ellestra: (big gun)
I think that films and TV made me used to male buts being on display that I assumed that's what all the media does. But films and TV learned that pandering to female viewers is important (mostly TV - since more women watch scripted shows) for success. Of course pandering with great character development would be preferable everywhere.

ellestra: (big gun)
Back home the heat wave is just ending (36C!) and school begins and I'm making an aggregation post again.

There were some good news today. Syfy just announced that both Dark Matter and Killjoys are getting renewed for another season. And The Dome is finally being put out of its misery.

And Tatiana Maslany is being linked to another Star Wars leading role -this time in Episode VIII. (Along with some other awesome people.)

Some interesting changes - like Google making most radical change in their logo since last century (it's sans-serif now and G has multiple colours).

And if you want to get angry (or depressed) Anita Sarkeesian released another Tropes vs Women in Video Games video and it's Women as Reward this time (reminds me when I unwisely tried to see how Falling Skies ended and wanted to throw something at TV).

And if you want to get really sad - Terry Pratchett's last book has been released today in US (it's been out in UK and Commonwealth since last Thursday). The Shepherd's Crown is part of Tiffany Aching series. The final glance at Discworld before the glass ball becomes completely opaque.
ellestra: (cosima)
It's March - the month of Cage Matches. I was to write about them earlier but I had a lot of work and bad things kept happening so I'm left with just reporting the results for two of them.

[livejournal.com profile] f_march_madness had its final vote today and the winner of 2015 Fandom Steel Cage Match March Madness is once again new - brand fresh to TV at least - Agent Carter has only premiered this year and Peggy has already won (by over 2/3 of votes).

I'm super happy about this next winner. Not only she was woman and scientist but she was also Polish. In Ultimate Genius Showdown run by 92Y and MSNBC the ultimate champion is Marie Curie. Or as she is known in her home country Maria Skłodowska-Curie. I don't do patriotism very often but in this case I couldn't even pretend to be objective. Good that there is no doubt she deserves this.

This last one you can still vote in. Suvudu Cage Match theme this year is Women Warriors. The stage 2 has just closed but there is still plenty of voting left. I have to admit I don't know many of the contestants kicked out in Stage 1 but now decisions became much easier. Although I'm bummed there is no one form Malazan. Sorry would be great. Laseen could probably kill them all before they notice. And Lady Envy would just level the place. But as it is I really want Susan Sto Helit to win. Because she's awesome. But also because Pterry. Still right now I'm happy she's off to the next round and so is Sabriel.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I just changed time and the weather is perfect today so I spent most of the day outside and it's 7 pm and still not dark. It's not yet pollinating (thanks to all the cold recently) but very sunny and warm but not hot (18C). Perfect for a lunch and long walk with a friend. My female friend because it's also International Women's Day.

This year's theme is Make It Happen. And things are happening all over the world. From Emma Watson's live streamed gender equality talk to all the marches that went through many of the world's major cities to all the other recent events. The Guardian has a great number of articles about the issues and happenings from webchat on "The role of feminism for young people today" to history of women in science (although I'm not sure 10 Best Feminists is really something we need). In New York women were removed from ads by Not There campaign to represent the idea that women are “not there” yet in terms of gender equality. As always Google made a great doodle. On the sad side women internet harassment is still going strong - feminist blog Femsplain was taken offline earlier today by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. And of course some graphs.
ellestra: (big gun)
My TV tastes are a little uncommon. I'm not overly fond of the two guys solving the case of the week type of shows. I prefer to have larger group of people and I like story arcs. I got bored by Supernatural after couple of episodes and all my tries to get to it later ended the same eventually (also because all the interesting secondary characters die and I hate the main ones). I only really got into Person of Interest after Carter learned the truth and I like it so much more now that it has a team. Grimm became more and more fun as characters learned what was going on. And Sleepy Hollow became more interesting with Jenny and Frank helping out.

