skywaterblue: (Default)
So many truths about fandom and marketing stated so boldly here.

This crazy logic also makes me want to cry, because it ignores the power differential at work here. Having men in a fandom *legitimizes* that fandom. Having women in a fandom that still has men in it just means you’ll sell more shit. But having *mostly women* or the *perception* of mostly women in a fandom does indeed mean a loss of respect; your fandom is taken less seriously, even if it sells like hotcakes and makes lots of people lots of money (romance genre, fan fiction, anyone?).


Because what ends up happening with a fandom (or a job trade) that men want to have more respect for following? They start to push the women out of it, so it gets taken more seriously. Instead of addressing the sexism and saying, “Hey, we can all like this thing and it’ll be great!” what you start to see is dudes shoving out the women who were there all along.

Scrubbing Women from My Little Pony fandom.

This is the story of Star Trek fandom in its entirety. A woman saved Star Trek, women have largely driven the fandom since the 1960s, but when it comes time to market it, Star Trek is for men men men and don't you forget it.
skywaterblue: (death)
The Rape of James. A pretty interesting essay on the use of rape against female characters in fiction.

Obviously, triggery.
skywaterblue: (shakespeare)
There's going to be an Inspector Spacetime web series!

None of that’s necessary anymore. When everyone has easy access to their favorite diversions and every diversion comes with a rabbit hole’s worth of extra features and deleted scenes and hidden hacks to tumble down and never emerge from, then we’re all just adding to an ever-swelling, soon-to-erupt volcano of trivia, re-contextualized and forever rebooted. We’re on the brink of Etewaf: Everything That Ever Was—Available Forever.

-- Patton Oswalt, Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.

There was a point in my life when I would have reacted to the above news with unheralded glee, but I increasingly find the commodification of fandom to be disturbing. A TV show on NBC markets itself to geek culture at Gallifrey One by announcing a webseries of the fictional show created to lampoon Doctor Who and what does ANY of that mean except money for NBC and the fog of nothingness to the minds ready to receive it?

I know. Killer of fun, am I. But we won, and it BLOWS.
skywaterblue: (Default)
Last night, Ide @ WORA discovered this Kickstarter project, 'The Written Word' which "[...]is a multiplayer storytelling game which lives on the internet."

Your first thought may be mine: those already exist, and have for thirty years. We call them MUSHes.

The project proposal goes on: "Well, Massively Multiplayer Write ‘em up is a pretty new genre, But it also picks up on a bunch of stuff you probably understand already.

You might have heard of text adventures - they call them Interactive Fiction now. Even if you’re not as geeky as us don’t worry - basically you’re going to be taking it in turns to tell a story."

So naturally, I was kind of pissed. We've seen this kind of co-opted male-washing of female fandom activities before, where a primarily male-led team charges in to find a business model making money by ripping off the work of female-led fandom. I kicked it to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, where I know lots of female fen outside of MU*ing circles and those who are current/former players. Most seemed to agree with my sentiment and picked up on other disturbing signs.

Here, then, is a complete copy of the private discussion I've been having with Simon of 'The Written Word'.

Complete message thread under this cut )

He's not an unreasonable spokesperson for his project. My concerns remain that he and his group are deliberately writing their Kickstarter goal without addressing the fact that his project firmly exists within a continuity of activities that stretch back to the earliest days of the Internet while presenting itself as something revolutionary. I find it troubling (but not surprising) to learn that he is aware of MU*ing but chose not to mention it even in passing in the project proposal, and I think there's an unpleasant whiff of Internet gender bias in that presentation. I still believe that Simon believes his project is somehow fundamentally different from what it appears to be for me - a new flavor of MU* server.

While I don't object to people turning their hobbies into paying gigs, and support Kickstarter as a great way to finally harness the power of the Internet to do that, I feel like 18,000 dollars is awfully steep.

Simon's promised to check in on this post and address concerns you want to raise. I promise to be a dutiful minder of the discussion and step in if things seem to turn south.

Your turn, ladies! (And gents!)

EDIT: To fix the initial reporter on WORA, and to remove my real name.
skywaterblue: (amy and rory wedding)
Once upon a time, I sat down to write myself the ideal Wonder Woman story. Like many women, I feel an innate connection to Wonder Woman - she's a demi-Goddess from the ideal feminist society, trained as a warrior but chooses to become a diplomat - that has nothing to do with the actual quality of Wonder Woman.

She's historically underwritten when compared to Batman and Superman of the DC Trilogy. Compared to the big male heroes (Batman, Spider-Man) she has far fewer villains anyone can pick out of a line up. There are very few storyarcs or graphic novels that comics fans can quote by name as being 'the essential Wonder Woman stories'. Of the options, two names seem to float up frequently: the Perez era of Wonder Woman and the Greg Rucka Wonder Woman, Perez being far more archetypal due to the recentness of the Rucka era.

