Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Right Wing Women, Revisited

In light of the reality that 53% of white women voted for a sexual predator for president in the 2016 election and the spate of revelations that many men across the political spectrum are also predators, I'm giving Andrea Dworkin's Right Wing Women another read.

I read the book initially in 2010, as I wrote about here. Given the passage of time, my own development, and political experiences that have transpired since 2010, I also want to see the extent to which I find that both the book and my thoughts on it stand up.

Feel free to join me, if you want. I'll write a post in 2018 and you can share any thoughts you have, as well.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quote of the Day: The Male Bumbler

Lili Loofbourow writes about of rape culture's gender scripts that allow men to play stupid about both their own misbehavior and other men's:
"There's a reason for this plague of know-nothings: The bumbler's perpetual amazement exonerates him. Incompetence is less damaging than malice. And men — particularly powerful men — use that loophole like corporations use off-shore accounts. The bumbler takes one of our culture's most muscular myths — that men are clueless — and weaponizes it into an alibi.

Allow me to make a controversial proposition: Men are every bit as sneaky and calculating and venomous as women are widely suspected to be. And the bumbler — the very figure that shelters them from this ugly truth — is the best and hardest proof.

Breaking that alibi means dissecting that myth. The line on men has been that they're the only gender qualified to hold important jobs and too incompetent to be responsible for their conduct. Men are great but transparent, the story goes: What you see is what you get. They lack guile."
Remember this the next time you see a man, any man, express his "shock and disappointment" about another man's misbehavior.

Given the ubiquity of sexual assault and harassment, any man who expresses shock is lying, extremely stupid, or incredibly imperceptive.

I also agree that many men are quite calculating. I've known them, worked with them, and been harassed by them. I believe that, in particular, sexual predators fit this mold. Relatedly, I don't trust Louis CK's apology. 





Thursday, November 16, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 3.4 "The Faithful"

So, in this episode, we see a flashback of the Supergirl pilot, in which Kara saves a plane from crashing. Apparently, during the past two years, one of the men who was on the flight has been creating a Supergirl-centered cult.

Kara finds a pamphlet for the cult, attends a meeting, and learns that it's comprised of people who she has saved. They basically go up to a podium and tell their stories and pray to the Kypton sun, Rao. I mean, why not, really?


Later that night, Kara and Lena host an alpha queer women's night, with Alex, Maggie, and Sam, the new CatCo CEO who may or may not also be a superhero, in attendance.

[Pulls up chair, watches intently]

Sigh.

So, I've been feeling all season like bad things are headed down the Sanvers highway, so alas. Let's enjoy it while we can. The kids convo once against happens. So, like, yeah, we get it. It's over. It was cute while it lasted.


Moving along, during the evening, one of the cultists sets a building on fire, hoping that Supergirl will save him. She does, thus giving him the religious experience he was seeking. You know, I've never really thought about the superhero dilemma of people deliberately putting themselves in harms way just to have a superhero encounter, but yep, that would definitely happen in real life.

The next day, Kara goes to interview the cult leader and he tells her that he knows she's Supergirl (because apparently he's the only person with basic observational skills in National City). Creepily, he also refers to her as "God." She tells him to disband the cult, but he won't.

When she leaves, he goes into a backroom of the Sea Org or whatever and talks to a pod thingy that he has. There is also torn tissue paper covering the walls, which is how we know it's a cult headquarters.


Turns out the pod is a bomb, and the cult has brought it to a full-capacity stadium. Where was security on that? ANYway, the cult's idea is that Supergirl will save all the people in the stadium, thereby turning them into cult members. Unfortunately, the pod has kryptonite in it, which puts a damper on Supergirl's ability to get rid of the bomb.


Once the cult members see Supergirl's weakness, they ditch the cult. Because they are completely faithless and tacky. So much for faith, peons.

Nevertheless, Supergirl uses her laser vision to create a big hole to push the bomb into, thereby saving everyone. The cult leader guy then goes to prison (the Supergirl timeline is weird, like SVU weird, where criminal process happens without delay). I don't know if the cult leader will turn up again in later episodes, but he remains creepy either way.

Later that day, or maybe another day (see above re: the timeline), the alpha queer women's club goes to Sam's little girl's play, and this aborableness is happening. OMG, a buncha little Supergirls:


During the performance, Alex gets perturbed (WHICH OF COURSE SHE DOES BECAUSE SHE WANTS KIDS). She runs out of the performance and, when Kara follows her, she tells Kara that she wants kids.

