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Posts Tagged ‘gender expression’

What’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

Our Feb/Mar 2016 book was Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1969 The Left Hand of Darkness, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

The review contains spoilers.

The novel follows the story of Genly Ai, a native of Earth (referred to as “Terra” in the novel), who is sent to the planet of Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets. Ai’s mission is to persuade the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, but he is stymied by his lack of understanding of Gethenian culture. Individuals on Gethen are “ambisexual”, with no fixed gender identity, a fact which has a strong influence on the culture of the planet, and creates a large barrier for Ai, a male raised on Earth. –Wikipedia (that’s how hard it is to find a short description!)
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lioness-rampant-9781442427662_lgGuess who’s running a day late! What’s time, anyway?

We’re finishing The Song of the Lioness quartet today with Tamora Pierce’s final book in the series, Lioness Rampant, in which Alanna gets some problematic booty, punches a mystical baboon, and fights an undead wizard.

Contains major spoilers, femme-/non-binary/magic shaming.

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Leckie_AncillaryJustice_TP-220x325

Quick note: we used to be The Non-Binary Book Club, but in 2017, I changed the name to “Beyond Binaries” to better reflect our content.

It’s no secret that I’m enamored of the “cross-dressing and sword-fighting” genre, but I had a moment a few months ago when I got so fed up with a novel of that description that I almost threw it out the bus window.

You know the story: guy 1 (a straight cis man) meets guy 2 (a cis-identified woman in disguise as a man for Reasons); there’s an attraction; guy 1 has queer panic about his homoromantic inclinations; and then guy 2 reveals himself to have been the princess, sister of some lord, or heir all along! Boom, heterogamous marriage may commence! Heterosexuality is defended!

Some spoilers for The House of Four Winds below; basic plot for Ancillary Justice.
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the ways in which marginalized geeks (women/nonbinary people, queer individuals, people of color, people with disabilities, et al.) interact with fandom. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how creative expressions of love (such as fanworks and cosplay) for media are treated poorly by society in general as well as individuals in their lives. (Specifically, of how individual straight male geeks fear that others’–particularly their female partners’–interests in shipping, crossplay, etc., somehow invalidates their delicate grasp on cultural masculinity.)

At Geek Girl Con, I attended an amazing panel of “Geek Elders” who told us all about female Star Trek fandom and making Kirk/Spock ‘zines in the 1960s and 70s–how many of these women’s husbands felt their participation in fandom detracted from their care of the home and children. How one of their colleague’s husband’s tried to have her committed. 

What I’ve learned, not just from this panel, but from years of reading about our geek forbears, is that we’ve always been here. We’re not going anywhere. On that note, I present a gender reader of geekery, with a very special Christmas song at the end!

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In this gender reader: the gendered politics of skin-whitening creams; public bathing; bad reporting on the “sex strike”; Facebook genders; and more–and I even think we can get through this without a discussion of giri-choco!

Chanel's Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.

Chanel’s Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you enjoy the final tragic episode of Ôoku: Tanjô, a.k.a. a preponderance of nope. This recap contains (major) spoilers for the drama and the manga. Episode 9 recap here; manga analysis hereÔoku category (film, manga, and drama) here.

Aired Dec. 14, 2012 on TBS.

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Finally reunited with my manga and it feels so good!

Aired Dec. 7, 2012, on TBS.

This recap contains spoilers for the drama and the manga. Episode 8 recap here; manga analysis hereÔoku category (film, manga, and drama) here.

In this episode of Things I Started Recapping a Year Ago Ôoku:

After Iemitsu gives her speech about being the Shogun and a woman, her audience bows. When they raise their heads again, the camera pans around the room to show not just Terutsuna smiling at her, but many of the other young heirs who appear to be girls dressed as boys.

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