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Mr M's Female Characters

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  • #16
    On a related topic, how do we feel about the way in which MM's female characters are treated by the males?

    I've noticed that most of the leading men have a tendency towards chivalry (even Jherek Carnelian in his own strange way) and often take it upon themselves to "defend a lady's honour", even when the "lady" in question is perfectly capable of doing so herself.

    Is there still a place for chivalry in our fiction, and our society?

    Personally, I would like to think there was, but it isn't necessarily up to me.

    D...
    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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    • #17
      DeeCrowSeer:
      Is there still a place for chivalry in our fiction, and our society?
      There damn well better be! :lol: Although, I suppose it depends on how chivalry is defined-- if it is used as a way to belittle and control women, i.e., "Let me get that big, heavy door for you, little lady, since you're to weak to do so!" then NO; if it is used the way I believe Mr M intends, i.e. [insert EC of your choice] "My lady, please allow me to open the door for you as a token of my respect", then YES. One thing I have always loved about Mr M's male EC's is their respectful treatment of women.

      I think that chivalry (of the respectful kind) is much needed in our society. Early feminists (and here I mean the 60's-70's variety) seemed to feel that chivalry was out moded and sexist. Since I wasn't even born until '68, I consider myself a second generation feminist and I tend to see things a bit differently. What the first generation feminists did was very important; they made life a lot better for women of my generation and I will always be grateful to them for their efforts and their bravery, but the world has changed since they began the fight for equality back in the '60's and I think we need to update our approach to equal rights.

      One thing I like about Mr M's female characters is that while they are not "girlie", they don't sacrifice their femininity for their strength. They don't have to be masculine to be strong. In the '70's, it seemed like women felt they had to act like, or at least mimic, men in order to have the same rights and privileges as men. I think this was the wrong approach because it devalued feminine traits, a negative thing men had already been doing! I think that modern feminists are trying to get the point across that women's ways of doing things are just as valid as men's and women's contributions to humanity are just as important as men's. Both sexes evolved together and are mutually dependant upon one another. Male and Female are not opposites; Male and Female are complementary. I hate the phrase "battle of the sexes"!

      To me, when a man behaves in a chivalrous manner, he is acting respectfully and with honour. In other words, he is behaving with common courtesy, something that seems to be a rarity now (amoung both men and women.) In the '80's and early '90's, things seemed like they were finally going well for women, but in the past few years I have observed a disturbing backlash-- the objectification of women seems worse than ever. For a while, companies appeared to be concerned with not offending women by objectifying them, but now there are more sexist magazines, movies, and video games than ever. I think think the return of chivalry could help stop this disturbing trend.

      As an aside, I read in Game Informer magazine that women, including middle aged women, now out number teenaged boys when it comes to buying and playing video games. If the gaming industry has any financial sense at all it will stop cranking out games with scantily clad females and start producing titles that appeal to women-- like games featuring overweight, middle aged women and well built, scantily clad men, for instance. ;) Ok, actually, I think that the more women demand to see scantily clad men in order to tip the balance, the more men seem to use that as justification to continue objectifying women, so instead of escalating the objectification of both sexes, we ought to be working toward mutual respect.
      WWED -- What Would Elric Do?

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      • #18
        My wife certainly buys and plays more games than me, and it's notable that the massively succesful games - The Sims, Sim City, Rollercoaster Tycoon are gender neutral - even series like Final Fantasy, Resident Evil and Silent Hill appeal to mixed audiences like their filmic equivalents.

        The part of the industrty that really needs a kick is the advertising sector, couldn't believe the sexism on the Gameboy Advance adverts showing the lad playing his GBA in bed while an attractive woman is next to him. It was heavily advertised in the mens press, but not at all in the womens press.
        If there was ever a games machine that has captured the market for both sexes it would be the Gameboy. Then again I've also read that people have had a hard time trying to get the female press to cover games - the editors don't think it is something their readers are interested in.

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        • #19
          Well hopefully my chivalry is of the respectful kind. Having grown up with two older sisters, who could quite easily beat the crap out of me if they chose to (and bullying was not unknown before I developed the sarcastic humour that seems to have bought me a truce) and could certainly out think me when it comes to mathematics and engineering (fields in which they both currently work, while I concern myself with more arty pursuits), I am well aware that women don't *need* things doing for them, but as an aspect of my general respect for those around me I like to do things out of courtesy.

          The subject of computer games is a very interesting one, now you mention it. Tomb Raider would have been exactly the same game whether the lead character had been a large breasted woman or a humanoid-shaped robot, but for some reason the designers decided to plump for Lara Croft. Is this simply because, while the gnder balance of the market may shift, the gender balance of the creative houses is still tipped towards men? I once went for an interview as a play-tester and everyone I met bar the receptionist was male and under thirty.

          Here in Britain our most successful, and longest-running, TV show for reviewing and previewing computer games was presented by three women (called "Bits" if you're curious). Admittedly one of them was a model brought in to up the beauty factor, but the other two were hardened gamers with years of arcade experience. The show has gone now sadly, but hopefully it helped to change some attitudes within the industry?

