May. 25th, 2017

dmilewski: (Default)
Merely labeling something as "sexist" doesn't do us much good because the label only gives us a binary. How much is it sexist? Does the sexism have any bearing on the story?

Assuming that any sexism, no matter how small, led to dire consequences, then I doubt that anyone would write anything at all, which is clearly not the intention of feminism.

Nor do I think that it's the goal of feminism to remove the theme of sexism from all works. Clearly people are affected by sexism, and using it in our arts is a way of speaking about the phenomena. If we couldn't speak about the phenomena of sexism, then that would be stupid, and clearly against what feminism is for.

No do I think that sexism should be removed from gendered work. Simply not liking something is insufficient reason to remove it. Feminism is not about guarding the morals and the moral consequences of others. Genders have needs which, quite frankly, can and will be met by the marketplace. 

A work can look sexist simply because of circumstances. A group of men in a combat unit might seem sexist because, at this point in history, women aren't in our front line units. We want gender balanced stories, and we also want gender imbalanced stories. To not have gender imbalanced stories is just as sexist as only having gender imbalanced stories. The full fabric of human experience demand a wide variety.

When looking at the sexism of a work, the first question must be, "Is this sexism appropriate to the story?" If the story is suppose to explore humanity, does it explore it? If the story is supposed to wallow in gratuity, does it wallow and is it gratuitous?

How much is this sexism part of the story? For stories where the sexism is minor or incidental, those works don't really measure up as "sexist." Likewise, for works which are entirely based on sexism, of course they're sexist, that's the point. (Pornography exists as a sexism medium because it's used by men to masturbate, coming in a wide variety of forms because men come (cum?) with a wide variety of needs.)

It's for those works that are sexist, but where sexism isn't necessary or intended, where sexism should be examined most closely. Is a work needlessly sexist? (That is, is it sexist without accomplishing anything through the use of sexism?) Especially in a work whose goal it is to reach the widest possible audience, the appearance of sexism can work against the wide market appeal.

Do audiences want strong females? Sure. They also want weak ones, silly ones, infatuated ones, and clueless ones. To reduce the breadth of womanhood to "strong female" is as stupid as reducing all males to "strong man." Merely replacing a less fashionable stereotype with a more fashionable stereotype doesn't do anyone any good.

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