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September 01 2008

Cracked lists River Tam as one of Hollywood's 5 Saddest Attempts at Feminism. River has the dubious distinction of coming in at number three according to Cracked.com.

all i have to say to that entire article is ...


Nothing is ever good enough and everything is always wrong.
I'd like to point out that, at the end of the article, it says...

"For more feminism, check out the boob-alicious The 6 Most Gratuitously Cleavaged Women on TV"

Really?

Additionally, I have issues with articles about feminism that refuse to acknowledge writers who write women as human beings, rather than Goddesses. I then have even more issues with authors who manipulate stories in whatever way they see fit, so they can then try to point out faults. I won't even get into those blog-based "articles" on the anti-feminism of Buffy.

My biggest complaint with this list is in regards to Eowyn. First of all, I take issue with the idea that she only went into battle for Aragorn. Second, if you want to take a look at a poor example of feminism in LotR, take a look at Arwen. If memory serves, she starts off by bravely saving Frodo, then quickly becomes little more than Aragorn's romantic foil.

But I digress...

I will say, however, that this tickled me:

Witch King: No man can slay me! Mine is an evil laugh!
Eowyn: Behold my vagina!
Witch King: * dies *

Yeah, I pretty much suck.
In a vaguely similar note, I came across this the other day. It's getting a fair bit of attention.
*blink* Wait, River was written to be a role model for feminism? And here I stupidly thought that she was a brilliant ‘gift’ed person driven mad by government-type-blue-hands that wanted to make something good “better” (aka exploit it for their own good with no regards to the big picture) and ended up with their worst nightmare. Metaphoric, really. Why would I want to be anything like her? Reading minds might seem like a gift but as we’ve seen in Buffy and River, it is more of a curse – also, being able to kick major ass means major responsibilities and organized powers wanting to kidnap me/take me out for their malevolent tactics. No thank you. But! It sure makes for some amazing viewing ;)

All Joss’ kickass ladies are flawed (all his characters are) – hence the point, Cracked. I wouldn't want 'em any other way.
I should know better than to read stuff like this, and yet they always sucker me in. Excepting Catwoman, those are all some of my favorite Hollywood women. And yet they managed to make me feel as if I were a bad feminist for liking them.

We get few enough agent-y woman characters as is; do we really need to reduce them all to worthlessness so that we're left with none?

Regarding the protection of River, that always strikes me as a sibling thing for Simon, not a woman thing. And for the rest of them, it's a one-of-us thing. I love all the women of Firefly, and I think each of them illustrates in some sense the complexity of being a woman.

Zoe is strong but, as we see when she's with Wash, sometimes she needs to just be, without worrying about being a warrior.

Inara is beautiful but she's also intelligent, well-educated, and diplomatic.

River is crazy, yes. I hate how they dismissed that, as if to be crazy makes you a bad feminist. Like, oh, I spent some time crying and gibbering, now I am not a good woman role model. River is a weapon, and she didn't get that way by trying. River and Buffy have the lots-in-common. Girl as Weapon. Surely someone has written about this theme in Joss's work?

Kaylee I love because she has the distinctly ungirly task of keeping the engine running, but is girly in every other way.

Joss writes whole women, most of whom subvert some stereotype of woman or another. (I wrote a paper on that, but I don't think it was very good.) These are people and not props.

I can't help but feel like the folks who write these articles are looking for something just as one dimensional as the folks who want weak-willed prissy women.

ETA: Also articles like the cleavage one make me feel like I can't be a good feminist because of my body shape, too. Thus making me self-conscious about my body. Well done, folks!

I normally am not this grumpy when I post, I swear.

[ edited by Kiba on 2008-09-01 15:17 ]
Yeah, it's a bit silly, but I do like the article Simon linked to (thanks!).

ETA that the "let's tear something down" premise of the Cracked article is kind of transparent but it's somewhat redeemed by being occasionally quite funny, ie.
Elizabeth (Keira Knightley's character) Swan is introduced in the first movie as the governor's daughter who has a fascination with pirates and effeminate blacksmiths. Over the course of the franchise, she learns to fight, shoot, go to war, lead armies and give boring speeches.


