Tag Archives: women

Women Against “The Last Jedi”

J.J. Abrams is the latest Lucasfilm employee to assume that fan backlash against The Last Jedi all boils down to good old-fashioned misogyny. This is pretty rich considering that the most successful movie of 2017 was Wonder Woman.

Three years ago I posted a list of negative fan responses to The Force Awakens. It’s my most viewed post to date. Someone suggested I do a follow up with The Last Jedi but I was at a loss for ideas.

Until now.

While on Twitter I came across a tweet (that’s been deleted) with the hashtag #WomenAgainstTheLastJedi. The woman who tweeted wanted to let everyone know that she was a woman who didn’t like TLJ. I loved it so much that whenever I came across a tweet of a woman’s (or girl’s) negative review of TLJ, I decided to retweet with that hashtag. Then I realized that it would be more productive to take every tweet, video or article I find and present them all on one blog post, updating as I find more evidence that women Star Warriors do not like The Last JediSome of them are feminists, some not so much, but all agree that this movie betrayed everything that made Star Wars special.

Enjoy:

Here are two articles that question the “feminism” of The Force Awakens:

“Rey From Star Wars is Overpowered and it’s Terrible for Feminism”

“Dear Lawrence Kasdan, So, You Say You Love Han Solo” (sadly this one has since been deleted, so here’s some excerpts). Update: the eternally lovely Rebel Je’Daii provided another link to the archived article (YAY!).

Here’s a little something courtesy of Tumblr:

“‘Feminism’ in The Last Jedi (Or In Other Words, How Racism Has Been Cloaked in a Way to Appeal to the ‘Woke’ Millennial Demographic)”

Stormy Daniels had this to say about Rian Johnson and his “masterpiece”.

Fix yourself some snacks, sit back and watch these lengthy videos:

This lovely lady below has other videos critiquing The Last Jedi. View them all.

Here’s a little girl who gives an in-depth look into what went wrong: 

This insightful woman suggests that – gasp! – Star Wars was feminist before Disney came along.

A woman who grew up with The Original Trilogy gives her two cents:

You tell ’em, Anna!

Here’s three more videos:

A response to an asinine pro-Solo article from Dork Side of the Force (who are rrreeeaallyyy living up their name more and more).

And now for some tweets!

So as you can see the people at Disney/Lucasfilm (and the media) are WRONG and for them to hide behind the female sex as an excuse for their lousy films is cowardly and insulting to women, particularly female fans. If you are a woman reading this and you possess any tweets, videos, Facebook posts, Tumblr posts, or blog articles that slam The Last Jedi (or any of the other Disney Wars films) feel free to let me know in the comments and I will add your work to the list. Every voice counts.

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The Best-Dressed Ladies of Genre Fiction

Syfy Wire wrote a piece listing who they think are the best-dressed ladies of sci-fi and fantasy. While I appreciate the (fangirl) writers of this article for making Padme Amidala #1 in the fantastic fashion department, the other choices were, meh, to say the least. So to remedy that, I put together my list of the best dressed ladies of genre fiction. The only criteria is this: they must make at least two costume changes over the course of their story.

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1. Padme Amidala, Star Wars

When we first met Padme in The Phantom Menace, she was the 14-year-old Queen of Naboo and went by her middle name Amidala. She wore huge robes that covered her entire body, elaborate headdresses and white face paint. Why? Protection! Thanks to this queenly facade, whenever Amidala was in danger she could switch places with her low-key but equally fabulous handmaidens and no one would be the wiser. When I was a high school freshman, my female classmates and I would gab enthusiastically about which Amidala dress was our favorite. Then came Attack of the Clones and Amidala was now a senator. No more heavy dresses, no more elaborate hairstyles, now her wardrobe was more flowing and romantic. But the fashion sense was still there. If anything, being senator of Naboo meant…more dresses! Then in Revenge of the Sith Padme had to fall back on her queenly roots again as she used full bodied gowns to cover her pregnancy. But hey, the movies weren’t the only ones to showcase Padme’s unique style. Who can forget that fur-lined “snow bunny” outfit she wore when she went to Illum with Yoda in Clone Wars?

Number of Costume Changes (counting films and television only): 50

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2. The Ladies of The Avengers

No I’m not talking about the 2012 film or the Marvel comic. I’m talking about the hipper British TV show that ran from 1961 to 1969. For nine years John Steed – played by the sophisticated Patrick Macnee – would fight diabolical, dastardly villains with wit, a smile, a derby and an umbrella. Along side him was always an equally competent lady partner. From 1962-1964 it was Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman). From 1965-1968, when the series switched from black and white to color, it was Emma Peel (That’s Dame Diana Rigg to you). Then in the final season (1968/1969) it was Tara King (Linda Thorson). Each woman had her own personal style and if there was one thing The Avengers had in abundance, it was style! Whether it was Cathy’s black leather catsuits (and “kinky boots”), Emma’s Mod ensembles or Tara’s youthful miniskirt’s, these ladies brought new meaning to the phrase: “dressed to kill”. Watch all 161 episodes to see them all.

