Quilt 2016: We Can Be Heroes (aka that time Dana made a FitzSimmons quilt because of course she did)

Hey, guys! It’s been awhile, and also the world is kind of a disaster right now! Hurray!

At any rate, I wanted to share this crazy thing I’ve been working on for like three months because, well, I had to abandon my craft blog for personal safety reasons and I haven’t had a presence in fandom communities since I quit Tumblr in like 2013. This is the place I have to share and given my favorite topic of exuberant essays I figured y’all wouldn’t mind.

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Behold, my quilt of over-intensity! I made a Captain America one last year, and then a Winter Soldier one for a friend. Everyone had to know a FitzSimmons one was coming, right? There are a ton of pictures and info under the cut. Two things: please excuse the lighting and quality of these photos—I work a night shift and never see the sun; second, share these wherever you want, I only ask that you please credit me and/or link back to here.

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What I Want from Wonder Woman (and Won’t Get): A Pre-Review

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Y’all know I’m a Marvel girl. The MCU has been one of the things that’s kept me going for at least five years now, and most assuredly for the past two. So it’s a bit disingenuous for me to talk about DC’s film universe because I know from the get-go I’ll just get labeled as some sort of shrill Marvel shill. But bear with me because, above all else, I just want to be told a good story. I’m the first to call out Marvel when I think they’ve failed (which they’ve done frequently and spectacularly lately) so keep that in mind when I say that DC done lost its fool mind.

I had the misfortune of having to go see both Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad for a podcast that I host with my friend Marc. You can’t talk about something if you haven’t seen it. Marc is much kinder to things than I am. I wanted to burn everything to the ground after enduring both movies. Neither has any depth, plot, or character development. They’re both desperate, slapdash propagations of highly lucrative intellectual property. They rely solely on the fact that everyone is desperate to love the films because they love the symbols in them. DC has always been King. Batman has always been #1. Everyone already adores Harley Quinn.  But Marvel’s film success has DC desperate to get their shit in front of eyeballs because superheroes sell. They seem to have missed the crucial bit that good stories about superheroes are what sell. (The box office returns v. critical acclaim debate I save for another day.)

There are so many problems with the entire situation that I can’t even enumerate them all. I don’t know the ins and outs of DC, Warner Brothers, or comics culture the way others do and DC’s disasters have been endlessly dissected by others better than I could. So what I’m going to talk about is not the horrors DC puts out but what I want from Wonder Woman. Because, to my weird specialized heart, that movie has the potential to be better than Captain America: The First Avenger. (Y’all ever heard me go on about Cap1? There are usually overexcited tears involved.)

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Citations for the FitzSimmons Special

Hey guys! I finally recorded a 100% FitzSimmons episode of the podcast I started with my friend. You can listen to it here.

And behold my mighty list of citations if you want to delve into any of this in more detail:

  • Barwich, Ann-Sophie. “Science and Fiction: Analysing the Concept of Fiction in Science and Its Limits.” J Gen Philos Sci 44 (2013): 357-73. Web.
  • Dempsey, Paul. “Science Friction.” Engineering and Technology (2013): 33-35. Web.
  • Dill-Shackleford, Karen E. How Fantasy Becomes Reality. New York: Oxford UP, 2016. Print.
  • Francis, Becky. “Re/theorising Gender: Female Masculinity and Male Femininity in the Classroom?” Gender and Education5 (2010): 477-90. Web.
  • Gelernter, David. “The Closing of the Scientific Mind.” American Jewish Committee (2014): 17-25. Web.
  • Hearn, Jeff, and Liisa Husu. “Understanding Gender: Some Implications for Science and Technology.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews2 (2011): 103-13. Web.
  • Hills, Rachel. The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015. Print.
  • Hurley, Kameron. The Geek Feminist Revolution. New York: Tor, 2016. Print.
  • Larbalestier, Justine. The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 2002. Print.
  • Mendick, Heather, and Marie-Pierre Moreau. “New Media, Old Images: Constructing Online Representations of Women and Men in Science, Engineering and Technology.” Gender and Education3 (2013): 325-39. Web.
  • Millward, Liz, and Janice G. Dodd. “Feminist Science Fiction Utopia and Stargate: SG-1: “I Doubt Very Much Colonel Carter Has Even Scratched the Surface of What Is Possible”” Women’s Studies 41 (2012): 18-35. Web.
  • Moore, Bryan L. “”Evidences of Decadent Humanity” Antianthropocentrism in Early Science Fiction.” Nature and Culture1 (2014): 46-64. Web.
  • O’Reilly, Julie D. “The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super)Heroism on Trial.” The Journal of American Culture3 (2005): 273-83. Web.
  • Pettersson, Helena. “Making Masculinity in Plasma Physics: Machines, Labor and Experiments.” Science Studies1 (2011): 47-65. Web.
  • Pollack, Eileen. The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club. Boston: Beacon, 2015. Print.
  • Rubin, Lawrence. “Superheroes on the Couch.” The Journal of Popular Culture2 (2012): 410-31. Web.
  • Schummer, Joachim. “Historical Roots of the ‘Mad Scientist’: Chemists in Nineteenth-century Literature.” Ambix2 (2006): 99-127. Web.
  • Stiles, Anne. “Literature in Mind: H.G. Wells and the Evolution of the Mad Scientist.” Journal of the History of Ideas2 (2009): 317-39. Web.
  • Szalavitz, Maia, and Bruce D. Perry. Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential–and Endangered. New York: William Morrow, 2009. Print.
  • Taber, Nancy, Vera Woloshyn, Caitlin Munn, and Laura Lane. “Exploring Representations of Super Women in Popular Culture.” Adult Learning4 (2014): 142-49. Web.
  • Toomey, Chris. “Does Nanotech Have a Gender.” Nature Nanotechnology 7 (2012): 412. Web.
  • Toumey, Christopher P. “The Moral Character of Mad Scientists: A Cultural Critique of Science.” Science, Technology, and Human Values4 (1992): 411-37. Web.
  • Weart, Spencer. “The Physicist as Mad Scientist.” Physics Today (1988): 28-37. Web.
  • White, Michael. Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997. Print.

