May. 21st, 2017 05:05 pm
laceblade: Risa of Lovely Complex, contorting thumbs & index fingers into a heart, winking (Love*Com: Risa Heart)
I am not staying at the hotel this year. We'll see whether I end up deciding that's TERRIBLE or not. I justified it last year b/c I was co-chairing, but this year I have no such excuse lol.

I am not on any panels. I will appear on stage briefly during dessert salon/GOH speeches.

This year, unlike last year, I do hope to attend some panels, though.

For the first time since I started going, I think, I have not taken any time off from work. Having been on vacation for the entire month of April, I felt too guilty to request any, lol.
This means that I will not be around for the Gathering or any of the first programming items, but shouldn't affect much else.
I'll likely miss the GOH readings at A Room of One's Own Thursday as well, because I'll be horseback riding.

This is my 9th WisCon, but my 10th anniversary of when I first attended!

I don't discuss this much outside of locked entries, but I've not been in a great place mentally this past week or so. So if I seem subdued, it's not you; it's me.
laceblade: Sasuke and Ponyo; Ponyo w/light over her head, expression gleeful (Ponyo: It's a light!)
I had a "nightmare" last night in that somehow WisCon was happening and it was already Sunday night, and I was like, "God, I haven't even DONE anything yet, how the hell is this almost over?!"

That this now constitutes a WisCon nightmare for me is evidence of a healthier relationship, I think.

WisCon 40

Jun. 3rd, 2016 08:27 pm
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
I keep reminding myself that I literally attended 0 panels this year, so writing up the con should be easy! Ahaha.

I didn't see everyone I wanted to, and didn't spend enough time with almost anyone, :( I'm sorry about that & hope everyone is understanding that I wasn't out/about as much as usual, due mostly to various chairing duties.
Some of this is due to having my own hotel room for the first time, Friday through Monday this year. When I got emotionally exhausted or sore, I could just lie down and go to sleep. It was heavenly.
I also did my best to focus on hydration. It was hot/humid outdoors most of the time, and I certainly had the a/c on & drying me out in my hotel room.

Overall, I was really struck by how many people came up to me and thanked me for chairing and/or for WisCon still being around. There were a lot of generous compliments flying around WisCon generally this year. Maybe it's an effect of not having attended any panels [lol], or because I skipped last year, but this was the warmest-feeling WisCon in my memory. Maybe it's because I keep knowing more and more people.

I attended big events, in part because I had to speak at them! [Only mundane things trololol]

Opening Ceremonies included some speeches. Katherine Cross, or [twitter.com profile] Quinnae_Moon, spoke about solidarity with hotel employees, talking about how we make WisCon together with them, and that they are not our servants. She also noted that the Concourse Hotel is the only union hotel in the city of Madison, a thing I sometimes forget.
I missed some chunks of Opening Ceremonies due to having to attend to chair!things, but [personal profile] antarcticlust and [twitter.com profile] therotund organized a varied group of people to talk about what WisCon means to them. [personal profile] wild_irises talked about how nobody on the concom ever says, "Wow, we did really great this year; we really landed that." Rather, it's a group of people constantly trying to improve. It was the first real moment since taking a year off the concom and then rejoining and then emergency co-chairing that I really felt, "Oh, yeah; that's why I'm doing all this."

That feeling came back x100 during the speeches given by our three Guests of Honor.

I had to have a firm interaction with someone we had banned the previous evening, and who was demanding to know "why" we had ejected him, etc. At one point during the conversation, he stood up and I took a step back to give him space to do so. "Oh, I'm SORRY! Are you AFRAID?! Am I in your SPACE?" I smiled and told him that I wasn't afraid, but between that and his going downstairs to scream at hotel staff in the lobby made me feel pretty confident that we made the correct choice :p

On Saturday evening, I stopped in at the Vid Party a couple times. I think my favorite premiere [that I saw] was [personal profile] garrideb's "Control," about Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda's comic series Monstress. I've mentioned this series in a couple of reading posts, and through this vid, you can at least appreciate Takeda's fan-fucking-tastic artwork.
I fucking love the song, & need to get the single. I'm meaner than my demons...

I got a fair number of books that I'm excited to read from the dealers' room this year, as well as a Sailor Mars scarf and a nyan-cat tiny tote that fits my iPhone 4S precisely.

I try really hard to push back about the "generational split" narrative that many people have formed about people who recently left the concom vs. those who stayed/joined, because it's not an accurate statement.
That said, there is a fairly significant number of white people, many of whom have attended WisCon for decades, who have been complaining about feeling "unwelcome" in recent years - as WisCon works to become more welcoming to people of color, to transgender and genderqueer identifying folks, etc.
If seeing more people unlike yourself being welcomed makes YOU feel UNwelcome, then that's a you-problem. I think that in the post linked below, Mikki Kendall really hits it on the head when she notes that some people's discomfort straight up comes from experience spaces that are NOT centered on cisgender white people.

In addition to personally being called a mealy-mouthed weasel immediately pre-con, another concom member reports us having been referred to as, "gauletiers." I had to look up that word. What IS it with older white feminists and their World War II metaphors? And what the fuck is the matter with them?

But other people have already blogged about these people's discomfort:
K. Tempest Bradford's On WisCon, and Who Is Allowed to Feel Welcome
Because here’s the thing: 99% of the people I have seen or heard complaining about how WisCon isn’t comfortable for them and WisCon isn’t fun are white people. Not 100%. But 99%. It’s a bunch.

You know what else I’ve noticed about the people making these complaints? A lot of them are cisgender, a lot of them are men, a lot of them are people with privilege along multiple axes. Funny that.

And while it makes me sad at any time for folks to feel excluded, or like a space has been taken away from them, I have to say:

Where were you when this was other people feeling this way?

Where were you when people who are marginalized in nearly every other fandom space and came to WisCon thinking it would be different said they felt uncomfortable, unwelcome, threatened, unsafe?


If you’re uncomfortable now, but weren’t before, then think about that. Really think about it. Consider if you were making people uncomfortable before, even without thought or intention. Consider that you’re feeling left out because, in the course of our claiming a space for ourselves, we made clear to you just how much you or people like you contributed to our pain, our lack of fun, our lack of safety. Ponder the puzzle of how a con dedicated to feminism, populated by many amazing people, somehow ended up being a place where people who weren’t the right color, the right class, the right age, the right level of ability, the right gender presentation felt like they didn’t fully belong. And delve deep into the mystery of how fixing that problem is the thing that’s made you run away.

Mikki Kendall's WisCon 40 Highs, Lows, and What the Actual F*ck?
You might not like what WisCon is becoming now that the people working so hard to make it happen are different from you. You might not like knowing that their first concern isn’t the comfort of people who can’t see them as human or equals. That’s a hard road. It’s your road though, so you walk it. But don’t complain that it “feels unwelcoming” because it is becoming inclusive, and less concerned with the comfort of bigots. With the comfort of people who have been happy to not only excuse abusive behavior, but also to be abusers when it suited them. This isn’t “your” WisCon anymore? Okay. That’s fine, that’s your decision. It’s definitely ours now. We work hard for it every year. You can adapt, evolve and enjoy or you can move the hell on. We probably won’t miss you.

There are some weird, pervasive rumors on Facebook about super low registration numbers this year. I'm not sure where that came from - we had well over 900 memberships, and the GOH Speeches/Dessert Salon was packed to the gills. More to come in future WisCon blog posts/etc., I'm sure.

I don't know what my role on the concom will be this coming year, if anything. Maybe I can re-focus on SF3 Board tasks, picking up things that fell by the wayside while I was off co-chairing. For the moment, I'll continue thinking on it.


May. 22nd, 2016 08:52 pm
laceblade: Sasuke and Ponyo; Ponyo w/light over her head, expression gleeful (Ponyo: It's a light!)
I keep wanting to make a post about turning thirty*, but pre-WisCon anxiety has reduced me to a person unwilling to leave the apartment to go out for dinner BECAUSE STRESS.

[Once WisCon STARTS, I will be fine. Until it starts, I'll be in a perpetual state of losing my shit.]

I know turning an age, or a year turning over, or whatever, doesn't really change things. But I really hope that my thirties are better than my twenties. I feel way older than I am, is that pretentious? lol.

I really hope I'll have more time to blog once WisCon's done.

[*this post is not meant to be a call for birthday wishes. If you haven't wished me happy birthday, I can assume that you're glad I was born!]
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Let’s talk about what we would like to see at WisCon 40 for programming, any topic.

Post any thoughts you have, however semi-formed.
People can comment & try to come up with the best panels possible! Anyone can suggest panel ideas: People who run the convention, authors, attendees, or people who have never attended WisCon and never will. Please feel free to join in!

If the comments go in a direction you dislike, or you don't want to participate in a discussion, you can submit your own panel idea here on WisCon's website.

Things to know:
--Not every panel idea that gets suggested ends up on the schedule. Programming chairs typically have to cut about 50% of the panels due to space/time constraints.
--Much closer to WisCon 40, people will be able to vote on WisCon's website for panels they'd like to attend, & also indicate their interest in being a panelist or a moderator. These votes matter.
--Programming minions edit panel titles/descriptions after they've been submitted. Sometimes they combine multiple panels on the same theme into a single panel.

Commenting disclaimer: If you're reading this on LiveJournal, I would appreciate it if you could post your comments on the Dreamwidth post, so they're all in one spot. Of course, if you are unable to do so, comment at LJ.
laceblade: A curved dirt road in the middle of a forest (Up North)
I think I've made this abundantly clear throughout the past year, lol, but I will not be at WisCon this year. It's not you, it's me. [I originally mistyped this as, "It's not me, it's you," which I think proves my subconscious still needs some time away or perhaps that my brain automatically communicates through Fall Out Boy lyrics.]

I will be Up North, in the woods, and not online except extremely intermittently. Sometimes texts reach me in the woods, but otherwise email me and I'll read it when I come back.

I'll miss interacting with all of you online, whether you're going to WisCon or not, while I'm gone!
laceblade: fanart of Inner Senshi in street clothes, hugging & smiling (Sailor Moon: inners)
I feel like many of us will have things to say on the question posed by [personal profile] wrdnrd: What does feminist/social justice conrunning look like?
How does a group balance existing according to its own principles while at the same time still getting stuff done? How does it deal with straying from those principles -- whether as an org, or on the individual level? How does it deal with toxic volunteers, especially when they're an otherwise effective worker? Conversely, how does it deal with ineffective volunteers who are otherwise individuals deeply committed to the principles?

Where are the tipping points? Put up with X amount of bullshit in order to get stuff done? Or kick out problematic people and risk not having enough staffpower to get that stuff done?

And, most importantly, how can we actually make it work?? What are the secrets to recruiting and retaining good volunteers? To creating a healthy organizational working environment? To getting stuff done while still upholding our own principles?

Can it be done?
laceblade: Dark icon, white spraypaint on bottom with "DA" for Dumbledore's Army. Top text, in caps: We will not obey. (HP: Dumbledore's Army: We will not obey)
Panelists: NK Jemisin, Eileen Gunn, Andrea D. Hairston, Debbie Notkin, Michi Trota

NK Jemisin’s Guest of Honor speech at Continuum 2013 included a call for a Reconciliation within SF/F. “It is time that we recognized the real history of this genre, and acknowledged the breadth and diversity of its contributors...[I]t’s time we took steps -- some symbolic, some substantive -- to try and correct those errors. I do not mean a simple removal of the barriers that currently exist within the genre and its fandom, though doing that’s certainly the first step. I mean we must no make an active, conscious effort to establish a literature of the imagination which truly belongs to everyone.” What would a Reconciliation look like? How can we start one? How can we grow one?

This is not a transcript! But I tried. I faded a lot toward the end - I need to go to bed ^^;;
ALSO, I suggested this panel. *mic drop*

[personal profile] firecat also did a write-up here, & included a number of links for context.

NK: I am losing my voice, oh, here’s the mic on!
This panel is Reconciliation Within SF/F. I have corralled, well, WisCon corralled people to discuss this with us. I’m going to read the panel description and then we will do introductions. I’m the moderator, by the way. [reads panel description]

DN: Many people know me. Not a writer. Been a seller, editor, fan on the chair of the Tiptree Motherboard, lots and lots of stuff. Saw this panel on the schedule, I checked “please” b/c I thought panel was so exciting. Then Nora asked what we are going to talk about, and I thought I should KNOW what I want to say. I did some research and reading and I’m totally excited to be talking about this topic.

MT: I’m a board member of Chicago Nerd Social Club. I’m not a sf writer YET. Do a lot of writing in creative non-fiction, exploring identity within a lot of SF/F, what that has meant for formation of identity for gender. With Grace. Essay published with Jim Hines’s guest writer series in invisible anthology. Saw this on schedule, really want to be on it. Nora’s speech was something I found extremely inspiring. Idea of getting into nitty gritty and how we can make SF/F more inclusive and talking about how the history has been not so inclusive is really important to do.

EG: I write SF. This is the next step. I was very struck with Nora’s speech, which I read. Been to Australia, know what reconciliation means in Australia, know how much widespread support there is for it. I’ve been part of community that is working for diversity since the sixties. Started out being very small. It’s larger now, and we can move it a step ahead. So the community, the whole community, becomes part of a process. That’s what Reconciliation is. In Australia and here. Move beyond individual people of good intent to entire community and getting them to buy into the process. Nora’s comment to establish a lit. of the imagination in which everyone truly involves far more people. Writers, editors, readers, conventions. It’s a huge thing. And it’s very doable.

