other, it'll take a long time.

Harvard has other museums too of course, but those charge. :p

ETA: Forgot an important bit! In skimming the other parts of the instrument museum, I saw stuff on how photography brought women into astronomy, as observers poring over photos, and otherwise being 'computers'. Staying up all night with a man wasn't kosher, but women were thought to be patient, persistent, and conscientious. And one of them, Annie Jump Cannon, created the stellar classification system in use today.

Then that evening, by sheer coincidence, someone linked to an article on just that: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2013/09/the-women-who-mapped-the-universe-and-still-couldnt-get-any-respect/

Might as well add other stuff I learned: 'clockwise' comes from the direction shadows move on northern hemisphere sundials. There's lots of wacky sundial designs, including bowls and cubes. Galen was personal physician to Marcus Aurelius. Clay tablets are thicker than I ever imagined. There's an ancient painting of a sailor pooping on fish on the Cypriot floor. Cyprus was really blessed, producing its own wheat, oil, wine, and lots of lumber, as well as tons of copper. For a long time they didn't settle the port/coastal areas, dwelling inland instead. Old copper swords look very rough-edged, I don't know if that's manufacture or corrosion.
mindstalk: (thoughtful)
On the boy side:

Timothy Hunter (Books of Magic): the Opener, a conduit for magic like unto Merlin (DC Universe version), "Control the storm? I AM THE STORM", creates worlds accidentally, petitioned by gods, respected by the Endless, etc.

Coin (_Sourcery_): eighth son of a wizard, thus a sourcerer (sic), a source of magic rather than a mere wielder of it. Likewise creates worlds, is stronger than gods, could destroy the world accidentally.

Adam Young, an Antichrist (_Good Omens_): Antichrist raised by a normal English family. Has basically God/Q levels of power to rewrite the world.

Possibly others? Actually _Stranger in a Strange Land_ might qualify.

On the girl side:

Minus (webcomic) Minus: has strongly godlike powers. Why is never explained. Probably not even a teenager, tween or pre-tween maybe. Surreal one page comics with the occasional short storyline.

Haruhi Suzumiya (eponymous Japanese light novels/anime): said to be godlike, but unconsciously so. Yuki Nagato is like a drone terminal for the Q continuum, so more deliberately powerful. But the books aren't about them the way the boy books are about superpowered boys flinging power around or learning not to.

Strictly speaking, that's it.

There's also Jame Talissen (Chronicles of the Kencyrath): avatar of the Destruction aspect of God, so closest to those three boys. But she's focused on destruction, without world-creating powers, and doesn't wield even that power as casually as Tim Hunter or Minus.

And various magical prodigies: Korra, later Willow (but it's not her story), anime magical girls. But I can't think of world-making ones. (And Hermione? Way weaker relatively than even those.)

Others?
mindstalk: (Default)
I follow a sex work blogger, who's just posted a much longer piece than usual.
http://www.lauraagustin.com/prostitution-law-and-the-death-of-whores-in-jacobin-magazine

'Infamous statements from police and prosecutors include the Attorney General’s at Peter Sutcliffe’s 1981 trial for the murder of at least 13 women in the north of England: “Some were prostitutes, but perhaps the saddest part of this case is that some were not.”'

'It doesn’t matter which political direction you come from: the topics of sex work, sexual exploitation, prostitution and sex trafficking seem like a veritable Gordian Knot. As long as you listen to one set of advocates and take their evidence in good faith, you are okay. But the minute you listen to another set of advocates with different arguments and evidence, everything falls apart.'

'If prostitution were abolished, whore stigma would disappear, it is claimed. But contemporary movements against slut-shaming, victim-blaming and rape culture clearly show how whore stigma is applied to women who do not sell sex at all, so the claim is feeble. Instead, abolitionism’s aversion to prostitution probably strengthens the stigma, despite the prostitute’s demotion to the status of victim rather than the transgressor she once was.'

'Under prohibitionism, those involved in commercial sex are criminalized, which directly reproduces stigma. In this regime, the woman who sells sex is a deliberate outlaw, which oddly at least grants her some agency.'

'For advocates of the decriminalization of all commercial-sex activities, the disappearance of whore stigma would occur through recognizing and normalizing the selling of sex as labor. We don’t yet know how long it may take for stigma to die out in places where some forms of sex work are decriminalized and regulated: New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Holland.'

'These countries manifest some degree of State Feminism: the existence of government posts with a remit to promote Gender Equality. I do not know if it is inevitable, but it is certainly universal that policy promoted from such posts ends up being intolerant of diverse feminisms. State Feminists simplify complex issues through pronouncements represented as the final and correct feminist way to understand whatever matter is at hand.'

