Sometimes I forget just how public my blog is. Was just checking where people are visiting from and noticed someone from the department of homeland security is checking my blog. Then when I refreshed the page, it magically disappeared.
“Right. So imagine I’m the writer and creator of a TV show called The Last Amazon – it’s about Hippolyte, the Amazon Queen from Greek legend, being an immortal, kickass warrior who’s lived through to the present day and has now teamed up with a team of geeky sidekicks to fight the forces of mythological darkness. […]
Now, this is mostly an SFF show, but with mystery elements. Sure, there’ll be flashes of romance and sexual tension from time to time, but mainly it’s about magic mixing with technology, solving crimes and having crazy adventures. […]
Apart from Hippolyte, most of the geeky sidekicks are women. There’s one or two men involved, but in almost every encounter with the female characters, they either suffer hilarious put downs or are told to shut up. One of them has a massive crush on Hippolyte, but she’s a kickass Amazon warrior – she either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care, and makes hurtful jokes at his expense, which is played for laughs. The female camaraderie is the real emotional heart of the show: ladies looking out for each other, being awesome, and only really dealing with men on the sidelines. In fact, men are mostly encountered as victims: handsome surfer youths who’ve been drowned by Sirens, loving fathers who’ve been ripped apart by Harpies, little boys who’ve been kidnapped by Neriads, wise old men who are callously killed by the descendants of Circe. Sometimes women die, too, but those deaths are always more perfunctory, less brutal and less emotionally intense than those of men. Most killers are, by contrast, women: goddesses and girl-monsters all, and there’s a general sense that, by taking them on, the female protagonists are fighting the worst aspects of their own gender: protecting the less powerful men from the predations of cruel, murderous women. […]
And yet, the reverse dynamic is the sacred foundation of almost every crime procedural, ever. Except for the put-downs part. […]
You’re watching this show because hey, Greek mythology is awesome! And you really start to get into it. But then you notice the fact that the women are always putting down the men. You notice that, while the female costumes are cut concealingly, to make them look well-dressed and competent, the pretty young men are always shown shirtless or wearing revealing clothes – and that’s offputting, because it’s ultimately unnecessary. You notice that the men, though clearly doing important work in the background, are never given due appreciation by the other characters. You notice that time and again, they’re the ones imperilled and threatened; they’re the weak link the villains always seek to exploit. You notice that the men are always ruled by their emotions, falling in love with the women at first sight, their romantic epiphanies made grandiose while the women are allowed to remain aloof. You notice that the women often make jokes about how the men look – about their weight, and their hair, and their attractiveness, their probable penis size and how good they are in bed; sometimes they’re even shown to call their male partners the wrong name, which is played for laughs. You notice that, given a bunch of new characters to protect in a perilous situation, it’s always the men who end up dying for dramatic effect. You notice that, while the female characters are given room to develop in lots of different ways, the men are primarily defined by their sexuality: as lovers, adulterers, boyfriends, husbands and fathers, but rarely anything else. And when Hercules, Hippolyte’s historical love interest, shows up on the scene, you’re dismayed to find that, far from being the competent warrior who won her love and then left her, as per the old story, he instead shows up as a high-class escort – one who claims to be gay, but then falls for Hippolyte anyway – while she then humiliates and rescues him in short order. […]
Having watched The Last Amazon, you, as a male viewer, start to feel that I, the female creator, might be a bit of a misandrist. Certainly, there are elements of misandry in my characterisation, or of sexism at the very least. You cannot find any male characters who come out on top, and while you still appreciate that this is meant to be Hippolyte’s show, you don’t see why there can’t be more of a balance where the portrayal of men is concerned. You’re not the only one to have noticed the problems, either. You write about them, detailing your complaints in blogs and newspaper articles. And then I respond, because I’m angry at your criticism. I say that I’m not a sexist; that I find it offensive that anyone would use the word misandry to describe what I do, because obviously I believe women and men are equal – and after all, I’m married! I say your claim is ridiculous, and don’t address your specific concerns beyond saying that you’re out of line. I am not a sexist, I protest; therefore, my show isn’t sexist. End of discussion. So how would that leave you feeling?”—Foz Meadows (Imaginary Interview With Imaginary Steven Moffat)
As a poor Black woman who lives in Chicago, every fucking time I hear about a ‘welfare queen’ I want to desecrate his grave. I literally want to go and take a giant ass shit on his fucking grave for the bullshit he put on Black women.
I will never respect him. I will never see him as anything but a racist fuck. Good riddance.
Let me tell you something: as someone who faces sexism on a very personal level, I have no interest in politely trying to educate misogynists when we live in a culture in which their misogyny has no repercussions. Our government is introducing bill after bill of offensive, woman-hating legislation, murder is still the leading cause of [death of] pregnant women, and rape is under-prosecuted at staggering numbers. Birth control is up for debate, governors are rolling back equal pay laws, and you think I have the energy to be polite to these people?
Because it doesn’t do any good. There’s no evidence that being super nice to sexists, or racists, or homophobes, or bigots of any kind will make them see the error of their ways - it’ll just make them more comfortable to be around you because you’re playing by their rules.
My blog is one of the only times these people will face any repercussions for being bigots. And you know what? They can turn off the computer and go right back out into the world where they are sexist jackasses and people tolerate it or even encourage it. When I turn off the computer, I’m still in a world of sexist jackasses that are tolerated and even encouraged. There’s this culture of not having any accountability for being a bigot, and I’ve created one tiny space on the internet where that’s no longer true.
Male privilege is being able to join the military for no other reason than “my friends are doing it” but if you’re a woman, you have to have multiple, well-defined reasons that will never be good enough.
If you really think anti-harassment rules bar flirting, you’ve got an idea of what constitutes flirting that really needs some re-evaluation. … If you speak to women the way you’d speak to someone you respect, someone whose boundaries you respect, you generally won’t have any problems with women accusing you of harassment. End of story.
When you worry out loud that anti-harassment policies might outlaw flirting, you as much as sharpie a sign on your forehead saying “I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU WANT AS LONG AS I GET WHAT I’M AFTER.”
The problem for NBC as for other media is that it is trying to preserve old business models in a new reality. To experiment with alternatives when billions are at stake is risky. But so is not experimenting and not learning when millions of your viewers can complain about you on Twitter.
The bottom-line lesson for all media is that business models built on imprisonment, on making us do what you want us to do because you give us no choice, is no strategy for the future. And there’s only so long you can hold off the future.