faustus: (Default)
( Jan. 4th, 2012 04:01 pm)
I've been uneasy about Steven Moffat's depiction of women for a while - pretty everything I've seen since Press Gang, I suspect. The outpouring in favour of motherhood in the Doctor Who Christmas special left a nasty taste in my mouth, Amy Pond's job as kissogram seemed a little dubious and I wasn't entirely happy with some of the background to River Song. The woman at the centre of last year's Christmas special felt a little thinly written too.

I didn't have any especial alarm bells ring for Sherlock "A Scandal in Belgravia", as expectations were lowered. It was fankwank, I suspect. Just as we've had random reference to Androzani in Doctor Who, so there are references to Valley of Fear and various other cases. It did strike me that Irene Adler's dominatrix was a little, um, post-watershed. Moffat's Adler has clearly stood on a few corns.

Note the various girlfriends of Watson, comic foils all, the neurotic Mrs Hudson (with convenient cleavage) and the silly, unrequited lover of Holmes, Molly Hooper. Conan Doyle was no great creator of women, but Moffat (and Mark Gatiss) don't do much better. It is all too par for the course - and it sounds like the second Robert Downey Jr film is not much better (C.E. Murphy: http://mizkit.livejournal.com/710466.html).

ETA: Stewart Lee: (One of the few female characters in the original Holmes stories, Irene Adler, was changed from an opera singer to a prostitute. Out Mrs Hudson as an angel and the whole gamut of TV roles for women will be covered.)"

Who have I missed? Who have I included in error?

[I suspect I am short on horror - and will go through the Wordsworth list - on short story writers especially recent, paranormal romance. I include those resident in Britain even if not born there. Some names are pen names, some are real names of those who have published under pseudonyms. There should be many more children's writers, but that's tough choices. I will try not to be defensive in comments (but will fail - some names I've hesitated to add though the aim is inclusivity here) and I'm sure I've overlooked the bleeding obvious]

[bold = added after initial post, due to comments or memory]

[The list has an eye on science fiction, but includes the gothic, the utopia, and various shades of horror and fantasy; at the moment I want to cast as wide a net as I can]

Aiken, Joan
Askew, Alice
Austin, Mary Hunter
Bailey, Hilary
Baird, Wilhelmina
Baldwin, Louisa
Battley, Lanah
Behn, Aphra
Beresford, Elisabeth
Bevington, L. S.
Billson, Anne
Blackman, Malorie
Blaze de Bury, Marie
Bowen, Marjorie
Bramston, M.
Brémont, Anna
Bronte, Charlotte
Bronte, Emily
Broster, D.K.
Buchanan, Eileen-Marie Duell
Buffery, Judith
Burdekin, Katharine
Burford, Barbara
Butt, Beatrice May
Butts, Mary
Cadigan, Pat
Carrington, Leonora
Carter, Angela
Cavendish, Margaret
Chapman, Vera
Chater, Elizabeth
Clapperton, Jane Hume
Cleeve, Lucas
Cobbe, Frances Power
Coleridge, Christabel R.
Collins, Erroll
Conquest, Joan
Constantine, Storm
Cooper, Susan
Corbett, George, Mrs
Corelli, Marie
Delaire, Jean
Dixie, Florence
Du Maurier, Daphne
Duke, Madeleine
Eccles, Charlotte O'Conor
Edwards, Amelia
Eliot, George
Elphinstone, Margaret
Everett, H.D.
Fairburn, Zoe
Farningham, Marianne
Fenn, Jaine
Fletcher, Jane
Fortune, Dion
Fox, Mary
Frankau, Pamela
Galbraith, Lettice
Gapper, Frances
Gaskell, Elizabeth
Gaskell, Jane
Gee, Maggie
Gentle, Mary
Gibbons, Stella
Glyn, Coralie
Grant, Joan
Griffith, Nicola
Griffiths, Isabel
Guttenberg, Violet
Haldane, Charlotte
Hall, Lesley A.
Hall, Sandi
Hall, Sarah
Hamilton, Cicely
Hamilton, Mary
Harrison, Eva
Haywood, Eliza Fowler
Hill, Susan
Hughes, Monica
Hungerford (The Duchess)
Ireland, Beverley
James, P.D.
Jameson, Storm
Jones, Charlotte Rosalys
Jones, Diana Wynne
Jones, Gwyneth
Kaveney, Roz
Keegan, Mel
Kendall, May
Kennedy, Leigh
Knight, Ellis Cornelia
Knowles, Mabel Winifred
Lawrence, Louise
Lee, Tanith
Lee, Vernon
Lennox, Charlotte
Lessing, Doris
Levene, Rebecca
Lively, Penelope
Livia, Anna
Loudon, Jane C.
Manley, Mrs.
Mansfield, Katherine
Mark, Jan
McNeill, Pearlie
McKenna, Juliet
Meade, L. T.
Minnett, Cora
Mirlees, Hope
Mitchison, Naomi
Molesworth, Mrs
Mulholland, Rosa
Murphy, Jill
Nesbit, E.
Oliphant, Mrs [Margaret]
Palmer, Jane
Pearce, Philippa
Pollack, Rachel
Radcliffe, Ann
Rayner, Jacqueline
Robson, Justina
Rowling, J. K.
Saxton, Josephine
Sayers, Dorothy L.
Schreiner, Olive
Scott, Lesley
Scott, Sarah
Scrymsour, Ella M.
Shelley, Mary
Sherwood, Margaret Pollock
Sidney, Mary
Sinclair, Alsion
Sinclair, May
Stern, G. B.
Sullivan, Tricia
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Swanwick, Anna
Tennant, Emma
Thomas, Bertha
Thomas, Sue
Thomason, Sue
Traviss, Karen
Tuttle, Lisa
Urquhart, Emma Maree
Vivian, E. C.
Walton, Jo
Warner, Sylvia Townsend
Waters, Sarah
Weamys, Anna
Weldon, Fay
West, Rebecca
Whiteley, Elizabeth
Whitfield, Kit
Williams, Liz
Woolf, Virginia
Wootton, Barbara
Wright, Frances
Wright, Helen
Wroth, Mary
Zoline, Pamela
faustus: (Angry)
( May. 25th, 2011 11:55 am)
I just note that only one story by a woman is in any of the three Andromeda anthologies edited in the 1977/1978.