[In Sweden] 'She had persisted in trying to gain mother’s rights and made headway with the authorities, but her ex-partner was enraged that an escort could gain any rights at all and did all he could to impede her.'
mindstalk: (Default)
Subtitle: _The Allegory of the Female Form_. 1985. Seems really thick but that's paper thickness, about 300 pages.

A book I'm reading, found randomly in the art section. I don't know if I'll finish, it's interesting without being gripping. Basically it's about the use of female form in art, particularly as abstract allegorical figures. Lady Liberty, France, La Republique, the Muses, the Virtues, Britannia, etc. Warner notes that not showing women at all in public isn't a good sign, but covering your buildings in scantily clad abstract women isn't a sign of liberation either. Ancient Athens was viciously misogynist, despite having Athena as patron goddess. Paris is covered in ladies and France was one of the later countries to give women the vote. Lady Liberty doesn't mean women are particularly free.

Male statues show actual male individuals; female statues tend to be abstracted. Lincoln Memorial vs. Lady Liberty. No Uncle Sam statue, eh? And as images, John Bull and Uncle Sam have more personality than Britannia or Liberty or France.

First chapter is about the Statue of Liberty. Second is about Paris and all its female figures. Third is about Britannia (ironically, originally a Roman conceit, used to depict the subjection of Britain), with a lot about depictions of Margaret Thatcher. (A "masculine" woman, yet never seen in trousers, and with strong public images as mother, wife, and housewife, i.e. minimally threatening. But not object of desire, that probably would have been politically fatal.)

My vocabulary hasn't had this much of a workout in a while. Entirely new words to look up: quadriga, galantine, riggish, ambulatory as a noun (that was trivial to guess on my own, but still novel). Probably seen before: pollarded. I figured I should look up tympanum (architectural) and pediment as well, as they fell into "I feel like I know them but can't actually define them." Pediment really isn't what I'd think it sounds like.
mindstalk: (lizqueen)
middle ages myths
http://www.cracked.com/article_20186_6-ridiculous-myths-about-middle-ages-everyone-believes.html
did bathe, up until the Black Death, then stopped
E.g. bathing up until the Black Death, and diverse roles for women

Emma Goldman on prostitution
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/goldman/traffic.html

To this must be added the following from Dr. Sanger's work: "Pope Clement II. issued a bull that prostitutes would be tolerated if they pay a certain amount of their earnings to the Church. "Pope Sixtus IV. was more practical; from one single brothel, which he himself had built, he received an income of 20,000 ducats."

during the Middle Ages. The conditions in the latter period are particularly interesting, inasmuch as prostitution was organized into guilds, presided over by a brothel Queen. These guilds employed strikes as a medium of improving their condition and keeping a standard price

"The wife who married for money, compared with the prostitute," says Havelock Ellis, "is the true scab. She is paid less, gives much more in return in labor and care, and is absolutely bound to her master. The prostitute never signs away the right over her own person, she retains her freedom and personal rights, nor is she always compelled to submit to a man's embrace."


http://sandradodd.com/sca/womenandwork

In fact a married woman in business had two advantages over her husband. First, she had the choice of taking full responsibility for her actions and the debts incurred in her business (the "femme sole"), or of placing the responsibility on her husband. Additionally, in 1363 in London, a city ordinance declared that men had to keep to one trade while women were free to follow as many as they chose.

IN the 1300's women were practicing some trades that were later restricted to men. There were women barbers, apothecaries, armorers, shipwrights, tailors and spurriers. In Paris we find records of women in building trades, such as masons, carpenters, makers of doors and diggers of gravel. However nearly all trades had fewer women than men and in many trades the number declined as time went on. In 1420 n London, only 20 out of 300 brewers were female.

Nuremberg: The city council provided and paid for the services of a midwife for every indigent mother

women ran brewing
http://books.google.cl/books?id=c6MQJ-pdbwAC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA3&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

history of bathing
http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/baths.html

English $1000/year medieval income
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/medieval_england_twice/
medieval work hours medieval workday
http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/users/rauch/worktime/hours_workweek.html
mindstalk: (lizsword)
A bit of illustrated history.
http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/war-on-women-waged-in-postcards-memes-from-the-suffragist-era/

The last sentence reminds me of a line in the Internationale: "Freedom is just privilege extended, unless enjoyed by one and all".
mindstalk: (rogue)
The first musical I ever saw of my own volition was "Into the Woods", put on by my high school theater group. Not because I wanted to see it in particular, but because my friend and crush Jenny M. was playing Cinderella. But I enjoyed the whole thing, perhaps laying the ground for future enjoyment of the Xena and Buffy musicals. I don't remember the performance that well, apart from some mental images of her, and being offended on her behalf when some people said she should have been Rapunzel. She did have waist-length golden hair (and I do mean golden) but no, she was a fine Cinderella. The tunes and songs did bounce around my head for years in fragmentary form, I believe; those made a lasting impression. As did the plot; I just can't visualize most of the performance.

