Strong Women vs Kick-@$$ Women

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In 2017 one of the biggest summer blockbusters of the year was Wonder Woman. A first in this new wave of Superhero movies.

Previously, women have been depicted as strong and capable… until a man comes on the screen. Then she becomes the typical Damsel. And even before that, we, the audience, were TOLD that this woman was strong of character. But there were very few instances of actually being shown.

In romance, most women (heroines especially) are known to be perky, and quippy. They are stubborn to the point of being a bratty child, but everything works out in the end because she gets her hero.

Where does this come from? Who thinks that this is okay?

TV and movie producers. Game designers. Various other powers that be (PTB) that are more often than not Old (white) and Male.

I’m not going to get into the race portion of this discussion. It has had me upset enough over the past month. And I won’t be man-bashing. Please, don’t think I am. Just hear me out. Especially on this next part.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s. I was of an age of weekday morning cartoons, weekday afternoon cartoons, as well as Saturday morning cartoons. Let’s look at this for a moment. 3 channels in the mornings and afternoons, 2 hours each during the week and then another 3-hour block on Saturday again, 3 different channels. Do you remember what cartoons there were targeted for girls?

  1. Strawberry Shortcake
  2. Rainbow Brite
  3. My Little Pony
  4. She-Ra
  5. Jem
  6. Hello Kitty
  7. Care Bears (but does this really count?)

That’s from what I remember. ALL of that TV time and I only remember 6 (possibly 7) shows for girls. There may be more, but this is what I’m going to run with.

Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite browbeat us with how girls are supposed to like pink, care and share everything they have. Even when they have to share with boys… which is why I’m not sure if Care Bears was geared to girls. They had to share them with Boys. Hell, even now, they are changing the genders of some of the bears so that now they’re girls instead of boys and boys instead of girls (Here’s looking at you Wish and Funshine). Oh! And glittery magic saves the day.

Always.

Now I turn to She-Ra and Jem. Two of the most iconic characters that every girl wanted to be like.

But if we look back at who they are, I wouldn’t want to be either one. Not really.

She-Ra was a He-Man knock off. She could have been powerful and cunning. Hell, she started out as a villain. Oh just thinking about the ways the stories could have gone… I’m having a Padme moment. 

Because what we got was a woman that fought by the honor (a cop-out when you realize her TWIN fights by the power) of Greyskull. And she’s just a dumb set piece that’s there to look like Kathleen Turner pre-Jessica Rabbit. Okay, in her defense, EVERYONE in that show was dumb as a brick. Really. This chick was a CAPTAIN in the army you were just fighting, and because some muscle-bound foreigner says that we can trust her, now SHE is the one you’re hanging your entire rebellion on??? Crap. The more I think about it, the more I hate it.

So let’s move over to Jem. I used to sing all of the songs. I had the dolls. But after a while, Jem lost her appeal. I was starting to see more romantic entanglements because my older sister was starting to date. And I realized one thing about Jem that turned me off to the point I was done with her.

Jem teaches you that it’s okay for your boyfriend to cheat on you, as long as it’s with you.

Rio didn’t know that Jem was Jerica for a LOT of the series. I am honestly ashamed of how stupid he was. But he was making a play for BOTH Jem and Jerica. And both women acted like it was perfectly okay.

That’s not okay.

Now, there are other female icons that come to mind. Cheetara from Thunder Cats… but again, she was a set piece. A girl so that when brothers had to play with their sisters, the sister has someone to play as (I have an older brother… ask me how I know). Wonder Woman in Super Friends was the same thing. Tom and Jerry always fought over the girl. Transformers had Arcee. GI Joe had Lady J and Scarlet (To be honest, I LOVED Scarlet and Lady J), and while they were commanding women, they were tied to Flint and Duke respectively. The Baroness as well… even though I liked her way better than Destro.

So I think it’s pretty safe to say that there weren’t THAT many kick-ass women to admire growing up.

