giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
It is a pretty standard trope in Hollywood films to have a male character - usually a child/teen - who is unpopular and kind of nebbishy, but finds himself drawn into some great and exciting fantasy story, where he alone can do the thing and his nerdiness is finally an asset and everyone admires him.

TVTropes calls this the Ascended Fanboy. Examples include Galaxy Quest, and Paul. Hell, Wesley Crusher was this kind of character. Not to mention Hiro on Heroes.

And in general, when Hollywood introduces a character who is a big nerdy fan of pop culture, the vast majority of the time, those characters are male, and when you do get a female, she is portrayed far more harshly, and far less sympathetically, than male characters are. (I.e., compare Becky in Supernatural to the male analogs - Garth, the fake Winchester brothers in Real Ghostbusters, even the horrendous evil teen in Swap Meat - the guys get to go on advantures and save the day, while Becky gets to be a rapist whose only interest in Supernatural is sexual. Or Big Bang Theory, where the guy nerds are fans, the girl nerd is not. SPN belatedly "apologized" with Charlie's introduction, but I strongly suspect that was in reaction to fan criticism.) Anyhoo, this was actually a real problem for me when I made A Different Kind of Love Song - male fan representation was easy to find, female fan representation was like pulling teeth, and canonically positive female fan representation was pretty much limited to Charlie on SPN and Laura in a single episode of Remington Steele.

I mean, male fans are mocked, but it's an affectionate mockery, with a recognition of their humanity, and usually a chance for them to be the hero at the end. Not so female fans - for example, the fan stand-ins in Xena are not only portrayed unattractively throughout the episode, but are used to mock the trope of fan heroism, when they try to interject themselves into the climactic fight and quickly get their asses kicked. The female fans in West Wing and Star Trek: Voyager exist only to be lectured to by men about their poor life choices.

Which is why Skye is awesome. She's the exact same male fantasy that we see on screen all the damn time, from nerdiness to computer geekery to fannishness to her superspecial power to save the day. Only this time, she's a chick. I am thrilled to see her. (And this is why I did not object - as some did - to the line about sweaty cosplay girls. Because while I could have lived without the "sweaty," it was an explicit acknowledgement of her fannishness - which is so very, very hard to find for women characters.)

Date: 2013-09-25 07:27 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
*blinkblink* She is? Really? I need to move this show up the priority list.

Date: 2013-09-25 07:31 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai


Date: 2013-09-25 07:55 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks

Date: 2013-09-26 04:32 am (UTC)
thirdblindmouse: Catwoman: "purrr" (purr (Catwoman))
From: [personal profile] thirdblindmouse
I disagree. She was already in this world of adventure. I'm hoping for some awesome backstory (hinted at) and some non-SHIELD connections and allegiances (implied, I think).

Date: 2013-09-26 11:19 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

Well... which is it? Either she has "skills no one else has" and a "superspecial power to save the day" or else she's a "wannabe" who's "not particularly plugged in."

Date: 2013-09-25 07:41 pm (UTC)
ratcreature: RatCreature as a (science) geek. (geek)
From: [personal profile] ratcreature
Yes that was cool. I hope the dialog will get less clunky as the show finds its footing. Or I guess it's not even the regular dialogs, but those attempts at pathos filled monologuing that cropped up and were actually bad enough to trigger my embarrassment squick and force me to interrupt watching.

Date: 2013-09-25 07:55 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
I think this is an excellent point and one that I had not considered. Thank you.

Also the World Weary Mentor in this series is going to be a woman, which is GREAT.

Date: 2013-09-25 10:06 pm (UTC)
loligo: (heroines)
From: [personal profile] loligo
Also the World Weary Mentor in this series is going to be a woman, which is GREAT.

Yeah, I was so excited about that I didn't even pause to think about Skye.

Date: 2013-09-25 08:06 pm (UTC)
cryptolect: Intrepid girl adventurer (Default)
From: [personal profile] cryptolect
That is a really interesting perspective. I did like her well enough and I'm pleased to have reasons to like her more! To the 'sweaty' description my reaction wasn't immediate irritation so much as bafflement. It seemed such a peculiar descriptor. Also yes! On the whole 'Charlie as peace offering' thing. I wondered if Felicia Day had had any part in dictating the terms of her engagement because she seems like she wouldn't put up with their shit.

Date: 2013-09-25 08:48 pm (UTC)
quarter_to_five: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarter_to_five
Alas, I couldn't stand her character. I don't think the problem is with her thought, just with the show - I couldn't stand any of the characters. I do appreciate that there's a lot of female characters filling a lot of niches on SHIELD - we have the taciturn super fighter chick, the excited scientist, and the Special Geek One, but they're all extremely boring and vaguely indistinguishable. I am only at all interested in Ming-Na's character, and part of that might still be coasting on my fondness for her character in SG:U.