AH: They all said what I was going to say! I write novels, essays, plays. Teach at a college. Musical theater. Teach screenwriting and playwriting. Told my students I want their work out in the world. I need to change the world to make a place for all my students and all the people I know who want to write. To me, that’s what SF/F is about. This is a core issue. I want to get at the core issues, and beyond the snark. I want to get beyond snark to building the world we want.

NKJ: Want to note I’m the moderator, and also its subject, which is a bit strange. Going to strange my thought process behind that speech, but other than that won’t talk much. Thoughts on reconciliation have evolved and changed. I will talk more about this in my GOH speech on Sunday. For now, let’s go with what I said last year. For those who didn’t fully understand context, I went to convention in Australia intending to do usual touristy things. Figured I’d see kangaroos and some stuff. But in order to acclimate to the city, I just walked around and visited museums. Went to Melbourne City Museum. While at the museum, one thing that struck me repeatedly was how honest that museum had been about how Australia’s indigenous population had been treated. Until 1970s, classified as fauna - as animals. During the worst of the early colonial period, there were hunts and barbecues. Not kidding about the barbecues. Scalpings, and so on. Not of white people - the indigenous. This was all in their museum. They weren’t holding it back - yeah, it was just that bad. Part of the healing process for coming out of this time was their willingness to acknowledge that. Struck by public meetings - a pause, and a brief acknowledgment of the land they were on, that was stolen, and gave respect to the indigenous people. “We took it, we’re trying to be nice now.” To the degree that you can.
Moment of immense sadness - this would never happen in the US. Same thing happened here except barbecues - the US can barely manage an apology let alone an acknowledgment of just how bad it was. Constantly hear politicians wanting to rebrand and rename what happen. What to call slavery the Triangle.

AH: In Savannah, want to call them the workers instead of slaves. Tourist ride on a boat. This was recently.

NKJ: That was my thought process. If we can’t even acknowledge what happened, of course you can’t move on from it. That was my thought in SF/F. Still not acknowledging a lot of what happening, not acknowledging what’s still happening, nor longterm impact. Genre dominated by white male voices. That wasn’t nature. Start with questions in panel. What would a Reconciliation look like?

EG: I think if you’re really talking about a reconciliation of the literature, you need everybody involved in that. You need the writers, how do you bring them in/get them involved? They have to read one another’s work. White people read white fiction. Black people read black fiction and white fiction. Native Americans, if isolated, could read…? Ways to get into groups and make it cool to read lots of different kinds of literature. The problem here lies with white people reading white people stuff. Problem not with POC. POC do read divergently. I think really that’s where it would start. Readers read divergently, publishers publish things that diverge. Editors buy divergent books. There will be a feedback effect.

AH: As I was thinking about this, thinking about what do I want? I want what EG is talking about. People to read what storytellers offer. To have that be available because when less and less opportunity. We have the Internet and you can find if you know what to look for. Having accessibility means knowing what to look for. We all know a certain set of names, but don’t know another set of names. We’ve got to have access to possibility of reading all those wonderful writers. Asking students when they come, and they don’t know any of the writers I’m about to read. I get them excited and then they are. But then some of them are afraid - take Magic If class, and surprised there are black women writers. I’m standing there - you’re the professor? Then they go wow, this is good. And it doesn’t kill them. I want people to risk themselves. In order to have reconciliation, in order to forgive, in order to move, you have to leap. You’ve gotta leap to it. We have to make risk fun. Like, this is not my comfort zone, I might feel lost the first time I read this book. After ten, my students are all like, “Yeah, we know it all.” But then they want to go out and read and find more. They’re launched. They become fluent. See things they couldn’t see when they read the first piece. By reading, you become a reader. Not before.

EG: Have a plan for that, don’t know how to implement it. Amazon and others include “more like this,” include more with POC. Someone needs to provide them with more books like that. Match up, “If you like this book, you’ll like all these others by people you didn’t think to read.”

NKJ: If I am looking for books on Amazon and looking for Daniel Abraham’s latest, I see my books.

DN: E and A went toward the future. I’m struck by Nora’s speech and reconciliations happening in Australia and South Africa and how they look at the past. In South Africa, acknowledged the land. Didn’t realize it was a thing until just now. When I was listening to Nora just now, thinking about what it would be read if in the beginning of every book/magazine, a boxed statement that said, “This genre is historically white and male. …And so is this book.” Or, “And this book isn’t.” Just an acknowledgmenet of the ground you stand on. Kernel of something in it, worth playing with.

ET: Like the idea of being able to do that. Lots of classes I’ve taken, been SF literature, it’s the same authors over & over without any acknowledgment of why that is, why every time you look through a syllabus, it’s Asimov, Heinlein, Tolkien. Integrating that acknowledgment that the genre has always been more than those authors. There have been WOC, queer authors, it’s not a new thing. It’s actually not something you need to be in a certain mindset to get into. If you love the genre, you’ll love these writers even if you’re not familiar with them. Even going to a bookstore, “If you like George RR Martin, you will like X.” Conscious effort to put a variety of authors on those cards. Doesn’t have to be big gestures. All little things you can make to normalize that the genre is more than straight white male voices with straight white male characters. So when you pick up the book, “Oh, it’s been written by a black woman, it’s still going to be really good because it’s of the genre.”

NKJ: Next question we had talked about was tackling the harm that has been done. A reconciliation takes place after a great harm. In South Africa, it came after apartheid. In Rwanda, after the genocide. In Australia, the genocide and ongoing treatment. After they were taken off the fauna list. Because of the response I’ve gotten on that Reconciliation talk, was there enough harm done in this genre to reckon a reconciliation process? Examples of what and why a reconciliation would be necessary.

ET: Two examples. There was a class I was taking last year, a massive online classes. Talking about gender in comics. Actually fairly new thing to tackle. Male/female sexuality presentation. Several weeks in, looking, and there’s not a single character of color being discussed. None of that. Couple of classmates also POC and I were tweeting at the professor, asking why we’re not discussing them. Giving us the idea that talking about gender in comics defaults to white POV. Her answer boiled down to, talking about gender in comics is already complicated. Talking about race too makes it more complicated. Have to save that until next class. Assumption that talking about race makes something complicated is a huge hump to get over. C2E2 has been good in past couple years in having discussions about diversity and representation. Two panels about diversity in general. One about LGBTQ issues in geek culture. Three about women’s issues in geek culture. None about race. Someone, at least one person, submitted a fantastic panel looking at black women and identity of being a nerd. She was told it’s a great idea, but there were too many fantastic ideas and we couldn’t take it. They had sexual identity, gender identity, diversity in general, and deliberately not looking at race - not doing it on purpose, but it’s like they don’t want to touch that issue b/c it feels complicated or feel uncomfortable spotlighting it. Huge hurdle - how can we talk about how race is an issue in SF/F unless we’re willing to have them in the first place?

NKJ: There’s an historical compartmentalization in marginalization. Fitting in with a panel seen done over and over. Shoving off of those issues into the political - out of the normal center of whatever it is you want to have a conversation about. Assumption that you have a white default & everything else is other. Inherently politicized because of that default. Trying to have a conversation about inclusiveness, who is involved/who is supposed to be here. Impossible to have that convo. People think inclusive means extra, means additional effort.

EG: Assumption that default, that the neutral, that there IS neutral state.

DN: Not using the word scared. Nora, you said we’re never going to have the reconciliation in the US. I hope you’re wrong, but I think you’re right. Amazing to me how frightened most white people are about talking about race, saying the word, admitting people have races. There are ways it’s a completely made up thing, but in daily life it’s terrifying to me how terrified other people are. Maybe too complicated, etc. So scary. For me, I talk about it every chance I get to everybody I can. Only thing I can do to demystify it a bit.

NKJ: Resonating it. Fear comes from a sense of threat. The feeling that if we acknowledge the contributions of these groups we’ve tried to keep out, there’s a question mark and like, profit in there? But it seems to me reasoning of people who are so resistant to having these conversations is that if we admit for example that…

DN: Worked on size acceptance and fat liberation. If you say, “Fat women are beautiful,” huge group of thin women who immediately hear, “You are not beautiful.” That’s a quick example.
NKJ: Part of American thought. Our culture built around idea that THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE group in power. If not white men, society will be taken over, we will grind them all beneath our heel!

AH: There’s rage, too. “I didn’t do anything!” right? I’m not responsible, I didn’t own slaves, I didn’t beat women, .


AH: Systemic and then the individual saying, “I can’t take all of this!” & therefore I won’t deal with any of it.

NKJ: For example: Read only the first Game of Thrones. And I have not followed the TV show, don’t watch much TV. Giving a talk at Brooklyn Museum. Two young black women fans were shaking with rage, I had said something to effect of, “Assumption in epic fantasy that medieval Europe was basically white.” If you say they were a few brown people there, just a few (there were more than a few), medievalPOC blog was instrumental in getting across just how many. Queen Elizabeth tried to get rid of them b/c so many, then she realized she couldn’t b/c so many.
Me as a person who thinks she knows something about history, educated, writes epic fantasy - I didn’t know that! And yet, George RR Martin who describes his series as realistic & constantly defends himself as realistic - two girls upset got into it on his board, said why we see only a few POC and only exist in narrow range of stereotypes? Immediately attacked by fans, and Martin said something vaguely disparaging about the topic. No folks like that back them, they weren’t there.
We see the fantasy population that not only is wedded to false notions of what actually was, but willing to fight you if you try and change it to reality. They will hurt you, they will send you death threats, they will do terrible things. This is an example of the harm we’re talking about. This is violence. This is conceptual violence. Violence being done to our ability to have fun reading epic fantasy. In order to read epic fantasy, have to be willing to swallow a level of white supremacy that I shouldn’t have to swallow. We are so inculcated in the idea that this is the way it has to be that we’re not willing to change.
I’m sorry, I’m talking too much.

ET: I have a hard time understanding why we can’t have those convos. Fans. Writers aren’t perfect. Why can’t we have those conversations about Westeros or the story/we love it, let’s take the story apart and look at how it’s reflecting these problematic tropes. The more we learn, it’s not the way that it works. Defensiveness that comes out is like attacking a person’s essence of who they are b/c of the things that they like as opposed to ideas and the things that they like. Biggest problems in having a reconciliation - our identities are so deeply wedded to the things we’re fans of. If saying something is problematic, interpreted as, “there’s a problem with YOU.” Having those conversations is extraordinarily difficult. Saying someone can still like something & still see there are problems is good.

EG: You are criticizing them as people. They’re closing themselves off to part of reality. Not everybody who reads a writer, but some people who become so identified with the work, they become deeply invested in what that work is about. Then, the way you look at the world is skewed in a way you’re not perceiving reality correctly, you are telling them you’re doing something wrong. You’re right to tell them that, how can a SF writer pretend we live in a white world? We don’t. Won’t live in a white future, too. You’re doing them a favor but might not be perceived that way.

AH: I write historical fantasy. People want to argue with me about what happened in history. V. interesting. In futuristic, had a world only spoken a few language. Someone in US: “My God, how could all those people end up speaking only one language having come from all these other places?” I didn’t even know what to say. I meet them, they’re telling me about it. I asked their credentials/what’s their basis. They said, women didn’t make films. This is just another fantasy. I said more women made films at the turn of the 20th century films than they do. I’m a scholar - I actually wrote a master’s thesis on this. Guy says, “Oh, really?” I say often, I’m a professor of theater at Smith, people don’t acknowledge that. Not taken seriously, what you do is devalued. I constantly have to explain that what I say might be true. I don’t get the benefit of the doubt. We have to start asking who are we questioning and why. Maybe I should do some homework, maybe I should question MYSELF. We’re imbued in reality we grow up in. Before we leap, maybe I should go and check this first. Look that up. Before I say, “This is how it is,” with authority. Yet I get people speaking with authority on things I am an authority IN. I can’t get the kind of secure place to play as an artist because I’m constantly defending my position. I’m not just writing it, I’m defending it. Part of the reconciliation for me would be someone to read my writing and say, “Wow, your paragraphs,” instead of, “How dare you have Native Americans in your fantasy,” you know?

ET: Some of us are more willing and used to questioning our assumptions because that’s how we’re raised, because we have to prove ourselves constantly. We check, we triple check, if I open my mouth and I’m wrong, it’s that much worse. People with privilege, don’t check their sources, doesn’t occur to them. Please check your sources? Check your assumptions about who’s speaking. When you read something & come upon internal “Wait, no, that can’t be right, I need to tell that person they’re wrong.” Stop, think for a second, Google. Then you can go back and talk. Taking five minutes is going to save everybody a huge amount of problems.

DN: Take that a step further and say, “I need to tell that person they’re wrong.” Often, you DON’T need to tell a person they’re wrong. Those kinds of - really? That’s really interesting, what’s your source? If people ask George RR Martin & AH in the same tone of voice - like, “I didn’t know medieval Europe was all white, what’s your source?” That’s a really interesting reconciliatory gesture.

