Posts Tagged ‘male gaze’
UPDATE: We wound up talking a bit more about this on Twitter. Here’s the Storify.
Since March I’ve been chewing over this MetaFilter comment on the “brony” phenomenon:
OK. I’m a gonna say it. Bronies are rape by proxy. Girls are not allowed a safe place in pop culture. They are not alowed to have role-models that are not hypersexualized by a “fandom.” Guys into sex with ponies are into fucking women back into their place, and not about celebrating the triumph of imagination… and those guys into sex with ponies would never, ever dare air their rapiness without the vast subculture of adult men obsessing over a kids’ show aimed at girls. PPG got away with it, Billy and Mandy got away with it… Equestria has to be fucked into submission.
It was the first thing I thought of when I saw this New York Times piece on a “bold new direction” for the My Little Pony franchise, summarized thus: My Little Pony Gets Sexualized Teen Reboot. The recent Brave kerfuffle goes in here somewhere too.
* SFW (at least in my estimation) photography project depicting porn actresses with and without makeup. Discussion thread at MeFi, which links to a few more discussion threads at Reddit that are pretty soul-crushing.
* My three year old daughter and I play a lot of old games together. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario… So what else am I supposed to do? Now I’m up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline. Also via MeFi.
* The Britannica Advantage was not only illusory, it also reflected the way in which the market economy always finds a way to turn things that are good in themselves into means to an end.
* And some more interesting SF from Eliezer Yudkowsky: “Three Worlds Collide.”
* Confirmed: US planned to nuke the moon. Not a Mr. Show link, not an imaginary story…
Questions like “how did things get the way they are?” or “how far back do we have to go to find the roots of this problem?” are usually more interesting—and more recognizable as historical problems—than questions like “what happened next?”
* This guide provides an introduction to a handful of the strange spatial typologies found within the “cold chain,” that linked network of atmospheric regulation on which our entire way of life depends.
* In “North by Northwest” and other movies, Grant — for all his good looks — represented the triumph of the sexual meritocracy — a sex appeal won by experience and savoir-faire, not delts and pecs and other such things that any kid can have. Oh man. How did this ever see print?
* Last Year’s Debt Ceiling Debacle Cost Taxpayers $18.9 Billion. We can beat that.
* We’ve all been there: Ann Arbor man punched during literary argument. But this story buries the lede: what book were they arguing about?
* And You Are Most Likely to Die at 11 a.m. If you’re in the Midwest, that’s about forty-five minutes from now, so you’d better get moving…
* The Obama administration said Friday it will begin charging $465 this month for temporary work permits for many young illegal immigrants, as it laid out details of one its signature new policies on immigration.
* Depressingly, Detroit is now stealing plotlines from The Wire.
* And the New Republic proves once again it is the absolute worst magazine in the world. When you are tired of Springsteen, you are tired of life…
* Great television contrarianism watch: Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock. In which I analyze my allergy to Sherlock.
* David Harvey: The financial crisis is an urban crisis.
* Utopia and dystopia in quantum superposition: New parking meters text you when time’s running out.
But there is something troubling about this sea of C.G.I.-perfect flesh, shaved and scentless and not especially medieval. It’s unsettling to recall that these are not merely pretty women; they are unknown actresses who must strip, front and back, then mimic graphic sex and sexual torture, a skill increasingly key to attaining employment on cable dramas. During the filming of the second season, an Irish actress walked off the set when her scene shifted to what she termed “soft porn.” Of course, not everyone strips: there are no truly explicit scenes of gay male sex, fewer lingering shots of male bodies, and the leading actresses stay mostly buttoned up. Artistically, “Game of Thrones” is in a different class from “House of Lies,” “Californication,” and “Entourage.” But it’s still part of another colorful patriarchal subculture, the one called Los Angeles.
* Terrible news, state by state:
* Contemplating these dreary statistics, one might well conclude that the United States is — to a distressing extent — a nation of violent, intolerant, ignorant, superstitious, passive, shallow, boorish, selfish, unhealthy, unhappy people, addicted to flickering screens, incurious about other societies and cultures, unwilling or unable to assert or even comprehend their nominal political sovereignty. Or, more simply, that America is a failure.
* The New Yorker‘s science fiction issue is live. If you wanted to get me to read New Yorker fiction for the first time in years, well, mission accomplished…
* And we’re still pouring college money down the for-profit drain. Because never learning from your mistakes is the most important thing we have to teach.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that votes for the Oscars, is nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male, according to a Los Angeles Times study published Sunday. Blacks are about 2 percent of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2 percent.
‘Whenever We’ve Got Kids under 14 in the House and They Start Rummaging Through My Comics Collection, I Have to Dive In and Make Sure They Don’t Innocently Pick Up Some Superhero Book and Run Into What Amounts to Softcore Porn’
How to fix comics’ “women problem,” from Kieron Gillen, Greg Rucka, Kurt Busiek, G. Willow Wilson, Jeff Parker, Jess Fink, Brandon Graham, Sana Amanat, Jamie McKelvie, Erika Moen and Rachel Edidin.
This is so sexy, precisely because it’s Marilyn reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. She doesn’t have to pose, we don’t even need to see her face, what comes off the photo is absolute concentration, and nothing is sexier than absolute concentration. There she is, the goddess, not needing to please her audience or her man, just living inside the book. The vulnerability is there, but also something we don’t often see in the blonde bombshell; a sense of belonging to herself. It’s not some playboy combination of brains and boobs that is so perfect about this picture; it is that reading is always a private act, is intimate, is lover’s talk, is a place of whispers and sighs, unregulated and usually unobserved. We are the voyeurs, it’s true, but what we’re spying on is not a moment of body, but a moment of mind. For once, we’re not being asked to look at Marilyn, we’re being given a chance to look inside her.
