Monday, 21 July 2014

Gender Star Wars and an Anti-Fridging Feminist

From http://shorelle.tumblr.com/post/64430084588/finally-done-ish-my-contribution-to


 ariaste:
brett-caton:
ariaste:
PSA
brett-caton:
ariaste:
The death of a female character does not automatically equal fridging.

Holy shit, what? Let me repeat myself.

The death of a female character does not automatically equal fridging.

Fridging is problematic. But fridging is also a specific thing: It is gruesome violence against a…
and this is why there aren’t many female heroes in Hollywood; it’s nearly impossible to write a story without a Feminist deciding it’s offensive, and still have it be interesting.

When males die to advance a story, no-one cares. The characters, like Hillary Clinton, can wander over the charred remains of schoolboys without a moment’s inconvenience from the SJWs.

Males are disposable. Do you fuss over the end of a toilet roll? It’s done what it was supposed to do, after all.

But kill a female character? Hell, no! Outside of horror movies et al, females are privileged. They will die in vastly fewer numbers, much more humanely, and mostly off screen. You don’t see the action hero pinning women up to a wall and making cracks like “stick around”.

Can you imagine gender reversed “Star Wars”? The villain walks over piles of female corpses without any hesitation, breaks a woman’s neck for fun, and the only hero who is competent is a young man who snarks at the females around them and is a better shot than all them put together.

Her only friend, an older woman, is sawn in half. Her creepy brother makes sexual advances on her “for luck”.

Feminists would condemn that as misogyny.
Thanks for your commentary, @brett-caton! I thought you brought up a couple interesting points, so I wanted to elaborate on some of them.



First of all, “Kill a female character? Hell no!” Ah! But that’s the whole point. Writers ARE allowed to kill female characters, and there are many ways to do so — ways which are not fridging, which are not problematic. Women, after all, make up 50% of the deaths in this world. Discussions of fridging and other problematic deaths of female characters aren’t actually about the literal *death* of those characters — it’s about the culture that excuses systematic violence against women, that casts women as victims. Fridging is a problem because of the lack of representation of women in media; you point out that men are “expendable” — I suggest that your perception of this comes not from the attitudes towards men, but from the prevalence of male presence in the media you consume. On another level, writing in a handful of men just so you’ll have someone to kill off later isn’t *problematic*, it’s *a problem* — it’s horrifically lazy writing. Men can expect to see lots and lots of male characters, and a lot of different KINDS of male characters (smart ones, dumb ones, brawny ones, nerdy ones, romantic ones, heroic ones, cowardly ones, plucky ones, I COULD GO ON). Men can expect this so solidly that they don’t even have to notice that they expect it. Men get to take the presence of male characters for granted just as they take the presence of breathable air for granted. Women do not have this liberty. Things are getting better, but we’re not there yet. I yearn to have the luxury of an unconscious assumption that there will be not only women in my media, but LOTS of them, and in a great abundance of varieties.

So I relish the idea of a gender-reversed Star Wars! Hordes of women performing heroic death-defying flights through space! Lightsaber fights! Lady Yoda teaching Leia about the Force in the swamps of Dagobah! C3PO voiced by a British woman! And imagine Luke being forced to dress in that metal bikini, chained to and caressed by a giant female Jabba the Hutt — the revulsion and disgust you feel at that idea is the same revulsion and disgust I feel when I think of Leia in the same situation. And creepy sexual advances are creepy no matter the gender of the perpetrator.

Feminists would not condemn a female-led Star Wars as misogyny (Why would that be misogyny??). We don’t want our female characters to never get hurt — we want them to be heroes. We want them to have a fighting chance.  We, as humans, like stories about people dying gloriously. We like it when stories make us feel something. As I said in my original post, it’s not that I don’t want to see any female characters die. I absolutely want to see some deaths. I just want them to be GOOD deaths, meaningful deaths, well-written deaths.  

Thanks again for your comments. :)
"Fridging is a problem because of the lack of representation of women in media; you point out that men are "expendable" — I suggest that your perception of this comes not from the attitudes towards men, but from the prevalence of male presence in the media you consume."
Well, in reality, men are overwhelmingly the targets of violence, so it’s hardly surprising. How many men and boys did Boko Haram kill without any reaction? They figured they needed to get attention - burning schoolboys to death didn’t work. Hmm, what to do… kidnap school girls? Oh yes, the ant’s nest was well and truly poked, and we scurried about!

But in fiction - say in Star Wars - men die in multitudes, causally, with little emotional impact. They are created to die. Why is the death of one female character ‘problematic’ and the millions of male corpses beside her just good writing? Is the value of female human life really several magnitudes higher? Is does appear to be the case, in real life and in fiction.

