Dragons & Warrior Daughters – Cannonball Read 6 – Review #1

Dragons and Warrior Daughters – Ed. Jessica Yates , a collection of short stories all featuring prominent female characters or protagonists, some of which have dragons.

I picked this book up for two reasons. It has a story from Robin McKinley, one of my most beloved authors, and I am trying to populate my daughter’s bookshelf with positive stories about women and girls.

I got exactly what I was hoping to find. The stories were varied in tone and the role that each woman played. What did not vary was that each protagonist was faced with difficult choices that had no pat answers. Even more than their being women, I enjoyed that each heroine had to choose from imperfect solutions to their problems. Some of the stories had slightly improbable, happily ever after conclusions, others were ambiguous, and others downright depressing.

Some stories had more of a moral than others. The last story, a very dark revenge tale, is a caution to be careful, let we get what we wish for. A story set just after the fall of the Roman Empire illustrates that glory follows those who seek it and true heroes act out of righteous purpose, not a desire for fame. McKinley’s story, which led me to the book in the  first place, is about the power of love but also shows how our greatest proponent and and also our greatest critic lies within and that your life will follow on which you choose to listen to.

I’m happy I picked this up and I will be setting it on the shelf for my daughter to investigate in another 10-12 years. Heck, I might even read it again!


Chat Box

Sonic Rob: I was listening to a podcast
Sonic Rob: Ash Bursh was saying there is feminist film crit about how Uma Thurman has to use a sword/phallus and dress like a man in Kill Bill
Sonic Rob: and I was thinking
Sonic Rob: at the end she is dressed like a woman and she beats him by catching his sword in her sheath
Sonic Rob: which is pretty goddamned vaginal
FyreHaar: you know I never saw Part II, right?
Sonic Rob: fuck you, spoiler statute of limitations is up
FyreHaar: or you do now
Sonic Rob: it’s been like 8 years
FyreHaar: oh, I’m not complaining about the spoiler
FyreHaar: and yes it’s extremely vaginal
FyreHaar: as if to truly overthrow the masculine enemy she must stop using that enemies tools and tactics
FyreHaar: and embrace her essential femininity
Sonic Rob: well, then she punches him to death

Megachat: Tomb Raider Marketing

Sonic Rob: god dammit
Sonic Rob: I just blew my nose so hard I farted
FyreHaar: damn
Sonic Rob: I am so skeeved out by this new Tomb Raider game
FyreHaar: por qua?
Sonic Rob: well, they say they want to give us a younger, vulnerable Lara Croft
Sonic Rob: so instead of a confident woman with huge tits being awesome
Sonic Rob: you have a scared woman with huge tits being wounded and chased around
Sonic Rob: they’ve disempowered her
Sonic Rob: it’s the beating her up that makes me feel worst
FyreHaar: this should be the story of her empowerment
FyreHaar: how she got tough
Sonic Rob: I don’t know what the game is like as a whole, but all of the preview coverage mentions her getting impaled, gutted, dropped off of high places
FyreHaar: gah!
Sonic Rob: see, you can look at it either way
Sonic Rob: is it about the journey to empowerment?
Sonic Rob: or about the status of fear and pain?
Sonic Rob: we know who she’ll become
Sonic Rob: so seeing her like this is like seeing her tied up
Sonic Rob: and cut
Sonic Rob: I’ve said it before: the preview coverage makes the game look like violent, degrading pornography without the sex
Sonic Rob: just the power over and degradation of an independent woman
FyreHaar: damnit
FyreHaar: this often happens with female empowerment story lines
FyreHaar: it’s like sucker punch
FyreHaar: it’s purportedly about how this woman will come to her strength
FyreHaar: but it’s really all about watching the degradation that requires her to become strong to survive.
Sonic Rob: sucker punch was about all you have is your ass
Continue reading Megachat: Tomb Raider Marketing

Cannonball Read #4 – The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. The book that gave a name to the problem with no name.

If you are a feminist or you agree with some of the principles of feminism (that women and men deserve equal opportunities and treatment) and you haven’t read this book you should. You should get ready to get mad. If you think we don’t need feminism anymore, or that we didn’t need it in the first place, you should read this book. Continue reading Cannonball Read #4 – The Feminine Mystique

I Wish Jennifer Connelly Had Been in Nine Instead of 9

But you can’t have it all. That said, the female cast of Nine are all very attractive women. While watching the ominpresent trailer once again last weekend (in the warmup for Sherlock Holmes, of all things), something caught my eye. I scooted home after the film, put the Baker to bed and fired up IMDB to check some numbers. Lo:

Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson

Kate Hudson

Nicole Kidman

Penélope Cruz

Marion Cotillard

And, of course, there are also Dame Judi and the lovely Ms Sofia Loren, whom I am too much of a gentleman to inquire after. My point being that this movie is banking on the attractiveness of a cast of women who are all over the age of 30.

Now, you and I can easily shrug our shoulders and say “Well, of course women over 30 can be attractive. That isn’t remarkable.” The remarkable thing to me isn’t that you and I know it, but that the Weinstein Company knew it and didn’t push for, say, Kristen Stewart to be shoehorned in as a draw to the CW crowd. Megan Fox. Scarlett Johansson. Hayden Panettiere. Just writing this list makes me wish I were dead.

In a perfect world, age wouldn’t be an issue. Good actors would get high-profile roles. It would be a point of nonsensical obviousness that each of the many phases of life has its virtues and attractions. Everyone would accept that glamour is available to anyone who wants to work at it.

Boring, shitty actresses who strive to achieve the Prettiest Common Denominator would achieve nothing.

But, until that world comes to pass, I’m going to feel a happy little thrill when talented women with unusual looks, a normal body, or a birthday before the commonly accepted leading lady cutoff date are cast in roles that airily, defiantly presuppose their ability to be desired.


Chat Box

Fyrehaar: missy came on after lil kim
Fyrehaar: i like it when she says nonsensical stuff
Rob: she is truly funky
Fyrehaar: i like that when a male rapper guests on her track he seems subservient
Fyrehaar: not like a highlight
Rob: she is a feminist
Rob: but is Kim a feminist?
Fyrehaar: in action if not in her professed position
Fyrehaar: kim is not a feminist
Fyrehaar: she is complicit in her own oppression
Rob: does she reclaim her own body by using it as a weapon?
Fyrehaar: she is exploiting her self
Fyrehaar: while she is aggressive
Fyrehaar: it is in a way that plays into male aggression and abets it
Rob: is she aggressively submissive?
Fyrehaar: yeah
Rob: that’s just weird
Fyrehaar: Missy is aggressive
Fyrehaar: but she doesn’t negate herself
Fyrehaar: she doesn’t seem to mold herself to fit a set of expectations based around male privilege
Fyrehaar: lil kim aggrandizes her ability to please men and be like
Rob: well, Kim is aggressive in an expected way. Missy is aggressive on a much broader scale
Fyrehaar: yeah
Rob: like her weirdness is aggressive
Fyrehaar: nicely put
Rob: she’s not just loud and crude
Fyrehaar: yup
Fyrehaar: like Beck
Rob: Lil’ Kim assaults your ears and your junk. Missy Elliott assaults your reality!