[ edited by catherine on 2008-09-01 15:25 ]
My impression was that Simon and River's storyline was going to be the first-season arc, while in future seasons the arcs would center around Book and the others.
Now that was a load of c...
I always thought that River was supposed to be a sort of play on women-and-danger film tropes--is she the damsel in distress? the ass-kicking Buffy? is she going to kill us? We don't know! She could be any and all of these at once.
Also, I would be hard pressed to believe someone calling themselves a feminist when they describe Kiera Knightly as "boobless." Classy!
I'll admit I agree with a few of those characters, but River certainly is done a disservice by being roped in with them.
I'm with Mirage. Since when is River supposed to be a role model?
I have to admit, i found the article pretty funny.

However it would worry me if the person who wrote it SERIOUSLY believed these things
Silly Joss characters, how dare you have layers? Zoe always struck me as the most overtly feminist illustration on Firefly, but I suppose that would be wrong too (per Cracked), as she would be described as "blindly following around after a male criminal's every whim and command." I personally get more ticked off by chic flicks that are supposedly written for women that always end up with the heroine giving up some major part of her life for love, ie - The Devil wears Prada (her career) or You've got Mail (would you really date the guy that killed your store?). It annoys me endlessly.

[ edited by Charmuse on 2008-09-01 15:59 ]
A world of 'oy.'
Um, it's a comedy site people.
What makes River stand apart from Joss's other SWCs is that she is a strong mentally ill woman character. He doesn't shy away from the indignities/hilarities of mental illness, but takes us inside her head for her long journey from rescued to rescuer. And when River faces the Reavers, one product of the Alliance's attempts at domination against the many byproducts of the Alliance's attempts at domination, a handcrafted tool of domination becoming the instrument of her own liberation, making the big arc from rescued to rescuer, it's a thing of beauty. (Except that the Reavers, unlike vampires, don't turn to dust when they die, so their bloody bits pile up on the ground. (But slaying a Reaver is like slaying a vampire or a dragon -- it's just sci fi evil incarnate instead of fantasy evil incarnate)) Yes, she starts at a fairly pathetic point -- that just makes her ultimate heroism more inspiring. And realistic.
Color me dumb. That'll teach me to read stuff early in the morning. If by early I mean before 10 am.
Yeah, I found the article funny if you don't take it too seriously. And some of her points are dead on (e.g. on Elizabeth and Padme). Her ten-second dissection of the femme fatale is somewhat accurate, I think, although I think it's more complicated.

Interestingly, the review of Serenity more or less blames the fact that the film is taken as a feminist statement on...what, fans? Other reviewers? It isn't the movie's fault that people have certain expectations. She also quotes that Livejournal author and mostly laughs her off ("you would think that Whedon was going around set personally bitchslapping all the females"), which won the Cracked author some more points from me. Anyway, among other things, what she does fail to note is that River is a child--as in the youngest on the crew by a long shot. As well as the haunted hero the arc is growing up from needing protecting to being able to protect and give your all.
I think Simon Tam was more of a failure at feminism than River.
Ah, Cracked. Mad's younger, unfunny, lame baby step-brother.

Every year I would ask Santa for a copy of Mad in my Christmas stocking, and nine times out of ten I would get a Cracked instead. Argh!!

Eowyn is my favourite character in the Lord of the Rings novels, btw.
I'm pretty sure this article is a joke.

When I watched Firefly, I always imagined River as someone who had a traumatic experience in her past. Something had happened to her, that didn't just go away. She had to work through it, and there was a good chance that she never would. I thought that this was a very interesting character story. I have known several rape victims, and they all seem to identify with River's struggle.

Taken this way, I feel that the ending of Serenity is one of the most powerful and awesome scenes of Firefly. For me, this is what had to be done; why they made the movie. River, for the entire series, had lost her power. The government had taken it away, and no one could get it back for her but her. (I'm pretty sure that phrase comes from an Angel.) The series was about her trying to get her power back, and at the end of Serenity, she does. She comes back from the place she was at and stood tall, not letting herself get torn down. She saved the crew, and single-handedly took on all those Reavers. Then, when the Alliance came again, the people that did this to her, she just gave them a look that said "You really wanna try somethin' now? I'd like to see you try."

I think this is a terrific story, and one that has helped several people I know get through a very traumatic point in their lives. To call River a non-feminist character is ridiculous. No one starts out strong. No one can overcome every hurdle. But when a person can, through pure strength, will, and determination, overcome severe trauma, kick its ass and say "You want a piece of me now?" I think that this is an example of a great character that is far from perfect, but in the end, is one of the greatest role models in film and television. For both females and males.

