Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Women in Refrigerators

‘Women Don’t Read Comics’

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

Tuesday Night Links

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* How to Draw Comics the New 52 Way.

* Today Occupy Wall Street occupied foreclosed homes nationwide.

* Fox News vs. the Muppets. At least we got a great new hashtag out of it.

It’s long been surmised that the Mayan empire fell largely because of a 200-year drought that struck the region in 800 AD, but now it appears that the drought may have been amplified by Mayan agricultural practices.

* Weird ecology: The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Florida has been so good to the American crocodile that the reptile was recently taken off the endangered species list. But the croc’s newly thriving condition has nothing to do with nuclear power itself; rather the species has cottoned to the 168 miles of manmade cooling canals that surround the plant, adopting the system as a new natural breeding ground. (Thanks, Lindsey!)

* Tennessee firefighters let another house burn down for failure to pay subscription fee.

* And via Kottke, a profile of Nigel Richards, perhaps the best Scrabble player in the world.

In the tight, little world of Scrabble, Nigel Richards stories are legendary. Nigel read the 1,953-page Chambers Dictionary five times and memorized all the words. Nigel bicycled fourteen hours overnight to a weekend tournament, won it, then biked home and straight to work on Monday morning. With a rack of CDHLNR?, Nigel played CHLORODyNE# through three disconnected tiles (the two O’s and the E). Nigel played SAPROZOIC through ZO#. Nigel played GOOSEFISH$. Nigel averaged 584 points per games in a tournament. Nigel’s word knowledge was so deep, his point-scoring ability so profound, his manner so unflappable, that a competitor once made a T-shirt reading: I BEAT NIGEL RICHARDS.

How to Write Female Characters

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 11, 2010 at 10:36 am

Dollhouse, Rape Culture, and Women in Refrigerators

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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?
Mexican: Que?

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.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 21, 2009 at 11:35 am

Battlestar and Joss Whedon News

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Sci-Fi has a trailer up for the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, while Joss Whedon is frantically running around trying to reassure everyone that the shooting of a new Dollhouse pilot doesn’t mean that Dollhouse is the new Firefly.

Also in Joss Whedon News, there’s been some pushback on Dr. Horrible over the fact that he’s once again killed over a female love interest in order to provide character development for male characters. I guess not even the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer can escape the siren song of a woman in a refrigerator.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 23, 2008 at 3:10 pm

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In Mother Jones: Supergirls Gone Wild: Gender Bias In Comics Shortchanges Superwomen.

In the late ’90s, Simone started keeping track of plot twists in which supervillains would rape or brutalize female characters on her website, Women in Refrigerators. (The name refers to one particularly gruesome incident; see “When Bad Things Happen to Superpeople,” above.) Now an entire universe of feisty feminist fan sites has appeared, including When Fangirls Attack and online columns such as “Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed).” They’ve identified trends such as “porn face,” one male artist’s habit of drawing every female character with the same faking-an-orgasm expression. And they’ve added an estrogen-fueled spin to their passion for minutiae: Is the female leader of the Mighty Avengers really in charge, or is she just a figurehead? Why doesn’t Wonder Woman know how to pump gas? Did Spider-Man’s radioactive sperm really kill his wife?

Lately, they’ve been focusing their powers of deconstruction on Supergirl, Superman’s underage cousin. After spending decades as the Man of Steel’s blond, bland counterpart, she was recently recast as jailbait, trading her long-sleeved top and cheerleader skirt for a midriff-baring micro-costume (supposedly designed by Superman’s Midwestern stepmom). Bloggers diligently dissected every up-skirt image of the new Supergirl gone wild, who seemed to spend more time flaunting ass than kicking it. In response to the bad buzz, in January Supergirl editor Eddie Berganza issued an open letter to his female readers. “Women,” he began, “Who needs them? Well, actually…I do.” He begged the “ladies” to “give Supergirl a shot,” explaining that he’d gotten a “woman’s point of view” on the character from a female assistant editor. He also promised that Supergirl would gain some weight and would date a “mimbo” who was as much of a mindless pinup as she was.

Your embarrassingly cheesecake illustration of the embarrassingly cheesecake modern Supergirl is included free of charge.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 9, 2007 at 6:30 pm

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