3. Altaira Morbius, Forbidden Planet (1956)

The first big budget science fiction film ever made, this 1956 smash hit influenced every sf creator, from Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen to George R. R. Martin. So it shouldn’t surprise us that costumes were a part of the budget, the most memorable being Altaira’s (Anne Francis) self-designed dresses and jewelry. When we first meet Altaira, she’s wearing no shoes, amber/ruby jewelry and – gasp! – a minidress. This was before Mary Quant made waves with her mini skirt design. In fact Altaira’s hemline was so ahead of its time, the film wasn’t shown in Spain until 1967. To impress Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen. Yes, that Leslie Nielsen), she switches to longer dresses with emeralds around her neck. But by the end of the movie she’s back to her short skirts. Good thing she has Robby the Robot to provide the materials.

Number of Costume Changes: 4

4. Wonder Woman

Throughout her 76 years as The First Lady of Comics, Wonder Woman has gone through many wardrobe changes, from culottes to skirts, and eagle to W breastplates. What’s never changed is the color scheme of her armor: red, blue and gold. But let’s not forget her other wardrobe choices: on Themyscira she wears a loose, short athletic tunic for freedom of movement. When going about her daily business in Man’s World as Diana Prince, she chooses an elegant, classy style (mostly pantsuits). When acting as Ambassador for the Amazons, she wears a classical toga. If we were to discuss every outfit Diana has worn – from comics to cartoons to live action – we’d be here all day.

5. Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, Batman (1966)

Former Addams Family matriarch, Carolyn Jones, committed her first crime in Gotham City as the glamorous Marsha, Queen of Diamonds. This diva loves diamonds. She loves diamonds so much that she’ll cast a spell (using her Aunt Hilda’s love potion) on any man to make him steal a diamond for her. But the one diamond she wants more than anything is the Bat Diamond, which generates power for the Batcave. Marsha appeared in five episodes of Batman wearing – what else – diamond jewelry but also some memorable outfits to go with that ice. What other woman would make giraffe print look so good?

Number of Costume Changes: 9

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6. Dale Arden, Flash Gordon (1980)

From one comic book wardrobe to another: Both ’60s Batman and ’80s Flash Gordon were scripted by the same writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr. so it makes sense that the projects were full of camp, colors and great costumes. It’s no surprise that the beautiful Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) would catch the eye of wholesome quarterback Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) while wearing a coral colored dress with a white jacket. As she (unwillingly) becomes Ming’s prisoner/bride to be, she’s dressed in glittery orientalist-inspired gowns (pointed shoulder pads!) and intricate diadems. But no flashy (no pun intended) apparel can stop her from helping Flash save the universe!

Number of costume changes: 6

7. Peggy Carter, Agent Carter (2015-2016)

Agent Carter, we hardly knew ye. If your show had stayed on the air, who knows how many more fashions we’d see on this secret agent as the world moved on from World War 2 to the early stages of The Cold War (screw you, Disney). One thing’s for sure, we saw a lot of memorable outfits in the two seasons of this beloved show. Peggy proved that you can kick butt in heels and a skirt without smudging your lipstick. Who didn’t want to wear a red hat at a jaunty angle after the first episode? Or go to bed with your hair curled in bobby pins to get that wavy look the next morning? Or work at the office in a pinstripe pattern? Heck, raise your hand if you wished you had a time machine that could take you back to 1946 for a shopping spree and a makeover? View them all in 18 swingin’ episodes.

Agree with my list? Who are your favorite fashion divas of science fiction and fantasy?

 

 

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10 Things Every Woke Geek Girl Should Ask On a First Date

Disclaimer: this is a parody. It was inspired by this article at Feminist Current which in turn is a parody of this ridiculous article at Everyday Feminism. After reading both, I decided to have a little fun and write one of my own. Don’t worry readers. I’m not drunk, I haven’t been abducted by aliens and I’m not turning into a Social Justice Armchair Warrior.

Enjoy.

As a woke geek girl, I keep close relationships with geeks and nerds of all sizes. They’re true accomplices in the fight against the average jock, stoner and hipster. If you’re not going to support science fiction, then we can’t be friends, let alone date. The fantastical is political.

Beyond the words, happiness and support that we receive from imaginary characters (which are, in all honesty, soul-feeding and essential), geek girls also date! But there are questions we have to ask before we get close to someone.

The following list of questions is applicable to all relationships – and certainly not just between Trekkies and Whovians.

1. Do You Believe Jedi Lives Matter?

Yes? Wonderful. Let’s start here. There are three categories that are non-negotiable to me: Jedi, Padawans and Masters. Not everyone understands how you can sit on the council and not be given the rank of Master, but anyone who doesn’t take the time to learn how the Jedi Order works isn’t going to care about how the Force affects me or people who have a higher midi-chlorean count than I do.

I don’t want to have to have laborious discussions where I have to prove to someone that Force sensitivity or Force immunity exists. If they are willing to learn and listen and make the space to decenter their Force immunity (if they have a low midi-chlorean count) that’s a good place to start.

2. What Are Your Thoughts on Hard Sci-Fi and Soft Sci-Fi?

The Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness is a tiny box and I wish it didn’t exist but it does. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone who is hard on soft sci-fi. One of the many elements to dismantling the Mohs scale is to abolish the limited understanding that we have about hard and soft science fiction. As a woke geek girl, it would be a betrayal of what I stand for.

3. How Do You Work to Dismantle the Rivalry Between Marvel and DC?

I’ve met Marvel fans (Marvfa) who hate DC fans. They say they love DC fans, but that love is conditional on not having their cinematic universe threatened in any way. And they love us as an Infinity Gauntlet, they love what DC fans have to offer, whether it is sex, food, love, free comics or money to spend on collectibles: they love us for what we can do for them, not because of who we are for ourselves. It is crucial for Marvfa men to learn how to decenter their love of Marvel in order for them to understand the DC Multiverse.