Don’t get me wrong. It was the same with movies. Women were over-sexualized in action movies if they were there. Or they were the ones that needed to be saved, even after being told don’t do the thing. Over time people seemed to confuse being a sexual creature with being a strong bad ass woman. They are not mutually exclusive.

And then two women came to become the benchmark for strong AND kick-ass women in the 90s.

Now, I will say this. I have my problems with Xena. I won’t get into them here. But I will say that for just about every season (except for the last one). I was DOWN for the Warrior Princess. She took on GODS and WON! She didn’t need a man to dictate anything to her. She didn’t need a man to define her. She knew what she needed to do, she sank her teeth in and did it. She used every weapon she had and she still had enough heart to know when she went too far. Xena was the type of character arc She-Ra deserved.

Buffy, on the other hand, had a hand full of strong women in one place. And here is where I will show you what I believe is the difference between kick-ass and strong.

First, we have Buffy. If she had her perfect world, she would be out at the mall with friends or cheerleading. But she’s been given the mantle of Slayer. That means no more mall crawls. No dating the captain of the football team. She has to spend her nights killing vampires and other creatures of the night. Again, she buckles down and gets her hands dirty.

Faith is another kick-ass character. Her arc goes from one of an antagonist to that of a hero to stand side by side with Buffy.

There is one character that walks the line between strong and kick-ass. Willow.

Willow started as the nerdy friend. The one that wanted to help out even though she knew she wasn’t strong enough to handle vampires they way Buffy did. So, they gave her a girlfriend, got her addicted to magic (Dark Willow was one of the BEST arcs… just saying) and she became a teacher to the other slayers. They learned to turn to her when Buffy was down.

Now, to the woman I feel is the strongest in the whole Buffy universe…

You can’t change my mind on this. Buffy’s mother Joyce is the strongest female in this show. Her daughter’s escapades forced her to change her entire life. She had to pick up her roots and move because of her daughter getting kicked out of school. She had to deal with an emotional teenager going through hell alone. The world was falling down around them on a weekly basis. And all Joyce did was take sigh, shake her head, and carry on. She raged maybe two times before she found out that Buffy was the Slayer? She wasn’t okay with it, but she knew that her daughter was the only one that could do it. So Joyce smiled, left a light on, and dealt with what came.

You don’t have to be a fighter to be strong. Just standing in the storm can give you strength.

Interlude of Y2K

After Xena and Buffy went off the air, they left behind a void and they ignored filling it. The PTB decided to focus more on dramas where the women were all these love-lorn damsels that needed to be saved from themselves. Or on dramas where no one was likable.

We also saw the rise of the reality show.

Yeah. Whole. Different. Monster. We’re talking about women in fiction. Reality shows are quasi-fiction at best.

There were movies that tried to have that kick-ass female lead. But no one seemed to be able to hit the mark. TV was obsessed with the Jersey Shore, American Idol and the like more than they were with the next new Buffy.

To be fair shows staring a bunch of men weren’t really hitting the mark either. So, without a lot of TV or movies to watch, I fell into anime.

Hard.

Like, brick to the face hard.

But most anime of the 90s and early 2000s can be summed up in one sentence: Boobs don’t work that way.

No, really, the jiggle bounce on some of those anime were really distracting. And I may do another analysis on Anime as it’s own medium in the future. I know there are a few that I already know I want to cover. But that’s not here. We’re talking about what happened with female characters.

Enter the Epic. The Wonderful. The Beautiful…

Kill Bill.

Tarantino was in his prime (at least in my eyes). And this had a nearly perfect mix of action and story.

Yes, with all of the wonderful movies about women embracing their freedoms with their sexuality. How it was okay to date around and NOT be called a whore, I gravitated to…

The Bride.

I didn’t know her name. I didn’t CARE. Here was a revenge flick that turned Revenge with Kevin Costner and the Wraith with Charlie Sheen into comedies. She was focused and determined. I loved all of the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad because of 1 key fact.

