Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pretzel logic

Fiona Pretzels is back in our latest episode (see previous post) and I remain as ambivalent as ever about the character. Every time she shows up, I feel like I should include a disclaimer.

If you didn't know me, based on this cartoon you might assume I was some conservative dorkwad using Fiona as a sock puppet to make fun of the "feminazis." Actually I'm a far-lefty dorkwad, and Fiona is only meant to make fun of a certain kind of windy, dogmatic feminist, not feminists in general.

Years ago, I had a girlfriend go all hardcore feminist-y on me one summer. Seemingly overnight, she went from being this really fun, interesting person to a person who saw sexism and oppression in absolutely everything. It was almost like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only instead of leaving behind an emotionless pod person, the aliens left behind a pissed-off girl with hairy legs.

At the time I was working on some stupid little short story with a female protagonist, and this woman gave me two tons of shit over that. She was grievously offended that a male (which was how I identified at the time) could ever presume to write about a woman's life. Now, bear in mind that she hadn't actually read the story. She believed that being born with a penis meant you absolutely were not allowed to write about a female character, ever. It stunned me that any girl as smart as she was could be that freaking dumb.

And that's Fiona, right there.


AlterEgoTrip said...

Well I would have to say that a staring point is that we all have within us both these energies we identify as masculine and feminine within all of us.

These are the projections both shadow and light of our interactions within our collective lives dealing with and embodying the drives of both the male and female ideal. We within us, if we have not learned or fully integrated with them feel threatened by the other and project or negatives upon them.. or even worse our ideal expectations.

In this think about what we consider a leader, a hero or a villain and you got the idea about how what messed up we all collectively really are when we see our leaders as what I would collectively identify a likeness to the mythological Devil himself.

In recent days we can see the projections of the shadow of the male (and female) within the media, the women who are not fully integrated, such as Sara Palin who are just mere projections of female that the majority of men (and media) create is a fantastic example of something of a one sided thing that a "Fiona" should be dealing with, a so called real biological woman becoming a driving force for all the negative male projection. And this is in real life. She is a one sided vision of women of power in the world of men.. she is more fictional than human especially in the case of having that mask of civility come down in the face of a media hyped event such as the leaking of public documents into the public media by grown up people that earn their keep by talking about people called "Diplomats".

I could say more but maybe Fiona needs to focus on the real projections rather than someone else's rather healthy world of fiction and anima and animus within.

A so called "radical feminist" can do allot of work when confronting those false icons of female power.. but does very little for the development of herself or of others when she beats upon those who are probably more empathetic to her, or to women than she realizes.

Mindi Flyth said...

That whooshing noise you hear is a lot of this stuff flying right over my head at 2 AM on a Sunday morning! It is very thoughtful commentary, and I'll be considering it in the coming days. I will say that I think your last paragraph in particular is spot-on. I strongly support equal rights, and share many ideals with feminists... But we part company when they start telling me, for instance, what I'm not allowed to find arousing.

AlterEgoTrip said...

Ah, if we all didn't find what we find "arousing" what would we be? Its part of us, we can not just cut ourselves off from.. its an element of our nature but not what makes us us, just a part of us, and I think in many cases it is a beautiful part of us.


Thank you for your kindness.. I talk too damned much! :)

Seven said...

I blame John Norman. He wrote one of his Gor novels in the first-person POV of the main female victi- er... protagonist, and I promptly swore off any story written in the first person if the main character was the opposite sex of the author. In the intervening twenty-plus years, however, I got better.

But I don't think that you need to explain yourself over Fiona. She's an entertaining character. And an entertaining caricature. Is she going to offend someone who sees too much of themselves in her? Yeah... but don't ALL caricatures?

The difference between a caricature and a strawman is a fine line to walk. Calling Fiona out as a send up of a particular person who stung you once upon a time doesn't change that. As long as you're using the exaggeration to poke fun at it, rather than trying to discredit people by claiming the distortion is the real thing, you'll do fine.

One of the things that makes "Inside Ursula Hitler's Head" funny is that even when it's being meta and self-referential, it's un-self conscious. Go with that... it's working. If you dial it up too far, the audience will ask you to walk it back. Until then, go nuts.

It's what we tune in for.

Mindi Flyth said...

Just so I'm clear, that ex-girlfriend isn't the only Fiona I've encountered... Her personality influenced Fiona in a big way, but other people inspired Fiona too. In this post I was pointing at that ex-girlfriend's ideas and saying, "THAT's exactly the kind of thinking I'm making fun of," not, "THAT's the actual Fiona!"

Thanks for the kind words. Flattery is like oxygen to one such as I.

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