Beyond the New 52, does the person you are with understand Earths 1, 2 or 23? Are they willing to learn if they don’t? Walk away from anyone who thinks that Barry Allen is the only Flash.

4. What Are Your Thoughts on Cosplay?

You may scratch your head at this one but being pro-cosplayer is a necessary pillar of sticking it to the cool kids. I don’t mean pro-cosplayer in the sense where non-cosplayers reblog pictures of cosplayers on Tumblr or Instagram.

I mean the kind where we pass the mic to cosplayers because they know their experiences better than anyone who hasn’t ever engaged in cosplay, where you understand the labor of cosplayers, especially cosplayers who dress as Steampunks because their experience and knowledge is crucial to understanding geek fashion sense.

5. Are You a Supporter of the Metric System?

The metric system stands for meters of all sorts: centimeters, milimeters, kilometers and so on. I grew up with the standard (non-metric) system in the U.S. Before even understanding how to measure by inches and pounds, I understood that the U.S. was way behind the rest of the world in its approach to measuring things.

Eventually, I began to understand the terror, trauma and stress of having to convert inches to centimeters, simply because one nation refuses to step in line with the rest of the world. Being pro-metric system is not the same as being anti-standard system. I shouldn’t even have to express that, but being pro-metric and standard is one step closer to world peace and understanding.

6. What is Your Understanding of Cryptozoology?

Your date thinks Mothman is a hoax or a relic of the past? NO THANKS. A key part of X-Files fandom is having a complete understanding of how historical and current sightings of Mothman effected the lives of thousands of people, regardless of skeptics and naysayers refusing to believe.

7. Do You Think We Should Clone Dinosaurs?

Should we clone only the plant eaters to be safe? Should we also clone meat-eaters because they look cool? If we exclude one class of dinosaurs will that make us carn-exclusionary? How would that make other extinct/prehistoric animals feel if we only clone dinosaurs? These are important questions to ask yourself if you want to continue to date a woke geek girl.

8. Can Any Alien Be Illegal?

We live on a tiny planet, with land and water within a galaxy surrounded by a universe with an inconceivable number of other galaxies and planets. Yet here we dictate where we are and who is allowed to be where we are. It’s mind-boggling that planets are even a thing, so to call visitors from other planets “aliens” or “UFOs” is so inhumane and despicable.

Earthlings stole this planet, populated this planet, polluted this planet, pushed out, killed and domesticated animals and somehow they have the audacity to claim this planet is theirs and that green and grey non-Earthlings are the abductors? Miss me with that baloney.

9. Do You Support Klingons?

I can’t think of any other race of humanoids which has been vilified and lied about more than Klingons. I am not a Klingon, so I will stay in my space-lane, but I cannot imagine for a second claiming to be a woke geek girl if I didn’t stand in solidarity with my Klingon friends and family – especially after Star Trek Discovery.

Don’t waste your time and energy on dating someone who thinks Klingons are crafty and violent. Instead read the works of Kahless the Unforgettable, you baktag!

10. Does Your Allyship Include the Fair Folk?

As a human woman, again, I will stay on my garden path, but geek/nerd culture has to include a solid platform for the Fair Folk – and not just the ones with wings. If you have fairy/faery family or friends, please make the effort to listen and learn about their lives and experiences. Fairy folk are subject to traps and disbelief because humans lack empathy and just plain suck. Be mindful of others who mock fairies; that kind of cruelty is inexcusable.

On a date with someone who doesn’t believe in fairies? Walk away clapping your hands vigorously.

 

 

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Relevant Reads: “The Screwfly Solution”

Call me a Gilead-loving Martha, but I couldn’t get into The Handmaid’s Tale. Compared to books like Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, the Persepolis duology, Infidel, I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced and Not Without My Daughter, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian story about a theocratic U.S. that oppresses women feels more like a Disney movie than a cautionary tale.

Which is why I’m glad I discovered James Tiptree’s (note: Alice Sheldon wrote this story under the name Racoona Sheldon but it’s always recognized as a Tiptree story) 1977 Nebula-award winning short story “The Screwfly Solution”, a spine-tingling yarn that’s one-part alien invasion, two-parts femicide, with a heaping helping of religious fervor.

Now why am I comparing “The Screwfly Solution” to The Handmaid’s Tale? Well, one speculates on a future that may or may not happen. The other can happen anywhere and anytime to any woman regardless of her age, size, class, color or beliefs. It can happen in the home, the office, the school and even on the street. Not all women can relate to The Handmaid’s Tale but every woman can relate to “The Screwfly Solution”.

It’s unknown what inspired Tiptree to write “The Screwfly Solution”. Was it the many serial killer cases (of whom the majority of victims were women) that occured in the ’60s and ’70s – among them the 1977 Hillside Strangler case? We may never know because Tiptree died in 1987.

The story is framed in the form of letters between a husband and wife named Alan and Anne. Alan is in Columbia studying insects and Anne is telling him about some disturbing news reports back home:

The Red Cross has set up a refugee camp in Ashton, Georgia. Imagine, refugees in the U.S.A. I heard two little girls were carried out all slashed up.

