numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
[personal profile] numb3r_5ev3n
In the past, I've had a bad habit of getting involved with a new fandom, only to be derailed when something else grabs my attention. I've recently found myself in a situation where I am juggling three different fandoms (Watchmen, Hellraiser, and Moonwalker) and it's been kind of awkward. But that's not the reason that my enthusiasm kind of trailed off. The real reason is, I kind of got dogpiled in a couple of comms (LJ and elsewhere) with folks who seemed convinced that Alan Moore is misogynist, any depiction of Laurie is misogynist by default because she's a "caricature of womanhood as Alan Moore sees it that can never be redeemed" or some shit like that - and basically made me feel like misogynist for writing her.

The thing is - I think they're all missing the goddamn point, and Laurie kicks ass. I think the recent release of the Director's Cut DVD proved this nicely. I think that the folks who are screaming "MISOGYNY!" are basically just seeing what they want to see. No one is making them read my fic, anyway. :| It's just that the insinuation really hurt, and it's actually taken me a while to get over it enough to start writing fic again.

A story can explore themes of rape and the messed-up roles that gender plays in this society (along with the messed-up opinions some people have about gender) without being 'OMG MISOGYNIST.' No rly. These themes can be depicted in a story without the story or author endorsing them. This is what I think a lot of people don't get. Heck, one of the main themes in my main fic is what happens when the most macho, homophobic character among the protagonists is victimized, and Laurie finds herself becoming his advocate and pulling for him despite her own personal reservations when the antagonists responsible for the vile act are the administrations of Richard Fucking M. Nixon and her own father.

A story does not necessarily endorse or encourage the themes it explores. I mean, if that were true, Harry Potter would endorse the racist elitism displayed by the Death Eaters, and LOTR would endorse incorporeal ex-Maiar using magic rings to take over the world. Sometimes things have to be tackled in stories to reflect how things are in real life, so we can face these problems and resolve them. Not because we liek raep, or racism, or we want undead ex-Maiar with magic rings to be our undying overlords.

Another thing...and I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I personally don't feel comfortable having debates about feminism unless people can agree upon and define what feminism is. To me, it's equal rights, equal pay, equal respect for skills, intelligence, and individual merit, and the right to dictate how and when men get to interact with me as someone born physically female. I'm sorry, any guy I don't know very well who gets too "familiar" too quickly is gonna get shanked, or at least smacked. That's just how I am. I've had my own traumas with their associated triggers, which has influenced my behavior as I've come up in the world. I was one of those people who cheered in Matrix - Reloaded when Trinity said, "Touch me, and that hand will never touch anything again."

But a few of my friends who swear up and down that they are as feminist as the live-long day hold sacred their right and ability to flaunt their sexuality and sensuality as a part of their own personal empowerment, and enjoy the effect it has on men. Are they wrong? I don't know, but I do know other self-proclaimed feminists who would protest that said friends are just playing into male fantasies/entitlement towards womens' bodies, and are dragging the rest of the gender back down into a GORlike Dark Age. Which group has the right of it? Do either of them have the right of it? Who gets to decide, except for the individuals involved?

My point is...nobody I've met seems to have the same definition of feminism anyway, so how can one make broad generalizations about something that seems (to me anyway) to be entirely subjective?

Anyway, I'm getting back on the horse.

In b4 flames.

Date: 2009-09-06 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YAY for getting back on the horse!

A story does not necessarily endorse or encourage the themes it explores.

THIS. I wish there was more understanding of the truth of this statement.

Date: 2009-09-06 10:57 pm (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know why this isn't widely understood. It really worries me that more folks, especially here in the US, are incapable of grasping things on more of a metaphorical/symbolic level.

long comment is long

Date: 2009-09-06 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Point the first: Glad to hear that you're writing again. Because I want to read MOAR of that story, goddamn it.

Point the second: You are right, and the people you're arguing with are wrong.

