October 14th, 2010


Cannibal Ninja

Twitter Sonnet #192

Still spiders speak against human treason.
Rusted pipes infect sliding Mario.
Slingshots are unacquainted with reason.
Filling's voice repressed in the Oreo.
Dots of red wine litter all the blank sky.
Giggling horses play with floppy fake horn.
Gruesome goblins throw apples at some guy.
Paper's purity is for stamps to mourn.
Many red stones weigh on Sumner's bare chest.
TVs stretch like static silly putty.
Yellow recipes know what schnapps are best.
Sanguine frosting makes cupcake cheeks ruddy.
Batter's obliterated by steel teeth.
There are always ghost women on the heath.

There are lines of reasoning I think are a bit flawed, and bits that presume too much about audiences and readers, in this article from Overthinking It, "Why Strong Female Characters are Bad for Women," but I agree with the thesis. It's been a peeve of mine for a while, and it's something I alluded to a couple days ago when talking about Boardwalk Empire. I talked to someone about that episode last night who, unlike me, doesn't instinctively think about what the writer's trying to do and still has that enviable innocent perspective on art that simply accepts everything, however poorly written, as part of the story. Without knowing my opinion on the subject, he told me he thought Margaret's behaviour at the party, when she went toe to toe with the mayor and senator, was an indication that she had a secret identity, that she may in fact be Anastasia.

Rather than changing my opinion on the scene, it strengthened it--it proved to me that her behaviour at the party was wildly out of character. The article I linked to above discusses the lazy tendency writers have to presume making a female character strong or brilliant means she's a full character. Actually, this sort of thing actively sabotages the creation of a character as much as Lois Lane or Sarah Jane Smith making invariably wrong choices to wind up in the clutches of a villain. Maybe more, because in the damsel in distress case at least it could be seen as part of the writer's fantasy, whereas in the newer case it's a reflection of something artificially enforced.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a female supporting character--sometimes you need supporting characters in a story. I can't say I see Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark as anti-feminist in any way--I just don't think she's as interesting as Indiana Jones, and that's simply how the cookie crumbles sometimes. But she doesn't feel like she's borne of some kind of agenda or hang-up about women, which is fundamentally the most important thing, to me. She's not distracting or dull that way.
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