shadowkat: (Default)
I couldn't figure out how to post pictures to DW, they only permit urls for some reason. So I posted to LJ and will include a link to that post here:

Over 300,000 people marched in the Women's March in NYC today. Below are photos from our march from 47th Street to 2nd Avenue, then 2nd Avenue to 42nd Street, and 42nd St to 5th Avenue. The March was to be from 2nd Avenue to 42nd, 42nd to 5th, and 5th to 56th, but they stopped it at 50th apparently and re-routed to 1st Avenue, because of the area around Trump Tower has been blocked off. Or so we were told. Doesn't matter, at 4PM, I'd made it as far as 42nd and 3rd Avenue. I jumped out with a friend at 3rd and 42nd, a couple of blocks from 5th Avenue. We'd been marching from roughly 11:30 AM to 4PM. We bailed at 4PM. Our feet quite numb from the cold. It was supposed to be in the 50s, but felt more like the 40s. The whole time, I was thinking, a nice hot bath would be wonderful and maybe a cup of hot coco.

I journeyed home and took a nice hot bath. The trains were screwy today. Several weren't running at all, two on other lines. It was a mess. And the city hadn't prepared for 300,000 marchers, they'd expected only 60-75,000. DC had over 500,000, the expectation had been 100,000. Chicago, over 200,000. Boston, also over 200,000. LA came close to 400,000. Denver was close to 100,000. My mother was telling me over the phone that CNN was showing pictures of it from around the world and the size of the protests was inspiring. People came out in droves, all races, all ages, all people.

I'm glad I did it. It was amazing. People were kind, helpful and considerate. And all in agreement.
We were unified in our horror at the election of Trump and what has transpired since then. We are horrified at the friends, family members, and co-workers who had voted for him. One woman stated her mother had, and then was praying for World Peace, wondering if that was an oxymoron. There was one sign, I didn't capture a photo of -- "It's so bad, Introverts came."

My friends turned and pointed at me -- yep, even I came. And I never do these things. But I felt I had to this time.
shadowkat: (Default)
how to defend yourself against a rapist courtesy of 50 Shades of Grey )

What none of the silly reviewers understand about this book is it is not the BDSM sex or the sex in general that has people compelled, but the story within, which is different than anything else I've read in the Romance Genre to date. Oh sure the character archetypes are the same.
But...James does things I've been screaming at these ninny romance novelists to do, and none of them have. That scene is just one of many many examples. Nora Roberts and Rosemary Rodgers should take notes.
shadowkat: (Default)
[Some one actually created a bill about this? Forget about sexism for a second... In a world with teenage pregnancies and overpopulation, hunger, famine, high unemployment, and bone crushing poverty? Are they frigging insane? If I lived in Arizona, I'd do a lot more than sign a petition. I'd find a way to boot that man out of office. Maybe tar and feather him and ride him out on a rail, like they did back in Mark Twain's day.

I am beginning to worry about the West, whatever happened to that libertarian spirit you were so found of? No government involvement. My ass. What are you guys smoking out there in Arizona? I'm also wondering about other sections of my country. This is what happens when people aren't educated. Maybe we should make every man who runs for legislative office take an intelligence test first?]

Originally posted by [ profile] rozk at Stop the Arizona birth control Bill
Originally posted by [ profile] cluegirl at Stop the Arizona birth control Bill
Originally posted by [ profile] aubergineautumn at Stop the Arizona birth control Bill
Originally posted by [ profile] enchanted_jae at Stop the Arizona birth control Bill
Originally posted by [ profile] mandatorily at Stop the Arizona birth control Bill

I just signed the following petition addressed to: Arizona Sentate, Arizona State Legislature, Debbie Lesko.

Stop the Arizona birth control Bill

If this bill passes the senate then women of Arizona would be forced to provide documentation that birth control is for medical purposes only. The "company" would not be required to cover birth control if it was for prevention of conception. Additionally this bill would give companies the right to fire women if they discovered that she was using a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy

Cluegirl note: Please don't roll your eyes and click past because you're tired of this nonsense. We're all tired of this nonsense. We're exhausted with the Tiny White Men That Other White Men Seem To Insist Need To Live In Our Ladyparts, and we're tired of being treated like cattle and chattel just because we're capable of conceiving life, but WE CANNOT IGNORE SHIT LIKE THIS! We must speak up, in our thousands, and we must speak up EVERY DAMN TIME! We must roar and shake the bars because every time even one of these appalling little incremental atrocities passes without uproar, then the Tiny White Men use it as a platform from which to to launch another, only slightly more atrocious attack.

Don't get tired, get mad. Talk about it. Yell about it. SCREAM about it. Deny nay-sayers sex over it. Do. Not. Be. Worn. Down. Because once the chains go on, it takes a lot of blood to get them off again.

This signal needs to be louder than all the 'stop internet limitations' signals. This Conservative Agenda includes the enslavement of better than half the human race. It really, really is more important.

Act like it.

Common Sense Disclaimer: If you are not me, then these opinions, relative to the experience of being me, are not yours. Also, if your gender makes it impossible for you to become pregnant and carry a foetus inside your body without resorting to science and surgery, then you must expect that your opinions on a woman's right to choose when and whether to reproduce will NEVER carry as much weight with me as an actual breeder's opinions. For you, it's abstract. For us, it's real. Ergo, I expect any debate on this subject to be handled with maturity, courtesy, and restraint. No poo throwing, no tubthumping, no trolling, and no shaming. I will ban commenters who are deliberately provocative, rude, and cruel over this. Don't be douches.

You have been warned.
shadowkat: (Default)
For Women's History Month: Three ladies that revolutionized the music industry and broke through barriers.

1. Etta James - 1950s, blues singer who defied classification and opened for the Rolling Stones in the 1980s. She died just a few years ago. And struggled with drug addiction throughout her life.

Here's one of her tunes:
Read more... )
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid-1950s, she gained fame with hits such as "Dance With Me, Henry", "At Last", "Tell Mama", and "I'd Rather Go Blind" for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.[2]

James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.[3] Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

2. Nina Simone - Known as the high priestess of soul, she was also a strong social activist, and wrote and sung songs about the Civil Rights Movement.
Read more... )
Here's one of her songs, a favorite of mine entitled Four Women written and sung by Nina Simone in France. It's about four different women, who are different colors.

3. Tina Turner

Tina Turner battled domestic violence against Ike Turner and the music industry to become a powerful female performer in her own right and a pop icon.

From wiki:
Read more... )
Here's my favorite signature Tina Turner Song, which she originally sang with Ike Turner, but now sings on her own quite well:

Two earlier versions of the same song as performed by Turner:

And here's the Ike and Tina Turner version of Proud Mary )

And for Tina and the current fight in the US Senate/Congress for the passage of the Violence Against Women Bill, I'm including one more songstress who wrote about domestic violence, Janis Ian - "His Hands".