NKJ: Going to questions soon. Wanted to bring up one another example, which is the assumption of expertise or correctness. Thinking, is Daniel Older in here? Anyone affiliated with Long Hidden? Please check my facts on this. I half-watched on Twitter. Long Hidden anthology came out recently, deliberately intended to be unheard voices in SF/F genre. Number of stories in voices and tones and styles that are atypical within the genre. Recently a review of this book in Strange Horizons. Review tossed off in an offhanded sort of way, when people use dialect in fiction, it’s a literary trick. It’s a shame this otherwise great story was damaged by careless use of this trick. Person who wrote that story speaks in this dialect. Whole point was to bring dialects we don’t hear into public sphere. Daniel Jose Older, one of the editors, took exception. Pointed out among other things, the fallacy. Also that dialect permeates American literary canon. James Joyce, Twain, all people lauded. James Baldwin said you can imply it - remember, minstrel shows, darky dialect? If you use it, we don’t want to hear it, seen as minstrel shows. After Baldwin said that, white writers started using this as something against using it. Apex responded with an editorial, working with an author who had dialect, struggled between how much to include to not be accessible. Tobias Buckell did it a certain way. He is now the James Baldwin of SF.

ET: He made an interesting point, about Apex article in general. Ended up not being about the dialect so much as reframing the discussion to be about the editor’s feelings as a white woman trying to do the right thing, and no she wasn’t racist because she was concerned about dialect. Can we not reframe it to be about white tears and feelings? If you want to have a discussion about dialect, keep it framed on what you’re trying to have the discussion about. It’s not about someone’s feelings about not being a good person. It’s not helping or moving the discussion forward. You’re reframing it to be about the privileged view point.

(missed some)

NKJ: How many voices have been policed out of the genre? Could Ancillary Justice have been published a few years ago? (lost entire thread here, sorry.)

EG: Thinking about dialect issue for quite some kind. Both practical POV and a sort of Irish heritage POV. One of most popular writers from 19th/20th writers wrote in dialect. Left-leaning wildly liberal journalist. Wrote fabulous stuff, hilarious funny. Written in Irish dialect. Very difficult to read. Can only be read aloud. I tried to translate it, and found it was impossible to take the words he’s saying and put them into conventionally spelled English. You lose something in doing that. People writing in dialect they can hear, they’re not faking it. They’re hearing something that cannot be told in another way. Not easily translated.

NKJ: What is wrong with asking the reader to be multilingual?

AH: I’m from the theater, I listen to voice. Use not just what’s in the quotes. Nalo Hopkinson, writing the whole narrative in the dialect. The meaning/understanding of the world, the perspectives, the cosmology, are in the [lost] of the words. [more thoughts lost] I think we can go there. You know, a lot of people don’t understand physics, right? When I write that, I don’t get as many complaints. They go there. It’s really distressing me - where we will go. We don’t want to talk about some things, therefore we don’t make an effort. This country in particular, we’re afraid of more than one language. Because it’s about power.

DN: When a white man makes up a dialect out of nowhere, it wins the World Fantasy Award. I’ll leave that adjective out of it…

AUD: Junot Diaz: Motherfuckers will read a book that is one-third Elvish, but write a few sentences in Spanish and we’re taking over.

AUD: Do you think it’d trivialize fantasy to [lost]?

NKJ: People put what they want on to it. I write about things that don’t exist, people assume I was out to get white people in the Inheritance Trilogy. You can’t divorce race in this country.

AUD: Inconvenient truth problem here. If we acknowledge what we’ve done to POC, then we have to do something about it.

AUD Isabel: Asked question about quantifying the harm, trying to talk - has there been sufficient harm to justify reconciliation? I thought about examples. I thought Michi was going to talk about death threats and rape threats. When Andrea talking about having to prove her qualifications, that affects your career, your ability to sell a book, speaking engagements, tenure. These are quantifiable losses. In feminist circles, if a woman makes 75-cents, over her lifetime, that’s X amount of dollars. How can we quantify the harm so that we CAN justify a reconciliation?

NKJ: Any statisticians? Or actuaries? Statistic of women losing money over money, we could say loss to women authors and POC who could not get a slate on Book Con. A chunk of BEA exclusively white and male, and a cat. They now have a diversity panel, yes it’s much better.

AUD: Fascinated by idea of dialect. There are many groups who speak dialects of English but still have to understand/practice standardized English. [Lost some sentences.]

NKJ: Code-switching.

AUD: Trains our brains, trained to hear and understand different kinds of nuances. I don’t really understand what the problem is. A reflection of a reality that we live in. Why would it still be so controversial to use dialect? People do it all the time every day.

AH: My answer is power. Language is power. To say, you can’t speak English and you must speak mine, is about power. My language orders the world, you speak my language because I am in power. Those whose dialect is the standard don’t have to learn anything else. Those who speak two languages are the dumb ones. In the US, how we defined ourselves was partly by power dynamic. Take all Africans and make them speak English, don’t want Spanish people having any kind of foothold, we will define our political reality using culture, which we do all the time. We forget our history. It’s about power.

AUD Ian: Comment is that all I’ve heard about question of framing what the harm does, is always about the harm to people on the downside. Women, POC, whomever. I don’t actually believe that’s accurate, that’s a loser argument in getting white guy who doesn’t care, to care. MLK used to say you can’t keep a man down without staying down with him. Does anybody on panel want to talk about harm to majority position?

DN: Eileen did speak to that in beginning. How much we’ve lost - not just loss of compassion, heart, or whatever. Loss of what we could have read, what we could know. All you need to do is look at Octavia Butler’s books & wonder how many black voices every bit as a good did not have her luck/moment/strength to battle against all the obstacles? How many women, disabled people? I Feel like I’ve lost an enormous amount, personally. Further you are up the privilege chain, the worse it is.

EG: Feel self-conscious thinking about it. Feel very strongly that white people have lost knowledge that POC can bring. The warmth. Enormous number of wonderful interactions that white people - right off, don’t talk to black people, move away from them on the bus? Makes me so unhappy to think about that. The fact is that by that, the active oppressors are losing so much. With a slight shift, they could regain. Could enjoy life so much more.

NKJ: Will briefly say one of the reasons why I hesitate to reframe the argument to what white people/men lose is, they already dominate the conversations.

AUD: From Canada. Bit of a different perspective on reconciliation. In there, it was “reconciliation.” Committee is wrapping up, how many people know that? Not very many. Almost no attention. First Nations saw how superficial it was. At the same time, reconciliation can’t happen until acknowledgement. At the same time, a study on how many First Nation women - how many murdered? Number was shocking to them. What is government doing in response? Nothing. They said we don’t need to do more, we’ve done our reconciliation.

AUD: Just read TNC’s on case of reparations. Would love to see that in SF. People get just the facts, the history, over and over, every time, really loud, no blushing, just no, this is what happened. Why do you think Heinlein is the best? I will tell you why you think Heinlein is the best.

NKJ: In 1st/2nd volumes of Dark Matter, there is an excellent rundown on racial history in science fiction. My mind was blown when I realized WEB DuBois wrote SF.

AUD: TNC wrote piece on reparations. Everyone should read it. About the fear - the majoritarian group has fear that once minority gains power, will act exactly like majority. Fear of revenge, and then fear of justice having vengeful motivation as opposed to just motivation. Sure, days when oh yeah, that would be alright. But need to work towards that. Seriously, read TNC piece.

DN: read “this country needs a better class of racists.”
laceblade: Hachi of NANA, applying lipstick (NANA: Hachi makeup)
Panelists: The Rotund (m), Jackie Gross, Lillian, Katherine Olson, Courtney Stanton, Trisha J. Wooldridge

Panel Description: Let’s talk about femmes and feminism. Does identifying or presenting as femme make one less of a feminist? Is there a perception that femmes can’t really be feminist? What can we do about that perception? Who are the feminist femmes of the past or present?

Normal disclaimer: This is not verbatim.

[livejournal.com profile] sophy also did a write-up of this panel here.

One panelist is late!
This is a continuation of a panel last year, with some different panelists.

CS: I very much id as femme. Even before I knew what that was. My parents called me high maintenance? There’s a certain way that I need things to be, and I can’t control anything else, but I can control this. Making myself as much of myself as possible is wroth that. So yeah, I’m femme. I wanted to be on this panel b/c I was on the audience last year. I was real sharply enthusiastic about wanting to be on the panel this year for a variety of reasons. I don’t have like, credentials so I’ll pass on to Lillian.

Lillian: I came to femme as a word/identity through queer activism. I never stopped playing dress-up. When I started going through puberty, my body needed to be this thing that was hidden/contained, something that was horrible for everyone around me. Femme and dressup and adornment in privacy of my bedroom because this outlet for me. Now, I’m able to take out into the public & present myself that way. I was not able to do that for a very long time.

TW: I loved the title of this panel, then I read the description. I like having a freedom in my expression, but I like being on this bridge of femme/girly & sticking in things that are not. I do find I get taken more seriously the more feminine/femme I present. I read books, and the books tend to have books like that. Tomboys that love ruffles and sparkles.

JG: I came of a context. I came out as a lesbian and as a femme in short order in the mid 1990s. Lesbian context of butches and femmes. I was lucky b/c I had example of Joan Nestle, I love that book. Exp that none of women in my collective except one particular white woman had a problem with me being femme.
Adornment, whether that was okay. That does not mean that I did not battle with my mother about what I was going to look like. Mother - alcoholism. I couldn’t fit in the cute clothes. Seventeen magazines. I was shopping at Lane Bryant, which meant I was skewing early. Women were the first to tell me I was beautiful. In the collective, they told me I could wear nail polish.
In California, felt I wasn’t femme ENOUGH, not good enough anymore.

KO: I don’t specifically identify as femme or not-femme, not something I generally think about as far as putting a label on myself. I did go a v. conservative Christian school for 12 years. V. specific ideas about the role of women, I’m sure you can guess what those are. First few years of school, girls weren’t even allowed to wear pants.
Became this thing of in order to not be part of what I was supposed to be/according to rules, I had to put anything girly away, and push against it. It became, it is okay to be feminine. Doesn’t mean you’re giving into this particular set of ideals. You can wear a skirt and also not be submissive. It was an interesting journey.

MAK: I do identify as femme. I came to it through fatness, and to queerness through feminist. There’s a through-line for me. From the panel last year, came away with definition of terms.
Problem have with a shorthand. “Girly” is not necessarily “femme.” Femme is not tied to gender. Would like to define these terms that have come out.

JG: femme when I came out - there were butch women who kind of skewed. I hate using the word masculine. Butch weren’t masculine, but a different type of woman. They also had these other things that they liked to do. Kind of woman I liked fell into a specific thing, like oh, that’s what this is.
I brought a button with me I’ve had like 30 years. It says butchy femme. And I was like, that more describes me, athletic. We talk about high femme. If I talk to other black women, there are specific ways we talk about other femme women. I don’t have a specific way to define femme because there’s so many contexts.

TW: Hard time defining terms in general. First learned the term in HS. Part of GLBT alliance. I was a straight femme. In our group, we were throwing around words, we wanted to make all our own definitions.
As I went through HS and college, I lost track of the term. I’d go with butchy femme idea, I do a lot of athletics and hiking and all there, but I like camo that I can bedazzle. Sense of expression - playing with things that are generally attributed to girls and female wardrobe, female style and fashion. Mixing that and playing with it, and enjoying and celebrating that are markers of femme. I’ve always had a hard time finding clothes. I like swishy type stuff. I like riding horses. Plus-size riding clothes is a nightmare. You have specific things and rules if you’re going to show. You’re limited.
What feminism is, that years of unpacking. Idea that all genders, shouldn’t be one better than other. Equal pay regardless of how you identify. Equal advertising, promotion, chance at awards, things like that. That’s where I come for idea of panel.

MAK: Lillian, before you introduce yourself, please tell us about your nail polish, it’s a great color.

Lillian: Fellow fat femme from Southern California have company called Plump Polish. First line named after California fat bloggers. This is not one of them, I was at her house last weekend. Nice wall of nail polishes.
First encountered term in school, let’s learn how to write a research paper about Bibo Binker series, 1950s lesbian pulp series. Very old school breakup of butch and femme in it. I had this little book that said queer theory primer, and I got everything in there. I thought butch and femme were terrible - why imitate heterosexuality?! Coming out when I was 14, I had progressively started dressing, also as I got fatter, more and more masculine. Not butch, though. Butch is also really valuable in the same way femme is valuable in terms of gender expression. Taking markers away from gender, which I guess is how I think of femme, taking skirts and lipsticks and making them not about being a woman. Femme is for anyone. In terms of feminism, v. specific - I mean big umbrella, mostly having problems in terms of being dominated by white cis western mostly straight feminism.