Couldn't happen now...
faustus: (Default)
( May. 18th, 2011 10:44 am)
The 50 SF Books You Must Read @ Forbidden Planet
Think you know SF? Sure? Our experts have picked the top 50 SF books that you absolutely have to read! Challenging? Confusing? Contentious? Conforntational? Then comment!


I can't access this on my computer, bloody modem, but can on my phone and 49th on the list is Zoo City - but can you guess what the other three books by women are? Given the inability to spell confrontational, can they spell each of these three titles correctly?

And another list of fifty that can't count.
Christine O'Donnell praises Tolkien's women.

He's feminist because he puts women on a pedal stool. Or something. Pedal bin?
CXIII-CXIV: Suzy McKee Charnas, Walk to the End of the World / Motherlines )

Thinking aloud: Is it because I am a man that I never quite find representations of separatism comfortable? I wonder if I feel it's a cop out? I don't think it's a fear of a loss of my power, but then I cannot see entirely beyond white male privilege. I can see why women-only spaces are desirable, which is big of me, I know, although the intricacies of sex and gender may undercut these. Turn about is fair play.

I've been rereading Larry Townsend's 2069 (1969) in preparation for the rest of the trilogy which is from the 1970s, and the anti-woman stuff is appalling, as he describes a more homophile universe. I suspect representations of separatism replicate patriarchy's essentialism, albeit with a shift of agency. Motherlines does it better than The Wanderground, but is more of a traditional novel.
faustus: (Culture)
( Jun. 20th, 2010 10:45 pm)
Germaine Greer is being catty about Paula Rego accepting a DBE.

The first DBE for a woman artist apparently went to Laura Knight, who appears to have been of humble birth but a child prodigy, has recently had a couple of paintings sold for a high price, but has had little sold at a high price so isn't much good, apparently (Greer's judgement).

The second went to Ethel Walker who was once popular (being shown at the Venice Biennale), but went out of fashion, and now, apparently, can't be given away.

She is not catty about Elizaneth Blackadder, who is of course still alive and could sue.

It may be worth noting that Greer did like Rego's art - see http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2004/nov/20/art. And there's a Rego portrait of Greer - see http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/the-sitters-tale-germaine-greer-1104260.html, which she claims to like.

I'm no fan of the honours system - but is it necessary to dis two female artists, and by guilt by association dis two more, to critique it?
faustus: (Culture)
( Apr. 20th, 2010 06:30 pm)
Radio 4's Madwomen in the Attic managed to include an interview with Sandra Gilbert, but didn't mention any of her previous books.
faustus: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2009 10:12 am)
Brisingamen drew my attention to a news story by asking us to name 10 women poets. Fortunately, I quickly came up with at least twelve.

Cut to preserve Brisingamen's purposes )
faustus: (Default)
( Oct. 5th, 2009 04:14 pm)
Does anyone know anything about Sue Payer - she published one sf novel (Second Body) in 1979 with Tower Belmont?

There's something odd here - I'm not convinced it's a real name because I'm not convinced it's written by a woman, or if it is by a woman I suspect a background in Harlequin Romances. It is copyright the publisher rather than her.

This is a quote from the novel as it appears in Ghastly Beyond Belief:

"This body was built for intercontinental hauling and had the apparatus that was made for endurance. It had everything a man could want in a woman. It was the wanton, uncivilised body that all men had longed to possess since the days of the cave man. It exuded purely animal sexuality."

