svollga: (granat)
I haven't posted here in ages, mostly because I had a very hard-working autumn, and then I felt as I'm unused to posting to several social network sites anymore. Also, my circle here is mostly social justice feeds, and I was a bit tired of thinking about this stuff all the time. I know it's necessary, but sometimes it's so exhausting to care. But I'm back on track now.

Anyway, mostly I just want to talk about what I'm writing right now, and how all I've read so far about representation and stuff is working out. I'm writing a huge, epic novel-length fanfic thing, which is rare for me because I tend to write short stories and novellas. Another rare thing is that usually, my narrative is focused on the main characters, and all the other canon and original characters are just a background functions. But I can't do it in an epic thing with an actual plot, so I'm having a couple of dozens characters running around.
And here comes the representation thing. Because before I got caught in this whole social justice/equality stuff, I would follow the stereotypes. I need a bodyguard? I take a strong big man. I need a rape survivor? A woman or (being in a slash fanfic) a young slight boy. Older men for the authority figures. A good guy to die in a mission heroically saving someone.
Now, I still have the stereotypes in my head. But I also have a stop button. Every time I need a character for some function in the plot, I stop, and I think about which stereotype fits, and then I do any other thing that is stereotypical, or I subvert it. So there's a woman as a chief of security, and another one as a sexually assertive buddy/wingman for a main character (and also his first officer), a big manly man as a rape survivor, and other people in places where the stereotypes don't fit them in. And the best thing about it all? I didn't have to think about in consciously. It's not that I actually stopped and thought about the choice. It was all my brain working somewhere deep, so I just had to think 'who is the security personel in this scene', and I saw not a big manly man, but a blonde curly woman with a mean right hook. Or an Indian beauty with a no-nonsence attitude. Or maybe there was a big strong man, but there weren't only big strong men in security.
Okay, I still have a clingy-going-evil woman, and a leacherous/treacherous man, but I think it's okay because there are enough characters around who aren't following any stereotypical narratives and tropes for those two to exist. Because while I am all for subverting the stereotypes there's another thing going on in the subversive circles that I don't quite like: turning against any character that fits the stereotypical trope even when it's a thing that happens to people. In a fandom that praises the diversity and subversion in there show, there is a lot of annoyance if a victim doesn't fight, but freezes, though there are a lot of people freezing at the assault. A woman showing any 'stereotypically female' weakness is considered 'bad work' because she's stereotypical, though there are women like her. This troubles me, as a 'strong woman' stereotype going circles. So I think this is how this whole representation thing should work: subvert and dissolve stereotypes until they don't exist anymore, and include those very stereotypes in it's tollbox when they are from the real people's life, just see that they aren't overrepresented.

P.S.: Criminal Minds does all this stuff brilliantly. Can't stop watching.

svollga: (lesbian)
yuki_onna dissects Lady Gaga's bisexuality claim: If you only want relationships with men--and she's not only saying she's only had relationships with men in the past, but only looks for them with men now, and could never love a woman--well, you know, I have a hard time seeing what's so thrillingly queer about that.
You know, I tend to distrust any celebrity declaration of bisexuality. It seems to me that most of them (especially women) do it for titillation of the audience. I know it's not right to doubt and argue the self-identification of people, but the label they use, I use too, and what they do with it echoes with me. And a lot of them use this label but only date opposite sex in public, supporting the myth of bisexuals using their own gender for sex while marrying the opposite.
So when they call themselves bisexual but only have open visible long-term relationship with opposite sex like Lady Gaga, it makes my past and potential future same-sex relationship more fragile and 'unreal' in the other's eyes. When they call themselves bisexual but then take it back like David Bowie, it makes my orientation less valid in other's eyes. There are of course people who are doing it sort of right, like Angelina Jolie who doesn't dismiss her relationship with a woman as something less then real. But the more people represent bisexuality as something not real, the more I feel the need to defend it as real, and I don't know how, and don't actually want to defend what I am (especially as I'm not quite bisexual, I'm pansexual because gender isn't binary, and I prefer queer anyway). It's all kind of stupid.

Speaking of another sort of representation: there's a usual argument in the discussions about queer representation (or any minority representation, actually, but let's take queer for this one) that it's all very good to have queer representation, but you can't force the author, the creator, to write something they don't want to, because of the holy creative process and inspiration and so on. And on one hand, I get it. I write things, too, and I write whatever is in my head, and I don't stop to check for representation. But on the other hand, when I see yet another 'the author has the right to write whatever they have in mind' I want to scream: 'No they don't have the right to erase me and the likes of me from existence because they don't want me in their little pretty world so much that they can't even think about me and the likes of me! Stop making me invisible! LOOK at me, I'm here in this world, we are all around you, we're here, we're queer, didn't you get the memo to get used to it?'

...I think I have a period of being angry at discrimination and silencing and stuff. Not used to it.


svollga: (tv)
There's a discussion on The non-queerness of our current Who that has so. much. fail in comments, I can't stop wincing. There was a lot of win in comments, too. But fail grabbed me stronger. I'm very sensitive these days.

