eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
Yes, I missed yesterday. I might miss the whole weekend because of Real Life. Any days I miss, I'll make up in February. Requests still open, etc.

Hahahahah, well [livejournal.com profile] 90scartoonman made this request originaly, but we've already had this discussion before, so I'm going to try quite hard to say something new…even though my opinion hasn't changed that much. Good luck to me?

Ok, the actual request was to talk about Brave, specifically what it means for feminism in animated movies and how well it does as a mother/daughter story.

Well, feminism in animated movies overall is not a topic I'm going to fully tackle. Because then I have to see all the animated movies. AND fully define feminism. D:

Let's just say for my purposes that we need more well-rounded representation of women in animated movies. Like, say, just as well-rounded as the representation of the men. I'm going to break it down to three key points I can think of right now.

First, we need to tell more stories ABOUT women. It's very sad that Pixar so far has one movie starring a woman, and quite a few of their films suffer from the Smurfette principle: Men outnumber women to an extreme degree. Women are still more than half of the population, why are we not at least half of the main characters? And yeah, it starts young. It starts when we tell our children that girls can enjoy stories about boys but boys maybe can't enjoy stories about girls. Frozen's advertising campaign was INCREDIBLY misleading, just to get boys in the theaters. (Check out the comments to that article. Hoo boy.)

We need a range of stories about women. At this point, I can't even summon the energy to discuss if we need more "women's stories" or if we need more "stories that happen to star women." It frankly, doesn't matter. WE JUST NEED MORE OF THEM.

On that level, the very basic one, Brave was great, because it was a story about a woman. It's still far too little. Pixar needs about dozen more films that unquestionably star women before we can even talk about balance.

Now, second. I think we need far more diversity in women portrayed. I mean this in every conceivable way. Our biggest problem is non-white women. I'm not an animation expert, but outside of a handful of Disney princesses*, I can't think of one. Maybe Jewel from Rio? She's a bird, but she's definitely Brazilian. Other than that, it's mind-boggling how few mainstream animation flms even feature non white-women, nevermind star. Don't let my later points take away from this one, this is critical.

We also need more women of different sizes. At one point, watching Frozen, I realized that Elsa is extremely skinny. In isolation, by the way, I'm totally fine with that. There are people out there with naturally skinny bodies and they shouldn't feel any shame about that. But that realization came with loads of baggage. Why don't we have a range of bodies in our animated ladies? The range for men isn't representative of reality either, but it's certainly more divers than it is for women. (We don't all have perfect boobs and hips either, ugh.)

*Mulan, Tiana, Jasmine, Pocahontas.

The last thing didn't occur to me until I wrote my problems with Brave the first time, but the more I think about it, the more important I think this is. We need more women's' stories that aren't set in the past. I'm not saying none, obviously. In general, I'm just as much of a sucker for historical romanticism as anyone else. But we need more stories starring women that take place in the present, or the slightly off-present in which many animated movies take place. Because making it so women only see themselves in the highly romanticized past is a disturbing trend. This complaint may actually be specific to animation, actually, because I don't think the trend is the much more significant in live-action films. But as animated films are generally aimed at children, it's also important to pay attention to what they're constantly watching.

Brave does star a young woman with a round face and crazy curly hair. But she's a white woman, and a princess in a romanticized, magical historical past. I enjoyed the film a lot on its own merits, but it's place in some of these trends made me uncomfortable.

Ok, now specifically mother/daughter stories?

Well, this one is going to be a little personal and perhaps unpopular. Sorry! Feminism has a range of opinions, etc.

Ok, I am done, done with conflict mother/daughter stories with absurdly bad levels of communication. I don't agree with my mother all the time either, but I've never tried to possibly POISON her because we didn't agree. Most of the time our conflicts are very small, and I've always known that my mother had my best interests at heart. She has, in fact, rarely stood in my way for anything. Admittedly, I'm a ridiculous goody-two-shoes. But when I was choosing colleges, she literally said to me "you make your own choice and we will figure it out together." Note I was choosing between a full ride at a state institution and nada from a much better place. And she left that decision to ME.

So I'd rather more stories about mothers and daughters getting along. Or agreeing. Or having conflicts that they work out WITHOUT attempts at magical lobotomy that go wrong. Because here's something else that these stories rarely acknowledge: Sometimes the mothers are right. Not all the time, and I'm sure there are women who have had really terrible relationships with their mothers. But I doubt we're ever going to see anything darker than Tangled, so how about we try some other ways? I want stories where the rebelling teenage daughter is in the wrong, not the partly-right. I want a story where the daughter recognizes that her mother is right.

This is just off the top of my head, but father-son stories just don't seem as fraught as mother-daughter stories. I don't know if that's because it's men are the ones in charge of these stories most of the time, or because culturally we have stereotypes about women not getting along or mother's always being expectant nags, but I'm ready for some more types of stories out there, thanks.