"Women can expect to see lots and lots of female characters, and a lot of different KINDS of female characters (smart ones, dumb ones, brawny ones, nerdy ones, romantic ones, heroic ones, cowardly ones, plucky ones, I COULD GO ON)."

That statement is equally valid. If anything, there are far more brawny female characters in fiction, for example, than real life permits without destroying the body chemistry through steroids. Xena, Wonder Woman, Big Barda, Sif, Red Sonja.. the list is huge. 
(Trimmed for length)
First: "Why is the death of one female character ‘problematic’ and the millions of male corpses beside her just good writing?"
This is actually a great question. I hope it's not rhetorical, because I'm about to answer it. We'll continue to use Star Wars as an example.

You object to men being expendable in movies; you say  that men are the majority of the deaths in the movies, and I think you are certainly correct if we are (as you seem to be) counting thousands of background deaths -- Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, 300... All these epic movies with war scenes end up with a slow pan across the fields of the dead.

You're right. Men do get slaughtered in movies. WHY, though? Because there aren't any women. If there were an equal number of female pilots in Star Wars, they would have died at the same rate. If there were an equal number of female Rohirrim in LotR, they would have died just like the men.

What you're objecting to is a *symptom* of the problem, not the problem itself. You object to men being killed off like flies? Fair enough. How do we solve that problem? How about by adding an equal number of women?

The death of one female character is problematic because all too often, we only HAVE one female character. It's problematic when she's not just killed as a nameless face in a crowd -- but when she's killed as a symbol. When she's killed to "punish" her for something (fighting/disagreeing with the hero, being sexually active, etc). When she's killed as a cheap way of making the hero pick up his weapon and slo-mo walk out to a climactic fight with the villain.

If you want female deaths to be less problematic, if you want men to die less often in movies -- put more women in 'em.

As for your comments about male rape victims (which, for anyone reading, were past the trim line -- my apologies), I again point out that you are objecting to a symptom of a much bigger problem. The things you have problems with are the same things *I* have problems with. Sexual assault against a man isn't ever funny. Domestic abuse against a man isn't funny. It's a problem. Dismissing/laughing off male victims is something the *patriarchy* does, not feminism. It's the patriarchy that has given us the idea that men can't be emotional, can't feel pain, can't be victims, or that they shouldn't admit to it for fear of being laughed at and considered "unmasculine". That is a PROBLEM. THAT IS A HUGE PROBLEM. We are all humans, we *all* feel pain, and it's horrific to laugh off male victims, or to erase their experiences.

If you want to fix that, if you want people to stop sniggering about it: Obliterate rape culture. Wipe that shit off the face of this earth.

(PS: You misquoted me as saying "Women can expect to see lots and lots of female characters, and a lot of different KINDS of female characters" -- my original post said MEN can expect to see lots of MALE characters.)


"You object to men being expendable in movies"

Not quite: I object to that being ignored, but the death of any woman being regarded as incredibly significant. Feminists make movies, write books, draw cartoons... where are the stories where male deaths matter?

In the Feminist Literature I have read, if anything, the question is absurd. In "The Female Man", the story is all about how wonderful it would be to torture all males to death, and how raping male apes would be acceptable because even if they are not human, they are still males, and hurting them would still be fine  they deserve it because... yeah, I never understood that one either. |

I guess it's like Nazis slaughtering monkeys because they decided they could be Jewish.

So: prove me wrong. Write stories, draw comics, make movies where males are as important as females. Or where females are insignificant, like males. Either is good. I can't imagine even one, let alone one that was for the little kiddies, where female corpses would be strewn about like leaves and no-one would care.


"you say  that men are the majority of the deaths in the movies, and I think you are certainly correct if we are (as you seem to be) counting thousands of background deaths — Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, 300… All these epic movies with war scenes end up with a slow pan across the fields of the dead."

Star Wars just skips over the dead really, as you can see from the clip I embedded.

But I'm saying that, full stop, men are the majority victims of violence in fiction except horror or other situations where you want the viewer to be greatly affected. Just like with those schoolboys who were burnt to death, and Hillary Clinton, no-one gives a toss until females are in the firing line.



"You’re right. Men do get slaughtered in movies. WHY, though? Because there aren’t any women."

This is speculation.


 "If there were an equal number of female pilots in Star Wars, they would have died at the same rate. If there were an equal number of female Rohirrim in LotR, they would have died just like the men."

 More speculation.