All I could see about the clippings was that they were fairly horrible accounts of murders or massacres of women. The worst was the New Delhi one, about ‘rafts of female corpses’ in the river. The funniest (!) was the Texas Army officer who shot his wife, three daughters, and his aunt, because God told him to clean the place up.

In case you haven’t guessed, men are spontaneously murdering women in droves. From New Delhi to Cape Hatteras, bodies of slain women have been piling up in rivers and gulfs and everywhere else. It’s gotten so bad that an advertisement catches Alan’s eye:

THE FORSETTE FUNERAL HOME REGRETFULLY ANNOUNCES IT WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT FEMALE CADAVERS

Go ahead, shudder. Then pause for a moment because it’s all too familiar. Just look at these current events in our world:

A man in Turku, Finland attacks six women with a knife, resulting in two deaths.

In Marseille, France two cousins are stabbed to death while waiting at a train station.

Journalist Kim Wall’s body was found floating in a bag decapitated, dismembered, full of stab wounds and stitches sown into her torso. 

A man who identifies as a woman, murders a lesbian couple and their son in Oakland, CA.

A female torso is found floating in the Oshawa Harbor.

Here’s an in-depth article about violence against women.

WomenCountUSA is a website devoted to the number of girls and women murdered by men.

And let’s not forget India’s “missing girls”.

Yet what do all these cases have in common? They’ve gotten minimal news coverage or have been dismissed out of hand. Just as the murder of women is taken for granted in the story, misogynistic violence in real life isn’t taken as seriously as, say, racial violence or homophobic violence (the murder of the Oakland lesbian couple was barely mentioned in LGBT news media).

But systematic femicide isn’t the only problem affecting society in “The Screwfly Solution”Anne reveals another disturbing trend: a new religion has been gaining acceptance in society:

They’re calling it the Sons of Adam cult now.

What does this cult believe? Alan pulls out a flimsy sent by his friend Barney who explains via a book titled Man Listens to God:

Man must purify himself and show God a clean world…as long as man depends on the old, filthy animal way, God won’t help him. When man gets rid of his animal part which is woman, this is the signal God is awaiting. Then God will reveal the new true clean way, maybe angels will come bringing new souls, or maybe we will live forever, but it is not our place to speculate, only to obey.

And when they say “man gets rid of his animal part which is woman”, Barney means it in a literal way. In the same flimsy he relates a meeting with the Mayor (a devoted member of the new religion) of Peedsville to investigate this new cult – which ends in the casual murder of a female colleague:

Mayor Blount drove up in a police cruiser, and our chief…explained our mission from the Surgeon General. Dr. Premack was very careful not to make any remarks insulting to the mayor’s religion. Mayor Blount agreed to let the party go on into Peedsville to take samples of the soil and water and so on and talk to the doctor who lives there.

The mayor was about 6’2″, weight maybe 230 or 240, tanned, with grayish hair. He was smiling and chuckling in a friendly manner.

Then he looked in the car and saw Dr. Elaine Fay and he blew up. He started yelling we had to all get the hell back. But Dr. Premack talked to him and cooled him down, and finally the mayor said Dr. Fay should go into the warehouse office and stay there with the door closed.

Then Mayor Blount…came in…he smiled at me sort of fatherly, but he looked tense. He asked me where Dr. Fay was, and I told him she was lying down in back. Then he kind of sighed and went back down the hall, closing the door behind him.

After a while the door opened and Mayor Blount came back in. He looked terrible, his clothes were messed up, and he had bloody scrape marks on his face. He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me hard and fierce, like he might have been disoriented. I saw his zipper was open and there was blood on his clothing and also on his (private parts).

I didn’t feel frightened, I felt something important had happened. I tried to get him to sit down. But he motioned me to follow him back down the hall to where Dr. Fay was. “You must see”, he said. He went into the toilet and I went into a kind of little room there, where the cot was. I saw Dr. Fay lying on the cot in a peaceful appearance. She was lying straight, her clothing was to some extent different but her legs were together… Her blouse was pulled up, and I saw there was a cut or incision on her abdomen. The blood was coming out of there…Also her throat was cut open.

I returned to the office. Mayor Blount was sitting down, looking very tired. He had cleaned himself off. He said, “I did it for you. Do you understand?”

He went on to explain how Dr. Fay was very dangerous, she was what they call a cripto-female (crypto?) the most dangerous kind. He had exposed her and purified the situation.

Judging from what I’ve highlighted in bold you can guess why the mayor got away with murder. That’s right, “religious tolerance”. Early on in the story Anne raises the question:

Why can’t they do something, even if it is a religion?

Sound familiar? Here’s some more examples from our world:

At the Women’s March this year a woman holding an “Islam is Misogynistic” sign was attacked by protesters for “spreading hate”.

The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled feminist, FGM survivor and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “extremist”.

I myself was subjected to this. When I was a high school junior, I told my class about the way women were treated in Saudi Arabia (thanks to the previously mentioned book Princess) in the name of religion and a Muslim boy (who was a real thorn in my side) interrupted me and accused me of Islamophobia. Guess who the teacher (who hoped that one day the US would have a woman president) sided with?

