Jodie Whittaker in 13th Doctor announcement photo
On the one hand, I can’t believe we need to have this discussion of how to write female protagonists and balance. On the other, since clearly we do need it, let’s have it.
With the announcement of the 13th Doctor as a female regeneration, the internet slightly exploded. I was actually at a fandom convention during the announcement and heard not only discussion of the announcement itself, but of reactions to the announcement.
We’re going to ignore those who were horrified to discover their Doctor now has girl cooties. They’re easy to ignore — or just borrow for humor, where they’re most useful. Anyway, the haters are vocal but seem to be a minority, or maybe I just have a better-curated network, and I don’t intend to waste blog space on that sort of thing.
But one repeated protest I heard repeatedly in several less-hysterical discussions was, now that the Doctor is a female, the male companions will be written down to idiocy so that she looks clever, and so everything will be less cool and the storytelling will suffer. I found myself saying or typing the same thing repeatedly, so let me just save time and put it here.
This is indeed a huge problem, only the problem is not the Doctor’s personal plumbing. Continue reading
I botched it tonight.
Someone asked our panel about writing in a traditionally male-dominated (both as authors and heroes) genre, as a woman. And several women writers were invited to answer, but with the clock ticking on the last moments of our chat time.
I was discombobulated by trying to formulate both a comprehensive and brief answer under the countdown, and even more so by another panelist’s previous assertion that white males were the cause of the downfall of society — a statement I found untrue as well as unfair to the white male panelists sitting on either side of me at the time, not freaking out about being outnumbered on the panel. Continue reading
Let’s talk about lady protagonists.
No, this isn’t another rant about needing more strong female characters, nor the problems with Strong Female Characters (TM). (That’s an easy problem to solve, really: you write good characters, and some of them are female. Done. Not every character needs to carry the impossible weight of universal representation.)
No, I’m going to talk about just the number of females, and my own part in the current state of affairs. Yes, this was partly prompted by Jo Eberhardt’s “The Problem With Female Protagonists,” but I think I’m going to add some additional data and personal takes.
First, let’s look at a statistical truth: There are more books and films with male protagonists than female. (The very fact that we call out but-look-a-female-lead! is proof of it being outside the norm. Nobody needs to point out gravity, because we’re all used to it.) But because we’re all neurologically programmed to notice the abnormal more than the normal, when we do start seeing “diversity,” it feels bigger than it is.
This is why research shows that if 17% of a given group is female, the men in the group report an equal number of men and women, and when the number of females reaches 33%, the men report a majority of women. The “excess” of women over the “norm” is what’s perceived, not an actual count. Continue reading
So the “f-word” is getting a lot of chatter this week, as Emma Watson spoke to the UN on Monday about feminism. Of course some people immediately threatened a nude photo leak (or manufacture, since apparently no one has legit nude photos of Watson) to bully her into being quiet. [see update below]
Way to prove Watson’s point exactly, people.
There are two fundamental problems here, and I can personally contribute to fixing only one of them. But I’ll explain them both. (And yes, this is still about stories!) Continue reading
Today’s post features a rude game of airplane footsie and some sociological pronouncements. Continue reading
Tarquinius and Lucretia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now that’s not a pretentious blog post title or anything…..
As I write this, society (or at least social media) is still reeling with the verdict from the Stuebenville rape case, in which two high school athletes (illegally drinking) sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl (illegally drinking) and were convicted with minor sentences, possibly never carrying the sex offender label, with a warning from the judge to be careful “how you record things on social media that are so prevalent today.” That’s right, kids, if you’re going to rape, just be sure your friends don’t post incriminating evidence on YouTube.
My opinion’s clear enough in the above paragraph on that case, so I won’t spend any more time on that. But the trial prompted me to review a topic I’d been mulling occasionally already, on rape in fiction. Continue reading