My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie."
It bothered me that there were no Squibs allowed in Hogwarts. Fine, I can get that Squibs would not be able to do any wand magic, and would not be able to fly a broomstick. They still apparently possess enough innate magic to see the school and other magically hidden locations. Out of the classes at Hogwarts that the kids take, a Squib could take and benefit from the following classes: History of Magic, Astronomy, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, MUGGLE STUDIES, Potions (there will be little foolish wand-waving here), Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, and partially theoretical classes on Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms.
That’s a long list of classes. And some of them are particularly upsetting to me because there’s stuff like History of Magic being left out- that’s their own history they’re being barred from learning. Since Squibs are often forced into the Muggle world, a Squib would make an ideal Muggle Studies teacher and would no doubt be able to teach a more realistic and informative class than someone going off of biased wizarding texts. Squib kids looking into living in the Muggle world would absolutely benefit from learning Muggle studies, especially if they’re from a mainly pureblood family who doesn’t venture out all too often.
And then there’s the rest of them! Arguably you could have a Squib gifted with prescience, and Divination is supposed to be a very accessible branch of magic. Squibs being excellent at taking care of magical plants and animals and making groundbreaking advancements, Squibs working in tandem with each other to breed different magical herbs for potions, Squib potion masters creating all sorts of amazing concoctions. Squibs working with muggleborns and using logic and science to advance magic theoretically, Squibs being huge pro-muggleborn/pro-muggle advocates, Squibs making star charts and Squibs going into the muggle world to use their healing potions in their jobs as nurses and doctors.
Squibs being so completely shut out of magical education was such a sore point for me in the books, especially viewing the treatment of our only prominent Squib- an angry, bitter, glorified janitor often at the mercy of brats with wands. I’m not justifying or endorsing his abusiveness at all, but this was an awful character to use to explore people without magic in a society that bases your worth on it. A lot of time Rowling seems to validate Wizarding prejudices more than she challenges them. While I really enjoy reading the headcanons about Hogwarts being very accessible to people with disabilities, I can’t bring myself to see that as the case with Squibs being treated as they are.
Pink hair bows.
Many male Disney villains are what we would call “camp.” Effeminate, vain, “wimpy” and portrayed as laughable and unlikable. Calling upon common negative stereotypes about gay men, these villains are characterized as villainous by embodying these tropes and traits.
Think about it: Often Thin/un-muscled figure, heavily inked and shadowed eyes (giving the impression of eyeliner and eye shadow?), stereotypically “sassy” and/or manipulative, often ends up being cowardly once on the defensive, many have comedic male sidekicks (such as Wiggins, Smee, Iago, the…snake that isn’t Kaa)
since i was talking about one of the disney man villains who doesn’t fit this stereotype yesterday…
my bf was listening to that song about him yesterday
and i mentioned that he is literally the most terrifying disney villain
because his type of evil is banal and commonplace
there are white men walking around who are exactly like him
men who think that women are prizes they deserve
men who will not listen or pay attention to a rejection
men who will go out of their way, if rejected, to ruin a woman’s life
ppl often seem to miss this when discussion beauty and the beast since the stockholm syndrom ‘romance’ is also a giant icky thing
the terrifying thing about gaston is that he is supposed to be (as all disney villains) a hyperbolic cartoon
but he is the absolutely truest and most real villain
because he exists in the real world
we all know men like him
Also, if we’re talking about queer coded characters the MOST important of all the characters is Ursula who was bad off of a drag Queen (Divine) and has a whole host of negative stereotypes.
She’s also my favorite.
