Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
not around my kids.
The Pink & Blue Project by JeongMee Yoon, by Sarahh, Apartment Therapy.
. . . The Korean artist's ongoing photographic series explores the links between cultural preferences, gender socialization, and identity through the bedrooms and belongings of various little boys and girls.
The "Pink & Blue Project" overwhelmingly reminds us of how socially ingrained the two colors are with set genders. Looking at Yoon's photos makes us want to send something blue to our friend and family's little daughters and something pink to their sons . . .
This is why I give my nieces and nephews non-gender-specific gifts. This is also why I won't be telling my family and friends the genders of my future babies until they pop out, or arrive, in the case of the acquired ones. I will be raising my kids in the manner of the Fabulous Child named X. My children are going to love their socially-nonconformist mother. And by "love", I mean "be thoroughly embarrassed by".
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
On Race and YA Lit, by Neesha Meminger, Racialicious.
. . . years ago when I was submitting my first (admittedly awful) manuscript to agents, some of the nicest rejections I received were accompanied with, “Your novel has much to love, but regrettably, we already have an Asian author for our list.”
Now I understand The Brushoff – I’ve provided plenty of those in my life and do not resent or judge other providers of same. But to be satisfied with ONE author representing an entire continent that consists of countries as varied as Korea, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Nepal? Seriously?
All you have to do is stroll through the aisles of a bookstore to see that the fantasy, mystery, romance genres are stocked full. And not with fantasy, mystery, or romance by authors of Color. Those, if and when they exist, often get stocked in the African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, Latin-American, or Multicultural sections.
Given the choices that agents, publishers, and major bookstores make about what they acquire and how they promote it, does the market inform what gets published?
Or does what gets published actually inform the market?
It's the latter.
This week I had a related discussion with one of my male colleagues [Hello, and please leave a comment!] about women in television. It is the same argument I have with many male people about the representation of women in American media. Their side usually goes like this:
"I see women in television all the time. There's Lifetime, WE, Oxygen. Men only have Spike. Even though men comprise the leads on almost every scripted and nonscripted series on television, along with almost all the substantial secondary roles, that reflects the demand of the audience. If women demanded more TV shows about women, then networks would produce them. Studios and networks don't want to lose money. You shouldn't blame them for producing programming for men, by men and about men (specifically white, ostensibly heterosexual and Christian men) because that's what audiences want. Why do you hate capitalism?"
That was a compilation of sentiments, not direct quotes. During my last conversation like this, I wanted to start screaming and throwing things. It usually takes my Dirty Girls story to get the other person to accept that I have a valid, informed position about media representation, despite the fact that I've been writing about this for over two years and I have a degree in film production . But by that point in the discussion, the other person is irritated by a multitude of issues, mainly the fact that I won't back down because I know what I'm talking about.
Each time I have this conversation, I try to get better at it. Yet it still amazes me when people are oblivious to their own privilege and the effects that it has on everyone else. Which leads to the screaming inside my head.
Lack of demand does lead to certain shows getting canceled and certain books not flying off the shelves. However, if the people who control the supply of media don't believe that certain demographics exist (or would prefer that certain demographics didn't exist at all), the audience can never demand what they don't know about.
How does Anne Hathaway go from helping break barriers in Brokeback Mountain, to reinforcing stereotypes in Bride Wars?
bt-dubs, I started reading Twilight, and the experience has not been a good one. The pattern of physical and psychological abuse starts early for Bella and Edward.
"What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" [Edward] smiled playfully, but his eyes were impenetrable.
"Oh," I said, as several things he'd hinted fell suddenly into place. "I see."
"Do you?" His face was abruptly severe, as if he were afraid that he'd accidentally said too much.
"You're dangerous?" I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitively realized the truth of my own words. He was dangerous. He'd been trying to tell me that all along.
He just looked at me, eyes full of some emotion I couldn't comprehend.
"But not bad," I whispered, shaking my head. "No, I don't believe that you're bad."
"You're wrong." [. . .]
Umm . . .
[. . .] We were near the parking lot now. I veered left, toward my truck. Something caught my jacket, yanking me back.
"Where do you think you're going?" [Edward] asked, outraged. He was griping a fistful of my jacket in one hand.
I was confused. "I'm going home."
"Didn't you hear me promise to take you safely home? Do you think I'm going to let you drive in your condition?" His voice was still indignant.
"What condition? And what about my truck?" I complained.
"I'll have Alice drop it off after school." He was towing me toward his car now, pulling me by my jacket. It was all I could do to keep form falling backward. He'd probably just drag me along anyway if I did.
Oh, it continues.
"Let go!" I insisted. He ignored me. I staggered along sideway across the wet sidewalk until we reached the Volvo. Then he finally freed me -- I stumbled against the pasenger door.
"You are so pushy!" I grumbled.
"It's open," was all he responded. He got in the driver's side.
"I am perfectly capable of driving myself home!" I stood by the car, fuming. It was raining harder now, and I'd never put my hood up, so my hair was dripping down my back.
He lowered the automatic window and leaned toward me across the seat. "Get in, Bella."
I didn't answer. I was mentally calculating my chances of reaching the truck before he could catch me. I had to admit, they weren't good.
"I'll just drag you back," he threatened, guessing my plan.
I tried to maintain what dignity I could as I got into his car. I wasn't very successful -- I looked like a half-drowned cat and my boots squeaked.
This is in Chapter 5. I haven't gotten halfway through the book yet, and already the main character is being dragged across a parking lot by the twisted, emotionally-manipulative vampire that she is inexplicably in love with.
Readers, if your love interest tells you that he is "the bad guy", believe him. Then run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.