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tropes

  1. “Excuse Me, Princess“: The Princess Type, for Good or Ill, Part 2

    Venture again into the pretty pink minefield.

    Princesses, despite what we may think of their relevance, seem to be everywhere we look. In movies, in television, in products aimed at young girls, the trope of the princess is going as strong as ever, often as an old type wearing a new costume.

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  2. “Excuse Me, Princess“: The Princess Type, for Good or Ill, Part 1

    Venture into the pretty pink minefield with us!

    How do we create a complex woman character who can give girls a choice in who they identify with, but that Hollywood will still regularly produce? And how can we do it while encouraging the qualities of modern feminism, instead of diminishing them?

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  3. Changing the Face of Women in Anime: The Importance of Ugliness

    Essay

    Since the “girl power” wave of the 90s and early 2000s, many media-makers stateside have been much better about including diverse female characters in media directed toward a younger audience. But while Sailor Moon was one of the forerunners of this well-intentioned movement, much of the material from Japan which has been licensed for release in the States is marketed toward boys or men, and magical girls have fallen out of popular favor (recent reboots notwithstanding). Needless to say, when there are female characters in this kind of media, they are often a love interest, and they often fall into one of a handful of anime stereotypes.

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  4. Tropes vs Women In Video Games: Ms. Male Character and the Smurfette Principle

    This Exists... Because of A Lady

    Anita Sarkeesian is back with the fourth video in her Tropes vs Women In Video Games series. We've moved on from Damsels in Distress to a pair of separate but related tropes: The Smurfette Principle and Ms. Male Character. Ms. Pac-Man, this one's for you. Previously in Tropes vs Women in Video Games

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  5. Pacific Rim Is Not Your Average Action Juggernaut

    Essay

    The dismal state of this summer’s blockbusters is multidimensional: not only did big-budget films generally perform poorly, but they also were conceptually and emotionally hollow. The Lone Ranger didn’t seem to understand why Johnny Depp in redface could possibly be a bad thing, and the failure of the Smith-Smith-fronted After Earth to draw in crowds boggled the minds of film studios everywhere. When the promising prospect of Elysium turned out to be a moralistic bull in a china shop, the summer sci-fi set seemed doomed.

    Is there anything to salvage from this black hole of summer cinema? I think there is: Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which stands out from the crowd of half-baked action/sci-fi juggernauts for one reason: it knows what it is. It knows that it's a visually-amazing action flick-- but what's even more interesting is that it knows how to subvert pieces of the genre other films blindly pay homage to. In particular, Pacific Rim has a way of smashing gender-based action movie tropes like they're Kaiju skulls.

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  6. Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Damsels in Distress Part 3

    This Exists... Because of A Lady

    Welcome to the third installment of Feminist Frequency's investigation of gendered tropes in video games, where we're still, probably not surprisingly, covering all the bases of the Damsel in Distress: including the not-quite-equivalency of role reversals and the unhelpfulness "ironic" sexism. I know from personal experience that the latter is one of those concepts that still escapes a lot of folks. Enjoy! Previously in Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games

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  7. Anita Sarkeesian Presents: Damsels in Distress Part 2

    This Exists... Because of A Lady

    From Anita Sarkeesian, the woman behind Feminist Frequency, comes Part 2 of her Kickstarter based series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games (get caught up with Part 1 here). There are tons of video games examined in this latest video (check out the description on the YouTube page for a very nice list showing which ones may be spoiled for you if you watch), from 1988's Splatterhouse, to the more recent Borderlands 2. Sarkeesian's first entry in this series received over one million views on YouTube and like before, comments are wisely disabled on this latest installment. If you need a reason why, shortly after the video was uploaded, Sarkeesian tweeted this message, "Looks like my harassers abused YouTube's flag function to get my new Tropes vs Women video removed. Not the first time it's happened." [Editor's note: We'd hoped the video would be back up already but it's not. We will update as soon as it is. In the meantime, you can read the transcript.] [Edit: The video is back up!] Trigger warning: the video contains scenes of violence against women. Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

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  8. Gwyneth Paltrow: “You Can Only Be the Damsel in Distress for So Long”

    Supergirly

    Will we ever get tired of hearing Gwyneth Paltrow talk about suiting up for Iron Man 3? Probably at least not until we get to see the movie this weekend.

