Monday, December 30, 2013

When Women Play the Game: Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys and Dragons by ElinJ
As closest to the epitome of a Machiavellian ruler in A Song of Ice and Fire series, Daenerys Targaryen exhibits the most outright power as a woman, legitimately claiming the throne, unlike Cersei, who wants the throne and rules the throne but through her son as queen regent.  Men fear Daenerys and her dragons.  She is a goddess, a mother, and a queen.  She has both earned and demanded these titles.

Her similarities to Cleopatra VII are astounding.  Cleopatra VII Philopater, too, offered herself in the image of Egyptian goddess Isis.  Her natural language was Greek, but she spoke Egyptian as well.  She cast aside her brother to reign solo in Egypt, rather than with or subordinate to her brother.  Known for her great beauty, she was sought after my many men after her marriage to her brother, most notably Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  Like Cleopatra, the beautiful Dany was sought after for the power, though one for the lust.  All respect her and fear her.  Her intent was to gain a fleet of ships to Westeros and reclaim her throne in the name of her forefathers.  Cleopatra also armed herself with a powerful fleet to first aid Caesar and later Antony.  The Targaryens were known to marry their siblings and keep the bloodline pure, just as the Ptolemys were, ruling for three hundred years.   Like Cleopatra, Dany fled as a child to Essos after her father’s death.  Both are politically driven, willing to whatever it takes to keep to reclaim the throne, even going as far as killing siblings.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

When Women Play the Game: Brienne Tarth

Brienne of Tarth by Elia Fernández
When we are introduced to Brienne, she bests the Knight of Flowers in a tourney of knights.  Much to the surprise of Catelyn Stark, she reveals herself to be a woman.  She is awarded with a spot as one of the seven in Renly’s Rainbow Guard.  She was never ladylike, both in personality and in appearance.  However, Catelyn noted her large beautiful blue eyes, the only thing beautiful about her.  And the one thing she saw in common with her own daughter Sansa was their love of songs of valor, both memorizing every song, wanting the romantic life of a knight’s or lord’s wife.  In this aspect, Brienne is very ignorant of court politics and customs, despite having been brought up with it.  But due to her looks, she was sidelined to embrace such manners.  The only time Brienne felt wanted was by a man who tried to marry her as a bet.  Tired of the court games and feeling like a joke to all royalty, she gives it up to be a soldier and serve Renly, the boy she fell in love with as a child.  He had been the only boy to show her true kindness and not laugh at her.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

When Women Play the Game: Sansa Stark

In the series of A Song of Ice and Fire, the men may rule with iron fists, but the women exhibit far greater challenges in the “game of thrones.”  At the beginning of the series, all the women are shown to adhere to gender roles, even Arya is feigning proper lady etiquette.  Sansa is the epitome of what a lady should act like in medieval times.  Whether they attempt to protect their families, gain the throne, or fight for vengeance, the women are the most complex characters.  In the coming weeks, I will be posting about individual women or families in the books/TV series and correlations to historical figures in medieval history.


Sansa Stark was raised by her mother to be a proper lady, as she was.  It was her dream to become a princess and a queen, to be courted by a knight or a prince.  She very much mirrored the life of a young Elizabeth of York, who also wanted to be queen since childhood.  Sansa sees the romance in jousting tournaments and courtly duties and dresses.  She is not respectful of those she sees below her.  In an attempt to save her father’s life and keep her pending marriage to Joffrey Baratheon, Sansa tells Cersei her father’s plans of overthrowing Joffrey, exposing him as an illegitimate child.  In the end, her pleas held no mercy for her father, who admitted his crimes against the throne to save his own life and his daughters’, to see his family grow old, and to not rouse war.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Real Women of TV: Feminist Icons of Current Television

Never has television been more exciting for female roles.  I have some problems concerning the theme of mentally unstable women who also happen to be badass at their jobs, like in Homeland.  The characters are seemingly complex due to the mental instability and anti-heroism, but I really don't think they are complex when it comes down to it.  May the days of anti-heroes be behind us, and let the real complexities commence, starting with shows like Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black, Parks and Recreation, Downton Abbey, Nashville, The White Queen, Major Crimes, Game of Thrones, and the recently debuted Masters of Sex.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nine for IX: An Inspiration (Cross Post)

Summer Olympics 1996 I was sitting in my preferred spot on our living room floor in front of my family's TV watching in awe. My heroes at the time, The Magnificent Seven (who I'll be calling the M7), had just won their gold medals. The following school year suddenly we all wanted to be gymnasts again. My friends and I had always done cartwheels at recess, but now we were inspired. These girls were our idols. I can remember wanting to be Shannon Miller (that hair!) as well as wanting her poster for my wall. (I never did get one - I'm thinking b/c my mother and I had a mutual, unspoken agreement that such a poster would clash with my ballerina decor. Also, it was made very clear that we didn't poke holes in Mom's wall.)

(This post originally appeared in sister site Nerdy Pop and is authored by Auddie P.)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Woman's Inspiration: A Rally Cry

Long have women been on the battlefield in all sorts of roles, whether they were known to be women or not.  One of the most recurring and important roles was that of the inspiration.  From simple imagery and propaganda to color guard/bannerwomen/flag bearer and canon loaders, women participated in battles in pivotal roles that turned the tides of events, rallying troops to win the war.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How Admission Breaks Many Molds

Admission isn't your typical book/movie.  It's not just a maudlin love story.  It's so much more.  Tina Fey's character Portia, now in her 40s, is just getting her coming-of-age story where she finally learns to live and to stand up for what's right.  It's about her ability to love and accept love, to connect with her estranged hardcore feminist mother, to balance work and her increasingly unstable personal life, and most of all it's about establishing and maintaining roots.  It's a complex story that aptly divvies out proportions of multiple people's lives in a mere two hours.  We feel like we know the entire characters' histories in this film (I can count five characters that adhere to this, despite Portia being the main character).  The movie's writing by Karen Croner is beautifully stellar, carefully crafted, and knowingly faithful, in essence, to its source by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bonnie Banks o' Fordie: A Historical Analysis

