lotesse: (starwars)
It's easier for me to project my trauma, insecurity, anxiety, and pain onto male characters. It's too - hot - to do it with female self-avatars. I haven't been able to casually re-watch the last season of Shameless before now, because the way I identify with Fiona is so intense and cathartic that I sort of don't want to touch it. Sometimes the nerve is too sensitive. Rose Campbell makes me just sob and sob and sob. Writing about Ekaterin Vorsoisson is like looking into the mirror and forcing myself to tell the truth about what I see. In some ways, these are the important identifications: they're the ones that are really keeping me going, the bedrock of story-stuff that I know will always be there for me to fall back on when I need support. They're the loci where I'm working through my shit; and I keep swearing to myself that, if nothing else, I will work through my shit. But it's fucking painful. With male self-avatars, it's a lot easier, a lot lighter, and pretty painless.

I think it's so much easier and so much more painless for me to work through trauma via male self-avatars for two reasons. One is that I've been culturally conditioned to love, forgive, and excuse men. In my real life, this has caused problems for me; through the transformative effects of fiction, it can give me a way to love, forgive, and excuse myself with greater ease and confidence.

The other reason has to do with distance; there's a line that I've always remembered but haven't ever been able to google down, from someone's meta about slash from way back in the early millennium, about how slash is a retreat from a figural female body "soaked through in semiotic ink." My own body is, for me, tremendously overdetermined; it all means too much. My selfhood has come to feel similarly; I keep touching off painful epiphanies and moments of unwanted self-knowledge, and it's a lot. Boy characters with whom I can identify - Will Stanton, Benton Fraser, Luke Skywalker and Miles Vorkosigan and Bellamy Blake and Daniel Jackson - let me sidle up to my damage without the incendiary risk. There's a representational veil that protects me, so that I can indulge in h/c or grovelfic or praisekink or whatever soothing stuff my id wants without self-protective sensitized pulling-back.
lotesse: (Default)
Had a fight this morning with my Mormon friend, who for whatever reason saw fit to break our usual detente with a bunch of crap pro-violence pro-war bullshit; I ended up yelling and hanging up on him, but it's kept bothering me. I hate having to know that people I like - well, I guess that's what comes into question, isn't it? if they really are people that I can like. G. repeatedly described himself this morning as "pro-imperialism," and I sort of think you can't come back from that. He doesn't get it from nowhere - like Orson Scott Card, my friend did mission work in Brazil, and however much they dress it up as charity or whatever the Mormon missionary scene is totally imperialism in practice. And, no matter the polygamy bans, the Mormons are really patriarchal, moreso than I think people understand. This is the religion that makes eighteen-year-old white boys "priests" with all these "spiritual powers." See the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly for Mormon patriarchalism in action.

but we're getting old enough that this shit is no longer cute.

It's always creeped me out a bit that my family contacts with Mormons have been so gendered: we've got G. and an older friend of his, a painter like my mama, and the both of them do this man-about-town skirt-the-rules thing where they drink cocktails and mama's friend paints nudes. Mama and her friend go gallery-hopping in New York, and he's married, but his wife is never with him: he explores the city art scene while she, seemingly, stays home with their children and obeys the laws of their church. It's like the men have the authority to bend the rules, and so can make fun playmates for leftist folks like me and mine - but that actually kind of makes it all worse, because they're not only cult members, they're hypocritical cult members who subject their women to harsh standards that they themselves cannot keep to.

(The OSC link above goes to a fascinating chapter-by-chapter deconstruction of Speaker for the Dead. before reading through it, I'd managed to forget enough of the book to think that I liked it better than Ender's Game,, and had tended to position it as the one thing of Card's that was maybe still worth it. There are now a number of things freaking me out about my own personal relationship with Speaker. I'd managed to miss the implication, as a child, that Novinha and her family are Black, and it's breaking my brain, because on the one hand, I'm not surprised that OSC didn't succeed in getting a message of diversity across - and then on the other I wonder if I wasn't engaging in defensive ignorance, because as the linked decon shows, Ender's interactions with the Ribeiras are fucking horrific if he's the lone white dude on a Black planet. Even as a twelve-year-old, I knew I didn't want to read an interracial romance authored by Card! I kind of wish I didn't have to know now! but then again, erasure and whitewashing are, we know, not cool responses to a text. Gahhhh. In even further "I don't know what to do with this," I was also struck, given the really really central place that Komarr has had in my ability to think through my abuse, with how much Speaker felt similar: I can really see Miles/Ekaterin as a rewriting of Ender/Novinha, even down to the role of the children. idek man.)

