Cnt: From here
I just saw the perfect snippet (from a piece on Twilight 'the phenomenon') describing perceptions of women and for me, women in fantasy fiction societies, wherein the heroine alone gets to prove herself different. I disagree with the author's final conclusion - “If I can condemn vigilantism and stand up for due process while still enjoying 24 and Batman pictures (or pulp fiction like The Devil’s Advocate), then feminists can certainly enjoy Twilight.”
I'm not going into Twilight more than to say that I don't view it as female escape fantasy and I do not believe a man, the quoted speaker, should get to decide what female escape fantasy is - far less what feminists, womanists or gender equalitists can enjoy.
The quote, however, I find useful to the point of my previous post.
There are two main classic cultural myths of females, two false assumptions that have been used as the definitive excuses to subjugate and disenfranchise women for centuries in all manner of societies. The first is that women are devious and reckless creatures who tempt men who can't control themselves. As a result of these fiendish seducers, the weak but noble men do all manner of vice and corruption, deeds that without the temptation of the women they would not have even considered. But, wait, they are also weak-willed and emotionally fragile creatures that cannot care for themselves and must be protected from peril and shielded from emotional complication ('the fairer sex'). - (Source)
These descriptions sparked a flow of words and comprehension from me. I went "Of course! It's the Whore/Madonna Complex all over again" A simplistic title of my current thoughts, perhaps, but no less apt, I think. Fantasy fiction societies, particularly those in an ethnic fantasy ghetto do tend towards Vamps and whores and dangerous women of which the heroine is NOT one. Or good girls, Madonna's, virtuous if fragile women, of which, again, the heroine is NOT one. She is the Spunky Determined Girl! An option three squished in around the edges, though these days more likely firmly wedged in between to make the stereotypical depiction duo into a trio.
And yet, all the while the one main thrust of all these types of heroines is that they have to disdain other women. Disdain the good girls who never reach out and grab what they want; disdain the bad girls who never let things come to them for being selfless and noble or disdain both for not being (just as good as) a man with breasts and more open emotions.
And I think I understand better now why I associate the combination of world building with such underpinnings mixed with a fantasy ghetto to come from a white female author. History has shown far too many white female, self defined feminists, disdaining other women and walking all over them (or throwing them under a bus, or to the wayside) to get what they want.
PS: Do not mistake my thoughts to mean I will embrace, blindly, the hand of a white self labeled feminist who calls me sister. I'm pondering fiction & fictional representations, not indulging in a round of Be Stupid.