sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
My premise here is that female gaze barely exists in media, and where it does, in exists in opposition to (in a space empty of) male gaze.

I will start with some background reading. I refer back to these a lot and have learned tons from them.

Bonehandled Knife at Tumblr has a series of amazing posts, focusing on the film Mad Max: Fury Road, and its cinematography.

Mad Max: Center Frame

Eyes Up Here: Composition and Gaze

Mad Max and the Male Gaze (Mad Max eschews the male gaze while other popular fandom films do not).

it’s a choice each time to frame women in one way and men in another.

Composition Choices

Another Tumblr post from Superhuman Disasters:

Filmmaking Intent vs. Theory

This gets at the training and tradition of film making. Some "male gaze" techniques may be so ingrained as to be unintentional.

The 2 hour making-of video with cinematographer John Seale beyond confirms this. Seale is obviously a true artist, but he repeatedly mentioned his frustration with the “on the nose” rule, because it undercut his instinct for rule-of-third framing and more focus on the beautiful women in the back of the cab. Not because he was intentionally trying to be sexist, but because that’s how he’d been trained, both as a filmmaker and a man.

100% of art is manipulation (of the funnest kind) of what the audience receives. We choose where to draw your eye in visual art, where to draw your ear in musical art, where to draw your curiosity in written art, where to draw your emotional response in all of them. It is ALL part of a plan - every bit of it. The better the clarity of purpose, the better the impact of the art.

So... that is quite a bit of reading. BUT I HAVE MORE.

[personal profile] thingswithwings is brilliant and makes brilliant vids and has things to say about what she notices when makings vids.

Many thoughts On Manpain

Gunn and Sayid's manpains are explained to the audience via the camera saying "some white men are sad." Because I guess if there wasn't a white man there, we wouldn't have anyone to identify with.

Briefly, in this post:

The Making of the Yuletide Vid

1) We learned that people of colour are actually filmed differently, in terms of framing, than white people, or at least this was our anecdotal experience; it was often easy to get two white characters, especially two white male characters, in the same frame, but people of colour are by comparison much more isolated, cinematographically - often appearing in one-shots.

And in these tweets which I have storfied, in which [personal profile] thingswithwings and others talk about the challenge of trying to vid for women and minority characters:

sasha_feather: Daredevil in a suit (Daredevil)
I read the first two volumes of "Sex Criminals" by Fraction and Zdarksy. I was annoyed because it has a great concept but could have been so much better than it is.

Read more... )
sasha_feather: Furiosa at night (Furiosa at night)
I tried to watch the film "RED" the other day but turned it off just a few minutes in. The protagonist Frank, played by Bruce Willis, is shown to be a super-capable ex-CIA agent. He has a flirtatious relationship with Sarah, whom he talks to on the phone, played by Mary-Louise Parker, and he makes vague plans to meet her in Kansas City. Killers invade Frank's home one night, and he has no problem deftly dispatching them.
discussion of creepy tropes )
Does anyone know if this trope has a name? It is super gross and annoying. It is hard enough having boundaries in life and saying no, and telling people to buzz off, etc, without stories like these which present positive portrayals of abusive situations.

Contrast to Mad Max:

spoilers )

comments welcome
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Vid Discussion Panel with myself, [personal profile] metatext, [personal profile] brainwane, [personal profile] were_duck, and [personal profile] cyborganize. For a list of all vids, please see

These notes are from memory; any mistakes are my own and please correct me! We mostly talked about the premier vids.

We discussed brainwane's premiere, Pipeline, quite a bit. Brainwane has written about her vid on her journal including sources. This was brainwane's first vid and she did a lot of research into how to use still footage and how to make a multivid; she was very pleased with people's response to the vid. Women used to make up a lot of the tech world but have been pushed out. Similarly, women are recruited into tech but then are pushed out due to hostile work environments. Someone in the audience said that in Mongolia, Ghengis Khan had his daughters inherit power in the capitol city and his sons took over the outlying territories. But when the daughters died, the sons came in and literally scratched the daughters' names off of the stone because it was shameful to them to have women in power.

I don't remember what we said about garrideb's Pretty Deadly vid, "Hope in the Air", except a lot of Ooooh, it is beatiful, and great song choice! Brainwane said that the still techniques were different than what she had researched for her vid.

For starlady's vid, "Just a Dream Away", people joked that hardcore ST fans will brag about seeing "everything" in the Star Trek universe but will not have seen the animated series. But what is great about the series is the camp, and the way it uses animation to do things that traditional film cannot (such as tentacles), and this vid celebrates that. I loved the humor in this vid, and the way it centers women.