Then, because Supergirl often ends on a final, cliffhanger scene, we see that Sam goes into the upside-down or something.


Deep Thought of the Week: I'm actually okay with how I think Sanvers is going to end. My bar is pretty low and mostly consists of "don't wantonly kill the queers," so a couple breaking up because they disagree about having kids is fine. I'm also pretty sure Alex could get a new girlfriend STAT, anyway. Although I really do like Maggie, there are other law enforcement officials in the sea. Olivia Benson, Dana Scully, Misty Knight, Jane Rizolli...

[Note: In November 2017, CW/Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.]

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

CW Executive Producer Accused of Sexual Harassment

In case you're not aware, Andrew Kreisberg, an executive producer for Supergirl, among other DC Comics shows, has been suspended after allegations that he has engaged in a pattern of sexually harassing colleagues. Kreisberg has denied it, although 19 sources have contributed to the allegations.

In light of this news, I have weighed the decision about continuing the Supergirl recaps here in Fannie's Room.

My site is 100% non-commercial and ad-free, so I have no financial stake in the recaps one way or the other. My intent with the recaps is primarily to provide entertainment to fans of the show, given that mainstream fan spaces are not always welcoming to feminist/minority/female/queer fans. Nonetheless, while my site is relatively small, the recaps also provide some small measure of free publicity for the show.

For now, I will continue the recaps.

In this case, Kreisberg has been removed from the workplace, pending an investigation. I support this action, as the allegations against him are deeply disturbing, particularly given his involvement in a show, about female empowerment.

In addition, Supergirl in particular has multiple female actors/actors of color working on it, as well as a representation of queer love. These representations are meaningful to many fans, fans who might also enjoy these recaps. I am wary of penalizing innocent parties because of the alleged misbehavior of a relatively powerful white man, particularly those might have been victimized by this person (although I also don't begrudge those who engage in consumer protests).

I will also say this: I believe the allegations. Kreisberg admits to engaging in at least some of the behavior the allegations outline - such as commenting on women's appearances and giving hugs/kisses - but refers to his actions as "not sexualized." Whatever he means by that, what seems clear is that, at best, he misunderstands the role that power plays when coupled with those types of comments and actions.

While disturbing, the allegations are also not shocking to me.  They are, sadly, all too believable. As I've written before, it's hard to enjoy pop culture and be a feminist. The rape culture mentality of writers, showrunners, and producers consistently seeps through, onto our screens. So much so that I am constantly left wondering what the people I watch on screen, and those who contribute to a production off-screen, have endured for their careers and, in turn, our entertainment.

As such, I will continue to monitor reports about the investigation, as well as its outcome. I will end the recaps if I believe it's warranted. To those reading, please feel free to post updates about this matter in related blogposts and/or email me directly.

I also plan on adding a link to this post on every Supergirl recap here.


Related, multiple actors affiliated with CW shows have issued statements, including:
Supergirl lead Melissa Benoist, on Twitter.
Arrow actor Emily Bett Rickards, on Twitter. 
Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow actor Caity Lotz, on Twitter.
Supergirl actor David Ramsey, on Twitter.
Arrow lead Stephen Amell, on Facebook.
Supergirl actor Chris Wood, on Twitter

Observation: Men often get the best, most glorified leading roles in the superhero genre. I want to see more of them speak out on this issue.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rape Culture Rigs the System Against Women

I have a piece up at Shakesville today. Here's a snip:
"It's said that not all superheroes wear capes. But, know this as well: Not all villains wear masks. Rape culture doesn't require them to. Sexual predators in the workplace, particularly the higher up they are, are often brazen and enabled by other, complicit powers-that-be.

Every anti-feminist backlash in the US has had its own version of the self-centered claim that feminists are motivated by the hatred of men. Yet, if the spate of recently-revealed "open secrets" has demonstrated anything, it's that it has always been the other way around.

That women are widely seen as not fully human like how men are fully human means that male reactions across the political spectrum often take a predictable turn: The other side does it too! Many men still view sexual harassment claims, not as wrongs inflicted on human beings who matter, but as ways to score points against political rivals, usually other men."
Read the whole thing.