So, why is that? I sat down to have a think about what made those eras interesting to me and I came up with a bunch of stuff: both are more interested in the Greek mythology than in necessarily fitting her into the wider DC universe. The Rucka books focus mainly on her political role as an Ambassador (I am in the habit of referring to them as 'West Wing with Xena') but within that context they have a lot to say about women as role models to other women, and the depiction of women within the political sphere. The Perez books are rather more domestic, with Diana building a family-of-choice in modern-day America. The Perez era, especially, feels like it would have been more at home in Vertigo had it existed yet. Strong roles for women, particularly with an age disparity always has feminist undertones, then.

What I realized was that the monomyth, the Hero's Journey - that great Joseph Campbell tool that's been run into the ground by a generation of crappy American screenwriters, has fuck all to do with women. You can make your female protagonist go through the Hero's Journey, but the psychological aspects of why it works has nothing to do with the way a majority of women experience the universe.

Amy Pond and the Spoilers of Doom )
skywaterblue: (pornjosh)
So I'm writing this really stupid/awesome fic where Josh Lyman is Magneto's grandchild and he has mutant powers. Like, forever, I have been writing this fic. (BUT: I am almost fucking done with it. I am halfway through chapter seven, and I know how it ends in chapter eight. If I do nothing else in 2010, I will finish this story.)

Anyway, this came by my way today: Proof that spooky auras really do exist, an article about how a 23-year old synaesthete with Asperger's taught himself how to read emotions by projecting colored auras on to people.

Which is hilarious because, um, that's basically the exact mutant power I gave Josh, and also hilarious because I actually do think that he's one of those crypto Sorkin Asperger's characters. In fact, I actually don't think his character makes sense at all unless you assume he's got some pervasive social interaction problems that go beyond 'I am awkward with women'. How you choose to define that is up to you, but the fact that he has his own very unique perspective on the people in his life which doesn't always jive with what's going on in the show isn't really debatable. (In my opinion, feel free to argue otherwise.)

I also think it's really funny that I pretty much beat my own fanon drum on this, but almost everyone who saw 'The Social Network' came home wrote a review about two things: how Facebook was invented by an autistic guy and how movie!Zuckerberg is asshole Josh Lyman.

Anyway, I just thought that was a totally random article to come across today. And FWIW, I don't necessarily think that either one of these characters is anything more than the pop culture interpretation of autism spectrum and hope you're not offended.

On a non-fandom note, it's just a really interesting story.
skywaterblue: (corset)
Look, Kate Beaton, no one doubts there's tons of sexism towards female creators. Not just in comics but pervasively throughout the arts, we know that women are judged not just on the content of their ideas and characters but on their bodies. And we know that women are under-represented in museums, and in the history books.

No matter how true this is, however, throwing a shit fit on Twitter over the phrase 'I want to have your babies' doesn't change the fact that this is a phrase primarily used BY WOMEN towards OTHER WOMEN which almost certainly originated in fandom as a reaction to a lack of positive expressions about feminine sexuality. In fact, the whole rant strikes me as way odd - I have literally never heard a man use this phrase. The very phrasing suggests the speaker has a uterus.

And when people point this out and your response is to continue to be butthurt because people are missing the bigger point, you look about five years old. Ranting about sexism towards your work only works if it's ACTUAL sexism, and if people become rightfully skeptical that you know whence you talk, they have every right to continue to question.

(Wider, I think this is indicative of a problem in which female creators are divorced from female fandom, yet male creators are fully capable of existing in both worlds with their fandom careers lauded as an important training ground for their later work.

In large part I think this has to do with the economic pressure of having a career in a capitalist society which by and large, values female gendered media less than that aimed at a male audience irregardless of how much actual money the works may bring in. There's a bigger pressure for the few women who do make it into comics, or screenwriting, to pretend OR REMAIN IGNORANT of fanwork, because it singles them out as 'different' and 'female'. Yet that pressure seems to continue the cycle in which women's fandom/media is perceived as of-lesser-value. While I don't want to suggest that every woman who makes a creative work has to serve a female audience, I think so long as there's no pressure for women who 'make it' to have to speak up for the rest of us we'll never see the wider change that would be required.)

So, sorry, Kate Beaton. I still want to have your babies.
skywaterblue: (the universe was waiting)
It isn't comprehensive to EVERY PERSON who worked on art in the movie, nor is it comprehensive about every detail I even liked. Just stuff I want to ramble about.

As a child, I used to check out Star Trek reference books from the library and read them straight, so I know way more about Okudagrams and LCARS and Jeffries tubes and flimsy costumes for ladies than is strictly healthy. In fact, I recently realized that the orange coral decorations on my wall look exactly like the design of the TOS Enterprise. My brother pointed it out.

Shameful, shameful imprinting, guys.

I've always paid too much attention to the Art of the Future. )
skywaterblue: (Spock by Van Gogh)
These are things every schoolchild would know about The United Federation of Planets. I weighted this article with more canon from the modern televised Treks than the Original Series, because TOS is often contradictory - and the new movie seems to put more weight on new canon. I've also included modern book canon, where noted.

Better Know the Federation! )

ETA: For my own record, I also posted this on the LJ. The comment thread is different. Here


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September 2014

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