So I'm probably the only one who liked the idea of Katrina and Hawley joining the team. But then it turned out the writers didn't really know what to do with them. Katrina has never really been allowed to the powerful witch we were told she was. Hawley meanwhile has been badly pushed as a love interest but they couldn't decided whether for Abbie or Jenny. Everyone hated them so Hawley was put on the bus and it looks like Katrina is turning evil. When you don't have an idea how to deal with a character just do what crowd screams for. Since this kind of hate always makes me want to be contrary I'm probably the only person in existence who wants Katrina to be the one making right choices and finding the solutions.

She suffers from a kind of bad writing that always pisses me off. The kind that creates a character who's an object, a goal to obtain by the protagonist, a motivation for their actions, a plot point. Characters like this don't exist as actual people, they don't have a personality or their own goals and stories. So if the protagonist achieves the goal of finding/rescuing them the writers usually don't know how to deal with that. How to switch them from the idealised object of desire to an actual person.

So Katrina the super powerful witch and great spy becomes ineffective even at her stated area of expertise. She spends half of the season imprisoned again where she fails at spying and getting rid of Moloch and then almost all of her magic fails. She's not allowed to ever capitalise on her stated power because our main heroes must be the ones defeating the enemy. So she's always either wrong or knocked out. And now she seems to be heading towards the final stage (before dying) of such character - turning evil.

Because this is usual fate of any such character with special powers. Since the expectations built for them are so high they cannot be good because if they were the good side would win too easily so they have to turn evil. And then our protagonist can fight against their superior power and live through angst of having their loved one turn evil. Of course they go back to good just a moment before dying. This way we can go back to the beginning when the existence of that character was all about being a motivation for protagonist. More comfortable this way.

All this is no fault of the character. It's the writing that's at fault. And it pisses me off. This is why I hated Neal's story on OUaT - he was a driving plot for Gold and Emma when he was an idea but they had no idea how to work him in as a character. This is what all the special kids suffer from when they grow up in shows that started being about their parents - I'm still angry about Isabelle Tyler even after all these years. And the faults in writing make the fandom hate those characters and, because I'm contrary by nature, this is why I love them. Even though it sets me up for failure because they always die.

There is also the fact that they are almost always female and almost always in relationship with the protagonist and fandom already has a different OTP so the amount of hate just piles up higher and higher. Everyone just calls for them to die. Even the official reviews of big SFF sites are full of "Katrina is stupid and useless" (even when she was let to finally be right about Henry and and Orion and it doesn't help because her existence means Abbie/Ichabod is not happening) and calls for killing her. And producers will finally listen. This is how the cycle of hate works. Fandom hates the character so she gets killed off and then fandom bemoans there are so little female characters and that they keep getting killed off and round and round we go. Is it really so hard to focus that hate not on the character but on the writers? Make them look for better plots.

I want those characters to succeed in their new roles. I want their goals to actually turn out to be worthy of pursuing. I want them to be right and competent and have their own storyline. I want them to be written better. There is no reason why they could give Katrina possibilities to actually do something useful and work with the rest of the characters effectively. She could be the team's Willow. She could be awesome. There is nothing horrible at allowing characters other than the main protagonist to be competent. Look at integration of Shaw and Root into the team on PoI and they have much more overlapping skills with the initial protagonists than Katrina. There is nothing that stops her from being someone we love. Except for shoddy writing.
ellestra: (cosima)
So the rumour has it Tatiana Maslany has been cast in a lead role in the next Star Wars standalone spin-off movie. It still hasn't been officially announced but all the signs and unofficial sources confirm it's true. I wish her all the success she deserves but I hope she'll keep doing Orphan Black. Being Human never really recovered from Mitchell's death. For now we have all the Clone Wars jokes you can think off.

The American remake of Broadchurch just died but that doesn't discourages them from trying again and again. Newest victim - Black Mirror. I have no idea how they plan to turn that into an American format TV series. Also Luther is getting Americanised. I don't really see it working as 20-something episode series but maybe the original creator do.

