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Re: Slaughter of thousands vs a handful of rapes Castration is not rape. It is horrific, but it is not rape. And good, that's two male protagonists across two different book series - it's a start.

But, okay, Game of the Thrones?

Rape in ASOIAF vs. Game of Thrones: a statistical analysis

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Rape acts in Game of Thrones the TV series (to date): 50
Rape victims in Game of Thrones (to date): 29

Rape acts in ASOIAF the book series (to date): 214
Rape victims in ASOIAF (to date): 117

Another link, which I think illustrates the overall argument better: We Are Not Things: Mad Max vs Game of Thrones.

It's just...it's lazy, all of that rape. Lazy and not remotely as edgy or realistic as the authors who keep employing it like this think. And it's so highly gendered in ways that are unrealistic, which given how many women are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes is saying something.

January 21, 2016, 08:26:40 AM
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Re: Slaughter of thousands vs a handful of rapes This is a really complicated topic, that's hard to answer in the length of a forum post, so I'm just going to come at one angle.

One of the reasons why rape in fiction gets a lot of--lets say negative attention--is that because so often it's simply a lazy writing trick that relies on the idea that a) women exist to provide motivation for men and b) the only bad things that happen to women are things related to their gender.

Over and over and over again in books, on TV, in movies, if we are fortunate enough to have a female character in the story, if her story is to progress, it does so in one of three ways (or some combination): she gets married, she gets pregnant, she gets raped. These are the stories that women get. Men get lots of different stories.

Over and over and over again in books, on TV, in movies, one of the primary ways we bring pain to our male protagonists is by attacking their girlfriends. Usually either she gets killed or she gets raped.

Over and over and over again in books, on TV, in movies, one of the fastest and easiest ways to show some guy is a villain is to...you guessed it!--have him rape a woman.

The problem isn't that rape is worse than killing. It's that it's a trick used over and over by lazy storytellers and one of the few stories women get to have, and it gets pretty tiresome. It's a trick that gets used so often its to the point people expect it. At a con, Seanan MacGuire once got asked when her urban fantasy heroine was going to get raped, because that was what happened to women who ran around alone at night. A super-powered heroine. Does anyone ask that question about Batman? If so, I've never heard it.

The problem isn't that rape is A tool of writers, it's that, too often, it's the only tool.

January 21, 2016, 06:41:18 PM
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Re: Slaughter of thousands vs a handful of rapes I am writing a book (so I say) with a female protagonist.
Never planned to include rape in any way.
BUT, I found Barbara's post just now very useful.

Now planning to also avoid marriage and pregnancy.  ;D

No, seriously. Now planning to also avoid marriage and pregnancy.
There are so many other stories to tell.

January 21, 2016, 08:26:38 PM
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Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
So at the end of the day I understand all of this, but when it translates into my writing-- sometimes it's tricky. Cuz I'm a white guy and I like writing white male heterosexuals too. I have slavery, I have sexism, and I have classism in my writing, but in the particular series I'm currently invested in, when I open up with a Eurocentric fantasy setting with a predominantly male cast of characters and I contributing to the problem? I'm not planning on changing genders or races the characters present in the opening (it would screw up the plot), but it does leave me a bit torn and wondering if there's a way to convey some sort of solidarity with these issues in that context. Or whether I should just drop that thought and save it for another story...

Minor characters, I think? Walk-ins. I'm not sure of the set-up of your start, obviously, but third tier, second tier characters being more diverse does help with the acknowledgement of people other than white guys existing. Even within sexist, racist societies, women and POC were around. The blacksmith could be a woman, the innkeeper could be fantasy!Chinese, the ship captain could have [X], that kind of thing. It doesn't change the rules of a society, but it does help with the 'oh, the author is aware that more people actually exist'.

January 25, 2016, 02:36:58 AM
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Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
Is this in America or worldwide?

Hollywood is a business and it knows what sells. That's the situation in a nutshell. Even if race was adjusted for percentage of representation in society for the sake of "fairness", whites would still make up the majority of speaking roles. That any other race group should have the exact same number of speaking rolls as the one that makes up the majority of the country is just illogical. If the country's racial makeup was divided into equal parts, say 10% for ten different racial groups, and the roles were distributed like the study above, then It would be a glaring problem.

Should there be more non-white, non-male, speaking roles? Sure, why not. However, I would prefer these roles were given based on acting talent and not because some non-profit group bullied a movie studio until they caved in.
Correction. Hollywood thinks it knows what sells. And very easily gets caught in its own deluded circle jerk logic. Allow me to show you the thought process of a typical Hollywood executive.