∞∞∞

As the story reaches its conclusion, Alan kills himself after murdering his and Anne’s teenage daughter, and Anne – possibly the only woman left alive on Earth – is living in seclusion in the woods of Canada (at this rate the men are now murdering little boys in rapid numbers). Disguised as a man, she only comes to the local general store in her area for whatever she needs and hears talk from the men about angel sightings (proof to the men that they’re doing God’s Will). Then one day Anne sees the “angel” for herself and she realizes that it’s not an angel but an alien:

Let me repeat – it was there. And I think they’ve done whatever it is to us. Made us kill ourselves off.

Why?

Well, it’s a nice place, if it wasn’t for the people.

So it turns out that the aliens are spreading a mental delusion/disease among men, influencing them to murder the female half of the population, then boys and eventually each other. Once humanity goes extinct, the earth is ripe for the taking.

Are you interested in reading “The Screwfly Solution”? It’s available as a selection  of the only Tiptree anthology in print (bummer) Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. If you have read “The Screwfly Solution” or seen the Masters of Horror adaptation, what impressed you most about the story? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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Forgotten Women of Comics #2: Phantom Lady

She wasn’t a phantom or ghost. She had no superpowers. She had no gadgets except for her trusty black ray which she used to temporarily blind her enemies. But she was resourceful, smart and determined to get to the bottom of things when it came to crime. The socialite daughter of U.S. senator Henry Knight, Sandra Knight made her first appearance in Quality comics’ Police Comics #1 wearing a yellow one piece suit with a green cape. She was sometimes assisted by her fiance, Don Borden, an agent of the U.S. State Department.

In 1946, Quality folded and Phantom Lady was given to Fox Feature Syndicate, where her popularity exploded thanks to artist Matt Baker, one of the rare black artists working in comics at the time. His depictions of women were controversial (it was referred to as “good girl art”) but they were also gorgeously drawn. See for yourself.

(Also read this piece about Matt Baker. Someone needs to make a film – or write a biography – about him.)

In fact, Baker’s art was so famous, it was included as an example in Dr. Frederic Wertham’s infamous comics critical book Seduction of the Innocent.

Another change Baker made to Sandra/Phantom Lady was her costume. It was now blue and red – and a little skimpier. But amazingly, she never wore heels, just practical flats. It was during this time that her fiance Don Borden also became – how can I put this? – more clueless about Sandra Knight’s alter ego. She never wore a mask, change her hairstyle, her voice, or her personality as Phantom Lady, yet Don could never put two and two together. Neither could her father. Nevertheless, she was famous in the city she fought crime in and, like Batman, the police department always cooperated with her. She was the talk of the town.

By the early 1950s Ajax-Ferrell Publications took over the character and changed her outfit by covering up her cleavage and her back, but she still basically had the same costume. With flat shoes. In 1956 DC Comics obtained the rights to Phantom Lady. In 1973 she became a member of the Freedom Fighters, a superhero team that lived on Earth-X  where Nazi Germany won World War 2. She is still at DC Comics today. Her alter-ego now goes by the name Stormy Knight or Jennifer Knight.

For the original Quality/Fox/Ajax printed stories, you can purchase them here at Amazon. Or see if they’re available at your local Half Price Books. That’s where I got my collection of PH stories (I own volume 2).

To learn more about Phantom Lady and other classic female superheroes read The Great Women Superheroes by Trina Robbins.

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Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “Beasts of Echo Base”

Inspired by a deleted scene from The Empire Strikes Back where snowtroopers are attacked by wampas that live in the caverns of Echo Base where the Rebel Alliance is hiding out, Leia and Artoo are looking for Chewie. Poor Chewie is in the possession (literally) of a sleeping wampa! With no weapons or use of the Force can Leia save Chewie without becoming wampa chow herself?

Highlights

Well the only good thing I can say about this episode is seeing Chewie vulnerable makes him more loveable to me. It’s not that I never liked Chewie, it’s just that Chewie was always the tough, gruff alien that could rip your arms from your sockets or choke you to death. But seeing a bigger predator that scares Chewie enough to make him cry for help makes him seem more…humanoid. You just want to give him a big bear hug and never let him go.

Now for the questions. Actually I only have one:

  • For once can we see Chewie fix something without Artoo’s help?

Over all this episode was OK. It just wasn’t as memorable as “Ewok Escape” or “The Padawan Path”. It didn’t make me want to watch it over and over again. In fact I’m starting to think this series isn’t as good as DC Superhero Girls. It’s not that I expect Star Wars to be just like DC (it’s not). It’s just that Forces of Destiny lacks the charm and empowerment that DC Superhero Girls has. It doesn’t even have the spiritual and philosophical mindset Star Wars is known for (and yes, you can slip in those aspects in three minutes). Even the current merchandise looks underwhelming.

Or maybe I find the series lacking because I feel Disney’s ladies are stealing Lucas’ ladies’ thunder. I feel as if Disney is slowly edging out Leia, Padme and Ahsoka to give their characters more spotlight. It’s like seeing more Star Trek merchandise depicting Captain Janeway instead of Uhura because one was a captain and the other wasn’t.

Or maybe I’m just being a troll.

But don’t worry, I’ll still give a recap for the next episode: The Imposter Inside because Padme’s in it!

Until next time Star Warriors!

 

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Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “The Padawan Path”

After three years of seeing an adult Ahsoka in Rebels, it’s great to see a Clone Wars era Ahsoka again.