Specifically to Brave, I have a few things to say. The story was beautiful and well-told and absolutely. nothing. new. It inspired people and I don't ever want to take that away from them. But for me, in terms of feminism? It was so safe as to be neutral.

In terms of Pixar, which maybe likes to tell safe stories but at least wraps them up in new adventures and some really brilliant emotional layers, I was disappointed.

As a first step, though, I could applaud Pixar the effort. We just need to see where they go from here.
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
(Apologies in advance for some of the upcoming posts, guys. This week is going to be very busy.)

There are lots of times I wish that fandom would explore serious platonic love more often in stories. Obviously this is a cultural thing in general, not unique to fandom. But I'd give lots of love to more "besties eating ice cream" fic alongside the 300 ~new~ ways two dudes can do it.

And I mean, the funny part is that I've been blessed with some lovely Ianto-frienship fic over the years. Possibly because ongoing ensemble casts with canon gay couples are less likely to break up the canon couples when they explore character relationships. And Inception fandom tends to have some fun ideas about Arthur's friendship with Dom (and/or Mal.)

But in the spirit of friendSHIPPING, I've started to draft some "Friendship kink meme requests." Feel free to add your own. :D

A and B are two characters in a show/movie/book/video game of your choice. )
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
So, I might be Hooked on Kickstarter, but I've been a casual fan of Dean Trippe since Project Rooftop and the Butterfly webcomic.

(Fun fact: I found Project Rooftop before I knew what Project Runway was. I really only keep up with TV when I feel like it.)

So as I was poking around Kickstarter (can Kickstarter be a fandom? Because I can't stop checking for interesting projects) I saw Dean Trippe's name and clicked immediately.

He's Kickstarting an expanded hard copy of his webcomic short "Something Terrible." It's…well, it's about his personal experience with child molestation, and how comic books, superheroes and SF/fantasy characters helped guide his life in a positive direction. (It touches a bit more eloquently and powerfully on my ideas from yesterday, the way that fandom can really shape and emotionally impact a persons life, although his relationship with fandom and mine are very, very different)

He's trying to hit $22,000 so he can bump up all of the books to hardcover and still keep the leftovers he orders at $10 retail, to keep them fairly accessible.

This might not be your cup of tea or anything, and I totally understand people not wanting to read this story. I'm just trying to help get the word out.

If you want more information, he links to some more information from his Kickstarter updates page and he wrote a really fabulous article for Huffington Post about his experience and the webcomic.

***

In less fraught news, the Anime News Nina Kickstarter is ending in less than a week. I can't honestly recommend this one to anyone who wasn't at some point a pretty involved anime fan. Because I read the original webcomic and it is VERY inside baseball.

It's hilarious and witty but many of the references demand a certain level of understanding of the anime fandom, especially the con circuit. If you want to check it out, you can see the webcomic on the Anime News Network website. It's a bit rough at time, fair warning.

But if you do have any experience in the anime fandom, check it out!
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
I’m writing a later post, and I realized that I was getting really upset while writing it. And I wanted to backtrack and sort of examine where this was all coming from.

I think I’m going to start with John Green. I don’t always agree with him, but sometimes his words are just so right: “…nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.”

Fanndom is enmeshed in the unironic celebration of the human consciousness. Which is frequently wonderful and lots of fun. But it’s also very emotional, a lot of the time.

We joke about feels and devastation and loss in fandom. But we also sometimes admit that a particular character can pull us through a really hard time, or inspire us when we’re alone, or make us smile when nothing else will do it. We celebrate fictional birthdays and we help others because we’ve been inspired. These things affect us in our everyday lives.

Fandom is delicate.

And I think it’s delicate because it’s so emotional. Fandom, by and large, struggles to maintain respect for that emotional investment. We set up warning systems and ways to ensure that a person reading a fic or meta will know before going in if this is going to impact them emotionally. We try to provide emotional support for each other in all sorts of situations. Sometimes we fail – when a fandom is mean or uninviting, people might be turned off from it whatever their feelings on the source text. Fandoms can and have bullied people away. Sometimes people leave fandoms because they can’t handle it, and fandoms can kill a love for a character with other emotional stuff.

When a fandom is warm and fun, people might be drawn in regardless of the source text as well.

We tend to make fun of people who flounce from a fandom for certain reasons. We also understand when a person untangles themselves and walk away for other reasons. If you’re only watching a show for the rush of positive emotions you associate with a certain character, it’s ok if you walk away when that character is killed. It’s also ok for other people to stay.

