This evening I had a very pleasant time with Holly, which began with her mentioning how much she liked the song “Across the Universe” and me playing her the version of the song by Laibach, which has always been my favourite. “Dad,” she said, happily, “This was the version of the song I knew as a little girl. You used to play it. I always wondered why the Beatles one sounded different from the way I expected. I mean you could understand the words for a start.” Then we sat in front of the computer for a few hours and I made her a playlist of more songs she had loved as a small girl, the ones she’d remembered and the ones she’d forgotten, which led to our having The Conversation. You know, the one I’ve known was coming for the last almost-nineteen years.
I dragged songs from her childhood over to the playlist — “Barcelona” and “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “I Don’t Like Mondays” and “These Foolish Things” and then came Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”. “You named me from this song, didn’t you?” said Holly as the first bass notes sang. “Yup,” I said.
Lou started singing.
Holly listened to the first verse, and for the first time, actually heard the words.
"Shaved her legs and then he was a she…? He?"
"That’s right," I said, and bit the bullet. We were having The Conversation. "You were named after a drag queen in a Lou Reed song."
She grinned like a light going on. “Oh dad. I do love you,” she said. Then she picked up an envelope and wrote what I’d just said down on the back, in case she forgot it.
I’m not sure that I’d ever expected The Conversation to go quite like that.
Last night I held my father’s hand while he dozed in the car next to me, tired and sad about Lou Reed’s death. A few silent tears fell onto my cheeks, not so much for Lou but more for my dad and his sorrow. I know Lou Reed meant so much to him he named his daughter after a line in one of his songs.
I’m so proud to be named for this song. It’s always been a part of me. When I was little I loved doing the “do do do do do”s. When I was 19 and just coming out for the first time realising my namesake was non-heteronormative meant so much to me, it made vocalising my sexuality feel infinitely safer. Now I’m so proud to be queer, and an important part of that for me is striving to be an ally to the trans* community. Thank you, dad, and thank you, Lou, for making that something as intrinsically part of me as my name.
One of the most consistent creative teams since the start of the new 52, writers Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III have quit the Batwoman series. And there is no dancing around why based on a post on both Williams’ and Blackman’s web site where they note they are “heartbroken” about leaving but editorial interference including being “prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married” is the cause.
The Bechdel Test has long been the barometer of women-friendly films, but Pacific Rim fans say it doesn’t give the movie’s female lead enough credit.
It’s no secret that Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s $200 million love song to Japanese pop culture, was a risky venture from the start. With a multicultural cast, Tokyo used as the main setting instead of New York or L.A., the only real star being a Black Brit many Americans had never heard of, and a storyline full of borrowed tropes that many anime fans felt were ripoffs rather than homages, the sci-fi action flick has fought an uphill battle to draw attention.
In the process of running down numerous arguments for why the Bechdel Test can’t and shouldn’t be the only measurement by which feminist films are judged, Tumblr user chaila has proposed the Mako Mori Test, “to live alongside the Bechdel Test”:
The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story.
I think the question we should be asking, rather than, “How can we make it so that this (admittedly awesome movie, which has a female character who is well-realized and not present in the movie to support the story arc of a male character, and which we all love) passes a very simple and straightforward test that allows us to say, from a feminist perspective, “Yes, this movie is okay and good,” is this: “Why does Pacific Rim not already pass the Bechdel Test?”
Mako Mori was not the only female character in the movie, but she was the only female character to have any narrative development, and the was the only female character to have more than a few lines. The Bechdel Test exists for that purpose - to act as a check on the narrative itself, not on how well-developed a single character is, and not to validate our personal feelings about how much we like characters or movies.
It would not have been difficult, for example to include a scene in which Mako interacted with Lt. A. Kaidanovsky and they discussed jaegers and kaiju and perhaps being a female pilot in an (obviously) male-dominated profession. Boom - the film passes the Bechdel Test. But no, even this film - which was intentionally making an effort to be more inclusive - did not manage to do that.
So no, there should not be a Mako Mori Test. Because establishing such a thing entirely misses the point of the Bechdel Test in the first place.
Can we talk about the idea of “pandering” in Superhero comics? I’ve see the world tossed around a lot in the free wheeling world of internet commenting and I gotta say if I see it one more time, I’m going to punch as wall.
Marvel creates a set of comics with female leads? PANDERING!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the femalest book from a male author I have read in a long time. The unnamed protagonist is stuck in the middle of a conflict between insanely powerful supernatural women: the evil Ursula Monkton / flea, and the good…