(I've been feeling angry and bitter and intense and fighty a lot of late, and idek about that either. are things more shit than usual in the world, or is it just me?)
lotesse: (greenswirl)
More hair than she needs (517 words) by lotesse
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery, Tangled (2010), The Color Purple - Alice Walker, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Wars Original Trilogy
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Gilbert Blythe/Anne Shirley, Eugene Fitzherbert | Flynn Rider/Rapunzel, Celie/Shug Avery
Characters: Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe, Rapunzel (Tangled), Rapunzel's Mother, Shug Avery, Celie (The Color Purple), Kathryn Janeway, Leia Organa, Mon Mothma, Diana Barry
Additional Tags: Hair, Femininity, Self-Determination, Female Character of Color, Canon Lesbian Relationship, Feminist Themes, Drabble Collection, Bechdel Test Pass, 5 Things, Female Friendship
Summary:

Five female characters who cut their hair, and one who didn't.

lotesse: (narnia_susan)
heteronormative removal of body hair is done and done. I don't mind being hairless - and I'm not willing to deal with the baggage that comes with wearing swirly femmey skirts with unshaven legs - but I do always rather miss my pelt once I've removed it. There's something about the idea of the hairy, natural, animal body that appeals to the latent hippie in me.

It's one of the reasons why I really like old books - because the ladies in nineteenth century novels? They ain't shaving no legs. Not to mention Shakespearean heroines or any girl in any medievalized high fantasy novel ever.
lotesse: (jewel-boxes)
from Mary Seacole's The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (Seacole was a mixed-race Jamaican nurse who revolutionized care in the Crimean War) -

"What I did carry away was very unimportant: a gaily-decorated altar-candle, studded with gold and silver stars, which the present Commander-in-Chief condescended to accept as a Sebastopol memorial; an old cracked China teapot, which in happier times had very likely dispensed pleasure to many a small tea-party; a cracked bell, which had rung many to prayers during the siege, and which I bore away on my saddle; and a parasol, given me by a drunken soldier. He had a silk skirt on, and torn lace upon his wrists, and he came mincingly up, holding the parasol above his head, and imitating the walk of an affected lady, to the vociferous delight of his comrades. And all this, and much more, in that fearful charnel city, with death and suffering on every side."

I love this image so much - the crossdresser and the mixed-race woman meeting for a moment in the scene of war.

eta: "With the theatricals directly I had nothing to do. Had I been a little younger the companies would very likely have been glad of me, for no one liked to sacrifice their beards to become Miss Julia or plain Mary Ann; and even the beardless subalterns had voices which no coaxing could soften down. But I lent them plenty of dresses; indeed, it was the only airing which a great many gay-coloured muslins had in the Crimea. How was I to know when I brought them what camp-life was? And in addition to this, I found it necessary to convert my kitchen into a temporary green-room, where, to the wonderment, and perhaps scandal, of the black cook, the ladies of the company of the 1st Royals were taught to manage their petticoats with becoming grace, and neither to show their awkward booted ankles, nor trip themselves up over their trains. It was a difficult task in many respects. Although I laced them in until they grew blue in the face, their waists were a disgrace to the sex; while—crinoline being unknown then—my struggles to give them becoming [Pg 181] embonpoint may be imagined."
lotesse: (prydain_ship)
So I have been doing all this reparative/critical work with Prydain. For a while now - and I swear I will finish and post some of it soon. It's interesting turf in terms of sex/gender: on the one hand, so dated in terms of narrative focus, with the male protag getting all the real development and the female protag being just a little Too Perfect - or just being airheaded. But on the other, Lloyd Alexander was always someone who really tried to write inclusively & to have Strong Female Characters, and I know that I found more for myself in Prydain than I did most other places, as a kid.

Prydain does a really good job, imo, separating sex from gender. Gender tends not to matter; sex does. Representation remains as issue - why are there no women in this universe?! but for all that, it does some interesting things with fairly feminist sex/gender politics. Lemme 'splain.

cut for length, nattering )
lotesse: (panopticon)
okay, I'm in England in 183? - anyone got an idea of what words I'd use to describe crossdressing? The OED is attributing "transvestite" to Magnus Hirschfeld in 1910, so not that.
lotesse: (btvs_sapphic)
Hay guise? I've got spare Dreamwidth codes for anybody who wants to come over to the sane/nondiscriminatory place.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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