There was only 1 man on the squad (Bill doesn’t count. He ran it.)

(and Bill’s brother was actually kinda useless as we see in Vol 2… but we’re talking about Vol 1.)

So, let’s get back to Bride and the Vipers.

These are strong kick-ass women. These women set the bar for Kick-Ass in my world. To this day, I can only hope that my characters come across this way.

On the book front, I was still writing fan fiction. I think it was around 2004-2005 when I decided to try writing on my own. I started reading actual books again and stumbled on Paranormal Romance (my genre of choice). There were a couple of series that I started reading, and devoured. I would come in on book 9 and go back and find every book previous and read them all.

No lie. This was me. I knew the people that worked there and they knew both me and my daughter.

But by the time I reached book 12 in this one series, I realized that all of the “strong” women fell into a cookie cutter. Out of 12 books, all of these women were “strong” because we were told they were strong. They were “desirable” because we were told that they were. They were smart because, again, we were told. In 12 books, there was 1 woman that fought alongside her man.

If I’m being 100% candid with you… those other 11 women weren’t all that. As a matter of fact, a few of them dipped into Too Stupid to Live territory. How could a guy that’s lived for 100s of years find that fun? I’m going to ignore the ENTIRE cradle robbing feel that most Paranormal romance has. I want to stay on topic and this is already long.

But in the majority of Paranormal Romance, the heroine was The Damsel. If you want, I can go over character types. But this one is a no-brainer. She goes out, gets into trouble and has the hero rescue her. Louise Laine is a perfect Damsel (I have Superman issues. So I’m only going to brush on this.) She goes into danger because it’s her job. She often does so weapon-less. She also has no sort of self-defense training (that may have changed in later issues of the comics, but I don’t think so). It’s like she’s just going to do whatever she wants because her BF will save her within seconds of her scream.

There were a LOT of heroines like that in Paranormal Romance. It’s what drove me to want to write my own stories to have my own Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. I will admit, the closest things to strong women I have don’t get much page time at the moment. It’s something I’m working on changing. But again, to be candid with you, I’m having fun with writing kick-ass women.

Strong and Kick-Ass are 2 separate things that need to go hand and hand. But just remember, can have one without the other. You just have to give your characters reasons, flaws, and motivations.

And please, for the LOVE OF ARES:

SHOW US WHY YOUR FEMALE IS SMART, STRONG, KICK-ASS ANY OF THIS!!!!!

Remember, he’s watching.

gone too soon :(

He sees everything

(sorry, I was talking about Xena… couldn’t help it)

And this concludes my thoughts on Strong vs Kick-Ass females. Let me know your thoughts. We can agree or disagree… Just remember Rule #1.

See you next week!!
Dawn

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New Directions

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No, I’m not starting a Glee Club.

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I know that I haven’t been up here the way I should be. But that’s usually because I don’t know what I should write. I write my novels (or try to) and keep it moving because that’s what I do. I have discussions with other authors and there are times when I feel like a fraud because most book references people use go over my head, but I nail movie references and even some video game ones.

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I also know storytelling. I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve also been told by a close friend that I have a “teacher aspect” to my personality. Because of that, I got to thinking (yes, LeFou, it’s a dangerous past time. Been there, sang that). And thought about talking about the crafting and storytelling that I’ve always been so invested in.

As a result, I’ve decided to do something a little different for a while.

  1. I’m going to stop beating myself up if I don’t have any content. Really, it wastes time and is very tiring. If I don’t have anything to write about or a writing prompt or even news to share it will be okay. I’ve had this blog since 2011 and it’s not going anywhere. Neither am I.
  2. I’m going to have actual writing and storytelling topics. Some will involve Anime, Games, and movies.

Okay, so that’s 2 things different.

Since I enjoy so much different media, I hope that you’ll enjoy the new content. If not, I totally understand.