[As an aside, in a former life...I volunteered with the Domestic Violence Coalition - Legal Aid of Western Missouri, to obtain orders of protection. (Not restraining orders, we couldn't get those under the law at the time, but we could get an order of protection which was basically the same thing. What a lot of people don't know is many states still have laws on their books that permit husbands to beat their wives, since "wives" were considered "property of the husband" under the old laws. This shocked me when I found out about in Missouri. Most states have fought to put new laws in place.]
shadowkat: (Calm)
1. At church, we had a sermon or speech on "unsolving the woman problem" - Read more... )

2. This is by means of introduction to three interesting female television genre writers, who are in some respects far more versatile then some of their male counterparts. Say what you will about Marti Noxon, Jane Espenson and Rebecca Rand Kirshner's work - they have with courage and dignity carved a place for themselves within the television landscape, taking on writing jobs on series that their male counterparts on Buffy never would and coming up with a far more versatile resume as a result.

I've always found fandom's worship of male show-runners a bit annoying.Read more... )

1. Marti Noxon
Marti's bio )

more on Marti and her episodes, including quotes from various interviews )

Various Marti Episodes on Buffy and how they dealt with gender )

Jane Espenson

Jane's Bio )

interview links and snippets )

a breakdown of Espenson writing for Buffy and how it dealt with gender issues )

Rebecca Rand Kirshner

Rebecca's Bio )

links and interview snippets )

Rebecca Rand Kirshner Buffy episodes and how they relate to gender issues and the themes of this post. )

All three women writers added a certain degree of balance to Buffy and their work like all media, comments on societal constructs. They've gone on to carve paths for themselves in a difficult field. Some with more success than others.

What is not known about their contributions to Buffy?

* Jane Espenson came up with the idea for Robin Wood as Nikki's son. She also came up with a lot of the monsters.
* Marti Noxon created the characters of Spike and Dru and their relationship. Drusilla is Noxon's creation. Noxon also wrote and directed the ending of Fool for Love. In addition Noxon sung the theme song for Cordy's tv show in Birthday. And Noxon created the characters of Anya and Tara, as well as cast both roles. Anya is in some respects based on Noxon's own lack of a filter and is close to the writer in real life. Willow and Tara were based on a close friend of Noxon's lesbian relationship.
* Rand Kirshner Sinclair - became the go-to person for crazy or insanity in the series. She also helped with the Spike/Harmony and Spike/Buffy relationship, along with Willow/Tara.
shadowkat: (Calm)
Finished Sweet Revenge by Nora Roberts - which was okay. I liked the two lead characters and the whole jewel thief storyline. What didn't work are two things: 1)e-books under $10 bucks for some reason have a lot of typos. "You're" in this book was "You've", and in one sentence "kiss" was "lass". There were others as well. And they were consistent, making me wonder if it was a translation to digital content issue. I know something about translating regular text to full text via ACII, it's not as easy as it looks and certain words can get garbled. I used to explain the process to journal publishers and ensure quality standards would be kept. Amazon tends to be a bit lax on the quality for less-expensive books. 2) Roberts depiction of the Muslim religion and Islam...furthers stereotypes and hatred of this often misunderstood culture and religion. This annoyed me. I know enough about it, to figure out where the cliche stereotypes fell into place. But other readers don't. And she made me hate Islam, if I didn't know what I did and didn't have a critical mind, I wouldn't have questioned it. Shame, Nora. Shame. Also not helped by the fact that the hero is a white, blond haired, Englishman. And the villain, a Arab sheik. This is also a cliche. But..that said it does follow the trope of a lot of these books - gender battle. Or battle of the sexes. All romance novels seem to be about women taming men or vice verse.

Reading the novel, Sweet Revenge and the recent controversy about contraception in the US Congress, reminded me of other religious controversies. Which makes me realize at the center of the culture wars is gender rights vs. religious rights. Which rights should govern when the two overlap? Your freedom to practice the religion of your choice in the manner you deem fit? Or equality of gender and sexual orientation? And to what degree does one right interfere with the other or which right should supersede the other?

It's an interesting question. And depending on what country you reside, may not be a question at all. I may be wrong - but I don't believe that the religious freedom is a right in many countries, its why so many people immigrated to the US - the right to practice the religion of their choice. It's part of the US's foundation. The Pilgrims, the French Protestants, Catholics from Ireland, and various others fled to the US in order to be free to practice their religion.

The US does have a separation of Church and State. In that the government does not tell people what religion they can practice or how they can practice it. This separation gets a bit complicated and thorny, when the government provides funding to organizations that happen to be affiliated to a religious institution. Such as hospitals, schools, and universities. That's where things start to get complicated.

The Same-Sex marriage bit was an issue with religions - when it became apparent that the government could pull funding from a Catholic Hospital, University, or other affiliated organization if it failed to recognize or perform a same-sex marriage. Ie. If a hospital refused to recognize a husband or wife of a same-sex partner for medical issues or for insurance, due to religious considerations.

Contraception has likewise become an issue in regards to affiliated Catholic organizations who do not want the government to force them to provide contraception or pay for it. The Catholic University does not want to pay for it's employees use of contraception. Or have the government force them too. It's fine if the employees go elsewhere, but not on the Catholic Church's dime. The government states - we won't fund you or give you a grant if you don't do this - under Obama's Health Care initiative. The Catholic Church argues this is a violation of our religious rights.

Here's what the First Amendment to The US Constitution States about Religious Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[James] Madison's original proposal for a bill of rights provision concerning religion read: ''The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.'' 1 The language was altered in the House to read: ''Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.'' 2 In the Senate, the section adopted read: ''Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .'' 3 It was in the conference committee of the two bodies, chaired by Madison, that the present language was written with its some what more indefinite ''respecting'' phraseology. 4 Debate in Congress lends little assistance in interpreting the religion clauses; Madison's position, as well as that of Jefferson who influenced him, is fairly clear, 5 but the intent, insofar as there was one, of the others in Congress who voted for the language and those in the States who voted to ratify is subject to speculation.

Scholarly Commentary .--The explication of the religion clauses by the scholars has followed a restrained sense of their meaning. Story, who thought that ''the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice,'' 6 looked upon the prohibition simply as an exclusion from the Federal Government of all power to act upon the subject. ''The situation . . . of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity of such an exclusion. In some of the states, episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others presbyterians; in others, congregationalists; in others, quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.'' 7

Herein lies the cultural difference between the United States and many other countries. [ETC: By many, I do not mean every country outside the US, it's meant as a general term because I didn't want to do a listing. But go here: and here: - Examples: IRan, Egypt, China, Japan, Vietnam, North Korea, Sudan and Saudia Arabia. ] Read more... )
shadowkat: (work/reading)
My female writer meme which I attempted with mixed results, has inspired me to try something new in this journal. We'll see if I can keep it up. Once or twice a week, I will attempt to post an essay on female writers and directors - celebrating and highlighting their work, with links to their work and to their history.

Since February is Black History Month in the US, I'm starting with Black Women Writers and Directors. I will most likely concentrate on the one's whose work I am familiar with.

The following three women writers have many things in common besides gender and race. The main one is each has found a way to show the world that we need to learn to see beyond race and gender, that neither define us absolutely. They are a part of who we are, but not a defining factor. And we need to learn to see past them. Women can be firemen and surgeons. They can be gods. Black or white or purple. And should not be placed in cages. But these women find a way to show not tell this. They do not speak from soap boxes or bully pulpits or blogs, but instead through the poetry of stories, visual and written. Pulling the reader or viewer inside their minds, so we can see through their eyes.

