Maybe you’re joining the Women’s March….
Maybe you need some music to uplift your downtrodden soul…
This is the playlist all the nasty girls
Maybe you’re joining the Women’s March….
Maybe you need some music to uplift your downtrodden soul…
This is the playlist all the nasty girls
I began 2016 with a simple reading goal: I was going to spend the year reading fantasy books either with female leads or written by female authors. As a result, I read some absolutely amazing fantasy books, and I want to share them with you. Do you need some recommendations for 2017? Look no further.
Anything and everything written by Robin Hobb.
After I read Ship of Magic, I was hooked on Robin Hobb. These are some wonderfully unique fantasy books with great female characters. Even the Fitz series (which features a male protagonist) is such a fun read that I just couldn’t put the books down. There’s magic, adventure, pirates, unique dragon lore, and a cast of well-rounded characters. I can’t recommend these enough! Be forewarned, the series is long and so are the books; I spent my entire summer reading these fifteen books (each averaging about 800 pages). Also, the series isn’t yet complete: the last book of the Fitz and the Fool series is set to release in May 2017.
Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1, #2 by Patricia C. Wrede
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles were written for young readers, but I never let that stop me. These follow a young princess who doesn’t want to follow the typical princess path, so she runs away to make friends with dragons. The first book in the series was charming, genre-aware, and humorous. Though, I couldn’t get into the series much after that first book. I’d recommend these to any young girl obsessed with princesses or the grown woman who was once that young girl.
The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood by Henderson Smith
I do enjoy reading children’s books, but this was not one of them. I struggled to finish this book. Much as the title suggests, it’s about an ugly princess who must choose between either having extraordinary magics or extraordinary beauty. While I can applaud the author for trying to turn the princess trope, I just couldn’t like this holier-than-thou princess.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
After watching this summer’s release of the live-action La belle et la bête, I was drawn to this book. As a retelling of a fairy tale, I thought that this book was pretty entertaining. It’s definitely written with a YA audience in mind, and it’s an early effort by the author, but I enjoyed it all the same. McKinley doesn’t turn the story around or give it some surprise ending; it’s Beauty and the Beast fair and simple. It’s sweet, enchanting even if it isn’t highly original.
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
After reading Beauty, Goodreads recommended this book by the same author, and I’m glad I read it. This book shows a completely different side to McKinley’s writing. It’s an original fantasy written for a YA audience, but it won’t disappoint an adult reader. Aerin, the protagonist, is alienated by family and kingdom simply for being born. Unhappy with her lot in life, she decides to create her own path and become the hero her people need. It’s an empowering story in an intriguing world.
World of the Five Gods #2, #3 by Lois McMaster Bujold
These books really surprised me, and I look forward to reading more in the series. Based on recommendations, I began with book #2 and then onto #3. Reviewers often compare the writer to Jane Austen, which I guess would be accurate if Jane Austen ever wrote a book about war, magic, demons, and gods. The comparison no doubt comes from the amazing way the author explores relationships and the constraint society places on individuals. The Curse of Chalion follows the broken man, Cazaril, who returns from war to a royal court filled with enemies. Paladin of Souls doesn’t follow Cazeril but the forty-year-old dowager queen, Ista, who believes that she is long past the adventure in her life but sets out on one anyway. It was beyond refreshing to read a fantasy/adventure with a lead that’s already “come of age”. After spending years as a wife and a mother, Ista finds out what it means to be Ista by setting out on a pilgrimage that leads her to a life she never imagined. I highly recommend these novels!
The Wicked + Divine Volumes #1, #2, #3 by Keiron Gillen, Jaime McKelvie (illustrator), Matt Wilson (colorist)
When I first picked up Wicked + Divine, I wasn’t sure what to think. Was this brilliant or insane? The beautiful art kept me reading, and now I am hooked. It’s based on the premise that every 90 years, the gods are reborn in human bodies, but they die after only two years on Earth. It’s original. It’s now. It’s music. It’s fashion. It’s divine. It’s everything. I fell in love with some of the characters and the brash way the authors kill everyone you love. At the end of each graphic novel, I was left mouth hanging open with shock and anticipation. I think this is one of those series most people either love or hate.
