In this gender reader, I’m focusing on geek topics from genderswapped and non-binary characters in SFF to the history of Wonder Woman to respecting fanfic authors.
Frankenstein MD and the Women of STEM
Victoria Frankenstein is a gift from gender-swap heaven. She’s charismatic, confident, driven, morally ambiguous, pompous, brilliant, –and often unethical. I’m having trouble believing this web series is only going to be 24 episodes! Here are some articles about the decision to make Frankenstein a woman and the show in general.
Myles McNutt. “Cultural Interview: PBS Digital Studios’ Frankenstein M.D. [Part One] and Part Two.” Cultural Leanings. 18-19 Aug. 2014.
—. “Frankenstein M.D.” The AV Club. 19 Aug. 2014. (overlaps with prior articles)
Anna Lore (Victoria Frankenstein): What I love about Frankenstein as a gender-bending character is that Mary Shelley wrote it on a dare to a bunch of dudes that she could write a better horror novel than they could. And so I think it’s a perfect choice to do that.
Ali. “Where Are the Superheroines of STEM on the Silver Screen? A Wishlist of Amazing Women.” Autostraddle. 9 August 2014.
Speaking of women in STEM, where are the bio-pics of the real-life women who changed the world with science? Specifically, where is my Rosalind Franklin movie?
Gender in SFF and Comics
Alex Daily McFarland. Post-Binary Gender in SF Series [index]. Tor.com. Jan. – July 2014.
What does or can post-binary genders look like in scifi and fantasy? The author takes a bimonthly look at several different novels and series.
Terra Clark Olsen. “Marvel: Champions of Change.” Have You Nerd? 16 July 2014.
Marc Graser. “Marvel Introduces First Female Thor in New Comicbook Series.” Variety. 15 July 2014.
The next Thor is a woman, and this is excellent.
Angeline Adams. “I Was a Teenage Wolverine: On Superheroes and Disability.” The Toast. 25 June 2014.
Every geek has that one character (or several!) with whom they identify very strongly. Here’s an essay about a geek who found comfort and inspiration in Wolverine:
…I saw in Wolverine’s ordeal the utter loss of control over my own life. As surgery was followed by more surgery, and recovery never was complete, I found myself with a constant dread of dying. Wolverine showed me that it was okay to be angry about what was happening to me….
In the comics, Wolverine’s approach slowly changed, his berserker rage reined in as Charles Xavier helped him to recover his suppressed memories and come to terms with them. Me? I got a blog and found chat groups where I could confide in other people my age who were going through similar things, and build friendships that were real and lasting, despite being online. Both Wolverine and I stopped trying to deal with our problems alone, and learned to relax with others.
Sarah Mirk. “Popaganda Episode: The Evolution of Wonder Woman.” Bitch Media. 25 Aug. 2014.
The history of this fascinating character, her creator, and a sweet ’70s theme song. Wonder Womaaaaaan!
Women and Genderqueer Folks in Geekdom
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Aja Romano. “A guide to fanfiction for people who can’t stop getting it wrong.” Daily Dot. 17 June. 2014.
And accompanying excellent tumblr commentary: “Let Us Help You Stop Writing Shitty Articles about Fanfic.”
There are so many bad articles about omg fanfic and omg fangirls with their slash and their headcannons and their genderbending. Here’s a handy guide on how not to write that article about Johnlock slashfic.
Myth: Reporters should ask celebrities what they think about the awkward fanfic fans write about them
No. First of all, asking a celebrity to simply “react” to fanfiction being written about the fictional character they portray (and occasionally the actor themselves) is actually shorthand for “I’m a lazy reporter who would rather exploit fans than do the work of rounding up real questions for this interview.”*
Secondly, this celebrity who is having lots of slash written about them has already been asked about their thoughts on slash by the other 145 million unoriginal reporters who came along before you and went, “What can I do to be edgy? Oh, I know, I’ll show them the fanfiction about them on the Internet!” They are sick of being asked this question.
Thirdly, depending on any number of personal/social/contextual factors that have nothing to do with the show, the fandom, or the content of the fanfic, being asked about fanfic could make them feel uncomfortable, which means you were just rude and invasive for stupid reasons.
Fourthly, if the actor is worth their salt, they’ll know that reporters asking them to comment on fanfic, on specific ships, and/or slash are all among the worst-case scenarios of that actor’s fanbase. No matter how the actor answers, fans will be hurt. It’s rare to find fandom-savvy actors like Misha Collins and Orlando Jones, who talk about fanfic freely and see it as something to celebrate rather than avoid. And even then, those actors know that fans themselves like to stay on their side of the fourth wall that preserves fandom’s subculture from prying eyes. In the words of Misha Collins, “Don’t talk about it? Right! Because there’s a line! There’s a line! And you’re crossing it! Right now!”
Annalee. The Hugo Awards! Geek Feminism. 17 Aug. 2014.
Lovely to see so many women creators honored at the Hugo Awards.
Charles Pulliam-Moore. “Women significantly outnumber teenage boys in gamer demographics.” PBS News Hour. 21 Aug. 2014.
More female representation among gamers but the article could use some work on citing sources and should include numbers for consol/PC games, not just mobile ones. I don’t like to discriminate based on platform, so the focus on “women are mobile gamers” (implying that men are consol/PC gamers) is troubling. Yes, market to people other than teen boys, but include all the data.
Kiri Leonard. Women in Fantasy Illustration series.
Interviews with women in fantasy illustration. Via tumblr.
Carolyn Yates. “How To Tell If You’re In Lesbian Pulp Fiction.” The Toast. 30 July 2014.
“You are living intimately with another young girl in a French military barracks.”
*ahem. CAITLIN MORAN. Bad, bad ally, no cookie for you.