I ran into this argument in f_s in a secret where the person didn't see why people admire the depiction of gender roles in "Mad Men" and slam it in "Dollhouse," when both shows were actually sort of making the same point about how women's roles were restricted. I take issue with that, both because I think "Mad Men" is better-written, but also because to some degree Whedon does not seem to understand what he's doing and how to write problematic stories around gender without seeming to endorse or be titillated by some of these issues.

By not-coincidence, Whedon himself seems to be responsible for a lot of, shall we say, confusion among younger geek feminists (a description which applies to me as well, of course). This idea is that strong female characters always have to be kickass, and kickass is shorthand for female empowerment. Realistic depictions of the power that most women have are somehow anti-feminist. Accordingly, "Dollhouse" makes a feminist statement, because even though the women are essentially brainwashed slaves, they inevitably turn on their oppressors and kick ass, even if they then go back to being brainwashed slaves.

This is, I think, where Moore gets it right, even though I find that there's a lot to criticize in his depiction of Laurie (I don't think it's unproblematic by any stretch of the imagination, which is why I like seeing fic about Laurie that addresses these problems). Despite obvious social privileges—intelligence, physical strength, desirability, wealth, and so on—she's a woman with very few options, surrounded by powerful men. My biggest problem with her portrayal in the movie was how she got changed from a flawed, fucked-up character into a Generic Action Girl who came to embrace her superheroineness. Ugh.

Shorter Spy: Action Girl != feminist icon.

Point the Third: Simple classification system for Western feminism.

First-wave feminism: Women's lib, equal rights, and in particular women's suffrage. At the time, considered radical terrorists; now mostly everyone publicly agrees it was a good idea.

Second-wave feminism: Analysis of the patriarchy, radical feminism. Strictly concerned with gender and nothing else, which leads to all sorts of problems. Most notable for lesbian separatism and the oft-misquoted Andrea Dworkin, but there's a lot of valuable stuff to be found in it.

Third-wave feminism: "Modern" feminism wherein everything just gets more complex. Deals much more directly with questions of race, class, colonialism, gender identity and expression, and so on, and whether sex-workers and chicks in high heels can be feminists.

(Apologies in advance for the teal deer.)

Re: long comment is long

Date: 2009-09-06 09:01 pm (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for your comment! I really do need to read Andrea Dworkin one of these days - I've seen all the stuff that's been possibly quoted out of context, and I really should read it in context so that it makes sense.

My biggest problem comes with the folks who seem to be saying, "Well, because something you are doing is an affront to what we define as feminism in some way, you are an awful misogynist pig who should just throw yourself in a well" without realizing that there are so many different perspectives on feminism out there (or realizing, it, and just not caring.) I run into this on Journalfen a lot. Apparently criticisng Stephenie Meyer for poor writing is misogynist, because would we be picking on her so much if she were male?

Excuse me *breaks something.*

Meanwhile, I try to explain to these people that the very reason I criticize Meyer is because her themes actually disagree with my own definitions of feminism - i.e. she seems to think that stalking is perfectly okay behavior, and Bella should just be totally okay with Edward employing controlling behavior such as removing her car battery to keep her from seeing her platonic male friend Jacob, and she should aspire to nothing more to marrying him right outside of High school and having his babies.

Never mind that what she's basically doing is catering to common teen female fantasies that I myself had when I was 14, but soon grew out of. But I've always felt that having a Mod tack on 'WE FAIL AT NOT BEING MISOGYNIST' tag on fandom_wank every time someone makes a comment about Meyer is a bit skeevy in my opnion - it feels like they're ramming their own concept of feminism down everyone's throats on a regular basis, and demanding that we all just accept their views as universally correct, and we should light ourselves on fire as bad, bad, evil chauvinists if we don't.