Princess Academy #1 by Shannon Hale
After seeing about a million copies of this one at Half-Priced Books over the years, I finally picked up a copy for $.50. Princess Academy follows the young girl, Miri, who lives in a far-off mountain town. The whole town is shocked when they learn that the bride for the prince will be chosen from their town. Before a princess can be chosen, the court must set-up a princess academy to teach these rural girls the etiquette of the court. This book is definitely written for children, and it was a super fast read. However, I found the book to be extremely predictable, and no adult reader will have a hard time at guessing the ending within the first 25 pages of the book. Maybe if I had read this at eleven, I would have been more impressed. As is, I just found it a bit boring.
Mistborn #1, #2, #3 by Brandon Sanderson
I’d never read Sanderson outside of the Wheel of Time series, which he finished after the death of Robert Jordan. I picked up the Mistborn series knowing only that. I haven’t yet finished the third book (no spoilers!!!), but I am very impressed with this series, and I can’t wait to read more from Sanderson. The series begins in a world where an evil empire has ruled for a thousand years, and a group of slave thieves decides that they have had enough. The books follow Vin, a street urchin-turned-superhero (of sorts) when she discovers that she is an allomancer. These books have not only some of the most original magic I have ever seen, but also have a great way of turning familiar fantasy plots/themes into something new.
I’m continuing my streak of fantasy novels with female protagonists and/or authors into 2017, what do you recommend?
(For a comprehensive list of what I read in 2016, check out Goodreads)
These days, most people play video games– from Pokemon Go to Call of Duty to Overwatch– games and their players are more diverse than ever. Despite the increasing diversity of games and gamers, our image of gamers has remained static.
I am a gamer. It’s an identity and a loaded one at that. I identify as a gamer because I game. It’s how I spend a lot of my free time, and it’s been that way for many years. Games relax me. They pick me up. I meet new people in games. Games give me experiences outside of myself and my reality. They are an escape as much as reading. They are an art form, though so often misunderstood. Amazing stories play out in video games, and you. the gamer, are the star. Gaming is so many things to me, and I have never shied away from calling myself a gamer.
However, when I call myself a gamer, I am met with either disbelief or a challenge. The challenge usually comes from male gamers while the disbelief tends to come from people who think that my femaleness, level of education, and the way I present myself is incongruous to their image of a gamer. The problem is not that I am an unconventional gamer but that our image of gamers is outmoded and based on hurtful stereotypes.
Nearly half of all adults in the United States report playing video games, but only 10% of people who play games identify themselves as gamers. While men and women play video games in equal numbers, men are twice as likely to call themselves gamers. Why do we hold such a limited view of who can be a gamer?
While gamers have evolved, our concept of gamers has not.
Think about the stereotypes surrounding gamers. Here are just a few examples of how gamers are depicted in media:
These sources send a clear message of how gamers are perceived in our culture.
Of course, there’s also the “gamer girl” stereotype:
As you can see, the gamer girl is seen, primarily, as the perfect girlfriend to the gamer. When I tell people that I game, I inevitably get the question, “Does your boyfriend love it that you game?” They are usually surprised when I tell them that my bf really only games when I do, and there are few games in which he can hold his own against me.
Gaming, like being a geek, was originally an alternative masculine identity intended for men. Men who didn’t identify as jocks or who didn’t meet the traditional masculine values strove to find other masculine identities for themselves. Geekiness became a way for beta men to establish themselves in a new set of “manly” interests such as gaming and sci-fi. These identities became a safe space for the beta male. It was a different way of defining their masculinity. So, when women began to establish themselves in these spaces, they threatened the maleness of these identities. That women’s inclusion in geek spaces and interests so threatened this idea of masculinity is no doubt why so many female gamers face so much vitriol when they dare to talk about gaming. It’s this history that leads many people to see gamers as strictly male.
This is why it surprises people when I call myself a gamer. I am active. I am a high-achiever. I am clean. I am healthy. I am a woman. These things clash with how people think of gamers. Yet, most of the gamers I know don’t fit either the gamer or the gamer girl stereotypes. In my in-game guild, there are mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers, lawyers, writers, military personnel, waiters, programmers…We are as diverse as any other hobby group. We are united by our love of video games.
It’s popular these days to say that the gamer identity is dead. In a world where most people game, maybe we don’t need a separate identity, especially one so wrapped in stereotypes. And yet, I still feel the need to identify as a gamer. It’s part of who I am. It’s not my identity that needs to change; it’s the stereotype behind it. There’s nothing anti-feminist about calling myself a gamer. There’s nothing radical about it either.
