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Thread: Feminism and Equality in S8 and S9

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sienna View Post
    The internet is a very good example of why the job of feminism is very, very far from over. Female commentators online are often exposed to very violent rhetoric and sexist harrassment for entering into debates or simply putting forward their opinions.

    A good recent example was media commentator Anita Sarkeesian: http://www.feministfrequency.com/about/.

    Anita has developed a series of very popular short videos on tropes in popular culture. Some time ago she announced her intention to develop a series of videos exploring representations of women in gaming. The response - simply for saying she wanted to develop the videos - was sickening. Thousands of vile, sexist comments; a game encouraging people to beat-up a photo of her; comments threatening to rape her, kill her. Seriously horrible stuff. If you haven't read about this, and have the stomach to, there's an article about it here: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/in...rassment-looks.

    I wish this was a one-off occurrence too, but unfortunately it is very common with online women commentators and has the effect of intimidating and silencing female voices in popular spaces. Twitter is horrible for it.

    In this context, I think saying that 'witch hunting' and 'patriarchal oppression' is a thing of the past is premature. It is very, very alive and has migrated to the virtual world with the rest of us.

    Vampmogs and Reddygirl also make brilliant points about embedded sexism and how it resides even in our language.
    Thank you for mentioning Anita Sarkeesian. I've watched her videos in question and it's jaw droppingly shocking to see just how male dominated and sexist they are. Yes, even language has sexist language encoded into the words we use and that's also part of the problem. Here's a simple example of this. You all know the famous opening line in the classic Star Trek series had Captain Kirk say about the Enterprise's mission: to boldly go where no *man* has gone before.

    Yes, it's very retro considering that series aired during the late 60s during the height of the Vietnam War. But still...no man has gone before? Okay...but what about women? Can you imagine that opening monologue with the captain saying the Enterprise's mission is to go where no woman has gone before? Another one is "mankind"...which is actually a redundant word considering it's supposedly taking about man...but coupling it to say it's about man is general is circular logic at it's most twisted. So what's wrong with saying humankind instead?
    Last edited by DorothyFan1; 23-04-13 at 05:10 AM.

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    Big Picture junkie dorotea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reddygirl View Post
    `

    Naming a girl Billie, Bobby, Michael, Christopher, Maxwell is perfectly acceptable. Naming a boy Catherine, Melanie, Buffy, Elizabeth isn't.
    Purely English-as-language based quirk. If you try other languages, you often time find them much less gender-discriminative , naming-wise.

    Women wearing a man's shirt, coat, tie, tuxedo is fine. A man wearing feminine attire is called a cross dresser.
    Once again, purely a quirk of fashion in one particular century or three. You look 5 to 6 hundred years back, and find a tunic being basic attire for both sexes. Pants being a part of male only costume is a quirk of Western civilizational trait.

    Costume is merely a surface feature. Public acceptance of a right to marry or divorce, right for pregnancy termination, right to own property, or held public office is way more important.
    “Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon” ranks as probably the best next-to-last line in TV history. (Granted, I’m not exactly sure what the competition is.) -- A.V. Club

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    Library Researcher Sienna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorotea
    Once again, purely a quirk of fashion in one particular century or three. You look 5 to 6 hundred years back, and find a tunic being basic attire for both sexes. Pants being a part of male only costume is a quirk of Western civilizational trait.

    Costume is merely a surface feature. Public acceptance of a right to marry or divorce, right for pregnancy termination, right to own property, or held public office is way more important.
    A quirk is a one-off thing, surely. When it's a commonality across language, fashion, cultural norms it becomes a systemic devaluing of one gender in favour of another. Or do you think it's coincidence that masculine things are valued highly, and female things valued poorly across multiple platforms?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sienna View Post
    A quirk is a one-off thing, surely. When it's a commonality across language, fashion, cultural norms it becomes a systemic devaluing of one gender in favour of another. Or do you think it's coincidence that masculine things are valued highly, and female things valued poorly across multiple platforms?
    Hmm, being a native speaker of Russian I cannot really see your point here. We do have very strict gender-enforcing rules for every noun from pencils to spaceships and nuclear power stations, from whales and dinosaurs to shrews and viruses. Yet, there is no pattern of discrimination. A ship is male, while a boat is female. A town house is male , while a country house is female. Every species of animal has a female and male variation of a noun, same as pronoun. Does it make our language more or less sexist ? (I believe German is even more funny.) Oh, and we have a gender-neutral 'third' variety of nouns called 'common'. A treasure, an egg, sun or scientific observation would belong to this group. Funny eh ?
    “Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon” ranks as probably the best next-to-last line in TV history. (Granted, I’m not exactly sure what the competition is.) -- A.V. Club

