Tag Archives: yet another not really apologetic post about btvs

general olga update

My birthday is this weekend, and it’s turning out to be one of those birthdays that start a week early and end a week late. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Here’s my birthday present to myself:
my tattoos
If you need an explanation about the new one, urban dictionary does a good job. Also, it’s a (F/f)aith tattoo! Yes, I went there. As to the one on the right (c. 2007), beyond the obvious, it’s not a topic for this blog.

The lettering was done by my friend Yuko.

Hmm. Other news. I love Foucault, but he is BREAKING MY BRAIN. I have realized that I do not know enough/ANYTHING? about economics, although I more than passed the AP Macro exam in 2005… something got lost along the way. There are cute boys on my radar, but as I have realized that I need someone to be a Watson to my Holmes, they may or may not be qualified candidates. Forget Miss Marple! Holmes is what I am going for!

Mmm, Jude Law. But I digress.

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boring stuff about my new layout to which you are probably completely indifferent

I made this blog header while I was practicing lomo-izing random images in CS3, although I don’t think you can tell that very well due to cropping. Predictably, I’ve just realized that the image is of Buffy looking up to Giles, who, in season 1, is kind of The Man. :/ Although I can make all kinds of very valid arguments for the relationship between Buffy and Giles subverting the paradigm of patriarchy, that doesn’t really challenge, you know, what’s going on in the image. Ah well. It’s pretty and it’s staying like that for now. new header, yay!

The blog has a new title (thanks to the culture of livejournal, I perceive blog titles as very fluid even if URLs are static), “The Harvest,” which I do want to take a moment to talk about. “The Harvest” is the second episode of BtVS, in which Buffy SHOCKS DUDES by OMG KICKING SOME ASS, WTF MAN, and prevents the Hellmouth from being opened. Although I pray that, in this day and age, my blog is not TOTALLY SHOCKING to dudes, I do like the themes of this episode a lot. I contemplated “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” the title of the first BtVS episode and my journal elsewhere, but I settled on the “The Harvest” for a couple of reasons. We all know what the Hellmouth is (in the context of my journal, not the (symbolic) context of the series), and my blog is not Feminism 101. Also, the threat of the Harvest (magical Hellmouth opening configuration of the stars or whatever) contrasts nicely with the conclusion of the series, in which Buffy, Faith, and the potential slayers open up the Hellmouth, because they’re going Fight Some Evil on their own terms, dammit.

The moral of all this crap you don’t care about: no matter how much there is out there to deal with, out of the seeds of our fear can grow something stronger and more beautiful. We can reap this freaky-assed harvest. And we can do so on our own terms. Gourds optional.

come with us now, if you will, gentle readers

So, I mention occasionally in this blog (and a lot more, in meatspace) that I spend a lot of time in Buffy fandom. Sometimes, this is greeted with “how totally cool, please link me up to your hot Spike/Buffy fanfic,” but more often, with bemused tolerance, and occasionally, rolled eyes. I actually suspect that more eyerolling goes on behind my back, but, you know, that’s ok. The point of this post is not the true love of Spike and Buffy (or Kirk and Spock, or Harry and Draco…). Rather, it’s transformative works. Although fanfiction is more what I do (since 1999, yo), this post largely focuses on vidding because it has a very interesting history and I think it’s more accessible to the outlander, if you will.

What is a transformative work? Well, I will give you the definition that the Organization for Transformative Works has in its FAQ, which I think is an excellent one:

A transformative work takes something extant and turns it into something with a new purpose, sensibility, or mode of expression.
Transformative works include but are not limited to fanfiction, real person fiction, fan vids, and fan art. The OTW is interested in all kinds of transformative works, but our priority will be to support and defend the types of works hosted in our archive, and the fans who create them. […]
The term transformative was specifically chosen to highlight in the nonprofit organization’s name one of the key legal defenses for fanworks of all kinds (including real person fiction): that they are transformative of original source materials.
A transformative use is one that, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the source with new expression, meaning, or message.” A story from Voldemort’s perspective is transformative, so is a story about a pop star that illustrates something about current attitudes toward celebrity or sexuality.

andrew in buffy 7x16 storyteller

So, my gentle readers, you may be going, “why do I care about this” and/or “is this remotely related to feminism” and/or “is this remotely related to life,” but trust me, I am going somewhere with this.

Did you know that the 90% of fic writers publishing in Star Trek zines in 1973 were female? Star Trek is considered the foundation of contemporary fandom, and also the origin of vidding culture. In the early 1980s, female vidding collectives sprung up to meet the needs of early vid makers. Collaborative effort was necessary due to the time-intensive and cost-prohibitive nature of vidding in the early days of the VCR.

Check out “Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding” by Francesca Coppa.

It’s not just Star Trek. Fan culture at large is not disproportionately female. But the culture surrounding fanworks, and the creators of fan works, has historically been female-driven and women-populated. (I am aware that this is not always the case these days – anime vidding fandoms? Might be dude heavy? But my point stands.) There’s even a TV Tropes page, because we all know that TV Tropes is the true arbiter of truths on the internet: Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls.

