People’s Obssessions with Villains

Over at Ars Marginal, I guess I should have posted what I was thinking on my comment of the recent article “What I Want to See” instead of saying I don’t understand it because the author got low-key snarky. The point of the post was a desire to see women of color characters portrayed three-dimensionally and along all avenues of potentially, I get it okay. Look it up if you want to read it but this post is strictly for me to express something I’ve been wanting to say for a while so I’ll say it here in my own space so as not to disrespect or derail the author’s expression of what he/ze/she “simply wants to see”:

Loving ridiculously villainous characters is trendy, its a fad, and its also stupid. These characters are usually the kind of people you don’t even want to exist in real life, unless you’re morally unconscionable or privileged and bored. Or both. No matter how much time you spend fan-girling over them, there’s no way you really want them to pop up anywhere near you.

As a subscriber, I got the e-mail notification and wanted to see what the post was about. Lo and behold, Tumblr has followed me to WordPress and the post is written by someone who is obviously, indicated by their insistent desire, into what I call  “bitch feminism” (don’t know if that’s a coined term or idea, whatever). I’ve been the unwitting victim of too many “bad bitch” feminists to find this perspective very amusing or agree with it to up to a certain extent. The bitch feminist type is, put simply, the type of person, woman, or feminist who upholds herself over everything and everyone. Good for her. But why the hell should I care about her as a character unless I want to be (like) her or kill her for doing something horrendous?

See how that works.

People are obviously so bored with representations of what doing good looks like in mainstream media and, I don’t know, everywhere, that they’re obviously turning to villains for entertainment and intrigue.

Take Slytherin House, my favorite example. In Harry Potter, the founder of Slytherin House is a flaming racist and many of its students past and present follow that tradition. What does the predominantly white Potter fandom do with this apparent information? Create an entire sect of fans where Slytherin House is celebrated and defended! What does J.K. Rowling do with this information? Have Harry name his son after a diehard Slytherin devotee whose only way of not being completely irredeemable is rooted in his obsessive love of Harry’s mother, totally selfish and doesn’t mean that he’s changed at all.

When I see a wonderful woman of color character portrayed at last, hopefully before I’m dead, I definitely don’t want to see some unapologetic evil bitch first thing. Y’all can keep that.

Hell, I might even be writing the ones that will win my heart right now. Forget these people, folks have completely lost their minds…

Ms. Queenly’s Response to ‘If I Were A Boy’ (via parisianfeline)

It got so long, I made a new post on my blog for it :(….

I’ve noticed this too, thank you for being on point. I have very similar thoughts on the topic.

Women’s presence are completely centered around men in movies/on TV, to reinforce heterosexist norms. Some people even say the only reason that a women gets dressed nice in the morning is for a man. Sex in the City is all about a couple of single white women trying to find love in NY. (My sister was watching a marathon or something and I was kind of annoyed)

Its exactly as you wrote–fraternal bonds as opposed to bonds between women are just portrayed as stronger. For example, Anita Blake, its like Laurell K. Hamilton just added some typically guy characteristics to her in an attempt to make her less girly rather than build a real believably “strong” female character. If there is a so-called strong female character, then she’s a lone wolf/anti-social type incapable of truly caring for or befriending others, especially other women. On the end of the spectrum, a woman’s strength is also portrayed in her her ability to mother, have children (sons), cater to guests, kindness, and gentleness of personality. And if there is one, there’s only one and she’s surrounded by guys. Or she turns up dead. Or she’s a detestable villan.

I think its completely and utterly understandable why you would be more interested or captured by stories about young white men. I am, too, only I just keep reading stories about women and being disappointed. Boys–their scope is larger. They are portrayed as being able to take on atypical personalities and emotions, and pursue adventure and new horizons and whatever else they desire, whether that includes romantic love with a female or not. Young women are trained to be chained to their heart’s heterosexual romantic desires and all things surrounding that. Women very rarely have the same types of adventures as men, especially young women of color, as these stories are portrayed in the media.

I’ve had a post on my draft queue entitled ‘Men’s Egos–Women’s Vanity: A Reflection on Gender (Binary) Co-Dependence’ for a year, so your post really resonated with me. Heterosexism, fear, and homophobia have a lot to do with it in my opinion. I think women don’t want to be hurt by men but they definitely don’t want to be hurt by other women, who are more likely to understand and call them on their bs.

In my own non-blog fiction-writing, I am breaking from this lack of sisterhood and writing about women who are friends and/or in love with other women (while also exposing how women stab each other in the back over men or in other arenas of self-interest…). I put men in for added fun, to show how I wish relationships with them were. Increasingly, my long-term writing projects are about women of color, mother-daughter, sister-sister, female friends, and intimate partner–basically, women looking out for each other and loving and caring about each other. I realize now that I’ll just have to write the types of things I want to read.

Sorry I wrote a whole dissertation here! I’m trying to stop blogging for the rest of the day and get some other non-blog creative writing done but so far I’ve been unsuccessful.

Checking out Gender Across Borders, thanks for this piece–

Queenly

Today, Gender Across Borders is having a guest blog series about masculinity. Since I had forgotten to submit my own story, I figured I could talk about it here. Which is really perfect since last night I saw How to Train Your Dragon for the first time.  I had heard about the hype, so when it came on close to midnight, I decided that it wouldn’t be so bad to give it a look. And.. it was pretty amazing. Which isn’t atypical since I have a track re … Read More

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