Shondra Rhimes

Shondra Rhimes is known primarily for the creation of Grey's Anatomy - a ground-breaking American medical drama that focused on the lives of female and male surgeons, but has a female centric point of view. It is also amongst the few dramas to feature an interracial cast and a lesbian relationship at its center.

Rhimes is amongst the few black female television show-runners with a hit show that has been in the Neilsen top ten for more than 7 years. And has been nominated for multiple Emmy's including several during the series initial run.

Read more... )

2. Octavia Butler

Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. Amongst her works is possibly the best time travel sci-fi novel I've read Kindred or at the very least the most memorable. It is about a woman in the present pulled back into the distant past - due to her connection to a slave-owner.

spoilers for Kindred )

I read Kindred back in 2003 and can't forget it. It stays with you long after you've finished. Each word indelibly imprinted on your consciousness. What's interesting about it - is it discusses an interracial relationship in the 1970s, and in slave times. As well as the wounds of slavery, and how we can never quite get past them. Dana's husband is thrown back with her, and works on the underground rail-road. You see slavery from three points of view. A book that I highly recommend everyone read.

Butler's sci-fi novels include:

The Patternist series - Wild Seed is the first book in this series of novels.

Wild Seed, the first book in the Patternist series, was published in 1980. In Wild Seed, Butler contrasts how two potentially immortal characters go about building families. The male character, Doro, engages in a breeding program to create people with stronger psychic powers both as food, and as potential companions. The female character, Anyanwu, creates villages. Yet Doro and Anyanwu, in spite of their differences grow to need each other, as the only immortal/extremely long-lived beings in the world. This book also explores the psychodynamics of power and enslavement.

Butler's novels much like Maria Doria Russell's The Sparrow, explored biological and anthropological issues in science fiction as opposed to technological. As well as religious themes. These books were begun in the 1970s and 1980s.
Here's a list of Octavia's works )
And here's a snippet from an article by Octavia Butler - in O Magazine:

Octavia Butler's AHA Moment )
3. Maya Angelo

Maya Angelo is a jack of all trades, a chanteuse, a writer, a director, and a poet. She's also an activist. I have regrettably not read much of Maya Angelo.

From Wiki:
Maya Angelou (play /ˈmaɪ.ə ˈændʒəloʊ/;[1][2] born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928) is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her first seventeen years. It brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award.

I would add that she is in some respects best known for her poetry. See below.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Poem )

Maya Angelo is also a director - she directed the film Down in the Delta which was the first film directed by a black woman director.

Her screenplay,Georgia, Georgia (1972), was the first original script by a Black woman to be produced and she was the first African American woman to direct a major motion picture, Down in the Delta, in 1998.

For more information on Maya and her works - go here:
shadowkat: (Ayra in shadow)
I finished reading and watching two narratives that featured the victimized girl trope in two different ways. And of course there's the third one, that haunts me, the works of Joss Whedon - who of all writers appears to be the most obsessed with the trope.

[WARNING: This post is highly critical of Joss Whedon's writings, if that offends or bothers you in any way, please skip this entry. I understand why it would, I used to be the same way. It's tough to be a fan. I have hidden the criticism behind lj cut tags to aid you in avoidance.]

Just finished watching the tv series Nikita's two part season finale tonight - which in some respects is the originator of the trope in my experience. Although I'm certain people did it prior to Luc Besson, the French auteur who did both the original film Nikita and The Professional - a 12 year old Natalie Portman is taken in by a male hitman and trained to hurt those who victimized her and killed her parents. Besson did quite a few of these films. The Fifth Element is also Luc Besson. In the tv series - for those who don't know it - Nikita's family is killed, becomes a felon herself, and is taken in by Division (a counter-intelligence agency) and turned into an assassin. After Division kills her lover, Daniel, she goes Rogue, with the sole purpose of taking down Division and evening the scales - redeeming herself for the people she killed or the families she destroyed. One of those people she fights to even the scales for is Alex, who she rescues and trains to become an operative like herself and places in the heart of Division. The Television version of Nikita varies from all the other's including Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and most notably the original film and the Canadian television series starring Peta Wilson, as well as Alias another off-shoot - in this way: the trainer and rescuer of the victimized girl is female. The women take center stage in this drama, turning the tables on the men.

Spoilers for Season Finale of Nikita )

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson (hereinafter: "Girl" or GWTDT)

Before going too in depth on this novel - I should provide a bit of background on Larrson. Larrson prior to being a journalist was a sci-fi fan, who wrote for and edited science fiction fanzines.

Here's a quick blurb from wiki:

Who is Steig Larrson )

"Girl" or GWTDT - feels a times like reading a journalistic piece in The Financial Times or
The Economist or maybe The Wall Street Journal. It has that same weird emotional distance. You can tell the writer was a journalist. Also the translator, Reege Keeland, is definitely British or UK - since the English translation has UK spellings and UK words - examples include arse (not ass) and gaol, not jail - although he uses both. Also "boot" not "trunk". These are minor but pop out. In some respects it is more realistic since someone from Sweden is far more likely to learn British English than American English. I hope Fincher is aware of this while doing an American version of the film. Possibly since he cast two Brits in the male lead roles.

The first 250 pages of Girl read like a financial journalistic piece in well The Financial Times business section. I felt like I was reading a business journal. After page 250 - when we meet Lisbeth Salander - the girl in question, or the girl with the dragon tattoo - the novel starts to take off. She's far more interesting than Blomkvist - the financial journalist who has gotten in over his head on not one but three matters. He's the damsel in this tale and the kind caretaker. Larrson unlike many of his mystery/thriller contemporaries, flips the two roles. Larrson also explores in precise and often graphic detail the victimized female trope and it is not pretty.

cut mainly for vague plot spoilers and the fact that I am at times highly critical of Mr. Joss Whedon stories and writing - so please avoid this section if criticism of Whedon makes your blood pressure sky-rocket. I understand how you feel, I used to be like that myself. So read at your own risk. )
shadowkat: (Default)
The DVD player finally died. Or at least I think it died. I tried playing two different netflix discs and got a Disc Error. Then put in two discs that I own and don't care about (Chicago and Bride and Prejudice) which also came up with disc error. This means new DVD player. Great. Just what I want to do. And getting it out from under the DVR box (which is huge) and plugging in a new one - nightmare. What I would give to have a techy friend and/or relative who lived nearby to help me with this. But my techy friends do not live within shooting distance of me. ME? Not techy. I think watching Big Love killed it. I'd blame Farscape - but I was able to watch quite a bit after Farscape, including all of Dexter. No, it was definitely Big Love. Oh well, it was close to eight years old - these things don't last long. Time was - we could fix them, now, not so much. Have to buy a new one. We live in a throw-away society. Nothing is built to last. Because people are busy making something cooler and less durable to take its place. I do have time to do it - am taking Monday off as a personal day, and I get election day off - to vote. I don't want to vote - for two reasons - a) don't like anyone. and b) every time I vote they call me for jury duty.

Although the governor race this year is certainly entertaining: we have "the rent is 2 damn high" party - with a guy running on it who doesn't have to pay any rent and has no idea how much his rent actually is, Kristen Davis - the madame who provided Eliot Spitzer - the former governor with his prostitutes (she decided that she knew more about running a business than Spitzer or his successor David Patterson did), Carl Palladino (the Tea Party Candidate - who is certifiable and literally pissed off everyone except well other people in the Tea Party, the Tea Party is starting to remind me of the John Birch Society), and Andrew Cumo who is running on two tickets, if he loses on one, he can always win on the other. There are others, but those are the highlights.

