We need to talk about Padmé Amidala

aotc-senate padmeWe need to talk about Padmé Amidala. More specifically, we have to talk about the raw deal that Padmé gets. No not the one that she got in Revenge of the Sith with her entire political plotline being cut from the film and her less than ideal death. No, I’m referring to the tendency of people (fandom and otherwise) to write Padmé off simply because she was either in the Prequels or doesn’t fit their model of a Strong Female Character because it’s really getting to be a problem.

Prequel dismissiveness aside, I’ve seen a pretty disturbing trend lately of writers leaving Padmé off their lists of prominent women within the Star Wars universe. Usually, that list includes Leia, Rey, Jyn, Ahsoka, and sometimes Sabine and Hera from Star Wars Rebels. It’s a list that doesn’t include Padmé despite her being strong enough to lead the battle to retake her planet, often going headfirst into danger when she’s trying to do the right thing, and having some of the strongest convictions of any Star Wars characters. She is also undoubtedly the prominent female character from three films.

When people talk about Padmé, they often do so dismissively whether it be because of the Prequels or because of her death or because of her fantastic fashion sense or because she’s not the flashy Hero of the story or because they simply don’t like her. That’s not okay. Say what you will about the Prequels but give Padmé the respect that she deserves and don’t omit her from a list of prominent Star Wars women just because you have an axe to grind. (And Padmé certainly can fight, by the way. She’s one of the best shots in the films but that shouldn’t matter.) Continue reading

An Open Letter to Wookieepedia

Dear Wookieepedia,

I generally try not to get involved in discussions of feminism in fandom–at least not here on the blog.  I don’t think any one really wants a not-so-short introduction to feminism here (and yes, I am qualified to teach Women’s Studies at the university level, in case you were wondering).

What started as a joke-and yes, I’m willing to say it probably started as a April Fool’s joke with no ill intentions-has just snowballed into a real problem.  And it all could have gone away if you’d apologized, admitted mea culpa, asked forgiveness and taken it down.

But I’m not going to lecture you.  I’m not going to pull out my Gloria Steinem quotes.  I’m not going to talk about marginalization.

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Tosche Station Radio #41: Gender Stereotyping

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This week on Tosche Station Radio, Nanci and Brian take issue with gender stereotyping in fandom and science fiction.

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s new on the blogside. Nanci explained why she likes sci-fi even though she’s a woman. She also pontificated about why she doesn’t like long books. Meanwhile, Brian reviewed the new Star Wars #1. The hosts take a few minutes to discuss the new comic before moving into …

Fixer’s Flash, where this week, Nanci’s kept busy reading Scoundrels and waiting to hear back from publishers. Both she and Brian enjoyed the return of Once Upon a Time and went down memory lane to re-watch the X-Files pilot episode.

In Deak’s Dirt, things kick off with word that there’s a new Star Wars EU book coming. Zahn talks Scoundrels on the Official Blog. There’s also a new audiobook clip, if that’s your thing.  Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that theSequel Trilogy might feature a female lead.The Oscar nominations are out. How did our favorite genre entertainment fare? (Spoilers: not very well)

This week’s Camie’s Concerns looks into an article Nanci wrote earlier this week looking at gender stereotypes (and why they suck). Nanci responds to a Damon Lindelof (Star Trek 2009) quote and the hosts delve into why assuming women aren’t into science fiction is condescending. The hosts also discuss what really can be done to draw a bigger female audience without coming off as disparaging and out-of-touch.

Finally, the hosts wrap up the show by fielding questions from listeners in our Ask Us Anything segment.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of the Solo Sound network. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store or the Xbox Music Store. We can also be found on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

Why I Like Science Fiction, by A Woman

This weekend, a Tumblr post appeared on my dash, about the 2009 Star Trek movie. Apparently, during the initial planning meetings, the writers asked themselves how to get women to go see this movie.

Wrong.

Women don’t like sci-fi, get it?

I read this and, understandably, got angry. Why, in 2013, do people still labor under the idea that women don’t like sci-fi? That sci-fi is something for only men to enjoy? That men must somehow trick women into seeing sci-fi movies by inserting story elements that appeal to them?

This is a famous science fiction writer saying this, by the way, not some Joe Schmoe nobody’s ever heard of. Go Google Damon Lindelof if you don’t know who he is. I’ll wait. Now that you know his credentials, one would think that he’s been around long enough not to fall into that old “women don’t like sci-fi” trap, right?

Apparently not.

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Continuity and Perspective in the Expanded Universe

I just don’t care about continuity like I used to.

The fiery passion I had for it years ago isn’t there anymore. I used to scour over Wookieepedia to try and see how things pieced together. How did this book tie in with that comic, or how did that obscure background character from that film work in this book? There’s a part of me that still really enjoys seeing the minutia of the universe fit together, but over the last few years I’ve noticed that my insistence that everything mesh perfectly together has more or less vanished.

I got worn out fuming over how The Clone Wars was treading on the Expanded Universe. I got tired arguing about how the prequel films trounced on the ethics and philosophy of post-Return of the Jedi  novels. At some point, I realized that the only thing that mattered to me anymore was that I was reading a compelling narrative. For a long time I had been prioritizing continuity over the story and it had gotten in the way of my enjoyment of the Expanded Universe.

While I may not be a continuity die-hard anymore, I know it matters to many fans. It still matters to me to a certain degree. That’s the great thing about fandom, because there are countless ways one can be a fan of something. We all weigh certain things differently.

However, because it’s very important for a lot of people and still matters to me somewhat, we need to sit down and have a discussion. Continuity fans, there’s some behavior and expectations that need to change.

Continue reading