Warning: spoilers for EVERYTHING GAME OF THRONES RELATED. Seriously, don’t read unless you’ve read up to Dance With Dragons, because … well, if you read the post you’ll figure it out. And be horribly spoiler-ed.
To put it bluntly, this post will be deliberately upsetting for people who haven’t read the books. It’s not for you.
I write this on a Monday evening, having not yet viewed this week’s episode of Game of Thrones.
But I already know what happens – in two ways:
1. I’ve read the books multiple times, so nothing in the series is really a surprise, though they may not follow the exact same method to get the same results
2. People cannot fucking hold themselves back from using in-joke-y hashtags and posting about their very specific feelings about the episode.
You may very well say, “but you totally knew the Red Wedding was going to happen, so what’s the problem?”
The problem is that if I took that point of view for everything, why the fuck would I bother to watch the series?
I also know precisely who’s going to be dead by the end of this season, but I can still be interested in how their story and development is shown, I can still enjoy the acting and amazing production values and direction.
Part of that, however, involves forcing a little bit of selective amnesia on myself. Yes, I know the Red Wedding is coming, and I know Balon will die and Mance will die and Jon will (possibly?) kill Ygritte and I know who kills Tywin, who saves the Night’s Watch from the wildlings, and why Cersei is going to be forced to do a naked walk of shame through King’s Landing.
I briefly suspend most of this knowledge each week in order to enjoy reliving that story all over again. And because the plot is so vast and there are so many characters to cover, it actually is enjoyable seeing whose story gets advanced this time and who we catch up with and whose fate is still left hanging in the balance.
There are also interesting divergences from the novels. The Battle of Blackwater Bay was amazingly done in the series, but very, very different from the books. And if someone had ruined that awesome explosive climax by Tumblring an animated gif of it before I got to watch the episode, I would have felt rightfully pissed off.
The cherry on my self-righteous cake is that I feel I deserve to watch Game of Thrones without spoilers. Because – up until this clearly-warned post – I have been absolutely rigorous in not spoiling things. Not saying “boy, I can’t wait to see how Peter Dinklage pulls off that scene where _________” or “since they’ve eliminated the Edric Storm character, I bet Gendry’s going to ________” or “yeah, don’t get too hopeful about _____ and _____ living happily ever after, I reckon they’ve got until the end of season 2, tops.”
Everyone I know who watches Thrones but hasn’t read the books was gobsmacked when Ned got the chop at the end of season 1. Because a whole fucking generation of nerds were polite enough not to spoil that (I can’t speak for 4chan or Reddit, but come on.) And that’s only where the series starts to throw totally pantshitting plot swerves at you. The Burned Prince? Asha’s batshit uncles? Zombie Gregor Clegane? If you haven’t read the books – and seriously, I hope that means you’re not reading this post – you don’t even know the kickass shit that’s coming your way. Because fans – despite the annoyance of years of nerd-ostracisation suddenly being erased because the mainstream wants to jump on the latest bandwagon – have not spoiled it for you.
Is it too much to ask that we get our moments of surprise and wonder too?
And with the simple utterance of “cosplay”, I lose half my readership, but probably gain aaaaaaaaaaall the bumps to my Googleability.
One day, Chaka Cumberbatch started the first big cosplay race war by having the gall to cosplay as Sailor Venus. While being a woman of colour. A badass, damn hot woman of colour (personally, I think the shit would have hit less of the fan if she wasn’t damn hot: much less threatening to the racist geek psyche.)
Read all about it at Racialicious.
In referencing that post, I initially wanted to make an addendum to the previous cosplay-related “new rule” about not complaining about the lack of [mandatorily fuckable] women in fandom. But here’s the problem: the dominant geek paradigm is really, really white. And you don’t hear the voices of that paradigm lamenting the lack of people of colour.
It’s dehumanizing both ways: geeks whinge about no [hot] chicks coming to their clubs because they only want to fuck them, but they don’t whinge about no people of colour coming to their clubs because they don’t even want to fuck them.
And one day, Ryan from Mad Art Lab decided it wasn’t enough just to casually gender-bend the traditional Princess Leia/metal bikini costume. He had to gender-fuck its shit right up.
Cosplayers: subverting subversions of the dominant paradigm’s dominant paradigm since awesome o’clock.
