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2013-05-15: Bechdel Test
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Samsally



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 6461

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't see it mentioned so I'd like to recommend The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce is a four book series that had a huge impact on my childhood. There was a bit of sex in the later books but it was all handled with tasteful boot-scenes. Not super descriptive at all, but you knew it happened.

It really stands out in my mind as one of the few books I really got into that followed a girl turn into a woman. I enjoy most of what Tamora Pierce has written, but the Lioness series is really close to my heart.
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aboutwhistles



Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh man I'm on this now and no one can stop me

The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory
Converting Kate by Beckie Weinheimer
Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
all the Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary (she writes a lot of great children's books)
Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Half World by Hiromi Goto
Sacagawea by Anna Lee Waldo

Again, I'm not making any promises about the "appropriateness" of any of these, but personally I think kids can handle a lot more than a lot of adults give them credit for, and reading these books definitely gave me the tools I needed to handle life stuff. Tl;dr shit happens to kids, too, better to give them the vocabulary and emotional tools to deal with it.
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aboutwhistles



Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Estrella's Quinceañera by Malín Alegría
Shizuko's Daughter by Kyoko Mori
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

In retrospect, mad props to my parents and teachers for giving me these awesome books full of awesome girls doing awesome shit in really diverse contexts.
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Miss Magenta



Joined: 09 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aww, man, just this morning I saw Does My Head Look Big In This at the used bookstore I was at with my family. But I didn't grab it... Now I regret it. :(

If we're making suggestions, might I suggest Un Lun Dun by China Mieville? A few months ago my friend introduced it to me and I fell absolutely in love with it.
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Valerie



Joined: 02 Apr 2013
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dro wrote:
Rune wrote:

And entertainment trends still tend to fail abysmally. Female characters are still not getting a real fair shake or nearly enough non-stereotyped representation, (and it's depressingly even worse in kid's media. Way to train up the next generation, guys! Fucking Patriarchy.)


Not to derail, but I would love to hear about books, particularly series that have non-stereotyped representations of girls, suitable for reading by 10 year old, and are good books. Some that I've read over the years that are at least OK:
Fairy Realm series.
A small proportion of Redwall (Mariel, Pearls of Lutria, Triss)
Series of Unfortunate Events
A Secret Garden
Little House on the Prairie (plenty of gender stereotyping, of course)
Some of the Pern Dragon books
Wrinkle in Time


Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry is good.

For a more mature audience, The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell is about a 15-year-old girl who was born 10 years into the zombie apocalypse. I wouldn't recommend it for a 15-year-old unless you have a pretty mature 15-year-old on hand. (But you could be the judge of that. Either way, certainly not for a 10-year-old.)

If you're open to webcomics, Sandra & Woo and Selkie have female main characters who aren't stereotyped, and those are both kid-friendly.
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Mikewee777



Joined: 16 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Arthain"]
Onimaru wrote:
Is there a male version of the Bechdel test?


Arthur Dent almost passed that test but then a Random nuisance ruined his life forever as a retired knee-biting sandwich-maker. The damage was so severe to the universe that the author spontaneously dropped dead and ratings went to zero causing the entire universe to be cancelled. Other authors tried to pick up the fragments but it only led to the mentally ill main characters to turning to a life of drugs where pretty birds would lose the illusion battery before peak-oil could actually become a thing. Instead, all we have left to show for it is: a crippled Kindle, a fish-bowl and Cricket bats.
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aboutwhistles



Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More recommendations from my best friend:
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
The Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett
She echoed the Tamara Pierce Song of the Lioness recommendation
Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Anne of Green Gables
Shrug by Jenny Han
Millicent Min Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
Lots by Gail Carson Levine: Ella Enchanted, The Wish, The Two Princesses of Barmarre, Fairest
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
The Winnie Years series by Lauren Myracle

the ones I was trying to remember:
Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry
Klepto by Jenny Pollack
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky
Rx by Tracy Lynn
Burned by Ellen Hopkins
the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (Extras too)
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
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stripeypants



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
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Location: Land of the Grumpuses

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can't conceive of passing the Bechdel Test as a writer, you are essentially saying, "Women have no thoughts or feelings or interests of their own." Another way of saying this is "Women aren't people."