Wow, I kinda went off, didn't I? Like I said, this article is probably a joke.
So, River is made of chocolate?
I did laugh at their description of the (infamous) Livejournal commentary on Firefly.
The only part of the article I have trouble with is Eowyn. She is an amazing character,one of my favourites of LOTR and it is abundantly clear they have never read the books. Arwen is a much better example as someone said. she shows up for 5 seconds at the beginnings and is never seen again til the end when she marries Aragon. In the movie they gave her a bigger role but she is still just Aragon's love interest.
Yay! My first comment! Anywho, this is kind of dumb, albeit funny in the way it's written. But the point is River is a crazy person via torture. Of course she needs taken care of. Whether she female or not, she'd still have needing taking care of. It could've been {insert small, young boy here} and the character wouldn't have changed much. Still would've been kick-ass when the kicking ass part happened.
Welcome, buffyfest!
I found it a bit amusing that the site Simon linked to (Good Article btw) had two advertisements. At the top, Phoenix University hyping their nursing program, and at the bottom, just before the reader comments, an Ad for "Find Russian Women"!

This says something, but my head hurts waaaay too much. ;)
thought it was funny.

such pretty pictures...such silly content!

(and while i wouldn't have included river, i was so glad they included eowyn!!! couldnt stand her in either books or film!)
Gosh, I'm so stupid! I don't know how to read a film or TV series at all ... I just thought River was a
highly-interesting character who had suffered horribly at the hands of an intrusive big-brother governmental agency and in Serenity, finally got the chance to save her brother's life after the many times he did for her (that she was graceful, strong and fearless as she killed a bunch of monsters must be wrong, too). I just thought she was unique and flawed and all the other components that go into a watchable screen character. And she was given a bunch of other unique characters to interact with and help her along her path. Wrong, wrong, wrong ... and wrong. Check.

I didn't realize she was just another prop for Joss to send yet another boring message about feminism and woman power. [/sarcasm mode off]

Truly, I can't abide this stuff. And I could only get through like five of the comments that followed. If anything, Joss tells a story first, and the feminism and woman power, is a by-product of the story-telling, not a manipulation from the get-go.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-09-01 21:18 ]
I think this entire list shows the inherent fear people have of a strong female. From adolescence we are instilled with the knowledge that men are strong and women are frail beings in need of protection. Men cant cry or show feelings, and females cant be strong willed and embrace their power as an individual.

Its really just the carrying over of culture and ideals from the 50's, which Mr. Whedon has so successfully turned on its head and used to create some of the best feats of storytelling ever told.
Larger issues to one side, the inclusion of Eowyn in a list about "Hollywood's 5 Saddest Attempts" specifically bothers me because her role in the movie was, more or less, exactly the same as it was in the written trilogy. All that "Hollywood" (i.e. Peter Jackson and co) did was decide not to rewrite it, as they did with, e.g., Arwen. Any criticism of Eowyn, therefore, can really only be laid at JRR's feet.

Even with that focus, the criticism is nonsense (yeah, I know the linked site in general is supposed to be funny, but this piece seemed like it was trying to make some real-world points, so . . . ). As knuckleball and okelay both point out, there are basic interpretive errors. Eowyn didn't run off with the army because she had the hots for Aragorn, but because she was being left behind to guard the hearth by her father, brother and yes, Aragorn, and she desperately wanted to show she had the same warrior blood in her veins as they. Yes, in some sense her departure with the Rohirrim is caused by Aragorn's decision to leave on the Paths of the Dead, but it's hardly an attempt to impress him, which is the implication in the piece. Additionally, Eowyn doesn't "give up her warrior woman ways" so much as suffer a nearly-mortal wound slaying the Witch King (which is a pretty big deal) and need time to rest. To be fair, her ending up with Faramir always irked - a convenient tying-up of loose ends and politically useful, - but that relationship was necessarily compressed in the already very long movie running time. If you're gonna critique, even in a satirical manner, pick a target that fits your thesis without causing your readers to think that you haven't actually understood what you're watching.