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  9. Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Damsel in Distress, Part 1

    and let it be known

    Anita Sarkeesian runs a blog called Feminist Frequency and a long running, fascinating webseries of the same name where she examines the ways in which media and most often modern popular culture subtly and not-so-subtly support and perpetuate misogynistic ideas. I love her videos not because I necessarily agree with everything she's ever said ever (you know, because we are not a single consciousness) but because when I do disagree with her, her detailed approach prompts me to calmly, privately examine why. This is not the case for 100% of human beings, however, and when she began a Kickstarter campaign to gain the means to expand her series to cover video games, it became the go-to example of overblown, vicious, flailing hate directed at a woman by self-identified members of the video game community. The net result of the harassment campaign (in numbers anyway, which is not to discount important qualitative things like personal peace of mind, or the outside perception of the video gamer community) was to encourage others to fund her campaign more than twenty-six times over what she'd initially asked for. Naturally, the first video in her series is great: slickly edited, reaching back to Greek myths and forward to modern remakes of classic games, and she opens it with an idea that we here at The Mary Sue are all to familiar with: "Remember that it’s both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects." Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

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  10. It’s Friday, Time For Another Installment of Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome

    All this has happened before...

    In which Battlestar Galactica finally makes good on the plague promise of all space operas: making its characters navigate a room full of giant, deadly, moving pistons.

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  11. You’d Think Batman Would Be Immune to This Sort of Thing, But No

    i'll just leave this here

    We've all read enough books and watched enough movies to know that the surest way to make sure that a certain person is in your presence is to start saying things out loud that you would never want them to hear. And from the tone of voice of all these characters when they realize it and say "They're standing right behind me, aren't thety?" one can only assume that they're familiar with the trope, too. So why hasn't anyone turned this particular, apparently magical, phenomenon to their own purposes? The next time the Joker escapes from Arkaham Asylum, maybe Batman should try smack talking him a bit in front of Robin and see what happens.

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  12. Male Actors of Magic Mike Struggle With Objectification, Personal Appearance, and Body Hair

    Oh Really?

    Magic Mike is not a movie that's been pinging very loudly on my radar, and so it wasn't really until today that I figured out what it's all about: Channing Tatum as a veteran male stripper tutoring a younger guy (while dating said young guy's sister) and deciding that though the work certainly gives him an ego boost he no longer finds it very fulfilling to be appreciated for his physical qualities: it hard to find his own self worth off the stage. And that's pretty interesting, as we don't get a lot of serious depictions in our media of male characters who have made careers out of their looks alone, much less time spent on the personal struggles such a character might have with being in that position, like having to be encouraged by a female significant other (often it's the other way around) to remember that they have other qualities that they could build a life on. (In the titular Mike's case, he makes custom furniture). The loose woman who's shown to be incomplete emotionally because she encourages men to objectify her and must be rescued by a loving man is a practically ancient story. According to director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Reid Carolin, that sort of gender flip was what interested them in making the movie in the first place, and between them and Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer, who play the movie's male stripper characters, that process has been kind of revelatory.

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  13. TV Tropes Deletes Every Rape Trope; Geek Feminism Wiki steps in

    BAD IDEAS FROM SMART PEOPLE

    Up until a week ago, TV Tropes had a very handy trope index called Rape Tropes. (Note: all TVT rape trope pages in this article link, ironically, to Google caches.) This page also linked to other iterations of rape tropes in popular culture such as Rape as Backstory, Rape and Switch, Rape as Drama, Rape as Redemption, and other rape tropes common in the pop culture idiom. Today when you access any of these pages, you're informed, "We do not want a page on this topic. It does not meet our content policy." Recently on the discussion thread for combining the "Victim falls for Rapist" trope with the "Rape as Stockholm Syndrome" trope under the standard Rape Is Love cliche, Wiki owner and admin Fast Eddie explained that all tropes related to rape had been wiped off the site because it was getting the site "in trouble with Google." Apparently that meant any trope containing the word "rape" had to go.