I just also want to remind you that Rule #1 will be in effect for all comments and topics.dont-be-a-dick-floral-inspiration-quote-prints

The first analysis post should be going up this weekend.

See you all then!
Dawn

Inspirations & Detours

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Hi everyone!!!

People say all the time that life is a journey. It twists, it turns and as long as you let it, it will take you on a grand adventure.

Writing can be the same. Except kids join you. And every four or five steps there’s something else that someone wants to do, another is trying to pull another’s hair while the oldest is trying to steal the ice cream of the youngest and the one smack in the middle has a new bright idea.

This past year and a half I have tried to come to terms with my writing. I have been depressed for the entire time I worked on One for Sorrow. And it’s like I’m sinking into a deeper abyss the more I obsess over it not being complete. Maxwell Investigations was fine to sit on the back burner since Victor isn’t ready to shine (no… my vampire’s do NOT sparkle LOL) and with this new arch that it’s taking on, I needed to figure out which way it was going to go.

Then there were other storylines…. Anya Roman, Werewolf Guardians, Pirates vs Ninjas, Balance, Western Paranormal Steampunk, Fairy Tails, The House of Cain….

Each and every one of them wanted my attention. For a period of time, I seriously thought that I burned myself out. I cried thinking that I may have to give up on writing because each voice, each story started screaming so loud that I couldn’t hear anything.

I may have mentioned before how I was just going to stop and let the chips fall where they may. I have reached a point where I can’t cry. I can’t wallow. All I can do is move forward.

And then it was like Christmas.

When I was asleep last night, I had a visitor.

Madison Maxwell.

She was sitting at my computer. She looked just like I remembered her. Enough of a Royal to be respected, and enough rebellion to bring about change. I was too shocked to move. When she noticed I was in the room with her, she just smirked and said “There’s 1 Maxwell left, and I want to have a Black Widow moment.”

When I woke up, I knew exactly what she meant. When I started The Maxwell Investigations series, it was supposed to center around Madison, Dylan, their 3 brothers, and parents. As the story grew and was fleshed out, Vampires and Werewolves were added into the mix. Now we have Succubi, Fae, Gargoyles etc. With the events of Dangerous Dalliances, I see the need to have at least 1 scene where the local governments are trying to figure out not only what is going on, but also how to keep their respective countries safe.

I can totally see Madison talking to Congress, trying to calm everyone’s temper, and then just saying screw it. We police ourselves. If you want to try to come after us, so be it. We’re done hiding… and then walking out. I doubt that’s how it will really go, but oh I can picture it. screen-shot-2014-03-06-at-11-59-11-pm

 

And in the middle of all of this, Jimmy can get his happily ever after. I think I may start on this soon. I have no title (which is usually the first thing I come up with) and I’ll probably be even more inspired for Siobhan since I’m going to see Age of Ultron this Saturday. I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s what and where’s where. I hope my ramblings didn’t bore or confuse anyone.

See you next time!!!
Dawn

Happy Hundred!!!!

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Borrowed from A Pinch of Pixie Dust via Google

Hi Everyone!!!

I’ve reached a milestone with this blog. This is my 100th post!!! 🙂

I wanted there to be a lot of fanfare, and I wanted to have something really epic to say.

Really, I got nothing.

But it isn’t all bad news!!!

One for Sorrow is still being edited. I wanted to be able to upload it Kindle and Nook, but I’d rather have a polished novel than an early release.

The Frederick Book Festival is less than a month away! I have pens on order, my books and bookmarks are all ready to go and my tablecloth should be here in a matter of days (yes, the little things excite me LOL). I hope to gain some readers, as well as connect with any already in the Maryland area.

I have a minor confession to make. These past few months, I’ve been in a really bad place. I’ve been stressed out and ready to snap. I haven’t been able to really write since I finished OfS. Nothing has been coming to me. But the night before last I was able to get a few words down. I’m not sure where it’s going or even if it will develop into something else. Of course I hope it does, but for right now, I’m hoping it will at least help me get past these feelings of epic failure that I’ve been dealing with.