In any event, I think it's fair to say that Tolkien was a traditionalist, so even to accuse him (rather than "Hollywood") of not writing from a feminist viewpoint would be rather wildly missing the point.
Thanks Pointy! and well put Tonya J. This is ridiculous. One of our bloggers writes about feminist ideas in the Whedonverse and poasted something similar about the previous bash against Penny in Dr. Horrible. That was getting backlash too, but again why can't a good story be a good story anymore? Is this the internet's fault? Here's the link to that if your interested:

http://buffyfest.blogspot.com/2008/07/penny-vs-misogyny.html

I love River and Simon's story so much. Maybe it's because I have a close brother too...but really it's just a great story and Serenity as a whole is so awesome. What idiots to try and ruin that.
I agree.
Honestly, I'm part of the generation of women that were taught that equality (for all) rather then feminism was the way forward. My mother is wonderful, independent and happily married. I resent the implication that a woman who happens to find love has betrayed feminist principles.
Ironically, that was under the Eowyn heading on the article - I'm not her biggest fan. Having said that, being fortunate enough to find a compatable mate in life should not be seen as a negative quality.
You know, I think that this:
Eowyn is introduced in the second film as some sort of princess. Actually, we're really not sure; we sort of drifted off when there weren't stabbings going on.

...probably sums up the entire problem in a nutshell.

And, of course, I agree with what EX said:
Nothing is ever good enough and everything is always wrong.

Yeah, I really doubt that the reasoning behind the gorge-fest of these articles lately goes much deeper than, "Hey, let's pick something for each article that other people enjoy and see if we can bitch and whine it to death..." If nothing else, it gets them lots of links and hits that they don't have to actually earn. (What, cynical? Me?)
I've never read River as any kind of attempt at feminism. I always just saw her as a severely damaged, awesomely able human being, both crazy smart and crazy crazy. Wouldn't anyone in her position, having been put through the kind of torture she was put through, need a lot of rescuing under the wrong circumstances, or be as lethal under the right ones? Does it necessarily matter what chromosomes she may or may not have? Could it be that Joss actually manifests his feminist streak by treating his female characters as humans FIRST, then as women? No, I'm probably WAY off base there...

There were three entries here that I agreed with, though, particularly the one at #1. Elizabeth Swann evolved into, in my not-so-humble opinion, the single worst-written female character of the last ten years. In any genre. In any medium. Her presence in the first movie was quite believable. Her actions proved her to be a resourceful character with a courageous streak, but nothing she did required any real acquired skills...just a quick mind. And frankly, given the way women of her time were educated and what was expected of them, that's as it should be. She would have been exceptional by the standards women were held to back then--the only truly reasonable basis for comparison--and that made her, in my mind, a feminist icon. By the next movie, though, she was swordfighting like a seasoned veteran, and then she's leading pirate ships into battle, and...yeah. I stopped caring, because it became clear that the writers were trying to turn her into Super-Swann, a woman so adept at everything from ballroom etiquette to battlefield leadership that even our current 21st-century females could never hope to measure up. Oh, well. I only went to see the last movie for Johnny Depp anyway...nothing else was entertaining by that point...

Charmuse sez the following: "I personally get more ticked off by chic flicks that are supposedly written for women that always end up with the heroine giving up some major part of her life for love, ie - The Devil wears Prada (her career)..."

That's an interesting reading. I've watched the movie twice, and though I see what you're driving at, I really think that saying Anne Hathaway's character gave up her career "for love" is oversimplifying things a bit. The impression I got was that Andy looked at Miranda Priestly, what her life had versus what it didn't have, and decided that she wasn't interested in that sort of existence. She wanted to have a life that was real, instead of surface glitter masking a lonely core. There's love there, to be sure, but it's more about a love of self and a love of life than it is about the romantic love you're implying. In the end, Andy chose her path based on what she thought was best for her and who she wanted to be--and the fact that she (a) had the choice and then (b) made it based on her wants and needs instead of sacrificing her life on the altar of someone else's dreams, well...that's feminism at its finest.

You're totally right about "You've Got Mail," though. Horrible. (Doctor Horrible.)
While I reluctantly agree about "You've Got Mail"(sob, I just wanted them to get together after Sleepless in Seattle), I must admit that "The Devil Wears Prada" didn't strike me as particularly feminist in tone.

Sure the leads were female, but they were very different and in the end I thought that Andy (the character played by Anne Hathaway) realised in the end what she had known in the beginning - which was that the fashion industry (specifically) and appearance orientated world in general was serious indeed to those involved, but to the rest of the world...merely fashion. I always thought that she remembered who she had been, and emerged a bit more confident, but regenerised at the end.

That she ended up with the hottie was, as I implied above, by the way (and very very jealously making - that isn't bad punctuation - just genuine feeling!).
Rowan Hawthorn says:
If nothing else, it gets them lots of links and hits that they don't have to actually earn. (What, cynical? Me?)