This post is sorely missing some seriously important historical context. The term for this as film history goes is the sissy, and as a stock character the sissy is probably one of the oldest archetypes in Hollywood, going back to the silent film era. Some of the most enduring stereotypes of male queerness—the limp wrist, swishing, etc—can actually be traced to the exaggerated movements of cinematic sissies in silent films. And it’s important to note sissies were portrayed in a range of ways, though they were generally used to comedic effect; queerness was considered a joke, and the modern notion of the “sassy gay friend” in films can probably be traced back to this bullshit too. It wasn’t until the Hays Code was adopted in the ’30s that sissies almost uniformly started being portrayed as villains. Homosexuality was specifically targeted under the euphemism of “sexual perversion”, and the only way it could fly under the radar in films under the strict censorship of the code was by coding villains that way in contrast to the morally upright hetero heroes. Peter Lorre’s character in The Maltese Falcon is one off the top of my head, but there are a slew of them from the ’30s onward, and this trope didn’t go away after the Code ended either. More modern examples in live action films are Prince Edward in Braveheart, Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, and Xerxes in 300.
So Disney just provides some of the most egregious modern examples of the sissy villain, but this is a really old and really gross trope that goes back years and years in Western film. There’s a fantastic book and accompanying documentary about the history of homosexuality in film by Vito Russo called The Celluloid Closet that gets into a lot of this.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see a response to a post like this that starts with “This post is sorely missing some seriously important historical context.” and then goes on to provide important historical context that adds information to the point being made. I was seriously wincing and bracing myself for “You guys, you don’t understand. It was different back then.”
(Of course, I wouldn’t have been worried if the name of the last poster hadn’t scrolled off the top of my screen by the time I got to it.)
There had been lot of debate regarding the whole “How Leia remembers Padmé” issue. Some people say that it was a major retcon of the PT, other say that Leia was remembering his adoptive mother, Breha Organa, because there is no way that a newborn would remember her mother.
However, during my Star Wars rewatch, I figured that it’s not unplausible or impossible that Leia has memories of Padmé. And here is why.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda tells Luke about the Force:
"Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past. Old friends long gone”
Leia is Force-sensitive. Like her father and twin brother, she has a great amount of midichlorians running in her veins, and thus, is possible that may had more consciousness than an average newborn. The Revenge of the Sith novelization even points that Leia was born with her eyes open (in contrast to Luke, who was with his eyes tight shut during their birth) and looked in direction to Padmé as if she wanted to “memorize her face”. On top of that, Leia mentions to Luke that she only remembers “images, feelings”, nothing concrete. No flashbacks, no memories, just images and feelings.
You can even argue that Leia may had Force visions of Padmé and she confuses with memories. Who knows if she, as a young child, saw Padmé in her dreams? Images of Padmé in her last days, in Naboo, or during her dying moments? Inside the movie, the moment they focus Padmé’s face as she dies, we don’t get to see the other side of her bed. Probably the droid who held baby Leia moved to her side and showed her her daughter and BUM! Mother-daughter bonding, and Leia gained visions or precocious memories of Padmé.
Now I want more Padmé-Leia mother-daughter bonding stories.
Today I read an article about Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who in the Arts and Books section of the Independent on Sunday. In this article, by Stephen Kelly, Moffat is criticised for his inability to write women, to complete his plots, to write the Doctor as a likeable and trustworthy figure, and to keep his audience entertained. Yet one line in this frankly scathing (and almost painfully truthful) review reads: ‘When on form, Steven Moffat is the best writer working in television today’.
Having read said article, and written rather a lot of Moffat critique myself, the statement baffled me. Kelly’s entire article is lamenting the current state of Doctor Who at the hands of this man, and yet Moffat is still gifted with glowing praise.
It’s a common theme. I see it often when people are asked to review Moffat’s work. It seems people are almost afraid of criticising him, seeing as he has been lauded one of Britain’s most brilliant television writers.
It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes. The Myth of Moffat’s Scriptwriting ‘Genius’. It’s a lie we’ve all absorbed and now just assume to be true. Sherlock himself would be frankly appalled by the entire thing. We are seeing, but we apparently do not observe.
Fellow Sherlock watchers will know what I mean (although many will probably not agree) when I equate Moffat’s writing to the empty houses of Leinster Gardens. An empty façade. It looks great from the outside, but when you step closer, you realise it’s just a whopping great train station with some drugged up self-proclaimed sociopath lurking in it.
