Tag Archives: feminism

Galactic Suburbia: Bujold spoiler!

gentleman jole  red queenIn which Tansy & Alex take apart the joyous wonder that is the latest Lois McMaster Bujold novel: Gentleman Jole & the Red Queen. You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

Discussed:
The Terrible Title
The Vorkosigan Saga So Far (with particular reference to Shards of Honour & Barrayar, with plenty of spoilers for All The Key Moments involving the Vorkosigan family)
Uterine Replicators and Their Social Implications
Older Women in Space (send us your Space Grannies story recs!)
Space Opera as Social History
Triad Marriages and Alternative Parenting Models
The Changing Roles of Mothers and Grandmothers with an extended lifespan
Oliver Jole as unusual male hero: how often do we see books about men choosing between career advancement and having children?
Aurelia is the prettiest name
Is Miles ‘the man’ now? Does he represent conservative Barrayar, or is there still a healthy rebellious Betan streak in him?
Oliver & Cordelia: an “old person” romance
Bereavement & retirement as positive life turning points
Miles and Oliver: “that” conversation as climax of the plot
Miles and Cordelia: how to surprise your adult son, how to come to terms with your parents as fellow humans
The sciencey science of a colonised planet: Sergyar needs marine biologists and plumbers more than soldiers and politicians!
Reader response: what was problematic, unrealistic expectations, what does a Vorkosigan novel look like anyway?
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11598691
http://www.tor.com/2016/02/11/book-reviews-gentleman-jole-lois-mcmaster-bujold/

We love you all and we love this book: only listen to this episode if you genuinely don’t mind being spoiled for all the things.

PS: Tansy still maintains that the Vorkosigan saga is just fine read in random book order. Alex is not okay with this. Follow your own instincts on this one.

You can Skype us to leave a short message about any of our topics or episodes, to be included in a future show.

03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Otherwise, please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 136

355514-molly-meldrumIn which Alex and Tansy leap back into 2016 to talk Awards (it’s that season again!), comics, novellas, mysterious London novels and epic feminist canon.

Also, Molly Meldrum.

We’re on iTunes and over at Galactic Suburbia.
Locus Recommended Reading List.
BSFA Awards shortlist

Letters to Tiptree 99 cents! Bestseller on Amazon!

Tansy’s new podcast plug! Sheep Might Fly & Fake Geek Girl

Kickstarter for Ursula Le Guin documentary.

Nominating for Hugos (til end of March) don’t forget.

And Part 1 of the University of Oregon’s Tiptree Symposium, with Julie Phillips (Alex says: sorry not sorry, Tansy)

CULTURE CONSUMED:

Tansy: Hellcat by Kate Leth & Brittney Williams, Archie by Mark Waid & Fiona Staples, The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar, The Beatriceid by Kate Elliott, “Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor, “The Heart is Eaten Last” by Kameron Hurley (note: Kameron says any new Patreon subscriber automatically gets access to all the stories she has posted so far including this one – bargain at as little as $1 a month!)

Alex:
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susannah Clarke; Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman; The Just City, Jo Walton; Walk to the End of the World, Suzy McKee Charnas. MOLLY.

Skype number: 03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Walk to the End of the World

As with Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest, if I had not known that this was highly regarded amongst feminist sf types I would have given this book up in the first couple of pages. Charnas is utterly devastating in her representation of men and their attitudes towards one another, and their attitudes towards women – “fems” – and towards history and power. While I don’t honestly think things would go this way, it still works as a horrifying critique and savage prophecy of the outcomes of patriarchy.
Charnas writes in a post-apocalyptic world where it seems that only a tiny proportion of white men, and fewer women, have survived to try and rebuild some sort of civilisation. And we know they are all white because there is specific mention of how excellent it is that one class of unmen – the Dirties – are gone, and in case the reader was really obtuse there’s a song enumerating just who the Dirties were. I cannot imagine reading this as a non-white person, given it was hard enough as a white woman. Anyway the destruction of the world has been blamed on the unmen – beasts, Dirties, and fems. The inclusion of beasts in this list is the most bizarre bit to me, because would men really have forgotten that animals were not human and had no connection to civilisation and therefore its destruction? I guess if there were no animals left and you were creating a story to apportion blame, you might. Anyway the Dirties apparently fought against the righteous actions of the true (white) men, and fems were witches who constantly fought against men because they’re agents of chaos and the void. 