Yeah, I would say this pretty much sums it up. Hmm, Let's take a bunch of beloved characters (well I don't know about the "pirates" chick, but the others) and bash them to start an argument thus lots of traffic. I wish I could take my click back.
BAFfler, I did oversimplify Prada's ending for the sake of length and maybe I should have expounded. I do agree with you on the points you make, however I was turned off by the flack Andy got for the demands of her job from her boyfriend and friends. She was doing what the job required and by the end she was doing very it well. Yes, in the end she realized it was not for her, but what if it had been a job she liked? Many jobs require that type of sacrifice to succeed with or without said horrible boss. Her boyfriend was pursuing a culinary career which can be equally demanding and that was never addressed in anyway. Then, he takes a job in Boston and she he infers she should pack it all in and go along quietly. So, while I think her choice was ultimately motivated by self-discovery, how much her friends' and boyfriend's disapproval factored in is an unknown. It strikes me that a man's need to give 150% to a demanding job would not have been questioned. In fact a woman would be made to feel bad for ragging her man about his demanding job. Am I making any sense at all? I accept I maybe reading too much into it, but I found it a tad sexist and it irks me.
No I totally get where you are coming from. And it's so true - a guy in the same position ...well, he just wouldn't have been in that position. Men (in that generalised horrid way that generalisation take) are allowed to work in the obsessive way you mention. For women, it is still seen as less desirable.

To digress for a second. I think that it's ridiculous regardless. Some people want to work all the hours in the day. Others don't. It's that tolerance thing again. Each to their own and all.

Back to the film, I did enjoy it, but in that fluffy way that doesn't really require a re-watch. Anne Hathaway was enchanting (see what I did there), but this was a film that I thought corresonded to stereotyped views on working women.

But then again, I'm a rampant crazy person.
I haven't read all the comments here yet, so I apologize if I repeat anything that's already been said.

I'm not sure, but I believe I have read that Livejournal entry. It was completely offensive if memory serves...stating that all heterosexual relationships are the same as rape. It even attacks Whedon and his wife personally. Any one who would site that entry instantly loses my respect.

I think this is ridiculous. Can't women characters not be strong sometimes? How boring would it be if everyone was the same? It's not always about physical strength. River is a well-developed and interesting character, with strengths and flaws. I personally wouldn't want it any other way.

Edit: I just looked up and realized that mirage wrote almost the same thing as I did above, haha. I swear I didn't look till just now. Crazy.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2008-09-02 01:19 ]
What SNT said: Eowyn isn't Hollywood anything, and she certainly isn't a feminist. She's part of a long tradition of female warriors in epics -- Camilla in the Aeneid, Bradamante in Orlando Furioso, Britomart in The Faerie Queene.

I don't object to humor; but it's not really funny when someone mocks something they misunderstand -- though I suppose an understanding of epic traditions is too much to ask. These writers probably belong to the legions for whom "epic" is merely an adjective appropriate to any movie with a large budget, especially one featuring explosions.

*sighs*

(Oh, and who is this River person they mention? Doesn't sound like anyone I know. ;-)
drneevil: re. your earlier comment. Webster's first definition of feminism is "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." Despite what conservatives and some radicals may want you to think, "equality for all" is not an alternative to feminism; it _is_ feminism in its truest and best form.
Charmuse: No, I do understand where you're coming from. I found the demands of those closest to Andy demeaning as well, as if they really did think her life was supposed to revolve around their little group. The thing is, though, I think the movie realized that too, and cast THEIR behavior, not Andy's, as unreasonable. (Also, there's a pretty strong implication that EVERYONE'S social life in that group revolves mostly around the group, making it not so much a demand on a woman to quit her job as it is a demand on a peer to conform...which puts us in an entirely different social dynamic.)

This next bit is also addressed to drneevil: The only reason I can even see interpreting the movie as having an anti-feminist message is because of all the associational baggage that comes with the situation of "young working woman with boyfriend." Yet the movie itself seemed very intent on treating each character as a CHARACTER, rather than a stereotype...and all the decisions, most crucially the one of Andy's quitting her job, were motivated by the characters themselves, rather than any external notion of how certain types of people should behave. If any stereotypes were reinforced, I really have to believe that the viewer was primarily culpable, because I couldn't see it happening in the movie.