CS: For me, femme is not a performance thing, I actually am not super on board with idea of femme as a performance thing. Once performing, possible to perform it wrong. Also, means you’re performing it for other people. Frenchie from Grease, Frenchie messes up her hair at the end, I realized in dying my hair, I did it that color (her mistaken color). It’s part of who I am. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s not my nail polish. But when I’m not wearing nail polish, I am slightly less comfortable than when I am.
I was definitely raised in a household where you do femininity b/c I was raised by an ex-model. It was a thing you did correctly, or not. With a very second wave, judge the sinner/hate the sin. There was a wrong way to be a woman, etc. Finding third wave in college, also has a lot of problems, but one of them isn’t hating your body if it’s exposed. For me, part of femme is more in line with acceptance movement. Like in kink community, I connected with an old friend from high school, and we went to a leather dungeon. I’m in pink satin everything, comfortable. And he said, you’re like a princess top. Same way with fat acceptance, so many other things, it’s part of an identity layer.
Not a thing as starting at naked & adding layers to GET to femme. I’m femme all the time. I’m femme while changing car battery, while cleaning the house, while doing everything.
Other people do interpret it as performance sometimes. Hair gives dudes on the street a thing to comment on all the time. In college, threatened to be kicked out when with my girlfriend, accused of being a breeder because I didn’t look queer.
Feminism is a thing like specifically, so many, mainstream Lean-In style, white heterosexual very US-centric.

MAK: I don’t want to refer to that as feminism. Problematic to short-hand feminism as that. Be specific, but let’s be careful to not make that be the default.

KO: defining femme is a moving target. Louis XIV not considered feminine. High heels and satin, that’s what men wore. Today, wearing that would read as femme. It’s very hard to define, and yet people are defining it quite well.

MAK: In that example, conflate femme and femininity? Unpack that?

KO: I guess. I see femme as coming from the feminine. It does not mean it is female. But, I see femme as straight up as a shortening of feminine. So I don’t see a conflict in putting the two together. To me, femme is a shortening of the word. Not that way for everybody. Don’t see it as necessarily gender based.
If it’s not intersectional, it’s not feminism. Rise in the tide, bring up all the boats. Not just about cis, about any particular race. About all of it working together. Particularly how these things interact.

MAK: Lots of different definitions of femme. You said it’s a moving target, yes. How you came to femme & at what point, is important. There’s historical context for it, but doesn’t seem to be historical acknowledgment particularly within context of feminism as a conversation. Want to throw out idea that in early days of feminist movement, the reaction against the appearance of femme was the reaction against the limiting of the gender roles. Feminist movement in America. We’ll say, the 1950s moving forward.

JG: People riff on now, on WOC, etc. Still 2nd wave women speaking to other 2nd wave women. I grit my teeth and grind really hard at erasing a lot of work that was done by other women who fought with another. I remember sitting in meetings, talking about butch women and femme women not in the room, having them condemned, somehow being less-than because the new world had come.
I rarely caution people now - third wave wouldn’t have happened without those people.

MAK: Resistant about saying feminism about everybody. Historically, it has not been. I reluctantly identify as a feminism, significant problems with movement. Not with concept of important conversations about gender.
Feminism doesn’t own gender conversations even though a lot of feminists do sort of argue that.
I’m just throwing out that we need to be careful with that definition, distracted from reality.
Things we label as second wave. There are historical roots to women being resistant to femme as a presentation. We can’t have conversation about whether feminists can be girly without talking about that. How we have that conversation impacts how we fix it now.
Everyone on panel agrees no, it doesn’t make you less of a feminist.
More to talk about: Well, what do we do about that?

TW: I want to ask a question. I have a hard time distinguishing between femme and feminine. More clarification on that.

JG: For me as a lesbian, v. specific gender presentation within lesbianism. Other people say femme is for everybody - yeah, there are men who present as femme, but v. different set of experiences of how they live in the world, where me - I went to Catholic schools with all girl. Never known women to be people I would hate. I came out as femme, I could do this stuff, & it was okay.
We had a benefit, I said I’d dress up and go on a date with somebody. I had a dress, etc. Katherine lost her mind, said she’s a pawn of the patriarchy.
JG said if I get felt up in a bar, okay. I was doing this for other women, not for men.
How you come to it is coloring 99% of this. Can make the case for coming at it from a grammarian. So much scholarship that people haven’t talked about that actually is about femme women.
Still comes up in cycles. 80s, early 90s: Big things. Suddenly, physical scholarship, could say, “Read this.”
Then died down in mid-1990s, then folks came back as presentation to me, but to THEM it was not.
Now we’re bumping into different things. You’re coming from a queer context as well, religious context is very important. We have decades, different places you’re from. It’s nesting boxes, inside each other & beside each other. Hearing “queer” erases lots of specific history about women, for me.
It all fits, we’re still figuring out where it all fits, together.

MAK: We have to talk about it in order to fit together. Ppl who regard femme as presentation, those who regard it as identity. When you’re involved with different feminists, and people respond negatively, there’s no telling which “femme” they’re responding to. Sometimes it all looks the same. Hair, nail polish, etc. That influences the conversation.

Lillian: My big resistance to making conversation about femmes about women is that I’m not going to speak for people b/c I’m not non-binary, but half of the femmes of my friends are non-binary and don’t want to erase that. I think that’s really important. I should also name that I’m the baby on this panel. I was a child in the third wave.

JG: That is very specific, that’s a full generational shift.

MAK: You don’t get a lot of panels - part of the conversation last year was bounderied by everybody being in the same general age group. Range of age is helpful. Can’t talk about femme in the context of feminism without the age range.

CS: Where “girly” can come in - girly is weird cultural ghetto where society throws things for women and young girls. Women’s history and history of lesbians, anything to do that, just throw it on the heap over there where nobody will look at it. It doesn’t enter into our consciousness. A good language about things that happen. 1977, and then, Bill Clinton? It just jumps. They keep it invisible so they can sell you what they want to sell you. It creates more friction - arguing about who’s doing it correctly, right/wrong way to do it, what’s proper, what’s good, then you end up with in-fighting, and none of it’s supposed to be as valid as activities that guys do.

MAK: Question that what can we do about that perception? When we all come to it from such different places & reacting to it from their own places? What is the practical take-away when we talk about being femme within the feminist context?

KO: Part of it, talking about nail polish line, is there’s a marketing thing. Pink stuff marketed to women with male CEOs, maybe sparkles, sell it to women, b/c they like that shit. Always for a higher price.

MAK: Sometimes I like that pink sparkly shit.

KO: Difference is thrust at us as a marketing thing is an external very cynical, but I kind of looking at the independent businesses starting to own it, what we’re actually excited about. Selling nail polish. This makeup line. Jewelry, or clothing, or whatever it is, from a place of people behind it/selling it aren’t just marketing to you. They’re producing something that means something to them. Commerce based.
As we take it back from the corporate marketing categories, there is some strength to that. It’s not necessarily the most revolutionary thing to suggest, but there is power in turning away from corporate overlord version of girly to what feels genuine and from people who are producing from the heart.

JG: Shopping black-owned businesses. I don’t like pink girly crap. I’d rather buy it from a woman producing it in her own backyard. You’re doing it by yourself, on your own. I like to shop local - Etsy, or near my house. Pinkification of Barbie is fairly recent, happened in the mid-1990s. Pink Barbies, and collector ones. Pink ones are cheaper. Woman in Toys-R-Us - one to play with, and one to collect. Packaging - not this pink less than 5 years ago! Now, it is a solid pink. The AISLE is pink. It’s an ugly pink. The sparkle is higher, not a good sparkle. I had previous version of Barbie for President. Her suit was red, and now it’s a pink suit. How pink is pushed, how girliness is pushed. Then a commercial for Goldilocks - little girls in engineers. They’re cute and girly, and they’re about to build a bomb!
Can we shop/buy for and from one another? I’d like to see us do that. We can have the commerce, that’s awesome. They’re controlling it, it’s theirs.

MAK: Femme supporting femme business kind of situation.

CS: I work in tech sector. When Goldilocks came out, lots of women didn’t like it because, what’s wrong with normal erector set stuff?
I use to nanny and babysit. I’m an only child, but every girl who had brothers, it was important her stuff looked different from her siblings’ stuff. Being able to say, these are MY toys, those are YOURS, etc.
Only issue with Goldilocks - cool to get them for a little boy, too, right? That to me is the thing. I want to celebrate any little kid who wants to get an easy-bake oven, and all that, whatever is not TMNT. It’s easy to find tough little girl outfits and activities. Pipeline that’s encouraged. Women going into STEM. Hard to get the pipeline going the other way. Look at your kid, your kid is really into dressing up and makeup.

TW: Negative perception of feminine/girly. In mainstream, something girly is negative. Work to get rid of negative perception. Not using girly/feminine to denote something negative. Not something less. Conversation needs to be had in the mainstream.

JG: Negative of girly means you don’t like girls at all, whether tomboys or princesses or etc.

MAK: Calling little boys “girls” is as bad as it gets.

JG: Saying “Hey ladies” to boys on a field, etc.

MAK: White women gate keeping feminism. Whether feminine is being performed in the right way. Haven’t talked about femme and class influence your relationship with feminism. We have enough time for questions, but not to have these specific conversations.

[personal profile] raanve: on notion of class and femme. Dolly Parton has a new record out. Dolly’s amazing, I love her. I find it really interesting when talking about somebody like DP, there’s weird blow-back around the way she’s always chosen to visually present herself. From what I understand, the way she’s talked about it in interviews, it’s what she thought was beautiful.

JG: She acknowledges 99% is a constructed image, but that’s natural for her.

[personal profile] raanve: I think she gets, you’ll find people wanting to label that as bimbo, trashy.

KO: She identifies as trashy.

MAK: Want recent Jezebel post about how she’s secretly covered in tattoos. Now she’s a tough badass because there’s another thing associated with her. But her presentation has not changed one bit.

JG: Wife and dad both like Dolly Parton. In all these winching, she provides books for every kid that needs one. She’s a badass. She’s looked like this for years.

[personal profile] raanve: Recent interview: people want to use this to discount me. I know this, and I aim to use it against them and use it to get what I want. She utilizes her trashy bimbo you know….

MAK: Hails back to right way to present as femme. Only certain people allowed to present as femme.

JA: Is that on the class line?

MAK: I think so. Unachievable standards applied to trans women. Women of color beat with stick of, “Well, you can’t meet this beauty standard and you never will.” I think yes, a lot of response to DP is absolutely about that. Reba McIntire as well. Present as femme, come from working class background. Tanya Tucker. They’re pretty but trashy. Why people have to step in and reclaim the whole concept of trashy.

Cynthia G: Lillian: In third iteration, we should have at least one trans woman on the panel. Need to start bringing that in.

MAK: Need to frontload this panel next year.

CG: I have my own feeling about dressing. Back in the eighties/early nineties, Nordstrom was like Cheers for me, everybody knew my name. But I ended up getting out of practice of being/doing that because my job required me not to wear makeup or a dress, not a lot of frilly things. I’m a chemist, shouldn’t wear anything I can’t afford to replace. Now, my job is shifting, I get to do this again, but I’m out of practice. Just saying, even white middle class women like me…

MAK: Skills are required, conversation to be had about the devaluation of those skills. Putting on makeup is hard. Take off glasses to put makeup on?!

JG: Thankful for everyone who does the map training, put the stuff on for you.

CS: I decided I was going to teach my spouse how to do my hair b/c I didn’t want to find a salon. So I thought, I’d teach him. He doesn’t have decades of messing around with friends’ hair. He had a panic attack the first time. There’s bleach, there’s a timer, he’s like, ahhhhhh. He’s fine now. But at the time, he was like, “It’s really hard!” And I was like, “It’s almost like it’s a skillset that people charge money for!”

JG: Elizabeth asked if black guys go to salon with black women. You spend an entire day in a black women’s salon. There’s television, possibly bedding. My father never touched my hair. Most men don’t touch black women’s hair. Almost hyper-active. Even my wife. It’s visceral. Only my stylist can touch it.

Aud/green shirt: Conversation about generational femmes/feminism, class/presentation. Blog post at bookviewcafe.com called “Miley and Sinnead and Amanda and Me.” WisCon 70s feminists versus WisCon 90s feminists. Standing on the shoulders of giants.”
[Here is that post.]

Aud: Lots on the table for next year. What would it be like to have a presentation of male femme on the panel? I have never actually where there’s a cross-section - gay men, whole conversation within gay male culture, I know. Men who probably identify as femme. It’d be fascinating. Maybe too ambitious for here. Never seen it explicitly addressed.

Aud: Girly has connotation of girls & infantalization of women, but need enormous skillset. Patriarchy takes this thing and assigns them to children.

JG: Have you ever seen Legally Blonde? Elle Woods has knowledge over a lifetime. She knew this knowledge, could tell quality of clothes. Native knowledge that some women build up over time. See it sometimes now in fashion. Things like hair salons, nail polish. Where women gather with each other, it’s very valuable. Women who could do a perm at home without frying their hair.

MAK: Femme apprenticeship. When you grow up outside girly female culture, likely to have missed that.

AUD: That’s what YouTube’s for!

MAK: Yes, have to build those relationships. Feedback for makeup party were from all genders: I never learned this as a child, can you show me?

Anxiety: Can you actually go to the party if you don’t know those things?

CS: My experience. My mom/doing theater as a kid, having people at my house, that’s what it was. My mom, explaining blush, etc. For girls who didn’t have moms in it, showing them to hot roll their hair, etc. If you didn’t have older sisters, or a mom really invested in the Lancome counter like mine was, where else would you learn it?

MAK: Specific references - your mom, Lancome. Cynthia, it was Nordstrom. People have incredibly powerful asscoiations.

