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hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
04 March 2015 @ 04:03 am
I'm out of the country till the 18th of March with very limited free time, but I plan to update this placeholder with an actual letter as soon as I return. Thank you for your patience, Rarelywritten writer. :)

Please, check back here on the 19th for the letter.

Dear Rarelywritten Writer,

Thank you for offering to write one or more of the awesome women of my super rare fandoms. I love fictional women almost more than anything else in the entire world, so I am going to be ridiculously easy to please on this one.

Besides that, I also love women interacting with each other, women maintaining complex bonds with each other, women supporting each other, and generally being awesome. I like het, gen, and femslash (m/m is really not my cup of tea because of, you guessed it, the lack of women.) If there's going to be a power imbalance in a het relationship, I prefer the scales to be tipped over at the female side (I have a huge kink for good/moral men in love with complicated/morally ambiguous women). I love polyamory fic, but I would prefer the focus there to be on the emotional/relationship dynamics aspects of it and not on the hot threesomes. Character study, plotty fic with a characterization focus, relationship study, etc are all awesome. I am not a huge fan of porn without plot, mainly because I would rather have something that's more grounded in characterization, but I don't have a problem with smut itself as long as it comes as part of a larger story. I enjoy stories with complex characterization and interactions that reveal those bits of the characters. I am okay with any rating you feel up to.

Some of my squicks include: non-con sex and it's very likely that what most of fandom considers dub-con will also push the wrong buttons for me. I dislike the fictional trope of building one woman up at the expense of another, tearing one woman down to build up another, women fighting over men, women's lives revolving around the men in their lives. I do love conflict, though, and women who love each other despite conflict (PLL is an excellent example of something that maintains complex conflicts and interests while still having women loving women at its heart.)

Thoughts on specific requests/fandoms:

Dragon Age: All Media TypesCollapse )

Dragon Age: InquisitionCollapse )

Nancy Drew: Video GamesCollapse )

The Season of Passage - Christopher PikeCollapse )

I really hope that I don't sound too hard to please. I just have lots of thoughts on all of these women and I don't often get a chance to squee over them.  Please, feel free to do something creative with the details/characters, if you think it would make a better story. My ideas are more to inspire your creativity than to limit it.

I am looking forward to reading whatever you come up with and to building altars to the power of your awesome creative powers.

Lastly, if you have any questions about something you want to do or something you're unsure about, you can ask either [personal profile] aphrodite_mine  or [personal profile] meganbmoore . Both of them are familiar with my fictional preferences and some or all of these fandoms.

This entry was originally posted at http://prozacpark.dreamwidth.org/126844.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.


Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis (or as I like to call it, "The Elizabeth Weir Show.")
Music: "I Say Fever" by Ramona Falls.
Notes: Made for Sparktober 2014, also known as the year I discovered this 10-year-old fandom and then drowned in Elizabeth Weir feels.

Streaming on Vimeo l Streaming on YouTube I Download *.mpg file (135 mbs) I Download *.avi file (24 mbs)

Fever - John Sheppard x Elizabeth Weir (stargate: atlantis) from prozacpark on Vimeo.

Lyrics -

Before she met me she took herself to wait five years
After I met her, her teacher said "Best wait five years."
I ask my neighbors, they said it's wise to wait five years.

I say "Fever."

I told a friend how I'm feeling and this made her sad
'Cause she fears that no man will ever desire her so bad.
How dare I feel this and do naught but sit on my hands.

I say "Fever."

Hold my heart like a hot potato,
Push the clock for an hour later.
This is just code to decipher
Found my ploughman, chased the piper.
That ended up.
That's all now.
These are the ones who talk.
Never a lick, needs her to kiss him.

The first five years go by and we are no longer here.
I blame myself for not taking steps to draw her near.
I try to decide what to do now based on love not fear.

I say "Fever."

hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
1). For rarewomen this year, I wrote "Klytemnestra, in Fragments" for yetanothermask. I have been eyeing her prompts for years and always meant to write her treats, because of how many lit fandoms we share, but my procrastination almost always means that I have time to just write my own assignment. But the universe aligned this year to match us.

I got TWO lovely stories this year. "When a Lovely Flame Dies" is the MUCH anticipated Twin Peaks/Pretty Little Liars crossover that I have been wanting forever, with Spencer Hastings and Audrey Horne, that everyone should read if you're familiar with these fandoms. The second fic I got is "you're in my firing line," a great backstory for Arlessa Isolde from "Dragon Age" that manages to keep her sympathetic without blunting her sharper edges.