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    Library Researcher Sienna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorotea View Post
    Hmm, being a native speaker of Russian I cannot really see your point here. We do have very strict gender-enforcing rules for every noun from pencils to spaceships and nuclear power stations, from whales and dinosaurs to shrews and viruses. Yet, there is no pattern of discrimination. A ship is male, while a boat is female. A town house is male , while a country house is female. Every species of animal has a female and male variation of a noun, same as pronoun. Does it make our language more or less sexist ? (I believe German is even more funny.) Oh, and we have a gender-neutral 'third' variety of nouns called 'common'. A treasure, an egg, sun or scientific observation would belong to this group. Funny eh ?
    Ha! My parents are Greek and this sounds very similar. A chair in Greek is female. A table however is neutral. A cat is female but a dog is male. Funny!

    So perhaps there are differences in language.

    In English at least - and in Greek also - certain gendered concepts are given more value than others. 'To cry like a girl' for instance implies 'to be weak'. It's 'weak' because it's female, whereas to be strong is to 'be a man'. That's one example of how language undervalues female ways of being in the world and over-values male ways of being in the world. For instance, the way emotionality (gendered female) is given less value than rationality (gendered male). (I shouldn't start on that subject by the way as I have much to say on how pretending we're predominantly rational creatures - we're not - rather than emotionally led - which we are - is turning the human race into a bunch of repressed neuroses).
    Last edited by Sienna; 23-04-13 at 06:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Maximum View Post
    Re: Anya, I think that where it counts the most is what Anya does in the present and these are always shown as wrong if sympathetic. I think that Entropy/Selfless, as a story, couldn't be told if Anya genuinely understood beforehand why her previous actions were capital-W Wrong.
    That's true. I don't know if there were long-term plans for Anya to go back to vengeance- Restless indicates that there was- although I'm never sure about the Restless foreshadowing claims.

    In a lot of ways I think that the game with Anya is not that dissimilar to the one with the Trio in season six: play it all for laughs until a moment comes (the frat boys and to a lesser extent the Sluggoth demon for Anya, Katrina for the Trio) where you realize it isn't a joke. The "played for laughs" element is possible because the show *is* a fantasy; I can't stress enough how much the show dances around with its fictional nature to make points about storytelling, and sometimes this means that the literal interpretation of its tone is a bit skewed.
    Interesting that you bring up the Trio. I shrugged my hands away from my debate-y posture re: Anya's crimes are gendered because I compared Anya to Spike- Anya's equivalent in so much.

    Many of Spike's past crimes were also played for laughs. However while the girl in the coal bin and the decorator in Dead Things were diminished, I found the diminishing gender-neutral. The same joke could have been made for a female or male vampire. However, Spike's joke that he'd like to "thin the Scooby herd" (which diminishes his past real attempts to kill various Scooby members) is gender-coded in favor of Spike for him to play the Bad Boy Boyfriend whose virtue is that he hates everyone but the heroine so the heroine and the audience loves how that makes them feel special.

    However, his attacks on the slayers in Fool For Love and his attacks on Willow almost seem gendered *against* Spike and then gendered *for* Spike. It's against Spike in that it includes an overpowering/eliminating strong women specifically in the slayers and a rape component against Willow that wouldn't really exist if Spike was a woman. However, it then become eroticized in a way that works for Spike.

    I found the whole way that Spike's crimes get trim for his gender so confuzzling that I could not adequately compare and contrast to Anya. It somewhat inhibited me from saying that Anya's way of getting of crimes is particularly gendered to her.

    Still, I do think that there's righteousness to some of her comments and a farcial "he cheated on me" vibe where the show gets Anya off for her gender and what she represents in the oppression of women. A righteousness and farce that Spike and the Trio, as men, don't enjoy.