Why do women create fan works? Back to all that “transformative works” stuff. Women are challenging, editing, and changing popular culture because we’re not satisfied with it. Fanfiction and vidding are both fertile grounds for textual de- and re-construction, and for expressions of female desire. They’re also both powerful mediums for feminist critique. As someone who literally grew up in fandom (I started reading and writing Daria fanfiction when I was 12 – yes, I’m a little embarrassed), the strong, nurturing, and largely female community I found in fandom has been a huge part of my life. I met my best friend through fandom in 2001 – through her, I discovered and decided to attend [that place where I went to undergrad]. Every time I go to a new city, there’s someone I know and want to meet up with there. Nimbus 2003 was the summer before my junior year of high school. (And here I am Nimbus. Yeah… no explanations for that one.)

So, transformative works? Important.

If you are curious about vidding as feminist critique, here are a few vids you might check out:
She Walks by jmtorres (Dollhouse). Meta on rape culture; I just linked to it in my previous post.
Bachelorette by obsessive24 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Patriarchy in the Buffyverse. This video also showcases the epic racefail that is Joss Whedon, so forewarned is forearmed.
Origin Stories by giandujakiss (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). “It’s Nikki Wood’s fucking coat.” Criticism of the series’ handling of Spike and related epic racefail.

…the title links the vid to Donna Haraway’s feminist, antiracist critique of Western civilization’s origin stories in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women, much of which is based on a close reading of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy; because superheroes have origin stories,and Slayers are superheroes, and so is Robin Wood; because the plural in the title makes you think, “Whose origin? Whose story?”; because there isn’t just one story, ever. Because I wanted to say, “Pay attention to whose stories don’t get told.”

ETA: Piece of Me by obsessive24 (Britney Spears) is a great example of a vid about celebrity culture working with non-narrative footage. obsessive24 is one of my favorite vidders, and her work is generally excellent – this is no exception. 🙂

book recs & link round-up

Last night’s party was awesome! If you weren’t there, we totally missed you. It was good times.

Two books I heartily recommend:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – Do you like smart girls? Do you like the panopticon? Do you like subverting the dominant paradigm? In YA fiction? Then… this book is for you. There aren’t even any vampires.
The Magicians – I just really want someone to read this book so they can discuss it with me! A strange blend of Harry Potter, Less than Zero, & The Secret History.

LINKS (the part you all care about)
great post by my friend Flourish about Twilight.

But when we do that, we’re aligning ourselves with the patriarchy. Do you think that patriarchy is only about presenting women with images of sexy Edward who stalks you (but it’s okay, because he loves you)? No, that’s not the only thing patriarchy is about. Patriarchy is also about saying that what women like is not appropriate. Boys read boys’ books, and girls read boys’ books. Girls get to cook and clean and be doctors and lawyers, but boys only get to be doctors and lawyers. Girls are shamed for their desires, girls are told they aren’t allowed to have desires.

16 of 19 social networking sites have a more female than male users.

– (ok, this is just cool) The Jayne Austen Book & Gun Club: Pride & Extreme Prejudice. I’m not a Firefly fan, but this made me laugh. A lot. So I offer it to you.

Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, and the Strange and Difficult Path of Feminist Dudes: Some Thoughts. As someone who (a) loves Buffy and (b) only managed to get three episodes into Dollhouse, I’m really intrigued by this writer’s perspective. It may persuade me to give Dollhouse a second chance. But maybe not. (You should totally watch the linked vid, btw.)

– Another great post about Twilight from Tiger Beatdown. It’s my new favorite blog, btw.

of colds, romantic aspirations, sci-fi heroines, and DARK WILLOW

(Remember how I was like, I’m totally not going to talk about Buffy in this blog? That was a lie. But there is way less Buffy here than in my other blog, so there!)

My brain was totally on vacation last night, so I’m going to try to read the articles for today again before class. Colds are so annoying. Also, soy milk with Hershey’s Special Dark syrup? Cannot compare to the same with whole milk, but I am off the dairy sauce until I stop being so mucousy. For someone who loves dairy, this is akin to torture. MIIIIIILK. I could be in one of those ads.

Due to recent singleness, I have recently been pondering whether or not I should look for the qualities I think I want in a partner or embrace them for myself. I could be a butch, leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding Ph.D. candidate! Unfortunately, when I shared this with friends, they giggled and said, “Sorry, Olga. You are way too lipstick.”

That wasn’t even my problem with this plan. How I am going to ride a motorcycle if I don’t even drive a car?

I guess that’s going on the backburner.

Admittedly, as I expressed to my friend Rebecca, I’m pretty sure that my checklist is an improbable conflation of patriarchy blamin’, cradle Anglican, and Spike. Still, I’ll keep looking. There must be one out there. Maybe even one with a sexy accent. Who knows all the words to the secret handshake Easter hymn that I don’t even know all the words to.

I wrote an essay a while back, for a book collecting contest, about women in science fiction. I should probably track that down and post it, because it’s, uh, a HIGHLY AWESOME list.

In conclusion: I spent way too much time looking at Dark Willow fanvids last night in an effort to explain to my ex-boyfriend why Dark Willow is so much more badass than regular Willow, even if she is all veiny. (Although, problematic trope at in play here (see: Evil Magical Lesbian), which, while I think worked on the show – the show is in the context of real life, Joss! And real prejudice! Jeez.) Anyway, seriously, why are all of these fanvids SO BAD? Sigh. I guess I know what I’ll be doing once I get the hang of Adobe Premiere Pro (my project for the December intersession). Remember how I keep talking about conferences? VividCon is right here in Chicago in August and I am totally going to go. I am SO SAD that I missed the Bechdel test show this year!