Rampaging robots! Ahsoka must hurry to be in time for her scheduled Jedi ceremony with Yoda and Anakin. But on the way she hears cry for help and sees a mother and child Aleena running from a giant malfunctioning droid, destroying everything in its path. Will Ahsoka risk her chance at becoming a Jedi Knight or will she help those in need? I think you know the answer.

Highlights For This Episode:

  • Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka), Matt Lanter (Anakin) and Tom Kane (Yoda) are reunited!
  • Clone Wars fans, our prayers have been answered: we got another CW episode. This story actually takes place between Hunt for Ziro and Heroes on Both Sides.
  • Anakin traded in his scar to become a pretty boy! Someone made this meme in response. No matter what medium he appears in, he’ll always be appealing – except when he becomes Darth Vader of course.
  • The steam that rises from Ahsoka’s lightsabers as she spots a leaky waterpipe reminds me of when Anakin fought Asajj in the rain on Yavin 4 in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
  • In hindsight its sobering to think that Ahsoka will never be appointed a master and Anakin and Yoda will become enemies.

Now For Some Questions:

  • How did that droid get loose anyway? What caused it to malfunction?
  • Why aren’t other jedi present at the ceremony? I know there’s a war going on but the temple is always a busy place.
  • Did she really have to run all the way to the temple? Why not just hitch a ride on a flying taxi cab?

All in all, a good episode. Welcome back Clone Wars.

Up next: Leia vs. the “Beasts of Echo Base”.

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Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Recap: “Ewok Escape”

Forces of Destiny is a hand drawn animated micro-series that centers around the women of Star Wars. They span across the entire saga and can be seen on YouTube and the Disney channel. They will be accompanied by books and toys. I wonder if Disney did this as an answer to DC Superhero Girls. Anyway, I’ll be reviewing some select episodes for the next couple of posts.

“Ewok Escape” is the first Leia-centric episode that shows us what happened between Leia meeting Wicket and Han and Luke’s capture by the Ewoks. Leia is following Wicket through the forest when they come across two stormtroopers bullying a pair of Ewoks. Climbing a tree and making a rope from vine, Wicket successfully ties up the troopers but isn’t heavy enough to lift them off the ground without getting shot. Seeing the whole situation, Leia intervenes, knocking them out and getting a blaster in the process. Next we see Leia at the Ewok village receiving a present: the beige dress she wore in Return of the Jedi. “Does it come with a spear?” she asks.

Here’s what I liked about this episode:

  • Snippets of “Leia’s Theme” and “Ewok Parade” can be heard at the beginning of the episode.
  • It’s canon! So now you can pause Return of the Jedi , watch this episode, then resume.
  • Ewoks, Ewoks, Ewoks! Reminds me of the Ewok cartoons and TV movies. Take that haters!
  • In an age of CGI, it’s great to see a traditionally animated Star Wars cartoon.

And now for some questions, regarding the episode and the entire series in general:

  • Why wasn’t this the first episode of the series? Leia is the First Lady of Star Wars.
  • How did the Ewoks get Leia’s measurements to make the dress?
  • Did they even make the dress or did it belong to another woman?
  • Why did they hire a new voice actress when they could’ve used Julie Dolan since she voiced Leia in Rebels?

And now for questions about the series in general:

  • Why isn’t Padme included in the merchandise line up?
  • Will there be action figures (because not all girls like dolls)?
  • Will there be more than 16 episodes?
  • Will Bultar Swan, Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, Shaak Ti or villains like Asajj Ventress and Aurra Sing get their own episodes?

And now for one regret: it’s regrettable that Disney will only do women from the movies and TV shows. This is another reminder of why it was a bad decision for Disney to put an end to the EU. I would’ve loved to have seen some three-minute adventures starring Jaina Solo, Mara Jade, The Singing Mountain Clan, Kerra Holt, Jan Ors, Cindel Towani or Ensign Nanda. But I guess I’ll just have to settle for the usual suspects.

So far, so good.

Up next – Ahsoka takes “The Padawan Path”.

 

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I’m Not Surprised About Joss Whedon’s Leaked “Wonder Woman” Script (Updated)

Or “I’m Not Surprised People Are Flipping Out Over This Unearthed Hokey Wonder Woman Script Joss Whedon Wrote”. Nope, I’m not. If anything I’m smirking and saying “I told you sooooo!”

As women across the nation are rediscovering their love for Wonder Woman, word on the street is there’s a leaked script online of Joss Whedon’s rejected screeplay (dated August 7, 2006) for a proposed Wonder Woman movie. At the time people thought that a film about the First Lady of Comics made by the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a match made in heaven. So when the project was dropped, screams of outrage arose over DC’s “misunderstanding of women” (a sentiment echoed repeatedly throughout Tumblr). Now femgeeks have to eat their words as they read this ridiculous script. And you can read it here – if you dare.

I’ve only read the first four pages and it already reeks of stupidity. The story starts off from Steve’s – not Diana’s – point of view as he crashes his plane on Themyscira. Diana has no characterization – none of the Amazons have characterization, they have the personalities of fembots – but Whedon describes her/their physical beauty in detail. The dialogue is sloppy: characters say lines that make no sense and conversations are cut off and never finished. So much so that you have no clue why the characters say what they say or what their talking about.

So you may be asking: “how could Whedon, an avowed feminist, mess up such a feminist character? Especially when he’s famous for creating ‘strong female characters’?” I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Joss Whedon doesn’t respect Wonder Woman.