(The "sweaty cosplay" actually went over well in our household, as my sister had just returned from cosplaying Batwoman and sweating - and possibly heatstroke - had been a major concern with some thought given over to ventilation slits or breathable panels or something. She was wearing a leatherish catsuit in Tel Aviv, so fair enough.)
Edited Date: 2013-09-25 08:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-26 07:25 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

Yeah, this. Am I allowed to find her boring and wonder why she's even ON the team as long as I felt that way about everyone else, too?

Date: 2013-09-25 11:44 pm (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
Hey, cool. I've been putting off downloading the show because I expected to be mostly exasperated by it, but you make it sound worth a look.
Edited Date: 2013-09-25 11:44 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-26 01:15 am (UTC)
spatz: Peggy Carter aiming pistol (Peggy get your gun)
From: [personal profile] spatz
I liked her well enough once they walked her past the 'reflexively defensive and cocky' stage - which was understandable, given that she was kidnapped by a secret government agency, but boringly written - and gave her stuff to do. I guess I'm mostly worried that the show seems inclined to pair her off with Ward, who she has *no* chemistry with and who I found no reason to like in the pilot (I was game! but there was nothing there to like). *sigh* Actually, I'd kinda love for her to end up with a crush on Melinda May - that look after May took that guy out? Yeaaaaah. Me, too, girl.

Date: 2013-09-26 02:25 am (UTC)
cantarina: donna noble in a paper crown, looking thoughtful (Default)
From: [personal profile] cantarina
I'm already shipping May/Skye, because apparently that one look Skye gives May after she takes down the goons was all I needed.

Date: 2013-09-26 02:51 am (UTC)
elz: (facepalm)
From: [personal profile] elz
She was my favorite part of the pilot - smart, resourceful, confident, funny, knew what she wanted and made it happen, and got to live our the nerd fantasy. None of this is stuff we'd blink at from a male character, but I'd bet that someone somewhere has already referred to her as a Mary Sue.

Date: 2013-09-26 06:05 am (UTC)
ilthit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ilthit
I love your Different Kind of Love Song vid, it's one of the ones me and my Gilly watch to make ourselves feel better.

I loved seeing the Xena fangirls on Xena. I don't mind nerd tropes showing nerds not being very good at things. I have a huge thing about people who are not very good at cool things also being really important and precious. I do see where you're coming from, though. I don't like seeing nerds be actively shamed for being nerdy by the narrative.

It will be interesting what they do with Skye. At the moment I'm not really seeing her as a fan, just seeing as the Hacker (hackers tend to be fannish though), joining the crew of Veteran, Commando, Science Department, Leader and whatever Maria Hill is.

I hope J. August Richards stays on the show, but at the moment I'm not sure.

Date: 2013-09-26 11:22 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

I actually really disliked the line about hanging out around Stark Tower-- within the Marvel universe, it doesn't make her a *fan*, it makes her a *groupie*. (Which was sort of underlined by her immediate relation to Blandface being to grope his chest and call him "firm"-- as if any woman's immediate reaction to being abducted by a scary shadowy government agency is going to be to perv on her captors. Even first season Buffy wasn't that shallow.)

Date: 2013-09-26 11:44 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

Yeah, but I think you're putting a really, *really* generous spin on it that line. "Sweaty girls who cosplay outside Tony Stark's house..." and we're supposed to see her as a character whose interest in the heroes *isn't* sexualized? I absolutely read it as a "you're a groupie" slam. And she could have protested "I was undercover!" or something like that, but no.

Date: 2013-09-26 01:02 pm (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

See, I bet if anyone is going to be a geek, it's going to be the Science Twins. Skye seems more like Faith-- the "too cool for your rules" type, just with a smartphone instead of a crossbow. I'd be surprised if she turns out to be a geek.

Date: 2013-09-27 03:37 am (UTC)
musesfool: text icon: Shakespeare hates your emo poems (whatever)
From: [personal profile] musesfool
Fred. She's more like Fred, I thought. I didn't get a Faith vibe at all from her.

Date: 2013-09-26 02:38 pm (UTC)
elynross: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elynross
Great post! I didn't object to the "sweaty cosplay girls" line because of who spoke it, because Ward is kind of a jerk, anyway, and he'd think like that (although him knowing what cosplay *is*....). I did kind of wish they'd had Coulson call him on it, though, as we know that canonically Coulson himself is a fanboy. I'd have liked to have seen that. *g*

Date: 2013-09-27 01:07 am (UTC)
veleda_k: Natasha from the Avengers, on the phone. (MCU: Natasha phone)
From: [personal profile] veleda_k
(Linked here by [personal profile] princessofgeeks.)

I love this post! I also love Skye for her skills and her smarts. I love that the super hacker is a woman. I didn't really think about the fannish aspect before you pointed it out, so thanks.

Date: 2013-09-29 03:41 pm (UTC)
which: (Default)
From: [personal profile] which
She reminded me of early Alec Hardison in Leverage. She didn't leap directly into my heart in the pilot, but he didn't either, and he became one of my favorites at the end. Over time I can see her becoming the fannish/geek greek chorus in much the same way he did, or for that matter Claudia in the soon-to-be-late Warehouse 13.

Which is kind of nice. I don't get a POV character all that often.

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