Fiction vs the Patriarchy (AKA Emily continues to be a dork, even on International Women’s Day)

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Happy International Women’s Day!

I originally had a heartfelt ramble about my personal experiences with feminism written for today, but it was rather depressing and serious, and I believe today should be a celebration of women, not a time to dwell on how awful everything is. So I thought I would list some of my favourite (what I would consider feminist) creations that seem to be widely unknown by people. Please check them out and let me know what you think!

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I know this may not be a particularly unknown one, as back in the nineties it was (according to my parents at least, I was still an infant and so do not recall) exceedingly popular. However these days I know very few people under the age of 30 who have watched it. Please do! This show defined how I view strong female characters from the age of 10 ( when i started watching it, I was probably too young – thanks dad for the nightmares) One of the best examples i know of demonstrating strong, powerful women who also are girly. Plus strong female friendships! A variety of different women who play principle roles! And vampires! All wrapped up in nineties fashion, what more could you want?

  • The Final Girls

This is a fantastic horror film that came out in 2015, about a group of friends who get tapped in an eighties horror film. This film knocks the Bechdel test out of the park, centres around the importance of a mother/daughter relationship, and also as Taissa Farmiga swinging around a machete. This is also a beautifully cheesy homage to eighties horror movies such as ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Friday 13th’. Absolutely awesome!!

  • Lumberjanes

If you like comic books and you haven’t read this, please go fix that immediately. Mysterious bear-ladies, three-eyed foxes, Greek gods, mermaids, and much more wierdness ensues at the ‘Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types’, the five Lumberjane scouts of Roanoke cabin are on the case! Beautiful artwork and hilarious stories, with predominantly female characters driving the project!

  • Giant Days

I adore Lumberjanes, but this is probably my favourite comic book of all time. A (mostly) realistic story about a group of friends at university, what makes this comic so fantastic and hilarious is how purely ordinary the characters are, in way you rarely see women depicted as in any kind of media. Also one of the funniest things I have ever read, if you want to start reading comics but don’t want superhero stuff, this is your best bet!

  • The Awesome

Buffy the Vampire Slayer with more sex and she can say f*ck. I don’t really have to say more that I hope. Also bloody hysterical, one of the best YA books currently being published!

I know this is a bit different from my usual style of post, but I think it’s really important that we celebrate the strong women in fiction, as they help make the women strong in real life!

Thank you for reading, and here’s to a future of strong women continuing to do amazing things!

See you soon,

Emily

xxx

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The Author is Dead (AKA the one where Emily takes on CS Lewis from beyond the grave)

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The impact a creator’s intent has on a project is undeniable. Whether it’s a book, a film, a painting or a podcast, it’s the creator’s intent that ultimately shapes it.

I recently had a day off, so whilst tackling the ominous mountain of ironing, I decided to re-watch the Chronicles of Narnia films. I only made it through the first two as I had other things to get done that day, but what surprised me was how much I enjoyed watching these films. Growing up, I adored the books of the Chronicles of Narnia. I got the whole set for my eighth birthday from a family friend, and I devoured them. My favourite was always The Magicians Nephew, as I lived in a terraced house just like the one Diggory and Polly played together in, and I spent years hoping a best friend would just move in next door, and then we would go on magical adventures together. I also loved the character of Jadis. She was one of the first female characters I had come across who was purely self-confident, and although this is obviously framed as a negative trait in the context of the books, I just thought she was really cool. (If you’ll pardon the pun).

However, as I got older, my bubble was broken. I don’t remember who first pointed it out to me, but once I realised the underlying religious tone of this series, I immediately distanced myself from them. They were no longer my favourite childhood books, and I plunged myself into Harry Potter instead. (Which is actually equally problematic in some aspects, but I’ll get to that another time). I went to go see the films when they came out, mostly because I’ll go and see pretty much any fantasy film, but I generally talked about Narnia with a hint of scorn amongst my social circles.

But when I re-watched the films this time around, I was just struck with how much I loved them, all cheesy fantasy tropes aside. I still love the characters, the plot, and honestly even some of the heavy handed moral lessons – such as the importance of not dismissing children, that making mistakes does not make you an intrinsically bad person, and that being kind is just as important as being brave. So honestly, I don’t care about the religious elements to this series! I acknowledge they exist, but they will no longer change the way I love Narnia!

I guess what I’m trying to say (in my usual hyperbolic manner) is that the intent of Lewis may have shaped these books, and perhaps are at the root of some of the themes, but at the end of the day, it’s what I took from these books that is really important. And I believe this can be applied to creative work in general. It’s what you personally take away that is what really matters, as art is the most subjective thing you can get.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I missed last week – it was a bit hectic so I didn’t get chance to upload anything. But regular programming has been restored, and (much like the Backstreet Boys) I am back!

See you soon,

Emily

xxx