I haven't had time to read any other stories, but I have a lot of bookmarks that I need to revisit once I get back from Wiscon.

2). WISCON. I'm going again this year. I am not entirely sure which panels I'll be attending, but like last year, I assume that my panel schedule will be abandoned in interest of hanging out with awesome people. I'll be getting there early Thursday, then I'm planning on doing the PoC dinner on Friday night and Vid party on Saturday night (like, I'll be there from 9 pm to 3am, or until they turn off everything and politely ask us to leave). If you're going (and we haven't already discussed this), let me know and I'll message you with my contact details so we can be sure to meet up.

3). The Elizabeth Weir Show. So, hi, friendslist, I might have ACCIDENTALLY fallen into a ten-year-old fandom, to my utter misery. As you may already know, I am not a huge fan of the Stargate Franchise, with its weird colonial/imperialistic politics, and the general disregard for multiplicity of cultural experiences, not to mention its abysmal treatment of women. But it does have some awesome women, so I sometimes consume an abbreviated version of these canons.

Back when SGA was actually airing, I only knew that something HORRIBLE had happened on the show, and pretty much everyone on my friendslist was very, very upset about it. I was mostly just...glad I didn't watch the show, but also very, very curious about what had happened. But apparently not enough to have looked it up?

So, of course, I go into SGA, expecting mostly to ship Elizabeth/John and having lots of fic to read (which, let's be honest, was my main motivation, since having lots of Annie/Jeff fic SPOILED me for more obscure pairings), and then NO ONE WARNED ME about Elizabeth Weir, and I never expected to have this level of feels over her, but here I am, crying over a dead fictional woman at my keyboard again (like, is there a point where you get to be too old for this? I DOUBT IT, somehow), and I signed up for this willingly, apparently?

ANYWAY, I just needed to catalogue my stupidity here for all to see, and for my future self to laugh at and possibly avoid. BUT! If any of you are still here, you should come and flail with me over Elizabeth Weir, because I have all these FEELINGS and no one to flail them at. Um.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
05 June 2013 @ 06:57 pm
"Jab We Met" is a pretty traditional romance narrative at surface level, which is also quitely but very effectively subverting a lot of the common romance tropes.  It's one of my favorite Bollywood movies, but it's rarely one that I use to convert people mostly because it isn't a movie that could only exist in Bollywood.  It's a pretty universally awesome romance narrative, all around.

HOWEVER, there is an aspect of it that makes it more subversive given the cultural context, which is that the heroine, while wanting a romantic happy ending for herself, wants one that's traditionally frowned upon by her culture.

While the narrative starts with the premise of a Brooding Hero meeting his Manic Pixie Dreamgirl, that's where the similarities end.  Because we find out a lot more about Geet, her hopes and dreams, and her family than we ever do about him.  One of the only things we do know about him is that at some point in his childhood, his mother ran off with another man because she didn't love his father.  Brooding Hero clearly feels that his mother's elopement has brought great shame to his family, through which the narrative gives us a glimpse of what kind of social disgrace Geet is possibly setting herself up for by wanting to elope.

However, the movie has Geet identifying with the mother pretty early on, and before the movie ends, this turns into an epic commentary on women and their choices and about doing what makes you happy rather than following patriarchal social conventions that stifle you.  So the most important thing we DO know about him still becomes about her.  <3

I never have much to say about men in fiction, but the male protagonist of this movie is one that I quite like.  He spends a good part of the movie being in love with her, but never even telling her, because he sees that as his own issue, and nothing *she* should be burdened with.  Like, he has ZERO need for his feelings for her to be validated or returned.  Which NEVER happens in romance narratives (except for in "Pride and Prejudice," and that's why it's my favorite.)

And Geet!  <3  Geet is one of the most self-assured and confident heroines I have ever come across in any narrative.  She knows what she wants, and she has no hesitation or doubts about how she's going to get it.  She has a strong sense of self that briefly wavers in the face of the utter force of everything that's against her, but comes back stronger than ever.

This is, by all means, set up as a narrative where the heroine would Learn Her Lesson about Wanting Unconventional Things, but the entire movie sets out to show HER way of life as the correct one, with everyone around her adapting to her worldview.  Even though the specifics of what she wants for herself change, she still gets the exact kind of happy ending she set out to chase for herself.