Watching Modern Family - which made me laugh - even though what happened was technically speaking cringeworthy in the embarrassment department. Taping Project Runway - which flist already spoiled me on. (Guys if you want to rant about a tv show, be careful of spoiling those of us who haven't seen it yet.) So as a result, am sort of ambivalent. I've been more or less ambivalent all season long because none of the designers strike me as remotely talented or worth
watching and clearly coached to play up the drama. (I liked Gretchen and Sarah for making fun of that aspect - Sarah- "this show is just about torturing designers." Gretchen - "all about the Drama". Sigh. Yes to both. What happened to the interesting art? This stuff looks like something I'd see out a home economics class.) This show lost its credibility three seasons ago. I probably won't watch it after this season. It's become more emotionally manipulative reality tv show and less artistic how-to contest, I prefer the latter, the former bores and grates on my nerves. And yes, people it is totally scripted and edited. (They have writers, they just don't pay them benefits.)

Television highlights this week, or rather tv shows that I actually watched and entertained me were: (it should be noted that I have not watched Supernatural, Caprica, Nikita, Terriers (which will probably join Caprica soon in the too brilliant for tv, thus canceled prematurely category),
Luther, and the Event yet.)

* Glee - spoilers )

* Raising Hope - still enjoying this odd little show, that has a lot of heart wrapped into a witty package. The cast is highly appealing.

*Grey's Anatomy - for spoilers and a bit regarding the writing out of the lesbian couples on tv shows )

* Vampire Diaries - say what you will about this show, it is definitely the fastest paced tv show on at the moment. It's bizarre. The show is written like Passions, dialogue lifted out of a bad Harlequin novel (which I've read - I don't critique things I haven't read myself), and soapy as all get out at times, but man, does it move. You are never bored ...okay maybe during Elena and Stefan's scenes, but they don't last that long...get up to go to the bathroom, come back, and you are back to the action. Also it is highly entertaining and fun. Like cotton candy or crack. (People were comparing True Blood to crack or cotton candy, uh, no, that's Vampire Diaries. You can't write meta on Vampire Diaries - okay, I take that back - yes you can, you can write meta on anything, but Vampire Diaries is unlikely to be discussed by critics and scholars...while True Blood already is. Don't believe me? I can find links. The Satire of the Christian Right alone is
fodder for a meta. But True Blood is on HBO - it can do that. Vampire Diaries is on the CW - it can't. Plus True Blood is aimed at the 25-45 audience, Vampire is aimed at the 12-25 year old audience, big difference. (I say this knowing full well that I am much older than the tween audience to which the show is aimed at.) That said? True Blood is poorly paced. At least the two seasons I watched were. Slow. I was very bored during some of those orgy scenes. Alan Ball could learn a thing or two from Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec regarding pacing. Just saying.

very very vague spoilers )

*The Good Wife - the best political drama on tv. Actually I think it may well be the best drama on commericial tv at the moment. Top-notch cast. You can't get better than this cast for a network tv series. (Note I'm ignoring premium channel shows like HBO's Boardwalk Empire or Clash of Thrones.) And the layers upon layers, in depth character stories, and how each case reflects bits and pieces of those characters... brilliant. It also does a marvelous job of depicting what it is like to be female in this world and the games we have to play each day. Gender politics big time.

And topical in it's legal cases. It's not a procedural. The legal cases are mainly there for exploration of characters or defining characters - much like House. Except this show is better written than House. There's a lot more going on here. And the acting is so subtle, yet so..on target.

Love this show to pieces. But no brain power to analyze it or fully review it.

* Caprica Cancellation - which did not surprise me, but did annoy me.

I haven't watched Caprica yet, but part of me doesn't want to - now that I know it's being cancelled. Why torture myself? I'm not surprised it's being cancelled. I sort of thought it would most likely not make it last year - when it got abruptly pulled during the May Sweeps period.
It was an expensive series to make. You can tell that just by looking at it. Also, it was being marketed to a very small nitch audience. And the nitch audience doesn't tend to like well shows like Caprica. There's a reason why a category exists entitled "Brilliant But Cancelled" or "Too Brilliant for TV". That list contains a lot of quirky sci-fi shows - all with high production values, quality actors, and intelligent scripts. Here's a brief list: American Gothic, Now and Again, Earth 2, Space Above and Beyond, (that show about a Restaurant at the End of the Universe starring Robert Englund...which was anthology horror and serialized - sort of Rod Serling on steriods), Tru Calling, Firefly, Wonderfalls, (the one about the guy who lived in a card-board box and was a CEO and was really dark...with Adrian Psdar??), Dollhouse, and Farscape. They all got axed just as they were starting to get interesting. Always annoys me. What's the point in watching a tv show, investing in it, when you don't get to see the entire story? And the writers haven't been given time to show all of it? If you are going to cancel the thing - at least give them enough time to wrap it up appropriately. Will state that Dollhouse sort of got that opportunity.
Farscape like Firefly - got a two hour movie to conclude itself.

At any rate, it is annoying. And sort of makes me resent tv shows like Star Gate - which seem to go on forever...with interchangable characters and spin-offs. If Star Gate can have 10 seasons, why can't Farscape, Firefly, Caprica, Dollhouse, and American Gothic have at least five?
It's not fair!! (whines like a two year old and stomps off to bed.)
shadowkat: (Symbol from caprica)
Didn't much like the last post so deleted it. Have been wrestling with what to write in this thing lately. Find that I have lj writer's block. Or just overly self-conscious all of a sudden. (shrugs). So what do I do, I write the below and I keep it unlocked.

Thought about writing a post on Aeryn/Crichton relationship - which has got to be the best romantic relationship I've seen on tv. Sure it has its problems (tv after all) but, all in all, it works. And breaks/subverts a lot of tv rules in the process. The unwritten rule that the leads can't get together until the end of the series or sleep together. They not only sleep together in the first season, they comment on it, and it furthers their relationship. where I decide to do a summary post on the Aeryn/Crichton relationship against my better judgement )

Thought also about doing the Feminist Guide to TV, but this idea is chock-full of potential fail. First, not everyone defines feminism in the same way. Second, people don't particularly like other people telling them what tv shows are politically correct to watch. (I'll watch the bloody Bachelor if I want to, thank you very much (I don't, personally for a lot of reasons I will not bore you with.))

At any rate, I will list the tv shows that I am watching at the moment or have recently watched or loved that I consider Feminist. If a show you happen to love is not on this list and you know I watch it - it does not necessarily mean I don't think it is Feminist, I may have just forgotten its existence or haven't watched it recently so feel ill-qualified to state so. I may look like a walking television encyclopedia, but I'm really not - honest.

Before I do the list of Feminist TV Shows, will state that my definition of Feminism is equal rights for both genders, where women and men are treated equally. Both are villians and heroes. The TV show doesn't necessarily have to pass the Bechdel Test to be Feminist, if it does pass the test - I'll indicate it. Bechdel Test is basically when female characters talk to other female characters about things other than men, and there is more than one female character in the cast.

Feminist TV Shows - that I can think of and have recently watched within last two years.

