"We are used to ignoring our own bodies. “These carrots are too spicy” we complained as a child, only to be told no, they were sweet, that the music wasn’t too loud, nobody can hear lights, what you are experiencing is invalid. We heard: you are invalid. You do not experience the world the same way as everyone else, and therefore, your experience is wrong. You learn to ignore the ever-present pain because nothing can be done about it, but then you have a kidney infection and others get mad at you for not noticing sooner. But why should you trust your body when it is always wrong?"
…and everyone in the theater screamed
I was reading posthuman theory (again. shhhh.) on silence of the lambs (…not technically applicable to my research but I’m putting it in my summer reading bibliography) and it occurred to me
how rare it is
that Clarice Starling had a dark traumatizing past that made her a brutal effective ingenious agent
a past that was built up for the entire film
a past that made her
and it wasn’t rape
and she is literally one of three female characters of that level of social prominence, and of that archetype (intj-marked antihero), that I can think of
whose portrayal as a woman of power
isn’t due to or associated with violent rape
what the fuck
We talk a lot about how women are raped so often in media; it’s easy to see. But it’s so disturbing to me that this archetype in particular has
a) so few representatives in the first place
b) a disproportionate amount of rape survivors within that subgroup (compared to other female character archetypes)
c) so few examples of other ways for women to be or become that sort of person
I think it’s so troubling because these women are powerful. Like. Ok. I’ll defer to Meyers-Briggs statistics because they mostly tell us about perceptions of people types, and because they have decent breadth of statistical coverage.
So, this archetype - the INTJ antihero - is the thing for dude stories. Every single one of those “male antihero” bullshit figures is either written as an INTJ, or written as if the writer thinks they should be an INTJ (even when they’re fucking not). Everyone’s favorite villains, everyone’s favorite conflicted superheroes, everyone’s favorite doctors, everyone’s favorite fucking detective. They’ve got the same cold intellect, the same disregard for traditional morals, the same superiority to other humans, the same empathy-less machismo.
They don’t need trauma to do it. They just are that way. And they’re everywhere.
But women? You have a handful. They rarest are almost like the men, in that they have trauma, but it’s not sexual. Clarice Starling. Katniss Everdeen. Hermione Granger, a little, because she threw Umbridge to centaurs and trapped Rita Skeeter in a glass jar. It’s, honestly, better than most dudetrauma backstories, because… who needs to hear the Rock shouting my wIIIFEEE. my CHILDREENNN!!!!!! for the thirtieth time? [/just saw Hercules] God, in shitty Hollywood films, “my wife died” is how dudes get motivated, and the equivalent for women is “someone raped me”. That is not a facetious comparison.
Then we have the others. Lisbeth Salander. Sara Sidle. Probably every protagonist in this exploitative genre of films. Every single shitty “strong woman” character who’s been raped to make a point, stood around being “strong”, and been in a best-selling film. Etc.
And there are a billllllion more male characters of this archetype than female, even though, statistically speaking, that’s not the case. IRL, INTJs are about gender-equal, and are one of the rarest types. In fictional worlds, it’s like literally every man and his grocer is an INTJ dude. Females, ratios are about 2%, pretty true to life. So the film industry involves 1) a gross exaggeration that is 2) full of violence against women in the very few female examples.
This distribution happens because of power. Most successful franchises are successful because they’re male fantasies, and male power fantasies sell. (See: filmcrithulk’s great article on James Bond for a way better analysis). And most male fantasies are about having power. Being the guy in the nice suit with the pretty woman. Or the guy who’s bruised in the name of justice. Or the guy with the lab. That’s all power. But most of the time, movies are like, “YOU CAN’T BE THAT WITHOUT BEING AN EMOTIONLESS INTJ GENIUS TURD.”
So… what, a woman can cut shit up, can have good jobs and be smarter than men… but she can’t be that type of smart (the vicious type, the cruel type, the willing-to-tear-you-to-pieces type)… aka a woman can’t be anything that resembles what men consider powerful… unless someone has raped her?
Because that’s what I’m getting out of this distribution.
talk to me about boromir
Ten Things About Boromir the Bold That Never Made It Into the Red Book of Westmarch
I. His strongest memory of his mother was the smell of the sea she carried in her hair; how dark and tall she stood, looking towards an east Boromir would ever only long for in her honor.