And another quote gleaned from the net

"She was flat where women ought to be flat and curvy where women should be curvy. Doubly so, in fact, in both directions." -

Does this ring any bells with anyone?

Gakked from [personal profile] benpeek: Kristine Kathryn Rusch's piece from The Internet Review of Science Fiction.

It begins with a discussion of the current economic crisis, and suggests it's not as bad as 1929, and there were worse things in the aftermath of the end of slavery (I know not how accurate these are), and also moves to discuss women in sf, riffing off those recent anthologies with few or no women writers:

"What amazed me was that [...] people believed this to be evidence of gender bias in SF publishing. And as I poured through the names of the complainants on the site and on linked blogs, I realized that all of these people were much younger than I am.

"These young writers stand on a platform built by the writers who came before them. That platform states that gender bias is a bad thing. And so these writers complained, were heard, and got an explanation and an apology, because the editors involved shared the belief that gender bias is a bad thing. The editors were embarrassed and promised never to do such a thing again.

"But what the writers don't seem to realize is what the real gender discrimination fight was like. I have an inkling, because I'm part of a crossover generation. I came in after the battles were won, but not every person was comfortable with the victory. I got a lot of hate mail that first month I edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction because I was the first woman to take the job.

I have a vision of the Yorskshiremen sketch - "Aye, but you had it easy." I might concede a point that some of the things we object to now seem trivial in relation to battles over - I don't know - education, voting, property and reproductive rights, but visibility is still vital. The women men don't see. The all-male contents page, the Gollancz promos that fail to include women, the all-male short lists, it's all slippage.

Down in the comments she adds:

"I see no discrimination against women in sf/f any more. None."


"Women dominate publishing. We write the most books. Women dominate the editing positions. Women have an equal number of publishing positions to men. Women read most of the books published."

However, this seems to be skewed by focusing in on romance fiction - and I'm not sure how much that should be celebrated anyway (he says, suppressing women's writing). I hesitate to use the word ghetto, but that's what the romance community feels like to me, but then it's not a fiction aimed at me, so that shouldn't be a surprise. Women are able to dominate in one area of fictional reflection of human life (ah - "she wrote it, but it wasn't important", ahem, but that's not exactly what I mean here), but clearly struggle to be allowed to opine elsewhere. Or if they say important things, need to fit it in with a romance plot.

Not to play down the historic struggles, which moved mountains, but when Buffy is as feminist as the mainstream culture gets, there's still a way to go, alas.
Is the books world short-changing its bright young women?

Do men have an unfair advantage in our literary prize shortlists?

A variation on why don't women write books with big ideas (to which the answer is, I suspect, if they do it doesn't get counted as a big idea) which also then takes in why don't women present big documentaries?

What was the last female fronted documentary - leaving aside Cash in the Attic, Car Boot Challenge and whatever the Channel 4 sex show was called? These clearly don't stand up there with Schama, Winston, Starkey, Ferguson etc. Those art programmes with a nun and Victoria Wood on empire is the best I can do. But authored documentaries? Even when Paglia and Greer are doing stuff, it tends to be one off.

On the short list issue, I confess to a certain amount of "Well Zadie Smith gets everywhere" - but there's the old line about swallows and summers, and I got there by thinking "That Brick Lane woman, whatsername", although I was thinking about Zadie Smith despite going via a book by Monica Ali (Ali Smith was the mental jump).

The writer suggests that we don't like pushy women so they don't get onto shortlists. Or to do documentaries.

Where are the books by women with big ideas?

Books like Freakonomics, defining significant cultural or economic trends with a punchy title, never seem to be produced by women. But why?

Apparently Naomi Klein and Susan Faludi don't count; nor Greer, Russ, Millett, Carter, Woolf, Wollstonecraft, Rowbottom, Paglia, Rubin, Dworkin, Gilbert and Gubar, Showalter, Jardine ... Why do I think The Guardian bookblog is actually trolling rather than saying something serious ever? Make brain dead statement and step back. Hey, I can do that...

On the other hand, maybe women know the truth: it's not the size of the idea that matters, it's what you do with it.
There's been a lot of wibbling about how to turn women onto sf - inspired by this set of suggestions: http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/06/explaining_science_fiction_to.php But as I always say in situations like this - what about the men? It's like the pendulum's swung too far!! So thank you to [livejournal.com profile] julieandrews for this: http://julieandrews.livejournal.com/32942.html
faustus: (gorilla)
( Oct. 29th, 2007 12:19 pm)
I've recently been copied into an email correspondence with a writer who claims not to be a feminist. Have you been educated beyond the age of 10? Are you published under a name rather than initials? Do you work other than in a factory, as a teacher, a nurse, a nanny or a mother? Still, her choice, of course. Her life would have been very different without feminism though. I did enjoy that the response to her began Ms---.

And on a related note, an account from a woman who, like Rose Marie in A Very Peculiar Practice, has rejected the patronymic. Curious how such things are now more difficult than they were. I wonder how Peri 6 copes.


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