When fandoms get into really horrible screaming matches, it’s sometimes hard to see the other side. But the other side is generally making these comments because it’s hitting them in the feels, as it were. Their reasons might be bad and their arguments might be awful, but I once argued that some of the (really bad) anti-Gwen people in Torchwood fandom were probably getting a lot of catharsis from other issues out through their ranting. I didn’t agree with them and I also felt bad for the other side of the equation, the people who adore Gwen and were really hurt that there were such vile things being said. I don’t think both sides ever reconciled so much as the hubbub died down with the fandom. (Warnings were my only real solution there. I didn’t read anything marked “anti-Gwen” but you bet I appreciated the heads-up.)

I just want to point out, I suppose, that these feelings are genuine. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I can thankfully see something and say “nope” and walk away from it without consequences. I know what is going to make me sad or unhappy and when I should avoid it. In fandom, it’s been an important skill.

The worst, though, is when I’m really struggling with my feelings on a topic. Like when I can’t read fics about depression, because it’s too close to home. Or when I have to walk away from a fandom because it’s making me unhappy. Or when a fic writer writes something that just sours all of their fic for me. Maybe I shouldn’t be so sensitive?

Or maybe this is one of the dark sides to unironic enthusiasm. (I’ve seen much darker.) I have coping mechanisms in place and I handle it ok, and despite the crying jags that seemed to have hit a lot of people after COE, most people get by with some hyperbolic joking and moving on with life.

I dunno where I was going with this. Getting a post out a day means I don’t always have the time to really organize my thoughts. But I also don’t have the time to back out and never post.

Fandom is full of feelings, and I suppose I just wanted to acknowledge how fragile and thin the lines between the good and bad can be.
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
List of top ten musical songs? Well, this is a terrible question to ask me, because I'm very much a person who listens to a handful of albums over and over and over again for a year or so, nonstop. An overall top list is nearly impossible. Right now I'm listening to Frozen, Matilda the Musical and The Great Gatsby soundtrack all the time, so I'm not going to choose those songs.

So…this is more like the first ten songs could think of (that aren't from only Broadway.) BUT I DO LIKE THEM ALL. ALSO LOTS OF SONGS NOT ON THIS LIST. SO MANY SONGS. )

Honorable mentions to so many Disney movies, Don Bluth movies, old musicals, Buffy and Doctor Horrible. GAH. SO MANY SONGS.

eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
Have you guys seen this yet? For the Greater Good is a Harry Potter fan video about Ariana Dumbledore's death. I highly, highly recommend it.

Spoilers! )
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
Sometimes, the little things in fanfic can bother you.

When a grown man is carrying another grown man, he has a few options. But unless they are walking only a few feet, honymoon-style-cradle-arms is not the best option. It’s a method that should only be used for children, or very small adults, (or maybe the two feet over a door threshold if the fic is particularly shmooshy). And no, making these two men into lovers does not magically make one of them light enough to be carried pieta-style out of a gunfight and/or through miles of woods/desert/zombie hordes.

Every time I read a story in which one character carries using with significantly less than Superman-strength, it jerks me right out of the fic. I don’t find it romantic, I don’t find it compelling. Mostly, I find it physically improbable.

Especially because there is a real solution!

Over the shoulder, fireman's carry.

Vecchio carrying Fraser fireman style

And don't worry, there's plenty of slash about those two.

(Or, you know, google other options.)
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
HAPPY NEW YEAR, LJ/DW/FANDOM PEEPS.

Especially those of you I’ve met and not really kept in touch with as much as I wanted. YOU ARE ALL FABULOUS PEOPLE. ♥♥♥

***

My first post to LJ, and thus my first non-ff.net foray into fandom, was written and posted as a new year began. So even though I’ve never been organized enough to put up those “year in review” posts, I’m always a little contemplative about my involvement with fandom when the year turns over.

I'm not the same person I was on January 1, 2004, and certainly fandom is not the same place anymore. I've stopped utilizing terrible scrolling marquees in my posts and LJ is a dying platform.

I haven’t been really on top of my LJ, fandom, and fanfiction stuff in…a long time. I’m kickstarting myself by trying to put up a post a day in January. (If you want to request a topic or something, pick a day and topic in this post.)

Here is my January disclaimer: I wanted to get the ball rolling in my brain, and so I'm putting stuff out there that is less complete, less edited and less examined than it could be. Feel free to point out flaws, but know that if you’re polite about it, I’m more likely to pay attention. :) And some posts might be flocked.

Good luck to me!
eldabe: Image of canal in Venice (Default)
I think the "ask me stuff for all the days in December" thing is supposed to be an advent meme?

So I'm basically going to nick the idea and...do it in January as a way to kick-start blogging in 2014.

You get to request a day and a topic. You can check my tags and outdated profile for topic ideas, or you can ask me anything. Seriously, I AM FULL OF OPINIONS. (You can request fic.)

You can make multiple requests, one topic per day. If you request something I don't like, or a day is unfilled, I'll post something else.

Calendar! )

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