Fun fact, I recorded this for like two hours in a very hot car \o/

Follow-Up On Agents of SHIELD–

Just as a follow-up, I quite enjoyed “The Team” and it gives me a little hope for this show again. That said, I love this series but I no longer trust it the way I used to.

You can read my review here, as I’m not allowed to repost it.

Also, if you wish, you can listen to my friend Marc and I discuss all the goodness of this episode in our podcast:

Rambles On Romance

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

I’ve been thinking lately for a few years about the way various fandoms castigate and canonize different kinds of relationships. Now, me, I very rarely go in for romance stories. I find them generally infuriating, reductionist, and unnecessary. But there are those few that hit me like a truck and I sit around trying to figure out where they went right for me and where all the others go wrong.

Back up a bit: I was a Tumblr addict from 2011 to 2014. I quit cold turkey. I’m glad I did. In all seriousness, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the Tumblr Agents of SHIELD fandom’s treatment of Leo Fitz which is mostly a topic for another day, but it comes into play here. What I find so fascinating is that the same group of people who angrily reject the notion of “the friendzone” are also furious to the point of character assassination when two characters who are friends realize that they have strong feelings for each other. It’s fascinating to me that there is even such a hard delineation in our culture between feelings of friendship and feelings of romantic love. That’s not how feelings work.

I’ve always been a shipper. No shame in it. Every time I find a new ship I say “nothing could ever hurt me as much as these two do.” And then the next two waltz into my life. It was Mulder/Scully once. It’s been Ron/Hermione forever. Buffy/Spike have their place in my heart. Kara/Lee destroyed me for actual months in what I can only describe as the worst breakup of my life. I swear it off after every decimation. Never will I ever get sucked into some fictional relationship again. After every emotional murder it gets that much harder to slip past all my locks, laser grids, and insurmountable walls. FitzSimmons slid in there like ninjas. The thing with those two is that I love them so specifically that I can’t really discuss it with other people because other people are wrong.

So, back to Tumblr: there is a lot of projection onto Fitz. The bits of fandom I was privy to projected every gross, cliched, overdone trope of unrequited dudebro pining in existence onto his head. There was much opining about how here was yet another example of hetero platonic friends falling in love. Le sigh, why can’t they ever just be friends? Okay, well, 1.) this ignores Jemma Simmons entirely (and if you think they weren’t in love for years you are wrong; ship manifesto likely forthcoming), but 2.) who has ever fallen in love with someone who is not their friend? And had it turn out even halfway well? Men and women can be friends. “Just” friends, though why friendship is somehow “lesser” I’ll never quite understand. But there’s also nothing quite as satisfying as a romantic arc that starts from a realistic place of friendship, commonality, and shared interests. Every ship I’ve ever captained has history. They have mutual respect. Even if the two meet for the first time during the story, the history builds over the narrative to a point where romance makes sense, rather than just suddenly having kisses. (Example from Agent Carter: Sousa and Peggy have history; Jason Wilkes and Peggy have sudden kisses.) I agree that a male friend realizing he’s in love with his female friend and then spending years pining after her waiting for her to “notice” and believing he’s entitled to her love because he “put in the work” is disgusting. The prime example I can think of is Ross and Rachel on Friends (a show I despise) though the trope is annoyingly common. But that’s not what was happening here, so I can only conclude that a large swath of people needed Fitz out of the way to further whatever agendas they champion.

This is also why the dudebro notion of “the friendzone” and “getting friendzoned” is so hysterical to me. Hello, idiot: if a girl would like to be your friend that means she would like to know you as a human being because (gasp) she is one as well! If you rail about being “friendzoned” that means you saw her as nothing but an object of sexual and emotional gratification and aren’t worth the time anyway. Romance only works if it’s between two human beings on an equal footing. Don’t come at me with romantic or sexual intention, bro. That shit hangs around you like a ten-thousand mile wide funk. It’s off-putting. It immediately declares to me that you don’t care to know me, you just want to use me.

It’s true that it’s fairly rare to see men and women in platonic friendships on television, but it’s also true that it’s rare to see any truly platonic friendships on television. Supernatural fandom is of the opinion that all relationships are sexual. All of them. It’s a fault of our culture that we’ve been conditioned to believe the only relationships with value are sexual ones. Granted, I watch a thin slice of genre TV, but off the top of my head some platonic male/female friendships: Joan and Sherlock on Elementary (the best example because it’s deliberate), Doggett and Scully on The X-Files, Mal and Zoe on Firefly—male/female friendships are more common than you think. It’s just that it seems they’re rarely noted both because there aren’t that many well-rounded female characters and they’re friendships with men are (zomg?!) commonplace. To be honest, female friendships are probably the rarer bird here.

Anyway, I was just thinking how weird it is to me that there was such griping about FitzSimmons being cliche when they are (or at least were until this season) a trope-busting bulldozer. And Fitz never “pines” after Simmons, give me a break. Even once he realizes how he feels about her, he never forces himself on her, doesn’t believe he is entitled to her, and never demands that she reciprocate his feelings. Simmons is another thing entirely, but I’m also projecting in her case, so I’ll save that for another day.