I also love her need to create drama and constantly strive to write out a more interesting narrative for herself than the one life would otherwise give her.  She reminds me of Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse or Catherine Morland, except that both of these women had to learn a lesson about Needing to be Serious/Mature, while Geet keeps on being herself.  <3

Like, the speech that both Emma and Catherine get from the Men Who Love Them and Know Better?  Geet gets that about halfway through the movie, only to totally set the guy straight, and that is literally the actual moment he falls for her.  BECAUSE SHE REFUSED TO SUBSCRIBE TO HIS WORLD VIEW.  And then he subscribes to her awesomeness.  You should, too.

This movie is streaming on Netflix, but the subtitles are questionable.  I may, um, have resources here later.  I am currently working on rewriting large bits of the subtitles, hopefully improving them.  I will also upload that file once I am done.

This entry was originally posted at http://prozacpark.dreamwidth.org/123398.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
Gingerbread Coffin
Fandom: Pretty Little Liars
Music: Rasputina
Summary: "She's gone, but she's everywhere."
Description: "Gingerbread Coffin" explores the gothic themes of "Pretty Little Liars" -- the haunting and the haunted, relics of the past, buried secrets, and women who live on after death -- and how those themes are subverted through the bonds of female friendship in a narrative with multiple heroines. (Someday, I will write meta on this, but meanwhile, there's this.)
Notes: This premiered at the Wiscon 37 Vid Party this past weekend.

Streaming on Vimeo l Download *.avi file (110 MBs) l Download Subtitles

password: alison

Gingerbread Coffin - "She's gone, but she's everywhere." from prozacpark on Vimeo.

If you're interested in trying out "Pretty Little Liars," I have a plug post here. And there's an incredible meta intro post on PLL here, which refers to it as the "most subversively feminist show on tv," and I don't think I have ever agreed with anything more in my entire life. ;) First two seasons are available for streaming on Netflix.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
So, friendslist, tired of watching tv shows with not enough women, interaction between women, women of color, lesbian women? I know I am. And what's keeping me happy, while becoming increasingly disappointed in other shows for failing me on these fronts, is "Pretty Little Liars."

It's not a show that requires a large level of investment, and it only has light touches of genre (it borrows a fair bit from mystery/gothic). The plot can be better, but I admit that I don't pay attention to it. It's kind of hard to pay attention to anything else while I am being actively WOWED by how many women are interacting in positive ways on my screen, while NEVER being defined by their relationships to men (who are constantly sidelined on this show).

It's not a brilliant tv show in terms of themes or plot, but it is a brilliant character drama that consistently chooses to focus on the kinds of relationships that are missing from tv.

So if you're going to be missing tv in this upcoming hiatus, I highly recommend that you binge on "Pretty Little Liars." Like I said, low investment, high pay-off.

premise, plug, and reasons to watch under the cut.Collapse )

Ready to watch it? Netflix has the first two seasons streaming online. The show is currently halfway through its third season and returns after a hiatus on January 8th. It's also been renewed for a fourth season. If you catch up on the first two seasons, feel free to drop me a line here or email me for, um, more updates so you can catch up in time for its return.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
Okay, not reviews so much as random, not-very-deep thoughts on the movies. I watched them both over a week ago, and have probably forgotten things I actually wanted to talk about.

The Hunger GamesCollapse )

AvengersCollapse )
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
21 May 2012 @ 10:07 pm
I'll be getting there on Thursday, around 4pmish, and leaving on Monday, around 3pmish. I am sufficiently recovered from my cold that my plan, once again, is to attend too many panels and parties and neveeeeeer sleep.

Asterisks by the ones I will be PUSHING PEOPLE OUT OF THE WAY to get into. Everything else will depend on who else is going and what else is going on. There are probably things that are VERY INTERESTING that I have missed. Feel free to tell me about them.

At some point between the panels, there are also plans to have an unofficial panel with chaila and others about fiction's portrayal of women with power." At some point, there will also be "The Inside" watching with aphrodite_mine.


*4:00 pm - The Pregnancy Trope in SF TV Shows -
9:00 pm - Chicks Dig Comics -
*9:00 pm - My Shepard: Avatars, Subversion and Identity in Video Games -
9:00 -YA Love Triangles -
10:30 - Women in Superhero Films -
10:30 - A Conscious Internet: Should We Be Worried? -

Vid party at some point before it ends at 3 am. It's not like sleeping is on the schedule.