II. Boromir did not ever doubt that he was loved. He was the first son of Gondor, swaddled in a walled citadel and rocked in Pelennor’s arms. He did not question why his father’s love was like stone, nor why his brother looked to him like he was the highest point of the ramparts. They were a city, and how else was a city to love?
III. For Boromir’s fourteenth year, the master of hounds promised him a pup of his own—One of Huan’s own line, the man swore, As befits a prince. What Boromir received, however, was the runt of that spring’s litter, a wheezing, stumbling thing that Boromir stubbornly nursed with a cheesecloth dipped in milk, then fed meat from his own plate.
Bellas, he called her, and ignored any who dared laugh.
Bellas never grew taller than Boromir’s knees, but she was strong and stubborn and loyal—for three years, Boromir went nowhere without her shadow at his heels. Bellas slept at the end of his bed; waited patiently during Boromir’s lessons; loped after his horse when he went riding.
Boromir was seventeen when Bellas was killed, her neck broken by an orc who had stumbled into their hunting party. She had put herself between her young master and the interloper, and afterwards, Boromir had carried her in his arms all the way back to Minas Tirith.
He buried her beneath a sapling tree on the slope of Mindolliun, and wept where no one could see him.
IV. Faramir looked east, and dreamt of great waves. Boromir watched him, heart heavy in his chest.
V. He had been in love with—well. He never said.
VI. Boromir was ill at ease in Elrond’s house, feeling too rough with travel, and heavy—all of Gondor on his shoulders, the knowledge that Faramir’s fine speech and strange visions might have meant something here, where Boromir, Protector of the City, did not. But he burned when they dismissed Gondor, his fingernails biting into his palms when the strength of Men was so questioned. (He had not seen any Elves come to Osgiliath’s defense, nor heard of any wizard-craft that kept the Corsairs from their brazen pillaging of Langstrand and Belfalas. What had these mighty peoples done to battle back the Shadow in the East except sit in their cool green palaces and speak in riddles?)
VII. He liked the Hobbits best, even after. They reminded him most of his own men, with their stubbornness and light-hearted complaints, their love of food and pipe-smoke and story. Three of them had left behind the whole of their world, to walk into darkness beside just one, and—yes, Boromir could respect such brotherhood.
VIII. (Aragorn remembered when Boromir was only a child, rosy-cheeked and happy to leave his mother’s side, to follow Thorongil around the citadel burbling in some tongue only Denethor and Finduilas could decipher. It was strange to meet the man that child became, to stand at a height with him, to wield a sword at his side, to listen to him speak of peace for Minas Tirith like other men spoke of lovers.
It made Aragorn feel very old, an ache deep in his bones that had not been there before. Careful, he wanted to caution the man, as he had once cautioned the child. Reach too high and you will fall.)
IX. One rainy night, when Boromir was keeping watch over the sleeping Fellowship, he sketched it out in his mind—the streets he would lead Aragorn through, the hidden corners of the palace he would show to Merry and Pippin, the great gates of the city whose craftsmanship he might justly boast of to Gimli. How Minas Tirith, that shining city, would chase the sorrow from the Fellowship’s faces, might shield them, might give them rest.
The rain dripped down his neck, cold, but he was gone to Minas Tirith—This is my home, he imagined himself saying to his companions, his brothers. This is home, may you always be welcome.
X. His last thought was of Faramir.
(Brother, little brother, I—)
Today, I wore a bright yellow blouse to work, a grey knee-length skirt, flats,
A beige bra, and cotton underwear. I didn’t shower and wore the shadow
Of last night’s makeup, and one gold bracelet. My 40 minute commute
Involves one or two public buses and walking on sidewalks. This morning,
I was catcalled four times before I unlocked my office; six times on the way
Home. I want to be a woman who is afraid of nothing.
My sister was sad today, the kind that runs thick in our family, so I met her at
The movie theatre after work—a new vampire flick. It was more romantic than
Scary but perhaps that’s because I only unlock myself in the dark. Perhaps
That’s because I am starving for power. Like blood, I know I have it in me but
Sometimes they don’t see it. The lead Vampiress walks the streets of Tangier
In white. No one fucks with a woman with fangs. No one whistles at a wolf.
- Sierra DeMulder