For seekingferret's vid "Cassavetes", metatxt explained that Cassavetes was a controversial, prolific film maker who did not share credit easily. The band here, Le Tigre, is a feminist band, and the question they pose in the song is one we struggle with in fandom: how do we react to problematic characters? No person is all good or all bad; when we elevate them, what does that mean? A very WisCon-appropriate question.

Other vids that the panelists and audience mentioned as being particularly note-worthy:
Roxane Samer's Orphan Black vid, Gold Rush, which intercuts footage with intersectional feminist quotes
Silent Fandoms by Ghost-Lingering. were-duck liked the vidder's subtitles which were quite meta and contributed to a community, in-the-moment feeling
Repeated use of the song "Blank Space" in 3 vids (Pipeline; Purple_fringe and such_height's Dr. Who vid; and sleepygeeky's Power Rangers/Fair Use vid). Interesting to note how the meaning of the song seems to change in each vid.
Losing my Religion by rhoboat. Such intense feelings and the song really stood out for people, as it is a cover of a familiar song.
Pressure (Quantum Leap/vidding) by the California Crew. A spotlight on vidders, in the VHS/analog age. were-duck mentioned that when you see what they are actually vidding, you can see that it is in the service of smut, which is so great.
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
I am watching "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" on Netflix --as many people are-- and I mostly love it. I am nearly done with Season 1. Phryne Fisher is amazing in so many ways. I think it was on [personal profile] meganbmoore's journal that I read her described as a James-Bond like character-- wealthy, always well-dressed, super-competent, etc-- a female fantasy role. She sleeps with many different men, helps educate young women, is open-minded, and delivers some great lines. She handles herself well in complex social situations as well as bloody, dangerous ones. I like the developing backstory and the arcs for the various characters.

The show itself does a nice job balancing serious situations with an overall lightness in tone. I appreciate that it takes on issues such as abortion, worker's rights, the lives of immigrants, and gay people living under the radar.

What I mainly dislike is that every episode is a murder mystery, as it says in the title. In some episodes, multiple people are killed, and one starts to wonder about the murder rate in Melbourne in the 1920s. As a private detective, Phryne would be much more likely to take cases that weren't murder, so I'm not sure why the show needs to be about murder (I do realize it's based upon books, so perhaps my real criticism lies there). (This is one issue where I agree with my mother: there is too much murder on TV, and I'm simply getting tired of it; perhaps I need to watch other types of shows.)

Also, the specific cases are sometimes a problem:
here be spoilers )
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
I really appreciate that [ profile] hc_bingo has changed its prompts to reflect events rather than identity categories (for instance "loss of vision" rather than "blindness").

Thanks, mods.
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
I loved this movie, but I think it had one big glaring error.

movie spoilers )
sasha_feather: Simon Pegg from Hot Fuzz holding a gun looking tough (hot fuzz)
I love Downton Abbey! The characters are flawed but likeable, complex people; the costumes and scenery are wonderful, and the storylines engage me, even if the soap opera aspects are a little over the top for my tastes sometimes.

I have some problems with the way they portray gay people and people with disabilities on Downton Abbey.

Ahead are spoilers. If you want to catch up, the latest eps are online at
spoilers ahead for all aired episodes )
sasha_feather: Sheep with Dreamwidth Logo (Dream sheep)
This post is to say that I really appreciate all of you who post recs for fic, art, vids, podfic, articles, or whatever. Even if you think, "Everyone's already seen this!", I probably haven't. I really like recs! It saves me from digging through for fic/fanworks on my own; it tells me what other people are enjoying and thinking about; it is how I get most of my internet reading material really. I especially love it when you say a bit about why you like or love the piece (I admit I don't always do this).

I'm going to take a moment to reiterate my internet pet-peeve, which is when people don't identify where the link leads. Maybe I already *have* seen the thing you are reccing, but can't tell, because you only say I really liked this X men fic instead of saying Slight Return, X-Men, AU, Charles/Eric, by aesc. It's also simply nice to know where the link is going to take me. People who are experienced, thoughtful reccers and linkers also include bits of html like style=light when linking to journals, or they link to the complete work in AO3. That makes me happy!