In Joss Whedon's Buzzfeed interview he elaborates on his words about his criticism on excuses for lack of female superheroes, not doing any more Avengers movies, maybe doing Captain Marvel and his own projects including a film about female Batman-like character. He's also sad that Fox has all the X-Men with all the coolest female characters and I agree. What is worst for me they really not doing much with them and there are so many good stories there. But we cannot know that Marvel/Disney would've really been better. Their female characters are still missing from merchandise.
ellestra: (root and shaw)
So first there were two hours of Agent Carter and then Person of Interest and I was all "best day ever1" and then...

Agent Carter was as great as the trailers promised. I loved everything about it - the over the top action (stapler was my favourite) and dialogue (I loved Angie calling Peggy "English") and that two main characters in 40s/50s USA talk all British too each other.

It's not quite real version of the era but a kind of comic book/detective movies of the era one - the colours, the clothes, the dialogues and the accents (especially secondary American characters), the cars and gadgets - and it's perfect. This is the setting that lets you believe in assassins with no larynges and shiny, imploding globes. At the same time Peggy Carter is a fully realised character. You feel for her. The loneliness - from the sexist agents that make her alienated at the office to normal life where she cannot share what she really does and doesn't want to endanger people around her to the loss of a man she loved who she is constantly reminded of by popular culture. You want her to succeed with her fight against her awful work environment and the bad guys.

I loved all the action and all the lines and how badass she was but Jarvis big talk about not detaching herself from what she protects and on importance of relationships with other people was awesome too. Usually this type of talk is delivered to a male protagonist so that fit well with the entertainment tropes and the equality message.

The PoI had it's Remedial Chaos Theory episode (that repeating the slow-mo shooting over and over again was their dice slow-mo roll). I feel too much to be coherent about this right now but I loved it so much.

This was Root and Shaw episode - from Machine including their banter, and the simplified version was the best, in it's simulations to the actual version when Sameen first admits she finds Root hot and then kisses her before her great heroic sacrifice almost like something from that radio show Agent Carter listens too only much better and Root was screaming and and Sameen was looking at her while the lift door was closing. ARGHHHHH... Too much emotion.

The versions - Finch died, Reese died, Root died - just told us who won't die but I was sure Shaw will came to the rescue in that last scenario with 2% chance of everyone's survival and she did and then they chances went up like crazy and I was all screaming "YES!2" and then they were shooting together and it was perfect and then Shaw went to save them all and I went "NOOOOOOOO!" but then the promo for next episode happened and I'm all better now. I mean Root is right. Shaw's not dead. Everything is going to be OK.

Also seeing Machine's decision making process was awesome.

1Well maybe not ever but certainly this week.

2Very loudly in my head
ellestra: (winged)
This episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games comes with the Content Warning: This educational episode contains graphic sexual and violent game footage and it is very true. After a while it become hard to watch. Other tropes annoy me more from the storytelling point of view but this is visually most disgusting.

ellestra: (winged)
Anita Sarkeesian made another video in the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. This one is about objectification. About the women in games who only move so they can show their "assets" to players' better. For only the one type of the player whose perspective matters.
ellestra: (cosima)
It's March 8 - International Women's Day. It's one of those horrible communist holidays - which was like Valentine's Day only non-sexual and with more speeches - that was turned into something positive and actually about women.

The Guardian has a whole section dedicated to the day and it has everything - from quizzes to pictures showing the lives of women around the world to protest marches to new laws protecting women.

Here are women talking why it's important it exists and why it matters. The inequality persists and the statistics still show how much needs to change - from lower access to education to lower pay to danger of sexual assault - there is something to be done for all women all over the world. Even if there are always those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day and don't believe problems exist. The fact that in many ways it's better for more and more women doesn't mean we have solved them. There is a tendency to see other people gaining similar position as losing something. And the justifying the acting as inequality is the fault of the person being mistreated because it's obviously not my fault.