Re: long comment is long

Date: 2009-09-07 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Stephanie Meyer is also just a crummy writer. Not that I think she shouldn't write--she should, because I think people should do what they love doing, regardless of whether they're good at it--but I don't think she should be getting paid for it. Besides the creepy depiction of "romance" aimed at teenage kids who already have funny ideas about romance, the stuff isn't just up to snuff for something printed by a company to sell for money. She should be writing fanfiction. Her work is most def. moderate quality by fanfiction standards.

I'd argue that a decent chunk of Watchmen fandom can write circles around her, though.

Re: long comment is long

Date: 2009-09-08 05:31 am (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Trufax. I remember throwing a copy of Interview with a Vampire across a room when I was 21, and this was at the height of my Gothy McGothness. Twilight takes all of its flaws (in my opinion, anyway) and amps them up to eleven. And dammit, Anne Rice is and has been one of fandom_wank's favorite targets for years. And suddenly we're misogynist for going after Stephenie Meyer for being a crummy writer?

Re: long comment is long

Date: 2009-09-06 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Second-wave feminism: Analysis of the patriarchy, radical feminism. Strictly concerned with gender and nothing else, which leads to all sorts of problems. Most notable for lesbian separatism and the oft-misquoted Andrea Dworkin, but there's a lot of valuable stuff to be found in it.

That's about the best brief summary of second wave feminism I've ever seen. :-) right down to the "usually wrong, but worth reading for the stuff that is spot on."

My personal feeling is that second wave feminism was in many ways a product of its time. They needed to be extreme and provocative because they were dealing with very serious problems, like domestic violence, before those things were understood to be serious. But now that we all understand that those things happen and are unfortunately rather common, we realize that a whole lot of the theory they used to explain the social problems is actually ridiculous garbage.

I think it's very important to read it with your mind fully engaged, and to try to understand the point underlying all of the ridiculousness. Unfortunately, I think most of the people who defend it have serious difficulty understanding how much of it is flat wrong.

Re: long comment is long

Date: 2009-09-10 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But they were totally useful. I have never found a way to better motivate a scientific mind than to be loudly wrong in their presence. Wearing crazypants might not be fashionable, but it attracted the attention of the kind of people in a position to fix things. They took one for the team.

man, those were some really tacky pants, too.

Date: 2009-09-06 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Problems with Laurie aside, Alan Moore has a profound respect for women, and anyone who disagrees probably hasn't read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Unless they think that because Alan writes about Mina having to deal with all the shit her impotent, useless male peers give her, that means he thinks she deserves it or something.

I'm really glad you'll be updating your fic; I was very excited when I read it and I can't wait for more.

Date: 2009-09-06 10:42 pm (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I know! I'd bring up Promethea in that respect, as well, except I've seen people ignore 99% of the plot to complain that, 'PROMETHEA WAS JUST HIS EXCUSE TO WRITE HALF-NAKED WOMEN FLYING AROUND AND SCREWING OLD MEN!1111' There are some people you just can't get through to, no matter how hard one tries.

Please keep writing!

Date: 2009-09-06 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, You really can be brilliant when you are allowed to use more than 140 characters. You are thoughtful and well spoken. We do not share the same fandoms but I believe I understand the goose-stepping you are being stomped under, and I think those people are just looking for a reason to fight.

Re: Please keep writing!

Date: 2009-09-06 10:47 pm (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, and I agree. If they weren't being militant about this, they'd be militant about something else.

Date: 2009-09-06 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you. I do see some elements of Watchmen that I don't think are the most enlightened, but I fail to see how this adds up to misogyny. And I'm not sure why describing, in a complicated and realistic way, how rape affects people is somehow sexist. I've actually grown really bothered by the feminist media watchdogs. I disagree with them on just about everything.

Date: 2009-09-06 10:44 pm (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Amen to that. What I really hate is the insinuation that we're chauvinist pigs if we don't agree 100% with their media watchdogism. They're like PETA - I mean, no right-thinking person wants to see animals suffer, but the level from which PETA operates is so batshit insane as to be pure self-sabotage. Same with those media watchdogs.