It’s time that we change our idea of gamers. A gamer is someone who games. Like a hiker is someone who hikes, and a writer writes.
I am a gamer– not a gamer girl. It’s not a surprise that I game. It’s not against the type. I am not a special unicorn. I’m not a geekboy’s fantasy. I’m not a basement dweller.
I am a woman with a passion for games.
I am a gamer.
1) Anne Elliot from Persuasion by Jane Austen
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”
2) Tris Prior from Divergent by Veronica Roth
“But I will find new habits, new thoughts, new rules. I will become something else. I will become dauntless.”
3) Rose Tyler from Doctor Who
“You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand! You say no! You have the guts to do what’s right, even when everyone else just runs away.”
4) Stella Gibson in The Fall
“That’s what really bothers you, isn’t it? The one-night stand. Man fucks woman. Subject: man. Verb: fucks. Object: woman. That’s okay. Woman fucks man. Subject: woman. Object: man. That’s not so comfortable for you, is it?”
5) Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy
“Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here, and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. There are no teams here, no buddies. You’re on your own. Be on your own.”
6) Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
“So here’s the part when you make a choice. What if you could have a power, now? Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?”
7) Fionna from Adventure Time
“I don’t need to feel like I’m waiting to be noticed…I know who I am.”
8) Cookie Lyon from Empire
“You lose your soul when you feel like the world’s forgotten you.”
9) Miss Grotke from Recess
“Fight the power!”
10) Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black
“By all means, attribute my legitimate feelings of sadness to menses.”
11) Kingsley Shacklebolt from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
12) Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”
13) Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones
“I will answer injustice with justice.”
14) Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons
“The whole damn system is wrong!”
15) Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek Voyager
“One voice can be stronger than a thousand voices.”
16) Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation
“I am a goddess, a glorious female warrior, queen of all that I survey. Enemies of equality and fairness, hear my womanly roar!”
17) Olivia Pope from Scandal
“If she was a man, you’d say she was formidable, or bold, or right.”
18) Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers
“I don’t need a boy to pay attention to me, I’ll pay attention to myself.”
19) Wonder Woman from Wonder Woman #170 by Joe Kelly, Phil Jimenez
“If the prospect of living in a world where trying to respect the basic rights of those around you and valuing each other simply because we exist are such daunting, impossible tasks then what sort of world are we left with? And what sort of world do you want to live in?”
Which fandoms and characters inspire you?
Halloween is my favorite time of year. Why? Because I love costumes, and I love making my own costume. So, if you’re like me and DIY is the only way to go, here are 60+ ideas to get the ball rolling. Sure, you could just use some eyeliner to paint on whiskers and wear black lingerie, but let’s aim a little higher, shall we?
When I search for costumes, I have a few simple rules…
I look for costumes that:
–aren’t just “sexy” versions of real costumes. If you want to wear a sexy costume, that’s great! There’s a lot of options out there for you. “Sexy” Halloween costumes are now so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to find any other options, and some girls feel pressured into wearing a sexy costume. I just want to suggest some other options for people looking for something different.
–aren’t of animals or objects. Once again, wear what you want, but there’s something about this that never sat well with me, something to do with literal objectification.
–don’t make fun of real people. Come on, don’t be that person. You can honor a real person with a costume without being disrespectful.
–are culturally sensitive. Let’s all say this together, culture is not a costume.
–don’t involve difficult makeup techniques. If you like makeup, check out my Pinterest board full of Halloween Makeup Ideas for Women.
–can be put together from items in closet or from a thrift store. This is DIY for people who aren’t that skilled in DIY. These costumes do not require cosplay levels of crafting.
– you can eat, sit, walk, see, and talk comfortably while wearing. Giant angel wings seem like a great idea until you whack a few people in the face with them and realize you can’t sit comfortably.
-aren’t based on a pun. I know, it’s probably really funny and you’re really clever, but I never liked the thought of having to explain my costume all night long. If you want to be Reigning Cats and Dogs, that’s cool. You do you.
Silent Movie Star
Gilda – Rita Hayworth
I Love Lucy
Birds -Melanie Daniels
Wizard of Oz – Dorothy