*Rizzoli & Isles (passes Bechdel Test)
* The Closer
* In Plain Sight (passes Bechdel Test)
* The Good Wife (passes Bechdel Test)
* True Blood (passes Bechdel Test)
* Damages (passes Bechdel Test)
* Farscape (passes Bechdel Test)
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer (passes Bechdel Test)
* Vampire Diaries (passes Bechdel Test)
* Gossip Girl (passes Bechdel Test)
* Mad Men
* Dexter
* Brothers & Sisters (passes Bechdel Test)
* Grey's Anatomy (passes Bechdel Test)
* Doctor Who
* Covert Affairs (passes Bechdel Test)
* Leverage (passes the Bechdel Test)

Okay that's all I can think of. If you can come up with more - go ahead.

[ETC - got some weird responses to this question, so am clarifying my intent: on lj yesterday saw several posts about whether it was important to reveal your previous gender and sexual orientation to someone prior to boinking them. And if not doing so, ie - having sex with someone but not telling them you are "transgender" or "bisexual" - is a betrayal of trust akin to rape. This got me to thinking - what if any questions do people need to know the answers to prior to "boinking"? ] So, trying again: a hypothetical question, because I'm curious - before having sex with someone you just met, who is really hot, and you are completely turned on by, and it is so completely mutual - (ie. if you met your sexual ideal at a bar who considered you his/her sexual ideal as well) what if any questions would you absolutely have to know the answer to before you hop into bed with him or her? And what would be a deal breaker? What would make you turn them down? Would you care if they were transgender or bisexual? Does this matter? Or perhaps more importantly - do you care if they lie about it? For some of us - sex hinges on trust - so we care more about the lie or having the truth withheld than the actual response. But this poses yet another question - does your partner need to know the answer to those questions?

(I should answer this myself, I know. So, hypothetically?

[As an aside - I'm tempted to see Bernadette Peters in A Little Night Music or at least buy the album, yeah I know Catherine Zeta Jones won the emmy, but she does not have Peters voice and ability to interpret the lines. My favorite - Peters song was Children Will Listen from Into the Woods.]
my off the cuff answer to the above hypothetical situation )

As an another aside? If you ever get the chance to see the Broadway Musical Next to Normal - go! It is brilliant. And it doesn't matter who stars in it. The score and story is that good. It did not win The Pulitizer for no reason. Sort of like watching Who's Afraid of Virigina Woolf put to music with bi-polar and child loss issues combined. I laughed and sobbed during this musical. Best one I've seen in quite some time.
shadowkat: (Default)
1.. Feminism - how people seem to view this word continues to bug me. So, I'm going to give you a definition that I agree with. Make of it what you will.

Feminism refers to political, cultural, and economic movements aimed at establishing greater rights, legal protection for women and/or women's liberation. Feminism includes some of the sociological theories and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference. It is also a movement that campaigns for women's rights and interests. Nancy Cott defines feminism as the belief in the importance of gender equality, invalidating the idea of gender hierarchy as a socially constructed concept. Feminists are persons of either sex who believe in feminism – and of course practice their beliefs. [From Wiki]

2. Read the preview page for Buffy issue 36 - out of curiousity - wanted to see what all the fuss on flist was about. Is it just me or does this plot thread feel a lot like the second season of Dollhouse? Possibly just me. Whedon seems a bit obsessed with the whole puppet thing, or doll thing - people using as dolls to entertain or satisfy someone else's fantasy or view of them. It's a theme I've seen done better elsewhere - notably the hilariously disturbing independent masterpiece "Being John Malkovich" - which is about celebrity and how we manipulate others to meet our fantasies. John Cusak plays a puppeteer who finds a way to enter John Malkovich's brain and literally pull his strings and do whatever he wishes through him, until he is finally forced to realize the nightmare himself, when he gets trapped inside the newborn child that ex-partner/girlfriend has with her new female lover. He can do nothing. He is just a bystander, his hands and body moved by someone else. There's also the quite splendid My Fair Lady and Pygamillion by George Bernard Shaw. And quite a few horror flicks that I've seen, including a B movie starring Vincent Price entitled House of Wax. Not to mention the superior and hilarious "Smile Time".

The idea of being used as a puppet or controlled by someone else is not new in science fiction or fantasy. Farscape plays around with it - regarding Crichton and Scorpius. It also has actual puppets, so part of playing around - is a direct commentary on the use of puppetry in the show itself. I adore puppetry - it is the one artform that seems beyond the grasp of technology. There's nothing more magical than watching a puppet show - you know there's a human behind the puppet, but if the puppeteer is good, the puppet becomes more real, a character outside of the human, to the point you forget the human exists. There's a rather good horror tale based I believe on a Twilight Zone episode - where the puppet becomes more real than the man. He begins to pull the man's strings. Another good horror tale - is about people being turned into dolls - you are safer this way, I can protect you.

fairly long meta on Buffy comics, Angel and Spike, and puppetry - no spoilers outside of the tv series and very vague references to the comics, and well who Twilight is, but doesn't everyone know that by now? And if not, what rock are you hiding under? Also a bit on why I like the Spike who is not a bad boy, mindboggling, I know but there you go. )

3. Farscape - finished watching the brilliant and hilarious Look at the Princess arc in Farscape, along with Won't Be Fooled Again, Beware of Dog, and The Locket.

There's a great line in Look at the Princess - A Kiss is But a Kiss.

"Do you know what they want to do to me? Turn me into a statute for 80 cycles. If I ever return to earth after that - everyone will be dead. Dad, DK, my family, my cousins, my friends, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz....Buffy The Vampire Slayer!"

I laughed my ass off. Yes, Farscape's writers watched Buffy.

They were also super-aware of their fandom. Ben Bowder keeps stating that he would just go read commentary or fanfic to figure stuff out that the writers didn't explain. The fans often did a better job.
Farscape and censorship )

4. Doctor Who - Vicent and the Doctor (yes, I'm behind everyone online on this series, BBC America isn't airing the next episodes until the end of July, so will be even more behind, by the time I see them, your reviews will be impossible for me to find by mere scrolling. And no, I can't download episodes without killing my computer, so don't bother offering.)

Was a rather good stand-alone. Partly due to the casting of Bill Nighey as the Museum Curator and whomever they got to play Van Gough (is it Goff or Gou). I know quite a bit about Van Gough, because have one too many people in my family who studied art and I'm in love with the impressionists. Van Gough allegedly cut off his ear - because of Muenir's disease according to some, and was just crazy to others. Muenir's could drive you nuts - if untreated, it creates severe imbalance in the inner-ear, ringing in the right ear, and vertigo. I know - my Dad had it. Made him sick and miserable until he was able to get it treated. But some art guy I meet at a gallery meetup insisted that Van Gough was just nuts and didn't have Muenir's. Or so his biographer stated. So I don't know. Like James Joyce, Gough made no money. Most brilliant artists made nothing. Popularity and fame rarely has much to do with actual talent.

Vincent and the Doctor Spoilers - and yes, I'm totally behind everyone on flist. Plus BBCAmerica is taking a two week break and the Doctor isn't going to be on again until the middle of July, while I'm off in Maine. Which means, possibly three-four weeks before I see the last group of episodes. Not even sure why I'm bothering with spoiler tags at this point. Although very glad you guys still are. )
shadowkat: (Default)
1.. Feminism - how people define this word continues to bug me.