Let’s examine this case a little closer, shall we?
steve in cap 1: fights men 3x his size, lies about who he is multiple times to try and enlist, literally steals like multiple planes, runs around the forest with no back up to save his bffl, probably doesn’t even know what a court martial is and probably doesn’t even care
steve in the avengers: WE MUST FOLLWO ORDERS!!! TONY NO!!!!! *gets beat up*
Okay, I am gonna call some bullshit on this. Steve DID follow orders in the First Avenger. Do you think he wanted to be the poster boy for the war? Do you think he wanted to go all over the country doing stage shows? No, he didn’t. Not even remotely. But those were his orders and that was his way of doing his part. If Steve always defied orders there would be nothing powerful about him continuing to sign up for the army. Or about him storming that base to go save Bucky. And yes, Steve DOES know what a court martial is and the weight of his actions when he breaks the law. Hence his reaction when he thinks his ass is caught when Eskrine calls the MPs in at the start of First Avenger. Also, you can’t be DEFYING orders if you don’t understand the consequences, so your ‘he doesn’t know what a court martial’ is goes straight against your argument, but I digress.
Steve was awake for 10 days when The Avengers started. He was still dealing with the loss of his best friend, and still in the mind frame that he was supposed to die. The world around him is completely different, and everyone he knew is dead or dying. Steve also did not understand at this point the dynamics of SHIELD or the situation they were in. He followed orders because WHAT ELSE WAS HE SUPPOSED TO DO? He didn’t have the information needed or reason to defy anything. That fact is what makes what he does in Winter Soldier as powerful as it is. Because we see in two years that he has come to understand SHIELD, and come to understand this world and is now in a place where he CAN defy orders and stand up for what he believes. In The Avengers, Steve doesn’t HAVE anything to believe in or anything to defy orders for. That is the point. He’s lost and alone and has no personal motivation.
I would also stress that SHIELD was PEGGY’S before it was Nick Fury’s. So maybe, just maybe, Steve felt that by following SHIELD’s orders, he was following Peggy’s. Maybe this too was a point of connection to his past…that if he stuck with SHIELD and did as he was told, then he was honoring the people from his past in some way.
Steve in The Avengers is damaged, and in shock. And to expect him to be exactly the Steve he was before that plane went down is incredibly foolhardy and absolutely missing the point. Yes, Steve is defiant, but he also above all else wants to HELP PEOPLE and if following orders is what helps them, then that is what he does. If defying orders is what helps them then THAT is what he does. He doesn’t defy for no reason.
So, here’s a thought:
The types of fandom that are most often considered traditional and acceptable, and which are often either male-dominated or coded as masculine, tend to be acquisitive, whether in terms of knowledge (obscure trivia) or merchandise (collectibles). Whereas, by contrast, the types of fandom most often considered insincere, non-serious or “unreal”, and which are often either female-dominated or coded as feminine, tend to be creative, such as making costumes, writing fanfic and drawing fanart.
Which is arguably an interesting expression of gender dynamics within fandom, in the sense of being a direct response to gender representation within the canon of particular franchises: namely, that because men, and particularly straight white cismen, are so ubiquitous within popular narrative(s), they have less need to create personal fan interpretations in order to see themselves represented, or to correct/ameliorate stereotypical portrayals; whereas women - and, indeed, members of any other group likely to suffer from poor representation - do.
Which isn’t to say that it’s impossible to be both an acquisitive and a creative fan - not by any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I trying to say that the only reason someone might be an acquisitive fan is because they’re complacent about issues of bias and representation, or that the only reason someone might be a creative fan is because they want to address an issue in the canon. Some people like to collect, some like to make, and some like both, or neither. It’s fine! But I do think that, when it comes to conversations about Fake Geek Girls and what being a “real fan” means - conversations which tend to be strongly gendered - the split between acquisition/creation tends to follow gender lines, too: that guys who know All The Facts and buy All The Merch are the REAL fans, whereas girls who just dress up and tell silly headcanon stories aren’t, and that maybe, there’s an interesting reason for why this might be.