Not content with this level of terrifying prediction, Charnas also suggests that patriarchy would (d)evolve into ruthless competition between, basically, sons and fathers. To the point of de-identifying familial ties so there can be no seeking out and killing progenitor/descendent; and to the point of reinterpreting Christianity as the Son defying the Father and being punished as a result. (Which is magnificent and disturbing and just whoa.) 

The story revolves around the quest of a son for his father – because he’s unique in knowing this information. At heart it’s a very simple and straightforward story but the world that Charnas has created for it is anything but. Through the quest the reader sees basically the entirety of the new civilisation, as well as how the various segments of society work and all the dangerous undercurrents that are at play. The four different points of view, giving very different perspectives, all work seamlessly to develop Charnas’ vision – which is really a warning. 

This book is brilliant and terrifying and not for the faint of heart not because of violence to persons but because of violence to notions of civility and humanity. Well, mine anyway; maybe I’m just a bleeding heart liberal. I can’t imagine what would happen if an MRA dude read it; I’d be rather scared they’d miss the irony.  

I actually read this as the first in the Radical Utopias omnibus. The next is The Female Man, and I’m not sure my brain can handle rereading that. The third is a Delany that I’m pretty sure I haven’t read, so I will certainly get to that soon. 

Galactic Suburbia does Star Wars

theresheisStar Wars: the Force Awakens Spoilerific

We went, we watched, and now we’re going to flail our hands about it, shortly before going to buy all the Rey toys that aren’t out there.

You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

Relevant Links:

The Bechdel-Wallace Test – is this film feminist?
What To Do When You’re Not the Hero Any More
John Boyega being super excited about being in Star Wars
Lupita Nyong’o on not being seen as herself in Star Wars
Emo Kylo Ren
#WheresRey

Skype number: 03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia: Star Wars spoilerific!

theresheisStar Wars: the Force Awakens Spoilerific

We went, we watched, and now we’re going to flail our hands about it, shortly before going to buy all the Rey toys that aren’t out there. You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

Relevant Links:

The Bechdel-Wallace Test – is this film feminist?
What To Do When You’re Not the Hero Any More
John Boyega being super excited about being in Star Wars
Lupita Nyong’o on not being seen as herself in Star Wars
Emo Kylo Ren
#WheresRey

Skype number: 03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 133

In which Alisa has feelings about Lovecraft’s image being associated with (and from next year, removed from) the World Fantasy Award.

WHAT’S NEW ON THE INTERNET

World Fantasy Awards announced

CULTURE CONSUMED

ALEX: Alex: re-reading the James SA Corey series, The Expanse, books 1-3, so I could read the fourth one, Cibola Burn; Eff Yeah Film and Feminism podcast; Manners and Mutiny, Gail Carriger.

ALISA: PhD research and experiments.

TANSY: Tremontaine Parts 1-3 by Ellen Kushner & others, The Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, I, Zombie, Supergirl, Jessica Jones

Skype number: 03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Suffragette

This post brought to you courtesy of Parissah and Aoife.

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I’ve long had a fascination with the Pankhursts and the suffrage movement; I was reminded recently that I did a research assignment on the Pankhursts in year… 10? 11?; I’ve taught the British suffrage movement for a few years; I loved the biographies of Emmeline and of her daughter Sylvia, such different women; I’ve enjoyed other books on the movement too. I’ve wished that the 1970s tv show Shoulder to Shoulder existed on DVD, and I long to see Up the Women. So it should be no surprise that I was pretty excited to see Suffragette.