It gets even creepier when these type of justifications are used by rape apologists. New research, however, suggests that men who harass women in bars and clubs aren’t misinterpreting women’s signals because they are drunk. Rather, they may be singling out women who appear intoxicated as easy targets. Here, now you have a scientific explanation why Blurred Lines are so incredibly creepy. And you know you should blame that guy in the bar even more - he did it on purpose.

On nicer end of celebrations - this year's theme for UN celebrations is “Equality for women is progress for all” and was as commemorated at UN headquarters in New York on 7 March.

Scientific American has 15 portraits of women in science and technology and IFLS has 8 not well enough known women in science (so Maria Curie isn't your only answer).

And I'm sure you already saw the Google Doodle for today.

And at for the end, traditionally, carnations*

*In communist Poland women would get flowers for Women's Day and carnations were the popular choice to the point of becoming synonymous with the lack of effort. Still, I'm not against getting flowers. I have to admit that even getting a tulip from a hypermarket is nice even though they just do it so you'd come back to buy more.
ellestra: (winged)
I had so many things happening recently I just didn't notice before that Anita Sarkeesian made another video in the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. It touches my most hated trope - the one that treats being female as character trait. Like being a woman was a personality - this is especially visible in anything affected by Smurfette syndrome but this video made me realise Ms. Male Character is not free of this. And the stereotypes it creates hurt whether you hate bows (not even as a little girl) and pink (blue was my favourite colour since I can remember and that's 3 or 4 years old) or you love them (they are still not your defining traits and certainly not what makes one a woman).

ellestra: (telamon)
Swedish cinemas are to implement new rating for the movies. One that will inform viewers if the film has passed the Bechdel test (to pass it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man). Just trying to read the comments makes me realise how bad is still is - so many people take personal offence at this being implemented (in another country). Luckily, in RL all my friends where pro this as soon as I explained to them what Bechdel test is. My Swedish friend said she won't be able to watch a movie without thinking about this. She never thought or noticed before and that is why this rating is a good thing. It doesn't stop you from watching (and liking a movie). It just makes you notice the gender bias. It's easier to get change to happen when people notice there is something to be changed.

Now that Carol Denvers is Captain Marvel the Ms. Marvel name is free and Marvel is filling it with a new character - Kamala Khan. Kamala is a Muslim, Pakistani-American girl living in New York who discovers she has shape-shifting powers and decides to take the name of a hero she is a big fan of - Ms. Marvel. Guess which part of this description has people foaming at their mouths. I always feel awkward about religious characters in a universe that has literal gods (and devils). After all, when you hang out with Thor and fight demons in hell and knowing those are aliens and other dimensions, religion seems a little like denial (or insanity). Still, I like the idea of this character getting her own book. In fact it's awesomely appropriate. Mutant stories are about being different and fitting in.

Netflix is teaming with Marvel to create TV shows that, unlike SHIELD, will actually star superheroes. Netflix will air live-action, 13-episode, superhero TV shows (streaming shows?), based in Marvel Cinematic Universe and starring Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Daredevil. There is also a miniseries event based on the Defenders planned. The series will start in 2015 and air (stream) over the next few years. This might be what we were all waiting for - especially if Jessica Jones show is going to be, even remotely, based on Alias.

