JESUS CHRIST AKA BEYONCE DO ONE TOUCH ME
No one’s gonna mention how amazing this is? Okay, I fucking will. This is the most feminist song I think I have ever heard in my life. It features a clip from a mixture of a couple different speeches by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche who is fucking flawless by the way and I recommend watching one of her TED talks if you want a quick impression.
The clip says, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful otherwise because you would threaten the man.’ Because I am female, I’m expected to aspire to marriage. I’m expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Well marriage can be a good thing— It can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage when we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments— which I think can be a good thing— but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”
Beyonce is literally proclaiming to the world that she’s feminist, and that she is here for herself. She isn’t a wife, she’s a woman who just happens to be married. This song is fucking beautiful, bye.
mousselinegateau asked: What do you feel about the strong warrior female character? Because while I love the kick-ass heroine, sometimes I feel like the female characters that are more subtle or "traditionally feminine" get shafted?Sorry, that probably wasn't the best way to describe it, I guess the less physically capable female characters? I was wondering what you thought about that? Thanks!
Let’s call this, THIS QUESTION IS A TRAP 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. Or possibly THIS QUESTION IS A TRAP 2: THE RETRAPPENING. Or maybe SHARKICANE, because I still cannot believe they’re not calling the Sharknado sequel that, given that the first Sharknado would, in actual fact, have been more accurately titled Sharkicane. This has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of this post, I’m just really mad that most of Sharknado was in fact about a hurricane full of sharks. GET YOUR SHARK-INFESTED CATACLYSMIC WEATHER EVENTS RIGHT, PEOPLE. GOD.
Okay. Sorry. Focusing up to our actual point now! The badass warrior female character versus the — hmm. I don’t love the phrasing “traditionally feminine” or “less physically capable” female characters, since that stuff all has meanings outside of what we’re talking about that merit their own discussions, and you don’t seem to love those phrasings either, so. Let’s find another way to put it, yeah? How about: fight girl versus flight girl. Because that’s what this really comes down to, doesn’t it? At the end of the day? We’re talking about the female character who fights versus the female character who avoids fighting, at least physically. It works, as a shorthand.
So, fight girl versus flight girl: in this situation, the trap is the word VERSUS. I totally agree that flight girl often, as you say, gets the shaft; I am equally certain that fight girl gets a raw deal much of the time. You know who else draws the short straw when women are being written? The manic pixie (dream) girl. Also the uptight frigid bitch. Also the Madonna. Also the whore. In fact, you could more or less give me any Female Character Archetype (Boxed For Your Convenience, Only $19.99!), and I would tell you it’s not getting written up to its potential. But that’s because female characters, in general, aren’t being written up to their potential. Which is because they’re getting written into boxes.
But like. That shit is not the fault of other female characters, you know? The fact that the Molly Hoopers of the fictional world aren’t getting written correctly isn’t something we should blame on the Natasha Romanovs and Zoe Washburnes (who also often aren’t getting written correctly). Because when we do that — even though we don’t mean to — what we’re saying is, “Female characters are getting in the way of writing female characters! Stop writing female characters so that we can write female characters!” Which, you know. Trap. It’s a problem.
There’s this guy in my day-to-day life who tries to deliver life lessons in the form of largely incomprehensible riddles, and one of the things he says a lot is, “Don’t diagnose a problem from the windshield.” What that turns out to mean is, “Don’t decide what something is from what you’ve heard about it; you’ve got to get in the middle of it and see it for yourself if you really want to know what’s what.” It’s surprisingly good advice, and I think that — diagnosing problems from the windshield, I mean — is a big part of what makes this shit so complicated and trap-ridden for a lot of people, myself included. I think we have this tendency to kind of… I don’t want to say jump to conclusions, exactly, about where problems are rooted, but certainly to attribute successes and failures to the wrong things. To assume causations and corollaries where none exist, that’s probably what I mean.
But the truth is? It doesn’t make any sense to think that a well-written “fight girl” would harm the chances of seeing more well written “flight girls,” or vice versa. Like, I could spin out why a dozen ways (more than that if I got into how TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE it is to reduce a well-written character down to these very basic descriptors but whatever, this is already getting ridiculous long); let’s just go with one example for the sake of not rambling on forever. A well written ~badass~ female character probably has, you know, some friends. At least one friend. A cousin. A sister. SOMEBODY, you know, because human beings? We tend to have other human beings in our lives, and we tend to like it if they’re not exact carbon copies of ourselves. So our well-written badass female character? Easily begets at least one well-written female character who doesn’t, I don’t know, start barfights or stab criminals in the neck with dinner forks or whatever it happens to be. And vice versa. You know?
The answer to writing more good female characters is never going to be writing less female characters, is what I’m saying here. Roundaboutly, but still. It’s the point I’m driving at.
(Of course, having said all this, my less productive or thoughtful but more true-to-my-heart answer is DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM BY MAKING THEM KISS, which is probably why I’m writing a book about a girl who daydreams constantly about punching people in their mouths eventually falling in love with a girl who lives in fear of ever offending anyone’s delicate sensibilities, but, you know. The answer for everything is not QUEER MAKEOUTS, and I’m willing to acknowledge that, for all I will probably never believe it is really true at all.)