And TawnyJayne...umm, I happen to be a conservative, and I think your definition of feminism is spot-on. So speaking on behalf of those like me, who think that the Declaration of Sentiments should be required reading for every American student, I would appreciate it if you didn't use the broad brush in the future. Use a narrower brush instead. You know, like, "Despite what nitwits want you to think..." :D I think that about covers it, don't you?
Stupid article. The Eowyn section might have had some merit, after that it was just bunk.
I thought I had something to add, but I'll just join the chorus of "Mirage said it best" (and first) :)
"What to do? Let a woman write a blockbuster? Ha! Of course not. "

And then use LOTR for your first example. Which has 2 woman screenwriters... D'oh!
(I have posted this on another forum/site but I am interested in people's view on the following)

I wander what Joss's take would be on his black characters. I mean Book is restricted by his religion. Zoe is restricted by her soldier mentality. Early is psychotic and "The Believer" (a very good retooling of Early) in Serenity is...well a believer. All of them pretty much simply obey.

As much as I really like Jayne's character I think Early or The Believer would have made better main characters.

But my main point is why are the black characters so restricted. Each one obviously has a 3D backstory which in itself could be a film. What do you think?
Sorry, BAFfler! I grew up surrounded by conservatives who uniformly opposed "feminism," which they defined as something other than a quest for equality. (They also opposed equality, which should have tipped me off...). I apologize for lumping all conservatives in together instead of making it clear that there is as big a range of opinions to the right of the political spectrum as there is to the left.
TawnyJayne: BAFfler beat me to the point there.

I'm not familiar with MAD or Cracked or Marvel's briefly-lived Crazy; do they do serious satire, or is it supposed to be all put-ons?

Unfortunately I can't respond in detail as I'm not familiar with this 'verse beyond what I've read at places like this. But Joss does have an annoying tendency to like complicated, human-seeming characters.

Unfortunately, I don't think a story can be just a story anymore without attracting this kind of thing.









(Egotistical example; in the screenplay I pretend to be working on, Sue breaks up with Kim at the beginning of the summer and takes a summer school job out of state. Meanwhile Kim and her senior detective partner, Ken, who's black, start a brief meaningless affair in the course of the difficult case they're working on. So I feel like I'm locked out of having Sue's own summer fling be either African-American or male because it would send out more messages than Iw ant to send.)
Dude, I'm pretty sure that these kind of people are just pissed off at guys in general and aren't going to be happy with a story unless every single character that's a chick either is a lesbian or stays single and is still happy and is amazing and smart and successful and not pretty. Because GOD KNOWS if she happens to be PRETTY then it must mean that she is only awesome BECAUSE she is pretty.

I'm so sick of ultra-radical feminists. Hey, guys, since we know how misogyny feels, how about we NOT be hypocritical by turning to misandry? Ugh.

These two people summed up my next thought:

Knuckleball said:

Additionally, I have issues with articles about feminism that refuse to acknowledge writers who write women as human beings, rather than Goddesses.


BAFfler said:

Could it be that Joss actually manifests his feminist streak by treating his female characters as humans FIRST, then as women? No, I'm probably WAY off base there...


Daniel Keys Moran (no, not on the forum, but that would be awesome) said:

"'I'm not a very good feminist; I agree with them much of the time, but we part company when they wish to define me as a woman before all else, when I am in fact a person before all else.' Denice grinned suddenly. 'The man who tried to kill me, McGee, I asked him once what he thought of women, and he said he found them useful for sex, and for making babies.'
Robert lifted a single eloquent eyebrow.
'It made me angry. I asked him if he was joking, and he said, no, not at all; that he found people fascinating, but that when I phrased things in terms of men and women, what else could I be talking about? The point stuck. It made it impossible for me to become a feminist the way - the way the people I was with wanted me to. To define myself as a woman, and then as a Wiccan, accept the worship of the Goddess, and call myself a witch and mean it sincerely; I'm a person first, and I couldn't do it. The things those words represent have little to do with who I am. I learned... that I dislike labels, or perhaps that the labels that exist are insufficient. If there's a word for what I am, I have not learned it.'"


That last one is page 33-34 of The Last Dancer by Daniel Keys Moran, and before I say anything else, I don't believe that you can't be a feminist and still consider yourself a person first and a woman second. That was just the definition of feminism used in the community Denice briefly resided in. Anyways, this quote describes accurately my feelings about gender stereotypes and describing one's actions as being characteristic of either gender. That's part of why I take issue with those who assume that characters were written weakly because they were women. Maybe they were just written as weak characters because they were weak human beings who just happened to be female. Weak human beings exist, and when they are portrayed in movies, attributing those weaknesses to their gender does a disservice to the writers, undermines the characters, and simply does more to call attention to the sexist stereotypes of both males AND females and therefore, gives them more staying power.

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