If you excuse yourself by saying, "I don't know how to write women," you are saying, "I am incapable of or too lazy to do research - so really wtf am I writing anything for, because it is much easier to do nothing than learn about the subject matter which I have chosen to write about. I fail as a writer."

Not all things that pass the Bechdel test are good, as Slick shows. Not all things that fail are bad. But the amount of failure at the Bechdel Test contributes to a consensus that women have or should not have any interests outside the male characters - who are actually important.


And imagine if the main excuse were, "But I don't know how to write women!" What would that say about the people who create stories in the film and book industries? What would it say about the industry that it is mainly comprised of people who don't know how to write women?
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Dennis J. Squidbunny



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arthain wrote:
Hekateras wrote:
As for fanfiction, it's actually pretty fascinating, because that trend dates back to the original Star Trek fandom and its covertly written and exchanged slash fiction zines. "Shipping" two (presumed but not always specified to be) straight men together provided an outlet for women's sexuality at a time when women's sexuality was strongly repressed.

Besides, a lot of it is simply wanting to see characterisation and relationship opportunities explored, often into romance, because romance is appealing. The fact that it's so frequently a case of shipping straight male characters is partly a side-effect of the very problem we're discussing here: that the majority of mainstream shows and movies are a sausage party. Take the Avengers, for example. With only one member of the team being female, is it any bloody wonder that the majority of Avengers fanfiction is m/m?


Not surprised at all, my only real issue with M/M is I hate it when people completely destroy the characterization in the original work.


...what? An author can fuck up a character, but they can't destroy an authors original work.

Quote:
When you take two people from a genre that were straight and make them gay just to have a relationship, you're ruining their character.


oh...

Quote:
Likewise I don't believe two straight females should be transformed into lesbians either. The gender preference of a character is something that should be preserved along with things such as core values and morals.


ahhhhhh

Quote:
Otherwise you might as well just slap a new name on the character and call it the dudes long lost twin or something.


wha

Quote:
This is just a pet-peeve of mine though. I'm a sucker for well done male/female romance relationships. It's why I love Clannad and Clannad After Story. That's a well done anime, man I balled my eyes out at the end of After Story. It's just so powerful and emotional, frig I'm tearing up just remembering it.


oh good, so you like romance, just not when queers are doing it. What a deeply problematic post.
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ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there's plenty of things about that whole subculture that are flesh-crawlingly horrible (like the whole "rape is how i say 'i love you'" thing) but the fact that there are gay people in it is not one of them.
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stripeypants



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
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Location: Land of the Grumpuses

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like when people just jam two characters together to be able to write teh sexxings either, but one thing is different regarding taking straight characters and making them gay:

There is a dearth of mainstream characters who are not heterosexual, let alone those who are in relationships and who are interesting, nuanced characters that are actually realistic.

Until such time as there is proper representation, there is no reason to complain that people are queering up characters.

And what if that happens? No reason to complain about queerness then either. Complain about bad writing instead.

Ps: All those queer characters that get made straight? Do you know of them? (For example, Fried Green Tomatoes the film vs the book)
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aboutwhistles



Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Genderbending and slash are two of the best things about fanfiction and no one can tell me any different. Also the portrayals of people being sexual and it being fun. That was important. Thanks, fanfiction!
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and the confusion of lube with cake batter is an unfortunate side effect that I think is worth it.

Very Happy I have an old fanfic that still gets reviews sometimes. People ask me when I'm going to update it. And that makes me both boggle and feel spiffy.
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Leohan



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the test's a thing, but by itself it doesn't make or destroy good portrayal of females. Sex and the City probably passes it by sheer force of conversations to pick from.
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Heretical Rants



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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aboutwhistles wrote:
Genderbending and slash are two of the best things about fanfiction and no one can tell me any different.


Hear, hear!

stripeypants wrote:
Yes, and the confusion of lube with cake batter is an unfortunate side effect that I think is worth it.


wut Confused Shocked
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