Some good reccers and comms to follow:

[community profile] fancake: Themed recs, anyone can participate.
[community profile] bestthingever
[personal profile] dodificus
[personal profile] bluemeridian

Feel free to direct me towards others!
sasha_feather: art image of woman pilot (lady pilot)
I am doing that thing where you try writing the post you've been thinking about forever, in favor of not ever writing it. This post is about how Legally Blonde is a really wonderful feminist film. I've seen it many times and love this movie.

Starring Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair. 2001.
Witherspoon plays Elle Woods, president of her sorority at CULA, looking forward to getting engaged to her boyfriend Warner Huntington III, and majoring in fashion design. Her plans change when Warner dumps her for "someone more serious" and she decides to follow him to Harvard Law School and win him back.

This movie is funny, delightful, and surprising at every turn. Just when you think, oh, horrible sexist film (based on the marketing or basic story), it turns out to be a clever feminist story with very witty writing and sharp performances. Elle makes mistakes but they are the kind of mistakes that give her a steely resolve. She expects to find friends in her peers at law school, who turn their noses down at her, so she instead finds friends and allies in places you might not expect, across age, class, and gender divisions. It passes the Bechdel test easily because it focuses on Elle's career, several female friendships, and her general struggles and triumphs; her relationships with men are secondary. And yet it also acknowledges the existence of sexism and sexual harassment: there is an incident at her job that nearly causes her to quit, her co-worker is also casually mistreated in this same workplace.

There are a couple of things I would change. There are not many people of color in this film, particularly at the law school or CULA. There are gay people in this film (I am happy to say), but they do play up the stereotypes pretty strongly for the sake of a plot point or a laugh. The story also falls into the Victorian trope of coming-of-age story in which the heroine must end up with a man at the end. Sure, it's a good man, a kind and respectful one, but still, can't Elle stand alone at the end? I would like the movie better if she did.

The main impression this movie has made on me as a feminist is that it celebrates someone is what we might call "high femme", who embraces everything pink, is really into fashion, shoes, makeup, and celebrity gossip magazines, who is conventionally attractive (and cares about looks), loves her sorority, and has a little dog she carries in her purse. My own coming-of-age journey, finding my own identity as a woman, has largely been about rejecting these things and making fun of them. I am not highly femme, I resisted and still resist a lot of markers of femininity, and with that resistance came a certain derision of those who chose to participate in them. Growing into adulthood as a woman and a feminist has been about reconsidering this stance and respecting other people's choices. And this is what the film does for me. Elle is serious, smart, and powerful. She is a strong woman, a sympathetic one, a relatable one. I identify with her and cheer for her even when I am mystified by her love of pink sparkles and sororities. She is unapologetically herself, and that is something I want to be. Be yourself. Own who you are.

There have been a couple of moments in my life that I call "Legally Blonde" moments, where I encounter some woman who is perhaps blonde, very beautiful, probably petite, probably very femininely dressed. And so I automatically discount her a little, think that she and I have nothing in common, classify her in my head as someone I am not interested in getting to know. And then later, I am surprised, because it turns out she's a scientist or something else I find really cool, and we have many things to talk about. There was one woman in school with me like this, who told us she'd been in a beauty competition before coming to grad school. I had that reaction. How can she be serious, if she'd been in a beauty pageant? But she was very serious and smart. Society trains us to discount things that are coded as feminine. It is one of the strange looping side effects of misogyny. Because sometimes women are into these things (and only rarely are men into these things), we therefore think they are unimportant, frivolous, beneath our attention, just like women themselves.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
"pimping" a show, book, or fandom

I suppose an argument could be made that we're reclaiming this word, (I have changed my mind on this point) but it still seems suspect to me. Thoughts? Is there another word we could use instead? "Tipping" someone into a fandom?

Using "teenage girl" as an insult

There are two elements to this, one is ageism (young people are undeserving of respect), the other is misogyny (young women are *especially*) undeserving of respect.

The moment that sealed it for me was a couple of lines from a fanfic called Ordinary Life by Cesperanza and shalott:

excerpt below the cut )


In linkspamming "The Special Disability (Fail) Episode" of Glee, I saw several people say, "I wonder if any people in wheelchairs tried out for the role of Artie?"

The producers claim that they did have wheelchair users audition, but that none were as talented as the able-bodied actor who was cast.

I'd like to point out that there is a different way to frame the question. Did the producers actively recruit wheelchair users for this role? Did they go out of their way to create an accessible and welcoming environment? Is there a reason that a wheelchair using actor might stay away from such an audition? Oh, like maybe discrimination and oppression?


sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

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