Usually if there's a murder ballad in the folk tune repertoire, it's likely that the victim is a young female.  However, sometimes she survives if attacked due to her cunning intelligence!  Take, for example, my focus this post "Bonnie Banks o' Fordie."  The tune has gone by other names, such as "The Bonnie Banks of Airdrie", "Bonny Farday", "The Banished Man", "Fair Flowers of the Valley" (Tim O'Brien recorded this first by this title), "The Outlyer Bold", "The Duke of Perth's Three Daughters",  "Babylon", and "The Bonnie Banks of the Virgie O".  It's also known as Child Ballad 14, having 5 versions recorded.  The earliest known versions from Scotland developed in the 1700s.  Version B of Child Ballad 14 is supposedly from the latter half of the 18th century, while the others are from the earlier half.  (You can find all versions here and all versions here, along with the origins in which the versions were collected).

Malinky's version "Bonnie Banks o' Fordie"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Dichotomy of Beautiful Creatures

I just finished watching Beautiful Creatures, and I must say: I did not enjoy it very much.  It was wonderful having a powerful female lead, Lena, and multiple strong female characters.  Emma Thompson is a force to be reckoned with.  At first you'd think the male, Ethan, is the lead, but it ends up shifting, creating two well-developed main characters.  My main concern, other than the "Magical Negro" stereotype (which reinforces slavery to privileged white folk as well), is the manner in which females are represented.  Do not read if you want to avoid any spoilers (though they are not considerable).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Big Feminist BUT: A Review

I've informed you all of The Big Feminist BUT kickstarter.  I received it in the mail last week, and I've just finished it (after a busy week in which I at first did not have time to read it and then second forgot to read it.  It's just as good as I'd hoped.  I actually expected more.  Less Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret. references would have been fantastic.  I didn't see an iota of Margaret Atwood.  For the most part, The Big Feminist BUT provides multiple points of view on every writer's own experiences with being a feminist, or really

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A New Panel: The Balance of Power in Comics

A handful of creators are taking superhero comics by storm.  We've had a few female creators make splashes in the Big Two (Marvel and DC), including Gail Simone, Marjorie Liu, and Kathryn Immonen; but now they're even bigger in the field, leading the way for a revolution of female creators in the Big Two.  Now we're also having male creators who are female friendly, like Brian Wood, Brian K. Vaughan, Greg Rucka, and Colin Bunn.  

Since Mike Carey's departure from X-Men in December of 2011, male writers haven't featured females in a realistic or favorable light.  They've been defined by their relationships, subjugated by men, and relegated to single-line status and boob and butt shots.  While this is typical for many titles both in DC and Marvel, this is certainly not typical for X-Men, but it has been in the core books for years now at the editorial level.  Under Cyclops' rule of the mutants, Emma Frost has been reduced to a trophy wife, Psylocke back to being Asian fetish (though she could've returned to her English body), Storm's rational opinion quelled because she was Queen in a different continent, Rogue became untrustworthy, and Kitty a bore.  While I blame the likes of Grant Morrison, Matt Fraction, and Jason Aaron, I blame editorial even more for taking away the soul of the X-Men.  You can change the status quo with huge stories, but don't take away what made the X-Men so wonderful and the top-selling book for decades: the women.  If I wanted to see two guys measuring the size of their junk, I'd watch gay porn.  But I don't want to see that.  I want to see what's happening right now in X-Men.

Monday, February 18, 2013

C-SPAN to Feature First Ladies

Starting Monday, February 25, 2013, at 9 PM EST, C-SPAN will host a two-season series called First Ladies: Influence & Image.  Each episode will feature anywhere from one First Lady to three First Ladies, depending on their amount of influence, the documentation, and the length of their White House tenure as First Lady.  The first episode will obviously be Martha Washington, and each episode will chronologically progress with the second season ending February 10, 2014 with current First Lady Michelle Obama.  Find the schedule here.

In honor of this exciting event, I'd like to provide a list of my six most influential First Ladies (because I couldn't just choose five).

6. Abigail Adams
As First Lady to John Adams, Abigail Adams played a crucial role in the development of the nation, but it was all behind the scenes.  In lovely letters sent between the two of them, Abigail often spoke of politics and the effect certain matters would have on women and the nation, convincing John to enter politics.  She was very active in both John's pre-presidency and presidency.  She organized efforts to aid the Americans in the Revolutionary War, fought for women's rights, and fought slavery, knowing it would come back to bite America in the ass.  If he had listened to her more than he did, we may not have had a Civil War.  It would have been even more beneficial to have had her as President.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Norah Casey: "It's impossible to have it all."

Norah Casey, CEO of Irish magazine publishing company Harmonia, gave an in-depth interview with The Independent, where she expounded on the role of women in the workforce.  While it may have rattled some feminists at first, she has a crucial point, but it doesn't apply to just women.  Casey is one of many women in powerful positions struggling to balance her work life, her health, and her home life, but she's been doing it in front of the camera as the star of a reality show Dragons' Den (to which she is not returning for another season).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Two of the revealed 2013 Novel Peace Prize nominees are Pakistani Malala Yousufzai and Russian Lyudmila Alexeyeva.  You might recognize Yousufzai from what happened last October when she became one of the most dangerous oppositions to the Taliban by being a girl, going to school, and blogging about the importance of girls' education.  After school, her transportation van was boarded by members of the Taliban, and she was shot three times, including in the head.  She has one major surgery remaining: a metal plate in her head.