Here's the wiki definition, because I'm too lazy to pull out a dictionary:

Feminism refers to political, cultural, and economic movements aimed at establishing greater rights, legal protection for women and/or women's liberation. Feminism includes some of the sociological theories and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference. It is also a movement that campaigns for women's rights and interests.[1][2][3][4][5] Nancy Cott defines feminism as the belief in the importance of gender equality, invalidating the idea of gender hierarchy as a socially constructed concept. Feminists are persons of either sex who believe in feminism – and of course practice their beliefs.

In other words, folks, you are a feminist if you believe women are equal to men, should have rights equal to men, and should not be subservient or ruled by men, as the "weaker" and thereby
lesser, sex. Sigh, lesser, my foot. If you do not believe these things and think men, are, gasp, superior to women, you are NOT a feminist. And might I also state, a complete idiot. I mean honestly anyone who still thinks in this day and age, with information available at your fingertips, that one race, one gender, on sexual orientation, one ethnicity is better or more advanced or stronger or brighter than another is just plain stupid. Dangerously so in some cases. People don't generalize and make assumptions based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, nationality, size, and/or age, it makes you look like a fool. The item I struggle with making generalizations about is age. This weekend - someone told me that their 78 year old friend was off bungee jumping, zip-lining, and skiing. Mind-boggling. I can't do those things, and I'm much younger. Goes to show you, everybody is unique.

2. Read the preview page for Buffy issue 36 - out of curiousity - wanted to see what all the fuss on flist was about. Is it just me or does this plot thread feel a lot like the second season of Dollhouse? Possibly just me. Whedon seems a bit obsessed with the whole puppet thing, or doll thing - people using as dolls to entertain or satisfy someone else's fantasy or view of them. It's a theme I've seen done better elsewhere - notably the hilariously disturbing independent masterpiece "Being John Malkovich" - which is about celebrity and how we manipulate others to meet our fantasies. John Cusak plays a puppeteer who finds a way to enter John Malkovich's brain and literally pull his strings and do whatever he wishes through him, until he is finally forced to realize the nightmare himself, when he gets trapped inside the newborn child that ex-partner/girlfriend has with her new female lover. He can do nothing. He is just a bystander, his hands and body moved by someone else. There's also the quite splendid My Fair Lady and Pygamillion by George Bernard Shaw. And quite a few horror flicks that I've seen, including a B movie starring Vincent Price entitled House of Wax. Not to mention the superior and hilarious "Smile Time".

The idea of being used as a puppet or controlled by someone else is not new in science fiction or fantasy. Farscape plays around with it - regarding Crichton and Scorpius. It also has actual puppets, so part of playing around - is a direct commentary on the use of puppetry in the show itself. I adore puppetry - it is the one artform that seems beyond the grasp of technology.
There's nothing more magical than watching a puppet show - you know there's a human behind the puppet, but if the puppeteer is good, the puppet becomes more real, a character outside of the human, to the point you forget the human exists. There's a rather good horror tale based I believe on a Twilight Zone episode - where the puppet becomes more real than the man. He begins to pull the man's strings. Another good horror tale - is about people being turned into dolls - you are safer this way, I can protect you.
fairly long meta on Buffy comics, Angel and Spike, and puppetry )

3. Farscape - finished watching the brilliant and hilarious Look at the Princess arc in Farscape, along with Won't Be Fooled Again, Beware of Dog, and The Locket.

There's a great line in Look at the Princess - A Kiss is But a Kiss.

"Do you know what they want to do to me? Turn me into a statute for 80 cycles. If I ever return to earth after that - everyone will be dead. Dad, DK, my family, my cousins, my friends, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz....Buffy The Vampire Slayer!"

I laughed my ass off. Yes, Farscape's writers watched Buffy.

They were also super-aware of their fandom. Ben Bowder keeps stating that he would just go read commentary or fanfic to figure stuff out that the writers didn't explain. The fans often did a better job.

I don't have a lot to say about the episodes, except that they do a great job of building the relationships between the characters, maintaining tension, conflict, and exploring the psychology of each one. Farscape unlike most sci-fi is a messy series - it goes into dark places, and plays with your head.

Funny story about censorship - according to the commentary, someone at the BBC got really offended by something in Won't Be Fooled Again and cut the episode to shreds, so that it was literally two minutes shorter. While the only thing Syfy worried about was when they blow up the Scarren's head, not to show too much gore on the wall. (Sigh, times have changed.)
Another bit of commentary - Ben Bowder apologizes for parents of the under-12 set for saying the word "shit" on Farscape. Okaay. This brings up a question? Why would any parent care if Ben Bowder said shit on tv - after watching an episode in which he has shot someone, people have died horribly, and been blown up? I mean, why are letting your twelve year old watch Farscape to begin with? It's a violent tv series with adult themes, and not written for a 12 year old.
Shit should be the least of your worries. Honestly, people, you don't think your kid doesn't hear shit on the playground, at school, or at the store?

I find the continued censorship of foul language on tv mind-boggling. Also a tad hypocritical. Just as I find the continued censorship of nudity and sexual content. Apparently we have no problems showing a man or woman beat a woman or man, smack her or him, shoot her or him, suggest attempted rape, suggest rape or attempt to rape her/him - but nudity, a kinky sex scene, or the word fuck, shit, hell, or damn sends us running for the hills. Yes, we are an evolved species. Can't you tell?
shadowkat: (Default)
I liked this post by [ profile] gabrielleabelle quite a bit, it expresses fairly clearly some of my own thoughts on the issue of how female sexuality has been exploited by and for men in comics historically...and why this is a problem.

As I stated in her blog - it is particularly an issue in the comic book world. We see more female than male nudity in comic books and anime films. Often women are sex objects. If provided with power - it is in a manner that suits a male fantasy, going back as far as Wonder Woman. Who was allegedly created as a feminist role model in a world torn by male hatred. The creator was William Moulton Marston, a controversial figure in later years. According to a documentary on comics I saw a while back - Marston was described as a fetishest who was into dominatrixes and Wonder Woman came from his own sexual fantasies.
From Wonder Woman to Buffy - about feminism and comic books, using primarily Wonder Woman as an example )
shadowkat: (my ship)
So my co-workers who have grown weary of my hacking at work, keep asking if I've seen a doctor yet. A)I'm not hacking that much - only intermittently. b)The phlegm is still more or less clear and bright yellow, green, or black. and c) I have nasal congestion. In short, I'm not running off to the doctor, who will then send me to the hospital for stupid x-rays, to diagnose bronchitis, in order to foul up my body chemistry with antiboitics - until it is absolutely necessary. Oh and d) it's only been 4 days for crying out loud. Yesterday they were commenting on the fact that I sounded just like Alf.

Kept me awake last night. So...will admit, it is tempting to see Doctor, but only if I can get codeine cough syrup. That puts you to sleep like a baby...