ANYWAY!!!! This is supposed to be a HAPPY post!!!!! I’ve been trying my hands at at-home-bartending. So far, I’ve made a Blue Hawaiian, Piña Colada, and a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri… There are a few more recipes that I’m gonna cry. I just have to find a few lab rats… I mean volunteers to try them 🙂

I’ll keep everyone updated on what I’m doing. Hopefully a few of you can get out to Frederick MD on 6-28-14 for the festival.

Hope to see you there!!!!
Later Folks!!!!
Dawn 🙂

The Waiting Game…

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Hi everyone!!! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!!! My daughter and I spent the day at home, trying to do something to her hair… It’s long, and thick, and yeah… it’s a weekend project….

ANYWAY!!! I know the last time I posted, I just finished the first draft of One for Sorrow. I’m waiting on some feedback before I can continue the process and get it out to your hot little hands. 🙂

But lately I’ve been feeling a little down. When it comes to Auspicious Affairs, Victor and Leigh aren’t coming to me the way I would like. I get a peek of them here, a peek there, and nothing else. There was one whole day I spent staring at the computer screen because they were simply being tight-lipped.

So I looked through my trusty flash drive of ideas (read: the projects that I’ve started and never finished) and while none jumped out and demanded that I work on them, I was reminded of something that I once said I would start, but never got around to.

I know, I sounds kind of confusing. And in a way, it is. But what do you expect??? The mind of a writer isn’t a clear, cut and dry place…. I would say that the inside of my mind looks like an episode of hoarders….

450_messy1_080516Yeah, it’s something like that…

I want to have a clearer picture of what’s going on in my head with this new WIP. When I have a clear and solid direction, I’ll decide if I’m going to push for a novel, or novella… I’ve never tried to write a novella… so much story in so few words… I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off.

ANYWHO!!!!!

I’ll keep you all updated on any plans that I make, and anything else that comes to mind. Have an EPIC DAY!!!!

Dawn 🙂

 

True Confessions: Jealousy

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Hi everyone!!! 

I’ve been thinking about what I could put up here for more on my True Confession pieces, and in my wondering I came across an article that just makes me shake my head. I am someone who does not like promoting hate in any way, shape or form, so while I may bring this article to your attention, I won’t post a link to it. I think it’s also making the rounds on Facebook anyway.

It’s about how one aspiring author wants JK Rowling to step back and stop writing… for the sake of writing. To sum it up, the woman who wrote the article believes that JK is getting more than her fair share of the writing market because of the success of her unrealistic children’s book. Harry Potter has had his time, and now that JK is trying to move into the adult market, she’s pushing out all other authors for her substandard writing.

Here is where I will point out that the writer ADMITS she has NEVER read Harry Potter, and with as condescending as she was towards adults who read Harry Potter, I doubt she’s ever seen the movies.

The writer of the article also talks about how JK’s “crossover” books have made monetary success simply because of her name. Yet many reviews have said that they were mediocre at best and never would have been published if some Plain Jane said she wrote it.

Basically, the green-eyed monster is rearing his head.

The article says how JK is taking up too much room. Publishers won’t look at new stuff simply because JK already has something in the works (I’m guessing a sequel to the Cuckoo book she wrote). Stores won’t buy books from new untried authors because JK is a guaranteed seller.

Now, that I’ve recapped, here’s what I have to say… BULLSHIT!

The writer opened the article with how a friend of hers said people would look at it and just think that she’s just being jealous, but she’s not.

Yeah, she is.

I’ll admit this right here: I am jealous of Stephenie Meyer. I hate the Twilight Saga, I think it was poorly written with no character growth. I think Bella was a way for her to live out fantasies of being the odd-girl-out and then watching as all of the boys fall all over themselves to get to be with her.

But I will also admit this: I admire the HELL out of Stephenie Meyer simply because she was able to turn her novels into a worldwide sensation.