8:30 am - Women in Comics -
10:00 am - The Powerless Heroine -

This is probably going to be the HARDEST decision to make:
*1:00 pm - The Arab/Muslim "East" in SF -
*1:00 pm - Performing Katniss in Print and On Screen: Gender Performativity and Deconstructing Reality TV in The Hunger Games - Pretty much everything I find most interesting about the books, minus the reality tv part, where I still have ZERO interest, even if it's, you know, deconstruction.
1:00 pm - Sensational Women of the 16th Century -
2:30 pm - Considering the Female Villain -
4:00 pm - Girl Cooties: Considering the Romance Novel - My main interest in this one is the fact that meganbmoore will be on this panel.

9:00 pm - Intersection of Trans* and Feminism -
10:30 pm - Women of the Horror Film: The Devilish Fears, 1971–1976 -

8:30 am - Gender-Variant Characters in SF -
8:30 am - Heteronormativity in YA Dystopian SF -
10:00 am - "But it's not for girls!" -
10:00 am - Feminism and the YA Explosion -
*1:00 pm - Disappearing Natives: The Colonized Body is Monstrous / Darwin and the Digital Body: Evolution, the Posthuman, and Imaginative Spaces of Embodiment -
2:30 pm - Baba Yaga and Other Retired/Secret Goddesses -
*4:00 pm - The Disenfranchised Other: Race and Its Role in Female-Driven Fantasy -
*4:00 pm - Gender and Class in Gaming - AKA THE DRAGON AGE PANEL.

8:30 am - Responding to the Literary Canon -
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
I keep meaning to talk about Revenge, but I am just a flaily, squee-filled mess at the end of each episode, which makes it hard to plug it in an intelligent manner that it deserves.  Before I start a list of why this show is making everything else currently on TV seem drab in comparison, I offer the following disclaimer:

Dear World, I have a huge thing for revenge narratives, as long as they're being headed by women.  I have been obsessed with Medea since middle school, and my instant love for heroines willing to make the world PAY for what it did to them has never, ever lessened even a bit.  And the more I consume fiction where women are supposed to forgive, forget, move on, the more this love grows. Be it the “Roaring Rampage of Revenge” kind or the "Better Served Cold" type, from The Oresteia to Kill Bill, I have probably loved them all.

Revenge opens with the following Chinese proverb, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself.”  This is a huge part of why I love revenge narratives, because um, HI WORLD, I have a thing for obsessive, self-destructive heroines.  I also have a thing for stoic heroines who keep their emotions and issues buried so deeply that you almost believe they don’t have any until everything threatens to come crashing down. And I love morally ambiguous older women in positions of power. This show gives me all of this with Bechdel passing and a pretty solid script.

Based loosely on Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, Revenge updates this story and reimagines it with a woman as its protagonist. When she was a young girl, Amanda Clarke’s father was framed for a crime he didn’t commit, a conspiracy that a large number of people in the Hamptons seem to have been in on.  In the pilot, Amanda, now calling herself Emily Throne (and referred to as such by the rest of this review), returns to the Hamptons and starts working on making herself an important part of the community so she can take it apart from the inside.

Heading Emily’s list of people who need to be brought down is Victoria Grayson, the queen of the Hamtons’ social circle, the woman her father loved and who betrayed him. However, things aren’t as simple as Emily’s single-minded quest for vengeance has led her to believe, and this show does particularly well with developing multiple points of view and letting us see different sides to the story we initially get from Emily.

Stereotype-breaking complex characterization of morally ambiguous women is especially what makes me love this show. It pulls no punches in Emily’s hardcoreness, and even as I find myself surprised by the depths to which she's willing to sink, I find myself falling more and more in love with her, and just being FLAILY over her awesome, awesome BRAIN.  It’s taken Emily years to work her plan into perfection and as more and more of it unravels, it’s fascinating to see the layers being added to her characterization, even as she remains incredibly chilling and creepy in her pursuit.

And then there's Victoria Grayson, who, like Emily, maintains a horde of her own secrets, keeping a perfect façade in place as the decides the fate of others in the community and in her life.  She's wonderfully complex, manipulative and vulnerable in turns.  She is easily the most sympathetically developed character in the entire series, and I love how this show is spending so much time on developing the complexity of its primary antagonist. We don’t yet know the reasons for which Victoria did what she did, but we’ve been provided with enough information to find her sympathetic and to know that she had her reasons, which is quite a feat. Most importantly, this show is firmly focused on characterization as its primary concern, and while maintaining plot suspense is something it does very well, it never sacrifices characterization to service plot twists/suspense.