"Why doesn't Hollywood have more female/minority led blockbusters?"
"Because they don't sell."
"How do you know they don't sell?"
"Because most of the big blockbuster successes this year didn't have female/minority leads."
"But that's because most of the blockbusters released this year didn't have female/minority leads at all."
"That's because female/minority leads don't sell."
Repeat ad infinity.

And it's especially funny because the very few female/minority led films that actually get made have shown that they really can sell. Two of the highest grossing films this year were Star Wars and Furious 7, both of which had female/minority casts and made a shitton of money. Same goes for mid-tier hits like Straight Outta Compton and Creed. Yet Hollywood constantly chooses to 'play it safe' by sticking to straight white male leads without even considering other options.

Now to be fair, to some extent it is an understandable reaction. Films cost a lot of money to make and studios can't exactly be blamed for wanting to stick to the safe and known. But that also ends up leading to the circle jerk above. And that is why the studios need a good kick in the teeth every once in a while to be reminded to include female/minority leads. And, to some extent, it does seems to be working. We've got several female/minority led superhero movies like Black Panther and Captain Marvel coming, films I doubt would nearly be as much of a priority if it wasn't for people getting on Marvel's ass about it. So those groups do actually do some good.

Certainly, the idea of people just being given jobs based on ability alone and not just to bolster diversity is a very nice thought and, if we lived in a perfect world, should be exactly how things work. But we don't live in a perfect world. There is noticeable discrimination and bias against females/minorities, maybe not out of malice, but is still there and does need to change. And if it won't do so naturally, then yes, by actively throwing in roles for diversity's sake.


January 26, 2016, 02:56:34 PM
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Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
Yea, Fast and Furious seems to have a tradition on diversity. I remember the very first one, with white, black, latinos, asians. But back then nobody kept pointing at it or anything.
Yes, that's because the internet wasn't as widespread back then so peoples voices weren't as widely heard.

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I just find a bit strange that some people complain (sometimes looking like they are just raging) so voraciously about this topic.
People complain because that's the only way they can affect change on this subject. I already pointed out the vicious circle-jerk Hollywood is already in. If people don't make their voices clear, what reason does Hollywood have to change?

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I mean, look at the Matrix. They even approached Will Smith before Keanu Reeves for Neo. And then you have Trinity and Morpheus. You have plenty of asian influences, the Oracle appeared to be latin, it even had albinos!
And that was in 1999.

The Men in Black with Will Smith was even older. So diversity was being done and was selling. This are just examples that came right away, probably there were many more.
Except the problems there are that those films are largely part of the rare exceptions. Take a look at the movie listings for those relevant years. Most of the big movies were still led by white actors. A rare movie back then does not prove diversity anymore than Furious 7 proves it nowadays.

Also it wasn't 'diversity' that was being promoted in Men in Black. It was Will Smith. See, compared to now, films back then were much more reliant on a big name star to sell their product. Will Smith was a big name star. In fact, he's probably the biggest name black star in movie history and that's precisely the problem. It's a struggle to think of a single black/minority actor even close to being as popular as Will Smith was in his prime. Samuel L. Jackson is the only one I can really think of in the same ballpark (and maybe Denzel Washington). Yet you can also name dozens of white actors as popular/more popular than Will Smith was. Will Smith was a very rare exception to that rule.

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Although I admit I'm not much of a movie's guy. But sometimes it seems that nowadays the diversity topic seems more important than the story or the fun people had with a movie.
Seriously? What movie groups do you follow? I rarely see a genuinely good movie penalised solely because it doesn't have a diverse cast. The difference is that we recognise diversity as being important nowadays and, with the advent of the internet, people have a platform for their voices to be heard. It's not that these complaints have never there at all, it's just that we can hear them easier now.

January 26, 2016, 04:58:55 PM
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Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists Writing white male characters because it's "safe" is genuinely the worst reason I've ever heard. Writing anything because it's safe is lamentable, but I also think it's incorrect: I'm not the only person in the world who posts reviews saying, "ugh, all white males, shame about that." The bottom line of creating is that you're never going to create something that no one dislikes. Yes, it's about story quality over cast diversity, but you're going to write a good story anyway, right? Why not write one with a diverse cast too? The two aren't mutually exclusive, and indeed I find a variety of views in a story increases its depth and my enjoyment.

I must also admit to being disappointed in the "white male is the norm and doesn't need to be defended" reasoning. That is exactly the sort of thing that perpetuates it as the norm. It needs to be challenged because of that. Flip your thinking: is it important that the character be white and/or male? Then why can't they be something else?