New rule: if you look at this amazing piece of TARDIS cosplay, and your first, wittiest reaction is to make a fat joke about the woman wearing it …
I’d better never hear you complain that no women come to your conventions and clubs and Dr Who marathons.
It’s actually a bit fucking pathetic that an interest group (specifically: heterosexual cis dude geeks) who seem to take very little issue with the fact they’re stereotyped as fat, beardy, glasses-wearing indoors-types, nevertheless expect all women participants in their hobby to be just like the hot video game chicks they fap to.
I’ve seen people comment after a locally-organised anime convention that they were “disappointed” at the “quality” of the cosplay. This was apparently based on the fact that the chick dressed as Sailor Moon was, you know, a normal human being who seemed interested in having a good time with people who shared her interests in Sailor Moon. As opposed to an anatomically-impossible inflatable doll whose sole purpose in attending was so hetero cis dudes could take her photo for later masturbatory purposes.
How dare she?
That TARDIS cosplay linked above is creative, it’s amazingly well-executed, and the cosplayer looks fucking badass.
If the best thing you can think to say is that “lol it looks bigger on the outside”, you are a waste of human skin. The silver lining is the ironic fact that the only reason you don’t think the few women who do show up to conventions are hot enough is because you are a judgemental asshole, and I can only hope that this means you die alone.
So, Business NZ has chosen to use the recent push for extended paid parental leave as a chance to warn “potential parents” that they might face discrimination in the workplace.
I’d personally like to be the first to welcome Business NZ to “gender pay gap 101″. Now class, I know the rest of us covered this at some point in the 1970s but let’s give the privileged doods some cookies for finally acknowledging that they’re a bunch of discriminating, women-hating bastards.
Oh wait, no, they’re pretending that they totally just came up with this idea and it has nothing to do with historical, often open discrimination against women in the workplace entirely founded on the premise that we’re nothing but walking uteri.*
They’re doing this by claiming that extended paid parental leave – which, as Sue Moroney is probably getting engraved on her forehead right now because she’s tired of saying it, does not extend the total amount of time a person may take for parental leave, just the paid portion of it – will threaten the job prospects of:
women aged anywhere from 15 to 45 and men of any age.
Yes, I’m sure we can all remember the dark days when no man could ever get a job because employers took one look at a male candidate and said “look mate, sure you’ve got the quals, but how do I know you’re not just going to swan off when your partner gets knocked up in order to play an active and meaningful role in your child’s earliest days?”
Here’s the real question.
Business NZ want to claim that:
extending paid parental leave could result in mums and dads having to be retrained because they lose their “sharp edge” by taking more time off work
Yes, mums and dads, shut up you feminists, Business NZ is a staunch supporter of men taking a more equitable role in childrearing.
But here’s the thing. What’s so special about time taken off to raise a baby?
Don’t people who go through illness, or suffer injury, need to be retrained? What about people who take extended holidays? People who are ordered to take extensive holidays because they’re such bloody hard/obsessed workers that they accrue ridiculous amounts of leave? People who take a few months off between jobs? Doesn’t the absenteeism caused by our wonderful Evil Binge Drinking Culture knock the sharp edges off a lot of people, especially young dudes?
Don’t we all need a little bit of retraining after our Christmas breaks? Personally Labour Weekend was enough to take a few sharp edges off me, is all I’m saying.
The answer is simple: babies eat your brains. Probably while you sleep, though I understand scientists are getting close to some really good data on babies’ abilities to literally suck neurons out of nearby adult brains with heretofore undocumented Village of the Damned-esque psychic powers.
The BBC tried to warn us, but did we listen? No. So now Business NZ, on behalf of all the mums AND DADS, SHUTUPFEMINISTS is going to save us from ourselves, by preventing parents (INCLUDING DADS) from having extra paid time at home with their babies which doesn’t actually have any impact on their employers at all because they could still take unpaid leave to make it up to a full year.
It’s the only logical answer. Because otherwise we’d have to believe that the national Voice of New Zealand Business is run by a bunch of reactionary conservatives so far up Milton Friedman’s ass that they literally cannot even understand that happy healthy babies = happy healthy future working units, and happy, relaxed parents = happy healthy present working units.
And that would just be silly.
*Of course, not all women have uteri, not all pregnant people or potentially pregnant people are women, but I have the feeling this concept might blow Business NZ’s collective doodly minds.