Date: 2009-09-06 10:55 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-07 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You know what? If people can't handle what Silk Spectre represents in terms of women evolving and facing the prejudices they did (and BTW motherfuckers still do) during the time periods he's commentating on, tell them to go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut and have a nice day. That and learn to read without projecting one's own insecurities upon someone else's work.

I love how empowerment seems to equal revisionist history these days. Some people never learn I guess. x.x

Where *are* these fabled Watchmenfics? I'd like to read them, personally.

Date: 2009-09-07 10:49 pm (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Here you go.

And I agree. Also, I had one person use the excuse that Watchmen was anti-feminist because even though Laurie's realization that the Comedian was her father got Jon to go back down to Earth, the fate of mankind ended up hinging on the acts of the male characters, anyway. Therefore Alan Moore is an awful, bad misogynist. I responded with "and a lot of good it did them, considering the end of the story, which by the way was left open and with the implication that it was all for naught anyway." :\ The story, did they actually read it?

Date: 2009-09-09 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OK. If you don't finish that story, I might seriously cry. Really. I love this, and I'm not even a huge Watchmen fan. (A minor one, certainly.)

I think you got Laurie spot on. That apple in many ways did not fall far from either tree, and yet and still is nuanced, complex, and very much her own variety of fruit.

**waits crazedly for next installment* o.o

I think that anyone who believes the above has completely missed the point of the world of the Watchmen spiralling wildly out of control despite anyone's attempts to control it. Gender, ultimately, hadn't a goddamned thing to do with it. :/

Date: 2009-09-11 05:00 am (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much for reading it! I am going to see how much I can get done on it this week.

If you don't mind, and if you have time, would it be okay if I linked you to my Moonwalker fic? There's a somewhat Zatoichi-inspired character, and I'm actually not sure if I'm writing that aspect of the story at all correctly.

Date: 2009-09-11 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would love to! Though I don't know what Moonwalker is aside from the obvious Michael Jackson reference? :D You write very well, I enjoy reading your stuff! :D I will totally give it a shot. :D

Date: 2009-09-12 01:08 am (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]

Here you go. I am seriously re-contemplating the use of obsidian shuriken in this story, too...the idea seemed hella cool when I was younger, but I'm not sure how functional they'd actually be. Bo-shuriken would probably work better.

Date: 2009-09-12 01:08 am (UTC)
ext_64269: Smith.By Dave Gibbons (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Also, THANKS! :D

Date: 2009-09-23 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hey, I stopped by.

I just want to tell you as a Laurie-centric writer (sometimes, latest fic not so much ...) I appreciate this post lots. Hope you finish your story.

Date: 2009-10-03 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
:) I'm really happy that you've decided to continue with this fic (and Damnit... Now you've given me an excuse to ignore all that cleaning tomorrow to reread it. :P ). From what I remember, your writing was layered, nuanced, and although it touched on many difficult topics, it did so in a way that I believe is not only believable, but still true to the characters as portrayed in the comic/movie.

The longer I lurk in various fandoms, the more I realize that there's a certain element that tends to like to play turtle; they have these lovely preconceived notions of how something "should" be, and when they read a fic that comes up against those notions, they resolutely stick their heads in their shells and rail for hours about how "this is not how Laurie/Rorschach, Harry/Hermione, My Little Pony, etc. should be!" And it's frustrating as all hell, especially as someone who loves to read well-written fiction in general. And while I freely admit that fluffy love, peace, and rock and roll fics have their place in my reading lists (especially after the days from hell at work), I like reading fics that make me completely reconsider my stances on a trope or ship or aspect of the plot.

Unfortunately, I've seen far too many great fic authors become discouraged and give up fandom due to the persistence of trolls on the web. This is especially hard to deal with in a comparatively small fandom such as Watchmen. So I give you mucho kudos and bravissimos for not giving in, and I firmly hope that in the future you'll use whatever flames you may receive to roast marshmellows for s'mores. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. :D


numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)

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