The only spoilers below are for which bits of the suffrage movement the film focuses on. If you don’t know the events, then I guess there are spoilers… and you need to go read some history. Here, this will help. If I tell you that the film starts in 1912… well, that’s a bit of a giveaway.

Just go see the film, right?

The basic premise of the film is that life is generally crap for women and maybe getting the vote will help. Which was basically the premise of the Pankhursts’ campaign, and that of Millicent Fawcett and all the campaigners for fifty or so years before the WSPU seriously made headlines. The film manages to show just about every way in which everyday life sucked for British women in 1912: unequal pay, sexual abuse in the workplace, men in control of the house – money, children – and the general notion that women are unfit for politics or anything other than menial work. (The focus is on white women, since the suffrage movement In Britain was generally; of course there was a whole other layer of problems for women of colour.) The response of most of the men to the women’s claims for equality is to be abusive or to laugh, at the very idea of it. Let’s not forget that rapper who thought Hilary Clinton shouldn’t be president because she might nuke someone because women get emotionalIn 2015. Cue this:

UnknownThe focus is on Maud, a 24-year-old woman who’s been a laundress since she was seven. She’s married, she has a son, and she has no time for politics – literally no time, because she works all day at the laundry and then keeps working at home. She gets caught up almost accidentally in a suffrage protest, and things progress from there in an almost textbook case of how to radicalise someone, which is an interesting thought given Australia’s current overblown fears about just that issue.

Most of the cast is fictional, as Maud is. There are a couple of notable exceptions. There’s a scene when Maud is first in prison and she’s introduced to an Emily, who’s on hunger strike. I thought nothing of it, really, until there was a list of names in the police station and suddenly the name Emily Wilding Davison flashed up and if I had been alone watching the film I would have yelped. It had not occurred to me that the film would go there.

Unknown-1UnknownMeryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst only has one significant scene, which surprised me somewhat, although as this review points out the focus on working class women is a fairly radical one and one that I really appreciated. She was appropriately grand, and again, when I saw her, I nearly yelped. They had the costuming down brilliantly, which is to be expected given how many wonderful pictures there are of Pankhurst; no idea whether they got her speech mannerisms or not, because I don’t know of any recordings of her voice.

Of the others – I liked the variety portrayed, within the limited purview of the film (that’s not a criticism; the film deliberately sets itself the task of looking at one group of women). Violet is a long-time campaigner struggling to keep the faith; Edith Ellyn, played by Helena Bonham Carter (who is wonderful AND! I discovered is the great-graddaughter of that bugger Asquith, who rejected women’s suffrage!) is a pharmacist with a loving and supportive husband. There’s a brief appearance from an upper middle-class woman who supports the campaign but whose husband is strongly against, and numerous women around the laundry and Maud’s neighbourhood who do not support it at all because of the difficulties it brings at home.

I have one significant quibble, and it’s one that I’m conflicted over. I liked that the police perspective was given; it highlighted just how anti-suffrage the establishment was, and the lengths that they were willing to go to stop the women. (The scene with the new portable camera – so light it doesn’t need a tripod! – that can be used covertly is hilarious; it’s still a shoebox.) However. However. Why is it that a film about the suffrage movement needed a male perspective? Because that’s exactly what Brendan Gleeson is providing, by being the copper who talks to Maud and is always present when something big is happening on the streets; he’s a male point of view on the proceedings. Could it be that a significant portion of the audience still couldn’t care less about the experiences of a person like Maud – poor, uneducated, female? I’m troubled by this, and it’s the one aspect that made me sad (about the film experience, I mean. There was a lot that made me sad). The film could have shown the police in general, as they prepare to battle the women on the streets; that would have got across the same point without it feeling like Gleeson’s character was an alternate viewpoint on the events.

I’ve also read comments about it being disappointing that there are no people of colour in the film at all, which I think is absolutely a fair call. From the perspective of suffrage history, yes there were women of colour involved but the records about individual members, regardless of race, are pretty sparse so as far as I know it’s not clear what the proportions are. I don’t know what the solution to this could have been (not an excuse, just a comment).