[bolded for emphasis]
This is interesting. Especially because an extrapolation from that is that the ‘orthodox’, ‘traditional’ mode of interacting with a work - knowing, staying close to the first interpretation, valuing the refusal to budge from those first interpretations over being inclusive and fluid - is therefore masculine-coded, but it’s feminine-coded to be canonically fluid, intensely metacritical, artistically motivated, and to encourage creative deconstruction and reconstruction.
Which is probably a sliver of the backlash that grows into the Fake Geek Girl conversation - that people think the ‘text’ of their fandom ‘faith’ shouldn’t be tampered with or recontextualized, whereas other people insist that it has to evolve to meet the needs of the people who it serves?
I’m not sure how it accommodates for works like Welcome to Night Vale (a really good place, I think to discuss fandoms and their interactions with media), where the literalism of its canon is the establishment that blanks are required to be filled in by the audience. Fan-created artwork of any type, arguably, is as valuable a ‘history’ of Night Vale as Cecil’s radio show, because so many details are up in the air anyway, and have to be informed by the information you do still have (e.g. nothing says Cecil can’t be a blob, so what would it mean if he were a blob?).
This is absolutely fascinating to me now, and will surely make up a large part of actual notes I have about what I can now call ‘exegetical fandom theory’ and how people interact with and alter media.
Reblogging for commentary, and because the divide between literalism/exegesis is another fascinating lens through which to examine both fandom generally, and its gender dynamics.
During the scene when Mulan decides to go to war instead of her father, she decides to do it while sitting on the foot of the Great Stone Dragon. The image of the dragon looking over Mulan is repeated several times throughout the sequence, and the bolts of lightning strike at significant times whenever the dragon is in sight. When Mulan takes her father’s scroll and when she is praying to her ancestors, the Great Stone Dragon can be seen. It is also engraved on the sword Mulan uses to cut her hair and the handles of the wardrobe containing the armor are in the shape of the dragon’s head. The dragon’s eyes glowing in the temple symbolizes Mulan’s role as protector of her family awakening, instead of the actual dragon.
The reason Mushu couldn’t wake the dragon is because the dragon was no longer there. Mulan is implied to be the Great Dragon that protects her family.
Questions you should ask yourself about your Strong Female Character. From this excellent article: http://t.co/efkvvUqsum
ugh, like there is LITERALLY no canonical evidence for the ~han solo: space womanizer~ head canon. like, when he first meets the ONE female character in the entire series that he interacts with he is GROUCHY and SHOUTY at her, not sauve and dashing. she thinks he is a tool and tells him this multiple times. not really smooth and charming.
he then takes to following her around on Hoth and practically pulling her pigtails asking ” DO YOU LIKE ME? YES/NO? (PLS SAY YES)” with hearts in his eyes. (Chewie probably had to throw out like a HALF DOZEN old notebooks that were filled with awful power ballads/poetry/odes to her and “Mr. Han Organa” written in different fonts)
when it comes to the iconic ‘i know’ in response to Leia’s proclamation of love, Ford has stated that it’s out of PURE CONCERN for HER FEELINGS (“the point is that I’m not worried about myself anymore, I’m worried about her” - DIRECT QUOTE), it was NOT a ‘boss’ move or ‘so swagtastic it hurts’ it was an apology that he couldn’t be there for her, it was an attempt to make her smile, to make it hurt less than if he had said the words too and then was forced to leave her. (not that he would have been much help; remember that han solo spends the majority of the 3rd film mostly blind and feeble, unable to take care of himself and generally getting in the way while Leia Gets Shit Done)
when he does say the words, it’s with the most adoring and awestruck expression. those words are fused with more than just love and respect. he’s almost HONOURED that he gets to love this badass babe and that she allows him to exist in her orbit.
AND THEN he loves Leia so much that he’s willing to step aside so she can be happy with the man he believes she wants. and valuing a woman’s choices and feelings over your own is not exactly womanizing behaviour - so where did this headcanon come from??