The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

“Out of Body”

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“As a young stay-at-home father, I gravitated toward Virago Modern Classics because they illuminated the ordinary domestic life to which I was growing accustomed, without becoming sentimental or losing sight of the broader human concerns and higher aspirations of their female characters….They couldn’t help seeing that this world of messy children and dirty floors, of […]

“It’s Black History Month & Women In Horror Month: Our Future”

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Graveyard Shift Sisters writes about the merging of Black History Month & Women In Horror Month: “The marriage of our stories and horror in 2014 is uncharted and drowning in possibilities. We can’t negate the magnitude of visual representation. Mirroring my first point, what we say and affirm about the multiplicitous life of Black women […]

“Space Ladies from Outer Space”

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The Gutter’s own Carol invaded The Infernal Brains podcast to discuss space ladies with Todd from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! and Tars Tarkas from TarsTarkas.net.

“The Six Male Characters Women Never Get To See In Movies”

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“[T]hink about all those roles that women selfishly hog up (e.g., passive victims requiring rescue, femmes fatales, joyless nags) that are off-limits to even the most talented male actors. It’s time to stop this woman-centric hand-wringing on how to make female characters better and focus on helping the real victims of Hollywood sexism by asking: […]

Forty-One Black Women In Horror Writing

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Sumiko Saulson shares a list of twenty Black women in horror writing. “February is Black History Month here in the United States. It is also Women in Horror Month (WiHM). As an Ambassador for WiHM, and as a woman of color (I am Black and Jewish) who is a horror writer, I am poignantly aware […]

Frozen: Jane Austen Meets The Snow Queen

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My mom raised me with three things: Feminism; “You don’t have to like your sister, but you can’t hit her”; and a dislike of Disney. Writing them down now, I realize that all three are more applicable to Frozen, than I thought when I decided I should state my bias. I respect Disney’s progress in […]

“Bilbo was definitely a girl”

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“[M]y daughter was determined. She liked the story pretty well so far, but Bilbo was definitely a girl. So would I please start reading the book the right way?” Michelle Nijhuis reads The Hobbit to her daughter and ponders the possibilities of switching characters’ gender in stories.

“Why Marketers Fear Female Geeks”

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At How Not To Suck At Game Design, Anjin writes about marketing, cycles of exclusion and what to do about it: “Yes, excluding people based on demographic data makes sense to a lot of people in marketing. It’s considered a best practice and it actually is a pretty reliable way of increasing profit margins. And […]

“‘Diversity Lounge? PAX has a lot of work to do”

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Leigh Alexander writes about the gaming community, PAX’s proposed “Diversity Lounge” and providing safe, inclusive spaces: “But the ‘Diversity Hub and Lounge’ is vaguely insulting as a concept: What marginalized people want from games events is not necessarily to have special zones just for them, but to feel welcome, wanted and safe at the entire […]

“How To Discourage Women From Cartooning”

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An anonymous cartoonist shares a creepy letter at The Comics Journal: “I have photographic evidence for this one, but I don’t have any proof of the other sleazy ‘real life’ encounters I have had in my career. Every woman I know has had them. They add up, and combined together they go far beyond frustration.”

“Two Easy Steps To Make Hollywood Less Sexist”

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Geena Davis has two suggestions for making films and television shows less sexist. They’d work well for increasing diversity of all kinds.  

“Representation of Women in India Cinema and Beyond”

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Text of Sharmila Tagore’s lecture on women and Indian cinema at the India International Centre. (via Memsaab Story)

Nancy Collins interviews Devon Grayson and Gail Simone

Nancy Collins interviews Devon Grayson and Gail Simone about Red Sonja, fantasy, gaming and Dynamite’s upcoming, Legends of Red Sonja.

“Peeta Is A Movie Girlfriend”

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Linda Holmes writes about The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and how her male love interest, Peeta, is “a movie girlfriend”: “Going by the traditional Hollywood rules, make no mistake: Peeta is a Movie Girlfriend. Peeta is Pepper Potts and Gwen Stacy, helping and helping and helping until the very end, when it’s time for the […]

“Sexual Harassment In Comics: The Tipping Point”

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Laura Hudson returns to Comics Alliance to write about sexual harassment in the comics community: “It’s important to note that the vast majority of men in comics–pro and fan–aren’t predatory. The problem is that the small number who are predatory get insulated from the consequences of their actions by the passive behavior of other men […]

Two Female Authors Talk About Sexism, Being Out and Self-Promotion

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At The Toast, author Sarah Rees Brennan writes about promoting one’s work and  sexism.  And author Malinda Lo writes a companion piece about promoting one’s work, being out as a Queer author, heterosexism, homophobia and sexism.

A Few Pagan Reactions to American Horror Story: Coven

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At A Knife And A Quill, Kate Laity shares her thoughts on American Horror Story: Coven:  “I don’t turn to drama series for insightful commentary on witchcraft. I do expect fun and I do expect a little pulse-taking on the state of the nation. Because witchcraft narratives are almost always about notions of female and other […]

Demanding Better Representation

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At XOJane, Chaka Cumberbath demands better representation for Black girl nerds in geek culture: “We can be spunky. We can be vivacious. We can be complicated and beautiful and emotional and flawed and we might be all of those things or none of those things at all, but we deserve to be written. We deserve […]

“Die Like A Man”

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At Wired, Laura Hudson writes about masculinity and Breaking Bad: “Taken to its furthest extent, this brand of masculinity punishes men for acting like Jesse, and instead produces men like Walt[.]“

Sexy Supervillian Pin-Ups

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Evan Munday has created a gallery of his supervillain erotica. “[A]s I noted in one of the oddest interviews I’ve ever done, with Playboy‘s sort-of-safe-for-work site, comic readers are used to having their female characters overtly sexualized. Despite the spandex and bulging muscles, male characters just aren’t treated the same way by illustrators. So at […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.”  “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a title that ends in a question mark.  But there is another, related tradition that goes back further that I think we could place these films in.” (via Dr. Giallo)

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    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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