I’ve read a review that suggests Maud is basically a cipher, a stand-in, and not a really person – and to an extent I agree. I mean, basically everything bad that could happen to her, does, and she’s involved in just about everything interesting (well, public anyway) that happens in the suffrage movement in 1912 and 1913. But I don’t think this is a bad thing necessarily. The film is called Suffragette. The only way to really convey the experience of ordinary women in the struggle is exactly like this – to show one woman, experiencing it. I think Maud is intended to stand in for white working class women in 1912 who started thinking about politics, and she does it well.

At the end of the film, there’s a potted history of when different countries gave women the vote; the cinema erupted when Switzerland came up as 1971.

It’s also only I think the second time I’ve been in a cinema when there was applause when the film concluded.

Overall I think this a welcome addition to films about women’s history… since the list of films about women’s history, and feminist history, is a pretty short one. Next I would like to order films about Olympe de Gouges, and one about Mary Wollstonecraft kthxbai.

New Galactic Suburbia!

Feedback episode! Thanks so much for all your emails, tweets and voicemails. You can listen to us via iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Tansy: Andre Norton Sargasso of Space; I am Princess X, Cherie Priest; The Wicked & The Divine, by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie; Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Alex: Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie; Newt’s Emerald, Garth Nix; Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deb Biancotti.

You can Skype us to leave a short message about any of our topics or episodes, to be included in a future show.

03 90164171 (within Australia) +613 90164171 (from overseas)

Otherwise, please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 130

Party Down 2009 Key artIn Which We Have High Expectations Of What Lies Beyond Equality, but in the meantime there’s Party Down. Get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.

We apologise for the sound quality of this episode, which had a few glitches that even the Silent Producer could not magic away, notably Alisa’s emergency phone call which the mike occasionally picks up. (Everything’s fine now.)

What’s New on the Internet

7 Jewish Authors Get Personal About Anti-Semitism (Alisa finds 7 new authors to read)

SF Editors Picks – Recommendations on great new SF/F/H stories by top editors.
Twitter @SFEditorsPicks
Facebook SFEditorsPicks

Mind Meld w/ Tansy & Tehani – Books That Made Me Love SFF

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Scandal S1 and S2; Party Down S1 and S2; Coode St Podcast Ep 251: Kristine Kathryn Rusch and women in SF; The Serial Dynasty podcast

Tansy: House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard; Alias by Brian Michael Bendis (Tor.com reread leading up to the show on Nov 20), SHIELD 50th Anniversary comics – Mockingbird [woo since we recorded this they announced it was going to series with the same writer!], [Don’t call her] The Cavalry, Agent Carter, Fury, Quake

Alex: Aurora: Beyond Equality; Up the Walls of the World, James Tiptree Jr; Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, Samuel Delany

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Galactic Suburbia 129

In which we explain the metaphorically violent nature of Australian politics, celebrate the return of Feminist Frequency and our faces are on the internet.
And I am late in posting this! Holidays will do that, when you don’t take a laptop camping… you can get us from iTunes or Galactic Suburbia, anyway.

What’s New on the Internet

Malcolm Turnbull is not Tony Abbott: the Australian Spill Story
Our national sport
The onion thing, no we don’t get it either.

New Feminist Frequency Tropes v Women in Video Games – Women as Reward & Special DLC Mini Episode.

The Three Hoarsemen Podcast Episode 25 featuring Alisa

Galactic Suburbia on Books and Pieces

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa: Mad Max Fury Road; Undisclosed: The State vs Adnan Syed Podcast

Alex: Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut; Archer’s Goon, Diana Wynne Jones; I finished Stranger in a Strange Land!! Also Of Sorrow and Such, Angela Slatter

Tansy: Dawn, Octavia E. Butler; Bombshells #1, Marguerite Sauvage & Marguerite Bennett; The Cornell Collective; Supernatural

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!