How do I know this? I have in my possession, from the November 26, 2010 issue of Entertainment Weekly, the Benjamin Svetkey penned article “What About Wonder Woman?” The article runs from page 42 to page 46 and talks about the difficulties of getting the heroine onto the silver screen. Throughout, Whedon gives his two cents about why this is the case and it’s not very flattering…

In Whedon’s own words on page 44:

“She has no city,” Whedon says, ticking off a list of problems he had with the character when hired to write and direct a Wonder Woman film five years ago. “She has no great rogues gallery. And she’s distant in a way that makes it hard to create identification. Spider-Man is a nerd. Batman is in pain. But Wonder Woman is from an era where superheroes were supposed to be like Greek gods. She’s above us and different from us. That makes it hard to make her emotionally relevant.”

Continuing on page 45

“Tone was an issue,” he says. “People still think of Wonder Woman as kind of silly. They have fond memories of the TV show but think of her as a kind of goofy lady.”

“I didn’t make it about how we view women. I never got hard-feminist with it. I didn’t need to. She’s a goddess. She’s stronger than Steve Trevor. We get it.

And finally, on page 46:

Even Whedon sounds like he’s souring on the old girl. “If someone else can come along and create a cool Wonder Woman movie and pull it off, that’s great,” he says. “But I don’t necessarily think we need a Wonder Woman movie per se. We need more female heroes. We need ‘wonder women’ movies. But Wonder Woman may not be the wonder woman we need.”

Make that of what you will, but reading this made me want to punch Whedon in the face with an iron glove. I just couldn’t believe he got away with saying such garbage. But then why should I be surprised? Whedon was never a feminist. Here’s some reasons why.

He’s Given Us An Unrealistic Portrayal of Women

The biggest issue I’ve always had with Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the casting of the 5’4″, doe-eyed, girly Sarah Michelle Gellar as a butt-kicking slayer. To me she looked more like a Seventeen cover girl than an action shero. Just the sight of her drives me nuts. Some of you will point out that as a slayer, she’s can fight because she’s superpowered, so height and weight shouldn’t matter. But so’s Wonder Woman, Big Barda and Supergirl and they’re still physically imposing. Anakin and Luke Skywalker were strong in the Force yet Mark Hamill and Hayden Christensen are 5’9″ and 6’0″ respectively. “But they’re men,” you may argue, “Of course they’ll be taller. Sarah’s a woman.” Yeah, and so is Sigourney Weaver (6’0″), Hayley Atwell (5’7″), Uma Thurman (6’0″), Lucy Lawless (5’10), Pam Grier (5’8″), Gal Gadot (5’10”), Lynda Carter (5’9″) and Charlize Theron (5’10”). Buffy looks like a pathetic weakling compared to their characters. Now if you’re a Star Warrior like me, you may be wondering how I can embrace short actresses like Natalie Portman (5’3″) and Carrie Fisher (5’1″) as action girls? Because they used firearms to help them fight. They were expert markswomen. When they had to use physical force, they really had to put some muscle into it. Leia had to pull with all her might to strangle Jabba and Padme had use her chain in any way possible to fight off that nexu. If Buffy used firearms instead of fists, I might let her off the hook.

Buffy is not the only tough skinny gal in the Whedonverse. We also have River Tam, in J.F. Sargent’s words – “a badass kung fu killing machine”- played by “the pretty, wispy Summer Glau”. Thanks to Whedon, these women have become such a fixture in pop culture that its coined a new phrase: waif-fu, where a woman without musculature or fat on her frame can beat up (mostly male) trained soldiers twice her size. Some of you will accuse me of body-shaming but I believe that waif-fu is another way to water down feminism to make it appealing to men who are threatened by powerful, strong women. Case in point, an issue of the defunct Wizard magazine.

In the previous decade, I used to check out issues from the library all the time because I wanted to read about the latest in comics and action figures. But something was bothering me. While there were plenty of articles about Buffy, there were no issues about Xena – not even a nostalgic article about the Warrior Princess’ influence on popular culture (Starlog on the other hand, once had an interview with Lucy Lawless titled “Life After Xena”). If there were any listicles about “the hottest women in sci-fi and fantasy” or “women that had an strong influence on sci-fi and fantasy”, Buffy – and Sarah Michelle Gellar – were among the honorees. But not Xena or Lucy Lawless. So I wrote a letter asking why Xena was being ignored. I even said that she was far more feminist and groundbreaking than (my words) “that cutesy vampire slayer”. To my surprise my letter was published in one of their issues – and it spoke volumes.

The person to answer my question was a guy named thwack. I kid you not. Thwack said: “Thwack is deep inside a scared man-child who’s afraid of a tall, powerful woman with a phallic sword. And you said it, Buffy was cute.”

Talk about your castration fears. Xena is too tall, too physically imposing and too powerful to be respected. Buffy, despite her butt-kicking nature, gets more love because, at the end of the day, she’s not a threat to men. Maybe this explains why Whedon struggled with Wonder Woman – she’s too powerful and intimidating for him to handle.