There's been a smattering of posts lately on fandom wars. I have to confess I've always found the fandom character wars to be annoying, regardless of the fandom. It's one of the things I like least about fandom. The constant bickering over which character is a hero and which one is a douche. And when you can't convince each other? The name-calling emerges. And in some fandoms it gets incredibly misogynistic and sexist. incredibly long musing on fandom, sexism, Buffy, the Buffy-Spike characters and ship, and why we join fandoms or come online. )

Time for bed. Throat is itchy. Hope less coughing. Damn that went on too long. I meant to go to bed earlier...ack. Oh well. No time to edit. Sorry for the typos, etc. But you should be used to them by now. ;-) (Oh, you can link to the post, it's not really that personal.)
shadowkat: (scarlett)
The coolest thing about lj is that I can interact with people from other countries, states, and cultures constantly. It's addictive. Of course, I was always a fan of foreign correspondence.
In school - had two pen pals in France, and one in Turkey. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered I truly had no aptitude for languages. No one in my family does - although we've tried.
Momster took two years of German, Dadster took three of Russian, KidBro - two of Spainish, and I took six of French (I stayed with it the longest, out of pure determination - so as a result I have a rudimentary understanding of the language - in that I can read it fairly well or at least well enough. But - I can't write, speak or understand spoken French. Europeans tend to speak faster than Americans do, noticed this while watching Doctor Who and having to rewind to make head or tails out of what he was saying.)

Anyhow...enuf about me. Saw the new Doctor Who finally. Love the new writer, but am on the fence about the new actor playing the role - the man has the funniest looking face - no eyebrows really. It is going to take me a while to warm to him. But not that long - he has everything down pat - the cadence, the mannerisms, the kinetic energy, and the arrogance, as well as the niave charm. Also Stephen Moffat is in some respects a much better writer than Davies - he scares me more and I find his plotting, world-building, and characterizations more intriguing and less silly. It's personal preference, I know. But I'm a huge fan of Moffat and not so much of RTD. This could change, we shall see. Also, I rather liked the set-up for the companion - which in some respects works better than Rose Tyler or Martha Jones - which were a bit too romantic in nature and abrupt.spoilers on Doctor Who - Eleventh Hour )

Also saw the Quentin Tarantino Revenge Fantasy Inglorious Bastards which in some respects reminded me a great deal of the old Charles Bronsan film "Once Upon A Time in The Old West" as well as The Dirty Dozen. It's sort of the Dirty Dozen meets Once Upon A Time in The Old West meets Cinema Paradiso. What I love about Tarantino - is it is obvious this guy is a film buff and has watched and critiqued a wide range of movies in his lifetime. He used to work in video store back in the 1970s, I think. And at times, watching his films, I can really see that video store geek behind the camera. Being a film geek myself - I admittedly enjoy this aspect of Tarantino's film-making. It's in the geeky details that only a film geek or buff would know - such as the reference to Nazi cinema and the fact that film was made of nitrate back then and highly flammable. Also his films reference other movies.

What I'm less crazy about is the cartoon violence that permeates his films to such an extent that I'm starting to think Reservoir Dogs was fairly tame. That was amongst his first films, controversially violent for it's time. Now? It's rather tame. And this one is admittedly tamer than Kill Bill. Yet like Kill Bill - it is a revenge fantasy.
Film Review with Spoilers - Inglorious Bastards )
shadowkat: (scarlett)
Saw somewhere on the lj this week a post decrying the lack of diverse women roles in tv. And at first I thought, yeah, they are right, tv is an evil male dominated world with no cool women, except male fantasy figures or super-chicks or pretty models - good for the guys. Then, I gave myself a task - come up with five tv shows and five tv show characters, female, that aren't male fantasy and are diverse and are cool and interesting and I can identify with on some level. And guess what? I came up with a lot more than that. [ETC: Wasn't very clear about this, apparently...what I was reacting to was a post that decried the lack of diverse women's roles - by that I mean women who are clearly not just cast for male fantasy or to support the male character, or to attract the male audience, who are not say "pretty" or "one type" - such as the character of Sarah on Chuck or Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Fiona on Burn Notice - those were three of the characters referenced. In short, where are the Hurley's, Sheldon's, Leonard's, Raj's and Topher's for women?? My first response was, huh, they are right. There are none. Then I thought, can I challenge that assumption/generalization? And that's what brought about the list below. The choice of Juliet from Lost and V - is that this is a woman who was not just about the man, she affected change in both series and stood in her own right, sure pretty, but no super-powers, and was ordinary, an FBI agent with a son, or a fertility specialist who had bad luck in romance. Other, better choices, include Chandra Wilson's Bailey, a surgeon on Grey's Anatomy, who is short, black, and heavy-set, and over the age of 30. Tough as nails. And has won an Emmy for her role.]

Here's my list:
list of strong and interesting female characters without superpowers on tv shows and who aren't eye candy )
But...there are strong women in those's a list of them: (and yes, I know, I misspelled all their time or patience to look them up, you will just have to deal. I've left off anyone with clear super-powers such as Buffy or Willow.)

Areyn Sun in Farscape.

Delenne in B5

Major Ivanov in B5

Major Kira in DS9

Captain Janeway in Voyager, as played by Kate Mulgrew (of Ryan's Hope, sigh, I've always loved Kate Mulgrew - I grew up watching her. She was also notable in the Manions of America and in
Mrs. Columbo)

Laura Roslynn/Starbuck/Sharon/Athena/Six/DeAnna/Ellen Tigh - BSG

Donna Noble and Dr. River Song in Doctor Who

Gwen and the ladies of Torchwood, including Children of Torchwood = whose names escape me, but if you can supply, duly appreciated.

Amanda Tapping as Dr. Helen Macgnus in Sanctuary

the lead female role in The Middleman (whose character name I can't remember but I adored)

Rose - in the TV series Lost, rarely seen, but a heavy set, older, black woman.

Sarah Connor - in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The ghost - in Being Human
shadowkat: (my ship)
Via work - read the following news clipping that should be of interest to anyone interested in women's rights and how women are perceived around the world.

Go here:

Summary - while upper-class or upper-middle class women are treated well, working class women struggle. And have been known to endure groping and harrassment on commuter trains. In order to grant them some relief - the Indian government set up a Ladies Train Special - commuter trains that only have women on board. Here, finally they find some peace.
shadowkat: (my ship)
Have a dull barometric pressure headach throbbing in the background,coupled with gastric-reflux, caused by god only knows what. In the continuous battle between me and my digestive system, the digestive system is winning. Same with the weather.

After my regrettable albeit interesting discussion online about the objectification of men and women on tv, I watched the third episode of S3 Mad Men - for those following the show, this is the episode that opens with Anne Margaret singing the title song of Bye Bye Birdie in the film version of the Broadway musical. Also fitting, since I just read Http:// (I think that is the correct link) review of the current revival of the same musical on lj. He posts the reviews on his lj blog and on his review blog. He didn't like it - not surprised, John Stamos is no Dick Van Dyke (who played Albert on Broadway and in the film version) and Gina Gerson is no Chita Rivera (who played it in the original Broadway version - can't remember if she did in the film, it may have been another famous hispanic singer and dancer...). They really need to get song and dance people for those roles.

At any rate - MAD MEN - a tv series about ad men on madison avenue during the 1960s, in a scene between Elizabeth Moss's Peggy and John Hamm's Don Draper - deftly tackles the topic of objectification as well as male/female roles and male power or the male gaze in a way that I almost want to post as a vid on my lj. Because I'm not sure I can make the point better than it does. Also, depressingly enough, very little has changed between now and then in the ad world - except that now the female gaze is given a bit more priority than before.

