davidge is a “mary sue” . . . lol

Timestamp — 4/7/2017

I’m writing this post with the assumption most people know what a mary sue is. If you don’t, check out this post that sums it up better than I can . . .

Why the Concept of the Mary Sue has BECOME Sexist

So a couple weeks ago, I was watching one of my favorite sci fi films Enemy Mine (I would still love to read the book one day) and I got to the part at the end, and it occurred to me that Davidge winning the day all by himself was really, really unlikely, especially after all the evidence we had previously been presented of him being a shitty soldier.

I’m not trashing this film because I love it and I honestly don’t care if Davidge is a “mary sue.” The fact of the matter is, most male protagonists are easily “mary sues” because they are power fantasies specifically built for a male audience to self-insert.

The “mary sue” crap became sexist because misogynists decided to use it as a way to mock women for doing the same thing.

Sometimes I wonder if my books benefit from the fact that I tend to avoid creating power fantasy characters. I enjoy writing characters so real, they could live next door to you.

Rigg from The Thieves of Nottica is not a power fantasy but was meant to be a realistic person (setting aside the alien shapeshifting) who still triumphs in the end and beats the odds.  The same goes for Thalcu in The Harvest, and pretty much all my characters.

And I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing because most people read genre fiction to escape and, therefore, expect to be able to self-insert themselves on power fantasy protagonists.

Ah well. I don’t write to please, I write what I want.

This post is about how I came to the conclusion that Davidge is actually a “mary sue” — or at least would be called such if male characters were ever criticized on the same level as female characters.

Before proceeding, turn your sarcasm detector on. Is it on? You’ll need it for the rest of this post.

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saving the world with paperclips and string

After recently finishing The Harvest, I realized tonight that I love having my characters defeat their enemies with something simple and unexpected.

If you get to the end of one of my novels, expect the hero to defeat the villain with a pencil in the eye or whatever the hell is lying around. Or they might use something simple that was presented earlier.

To get spoilerific, Rigg from The Thieves of Nottica and Thalcu from The Harvest both do this at the end of their respective stories.

It’s hilarious to me that things so small and seemingly harmless could be so deadly. It’s basically a subtle statement about all my non-masculine, non-warrior female heroes.

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women viewed as “strong” instead of human (and the damage thereof)

I guess this is applied to all “strong female characters.” You know those female characters who storm on stage and punch out some mouthy sexist dude? In an attempt to make women “equal,” writers are now depicting fictional women as what basically amounts to men with tits. Instead of . . . you know . . . nuanced humans beings who can be weak and strong, utterly emotional or cold and impassive, tough or vulnerable, ugly or beautiful, and everything in-between.

Women are people. I’m tired of us being depicted as anything less in fiction. And I hope that with the Keymasters I depicted them as flawed people. Just people.

Rigg is not a masculine badass “strong female character.” She’s a pragmatic coward. Her strength lies in eventually overcoming her fears. Her other strength is her ability to admit she’s done wrong and apologize.

Morganith is a masculine badass. But she still cries. She still gets sad. She still fucks up. She still gets to be weak and broken and utterly human.

Hari is expected to be the strong leader by Rigg and Morganith, to the point that they sometimes forget she’s just a person too.

Even Arda felt this way. All the Keymasters had something from Arda except for Hari, and here’s why.

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Pirayo: Strawman Misogynist?

So the other day I was reading about Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness because I always wanted to read it. I heard that even misogynists loved it because the main character was a sexist shithead (which goes to show that they aren’t smart enough to understand what Le Guin was doing there). I haven’t read the book, but the description leaves me of the impression that Genly is not a hero but an anti-hero, so his sexism is not to be applauded — dumbasses.

Lots of people assert that Genly is not a Strawman Misogynist simply because he is written as a sympathetic, flawed person who we can feel something besides hate for. It left me wondering if Pirayo, my villain from The Thieves of Nottica, is just a strawman.

