Posts tagged: the ladies
It’s like this…
You’re fourteen and you’re reading Larry Niven’s “The Protector” because it’s your father’s favorite book and you like your father and you think he has good taste and the creature on the cover of the book looks interesting and you want to know what it’s about….
I just noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too.
The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible.
Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for “American Men Novelists.”
Dove hired a forensic artist to draw how women see themselves versus how others see them - the results are moving.
One of the most tragic women in horror, Oiwa. Here she’s depicted just after being poisoned by her husband. Print by Kuniyoshi Utagawa from the kabuki play, Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan, by Tsuruya Nanboku IV. In the second image, she appears as a ghost in Nobuo Nakagawa’s 1959 Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan
There are many film versions of the story, including two presented by the Criterion collection, Nakagawa’s adaptation and Kinoshita Keisuke’s1949 Yotsuya Kaidan, Parts I and II. (Both are available this weekend on Hulu for free).
via “Sheer Pleasure: Transparency in Japanese Woodblock Prints.”
Natasha: Do you know why I’m here?
Laura: It is not to help these girls. You are the spy, Black Widow, an Avenger. The Avengers cannot stop slavery or help hurt girls.
Natasha: Neither can the X-men. But we try.
Just as a final meditation on today’s impromptu theme: one of the things Natasha’s had a special interest in throughout her superhero career is sex and child trafficking. Laura points out that this is an unusual preoccupation for an Avenger, and she’s right. This is not the kind of thing that usually gets dressed up in capes and tights. But Black Widow deals with this stuff semi-regularly, even, because she’s not a typical superhero and this is why she fights.
As much as her origin story has been muddled recently it has, in every iteration, been wound around themes of control and liberation. Natasha was once a loyal servant of lies and half-truths, a perfect agent who blinded herself into ignoring her conscience and her masters’ cruelties for the sake of being a perfect agent. But she couldn’t let them tell her who to love, and she broke free.
There’s a gendered element to this, too. The Red Room trains only women, the chemical treatments given to their best operatives drive men insane. And so the men in charge of this whole twisted scenario christen their best agents after a spider that devours her mates, something that they fear, but also demean. They sharpen these women so that they may be seen as tools, weapons, something manufactured and replaceable. Not women at all.
(Natasha knows she is one-of a kind, unique, and is therefore unstoppable.)
So her career in espionage gave her ability and paranoid edges, but it also commodified her. This is the basic Marvel formula: power is the gift and the curse together. And as a result, she has a special interest in keeping women from being manipulated, from having their bodies and their sexualities be treated as commodities or weapons, instead of tools of their own enjoyment. Instead of bodies.
That’s why she tries to help rescue these trafficked girls but recognizes that their trauma isn’t something that can be fixed with punching. It’s why she reaches out to Laura Kinney, who has been grown in a lab and taught to kill for other people, and offers to teach X-23 how to be useful on her own terms.
(It’s also the reason why I cringe sometimes to see her twisted around for easy ass shots, to see her uniform tweaked and modified so that we get a better view. It’s like Ms. Deconnick says about Carol Danvers: It’s bizarre. There’s a part of me that’s like, “Why do you care?” And part of me that gets angry about it. That’s not what she’s about. Or at least, I don’t think it’s what she’s meant to be about.)
From X-23 #20, by Marjorie Liu and Phil Noto.
More Women In Horror Month business—Machiko Kyo and Tatsuya Nakadai play a game in Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another (1966). We think Kyo should be more celebrated for her role in horror, through films like The Face of Another and the more widely known, Ugetsu.
Image via Cinebeats.
Happy Year of the Snake and Happy Women In Horror Month! Amanda Donohoe from Ken Russell’s Lair of the White Worm.