Two in one day. What is this madness!
See the sexism inherent in the system.
Joss Whedon. Making me proud to be a man.
Joss Whedon was asked:
“So, why do you write these strong female characters?”
His reply is famously simple
“Because you’re still asking me that question.”
Do you know when that happened? May 15th 2006. Nearly nine years ago. Only, it wasn’t a single event, but the culmination of questions and responses over years of being asked the question.
You can watch him deliver the line, and the speech, here at: Joss Whedon making me proud to be a man.
Nine years ago. So long ago it was before the odious #gamergate movement had a hashtag. Though even then cowards hid behind their screens and threatened to physically violate women (while trying to avoid awkward questions from their mothers about why there were so many sticky wet wipes in the trash bin).
In those nine years it has been great to see how far the cause of female rights… ugh – how sanctimoniously odious is that phrase ‘the cause of female rights’? How does the basic reality of being fifty percent of humanity require a cause? To trivialize the matter I’d like to talk about apples and pears. They’re different, right? But both terrific. Now, a fermented brew of apple juice is called cider. I love it. I’ve been lucky enough to live in places where it’s brewed and you can rock up to a farm with an empty bottle which is filled for pennies.
But do you know what the fermented juice of pears is called? Do you? If you said ‘Pear Cider’ please unfriend me on Facebook and Twitter. The correct answer is ‘perry’. I love perry, it has a different flavor texture to cider. So, why do some manufacturers peddle perry as pear cider?
Because they are wrong.
In the exact same way that people who wonder why women being written as strong characters in fiction is unusual.
I digress. As I was saying, it’s great to see how the last nine years have seen such great strides in the cause of equality. Only, it hasn’t, has it? Did I say #gamergate already? Or the whole farrago in SFWA a couple of years ago (thankfully things are changing there!) And to prove how little things have moved in the timeframe discussed I offer ‘Writing Women Characters as Human Beings‘. This article, March 04 2015, is on Tor.com and written by Kate Elliot.
I don’t know Kate. She’s written a good article/post/whatever and I will look out for more from her. You should too. Her three Tor.com posts to date are really good. But that doesn’t take away from the fact of how devastatingly awful it is for such an article to be written.
It’s a crime.
It’s a travesty.
Sorry. That’s incorrect, and blame my ire. The crime and travesty lies in the requirement for the article to be written. Because let’s be honest, it is an article that is required. When we turn on TV or go to the Cinema it is still noticeable and even newsworthy when a woman is the main agent (even more so if she is over 30!) and the writers of general fiction are every bit as reprehensible in this matter as the writers of TV/Film.
If you are a writer, if you are a male writer, stop right now and go look at your work. When was the last female MC you wrote? When was the last time you wrote a story with NO MALE CHARACTERS? How many roles do your stories routinely assign to males that have no gender requirement (and lets be honest, beyond child-birth – or natural impregnation, there pretty much aren’t any).
My suggestion, to any person, is this: If you don’t see a person, you’re failing.
As a final coda you may have heard Meryl Streep mention that Joss was working on a Wonder Woman film, nine years ago. What happened to that? Joss dropped out, because he didn’t feel that anyone in the studio was really bothered. We could have had a kick-ass Wonder Woman film 5-7 years ago, but the intern-groping-middle-aged-impotent-men-in-grey-suits weren’t interested.
If someone could point me to a twitter/fb/blog link for Kate Elliot, I’d love to be able to link it above.