A town in New York state got a Klingon on the town board. John Hertzler, who played Klingon General Martok on ST:TNG and now is an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s film and theater department, got elected to the Ulysses Town Board in Tompkins County on the 5th of November.
ellestra: (winged)
Remember this whenever you interfere with the cool lives of those awesome antiheroes - all this happens to you just because you are a whiny bitch:

BuzzFeed asked female cosplayers at New York ComicCon to share the creepiest thing that’s ever been said to them while they were in costume. There is a whole series of pictures on this link and some of them are really bad. And to all the commenters that say sexy costumes explain those comments - you can get random "Nice boobs" thrown at you when in jeans and unisex loose t-shirt. I know. And it's creepy every time.
ellestra: (cosima)
Today is Ada Lovelace Day and this means this year it's on my birthday. Ada Lovelace Day besides reminding people of her achievements is also about the achievements of all women in STEM, both historic and modern. She was the first programmer but many don't think of There are many events that are happening today but the one that I like the most is Ada Lovelace Edit-a-thon 2013- editing Wikipedia to put in more articles about women in science. Most of Wikipedia editors are male and it suffers from certain bias and this is set to rectify that.

This is also a day to blog about women in science but since this is my birthday and I am a woman and a scientist and so are many of my friends this is about people who don't qualify for the Wikipedia (yet).

I just went for a trip with my friends. They both work in NIH so they just had two weeks of unplanned vacations anyway and they just started third. The US government shutdown means they cannot even check their emails not to mention getting anywhere close to the Institute. They do get paid - one is postdoc and the other is a student on Polish scholarship - so they should just lay back and enjoy it, right? But science is not only a job but also a passion - something you like to do if you stayed with it so far. And most importantly it takes time to plan and execute the experiments. Stuff they did just before the shutdown - weeks of work - went to drain. The reagents are getting old. The time is running out. One of the friends has to go back to Poland soon to finish her PhD and there are experiment she needs to do before she goes and she is running out of time.

And they even don't have it that bad. They are working on bacteria and yeast which means the experiments are relatively short and you can freeze (literally) what you are working on. There are people who work on things that take months or even years and sometimes also could save people's lives. Most people think about NIH as completely non-essential so they don't pay attention to how it cripples not only one of the best science institutions in the world but also all that's connected to it - and that's most of American science. That is something that makes the technological advancement possible and brought countless scientists from all over the world here. If this continues and repeats again they all may find something else to do somewhere safer. I know for some of those who caused shutdown this would actually be a desirable result but I hope it's not going to happen.

Women in science are still facing bias and it's more difficult for us to keep working and get on tenure track. It's better then it used to be and daycares are more and more available (my friend's husband who also works for NIH now has to take care of two small kids and he's already had enough) but it's still harder and bunch of politicians throwing temper tantrum doesn't help.
ellestra: (big gun)
The third part of the Damsel in Distress segment of Tropes vs Women in Video Games is here:
ellestra: (cosima)
The Google Doodle today is for Rosalind Franklin's 96th birthday. She's the physicist who took x-ray photos of DNA molecule that allowed Watson and Crick to deduce the DNA structure. She died years before the Nobel award for DNA structure discovery so she wasn't eligible but the way her achievements were marginalised meant she probably wouldn't get it anyway. I first heard about her when I watched The Race for the Double Helix Back in primary school. By the time I was actually learning about her in school she had a front seat among pantheon of women scientists. I was completely shocked that she was considered unknown which shows that I underestimated misogyny from very early age.

Of course, if she lived she might've discovered DNA structure herself and she might've gotten the Nobel. If it wasn't for ovarian cancer she might've been still alive today and advanced science in many other ways. Ovarian cancer is still one of the deadliest mostly because the late stage detection due to lack of symptoms. So if you think about contributing to science think about contributing to fighting it.
ellestra: (aeryn)
I was always the most SFF obsessed in my intimidate circle. I was the one dragging the rest to new books and movies and games. Now my cousin does it and she even started an online fantasy magazine. She even promotes it with her friends (and her fiance) in full cosplay. There was never in my mind doubt that SFF was a girl thing. I never even thought about it as something that we should fight about it.

One of the worst things about the whole Fake Geek Girl affair was the emergence of women who would list their credentials to prove they are not like those girls who just pretend to be interested. I always want to say you don't need to prove anything to anybody. Let's not let jerks spoil our fun.

May 2016

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