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Watch: Science Fiction and the Problem with the “Born Sexy Yesterday” Trope

Pop Culture Detective analyzed a science fiction trope they call "Born Sexy Yesterday," in which a woman with the mind of a child and the body of an adult, sexualized woman falls in love with an otherwise average man who understands the world better than she does.

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There’s Another Terrible Beauty and The Beast Trope We’re Not Talking About

A look at a damaging trope that most folks seem to be ignoring about Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

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Hey, Military Science Fiction Authors: Stop It With the Tropes Already

To subvert your Military Woman trope, you’ve got to subvert your Military trope. Which means subverting your Military Man trope, and probably your Man Trope in general.

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Stop Calling Romance Novels “Just” Love Stories—They’re So Much More

The struggle to destroy negative misconceptions of romance fiction parallels the struggle to make equality of the sexes real in our world. And that deserves respect.

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Anti-Woman Horror 101: How Rereading Christopher Pike’s Whisper of Death Killed My Nostalgia

I recently recovered a shoebox of 24 paperbacks from my childhood closet, all yellowed pages and trashy covers— drippy neon fonts, white teen faces frozen in terror. Ah, Christopher Pike, horror king of the ‘90s tween set. We meet again.

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When “Freaks” Become Stars: How Stranger Things Subverts Tropes to Defend Disabled Outcasts

If you lived in the suburbs in the 80s you could be anything you wanted. You just had to work hard and fit in, be a “regular kid.” It didn’t matter that my parents were divorced, a rarity for kids in my town. It didn’t matter that I was a bigger rarity. I was “handicapped” with Cerebral Palsy. I would have five surgeries before fifteen. Not surprisingly, what I really wanted was the magical escape childhood movies promised.

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The Worst of the Worst: Suicide Squad as a Case Study in Oppressive Stock Characters

In modern Western culture, stock characters reflect our racism and sexism, and reliance on stock characters weakens representation by failing to develop characters from diverse backgrounds. Enter Suicide Squad.

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Can We Cool It With The “Women Disguised as Men” Trope Already?

Sincerely, your tired non-binary author.

My representation-starved heart can't keep getting its hopes up like this.

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When the Girl Next Door Is a Fly: How The Buzz on Maggie Trashed Gender Stereotypes

With its fly protagonist and empowering, visually arresting messages, The Buzz on Maggie threw gendered tropes in the garbage. The aromatic, savory, delicious garbage.

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Writing For Me: How Fantasy Tropes Can Bring Out the Power of Being a Fangirl

I wanted to write a story that not only was different than what was normally told, but pointed out why diversity is important. That not only contains it, but also discusses it. I wanted to write a book that makes the readers intensely aware that it is a book. And yet still be entertaining.

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The Stranger Sex: Subverting Gendered Tropes in Stranger Things

Some heroes wear mom jeans.

Now and again, a show comes along that reminds you that strong female characters are not a monolith. They don’t have to look like near-invincible superheroes kicking ass in tiny outfits or cold, emotionless women sloughing off their femininity. Sometimes they wear mom jeans and plaid shirts. Sometimes they have a fondness for Eggo waffles. Sometimes, strength is stranger.

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The Force Awakens Gives Us a Strong, Capable & Competent Female Character in Rey

And that's a problem... how?

In studying the preceding Star Wars films, an interesting point emerges. If Rey is a Mary Sue, she's far from being the very first one. She just happens to be a girl, and for some that's apparently a problem.

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Pretty Little Liars‘ Season Finale Reinforces an Awful Transgender Trope

Spoilers.

If you follow Pretty Little Liars, then you should probably be warned now: spoilers, y'all.

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“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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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