"What you’re objecting to is a *symptom* of the problem, not the problem itself. You object to men being killed off like flies? Fair enough. How do we solve that problem? How about by adding an equal number of women?"

Why stop there? Why not make gender-flipped Star Wars equivalents, have women mowed down, force choked, throttled to death, sawn in half, all in a series of movies for kids? I'll bring popcorn.



"The death of one female character is problematic because all too often, we only HAVE one female character. "

So have only one male character (although Star Wars has several, but I digress) and how loads of women dying with that male in command (like in Star Wars) with that male being the only seriously competent person (ditto) and getting all the best lines and killing an obese sexually ambivalent female with their bare hands in some gruesome way.

Do you have butter on your popcorn? I am so ready for this film.


"It’s problematic when she’s not just killed as a nameless face in a crowd — but when she’s killed as a symbol. When she’s killed to “punish” her for something (fighting/disagreeing with the hero, being sexually active, etc). When she’s killed as a cheap way of making the hero pick up his weapon and slo-mo walk out to a climactic fight with the villain."

So Feminists would have no problem with a male doing a climactic fight with a female villain, having that female villain being slowly beaten to death, or dropped off a cliff with a quip, or nailed to a wall and told to "stick around"? I remember the furore over "Total Recall" when Arnie killed a female villain. That was completely unacceptable. The slaughter of assorted male villains in that movie was fine, unnoticed.

That's called hypocrisy.

Oh, that "killed as a symbol" is a great "get out of jail free" card. You can always claim a male villain is a male villain but a female one is a symbol.

"If you want female deaths to be less problematic, if you want men to die less often in movies — put more women in ‘em."

I don't want men to die less often - I just don't like the promotion of a double standard where fiction is pilloried for 'fridging' females and where the male equivalent has no response because male deaths are trivial. One rule for all, male, female, and R2D2 unit, TY.

"As for your comments about male rape victims (which, for anyone reading, were past the trim line — my apologies), I again point out that you are objecting to a symptom of a much bigger problem. The things you have problems with are the same things *I* have problems with. Sexual assault against a man isn’t ever funny. "


A bajillion chortling people indicates otherwise. It's funny when it's not real, but so is murder.

It's when Feminists laugh at it in real life that I get rather tetchy.


"Dismissing/laughing off male victims is something the *patriarchy* does, not feminism. "

Hmm. The trouble with the word 'feminism' is it means anything you want it to mean at the time. For example, If i point to several hundred feminists sitting in the audience of a TV show, laughing away at the feminist panel, who are discussing the torture and castration of a man who was trying to escape a brutal relationship, you will just say "they aren't TRUE feminists" or not ALLLL feminists are like that (aka NAFALT) .

Thus, you move the parameters (or goalposts, as it were) the make sure my point is always invalidated. Regardless of whether or not it is honest to do so - whether you would apply those principles to any other group, say.


"It’s the patriarchy that has given us the idea that men can’t be emotional, can’t feel pain, can’t be victims, or that they shouldn’t admit to it for fear of being laughed at and considered “unmasculine”. "


So when Chanty Binx sings "Cry me a River" that's not her, she's been Possessed by the Patriarchy(TM)?

When Feminists attack a man for wearing what they consider feminine garb, that's not their fault - Patriarchy!

(skip to 17:35 for the full treatment, although you can see it throughout)

When they laugh at Male Tears - Patriarchy! (literally too many examples)
(clearly Google is Part of the Patriarchy(TM) and so it is manufacturing these images, and No True Feminist (Patent Pending) is involved  here or any of the Tumblr posts on the subject)

Gee, this is great. You can use it for anything. If I were a woman, I could throw a man into a woodchipper and just claim t'was the Patriarchy that dun it.
image
Do you remember when the Patriarchy was proven to exist? No, neither do I. It just seems to be assumed, like the Elders of Zion.. Patriarchy is a system of government where women have fewer, or at least inferior, rights to men.

What rights do men have that women do not?

What rights do women have that men do not?

They cannot be conscripted, and fought against female conscription in WW1. In fact, only non-feminist countries, by and large, have female conscription.


They are given shorter jail sentences, if sentenced at all, for the same crimes, and can often claim immunity if they are a parent - even if they managed to get pregnant by raping someone.. even if that someone is a child...

They can get people like Mary P. Koss to fiddle the books to make sure no female can be charged with rape, through manipulation of the legal definition of the term (thus meaning female victims of same sex rape are taken out as collateral, but nothing's perfect)

I have to wonder, when, if ever, Feminists will take responsibility for their actions, instead of blaming the Patriarchy for every ill.
What, I wonder, will you do, if your "Female Man" scenario plays out, and the last male is exterminated? Will you tell your terrified daughters that the Ghost of the Patriarchy lurks in their closets and under their beds, stealing their socks and spoiling the milk?

