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Sandra McDonald
love, duty and really big spaceships
It's all subjective 
27th-Mar-2012 08:26 am
sunflower

I did a guest post at Heroines of Fantasy about feminism, warrior babes, Slave Leia's costume in Return of the Jedi, and generally missing the point . . . and the first commenter, a guy, said "I dunno.  I think it's all subjective."

Which is a classic way of sustaining any kind of prejudice: "it's all subjective."  When we say that, we avoid taking a stand, we avoid critical thinking, and we avoid any in-depth examination of the topic.  "It's all subjective," we say, waving our hand.  "Who can say?"  

I reject the notion that tweens dress sexily because they feel empowered by our society to do so. I hate a lot of fantasy book covers.  I think "being feminine" means you don't have to wear makeup, that you don't have to have big boobs, that you can be a boy, that you can be lots of things. I think The Handmaid's Tale should be required reading for everyone.

"I dunno.  I think it's all subjective." 

Comments 
27th-Mar-2012 01:56 pm (UTC)

I think your first commenter missed his own point when he talked about the relative with the implants and her self esteem issues. Bingo, dude. Bingo.
27th-Mar-2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
I know! I was flummoxed by that.
27th-Mar-2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
27th-Mar-2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
Very nice! I like them all -- had never heard of Blenda, something maybe to chew over for a story . . .
27th-Mar-2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, I like that! Definitely going into the bookmarks.
27th-Mar-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Just because I didn't necessarily agree with you, doesn't mean I missed your point. Women can be empowered, regardless of how skimpy their outfits are. How puritanical their outfits are, etc. Though I can't personally say that a porn star or a prostitute is necessarily empowered, who am I to disagree with them if they feel they are? And even a skimpy dressed 13 year old has the ability to say, "I'm not going to be arrested or executed for wearing what I am wearing." Isn't that somewhat empowering? Also, my comment wasn't too far off from others (including the previous week's thread), but since you assume I am a male, my argument has been rendered invalid due to some dangling meat between my legs. Really?

It IS all subjective, btw. One person's perception of power and empowerment is often different than another person's. I don't believe any one person has the authority to decide what is best for everyone else sharing their plumbing. Some would say that women in the military are just aping masculine roles. Others would say that feminine tropes and standards are foisted upon them to keep them subjugated to the "male gaze." Others will disagree. You can go between Paglia and Steinem all you want, but the truth is there is no one truth. And marginalizing someone's opinion due to "mansplaining" is not only offensive, but obtuse.

If my opinion was to confined to only my Male perspective, there should have been a sign posted on the treehouse first saying "No boys allowed." That has never been my experience at Heroines of Fantasy--until now.
27th-Mar-2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
"It's all subjective" is a fundamental error in thinking, whether you are male or female.
27th-Mar-2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Well, that's just like your opinion, man.
27th-Mar-2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
I'm a gamer, and my current addiction is the Dragon Age series. One of my biggest complaints about the first game? The ridiculous fantasy armor the women run around in. The heavy armor for warrior types at least covers their whole bodies, even if they do show a preference for "boob plate" that drives me insane. (For an explanation of why boob plate is a bad, bad, bad idea, see this article.) But the light armor for female rogues? Eurgh. It's not quite a chain mail bikini, but it's close. Most of it is pretty much just a leather mini dress with decorative metal bits a la Xena, which is bad enough, but there's one particular set that's nothing but a leather sports bra with matching miniskirt. Could someone please explain to me how this is armor?

After listening to comments from female gamers, armor for women in Dragon Age II is much, much better ... enough so that many male gamers have complained about the lack of skin. This despite the fact that one of your female companions runs around in nothing but a white sleeveless tunic and thigh-high boots. Now, I love Isabela, she's one of my favorite companions in game. You want to know what the very first DA2 game mod I downloaded was? One called "Give Isabela pants," because that outfit is farking ridiculous.

Also, have a silly video on the subject of female armor:





Edited at 2012-03-27 05:33 pm (UTC)
27th-Mar-2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
LOL at the video. And I do think that's a great slogan - "Give Isabela pants!"
27th-Mar-2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
This is a subject I have ranted about many, many times over the years.

I think was around ten or eleven the first time I saw Frank Frazetta's famous illustration of Eowyn facing down the Witch-king, and I remember wondering why she was wearing a metal leotard. I was so confused because I knew she was supposed to be disguised as a man, and that outfit? Didn't disguise anything. I was also taking riding lessons at the time, and all I could think was how badly she would have chafed on the ride from Rohan to Gondor. *g*
27th-Mar-2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
I posted about how excited I was when Battlestar Galactica put the women in uniforms like the men's. I never did get why the women on Star Trek would wear miniskirts.
27th-Mar-2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know! And I was thinking of Deanna Troi the other day, of how she was dressed in long flowing "feminine" clothing the first few years, and later got to wear an actual uniform.
27th-Mar-2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Was rewatching Voyager the other day....none of the flowy stuff for Janeway! (We won't discuss Seven's garb, though. Sadly, I always wondered if Kess was replaced because she wasn't sex-pot enough)
27th-Mar-2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of a big-deal meeting we had with a client, and I made a presentation on what we thought we should do to win the case. And one of the clients said, "Well, that's just an issue of semantics." And I snapped, "If by semantics you mean what words mean, then yes."
27th-Mar-2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
Love it!

It's like when students ask me if spelling and grammar are important in a paper for English class . . .
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