AUD: I’m femme curious? As a kid, I was not anti-feminine. I felt pressure, watched commercials for baby dolls, I’d say, “That shit’s dumb.” If I didn’t reject it…
It wasn’t until people read me as a guy, until people stopped expecting me to enjoy femme things.
Now that I’m trying to explore some of these things. Maybe I want to wear eye makeup, I don’t know. I need a magical femme godmother. Not until queer component - didn’t want to be femme just b/c not butch.
Now that pressures’ gone.

JG: Don’t ever be a butch lesbian who wears makeup. They caught so much shit from other lesbians.

AUD: How hard it is to obtain knowledge - it really is true.

JG: If it’s not passed on… I shaved my eyebrows, had to go to my brother.

MAK: I want you to know, I was goth. I shaved my eyebrows off and then shaved them back on with a sharpie.

CS: Used clear nail polish to fix a run. Then went to shave.

AUD: Organic nail polish. Have moms spending half an hour arguing with husbands on the phone who were saying that sons couldn’t wear b/c toxic.

AUD: Addendum: Do nails of straight male brother.

Elizabeth: How many pieces of luggage did you come to WisCon with?

JG: Oh shit. We call it traveling with femmes. Between the two of us, we have enough product to cover the counter. Naamen had a tiny thing for the counter & walked back out of the bathroom. “I don’t know what happened.” Tanya: “I need some makeup,” & we were like, okay!!

MAK: I have like the femme survival kit. Coordinate all of these separates. Having the one eye shadow palette I can’t live without.
Feminism discounts the self-care in femme. That’s a whole panel right there.

CS: My femme inspiration is Lois Lane. Five cute dresses, carry-on, didn’t check luggage.

MAK: Last year, I brought ten changes of dresses. Day clothes, and night clothes.
laceblade: Slytherin crest. Text: WE DON'T HUG. (HP: Slytherin no hugs)
Everyone's making WisCon posts & usually this time of year I would too, but...

I don't know where I'm going to be or what I'm going to be doing at WisCon.
I have no idea what my energy level will be.

Talk to me, or don't.

laceblade: b&w fanart of Rei and Mina smiling; Mina's hands are on Rei's shoulders (Sailor Moon: Rei/Mina B&W)
Let’s talk about what we would like to see at WisCon 38 for programming, any topic.

Post any thoughts you have, however semi-formed.
People can comment & try to come up with the best panels possible! Anyone can suggest panel ideas: People who run the convention, authors, attendees, or people who have never attended WisCon and never will. Please feel free to join in!

If the comments go in a direction you dislike, or you don't want to participate in a discussion, you can submit your own panel idea here on WisCon's website.

Here's a link to the Dreamwidth post on which we came up with ideas for WisCon 37, specifically anime/manga programming. It's an example of how this works. Threaded comments FTW.

Things to know:
--Not every panel idea that gets suggested ends up on the schedule. For WisCon 37, programming chairs had to cut about 50% of the panels due to space/time constraints.
--Much closer to WisCon 38, people will be able to vote on WisCon's website for panels they'd like to attend, & also indicate their interest in being a panelist or a moderator. These votes matter.
--Programming minions edit panel titles/descriptions after they've been submitted. Sometimes they combine multiple panels on the same theme into a single panel.

Commenting disclaimer: If you're reading this on LiveJournal, I would appreciate it if you could post your comments on the Dreamwidth post, so they're all in one spot. Of course, if you are unable to do so, comment at LJ.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
As those of you who read my Twitter know, there was some excitement last week when a local news station contacted the WisCon 37 co-coordinators to ask about our interest in a TV interview.
I responded enthusiastically.

The first option, for a live segment in-studio on Saturday, 5/18, wasn't possible because I was going to be out of town with my family.
Instead, we were offered a taped segment at the con itself, which would air on Saturday.
I emailed the convention-planning committee to see who else was willing to be filmed.
K. Tempest Bradford responded almost immediately, which pleased me quite a bit.

In email, I emphasized more than once that when filming Tempest &/or I, the reporter needed to ask permission of anyone appearing on camera, to comply with WisCon's photography/filming policy (which requires that the people on film be asked their permission). She agreed.

Tempest was delayed by travel plans. At karaoke on Thursday night, I cast about to find a replacement, and asked Cabell, who was very comfortable being interviewed.

On Friday, I said several things on camera. I was surprised by the question about the WisCon troll incident.
The reporter asked something to the effect of, "You've mentioned those who take pictures of your members, post them online, and make fun of them. What do you say to those people?"
My response was a hesitation, and then, "What I have to say probably isn't suitable for network TV."

I witnessed most of Cabell's comments on-camera, which were great. When asked about the speculative fiction aspect being paired with feminism, Cabell talked about the ability to create different realities in fiction, and I thought that was just awesome.

I spent the weekend trying to find the segment on Channel3000.com's shitty website, and couldn't. I had to ask the reporter directly.

In case the embed doesn't work, here is a link.

My initial reaction was fury, because the reporter did not ask permission from approximately half of those who appear in the background shots of this segment.

The TV segment's title refers to WisCon as the "state's" leading feminist science fiction convention. I am unaware of any OTHER feminist sf/f conventions in the state of Wisconsin. We certainly bill ourselves as the world's leading feminist sf/f. So far as I'm aware, that is accurate.

After interviewing me & Cabell on Friday, the reporter apparently went off to find a convention attendee who refers to himself as Orange Mike. This is due to the exclusivity of his wardrobe, which only contains fluorescent orange garments. I think it's safe to say that the reporter found the most outlandish-looking convention attendee (which is saying something, as Cabell dyes her hair Atomic Pink).

In the segment, Orange Mike refers to the members of WisCon as his "tribe," and thus so does the reporter.
Later in the segment, Orange Mike refers to the convention itself as "our tribal pow-wow," a culturally appropriative reference with which I am uncomfortable.

The reporter says that we discuss today's "most popular" science fiction, which is sometimes true. We also discuss things that are cast aside by popular fandom to focus on things written by women, by people of color, etc., and the latter is way more important to me.

It isn't hard to find people who read George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones.
It isn't hard to find people who like Star Trek.
I wouldn't spend much time or energy running a convention just "for geeks." In fact, I co-founded a con just like that and then almost immediately abandoned it.

It is hard to find people who will critique the things they love - people who will point out that it's fucked up that in a 21st century reimaginging of Star Trek, all but one member of the crew are cis men, or that Game of Thrones incorporates white savior narratives & fails to problemetize its representation of race.

It is also hard to find conventions that proactively provide spaces for wheelchairs in all rooms, that encourages its members not to wear scented products so as to provoke the allergies of some members.

It is hard to find a science fiction convention that provides a separate room as a safer space for people of color.

The reporter in this segment says, "For people like Orange Mike, [WisCon] is home."
I'm not going to bar him at the door & I'm glad he had a great time, but I don't give a fuck about Orange Mike or his ilk.
I don't spend time wondering which aspects of the convention will attract more cis older white men.
There are plenty of science fiction conventions that cater to them.

I wish that, for all of the years he's gone to WisCon, Orange Mike would have better internalized the messages communicated by his fellow attendees.
I wish that when he was asked to speak on camera about WisCon, he could have said, "Well, this is a feminist science fiction convention and maybe you should speak with someone who doesn't identify as male."

I wish that this segment didn't erase the feminism from the statements that Cabell and I made.

I wish that instead of cutting my comment to just say, "We try to be welcoming to everyone," the reporter had included what preceded it, in which I said that many science fiction conventions are very white and very male, and that WisCon tries to make it a safer space for people of color, for women, for people who identify outside the gender binary, for PWD.

I wish that instead of this segment being about "geeks finding other geeks and being happy," it was about people coming together to critique the representations of society that appear in speculative fiction.

I wish that the segment itself didn't privilege the perspective of an aging man over the perspectives of two younger women.

Mostly, I feel angry with myself. I really don't know what I expected.

ETA: A commenter has noted that while I refer to Mike as white in this post & dissect his use of the words "tribe" and "pow-wow," he is in fact a member of the Cherokee nation. Rather than alter what I originally posted, I'm putting this note here.
Mike also commented on a different post to correct me, also.
laceblade: Chord Overstreet offering his hand to Chris Colfer. Glee live-tour. (Glee: Colferstreet)
So basically right now all I feel is that I did not get to spend enough time with ANYONE.
laceblade: 5 girls of K-On! anime, carrying UK bags. Text: let's go abroad! (K-On!: Abroad)
So my notes on this panel are REALLY incomplete, partly because it was late & I was zoning out quite a bit, but also because I started a Twitter discussion & was then discussing it on g-chat ^^;;;

BUT. Notes on anime/manga panels at WisCon are usually few/far between, so I'm posting everything I've got. If anyone else has more, feel free to add to this or etc.

Panel Description: Is the Boys' Love genre an appropriation of gay male sexuality, or an expression of female sexuality? Are there realistic series about gay men outside of BL that were written by/for men? What about realistic lesbian characters? Let's talk about the representation of LGB characters in anime & manga—what we've seen, and what we'd like to see.

10:30-11:45pm, Conference Room 4

Panelists: Andrea Horbinski, Emily Horner, Julie Andrews

AH: Don't be shy in contributing!

[Panelists introduce themselves. I ignore their introductions because I am familiar with all of them!]

EH: When 17-20, I read so many BL manga that were written for women about same-sex male relationships. I read a lot of really bad ones & really good ones. There was a really big problem with the fact that relationships were totally fantasy, nothing to do with the reality of being a gay person. But at the same time, they were tremendously important to me for many reasons. It's been complicated for me to unpack.
Reading classics like "Heart of Thomas" and "Song of the Wind and Trees" was great.
You get a sense of wistfulness & teenage love. But not a realistic representation at all.

AH: Heart of Thomas is by Hagio Moto. Just released in English, finally. The translation is pretty good.
One of the things that's interesting about BL is how in the 1970s, it started in some respects by female manga writers/creators as a way to get out of the problems of representing heterosexual relationships in a very sexist society. Unless it's a fantasy, het relationships are potentially highly unequal. By having a relationship between two boys, then they don't have to deal with that inequity. They evolved afterward.
Another classic is Rose of Versailles by Ikeda Ryoko. The anime just released in English.
The manga hasn't been released in English.

Aud: Can we talk about pirated copies?


Aud: It's scanslated in English.

AH: [Rose of Versailles is] an historical fantasy manga set in France, a woman raised to fulfill a man's role in the royal guard. A really huge series in terms of starting BL. A way for female creators to explore potential different forms of relationships. As tropes developed, power differentials [and here I drifted]

EH: Idea of flexible identification between two main characters. Even if really unequal power dynamics, there's not a strong sense that you have to identify with the heroine or being loved by the male hero. You can identify with the person being rescued and with the person being chivalrous & doing the rescuing. It strikes me as an interesting thing. Sometimes you cringe.

AH: Floating identification on part of readers.

Aud: Why would relationships between men be written for women readers?

EH: What I've read is that Hagio Moto and Taki Miyakato (I think I may have misheard this manga-ka!) were introduced to German bildungsromans set at European boarding schools.
Lots of sexual tension between male characters & they were like, "This is really interesting." They reinterpreted it into a romantic relationship. There were all these manga for boys - soccer manga, team defeating supernatural evil manga.
Women would write doujinshi (self-published fan comics) where team members would be in romantic relationships with each other.
Women reappropriating a male genre by imposing female identified romance tropes on it.

[missed some points]

JA: Trying to get rid of power dynamic [between people in a relationship] but then it snuck in anyway. Seme/uke dynamic: Definitions are part of Western/American culture. Not every gay man identifies as top/bottom. It's part of a thing. In BL manga, it's a very big part.

[I picked a fight on Twitter here]

Aud: I don't know about manga or stuff like that, but in fanfic, the traits of the characters will change to fit the fic. Teen Wolf: Stiles gets a foot shorter.

Aud: Wanted to mention fan culture vs. creators is not very rigidly separated in Japan. Doujinshi artists often then become professional artists.

AH: Yoshinaga Fumi has sold doujinshi of her own work that are sexually explicit at Comiket. She started out doing doujinshi of Rose of Versailles.

[I miss more points here as I send more tweets.]

AH: The panel description includes the question about whether BL is an expression of female sexuality or expression of male sexuality. A dude wrote an essay saying it's an expression of female sexuality.

EH: I did read that essay. [Missed the rest of response]

AH: It's much less easy to be out in Japan than other countries.

JA: It's a trope in other comics. Ouran High School Host Club: club is a bunch of guys, so girls at the school can come in & fawn on the gay boys (the twins). They have types.

Aud: Do you guys know when that essay came out in relation to "Not love but delicious food makes me so happy" [a one-shot mostly autobiographical manga by Fumi Yoshinaga] when Yoshinaga finds out she has a gay friend & apologizes for fetishizing him?

AH: Feel like manga came out in Japan in 2006.

[Missed things]

AH: Lesbians more visible than gay characters - am I right?

JA: Sailor Moon. [Discussion of Zoisite, a character who was an effeminate gay man in the Japanese anime, & changed to a woman in the English dub.]

Aud: [Discussing Starlight characters in Sailor Moon] The magical girl transformation sequences clearly have male bodies. In anime and the manga, they are cross-dressing women. [I think I must have written this down incorrectly ^^;;] Why did that change?