Back then, the female gaze was well close to non-existent in media. Men ruled the roost so to speak. Vague Spoilers for Season 3, Episode 3 of Mad Men )

What I found disturbing and somewhat interesting in my recent discussion on the topic - is the number of women out there who appear to not be bothered by the male gaze, but are all upset about the female one. A lot of women are upset about how James Marsters was treated on Buffy. Odd. Considering he really only appeared naked in about three episodes (Wrecked, Gone, and As You Were. Dead Things doesn't count - since both Gellar and Marsters showed skin.) He had no shirt on in five episodes in S7 (Beneath You, Never Leave Me, Bring on the Night, Showtime, and Dirty Girls). That's really nothing. And one episode of Angel S5 (Hellbound).

Yet, I don't see complaints about the attire Buffy is shown in on the packaging of the S1 DVD's - considering the actress was 18 at the time, and her character was 16. Nor complaints about how women are portrayed in recent films, not to mention the annual Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue that comes out every year. Heck to get her career jump-started, Charisma Carpenter appeared in Playboy. Something neither James Marsters nor David Boreanze had to do.

Are women that oblivious to the male gaze and its effects? The Sopranos on HBO, airing around the same time as Buffy, had naked women in most of the episodes, the men more or less fully clothed. It was mainstream and higher in the ratings. And look at commericials - how many do you see with attractive men? OR how about stepping into a restaurant, Hooters comes to mind. At work - I remember being at a construction site and under the glass on one of the meeting tables in the workroom was a newpaper ad of an Irish bar, with the perky little waitress, and her short short skirt, and boobs hanging out. And when the film Star Trek came out - I remember post after post talking about the wonders of Uhruha and her mini-skirt, as if it was a statement of empowerment??? This is a film in which women were either mothers, shown briefly, or a naked girl in the sack with Kirk. Urhura the female lead - was shown as a sex symbol, played by a former model. Granted Kirk is hot in the film as is Spock, but it is clearly a "male" film. Transformers - the same thing, Megan Fox struts her stuff. I mention these films because they are the blockbusters of the summer.

When women do make it to film - they are shown in traditional roles (Julia and Julie) or
as sex objects (Transformers, Public Enemies, Star Trek). Or they barely show up at all (Terminator Salvation, District 9,) or they are the object of desire, pursued but not quite gotten (500 Days of Summer). If they attempt to take on the male role, they are mocked (The Proposal, All About Steve). I haven't been to the movies that much this summer and is it any wonder?

TV is a bit better - it at least is commenting on it through series such as Dollhouse and Mad Men. Or it provides women with strong roles - such as Brothers and Sisters, Damages (one of the few that has a female anti-hero), Torchwood:Children of Earth (the only sci-fi series I've seen with multiple roles for women and no-stereotypical ones), or Glee.

Granted it still has the predominately male fare - such as Supernatural. But Supernatural in its way also comments on it. Supernatural is pure noir. It is true horror noir, complete with the doomed heroes, and the doomed dark universe. In noir man doesn't have a chance. Women are either saviors or demons, parts of his subconscious, not real outside of the male's hopes and dreams. Noir fascinates me because it puts me inside the perspective of male gaze, the male mind or rather the white male mind. Most noir is film by the group in power, for some reason or other. And most of it is bleak. Almost misanthropic or apologetic. Self-abasing. The noir hero hates himself, is self-loathing. The world he inhabits pointless, and hopeless. And women a light in the tunnel, but more often than not a coming train. Supernatural also fascinates me - because it hits my brother kink - or brother issues kink. I watch it solely for the relationship between the brothers, and well Mischa Collins Castiel (who for some reason or other turns me on). Is it sexist? Yes. Is it at times misogynistic? Yes. But it is also misanthropic. That is noir. It is to a degree - the point of noir. Blade Runner being an excellent example - the Director's cut, not the original. Also to give Supernatural credit - the women are powerful - either powerful Angels, or powerful demons. They are not weak. And it hits on the nose the male fear of female power. Of gender roles.

personal experiences regarding the male gaze and sexism )

My granny once said before you judge someone try walking a mile in their's not as easy as it sounds. But I wonder sometimes, what world we would live in if every guy experienced one day of the discomfort that James Marsters complains of on the Buffy set? Would that change things? Would they realize that is how we feel? If every guy who was made uncomfortable by those scenes or how the male characters were objectified in Sex in the City or in Buffy, thought that is how women feel all the time. Imagine feeling that way every day you go to work? Every place you travel? Imagine what it would feel like.

[Not edited due to lateness of the hour and I have to go to bed.]
shadowkat: (chesire cat)
Was reminded of a few things tonight. Spoke with a friend who told me that he did not think Rock Star Sarah was going to win this election. Because when it came down to it, we vote for the President not the Vice President. And Sarah and McCain to date still have not mentioned anything regarding how they will fix our economy, which let's face it is the number one topic for 80% of Americans. Food prices have gone up, mortages are up, fuel is up, education is up, everything but the value of our property, our cars, and our jobs has risen. Middle Class Americans are using food stamps. And over 85,000 jobs were lost this past month. And all Sarah and John talk about is Iraq? He also reminded me that it is not Sarah Palin who upsets me, it is her policies and her views. The fact that I do not agree that the Bible should be read literally or interpreted literally. (I don't. It is my problem with 80% of the Christian Religions - the fact that they believe the Bible is a "biblical record of factual information handed to us directly from God" - while I believe the Bible is an anthology made up of fables, morality tales, historical records, poems, stories, and songs passed down orally and written by men to explain their beliefs, figure out the world, philosophy, and comment on what was happening - often via metaphors. To read it literally to me is a bit like watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and seeing that as the Gospel, and believing vampires really exist. I do not believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally and that attempting to follow it's dictates literally only leads to hypocrisey and destruction and horrible things - because it contradicts itself in places and like any written work, is complicated.) I despise her world view not her. It's an important thing to remember - that we don't hate a person, we just disagree with how they see the world, for it is the opposite of how we do.

He told me that while he did not think McCain would win this, that the polls are the popular vote not the electoral vote where Obama is still leading, he is afraid there is an outside chance that Obama may lose primarily because he is African-American or Black. There are quite a few working class middle Americans out there from small towns, who no matter how bad things get, how poor they are, would never in a million years vote for an African-American ('Negro') for President. I pray this isn't true, but I read this morning in the paper, how NY's first African-American Governor, David Patterson, saw racism implicit not advert, but implicit in Sarah Palin's speechs and between the lines. And yes, I see it too. Sarah is like a lot of small town white Americans - who have lived in one place their entire lives and never interacted with a diverse group of people - she's Archie Bunker from All in the Family. Say what you will about Norman Lear but he nailed middle American white bigotry and it has not disappeared.

That said? This election is a positive one. It is the first time in US History that two women, and a black man ran as viable candidates for President. Not only that, they got more attention than the White Guys. That's major. It gives me hope that maybe we are beginning to move away from the old boys club. Regardless of the outcome - the fact that a woman and a black man ran as viable candidates - and one of them will either be President or in line for President of the US, when just a few decades ago neither had the right to vote - is something to celebrate and worth remembering.

Anywho - got this from another friend via email tonight:

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues", wrote the following about Sarah Palin.


Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.
cut for length )
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