Jeanette Winterson on “Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses,” Long Island, 1954, via Bookslut. Happy Bloomsday, one and all.
GB: There can be an interesting freedom in the restrictions, too, even though that sounds contradictory. If you look at “Jaws” and “Alien,” the limitations on the visual effects led to ingenuity and better films. And there are many films today that go wild with visual effects and it leads to entirely forgettable films.
NB: It’s so true. From a pure audience perspective, it may yield a more interesting result. Think of “Alien,” if they made it now you would probably get “Alien vs. Predator.”
* China Miéville is blogging a rejectamentalist manifesto.
The first thing we always look at is if the New Yorker is bringing new writers into the mix or sticking with its old standbys. Just 10 writers account for 82 (or 23%) of the 358 stories to appear over the last seven years. Just 18 writers account for 124 (or 35%) of the stories. The New Yorker is sometimes criticized for featuring the same writers again and again, but it appears to be getting better on this front. The 18 “standbys” noted above and listed below accounted for only 7 of the 49 stories published in 2009 (or 14%). On the flip side of this argument, 15 writers appeared in the New Yorker for the first time in 2009 (at least since 2003).
* Monkeys recognize bad grammar. But they still can’t spell.
It looks as though traditional economists have a strong optimism bias, which I try to balance with my fervent belief that the economy will catastrophically collapse on any given day.
* I’m starting the new year with the sinking feeling that important opportunities are slipping from the nation’s grasp. Our collective consciousness tends to obsess indiscriminately over one or two issues — the would-be bomber on the flight into Detroit, the Tiger Woods saga — while enormous problems that should be engaged get short shrift.
….This is a society in deep, deep trouble and the fixes currently in the works are in no way adequate to the enormous challenges we’re facing.
So Yemen’s population has tripled since 1975 and will double again by 2035. Meanwhile, state revenue will decline to zero by 2017 and the capital city of Sanaa will run out of water by 2015 — partly because 40% of Sanaa’s water is pumped illegally in the outskirts to irrigate the qat crop.
* Goal of the week: Dempsey!
Megan Fox is also not the main character; and she’s not the boy hero’s plucky sidekick (there are no boy heroes in this movie). Instead, she’s the toothy, gory, puke-soaked object of repulsion and disgust. In short, she is the monster.
And she’s a very specific kind of monster, too. She embodies one of the scariest demons who haunts girls’ dreams: The popular, pretty girl who pretends to be your friend while secretly trying to steal your boyfriend, your pride, and your life. Written and directed by women, Jennifer’s Body is a film made in a women’s genre about women’s problems. It’s a movie about why women want to stab Megan Fox in the tit with scissors.
An otherwise fairly illuminating io9 post linking the box office failure of Jennifer’s Body to misguided, male-centric marketing contains this surprising (for me) statistic: the built-in audience for horror is predominantly female. In this context using hot Megan Fox pictures* to market a film about dysfunctional female friendships written and produced by the writer of Juno is even more misguided than you’d otherwise expect.
I, too, might have seen the film if it hadn’t been marketed as porn.
* not Google search bait
Dollhouse, on the other hand, really was pretty decent. Definitely the best episode of the series so far. If I have complaints—which I do—it’s with:
1) The Echo reprogramming / mole bit, which drew a little too bright a line around the silliness of the show’s premise. How did the mole accomplish the insertion of such a detailed, uh, parameter, in the fifteen seconds Topher happened to be away from his desk? It reminded me of a classic bit from Family Guy:
Brian: Hola! Um…me, me llamo es Brian. Ahh, uh, um lets see, uh, nosotros queremos ir con ustedes.
Mexican: Hey that was pretty good. But actually when you said, “Me llamo es Brian,” you don’t need the “es.” Just, “Me llamo Brian.”
Brian: Oh, you speak English.
Mexican: No, just that first speech and this one explaining it.
Brian: You…you’re kidding right?
2) The attempted rape and murder of Mellie is an illustrative example of how hard it can be to separate commentary on misogyny from misogyny itself. (See Joss’s interview at NPR for more on Joss’s self-awareness about this problem.) The violence in the scene is exceptionally brutal, and the way it is shot is a deliberate quotation of the Jenny Calendar scene from Buffy Season 2. The audience is primed first to think of the usualness of this sort of filmic violence, in other words, so that the subversion of the woman-in-refrigerator trope has more salience.
On the other hand, the scene can only be described as pornographic in its composition, from the way the characters are dressed and blocked to the camera’s fixation on Mellie’s body. It’s the same sort of problem that arises when Dollhouse (which is at its essence as show about misogyny and rape culture) uses Eliza Dushku in short skirts speaking in a breathy voice to promote itself. Joss has a lot of feminist cred and you certainly want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I’m sure we’re all cognizant of the realities of the television marketplace and corporate interference—but this remains a needle that Joss will have to be very careful in trying to thread.
On the more global level of mythology, Dollhouse 1.6 works very hard to expand the show past the tight hermeticism of the first few episodes. Through the Wolfram-and-Hartization of the Dollhouse and the urban legend trope this world has suddenly grown a lot larger and a lot more interesting. Now this is a show that’s as much about global capitalism as it is about sexual violence, and really about the intersection of the two—which seems very promising. I’m excited to see where Joss takes these ideas now that he has a freer hand.