In my first year in grad school IU was putting it on, and I went to see it. I remember liking it, and I have an image of Riding Hood brandishing her knife, but that's about it, apart from refreshing my acquaintance with the music.

Today I learned somehow that the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players have been putting it on -- one last performance tomorrow afternoon -- and I scrambled to go see it tonight. I took some photos of the cast at the end, so maybe I'll be able to refresh my memory. At any rate, it was good too! Fresh, I can say all the cast sang well, at least by my standards, especially the stars. Acted well too, including gestures and facial expressions. I was also impressed by the physical casting for many roles: Cinderella's prince looked Elizabethan, like a Henry VIII type, broad and with the right beard; the other prince was tall and aquiline/Roman, much like the stereotypical Prince Charming. Riding Hood looked the perfect little curly brown haired girl (and may indeed be a young teen.) The beautiful women were beautiful, or at least pretty. Jack looked like a young fool, etc. I met an SCA girl afterwards, who said she'd been in a performance on a more impressive stage, but it was fine by me.

Riding Hood with her knife is always great, as is "You can't frighten *her*". Thought: is she a prototype for other ferocious waifs like Buffy and River Tam?

Another impressive thing: many of the voices *sounded* right, as if they were right off the soundtrack. Did they cast or voice coach specifically to imitate the original cast?

Weird thing was a green monitor I noticed, in front and mostly facing the stage, showing a conductor of what I believe was live music hidden somewhere -- no visible orchestra, but we heard tuning after the intermission, and they're in the program. Perhaps seeing the conductor provides a visual cue for the actors? I have no idea.

Also weird: Hansel and Gretel are in the cast list, and wandered around on stage, but never spoke or did anything, and don't seem to be in the original cast or script. Random supernumerary addition?

Worst thing was the seats being cramped and the auditorium being rather hot. But I'd still recommend it. $15 for the public, though if you say you're MIT community I don't think they check.

But! In the past ten years I've picked up a lot more Internet Fandom Media Criticism Theory, so I noticed some things. Feminist things.

Bechdel test: It passes. Cinderella and Hood, talking about Hood's mother and getting on in life; witch and Rapunzel, talking about Rapunzel's childhood (and slightly, the prince); Cinderella and her atrocious family. Maybe others. So it passes, though perhaps not with flying colors, especially if you want women talking as equals and not in a maternal relationship. The witch and other women argue a lot, but with the baker or Jack present, and largely about Jack.

Women in Refrigerators: Ouch. The cast is majority female, by a good margin counting all the marginal characters, but women are a supermajority of the characters who die. Rapunzel, Jack's mother, the Baker's wife. Hood's mother and granny are missing and presumed dead, granted her mother never appears on stage. It'd be unfair to count Milky White, or note that while both giants die, only the giantess is speaking. But still, 4 stage characters, plus a mother, all killed. The baker's father just keels over, then has a speaking part later anyway. The Narrator is killed, but the Narrator is only male by default, and has no connection to any character -- hell, that's the point. Five women are killed, motivating other characters, and killed kind of gratuitously. One could try arguing e.g. that Jack's the hero so his mother has to die if everyone's going to lose someone (and all the survivors *have* lost someone) though given that the musical is deconstructing fairy tales I don't think the hero has to live at all. But the baker and his wife are original characters, the baker could die just as easily, to be *her* person in a refrigerator.

And the baker's wife is, well, the baker's wife, labeled only as an extension of her man. Granted, there are only three named characters in the whole musical, four if you count Little Red Riding Hood; everyone else is called by role.

Actually, my very first critical thought was "oooh, she just committed adultery with the prince, she dies now like a slut in a horror film, right?" Right.

And granted Riding Hood's family has no males in it to lose, though given her friendship with Jack, he could motivate both her and his mother.

And of course Rapunzel, despite being one of the few named characters, barely has a role, let alone any agency. She's a prop, a trophy, goes mad, and goes squish.

OTOH, the characters who are strong and grow are also mostly female: the stars are Cinderella, the baker's wife, Riding Hood, and the Witch, along with the Baker and I guess Jack. The other men, even (especially?) the princes, are static roles, even if the two have great songs and presence.

So, I still enjoy it, and I'll happily see it again sometime, as well as listen to the songs (maybe try to learn them?) But now I've got marring thoughts. Is it deconstructing the role of women in fairy tales, as with Cinderella's big decision in part I being to not make a decision? Or is it just falling unconsciously into the standard traps and tropes?

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