Aud: Re-translations of the Sailor Moon manga that are coming out now in the U.S., volume 11 just came out last week & had first appearance of the Starlights, the various Starlights relationships as [my attention was pulled elsewhere].

Aud: There's a scene in the Sailor Moon anime where Rei is embarrassed about having Takarazuka magazine. That's a sign of lesbian interest/tendencies. It's totally a stereotype.

[I missed things that were said.]

Recs: Gravitation.

Aud: I found that manga really discomforting. Anime is much lighter.

EH: I read one volume & thought if anyone was that mean about my writing, I would break up with them.

AH: CLAMP. Very successfully sort of written a lot of manga that trade on BL tropes and lesbian tropes too, to some extent. But never actually write an actual BL manga.

Aud: Gouhou Drug [aka: Legal Drug] portrays a m/m relationship.

[I missed stuff]

Aud: We've discussed series w/LGB characters. Do we know of any creators who identify as LGB?

EH: It is really hard to find this information because manga-ka are really private about their lives.
Author of [?!] is a lesbian, otherwise I don't know too much.

Aud: 4-panel manga which is very short, a few streets. Lillicious has done scanlation - Happy Picture Diary. Very clearly semi-autobiographical. Woman is into yuri/etc., wishing she had gone to an all-girls school. Really reads like written from within the community.

Aud: [discussion of characters in Cardcaptor Sakura: Glimpses of the m/m relationship with Sakura's brother & his friend.

AH: It is heavily teased in Gate 7 [manga by CLAMP] that one of the characters is bisexual.

EH: There is a BL trope that this relationship [whichever relationship you're in at the present time] is the only one that counts in your whole lifetime, so being bisexual is kind of besides the point.

Aud: Why is [BL] way more prevalent in that culture?

AH: I can't make a statement about relative prevalence. It sells better [in Japan] - people there are more responsive to market research? [laughter]
I don't know. I'm on the board of the OTW. We had a survey. 5,000 is a large sample, but no way to relate that to the absolute size of whatever --

Aud: Wanted to ask people who have been Japan. How hard is it to be out in Japan?

EH: I get the impression that it's still quite hard. To be promoted, need to give impression that you're a good family person. You need a wife to do domestic tasks while you're working 100 hours a week. There's a lot of pressure to have kids and grandkids in the U.S. too. Get the impression it may be even stronger in Japan. Same-sex marriage isn't on the table.

Aud: Politicians coming out is at publicity level.

AH: There are a couple gay areas in Tokyo and Osaka, and outside of that it's --
Japanese society was very oriented toward corporate stuff & the family in early post-war period. That's not really realistic any more. There aren't enough company jobs for everyone who gets college degrees.

[I missed things!]

EH: BL takes place in a fantasy world. Often these are nominally realistic settings (high school, etc.) but things would not unfold as they do in the real world.

Aud: I'm not super familiar with BL, but from the outside, I have the impression it's more on the romance & less on the physical.

EH: There is a huge spectrum. Some very, very explicit stuff.

JA: Difference between BL and yaoi?

EH: Technically, yaoi specifically refers to doujinshi as opposed to commercially-produced work. BL is the umbrella term, and it includes yaoi.

Aud: My understanding is that stress on the corporation & nuclear family structure came with modernization, and before that, there were actually fairly flexible attitudes toward sexual orientation. Does that tie in at all to whole [anime/manga] industry?
I know it's not the same culture at all, but in Korea, system of homophobia. It's tolerated so long as you get het-married eventually. Does that tie in to duality of society not making laws and systems to counteract discrimination, but there's still an openness to seeing it [I missed the rest of the question]?

AH: I am given to understand that prior to beginning of Westernization in 1868/1880s, there was a different paradigm for understanding same-sex relationships. There's a book called Cartographies of Desires, haven't read it yet. Arc that he describes ends in 1950s with medicalization of homosexual behavior.

[I missed things!]

Discussion of the new swimming anime! Aud: The company that made it usually does moe - they did K-On!

Aud: What's moe?

AH: Moe is a style in which characters who are in high school are depicted as looking 12. Unapologetically aimed at men, although women enjoy them too.

A trailer was made of an anime swimming team. Fandom/Tumblr made relationships and etc. Last month, the company said they're making it into an anime. Their fanbase of male moe fans was not too enthusiastic about this.

[missed things]

Fujoshi means rotten women - women who like BL. [more discussion of fujoshi]

EH: I have a book about how being a fujoshi can make you succeed in the office - talk about sports & politics by shipping everyone.

Onabe - before fujoshi? Haven't heard terms in combination.

Aud: Thought "fujoshi" was specifically a fan context.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Panel Description: At WisCon 36 younger women asked specifically for a discussion which focused on communication between their generation and former generations. Veterans of second-wave feminism talk about the historical context of that wave of feminism in relation to the Civil Rights, Free Speech, Black Power, Anti-Vietnam War and Gay Liberation movements.

Saturday, 4-5:15

Panelists: Debbie Notkin (moderator), Susan Simensky Bietila, Dr. Janice M. Bogstad, Jackie Gross, Angeli Primlani, Roxanne Samer

I arrived late and this is incomplete! When people focused on individual stories, I often lost threads.

This is cut because rape is discussed. )
laceblade: Miyamoto from Tari Tari, lying on floor with her legs in the air/on her bed (Tari Tari: kicking bed)
Let’s talk about what we would like to see at WisCon 37 for anime/manga programming. Post any thoughts you have, however semi-formed.

People can comment & try to come up with the best panels possible! At WisCon, anyone can suggest panel ideas: People who run the convention, authors, attendees, or people who have never attended WisCon and never will. Thus: Please feel free to join in!

If the comments go in a direction you dislike, or you don't want to participate in the discussion, you can submit your own program idea here.

Programming submissions will close in a couple weeks.

Here's a link to last year's programming generation fest.

For reference, here is list of anime/manga panels WisCon has had since WisCon 32 )

Commenting disclaimer: If you're reading this on LiveJournal, I would appreciate it if you could post your comments on the Dreamwidth post, so they're all in one spot. Of course, if you are unable to do so, comment at LJ.
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Today, [personal profile] were_duck and I went to Geek.Kon for about half a day.

I made a Storify of my tweets, which you can read here. In a few instances, I'm conversing with people who have locked tweets, so sorry for only giving you part of the conversation.

Tweets include: pictures of stuff I bought, live-tweets from two panels: one on podfic and one on digital publishing, complaints about other attendees, and excitement over getting books signed by Michael Stackpole and Elaine Cunningham.

Stackpole's X-Wing books are some of the first "grown-up" sci-fi I ever read (Steve Perry's Shadows of the Empire was the very first) back in fifth grade, and the books were pretty formative for me. I loved the shit out of them.

Cunningham wrote a Star Wars expanded universe called Dark Journey. I told her that I had enjoyed reading a book that focused on Jaina Solo, probably my favorite expanded universe character. She said that she'd enjoyed reading her as such a capable woman in the Young Jedi Knights series, and I beamed and said, "Me too!" I loved Young Jedi Knights too, even if I felt I was a little "too old" for them when I read them the first time.

I am very spoiled by WisCon's programming.
I'd like to go to a larger anime convention some day, maybe, but am worried about how annoyed I would get. I'd like to scope out a large convention with decent programming.
I definitely like the merchandise at Geek.Kon better than WisCon.
laceblade: fanart of Utena Tenjou, headshot (Utena fanart fierce)
Panel Description: Some works of shoujo anime or manga (works which are marketed to females 10 to 18 years old) incorporate fairy tales. What are your favorite anime or manga that use fairy tales, either Western or Japanese? Which ones take fairy tales and play with them to achieve narrative brilliance? Works such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, Princess Tutu, and Natsume Yujin-cho may be considered.
Sunday, 2:30-3:45pm
Twitter Hash-Tag: FairyTaleShoujo
Panelists: Lisa Blauersouth (moderator), Kelly Peterson, Megan, Andrea Horbinski, Jackie Lee (me)

These notes are pretty sparse, but I thought posting something was better than nothing! I hope other people took some, too.
There were about 15 people in the audience; this panel was in a sixth-floor room.

LB: Western and Japanese fairy tales are different, but Western fairy tales do get used a lot in anime/manga.

AH: Described premise of Natsume Youjin-chou. It's not about fairy tales, but it is about spirits, it's definitely set in Japan. The protagonist can see spirits. Similar premise to Mushishi, xxxHolic, Kamichu! All of these are set in Japan.

KP: A lot of anime/manga that focus on fairy tales devolve into prince/princess roles, but are not retellings of specific fairy tales. They play with the tropes, not with the stories.

(I forgot who brought this up!): Spirited Away is very Japanese, but still a fairy tale.

Audience: There's a k-drama called Secret Garden that expects the viewer to be familiar with the original Little Mermaid fairy tale - like, it wouldn't make sense if the viewer didn't know it. In the U.S., I think 90% of people would be familiar with the Disney version.

(?): The Ghibli movie "Ponyo" is also a retelling of The Little Mermaid.

Me: (I can't remember where this mentioned, but it happened!) The basic premise of the anime Scrapped Princess is that the protagonist, Pacifica, has a prophecy that says she'll destroy the world when she turns 16. So she's thrown off of a cliff. But in the present, she kind of goes around and her foster brother and sister have to protect her because she actually has no magic powers. I think everyone in the entire series is named after a gun; it's very....like, they're instruments of power. The series is very much about agency. The episode-to-episode writing leaves a lot to be desired, but it's good.

KP: There's this thing that Utena does with repeated scenes that reminds me of how Western fairy tales are told. In Nanami's first episode, this scene keeps playing over and over with slight variations in Anthy's bedroom, where a random animal gets found. Nanami says the exact same things each time, it's a fairy tale structure.

Utena: There is religion in it, but just imagery: the graveyard, the coffins, a church. Utena the series makes up its own fairy tale.
There are also elements encompassing Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty.

The show is a beauty contest, and at the end especially, they're competing to be the prince.

M: Pretear is a series I watched for this panel. It has the same director as Princess Tutu, but it is not a post-modern deconstruction like Utena and Tutu are. It's just a "regular" modern adaptation - the heroine is passive but "kicks ass." (I didn't take detailed notes here, but Megan described the henshin/transformation sequences. The series is based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the protagonist and one of the attractive boys become naked and then merge - it's her source of power. The merging is extremely sexualized, and one of the boys is 4 years old.

LB: Jin-Roh is a really good movie. It's very violent, and it's about suicide. It plays with Little Red Riding Hood, that's its context. In the series, Germany conquered Japan in World War II.

AH: In another panel, Alexis Lothian was talking about how the expectation of a happy ending is oppressive. In anime and manga, the endings are frequently not. The same is true for the source material of Western fairy tales.

(I think AH:) described premise of Princess Knight. Lots of later anime/manga drew on it - Rose of Versailles, Utena, etc.

(various panelists:) describe premise of Princess Tutu.

I think someone in the audience noted that each episode structure of Tutu matches with the Utena episode structures.

(Panelists:) What does the fairy tale structure add? They're not really retellings, but tellings of the ballet version of each fairy tale.
Ahiru wants Rue to have a happy ending, too. It's not enough for just her (Ahiru) to be happy.

Me: On Friday night, I attended the Princesses With Swords panel, which focused somewhat on Disney movies, Lisa, you were on that panel. The panelists struggled with the fact that these retellings sometimes have a heroine like Belle, who's valued for things other than her beauty, but in the end, the stories are still reinforcing heteronormativity. The stories still almost always end in marriage. I think that anime and manga are filling a gap in Western fandoms in that they don't always/often don't end in marriage.

AUD: What about Buddhism?

LB: These series do show that everything ends; things are impermanent.

AUD: Twelve Kingdoms series. The protagonist isn't a princess, she's a king.

Sakura Hime manga mentioned.

As is Night Parade of 100 Youkai, which people mentioned could be found on Kickstarter or Amazon.
laceblade: Toby, Josh, and Donna of The West Wing, talking intensely (WW: 20 Hours in America)
Panel Description: Race and class are two identities that exist in tandem, one never really trumping the other. What are the ways they intersect, diverge, conflict? What happens when our internal race/class state differs from an external race/class assignment—and what factors go into forming internal/external states in the first place? This panel will look at the realities of how we exist within and negotiate race and class without privileging either concept.
Saturday, 2:30-3:45pm
Twitter Hash-Tag: #RaceOnMyClass
Panelists: Saladin Ahmed, Eileen Gunn, Nisi Shawl, Chris Wrdnrd (There was no moderator.)

As always, this is not a verbatim transcript. Things that seem like non-sequitors/etc. are because I couldn't type fast enough. These panelists were great. Corrections appreciated in the comments; I can edit the post whenever I'm able, but will be away from my computer for much of the day.

NS: I helped come up with the panel.

SA: I’m a fantasy writer, my debut novel is Throne of the Crescent Moon. Arabian nights fantasy. Set in land that is like people in the Middle East rather than medieval European fantasy. Protagonists are working people.

EG: Never sure what class I am or my family is. Barbara Jensen has written a fantastic book on class. Did a panel a few years back. If you don’t know what class you are, then probably middle.

CW: Collaborated to be on the panel.

