A quick cleansing rant before 2014

Christmas and New Year are strange times of the year.  The main problem I have with the Christmas and New Year holiday, and I blame New Year for this because I always find it a little depressing, is that it brings out the cynic in me.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had a wonderful Christmas and it looks to be a good New Year Eve.  I hope you’ve had a good one too.

The latter end of 2013 has made me very aware of the issue of feminism.  This is my own fault, I’ve been delving deeper into what it means to be a female writer in a male orientated genre, and I’ve been reading more about women from women.
This Christmas I read an article which in one sentence took a shot at Joss Whedon’s speech about feminism this year.  You can Google ‘Joss Whedon Feminism’ if you want to know more.

As I believe I’ve said in a previous post, a couple of decades ago feminism was all about hating men.  It wasn’t pretty.  Now feminism seems to have calmed down a bit.  I would like to think that feminism is now less about the hating of men and more about gender equality.  All men and women are equal, no one gender is better than the other.  That’s all there is to it.

Joss Whedon may have said some ropey things.  To be honest, I don’t care.  Feminism seems to be one of those subjects that no one can get right if they talk too much about it.  Women included.  Earlier this year I discovered an online magazine written by young female writers about women and feminism.  On the one hand, those strongly opinionated women made me realise that I could make a small living out of writing (thank you), but they also really pissed me off.
The majority of articles were about ripping apart their ‘favourite’ women’s magazines and shaming the editors.  Personally I found this boring, I don’t read women’s magazines.  But an awful lot of posts were about these writers having unprotected sex, because apparently strong women can get blind drunk, have one night stands and then just take the morning after pill.

That’s not exactly my idea of feminism.
Feminism is not about acting like a man, it is not about throwing away personal responsibility and it is not about pointing at men and women and condemning them.

Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If I should one day be blessed by a daughter, I would be horrified to see her grow up to be like these young writers.  I would be over the moon, however, if she turned to me one day and said ‘I want to be like Buffy/Willow/Cordelia/Inara/Kaylee/Zoe.’
Joss Whedon may have said too much, but he is masterful at creating strong female characters.  All of the above mentioned characters are independent, intelligent and talented in their own rights.  But above all else, each of them sticks to their principles and takes responsibility for themselves.

Kaylee from Firefly and Serenity

Kaylee from Firefly and Serenity

I could say more. There’s been Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and so much, much more that over the years has become part of our daily lives.  But that’s not what I want this post to be about.

The question is often raised about what makes a female character strong.  The answer is the same of what makes a real woman strong.  All of the above; independence, the ability to take responsibility for your body and your actions, to believe in yourself and to stick to your own principles.

Cynical rant over, 2013 over.  Bring on the New Year and I truly hope that it is full of opportunity, pleasant surprises and joy for all of us.

See you in 2014.

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