- The Smithsonian magazine explores how much science fiction literature affects the actual progress of science.
- I am pretty concerned—obviously, given the title of this blog—with the killing off of women for narrative purposes. It’s a very common trope, and one that has it’s own genre: the Dead Girl Show. The Los Angeles Review of Books has an interesting take on the subject, coming to the conclusion that shows like Twin Peaks, Veronica Mars, and True Detective both forbid the Dead Girl from having any real agency, from even being a character on her own show, and “cast girls as wild, vulnerable creatures who need to be protected from the power of their own sexualities.”
- A little while ago I linked to Janelle Asselin’s critique of the Teen Titans #1 cover, an insightful look at comics’ ongoing problems with bad art (and a particular type of bad art that manifests as wonky anatomy and needless sexualization of any and all women). Shocking pretty much nobody, Asselin was severely abused for daring to have an opinion, and has since received rape threats. [The Daily Beast]
- We Are Comics is a great Tumblr that collects pictures and testimonials from loving, loyal fans, in the process showing the wonderful diversity of the folks who love everything from Superman to Sandman.
- There’s something about a unified canon, a set of events that happened and that everyone agrees on, that really appeals to my straight-laced side. It’s why Disney throwing away the entire Star Wars expanded universe really bothered me. (I can see why they wanted to streamline, but they also really threw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to amazing, interesting female characters). The Mary Sue, however, makes a compelling case for not caring about canon at all, that we shouldn’t let big, profit-seeking corporations dictate which stories are privileged over others. And, you know, fair point.
- Speaking of Star Wars, what if the reason there are so few female parts is that the main characters aren’t human at all, but are actually insectoid hive creatures who have a very different understanding of gender. It’s as good a theory as any. [Max Gladstone]
- Autostraddle tackles Orphan Black‘s Delphine and the trope of the bisexual femme fatale.
- There’s some pretty interesting research being done on male World of Warcraft gamers who choose to play with female avatars. The study found that the men pretty drastically changed their gameplay when playing as women, but not in ways that resembled how women actually play. [Geekosystem]
- Ever remember the Sims you left behind? Because they never forgot you. [The New Yorker]
- The Mary Sue is still doing its “Agent of S.T.Y.L.E” series, this time with everyone’s favourite green glamazon, She-Hulk.
Top image: She-Hulk #4 cover by Kevin Wada.
The Dead Girl trope is an interesting topic and one that leads to one of my own pet curiosities: the absent/dead mother. From King Lear, As You Like It, and a host of other Shakespearean forms through Oliver Twist and Finding Nemo to the Lannister matriarch (or lack thereof) in Song of Ice and Fire, why is it more convenient for narratives to excise the mum? Jane Austen explicitly describes the phenomenon in Northanger Abbey, but doesn’t really explain it. I’ll let more talented scholars explore the ramifications for the human condition.
That’s a fascinating point I hadn’t really considered until now. Perhaps since we expect most (if not all) childhood nurturing to be provided by a mother or mother figure, the absence points to some sort of psychological scarring in the child? Perhaps not in more modern takes like Finding Nemo, but definitely the Lannisters could have used a not-Tywin parent around.
Also, we don’t tend to give mothers narrative room to struggle and fail in motherhood (or at least not struggle and fail as part of a redemptive arc) so that may be why single fathers are more attractive to certain storytellers.