Firefly and Prostitution

Firefly, ah Firefly. Fans are still mourning your early cancellation. Rupert Murdoch has become Satan incarnate for axeing the Greatest Story Ever Told since the Bible. I checked you out from the library once to see if you were worth all the fuss and what scene makes me sick to my stomach? Some soldier atop a woman, humping her till she reaches orgasm (complete with cries of “Oh God”. I thought you didn’t believe in God, Whedon.). The woman in question is Inara, a prostit- er, “companion” who’s main reason for existing is to be present on a spaceship for legal means. So in the future, prostitution, an institution that harms women’s bodies, will not only be legal it will be mandatory in order to rent a spaceship (According to the DVD commentary for Serenity, there was going to be a scene where Inara would teach archery to other girls but it was scrapped because “she appeared too much like Wonder Woman”). Let’s not forget the lingering closeups of her body as she bathes. I also have to mention the controversy regarding its plundering of Asian culture and language but no Asian actors among its cast. I have to say I’m glad Rupert Murdoch had the good sense to cancel this garbage.

He Blames Alien: Resurrection on the Actors

Did you know Whedon wrote the screenplay for Alien: Resurrection? Did you know it’s also considered among fans to be the one of the worst entries in the franchise? Here’s why the film failed according to Whedon:

“It wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong they could possibly do. That’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking. Because everything they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from it. And people assume that if I hated it then they’d changed the script…but it wasn’t so much they changed it, they executed it in such a ghastly fashion they rendered it unwatchable.”

What makes this complaint so laughable? The fact that talented actors like Sigourney Weaver (again, a physically imposing woman), Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman were cast and he said “they cast it wrong”. Need I say more?

He Makes Asinine Tweets

I will end this post with a link to one of the worst tweets in the history of Twitter.

Go away Joss. Go away and hand the Batgirl movie over to Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppela, Amy Heckerling, Niki Caro or Penelope Spheeris.

Go away and never return.

Update: Now we’ve learned that his ex-wife Kai Cole has written a tell-all essay about how miserable he made her during their 15 years of marriage. The mask is REALLY starting to slip…

 

 

 

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Forgotten Women of Comics #1: Moon Girl

moongirl

Ask any average person on the street to name a woman superhero or female comic book character and most people will choose Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Catwoman, Lois Lane or Betty and Veronica. Many have argued about the lack of prominent supersheroes in comics and point out that Wonder Woman is the only supershero that wasn’t a sidekick, relative, love interest or spinoff of a male superhero.

But that wasn’t the case nearly 80 years ago. Wonder Woman was just one of the many heroic female characters that excited readers – both male and female – back when America was trudging through the Great Depression, coping with the harsh realities of war and struggling with putting the country back together afterwards. Possibly inspired by the jobs women were taking up to help the war effort, publishing companies that specialized in comics came out with titles chronicling the adventures of lady heroes like The Lady in Red, Miss Fury, the Spider Widow, Pat Patriot, Miss Victory, et al; women who donned costumes to fight crime and corruption when needed. Some of those women had superpowers. Wonder Woman was among them and so was Moon Girl.

In 1947 publisher Max Gaines of EC Comics created a character that was similar to Princess Diana in many ways. She was the daughter of the queen of the fictional city of Samarkand, a matriarchy not unlike Wonder Woman’s Themyscira. However, unlike Themyscira, men were allowed to visit Samarkand and one man in particular, Prince Mengu, falls in love with Moon Girl. At first Moon Girl wants nothing to do with the prince but her mother tells her: “It is decreed that the man who takes you for his wife must first prove his superior strength!” Nevertheless the Queen gives her a necklace made of moonstone. “Once you wear the moonstone, no man will be your master!”

With the moonstone around her neck, Moon Girl easily beats Prince Mengu in a contest and the defeated prince leaves. Realizing that she actually loves him, she leaves Samarkand in search of him only to find that he’s moved to America and is working as a college coach. By now you can guess what happens next. In America, Moon Girl beats the prince in a shotputting match (thanks to the moonstone) and he realizes who she really is. But instead of getting married and living happily ever after, the couple decides to stay in the United States to fight crime. Moon Girl adopts the identity of Clair Lune and becomes a teacher.

Moon Girl and the Prince (its real title) lasted for 12 issues. Sadly, the writers didn’t know what to do with the character and the series evolved from a superhero genre to a romance comic (A Moon, A Girl…Romance) to disappearing entirely.

Until now.

Whilst browsing in a local comic book shop, I came upon a reprint of Moon Girl #3 and bought it. The comic was reprinted by Canton Street Press under their Flashback Replica Series, which are:

…exact reproductions of historically significant or key comic books from the 1940s and 1950s. Each page is fully restored with careful attention to line, work and colors. All editorial and ad pages are included. Collect the entire series!

The series includes Moon Girl #1-7. No. 3 has four stories: “Rockets For Riches”, “Sky Sabotage”, “The Spirit of Kokama” and “Moon Girl…Wanted for Murder”. The first story pits Moon Girl against the evil, emerald clad she-devil Satana, who is launching rockets at cities. The second story involves Moon Girl salvaging a pilot’s reputation. The third story brings Moon Girl back to her hometown of Samarkand to rescue her mother from the clutches of the traitorous Ka-zhan and the fourth story speaks for itself. I enjoyed reading these stories and look forward to collecting the other MG titles in CSP’s Flashback Replica Series. If your interested in buying and reading the adventures of Moon Girl, here’s Canton Street Press’s official site.

For more information about Moon Girl, see The Great Women Superheroes, written by Trina Robbins. Sadly out of print but still available to buy from Amazon! Stayed tuned for the next entry in my Forgotten Women of Comics. Who will it be???

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