Characterisation, like everything else in storytelling, is always a choice. Consider why you're making the choices you are. Because you enjoy it is totally a valid reason, but consider if perhaps you enjoy it because society has conditioned you to think those stories are more important, or because you feel ill-equipped to tell other stories - the latter of which can be remedied by engaging more with that sort of story, and will broaden your storytelling range!

January 27, 2016, 10:44:24 AM
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Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
Everything seems to be too "white-male" in society these days, according to the typical groups of naysayers. Funny, given the greats in the legacy of Fantasy are all white and have had the greatest influence. Let's just say I strongly disagree with this kind of condemnation and keep it at that. I don't want to derail the topic with political arguments.
Okay, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt on that statement and assume you were trying to say the characters in the greats in the legacy of Fantasy were all white, rather than the authors, since that could easily be taken the wrong way. But it's still completely wrong (unless you want to claim tales like Arabian Nights all star white people) and ridiculous reasoning anyway. Lord of the Rings isn't considered a classic because of the colour of its characters. It's a classic because of its storytelling and worldbuilding. Most similar classic fantasy novels are considered classics in spite of being largely white-male centric, not because of. And, as a generation more aware and embracing of other cultures and diversities, we can and should improve on that. 

January 27, 2016, 11:18:08 AM
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Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
Everything seems to be too "white-male" in society these days, according to the typical groups of naysayers. Funny, given the greats in the legacy of Fantasy are all white and have had the greatest influence. Let's just say I strongly disagree with this kind of condemnation and keep it at that. I don't want to derail the topic with political arguments.
Okay, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt on that statement and assume you were trying to say the characters in the greats in the legacy of Fantasy were all white, rather than the authors, since that could easily be taken the wrong way. But it's still completely wrong (unless you want to claim tales like Arabian Nights all star white people) and ridiculous reasoning anyway. Lord of the Rings isn't considered a classic because of the colour of its characters. It's a classic because of its storytelling and worldbuilding. Most similar classic fantasy novels are considered classics in spite of being largely white-male centric, not because of. And, as a generation more aware and embracing of other cultures and diversities, we can and should improve on that.

Well, you also have to take into account that the world changed. Writing LOTR along WWI means that you're writing for british people, and eventually, maybe, if you get super popular somehow, maybe the french, the americans, maybe even the germans and italians...
The publishing industry was widely different, the internet wasn't a thing, and the world still had to see its biggest migration waves.
Now we're in the internet age, living in countries full of people of all nations with various degrees of assimilation to our own culture. As writers we just don't have such excuses to write all male, all white characters. Early century "classics" certainly have that.

This entire issue is like the Lovecraft awards, where people suddenly rose up against the idea of using a notorious racist as an award figure.
Lovecraft lived with his time, we can give him some berth, without condoning. We don't have that anymore.

January 27, 2016, 12:06:34 PM
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Re: You can lead a hero to a quest, but you can't make him fight... Revenge is an instant narrative turn-off for me, but so. common.

So, other ways:

Pay. I actually don't see the problem with this - money is important. There's a common view of anything influenced by money being crass, but, no? We need money. It doesn't make a person mercenary, it can mean that they are professional, that they are desperate, that they are trying to provide for themselves, trying to provide for a family, wanting to work towards a goal (which could be: independence, to purchase a farm or a house, to fund a business, to fund their own expedition, etc.)

Call of adventure. Maybe they get involved because they, and here's a shocking idea, want to. Maybe it's just because I've been listening to audiobooks of explorers recently, but you know what? It's FUN following people who actually want to be there. Who WANT to go on an adventure, who WANT to go exploring, who WANT to take part in this for whatever reason. People who want the glory and people who want the excitement and, sometimes, people who just really really want to go and study strange rocks or take pictures.

Duty. Duty to a lord, a ruler, a country. It's a big motivator for lots of people. Follow a request, follow a liege lord, protect a village.

Justice. Different from revenge in subtle shades, and not seen nearly enough.

Because it's the right thing to do. It's the hero, right? Well. What's wrong with them deciding that this is the right thing to do? Sure, it's unfashionable currently, but people can be decent. People can even be good. So, maybe just purely and simply, it's the right thing to do.

Because, literally, they are kidnapped. There may or may not be a prophecy, but these people believe there is, and they kidnap people to make out the rest of their party, or to kidnap the appointed Chosen One. And then that Chosen One has to survive not only the quest, but the party itself. That could be fun.

February 17, 2016, 10:30:32 PM
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