Wundergeek, formerly of Go Make Me A Sandwich (the archives of which I recommend for some fantastic geek-misogyny sporking) is blogging her pregnancy, and how it affects or is affected by her feminism.
Last week I finally announced to all my friends that I was pregnant at a large party. A male friend congratulated me, then observed that I’d now get to deal with people judging me about every decision I make through the rest of my pregnancy and beyond.
And it was true! So true! Within about twenty minutes of telling my co-workers (previous to the party), one of them scolded me quite harshly when I confessed that I’m not sure I want to be pregnant again after this pregnancy, since it’s been a rough first trimester. “DON’T YOU DARE,” she told me, and then proceeded to lecture me about how awful it is to be an only child. Even at the party, people made comments casually assuming what decisions I would be making regarding the baby like “but you’ll be breast-feeding by then” or “you’ll still be home with the baby at that point”.
What is it about being pregnant that strips away your autonomy to make decisions about your baby’s future? Seriously, people. I almost wanted to start a blog right there and then so I could write about how messed up that is.
Check out more of her stuff at Pregnant While Feminist.
Welcome to the 40th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. I am your stunning hostess, Queen of Thorns, “QoT” to my friends and “single-handed destroyer of progressive NZ politics” to my trolls.
I’m entirely enamoured of the fact that 40 in Roman numerals is XL, so I’m putting our plus-size Antipodean bloggers up first:
New study shows correlation between fatness and selling one’s soul to Satan
Definatalie writes about re-learning her love of cycling. sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump talks about Why I Don’t Diet and Fixing the Relationship with Food. Bri at Fat Lot of Good sees that fat-shaming is now getting aimed at four-year-olds to the extent some are developing a fear of food.
sleepydumpling is on a crusade, people. A crusade for all super-fatties, deathfats, people who just cannot find clothes in their size for love nor money. Warning: utter fuckwittery in the comments. Remember, fatshion is activism. And no, fat acceptance will not in fact kill you.
There’s been discussion lately about the role of the fatosphere on people’s perceptions and lives. Dr Samantha Thomas has done a for-real ivory-tower-shaking academic paper on how the fatosphere proactively challenges fat stigma, and sleepydumpling covers the same topic in Breaking Down Fat Stigma: Shame. Sonya at Lipmag was one of the interviewees for Dr Thomas’ paper.
The body plays a huge (BOOM BOOM!) role in a lot of feminist discussion, and things always get good and heated around one fact in particular: pregnancy and how you are probably Doing It Rong right this minute.
You read a book while pregnant? You’re gonna DIE!!!
Feminethicist posts a quick note about double standards around scars – especially stretch marks. Aussie MP Andrew Laming fights the good fight for homebirths. Bluebec confronts the notion that any particular way of having babies is “unnatural”.
Pregnancy isn’t always wanted or continued, of course, and that’s why apparently I have to keep explaining that the “right to life” movement are a bunch of wanks with the intellectual honesty of a guppy.
And of course once Junior makes it out into the world it’s all downhill for progressive parents, who simply cannot win. Ever.
Buy this Mozart CD or your baby will sprout wings!
Blue milk continues to post on her presentation on feminist parenting. Part 4 covers “what is feminist parenting?” and Part 5 looks at the difficulties with being a feminist parent. She also talks about the idea that some parents are too sexy to breastfeed – and provides a challenge with a follow-up post on glamorous images of breastfeeding. Another post discusses pro-feminist fathers.
Breastfeeding also shows up as a really nifty shorthand for “crazy woman” in the Game of Thrones series, as discussed at Hoyden About Town.
Bee of a Certain Age talks about learning to love after having her children.
Our kids just aren’t getting a break: Lessons to be Learned covers the Toddlers and Tiaras phenomenon and blue milk looks at high fashion’s role in sexualising girls. Feminethicist has been having some fun challenging the heteronormativity when people play joke-matchmaker with babies.
Unsurprisingly, I did not take kindly to Family First’s insinuations that some families are just “obviously” worse than others.
For further reading, Mindy at Hoyden About Town has reviewed The 21st Century Motherhood Movement.
Where does a lot of this crap come from? Our wonderful media, of course.
This just in: reading mainstream media could be the reason you’re really angry all the time
Feminethicist is just thrilled by a camera app that makes your romantic partner look tolerable again. I have a slight issue with bra companies’ media releases being treated as scientific fact, with a sprinkling of obesity panic on top.