"If you want to fix that, if you want people to stop sniggering about it: Obliterate rape culture."

I'm not going to do that, it was a very important film.

Oh, you don't know it? It was erased by Feminists. Because it pointed out that the primary victim of rape in the US was males, that that fact was covered up, and when those men asked for help, they were told that they deserved everything that they got.

Feminists couldn't bear that men should receive sympathy, so, like Stalin, they erased that town from the maps and created a new one with the same name so that no-one could even remember the old one... quite clever, really.

As for Rape culture against females... what is the one crime that is abhorred above all others, the one for which "innocent until proven guilty", a 1500 year old legal principle, is suspended, the one deed where someone, if suspected of it, can be beaten to death by the public.. and in most cases no prosecutions will occur even when it turns out the corpse was innocent?

There's no rape culture, not against women anyway. It's a lie, but a useful one.

(PS: You misquoted me as saying “Women can expect to see lots and lots of female characters, and a lot of different KINDS of female characters” — my original post said MEN can expect to see lots of MALE characters.)

No, I didn't misquote you, I gender-flipped what you said , underlined the change ("That statement is equally valid ")and pointed out where it was true and where it was false.

If anything, there's sexism - but only to men - because only men, overall, are allowed to be stupid, and women, overall, are allowed to be far, far, far physically stronger than they should be.


POSTSCRIPT

Fridging defintion

A character is killed off in a particularly gruesome manner and left to be found just to offend or insult someone, or to cause someone serious anguish. The usual victims are those who matter to the hero, specifically best buddies, love interests, and sidekicks.

Note how Feminists never object to it if the one 'fridged' is male, e.g. Biggs Darklighter or Owen Lars.

Here's a handy list of the dead pilots



(Remember Owen's heroic death? Aunt Beru is forgotten too -  I guess they regard her death as meaningful.. somehow... or is it that acknowledging her 'fridging' means acknowledging his?)


Why don't Feminists care when it happens to men, if it's such a terrible thing?


Because Men Are the Expendable Gender.


I started this conversation off because I love the art of writing, and it saddens me to see it corrupted to serve political purposes. Under Communism, or Nazism, or any other Totalitarianism, every song, every novel, every painting, must illustrate the state-approved ideology. Feminism is no different.

It was interesting to see the tactics involved. I tried to point out that (since sexism is unfair treatment by sex), if you treated women as men are treated, even in a space fantasy designed for children, you end up with a horror movie. She evaded and evaded, never letting herself acknowledge what a truly gender-bent version of Star Wars, for example, would be like.

Despite the evidence from youtube that the deaths were overwhelmingly inglorious, that male characters were introduced only to be snuffed out to motivate the heroes (the definition of fridging) and to emphasise the peril they fought (and Darth Vader was a horror to his own side as well as to the enemy), her claim was that a gender bent version would have the female pilots being

Hordes of women performing heroic death-defying flights through space!

Maybe we didn't see the same movie. Do you remember the male pilots defying death, or just dying in droves? Were they heroic? Well, they were brave, or at least the rebels were. It's not clear if the Imperials were brave or just terrified more of what happens to those who don't fight. But heroes? Heroes are acknowledged, remembered. You don't really see much of that going on.

So the only way she finds gender-reversed Star Wars palatable is to spin it into a different movie. One which would actually be incredibly dull.

it’s not that I don’t want to see any female characters die. I absolutely want to see some deaths. I just want them to be GOOD deaths, meaningful deaths, well-written deaths. 


Y'see, the problem is you are dealing with dozens of deaths on screen in Star Wars Ep. 1, for example. Almost all of them are men being mowed down. Are they GOOD deaths? They are just deaths. There's not really a lot of writing involved.. they die, en masse. And that's fine, because this is a War, and that's what war is about. Both sides are ground into dust. Both sides suffer. And that should never be sanitised.

So here's my challenge to Feminists.

Have a movie where the lives of women matter as little as men's do. Where they are mowed down in a film watched by eager five year olds, without objection from Feminist factions eager to spot Misogyny and scream Patriarchy.
Let's see a movie where the only competent shot is a male, where the leader of the good guys is a male, where the smartest character is a male, where the male plays with the affections of two women who bicker over him, and when harassed by an obese sexually ambivalent female, slowly throttles her to death.

Make that movie, I dare you. I have much popcorn, all ready to go!

I'm waiting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please try to avoid logical fallacies!