CW: A few years ago, we had a class basics panel. Class and race was shied away from, in part because it’s so large it needs so many panels.

NS: Noticed that it provides a point for conflict because you can be assigned a totally different class from perceptions of outsiders than you experience yourself. That’s an observation of mine, can’t back it up with any personal experience. I think of everyone as my equal. Anybody else have anything to say about the conflict between external assignment and internal state?

EG: I see it in the workplace. Corporations have an internal class system. Managers have upper class in structure of the workplace. How that works in interaction with them. They may not see themselves as middle class. Working class who work themselves up into corporation but see themselves as (?!). Conflict from both sides. Subordinate sees their boss as upper class, but boss sees themselves as working class. I see that a lot, also employee and employee relationship. Class based on status in the corporation.

SA: In my own experience, like race for me, what other people are thinking about me depends on context – how I’m dressed, how my hair is cut, whether I’m with my children or my wife or certain friends and other friends, whether I’m at a poetry reading of MFA students or etc. With loud relatives in a Ponderosa. Not only outsider perceptions, but emphasis in range of class positions - cycle through them a lot.

NS: Is it like code switching?

SA: It is, but it’s almost a conscious act. Been poor my life – I grew up in an immigrant enclave in a factory town, now because I’m in an MFA program in NYC. Different kind of upward mobility. Went to Uni of Michigan. I knew other working class kids, they studied pragmatic things to get out of class position they were in. My parents were artsy. Weren’t working class b/c they were artsy types. Something about it becomes automatic.

CW: One of the things that gets me about assumptions people make – I work a middle class desk job. My boss assumes that I’m as middle class as he is, he assumes that I collude with his humor. He tried to tell me one day that the decline of the English language was due to people living in trailers. It's such an icky feeling when someone assumes I’m going to share their sense of humor.

SA: That’s where race intersects hard. He wouldn’t be defaulting to the dynamic if you were black or if you wore a hijab. He wouldn’t assume you were in that club even if though you might be, if you weren’t the same race.

NS: Story I know from living in Ann Arbor. Black city council man who got stopped for driving while black. He was arrested because he didn’t have his ID on him. He was perceived as being of the underclass, but he was actually a “ruler.” Prime example of someone having a conflict between their experience, what their actual daily life is in terms of class, and what it’s perceived as. Maybe internal experience was different yet again.

AUD: My family’s well-off, I had black boyfriend. Perceptions are so different. My parents were clueless/awful, asking if he knows how to use a microwave, etc.

SA: Always fraught. I try to be a pretty nice and happy person in personal interactions. At the core, I have a dark nihilistic part of me. Thus, often find myself playing devil’s advocate – we can always have happy alliances, different agendas don’t have to be at war – sometimes they are! More recent example – the Skip Gates (Nisi’s story). I grew up in some proximity to African American culture in Detroit. When I say something – of course the cops are fucked up, etc. When I see Skip Gates, he was reacting in almost imperial manner. Part of his reaction was: of course it happened, I’m a black man in America. But he also reacted with a “how dare you” energy. Has its own class energy. “I’m not a common criminal” reaction. I grew up w/ people involved in various criminal enterprises – they’re not shitty people, either. Being mistaken for the underclass – maligning of this thing that you’ve been taken for is a mental trip. Being mistaken for Muslim. Well, that sucks, but you want me to get upset because someone called you this horrible thing? Part of me that ...race and class interact in really uncomfortable ways.

EG: You don’t become a professor at Harvard without a certain level of arrogance. Air of “I’m right/you’re wrong.” Not just classist, but a personal assumption – “I’m right!”

NS: It also can be irritating to be mistaken for the wrong race, as I can attest. Thinking of Chip Delaney. He taught a course at University of Michigan. I didn’t pay any money, just sat in. He came to class one morning furious b/c someone had been hurling racist epithets at him and they were the wrong race. He taught a very interesting class. Other thing I think in terms of race and class intersecting, is race is a much simpler construct than class in my opinion.

EG: It’s an on/off switch to many people, to people who perceive race in that way.

SA: Oh yeah, dominant narrative is that there are four boxes. In the States, we have so little to talk about class. Even now, in talking about “class warfare,” we’re not talking about it in any radical level. We talk uselessly about it a lot more. There's a lot of vocabulary out there even if shit doesn’t change (race).

NS: "MFA poorness" as opposed to "growing up poorness." How many kinds of black are there, and how many kinds of poor are there?

AUD (Mary Kay Kare): Suggestion that race is simpler is very US –centric because talk about race here but we don’t talk about class much. You would find those constructs different in different places.

EG: Didn’t think argument was going that way. Americans brought up to believe they’re in a classless society, even when they know they’re not..

SA: Not thought of as identity categories. We’ve spent 20-30 years as a culture.....people react ass-backwardsly (new favorite word) to feminism/multiculturalism but are engaging.....not happening in the same way as class is.

NS: Maybe it has to do w/many people told they can change classes. Very few people told they can change race.

AUD: Married to English man, talks about race all the time. Accents, speech, etc.

EG: Barbara Jensen’s book. Gave a talk here, talking about all the different classes and how much money your mother/father have. The class marker that's most reliable was where you kept your garbage in the kitchen. In a trash can visible next to wall, or under the sink. If you hide it, you're middle class, if it's out in the open, you're working class.

SA: So...my wife was also working class, is a psychologist now. We kept a trash can under the sink, but we never use it. We keep a loose bag hanging on the outside.

CW: .....What does worm bin indicate?

AUD (Karen Babich): The loose garbage back indicates you're a student!
In America, lazy. Visually, class is hard to pick up especially with onset of cable TV, MTV, and big box clothing stores. Race and gender are things we can assume we look and see know something about.

David Emerson AUD: Barbara Jensen: Class is internal experience. People in the working class in general have a different set of expectations about the world .....(I just stopped recording his comment, sorry lol)

SA: There was that Scalzi post about race/gaming settings and difficulty settings. Class not included, that’s preposterous to me. I can pass on class, but I am still going to be that kid (from immigrant enclave factory town). Doesn’t fluctuate to me. Garcia Marquez book – Love in the Time of Cholera quote: I’m not a rich man, I’m a poor man with money. Well, I’m a poor man with an education.

Genevieve A. Lopez AUD: As far as things like class-passing and race-passing can be very touchy to talk about, but race-passing and class-passing, what have your experiences been regarding that? What are difficulties in untangling when both of those might be happening at once?

NS: I tend to think of myself as everybody’s equal so I really have a hard time...I can see there’s a difference when I tell them I went to a Confirmation class at St. Luke’s Episcopal. Makes me a higher class than going to North Glade elementary – north side of black people. If someone knows your address, they know your class. I wasn’t trying to pass, I had an older friend who went to that church, so she had me go to a confirmation class series. I’d be treated very differently depending on where I told them. Passing unintentionally happens all the time. On a plane, someone asked me where I’m from. I said, Kalamazoo. “Oh, not India?” I had some Indian beads on. IDK.

EG: When I was younger, my partner was a black man. Lived in East Cambridge. Portuguese part of town. Having lunch in a restaurant. He made friends with everyone. He had taught himself to speak a radio announcer sort of accent, removed the accent. He could do 7 different Boston accents, could teach himself many different accents. He didn’t deliberately do anything, disturbed people.

NS: Did they think you were Portugese?

EG: People think I’m Italian. I’m Irish, mostly. Maybe just because I don’t act like an Irish person.

NS: It’s all that wine you drink.

AUD Karen Moore: Moving through class panel last night, someone made a really cogent observation that made me have a light bulb moment. Well, you know I grew up poor and I’ve been very well to do for the last 20 years and I still can’t throw out leftovers and I thought oh God, yes. Then talking about Imposter Syndrome. Even though you’ve moved into a different class, you feel as though you’re not really there. Maybe not the thrust of this panel. Talk about how class becomes internally defined thing and hold on to it no matter what you externally appear to be. Pattern keeps coming back.

EG: IDK about Imposter Syndrome, but interesting she’d think that because she had money she ought to throw out leftovers.

SA: Most cogent for friends of mine – friends with degrees, using French, taste in food has changed, etc.

NS: Grew up well below the poverty level. Money is a class marker but there are other markers, too. Survey in some women’s magazine that purported to answer the question, of what class do I belong to? How many pictures of yourself do you have on your walls? Your ancestors? We keep talking about money but I keep thinking it must be more than that. Because there’s such a thing as poor upper class people, aren’t there?

AUD: I teach high school in Chicago. Students are poor and black. Their race identity is much stronger than any class identity. Haven’t been taught to think of class. They bring in some of the stereotypes/oppressive behavior. One student starts to do well in an English class or etc., and someone says, “Stop talking white.” One thing for some students that helps is science fiction, I wish there was more with black heroes.

AUD LaShawn Wanak: I also grew up in poor black neighborhood in south side of Chicago. Didn’t think of class as growing up, knew I was different than people in my neighborhood. Made contact with old friend. I don’t consider myself rich or to-do or etc., I live on SW side of Madison, mixed neighborhood. Talking with her, I became very aware of class difference between the two of us. Normally wouldn’t have bothered me because we still like the same things. Big house, she lives w/many relatives, hasn’t been to school. Gives me a higher sense of privilege. Discombobulating.

NS: You felt different when younger...class (collision?)?

LaShawn: I liked things different than everyone else.

NS: LaShawn...ou’re a nerd. (laughter)

LaShawn: Very interesting to see how now there’s a divide between my friend and I.

NS: Is science fiction a class? Or is it a race?

SA: It’s an orientation.

AUD: It’s a choice!

AUD Isabel Schecter: What Karen said about leftovers. I have that same experience, for me it’s compounded by race, doubly so because I can pass. Grew up on welfare. I talked white, very clear to everyone in my family that I was going to become white when I grew up. I was going to go to college and marry a white man. I did those two things. Only person in family to go to college, got two degrees. Married a rich white man. If you ask his family, they’ll say he’s middle class. My family says we’re filthy rich. I have all this money, can come to WisCon, eat foofy food. I can’t bring myself to throw out the leftovers. I know I have huge amounts of privilege but I also have these really conflicted issues about race. Growing up, didn’t know poor/nefarious activities, didn’t make distinction between class and race. Assumed we were this way because we were Latino and flawed. Didn’t realize until later it was class, and socioeconomic issues. Now I’m a rich white lady, except that I’m not rich and not white. Terrifying to figure out your identity/what have I become.

AUD: Permeability of class. Permeable across 2-3 generations. I come from an upper class/middle class marriage. I know the difference in visiting my grandparents that they were different classes. In college, I thought I passed, until started seeing markers that were invisible. I knew I had transgressed some marker, still don’t know what that marker was.

SA: We don't have a moderator, so I hope I can steer just a little bit. Focus on questions that are about race and class?

NS: Can add racial overtone to that audience comment. The idea of changing class over generations has a parallel in black community of changing race over a generation. Struck by Isabel – you are going to be white when you grow up.

AUD: (I did not write anything down!)

AUD: Intersection of class and race is complicated issue to deal with. One thing that struck me is how fluid that can be and how people can perceive race and class and see one and not see the other. Grew up in Virginia, old VA city. Two classes of people in general. (I did not write the rest of this comment.)

SA: Meta level on which, when we talk about race, the class positions we’re doing it from. At WisCon: This is a literary convention, we all read. Very basic underpinnings like that. If you read a fair amount, and most people you’re talking to about race read a lot, then you’re getting a disproportionate slice. You’re only talking with some people about some aspects of race. Ways in which it intersects with race not discussed. Comes out most emphatically online. Facebook becoming a little democratized. Way more class-diverse than Twitter. Really intriguing to me. Blow-ups of controversies in [SF/F] genre happen largely online. What I see that’s missing, is people with college jobs who have time to be online a lot during the day. That’s not most people. Doesn’t suggest we go out and recruit everyone, but knowing your privilege/etc. – underpinning to that discourse has to do with access to computers, a certain vocabulary about oppression, etc. Wish we were a little more conscious about that. When someone says “Aaaa-rahb,” it’s context-specific. Knowing how to pronounce "Arab" correctly can be a class marker. The way they talk about women or queer people would not pass in our blogosphere or here. They don’t hate queer people any more than someone who knows the right words. If we’re going to have an open conversation where we’re talking across race lines as well as class lines, [I stopped mid-sentence!]

NS: I like running Internet dramas by my sister, sort of a pulse-check, to see how she reads it.

AUD: Touched on this, but wondered if you could talk about intelligence and how that is perceived across class and race. Know the same degree of privilege I have is not perceived in the same way in other people.

CW: Interesting how articulate you are can erase class lines. I’ve seen how articulate a person is can erase race lines. Black man who's a friend of my husband's got into an argument on World of Warcraft, he was playing with someone on headsets – "you can’t be black, you’re so articulate!" It’s a really big one.

AUD: Seen it do the opposite. Large black man, being articulate gained him hostility.

EG: Different people have different abilities to reposition other people’s opinions of them. Not an intelligence dependent thing, but something black people experience far more than white people. White people assumed – look at your skin/clothing/etc. Don’t have to [I missed the end of this statement!]

SA: See it a lot online. North Carolina [recent passage of amendment banning gay marriage]. So many tweets from upper middle class friends were like, these dumb fucking rednecks. If you can’t respond without “I’m pro-gay rights because I went to college, and these people are all fucking their cousins,” ....you’re perpetuating other stupid shit.

