It is self-evident (textual, even) that Dollhouse can be read as an extended metaphor for, or is even a straight representation of, prostitution and trafficking. The way that the dollhouses work, in wiping the personalities of individuals and replacing them with synthesised, or actual personalities of other people, at the behest of clients who pay big money to have dolls 'be' other people, also brings forth a whole bunch of other issues around consent and choice. It's a regular ontological thought experiment.

What I do find disappointing, because I am unreasonable, is the amount of times the show misses the open goal of making any kind of point about gender and bodies being for sale. I've just started watching S2, and this disappointment has not been assuaged much by the first three eps.

Spoilers for 2.3 "Belle Chose". Also, contains details of Whedonverse plots and proposed plots that may be triggery around rape.  )
I have a bit of a weakness for films and documentaries about corporate mendacity, but, like a true Sorkin fangirl, would pretty much go and see anything he writes. The Social Network, then, hit at least two of my buttons.

Given that so much of the exposition happens around a sequence of boardroom tables, during a succession of depositions, and that most of the characters are desperately unlikeable, it was one of the most engaging films I've seen this year.

I did find it strangely un-Sorkin-like in tone, and the righteousness of The West Wing, and (to a greater extent) Studio 60, is largely missing. What Sorkin does write beautifully, though, is relationships between men, and the central love/friendship triangle is exquisitely rendered. You can almost taste the bile rising in his throat when Eduardo Saverin realises that he has been comprehensively fucked over by Mark Zuckerberg, in favour of Justin Timberlake's truly hideous Sean Parker.

There has been much commentary around the fact that facts and individuals have been blurred and elided in the script, and there are certainly other views of the central characters than Sorkin's. Parker, particularly, is portrayed as a pretentious, malicious playboy, whose chief value to Zuckerberg is his rolodex and ability to spout business truisms. A recent Vanity Fair piece has him as a renaissance man, whose genius and insight transcend disciplines. The truth, probably, is somewhere in the middle.

The film's opening sequences feature Zuckerberg insulting his girlfriend's school (Boston University); blogging about her stupidity, her ethnicity, and her breast size; blogging about creating a website to compare female undergraduates with farm animals; and then creating a website to allow male Harvard students to compare the relative attractiveness of female undergraduates. This latter sequence is intercut with scenes of the 'Fuck Bus' (bringing attractive female undergrads from other schools) arriving for a final club party, and then women kissing each other, and dancing in their underwear for the benefit of the privileged male club members.

Read more... )
I'm writing (incredibly slowly) a post-Chosen Riley fic, and watched Dead Things again for reference. Of course, watching a single episode of Buffy is almost impossible, so I ended up watching through to Entropy. I always remember Entropy as a series of plot points; mini-explosions throwing some things together and blowing others apart, but there are some beautiful (and enraging) moments, which gave me some thoughts.

It's not you, it's me

It's in this episode that it becomes evident that, despite some tap-dancing and hand-waving, the show does not intend to satisfactorily explain Xander's decision to dump Anya on their wedding day.

Obsessed, as I am, with family dysfunction and origin stories, I might have been tempted to lean more heavily on Xander wigging out because he grew up in a house chock full of toxic relationships and emotional (at least) abuse. Or, the show could have used Anya's point-of-view to critique marriage and relationships, and reveal that after a lifetime of smiting errant suitors / husbands / boyfriends, Xander was afraid of meeting her expectations.

What we get instead is a confused mish-mash of Xander wanting a relationship but not being ready for marriage, and not letting Anya know about this soon enough. It feels almost like it's tapping in to that 'men are afraid of commitment' trope, which is a very conventional place for the show to go, as well as seeming a little bit incongruous within their relationship's arc. 

Read more... )
Feminists for Choice has a fantastic series running at the moment, which is exploring the representation (and lack thereof) of abortion in television and film.

Yesterday's edition looked at Julia's unwanted pregnancy in season two of Party of Five, so I watched the episode on YouTube. I was never a huge fan of the show, but I dimly recalled watching this episode as a teenager and rolling my eyes at the moralising of Sarah's character (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt).

There's something depressing about watching mid-90s television that is so more sympathetic to feminist politics than shows currently being produced. It's not without sexism, obviously, and the B-plot in this episode is an overwrought storyline about Bailey and Sarah's 'first time'. Bailey is portrayed as the sexual aggressor, and female virginity is fetishised to the nth degree, but the assumptions underpinning all of this sexual stereotyping are somewhat undermined by Julia revealing to Bailey that she is not unhappy because she doesn't want to have sex (as he thinks), but because she is pregnant. 

Read more... )

Title: The Truth About Her Life (Flickering Firebrand Remix)
Fandom: West Wing
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~3500
Characters: CJ Cregg, Toby Ziegler, Andrea Wyatt, Sam Seaborn, Josh Lyman, OFC
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Source material: Based on
The Truth About Her Life by andchimeras
Summary: Six Qumari women are in need of an intervention. CJ knows that she has compromised, but she has only bent and never broken.
Warning: Deals with the subject of violence against women. Contains passing non-explicit references to sexual assault and a passing, more explicit reference to female genital mutilation (FGM).
Author's note: Written for
[info]remix_redux. In episode 3.8 "Women of Qumar", the viewer is left in no doubt that CJ has moderately feminist sensibilities when it comes to violence against women. The original text by andchimeras does a beautiful job of telling a story of CJ's early political engagement, contrasted against the immigration struggles of a group of Qumari women. (For those who don't know, this is a fictional West Wing state, presumably so the show could highlight the shocking human rights abuses thereof, without causing an international incident.) I kept the basic structure, and delved a little more into the idea of CJ's awakening as a feminist, which is then compromised by things within her control, and things outwith it. Fact fans may wish to know that I titled this remix after the article on Catherine Mackinnon, and not the book by Christopher Hitchins.

The Truth About Her Life (Flickering Firebrand Remix) )
dipenates: (Xander - OMWF)
[livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle  is nothing if not a provoker of thoughts on the Buffyverse, and there's a fascinating discussion going on over at her place about whether Xander is or is not an interesting character. (The jury seems to be coming down on 'is not'.)  This, as with so much her commenters write, got me thinking, and the subsequent tl;dr is a bit much to be contained in comments. 

Firstly, and obviously, it's a good thing that we're all interested in different things. Buffy fandom is incredibly rich precisely because we all have different views on a multiplicity of things, and the huge variety of opinions translates into an amazing bounty of fic that explains, amplifies, critiques and comments on canon. There is something truly awesome about knowing that you can read new  fic every day in Buffy fandom that will make you think about something you've never thought about before.

One of the thing that interests me about Buffy canon is its representation of  sex and gender. A large number of commentators and writers, many rooted in the traditions and culture of fandom, have positioned BtVS as a (third-wave) feminist text. From its opening scene, the show undermines existing tropes about who is and is not a hero(ine), monster, warrior, or victim. This undermining is frequently done along gender lines.

Whether BtVS can be said as a whole to succeed as a feminist text, it has places of both strength and weakness in the narrative arc and perspectives of Xander, who transitions from sexist Everyboy to (somewhat) enlightened Everyman between seasons one and seven. Moments in "The Pack" and "Consequences", particularly, undermine the reimagining of gender roles that the rest of the text undertakes.

Read more... )

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