Thanks for your Ask a Geek Feminist questions. There are many many questions left, and selected questions will be appearing twice a week for quite a while for our commenters to have input into. Here’s the first one:
I’m currently working on an animated short film project with several other people (mostly guys), and I feel on fairly equal footing with everyone else (i.e. just because someone is a “director” or whatnot doesn’t make me feel like I can’t speak my mind). The main character of our short is female.
So here’s the problem.
I fear that the visual design of her character is sexualized. She’s not wearing bikini armor or anything like that, but she’s clearly designed to be particularly sexually attractive. I also feel like the story exploits the stereotype of women being maternal in not-so-sane ways.
I’ve been vocal on both of these points. I fought to keep the character design more down-to-earth. And during development of the story I pointed out things that I felt were problematic (though I was a bit timid on this point because the writer is a woman). And I continue to speak up about these things with the team when it seems reasonably relevant, and I’ve made it clear that I’m not happy about this.
I know I’ve made real impacts here, and particularly the director has said that the things I’ve talked about have really made him start looking at things differently. But I wonder if there’s more that I should do? Or should have done? At this point we can’t change the character design or story, because we’re too far into production, and deadlines are looming fast.
A feminist friend of mine believes really strongly that I should drop out of the project entirely, and is really upset with me for staying on. But dropping out is a really difficult proposition for me for a variety of reasons, including the typical “hurting relationships” and “endangering future employment” reasons. But I would also feel really bad abandoning people working long hours to meet deadlines when the team is so small.
I could really use some outside perspective on this.
How have other people dealt with working on projects where they’ve had feminist concerns about aspects of it but for other reasons haven’t walked away entirely?
Everyone knows Hollywood isn’t so good at depicting women, especially in blockbuster films. This is why we have the Bechdel test. But while I’ve seen a lot of good articles on the subject, Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad for Women not only makes some great points, but it makes some of them with hilariously snarky photos:
It’s tempting to link more, but seriously, just go over there and look. Don’t miss the one with the queen. And if you’re as busy as I am lately, don’t feel guilty if you’re reading the article just for the pictures. ;)
This thread is open for geek feminist introductions, speculations, reminiscences and chatter. Please see our commenting policy guidelines.
my new lantern
Conversational seed, in case you need one: in my recent sewing, software packaging, and lantern-making crafty/make-y/learn-y binge, I put some LEDs inside a gumball-dispensing toy my partner had found.
brainwane makes Tom talk
The toy looks exactly like Tom Servo, one of the robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- Favorite robot, fictional or real?
- Crafted/made anything you like recently?
- Movie you can only stand by talking back to the screen, MSTK3K-style?
Inspired by a post of lauredhel’s asking for recent movies that pass the Bechdel test, I wondered if anyone has some recommendations for good recent geeky entertainment that also passes, ideally comprehensively rather than barely. Share your recommendations in comments. Fanfic and vids and similar welcome!
Quick refresher: passing the Bechdel test requires that:
- the movie [media/story/game/narrative…] has at least two women characters;
- who talk to each other;
- about something other than a man.
If you’d like to recommend something not-women-hostile that passes a variant instead (two people of colour who talk about something other than a white person, for example) go ahead.
- Anna’s What a crock post about Gamestop’s instructional training videos for how to treat female customers is worth a look
- Wired published an article critical of the anti-vaccination movement. Skepchick (trigger warning for quoted misogynist imagery) sums up the extreme end of the response, which included a lot of misogyny.
- Aimee Mullins looks at technology, perception and prosthetics in Normal Was Never Cool: Inception of Perception
- Mary Elizabeth William’s Salon review of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog has Cory Doctorow convinced: “This sounds like a damned good movie. Maybe I’ll take the kid to see it.”
- See an account of WoMoz‘s (Women & Mozilla) first IRC meeting.
- Let’s talk about sex… in video games asks why sexual content is so controversial in video games when violent content is so common, and when sexual content in other media is so widespread. (Note that there’s no especial discussion of feminist issues like objectification.)
If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if youâ€™re a delicious user, tag them â€œgeekfeminismâ€ to bring them to our attention. Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.