And guess what folks, I’ve read the whole series. I know there’s no real character growth. I know that all of those memes about how creepy Edward is because he watches Bella sleep, yeah… those are pretty accurate.

But I would never dare to say that someone should stop writing because I can’t get the press I deserve. As a writer, your own success or failure is on one person… YOU. Not the publishing house. Not the bookstores. And defiantly not the people reading.

It’s taken me a while to get to a point where I can stand here and support my friends and fellow authors. I always thought it was MY thing and while my friends could write, I was supposed to be an author. But after watching the relationship between Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter (two women I GREATLY admire) I took a good look at myself.

Just about everything in life is a competition. But for the longest time I’ve been competing against the wrong thing. I’m at a place where I can honestly say it’s not other authors I’m up against. It isn’t even Big Five-vs-Indie/Self.

It’s simply the author against the dollar.

As someone who enjoys reading, if I find an author I like I will buy their book. Shelf space doesn’t matter. Will I ever have the accolades that JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer? I doubt it. I don’t have the backing. Do I want all of that backing? Yes and no. I like having creative control over my things, and I don’t have to deal with having to please any of the Big Five. But with that goes having a lot of backing (it also goes into the whole traditional-vs-self publishing giant… and I’m not ready to tackle that here yet.).

There is only one piece of advise I can give any aspiring author…

Get over yourself.

It sounds harsh, I know. But there comes a time when you have to stand back and look at things with a grown up eye. We’re all big boys and girls. Just because my book is paranormal, and yours is YA urban fantasy, doesn’t make yours any better or worse than mine. And for the love of all that’s Holy, remember that there will always be someone better at certain things than you are. I suck at marketing. I admit it. But there are other’s that are raking in money hand over fist. Does that mean that the people who are good at it should move aside so my novels can have their fair share of time in the sun? Nope! Not for one second!

Should one person step aside and not write what’s in their hearts because they’ve already made a name for themselves in another genre? Absolutely not! The pure idea of someone even suggesting that is sheer stupidity.

This is a big world folks, and we’re only players in it.

Until next time!!!
Dawn 🙂

True Confessions: Love Scenes

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Hey everyone!!!

Nothing really went on during the weekend. Yes, I watched the Superbowl. I can’t WAIT for some of those movies to come out. The game didn’t impress me at all… it just showed me why I don’t bet actual money LOL (yes, I was cheering for Denver).

But aside from that, I sat in front of my computer and looked at a love scene that has been staring at me since last Thursday. That’s what’s leading me to write this. I’m a Paranormal Romance author, but I have a confession to make….

I HATE WRITING LOVE SCENES!!!!!!

screaming

I never know if they’re good enough, or hot enough. I don’t want it to read like instructions from Ikea (even though given some of those instructions… things COULD get interesting). I just hate insert Tab A into Slot B sex. I’ve read books like that before, and I never wanted to produce anything like that.

So I usually end up going through my iTunes and finding all of the songs that you can bump and grind to, and then get to work.

Only this time, I’ve been trying to put it off for as long as possible.

I’m working on the second love scene in One for Sorrow. It’s supposed to be tender, passionate, a pair of lovers trying to express their love without confessing they love each other…. and all that seems to come out is Insert Tab A into Slot B. It’s really frustrating.

What am I doing to combat this???

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After I finish drooling, I’m going to do like Loki here and relax. The more you stress over something, the more it’s going to eat away at your soul… okay, it probably isn’t that serious, but it just feels like it is….

Then I’m going to breathe, get my head straight and do this. A friend suggested doing the band-aide approach… just do a 1k1hr or two, get the scene done. Then if I need to, go back and fix it. The whole going back to fix it is going to get me in trouble, I know it. But it may be the only way I can even think about getting this novel done even remotely on time.

Those are my plans for now. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to report better news to you all. Till then, Stay safe and warm!!!
Dawn 🙂