The way these two women manipulate their environments and the people around them -- the ones they're using for their own gains and especially the ones they love -- is ridiculously fun to watch.  They aren’t the only women in the show, or the only ones central to the arc, but they are, predictably, the ones most pertinent to my own interests. Emily, who has dedicated so much of her life to vengeance that she can’t do anything but finish what she started, and Victoria, who is wonderfully complex, sympathetic, and unwillingly to give up any of her power, are both being developed in complex, parallel arcs, and I can’t wait to see where their journeys lead.

So, in conclusion, WATCH THIS SHOW.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.
Over the weekend, someone was arguing with me over how slash is really a small subsection of fandom and isn't really the new fandom majority. I know from experience that that's not true, but could not find any stats. But then it occured to me that a good way to break down the numbers would be to search for these cateories on AO3 and analyzing the numbers that get returned.

I think AO3 is a good archive for this sort of research because FFN has been around for a very long time, but slash proliferation has mostly occursed in the last ten years or so. So AO3 is a good reflection of current trends.

Here are the numbers, mostly so I can link people to this when this happens again.

Femslash: 1930 fics. (14.8%)
Het: 2167 fics. (16.6%)
Slash: 8924 fics. (68.5%)

So slash amounts to more than twice the amont of femslash AND het put together, as indicated by the authors in their fics' keywords, which ends up being nearly 70% of the relationship-tagged fic. Those percentages don't exactly add up to 100% because I rounded to the nearest single digit after the decimal, so there's about a 0.01% discrepency there.

I am also interested in how femslash and het amounts to roughly the sameish percent. I don't want to draw conclusions here, but in my experience, women-positive readers are equally open to het and femslash? But I also wonder if the results are not entirely accurate because I...would've expected het to have been significantly more prominent than femslash.

Then I did a search for terms m/m, f/m, and f/f, and results are a bit better, but still show slash outnumbering both by a good margin. Percentages rounded to the nearest second digit after the decimal because I apparently have no respect for consistency:

M/M: 165554 fics. (58.97%)
F/F: 62341 fics. (22.20%)
M/F: 52832 fics. (18.82%)

And here femslash outnumbers het, so I really am wondering about these numbers and would love some insight. Of course, this does not include gen fic, and it probably includes fic that has both or has one or the other as a secondary ship, but unfortunately, there's no way to filter for that that I know of. But this still presents a rough estimate, I suppose.

Are there other archives/communities where I can do this sort of data collection, friendslist? Feel free to post numbers from ficathons and archives you're familiar with in the comments. I would love some more data on this.

ALSO! These numbers make me want to have a "Raise the Percentage" femslash ficathon. Because, you know, it'd be awesome if we could.

In other news, I see that my last post has gotten linked on tumblr and is being taken out of context and apparently, I was complaining about m/m relationships in fiction (I was not.)  When it was mostly about how the only role women seem to have in most popular narratives is to be the romantic interests. I think it's a good thing that fandom, in general, has gotten less homophobic, but it would be lovely if we could see some of that come out without an exclusive preference for white male characters and if some of that led to femslash.

Dear fandom, reading/writing fanfiction that turns white, heterosexual men into gay men while ignoring and writing out women and people of color is, in fact, not primarily about gay rights or feminism, no matter what you tell yourself. We can talk about intersectionality of slash fiction when, you know, slash starts being about people other than pretty, white heterosexual men with positions of power and agency within their own narratives. Or, you know, when femslash isn't something you actively have to hunt down. Meanwhile, I'll continue to see the proliferation of slash (and not slash as a genre itself) as a manifestation of how patriarchal narratives train women (and men!) to mostly care about and identify with (white!) male characters while writing women and people of color out.

Honestly, other than the actual sex, it's not very different from early American fiction? Which, in fact, was interpreted as subtextually homoerotic for its deep bonds between men and no presence of women by Leslie Fiedler, who was then happily shunned from the literary society of his day. So the only thing that's changed is that fandom isn't afraid of sex or homoeroticism, while the rest of the society (and most notably Hollywood) hasn't progressed much beyond early American fiction where women still continue to be marginalized in almost all but the romance-centric narratives. Which pretty much means that the ONLY thing a lot of fiction needs women for is, well, sex. /bitter