Data from Europol’s official terrorism report defies conventional wisdom that most terrorism is Islamic.
The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty five protesters have been killed by the Army. You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.
“Eton has a long list of distinguished former pupils. David Cameron is the nineteenth British Prime Minister to have attended Eton, and has recommended that Eton set up a school in the state sector to help drive up standards. The College has also educated generations of British and foreign aristocracy and members of the Royal family, the most recent being Prince William and his brother Prince Harry.
“Eton has traditionally been referred to as “the chief nurse of England’s statesmen”, and has been described as the most famous public school in the world. Early in the 20th century, a historian of Eton wrote, “No other school can claim to have sent forth such a cohort of distinguished figures to make their mark on the world.”
“The Good Schools Guide called the school “the number one boys’ public school … “
This is part of the statement me and Peakpolitics wrote today. Check itt
I am tired of being told to like female characters.
Yes, I am going to judge male and female characters differently, I am going to be interested in a wider range of plotlines that feature male characters and, to be honest, I am going to like more male characters than female characters.
You know why?
1) Male characters are often written with more effort and originality, and the author understands the male characters better.
Let’s be honest. Authors are as sexist as everyone else. It takes a rare gem of an author to actually write stories with female characters with characterization as complex and interesting as the male characters in the story, or MORE complex and interesting. It takes a rare author to give women more plot, more agency, more original roles, more great lines. There is a difference between a female character your straight male readers want to fuck, and a female character your female readers want to be.
I don’t want to have to cherish the underdeveloped, agency-deprived, two-dimensional stereotype just because I am so goddamn starved for representation. You know what, fuck the people who are feeding me cardboard and telling me it’s steak. I am allowed to spit out something that insults me.
2) There’s a certain amount of sexism I just do not want in my stories.
So I am going to have fucking problems with things like “the only female character in the book spends the entire book disguised as a boy” or “female character in a viciously sexist setting uses her enemies’ sexist misjudgment of her as a tactical advantage” or “female character uses stereotypically-female role to defend herself from enemies who are much more powerful than her”.
Dealing with sexism is not my fucking power fantasy. I don’t want to feel threatened or vulnerable by identifying with a protagonist. I want to feel heroic. I don’t want to have to chew through a crunchy candy coating of sexism to get to the part where she saves the day. Yes, Wonder Woman is an important character who kicks ass, but Superman doesn’t have to deal with sexism while he’s saving the world.
If my options are character-constantly-threatened-by-sexism or character-not-constantly-threatened-by-sexism, I will pick the latter, even if it is at the cost of not reading about female characters.
3) Sometimes it’s easier to be invisible than to look in the funhouse mirrors people hold up to people like me.
Sometimes I will pick up an interesting-looking book, and just wish that there are no female characters at all in it, so I don’t have to see what the author thinks of women. Sometimes I just want to read books without a mother/wife/sister/secretary/damsel-in-distress/hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold/mean girl/princess/sexy villain/love interest/rape victim. And there are so many books out there where women are no more than that.
Seriously, what are the odds of a random book I pick up having female characters that I can identify with more than male characters, and not having plotlines consisting of character-vs-brutal-or-pervasive-sexism? Hahaha are you fucking kidding me or do you have access to a magical fucking library? I don’t really feel like playing Sexism Roulette all that often. I don’t go looking for female characters unless I feel ready to get a faceful of steaming hot sexism, and when I see a new female character I wince, fearing what the author is going to do to her, and by extension to me.
Now yes, there are some female characters I genuinely love. There are some female characters I want to be, some female characters with compelling stories, flaws and all. But not as many as there should be. And there’s only so much broken glass I can sift through to find more of them.
Wanted to share some thoughts from a friend about why she’s tired of being told to like female characters, or sometimes wishes a book has no female characters so she doesn’t have to worry about misogyny or sexual cropping up.
I know this is a bit off topic in terms of an “Escher Girls” image post, but it is about portrayal of women in fiction and how pigeon-holing female characters into certain tropes can be tiring to the readers/viewers and creates flat characters which can detract from the story.
The above also goes for how I feel about Asian characters and trans characters, that sometimes I just avoid watching a film about trans people because I don’t want to worry about surprise “man in a dress” jokes, or some myth about trans people, or something about “disclosure”, or etc… and people tell me I should watch it because “oh it’s about trans people.” But so many portrayals are flat stereotypes, or used for humor, or about the “tragedy” our lives must be, or etc… and I just don’t want that sometimes, or want to deal with having that surprise me when I want to see a heroic trans person.
Or a heroic woman, or a heroic non-white character. It’s… stressful to worry about the other shoe dropping, to sometimes just hope that you can get to the end without the heroine being raped, or racism showing up, or something. So I totally understand what Summer is talking about her, and it really hit on how I sometimes feel when reading/watching fiction. And part of this is sometimes how there’s only one. One hero who’s trans, or who’s a woman, or who’s non-white, and then how they are represented takes on a different connotation and meaning than if there were 3 or 4.
Even with the new episode of Elementary which introduced a recurring trans woman character in as great a way as you could have done, I was half holding my breath the entire episode, because I was just worried that at some point her being trans would override her being just a character, that she’d necessarily have to face transphobia, or misgendering, or something else.
And that’s not to say that these things (transphobia, sexism, racism) don’t happen, or can’t happen in fiction, but so often it seems like creators feel this HAS to happen to characters, especially heroes, so they can “fight through it”, or teach a “very special lesson” to the viewer. But for those of us who have had to deal with this, and deal with it regularly, we go to fiction (like everybody else) to get away, to have power fantasies where we can be heroes, or even supporting characters, without needing to be defined by stereotypes, or prejudice that we face in life. And often, as Summer pointed out, it leads to really flat, boring characters, so it hurts the story as well.
I want to read about a heroine who can blow up space stations, overcome her own hubris, punch giant robots, have an interesting backstory that doesn’t have to necessarily be about overcoming rape or sexism, etc etc etc… without her necessarily having to deal with “but you’re a woman!” or sexual harassment, or assault, or existing just for sex appeal. While “overcoming prejudice” can be empowering, important & educational, when it starts feeling like it’s the only, or most common, story that a character who is “different” can have (or has to have), it can get really tiring, frustrating, and just plain boring. Especially when the characters and their plot arc are rendered flat stereotypes.
And that’s what I think Summer articulated really well, and why I wanted to share her post. :) Even if you don’t completely agree, it might be an interesting read. :)
Edit: She’s not saying that people should give up on fiction with female heroes and just want all male casts, she’s just talking about how frustrated she is that female characters aren’t written with more depth and thought behind them.