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  14. Well, At Least the Gameplay is Fun: Gender and Storytelling in Diablo III

    Essay

    Let me say this right up front: Diablo III is a pretty great game. It’s a satisfying, decently balanced helping of hack-and-slash, and it will scratch your every dungeon crawling itch. Diablo III is one of those games that just makes you feel cool. My Barbarian hits like a truck, and she is constantly surrounded by the pyrotechnic displays of my friends’ magical abilities. It is not the best game I’ve ever played, nor did it capture me as its predecessor did, but I am looking forward to my continued adventures in Sanctuary throughout the weeks ahead. The whole point of the Diablo franchise is much less about telling a good story than it is about killing monsters and getting loot, but with the sort of time commitment that a game like this requires (especially to justify the $60 price tag), ideally you want the setting to be a place that captures your imagination, a place that you want to hang out in. So while I had a blast cleaving demons in twain over the weekend, I was nonetheless underwhelmed by a narrative full of uninspired tropes, as well as an otherwise impressive world clinging to some of the most tired cliches concerning women in fantasy. For a game that took twelve years to make, it was disappointing to see how little has changed on those fronts. Fair warning: Massive spoilers ahead.

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  15. Audition Reel Contains Just About Every Single Science Fiction Trope [Video]

    In reality, Jacob Fleisher is a successful screenwriter, but in this short video he does a great service to humanity by auditioning for every sci-fi character ever. In doing so, he also runs through just about every single sci-fi trope in the book. The only ones I think he missed would be "it turned out we were the real monsters after all," or maybe a shaggy-God type scenario. Still, a lot of fun.

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  16. Mellow Brick Road, A Wizard of Oz Remix

    eye candy

    Way back in the dawn of blog, we included Dorothy on a short list of examples of published, famous Mary Sues, and I noticed some confusion about that. Allow me to explain: as soon as Dorothy appears in Oz, any character who does not immediately fall in love with her and overturn the order of the setting to help her plotline along is not just a bad guy, but the evilest thing to ever evil, and ugly. I'm not saying Dorothy's character doesn't work within her genre (because it does), I'm just saying: trope. Man, now I want to watch The Wizard of Oz. (via Neatorama.)

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  17. The Periodic Table of Geek Storytelling

    Infographic

    Here's something to look at that will keep you occupied for a while. DeviantART user ComputerSherpa came up with this unbelievably informative "periodic table of storytelling" using TMS favorite TV Tropes to break down the chemical compounds of our most beloved (or reviled) geek stories. After the jump, click to enlarge for the full size. We'll see you in a few hours.

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  18. The Smurfette Principle Explained

    i'll just leave this here

    How do we love thee, Feminist Frequency? Not only is your two year old video still the definitive word on the Bechdel Test, now you're covering an entire series of female-oriented tropes? /sigh Oh, and if you're curious about some of the feeble ways that people have tried to subvert the Smurfette Principle, check out our launch Power Grid. (via Sociological Images.)

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  19. How To Write A Generic Sci Fi Novel

    Vital Information for Your Everyday Life

    Your hero must be likeable and sympathetic at all times. Like James Bond in the Roger Moore era, he’s quick with a quip, and is unruffled by any situation... Also include either a kickass woman who can do the unacceptable things that would make your hero unlikeable, or a wise old soothsaying woman who speaks in parables and knows things that can’t be found on the internet. See also: sidekick comedy robot... Despite possession of gigantic highly-advanced starships, wars are usually won by your hero and a few good marines. Death is optional. At the end, everything is as it was before, except your hero is richer, more powerful, and married to the right woman, who is never the kickass woman. -- Tips from Paul McAuley. Entire, lengthy, funny post can be read here. (pic is, what else, a Vallejo.)

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  20. Bad Science in Sci-Fi Movies

    I Love Charts io9 targets bad science tropes in movies, including the instance of sound in space, slow motion in zero gravity, and inconsequential breeding between humans and aliens. Is the assumption that aliens are not so different than you and I really bad science? Or that physics moves the way the writer wants it to? It is science fiction, after all. And how scientifically accurate is "Star Wars" really supposed to be?

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