LudditeJourno, posting at The Hand Mirror, covers Michael bloody Lhaws’ preference for referring to poor brown people as “feral” and coleytangerina at The Lady Garden gets freaked out by news of a “cougar attack” … then a tad depressed.
Emma at Lip asks where the strong women are in literature. Kate Barker discusses anti-feminist imagery. Cara at Life is a feminist issue talks about our media ban on reporting suicide, and whether that’s really looking all that effective.
MJ at Kiwiana (inked) tells Stuff where they can shove their scare quotes when reporting on domestic violence.
Time for something a bit more positive:
Retrospective: awesome women being awesome
Penguin Unearthed talks about Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir as part of her Travelling Feminist posts – here’s another on Norway. The Hoydens share the news that Sensei Keiko Fukuda has become the only woman ever granted the 10th degree black belt in judo. Double Antandre talks about Nancy Wake.
Another big issue of the past month has been identity, especially given Google’s being douchebags about what’s considered a “real” name (all the more aggravating because it’s based on needing “real” demographics to sell to shitbox marketers).
I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine
Chally talks about the kinds of history that go into building identity. blue milk passes on information on the My Name is Me project created in response to Google+ being douches. Giovanni talks about Google+, identity and cyberpunk.
Where does a lot of identity come from? Our “race”, social construct that it is, and religion, and culture, and all other kinds of pretty touchy issues.
Nothing witty to put here
Mindmadeup asks if Australia is a racist nation. Chally confronts racism at the bus stop. stargazer discusses how the “default is male” concept extends to commentary about Muslims. stargazer also posted about the start of Ramadan.
Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia asks “When am I trans?” and when trans people are “real”.
Love and Marriage
In happier news, Rachel is getting hitched! Of course, planning a wedding doesn’t get any easier when you’re a feminist so she’s provided a handy Guide to Feminist Wedding Planning. News With Nipples covers some tragi-comic anti-marriage-equality protests. Hayley at Equal Love Equal Rights posts on marriage equality.
Mr Wainscotting is pleased to announce the launch of Legalise Love, a group looking to get some actual marriage equality happening in NZ. Idiot/Savant has been taking an interest in our MPs’ views on the subject: here he is on Hone Harawira and David Parker (and it’s not good news).
As Chally notes, though, we shouldn’t devalue single women.
Then there’s some perennial issues for feminist bloggers:
stargazer helped produce a session on poverty at the Human Rights Commission’s diversity forum and also blogged her speech from the forum on needing an action plan on human rights. Maia at The Hand Mirror dissects a “game” where privileged people get to pretend to be poor for a while and probably learn some Important Moral Lesson.
Deborah Russell discusses welfare in the Dominion Post.
Rape culture / violence
The Naked Philologist deals in two parts with the subject of teaching problematic material – Can you teach Chrétien without talking about rape? and You might be able to teach Chrétien without talking about rape, but I shan’t.
Deborah talks about the gender pay gap and another Deborah’s predictable privileged attitude towards it. Idiot/Savant covers the Greens’ and CTU’s calling of National’s bluff: if people can just ask labour inspectors to check there’s pay parity in their workplace, maybe we should just start doing that all the time.
And finally, a little collection of random items to fill out your reading.
We can’t stop here, this is bat country!
Blue milk on potentially-problematic vulva-themed art. Geek Feminism on social media protest action. Bluebec on trusting people to make their own decisions. Maia at The Hand Mirror on the cost of being a woman in public. Chally’s thoughts on being “born this way”. A guest post on Geek Feminism about encouraging women’s participation in geekiness. Blogger at the Cast Iron Balcony on how to help the Sylvia Creek anti-logging protesters. Bluebec on polyamory and doing it right. Feminaust posts on listening to sex workers.
That’s all she wrote
Thanks to our lovely submitters, especially Chally and Rebecca who made my job a heck of a lot easier!
The 41st edition of the DUFC will be hosted at A Touch of The Crazy. As we still seem to be having issues with blogcarnival, send your submissions directly to stef_thomp [at] hotmail [dot] com. We’re four years in and going strong but we need your help to keep it awesome!
The list of DUFC contributors is woefully out of date, but feel free to peruse it in the meantime while I get some well-earned coffee.