CW: Wanting to ask, when discussions of race and class happen, why does it go to class? What is behind that impulse? "If you just fix the class problems, racism will magically go away."

SA: That is an unfortunate tendency. See – every time someone brings up class in a race discussion, they are always accused of derailing. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it needs to be a part of the conversation. We have to look at each instance and look at what people are doing.

AUD: Reason that class comes up and derails, unconscious derailing – more comfortable with conversation about class than race, which makes us uncomfortable as white people.

(Nisi tried to challenge this audience member's use of the phrase "us," implying "we are all white people," but I think the audience member didn't get it.)

NS: Can’t say anything about that. Almost out of time....Growing up, we had a function called honorary whiteness, also had honorary blackness. Mostly black school. Sanchezes were there. Didn’t know what to do with this non-binary class, decided they were black, because of their class. Same clothes/shoes/neighborhood, assigned them a race based on their class.

AUD Karen Babich: Where are the good conversations happening?

NS: World Fantasy Con 2 years ago. Science fiction conventions.
laceblade: Juri of Utena anime in middle school uniform; Shiori's hand covers her eyes. (Utena: Juri eyes covered)
Panel Description: Fifteen years ago, the anime series Revolutionary Girl Utena was released into the wild. Utena rapidly became the poster child for feminist anime fans in the U.S., a role that she continues to play today. This anime asks the same basic question posed by Joanna Russ's The Female Man: Do you want to be a girl or do you want to be human? It encourages us to question a society in which we cannot be both. Let's talk about RGU and its contributions to our own lives and to feminist discourse. We'll also touch on other anime series that approach the same topics, though perhaps without the same zest and creativity as RGU does.
Saturday, 1-2:15pm
Twitter Hash-Tag: #FeministUtena
Panelists: JoSelle Vanderhooft (moderator), Jackie Lee (me), Jude McLaughlin, Kelly Peterson

I uh, took these notes while on the panel! So the notes about what I said aren't very good and the transcript is definitely incomplete because I sometimes needed to not type in order to listen better.
There were about 12 people in this audience; the panel was held in Conference Room 4.

JV & the audience noted that there were many good panels scheduled in this time slot!

JV: This year is Utena [the series]’s 15th anniversary. (The panel description was read out loud.) A panel about Utena could go anywhere and last forever. I love the show, it was the first anime I ever watched at age 19, I was catching it on fansubs, and then MediaBlasters tapes. It had a weird dub but I liked the show, hooked. I want to talk about shows influenced by Utena, and Muwaru Penguindrum.

JM: I found it at an anime store, which was kind of illicitly renting fansubs. I'm [personal profile] heavenscalyx – I have posts with fanfic recs, also have a fanfic! Currently writing original fiction, which is ongoing.

JL: I'm laceblade, [livejournal.com profile] mystickeeper Uhh, I like anime, and Utena is my favorite series of all-time, I think.

KP: I found Utena through my gaming group. Duelists were MCs in an amber campaign (I am probably mauling these terms, as I am not a gamer). After being shown the opening sequence, I started with the movie! (laughter) Utena is not my all-time favorite, but it is my favorite to discuss. I started going to cons at the 10-year anniversary of Utena panels. There's so much to talk about, I think that an Utena panel should happen at every con.

JV: It's one of the best series of all time.

KP: It's worth discussing, there are so many ambiguities and multiple theories.

JV: Saoinji is one of my favorite characters. Certain characters, I like them more or less as my own life changes. I like Nanami a lot, too. As for the panel, I don’t like to have us talk and then take questions at the end; I like to play off the audience. Want to go with that model. Is that okay with everyone?
(assent from audience and other panelists)

JV: Does anyone know some of the cultural influences and how feminism progressed in Japan? Utena is not something that our culture created (the panelists were all from the US, I believe; none of us were of Japanese descent).

JM: I know a bit about culture that led up to it. Takarazuka is a location in Japan, and has a style of theater that is done all by women actors. The women who play male characters study to make their voices very deep, and they hold themselves with like, their hands on their hips, etc. The actors who play women characters keep their elbows tucked in, and it's very different. You can see these katas being played out in the show by the way the characters hold themselves, particularly Utena and Anthy. Their body language draws on the theatrical tradition.

AUD: Geisha quarters. Kabuki = all male theater. Geisha were similar – they were actors and singers. Kabuki was called "Oh, like Shakespeare!" by outsiders. The geisha took on roles because they were all women, and outsiders said they were whores. In Japanese folklore – crossdressing is a sign of resistance and has been for centuries.

JV: The director of the series really wanted to work with the series composer. He wanted music of the 1960s/70s, when there were lots of feminist changes.

Me: I think that Rose of Versailles was very much an influence on this, too.

JV: (I did not write down what she said!)

Me: For audience members who haven't seen it, Rose of Versailles takes place during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette is a main character. Oscar is the protagonist, whose father wanted a boy and raises her as one. She ends up being like, the captain of the guard and is assigned to protect Marie Antoinette.

JM: Rose of Versailles saved the Takarazuka, part of what propelled their success.
Oniisama e also influenced Utena.

AUD member: Princess Knight/Ribbon Knight influenced it, too. Written by Osamu Tezuka. Princess Knight is about a girl born with a man's heart. Due to political reasons, she dresses like a man and acts like one, (plot description). Tezuka was in love with a woman who trained for takarazuka, and died. Princess Knight was written for her, it was the ultimate takarazuka role of a lifetime.

JV: Turning back to the panel description, this question of, do you want to be a girl or human? Do you want to have agency? = do you want to be human? Depending on how you view the ending tells you how optimistic you feel about women/power/etc.

KP: Explaining Nanami episodes to other people is fun; I rewatched the series for this panel. Another question posed by the series is, do you want to be a princess or a witch? If you're not loved just to be loved, then the only other option is to be the witch. Anthy’s only choice. This gets subverted by Juri. She has her own agency/etc. She is obsessed with her appearance/etc., though. She’s the only duelist who Utena never beats, she has to give it up.

JV: Juri I never liked.

KP: Juri's reasons for dueling in the manga version of the series were different. She does things for love of Touga, didn’t like that version of her as much for that.

JM: I identified with Juri.

Me: Juri is my favorite!

JV: I don’t find it (her) relevant/compelling.
The Western equivalent of the "princess or witch" choice is = virgin or whore. Anthy is defined by her sexuality, while Utena by a sexual ambiguity that is very platonic/contained. You can watch the series and interpret their relationship as a very close friendship. You can also see movie as retelling or conclusion.

JM: Utena is sexually clueless.

JV: She's innocent, which is why she falls prey to Akio. Doesn’t have life experience.

KP: She’s in middle school!

JV: They always feel older to me. Utena feels 16, others = 17-20.

JM: General aging of anime. 14-year-olds not portrayed as such, not awkward or etc.

Me: Except in Evangelion.... (laughter)

JV: There are hints of time functioning in a different way. Akio’s done this with these people over and over.

AUD: Agency. Twist at the end. You think of Utena as powerful/feminist. She’s fundamentally powerless, can’t change situation she’s in, but she can. Anthy chooses to submit to her brother. Utena has to build it up with failures. No concept of forces she’s dealing with. Her defiance comes off as very juvenile. Twist...resolved w/her leaving, has the strength. It’s an impotence struggle.

JM: She’s trying to rescue someone, but the lesson is, you can’t rescue anyone.

AUD: Arc of first season = trying to free Anthy, what she thinks Anthy wants (freedom). My friends and I say it's like she’s stuck in second wave feminism and needs to move to third wave.

AUD: The car thing [from the movie] is fascinating. It’s a symbolic message – freedom through appropriation of masculinity. The car looks like a uterus, then phallic. Disliked that, as a trans woman.

AUD: Lot of people at Ohtori who turn into cars. Utena, Wakaba, Shiori, Kozoe – all women.

Me: I'd kind of like to talk about princes....Utena wants to be one, Dios represents this prince of the past who's ideal, Akio is the prince of now/the future, and he's pretty Machiavellian.

JV: The show is about how the men in it don’t make good princes.
Utena louses to Touga (~episode 11), gets slapped by a girl (is this Wakaba?), takes her identity back.

AUD: We've done a drinking game for slapping in RGU.

JV: I hope nobody had to go to the hospital!

Me: I like that Utena wants to find Dios, but doesn’t let it take her agency, she wants to BE a prince.

AUD: Black Rose Saga! Theme of abuse of psychology, abuse of the role of the therapist to turn people into something that you project on to them instead of releasing them.

JM: Unsettling theme.

AUD: As a trans woman, there’s a history of that – idea of reparative therapy, where therapists can become villains. Role of them doing something for the wrong reasons.

JV: Doesn’t plan the suggestion, just keeps pushing at them to talk more. Not necessarily holding a dialogue, then enables them when it gets to the right point. I like the [Black Rose] saga for so many reasons. It develops all the characters a lot more. Their shadow sides. Shadow self of each duelist. Wakaba and Saionji. All duelists except one are women, (except Nanami). Gender binary. Very much a shadow side. Really love this arc.

JM: One of the theories is that the Black Rose duelists are dead after this arc, or Kanae is dead.

JV: We see everyone afterward, they seem to be doing okay.

JM: Except Kanae. There's a brief glimpse of Akio and Anthy feeding popping apples into her mouth.

JV: Kanae felt controlled. Persephone/Hades. Seems like she’s killed. Most that Mikage talks. Mikage is a shadow side to Utena, he wants his Rose Bride, he’s trying to be Utena/the prince.

AUD: Episode w/subversion of that. Character is too good/innocent to be turned in that way.

AUD: Also doesn’t have duelist to draw a sword from.

AUD: Akio kept Mikage around to create more duelists.

JV: Partner says it’s filler arc.

JM: It’s the next step in the series.

JV: Her confronting what could be worst in her.

KP: Saionji’s hakama is a dress-profile.

JV: Different ways to be a woman. Juri wears pants, but femme. Nanami femme, wears trousers on student council. Both ways can be different and are strong.
Utena has influenced a lot of other shows. Or shows that influenced Utena. I highly recommend is Mai Otome. Magical girl mech. Can only be an Otome if queer, or abstain from having sex with guys.

Muwaru Penguindrum, Ikuhara's new series (director of Utena).

AUD: Princess Tutu and Utena: In both, the school is its own world, none of the normal rules apply.

KP: Also the attention to animals.

KP: Ahiru (protagonist of Princess Tutu) is pre-pubescent. Her love is pure.

AUD: Madoka Magica. Deconstruction of mahou shoujo shows and breaking them down.

AUD: Princess Tutu never walks, always does ballet.

AUD: Very hard to walk normally when wearing ballet shows!

JM: Erica Friedman suggested Nanoha and Tutu. No successor because the market has changed. Anime is made for young kids and men in Japan these days. Women in Japan are consuming manga and light novels.

JV: Strawberry Panic.

AUD: Was it a critique/mockery of the things it plays on, or was it sincere? IE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was parody, but then it was sincere because it had a good writer.

AUD: Twelve Kingdoms is one of the best deconstructive animes. Grim, deconstructs magical world things completely. Interesting things done there. Hard to get through because no humor relief.

AUD: Moto Hagio (manga-ka). She writes hard SF manga. Genetic engineering experiments. Gender = difficult/impossible to determine, can change. What happens when it does change? [There were a few comments about gender here that I didn't write down because I was having trouble parsing what was meant].

AUD: Hourou Mousuko. Dealing with a kid who is dealing with gender dysphoria. Anime picks up after the first story arc of the manga. They fill in gaps w/flashbacks.

Me: I just finished this, it was so great! Available on Crunchyroll...the manga is out in the US, but the anime is not.

JV: How has Utena influenced your own life?

JM: In 1999, I identified most with Anthy. I had just left an abusive relationship. Everything she went through, I could identify with really heavily. Utena has been therapy for me.

JV: I identified with Saionji at first, after his initial introduction. I've felt overshadowed by friends, wanted something eternal/fixed.

Me: I guess for me, I really just identify with Utena and the theme of being your own prince...you can do your own thing, but like, nobody's going to save you, and you're either going to get your own shit done or not. Maybe along the way you can save someone else or try to...just, the agency of being your own prince is appealing to me.
(to JM) I have a friend who had a similar viewing experience, with Anthy's storyline.

KP: I had to learn how to be a woman in a man’s world. Naval deployment, how to be taken seriously. It ended up not working out for me.

AUD: Second arc was beyond “yay!” to being, “This is about me.” It’s about all the people who aren’t protagonists. Second string prince, second string rose bride trying to become the protagonists, preying on everyone’s feelings of inadequacy.

JV: Wakaba and Utena grow apart, Utena makes no effort to repair that.

AUD: I watched Utena in January 2010. At the end, I had a breakdown from the end of it, it just happened. A year later, I watched Strawberry Panic. At the end of it, I had to stop watching before final ending. There were other things that happened that day, but it was then my decision to transition, Utena/etc. Breaking the gender rule.

JM: Simoun (anime series). Everyone’s a woman until they decide to become a man. If they do decide, then their body changes over time.
Haibane Renmei. No actual lesbians, but lots of love between women, and it can change the world.


laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)

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