My dastardly plan worked

May 8, 2008

When I first posted my rant on Joss Whedon all those months ago, I only expected it to be read by radical feminists and obviously it was written for radical feminists. I have no problem with the fact that it has received a wider audience than that intended, in fact I think that has been pretty cool. I love that quite a few women have responded positively to what I talked about and that some women are taking on board the tools of analysis that I used in order to pull apart other aspects of Whedon’s work.

See Lindsey’s post over at the Autist’s Corner

And Saranga’s post Joss Whedon and Feminism Part 1

Nice work sisters.

I also enjoyed Jess McCabe’s comments over at the F-Word on the newest Marvel movie Iron Man.

I’ve been interested by the different reactions to the film Iron Man this weekend in the feminist blogosphere. I saw it myself on Friday night, and found it objectionable for a whole host of reasons that the soundtrack could not compensate for, running the full gamet of imperialist fantasy, racism and sexism.

One little example: every scene involving the lead character, Tony Stark, in his jet, which is staffed with women air stewards whose jobs seem to primarily involve being sexually available for him to use and as symbols to project his status, wealth and playboy lifestyle to the viewers. One big example: Stark realises that the arms trade is immoral because of his weapons ending up in the hands of Arab terrorists in caves (wonder who they’re meant to be!) Stark/Iron Man intervenes when the US military can’t because of pesky rules or something (let’s invade someplace! woohoo!); when the US army/he personally is weilding deadly weaponry, that’s OK, because they’re the good guys.

I haven’t seen the movie but being a long time X-Men fan and a Marvel Universe buff, I know intimately the racist, misogynist shit that they produce and have no doubt that her observations are correct.

I also have to thank Davina for drawing my attention to this post by Melymbrosia which is linked to this vid and this post which is absolutely necessary viewing and reading if you are a feminist, anti-racist Buffy fan. It is a fascinating, deep reading of the erasure and colonisation of women of colour, specifically looking at Nikki Wood’s coat, which was stolen by Spike, the history of which was detailed in the episode “Fool for Love”. Really thought-provoking analysis. Go read/watch.

I really think that the fact that women are not allowed to have these conversations means that these conversations are important. The fact that women are continually silenced on these issues means that is important that we continue to speak out. I think that the power that entertainment has in shaping our perception of ourselves and our lives is consistently underestimated. We need to have an understanding of how the things that we love, often as women, and as feminists, can harm us. We need to endevour to understand how and why before we can begin to articulate freedom.


  1. Hi there. I thought I’d stop by and let you know that I’ve posted some responses to what you’ve written on my blog. I thought it would be polite to mention it! Although I haven’t read your Iron Man post as I haven’t seen the movie yet and am desperately trying to avoid spoilers…

  2. In Ironman the movie, the “Pepper” character (Girl Friday, Gwynneth Paltrow), wears spike heels in every scene and “f-me” (ankle strap) spike heels when she’s conducting computer espionage for the Ironman character that could get her killed. While he’s off saving the world from the wrong types of bombers, he’s “all she has.” (The words of dialog, girl to Ironman, if I recall correctly, were “You’re all I have too, you know.”)

    This month’s popular magazines include a spike-heel display featuring Paltrow, stumping also for the movie, who admits how much pain the high-heeled shoes give her. (I know this only because I’m often at libraries, for research and ghost-writing, and sometimes while the library computer data bases are slow to load,I pick up the casual mag reading to quick-scan & amuse myself with what tricks the patriarchy’s up to lately. Don’t remember if it was People or In-Style or another of those celebrity magazines. It’s the type of publication, once you’re on to the clues from Mary Daly and Andrea Dworkin, that signals socially constructed female masochism, loud and clear.)

  3. It’s been a minute or three since I checked your blog, so I have a bit of catching up to do.

    I thought about you tonight because, for the first time ever, I had to ban someone from commenting on my blog.

    A few days ago, I posted a male privilege checklist and almost immediately got comments from several men about how women are privileged more than men and there is no such thing as male privilege. Demands of “Prove it! Prove it!” were filling up my inbox.

    Now, I allow for ignorance. I understand that people may be misinformed or uneducated and so I attempted to support the claims in the checklist with sociological research I am personally familiar (I’m in graduate school for sociology and my research focuses on race and gender).

    Do you know that as soon as I started citing studies, the very next thing these men said was “Well, sociology isn’t a real science anyway. I don’t believe anything you’re saying.” It’s a Catch-22.

    One guy took it to an extreme, and, 100 posts later, I had to ban him. He was attempting to browbeat me into submission on my own journal (for example, asking why I posted the list at all when it’s my fucking journal), and that’s simply not allowed.

    I immediately thought about you and the internet wide ruckus your first post about Firefly caused. My journal doesn’t have anywhere near as large a following as yours, but that little sample of sheer stupidity and willful ignorance made me admire you all the more for putting up with hundreds, if not thousands, of dumbass comments from fucktards around the globe.

    I don’t agree with everything you say, and I’m okay with that because my feminism allows for disagreements. But I certainly respect you for maintaining your beliefs in front a system that attempts to diminish them constantly.

  4. Thanks for this comment jeremiad.

    I truly admire women like you who are willing to engage with men who think that women are less than human. I take my hat off to you.

    I, on the other hand, have a pretty low tolerance level. And I don’t like bullshit. Most men bore the shit out of me and most women who apologise for men make me sad. I don’t blog for a wide audience. I don’t blog for women. I blog for myself. So I don’t really mind that I have made lots of people, men specifically, very, very angry. And being a women’s liberationist, a dyke, non-white, I developed thick skin pretty darn quickly. No other option really.

    I’m sure you have had to put up with enough shit as a bi-sexual, Black woman that you have pretty thick skin too. Good luck with the fuckwits on your blog. I hope they eventually leave you alone or (wishful thinking) begin to treat you with respect.

    Sigh. You know, if we knew each other in real life we would probably get along really well. I find the internet so strange that it is so difficult to like women who ‘disagree’ with us. In real life, I have very, very rarely actively disliked another woman. I try really hard to remember that when I talk to women online. Peace, jeremiad. You are on your journey towards liberation and I am on mine. I hope to see you in freedom. 🙂

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