Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Tue May 15 14:38:36 EDT 2007


>The mother in Conrad's Fate is a feminist because she's a feminist, but it
>turns out that she is a neglectful mother because she is under a spell. When
>the spell is broken, she is still a feminist but she stops neglecting her

But after she stops neglecting them and seems all sensible, she 
reverts pretty much to her former behaviour, so it can't have been 
just the spell surely?

>Mind you, there are lots of grounds to criticise Diana's treatments of
>mothers. Generally: girl children good, grannies good. Mothers, not so good.

I'd noticed. ;)  It would seem even more uncomfortable if it weren't 
for the generally good grandmothers - at least there's hope that 
we'll sort it out *eventually*, I guess.  And there are the nice 
mothers sprinkled in there for leaven.


>On 15/05/07, Hallie O'Donovan <hallieod at indigo.ie> wrote:
>>>Stereotypes are something else: they are locked in characteristics which
>>>"automatically" go with certain attributes. So the fat kid will be greedy
>>>and a bit dumb; the red headed kid will have a hot temper; the black kid
>>>will be Cool and sporty (don't you just *love* Pratchet''s Yo-less?). In
>>>fantasy they lead to trite ideas that Jews/Ferengi are moneylenders who'd
>>>sell their grandma for a profit, That immigrants/gnomes infesting your
>>>street/garden can be evicted in interesting and creative ways.
>>>Avatars are powerful tools for children.  They damn well don't need to be
>>>taught stereotypes unless you are actively planning to encourage
>>>bullying and life-long prejudice.
>>This is very interesting, and it got me thinking about when a
>>stereotype becomes a stereotype and not just a sort of one-off thing.
>>Rowling and the fat = "nasty in a variety of ways" is pretty clearly
>>in the first category (though where were you all when I seemed to be
>>the only person in the universe complaining about it??).  This
>>particular stereotype seems to be one about which people are aware
>>enough these days that you'd expect not to get cheerful use of it,
>>unquestioned, and yet there are still far too many examples of it
>>floating around.  Case in point (those who read my LJ can look away
>>now, for fear of death-by-tedium) is Sally Gardner's *I, Coriander*:
>>it got love, brilliant reviews a major award and I have seen *one*
>>other person mentioning the fact that ugliness, specifically combined
>>with fatness in female characters, inevitably equates with evil in
>>it.  One. (That was a comment in response to Farah's unfavourable
>>However, it seems a bit OTT to think that one could never write a
>>character who happened to be fat and who was lazy, greedy or a bully
>>or whatever without being accused of pandering to stereotypes.
>>(Might be going in the opposite cause and effect direction, of
>>course, in a realistic treatment.)  My own lack of self-restraint
>>doesn't show with respect to food, but it's not because I'm admirably
>>restrained at all.  (Ask Charlie how hard I hyper-ventilated last
>>weekend when he took me to the *biggest* yarn shop in the UK!  And
>>how long he sat on the pink, pink sofa while I wandered around
>>fondling yarn...  Nor do we need to mention my glorious TBR pile and
>>my continued acquisition of more books.)  A 'normal' body weight
>>character without a shred of self-restraint would be fine, and even
>>funny or sympathetic if it was a lack of self-restraint you shared
>>with the character, but it becomes offensive if that's a fat person
>>without the same.   What's clear when there is a large weight of
>>stereotype built up in the past (no pun intended) might be less so if
>>there's less.
>>Can you have a not-very-frequently-used but still stereotypical
>>stereotype? Looking at a specific of relevance here - I found the
>>feminist, neglectful mother in *Conrad's Fate* quite offensive.  But
>>is this warranted?  Does it make a difference that in over 40 books,
>>she's the only self-proclaimed feminist character?  I know it doesn't
>>make any difference that she was based on a real person.  But for all
>>the many, many times I've heard people dismiss feminists as merely
>>men-haters (sometimes bitter because unattractive ones at that), I
>>haven't come across that many saying that all feminists are rotten
>>mothers.  Only other one that comes to mind immediately is Mrs Banks
>>in the film version of Mary Poppins, and she's sweet and silly, which
>>isn't quite the same. Yet it still seems a very cheap use of
>>something *like* a stereotype.
>>Just pausing for a moment of extreme admiration for John Green's *An
>>Abundance of Katherines* and the brilliant fat, Muslim hero's best
>>friend character.  (OT but not on the question of stereotypes!)
>>Dwj mailing list
>>Dwj at suberic.net
>One day I want time to be bored.
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