For those who don’t know, a Strawman Misogynist is a character who exists to prove that misogyny is wrong. Pirayo wasn’t invented for this reason, but I can see how he would be viewed that way. I didn’t set out to “prove” anything with Pirayo, though.

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Self-Publishing: Just Another Prejudice

I’ve always kinda felt like any morbidly curious person who wanted to understand how it felt to face daily prejudice and discrimination should just self-publish a book and watch as they were wilted down into an incompetent, worthless, inferior by the rest of the publishing world.

Watch as the condescending headpats come in. “Oh sure, you’re a real author. Sure.”

Watch as every book blogger, contest, and community suddenly wants nothing to do with you.

Watch as every person you tell your book about gets a fixed smile as they pretend to encourage you.

Watch as the world openly points and laughs at you, belittles you, and writes entire dissertations about how you are inferior and disgusting and a blight on the publishing world.

It’s not the full experience of living with oppression, of course. It doesn’t extend into the workplace, where you’re lucky to get hired at all, where you’re often the first person let go. It doesn’t extend to your family or your community or your ability to walk down the fucking street, shop in a store without being deemed “suspicious.” It doesn’t extend to comedians dressing up like you and mocking and shaming your body. It doesn’t extend to casual slurs hurled at you with the expectation that you will quietly, docilely take them. It doesn’t extend into the courtroom, where your rapist will be patted on the head because now his life is ruined, not yours, even though everyone is writing disgusting articles detailing your rape and blaming you for getting separated from your friends.

For me, a marginalized person, self-publishing is just the cream on the already-sour cake. It’s one more thing holding me back from achieving my goals. You could argue that self-publishing is a choice and that being born gay, for instance, is not. But . . . sometimes I don’t feel as if the traditional publishing world left me any choice. For me, self-publishing was the only way to be heard.

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Why I use the word “queer,” and, no, I’m not transgender (sorry?)

(Quick sidenote, I schedule posts for almost everyday. I imagine this is going to be a very active blog — at least for a while — so if you don’t want email spam, you probably shouldn’t follow this blog. I can live without a mailing list.)

I am what transpeople would refer to as “cisgender.”

For people who are scratching their heads, a cisgender woman is someone whose gender is the same both biologically and mentally. So, a cisgender woman has the body of a woman and the brain of a woman.

It basically means “not transgender.”

I felt the burning need to announce this because I don’t want to accidentally take someone else’s voice. I don’t want people mistaking me for someone else or thinking that I’m pretending to be someone else. I’m not. I wear a dragon mask to protect myself from various forms of prejudice but facing discrimination as a non-binary person is not my experience.

Sorry to disappoint you, I’m just a lowly cisgender woman. My gender is female, my sex is female. I write about non-binary people simply because I want to. There’s no agenda behind it. They’re people too, so I write about them. And because I write lots of aliens, I imagine a lot of aliens would be viewed as non-binary by humans simply because they are so biologically and culturally different. I.e. Morganith from The Thieves of Nottica: her entire race is intersex but I doubt she sees herself as “non-binary.”

As I mentioned in an interview, the zonbiri (amphibious aliens) from The Prince of Qorlec have women who all have penises because they’re like seahorses. And yet, because zonbiri women have penises and still claim to be female (neither sex has breasts because — amphibious), humans would view them as non-binary — when on their planet, women having penises is considered binary. See what I did there?

isee

(If you’re on goodreads or amazon, you’re missing the meme here)

I enjoy exploring culture and gender, sexuality and perception because I’ve always been fascinated by people. I even majored in anthropology for a while in college and I enjoyed studying culture for a few years . . . until my college courses kept forcing me into the company of racist, elitist professors.

The point is, I’m not trans or intersex. I call myself “queer” because stating you’re anything beyond gay or lesbian means opening yourself up to prejudice from both straight people and gay people, who are always so quick to invalidate your feelings or tell you your sexuality doesn’t even exist. I enjoy using “queer” to just let people know I’m not straight so I can get the fuck on with my life.

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