# It is a family show. Queers aren't allowed in a family show because they are enemies of family. Also, naughty queers.
# It's for children, not for teenagers as RTD's era was. Again, children should never see queers. They can get queer cooties. Right through the screen.
# Moffat isn't gay so he doesn't think about gay agenda when writing his stories. Minority stories are for the minorities to tell (to each other, probably) while privileged people enjoy their privilege to forget about the existence of said minorities.
# The story isn't about relationships, romance and/or love. So we can have blatantly heterosexual people all around flirting/in love/married/having families (not to mention heterosexual couple as the main characters and a wedding as a major plot point), and the story isn't about romance, but having any kind of queer representation makes it about romance.
# I watch for the story, not for romace/sexual situations. And queers can't be action characters, they are all about queer sexuality.
# Most foregrounded relationships in the series are between parents and children. And queers can't be parents. Never.
# Heterosexual relashionship aren't really in your face. But they are in background all the time, and did I mention heterosexual couple as main characters and a wedding?
# It is close to the ratio of straight/queer in real life. No, it's not, even if we take only quantity not quality (i.e. one short remark vs wedding storyline).
# I assume that River is bisexual/Eleven is asexual/character N is queer, so add it to your list. Can we please stop talking about subtext while discussing text? Subtext is in the eyes of the beholder. Those who want see it, those who don't - don't. Text is a slogan, a speech, a statement of existence. Queers were in the closet of subtext for too long. Thank you, but no.
# And my personal peeve: I'm bisexual, and I don't care whether there are queer storilines or not, because I make no difference between genders/don't look specifically for queer references. So you are okay with dating any gender but seeing only straight couples on screen? Well, I'm bi, and I'm not okay with it. Because I'm tired of feeling that one half of my sexual identity is forbidden while the other is supported by society, and that I have to choose sides. I want not to care about the gender of people kissing on my screen, but because nobody cares, not because I'm blind to the unequality and queer invisibility.

Grrr *shakes fist*
svollga: (smile)
I've started watching X-Files, for the first time since 2000. I was a huge fan back then, but now, I remember little of the series.

The thing that is sort of a cultural shock to me today is the male gaze in the show (lack of it). During the first three series I've watched, Scully is wearing sensible outfits. When she's in the Bureau, she's dreassed as a business lady, no cleavage visible, shirts up to her neck, long skirts, comfortable pants. When they are in the woods she is dressed for the woods: jeans, big warm shirt, big overcoat, hair tied in a ponytale.
It's so... unusual. Today, the heroine goes into the woods dressed in skin-tight jeans and low-cut top, leaves her overcoat open (if she has one), and her hair are long on her shoulders.

Then, there was a bathroom scene in Episode 3. You know those scenes when the heroin is going to take a bath, and then shit happens? She starts the water, and sensually takes her clothes off, the camera following all the lines and curves of her body, and then she steps into the bath, and maybe there is foam covering her skin... then shit happens and she has to fight almost naked for the viewer's titillation. *yawn*
What do we have here? Scully starts the water. She's almost fully dressed, wearing her comfortably wide pants and white blouse, also rather wide and buttoned almost to her neck. She's also wearing comfortable flats. No male gaze camerawork. She is just a women filling the bath to relaz after a hard day.
Then shit happens. While she is fully dressed. Nothing is done for viewer's titillation at all. She doesn't fall into the bath, so that her blouse would become transparent and wrap her body tight. Her clothes aren't torn to give a glimpse of her body. Nothing.
Oh, and she gets the bad guy before Mulder comes to resque. While being fully dressed and awesome.

In Episode 2, she took the bad guy, manhandled him and forced him to do what she wants at gunpoint, wearing big shirt and big overcoat. No high heels, no sexy tight tops, no flirting. Only Scully, no-nonsense and awesome.

The only titillating scene was in the Pilot (Episode 1) where she is actually in her (quite sensible) underwear. (And then Mulder was looking at her naked back. UST on the way!) One scene in three episodes. And I have a feeling I'll have to wait a lot to see Scully undressed again.

Oh. And did I mention that all this time, being dressed sensibly and with her body fully covered, giving nothing to the titillation, she was not just awesome - she was hot like hell?


svollga: (lesbian)

I voted for AfterEllen's Hot 100, along with "companion lists", which, sadly, have only 5 places for nominees each against 10 in the main list. Here is my list of choice:

Alyson Hannigan
Catherine Tate - also in Hottest Women Over 40
Christina Cox
Freema Ageyman - also in Hottest Women of Color
Gina Torres - also in Hottest Women of Color and Hottest Women Over 40
Jennifer Beals - also in Hottest Women of Color and Hottest Women Over 40
Kirsten Vangsness - also in Hottest Out Lesbian/Bi Women (and why the hell don't they have Hottest Plus-Size Women vote?)
Meryl Streep - she should be also in Hottest Women Over 40, but I was out of place already, so I decided that she'll be there anyway, and I better vote for some less popular women
Olivia Williams - also in Hottest Women Over 40
Paget Brewster - she should also be in Hottest Women Over 40! Hell, they don't have enough place for my girls of choice. Though I didn't know she is 41 already until I checked her Wiki page.
Sadly, I somehow forgot to add Lisa Edelstein to the main list (I sometimes miss the obvious). But she's in my list of Hottest Women Over 40.

It seems that I consider women over 40 sexier. Which is sort of true - at least in a sence that they usually look on screen like women over 30 I know in real life, they have a more distinct personality, and they often have the type of body I find very appealing - tall, athletic/curvy and busty. It's one of many types of women I find attractive. Though there are many other types I find hot, but they are, sadly, under-represented on screen and among the celebreties. I also find a lot if young women attractive in real life, but on screen, not so much.

BTW, after I voted, I've found this appeal to vote for butches: The AfterEllen list has so far been extremely feminine, white, under 40, and straight. Last year, AfterEllen launched some supplemental lists, which were: women of color, women over 40, and out women. But still, no gender diversity. I already voted so I can't participate again, and though I find butch women very attractive, I don't know any celebrity butches except for Ellen. (This fact nicely illustrates the problem win gender diversity on screen.)

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December 2010

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