    I do think that Anya's past crimes are treated as funny because of the you-go-girl feminism coupled with the fact that Anya is currently completely powerless -- but it also just doesn't play as real. I think that Anyanka-in-the-past is an outsized instance of exaggerated fantasy female power which can exist precisely because real world women didn't have the power to explode the penises of men who hurt them. Once Anya has actual power in the present frame of the story it is no longer a joke. This even holds for Entropy -- it can be played as funny exactly *because* no non-vengeance demon characters are aware of what she is trying to do and Anya is going to fail. This doesn't change its moral status but female fantasy of vengeance and the reality of vengeance are two different things, hence the difference.
    Interesting point. And male characters get away with foiled plots too- Spike shooting Buffy in Fool for Love, Xander hoping to enspell Cordelia to torture her in BB&B. Must consider.

    Re: Tara I agree on much. Though the point is that the closeted lesbian metaphor is meant to represent actual demonization of gay people IRL, you-are-a-monster-going-to-drag-those-around-you-to-hell-into-sinning. How much people should be held accountable for not disclosing how awful they have been told by others they are is complicated. I don't know that Tara entirely believes that she's a demon but she is conflicted and I think the closeted lesbian metaphor does actually work in some (not all) ways.
    I agree that Tara's not sure and I'm not indifferent to the argument that Tara's family put a horrible and very difficult moral burden on her just because they're bad people. However, the secret had reached the point where Tara was informed that her demon-nes made her a risk and a danger to others and an entirely different species and Tara believed it enough that she was willing to compromise a potentially multi-life-saving spell and then put a spell to take away her friends' ability to see her as she thought she was. She believed it enough that she carries responsibility for what she believed.

    Conversely, I mean, wrecking the Goodbye Iowa spell to help find Adam who is out there eviscerating children and removing that potential item from the Scooby toolbox has actual negative consequences that don't get vetted or anything.
    Yup.

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  9. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipstick View Post
    That's true. I don't know if there were long-term plans for Anya to go back to vengeance- Restless indicates that there was- although I'm never sure about the Restless foreshadowing claims.
    My usual take with foreshadowing things is -- if it ends up in the text, the text is better for it, regardless of whether it was intended or not. It does perhaps change the level of success of the writers writing earlier material, but not the whole story.

    Interesting contrast with Anya/Spike. I think I generally agree.

    I didn't mention it earlier, but I really liked your discussion of how the war material plays into your feelings about the show's feminism.

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    Going back a bit to whether Joss has any cause to think that a 'feminist backlash' plot would be relevant at this time. I feel like in this regard he should be cut some slack, simply based on various news topics I've run across just this morning.

    News Story Number 1 - April 25, 2013
    Apparently the Boston Bombers had become so wrapped up in their thought processes that they influenced both the older bomber's American wife and their mother (who was always Muslim but not as conservatively so {conservative not descriptor of an American political movement, so no one lose it over the c-word} such they they both relatively recently changed to wearing veils at the bombers insistence.

    Now, I'm not 'othering' here, because Islam isn't the only religion that can have a radicalized faction that treads into controlling or even anti-woman territory. Which brings me to news story #2 ...

    News Story Number 2 - April 25th, 2013
    A Megachurch Pastor in Washington (for those outside the U.S., that means what it looks like it means. A very, very large congregation) this week publically blogged and sermonized to his MegaChurch congregation:

    {Women are} quarrelsome. You’re a nag. You’re disrespectful. You’re quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy’s just scratching on his wall every day. Proverbs talks about certain women—they’re like a dripping faucet. You ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet? Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. It’s what we use to torture people who are prisoners of war. A wife is like that.”
    He sermonized this to literally hundreds of people, guys. Or more (there was TV broadcast too).


    News Story Number 3 - April 25th 2013
    Apparently someone did a 47% tape deal on political operative Frank Luntz, releasing a tape, part of which discussing how the foray into birth control and anti-women rhetoric during the last election was politically unhelpful, particularly the slut shaming of Sandra Fluke (no, he didn't use the term 'slut shame', but the gist of his sentiment was 'You guys! ixnay on the exismsay. The wommenz apparently dislike it!"


    Now, whether this merits a comic book plot? Eh. (I still don't think it was a particularly good one). But that's an artistic choice. The sheer fact that all three of these stories popped up on the newsfeed this morning, though, says to me that are things to explore. It's not wholly irrelevant to the world today or insufficient to inspire one to such a creative exploration if someone were of a mind to. )

    It's certainly not the biggest issue of the day. But, sadly, it is at least a tangential issue. And if an artist wants to take a crack at it, well... it is artistic expression after all.
    Last edited by shipperx; 25-04-13 at 04:16 PM.
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