          As for the magazines, Britain has just seen the launch of two new weekly men's magazines. Football! Breasts! Cars! The launch issues were available for free in newsagents, but even for free I couldn't be bothered to pick them up. The television campaign for one features gorgeous women struggling to complete various D.I.Y tasks (such as fixing a plug or examining the engine of a car) which they inevitably botch because the men who should be "helping" them are too busy reading their new magazines! I almost had to check the calendar to make sure this really was still the 21st Century. I couldn't wire a plug to save my life, but my sister can design circuit boards to power a computer!

          D...
          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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          • #20
            Tomb Raider's an interesting one because the first one at least had a lot of female players - certainly more than it would have had as an Indiana Jones game, or with a muscle-bound hero, and I think in that sense it was good - a step forward from the 'healer' characters you always get in RPGs. Although she was still as physically unrealistic as a Barbie doll.

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            • #21
              Of course it's impossible to speculate, but would Tomb Raider have shifted as many units (to male and/or female customers) if Lara had been more of a Linda-Hamilton-from-T2 sort of character? (She could still have made that vaguely dirty noise when she bumped into things!) Would there have been so many merchandising spin-offs? I doubt it would have changed the game as such, but Tomb Raider probably wouldn't have been the multi-media goliath it is today without Lara to "front" the campaigns.

              D...
              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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              • #22
                All certainly true - and then we wouldn't have had too put up with quite as much media punditry which would have been no bad thing. Or inferior sequels. Definitely still room for a Linda Hamilton or Ripley (I guess the Resident Evil / Silent Hill games perhaps come closest to that, bad voice acting aside).

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                • #23
                  Katinka Van Bak

                  I like Katinka from the champion of Garathorm, she's not a young attractive lady like so many female fantasy characters are. Mike has also given her a convincing character, she's not just a chick with a sword, she's comes across as a jobbing soldier with all the wry cynicism and casual attitude towards death.

                  Ilian the champion by contrast is a bit wet really and has completely inappropriate thoughts in the company of another lady!

                  The best Katinka bit is the bit where Hawkmoon and Yiselda are snogging and she has to remind them that she is dying and would like someone to pick up the stretcher she's on!

                  Brilliant Book. I really enjoyed the whole Count Brass series!
                  \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

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                  • #24
                    Oona
                    That's it ^_~
                    Sweet moons!

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                    • #25
                      Re: Katinka Van Bak

                      Originally posted by M-A_19
                      I like Katinka from the champion of Garathorm, she's not a young attractive lady like so many female fantasy characters are. Mike has also given her a convincing character, she's not just a chick with a sword, she's comes across as a jobbing soldier with all the wry cynicism and casual attitude towards death.

                      Ilian the champion by contrast is a bit wet really and has completely inappropriate thoughts in the company of another lady!

                      The best Katinka bit is the bit where Hawkmoon and Yiselda are snogging and she has to remind them that she is dying and would like someone to pick up the stretcher she's on!

                      Brilliant Book. I really enjoyed the whole Count Brass series!

                      Sounds good, I read all that in the mid to late 70's, will have another go at the series.
                      Oh and was Katinka's name "van Bak"? Hence an early Dutch family branch of the von Beks, eh? Coincidence?
                      Google ergo sum

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                      • #26
                        I would have to say the later women in Elric's saga. as was observed by the originator of this thread Marie-Bernadette they are more complex then cymoril who was much like a love of youth where your attraction is due to simpler tastes than when you get older -at time's those relationships last and are the best but too often people grow older and change. Even so it must have been a great love to lead Elric the way he went and a bitter scar for at least some time.She reminds me of Pellucidar's Diane who was a simply beautiful woman with a attraction of simple honesty as a charactor trait and she needed saving from the ravages of jubal. She never really evolved. If cymorill had lived I would have expected she would too have evolved with Elric.I kind of think some of the later women in the story kind of represent what she could or would have evolved into. The later women who were strong though beautiful, good with swords and magic were often at times very independent of Elric who when married ,married a woman who stayed home when he went to fight -and was not totally strong or weilded magics and weapons masterfully like others-I think this says something about ELRICS charactor , but not the human condition now with the relationship between the sexes-we dont all fit in the same box in that respect on what we want in a partner and what we view as the norm. We can observe what the fictional charactor did and perhapes draw tenative conclusions about him from his actions-Final word on this has to be ELric and Mike.
                        "? ",qouz"! ' c. mackay from extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of the crowds.

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                        • #27
                          I'd say that most of the female characters in Mike's mid-to-late books are stronger than those earlier EC characters who seem more archetypal. I guess there's a strong theme of epic fatalism to many the EC books books, whereas the characters from Mike's later work seems to exhibit more free will (or the illusion of free will), therefore I'd have to go with Una, Catherine and Mrs C, the female lead in Mother London (no good with names, sorry) and while Pyat's perception of the original Esmé might not be particularly empowering, I think its fair to call Pyat an unreliable narrator. Pyat's mum also must deserve our sympathy, if nothing else. I'm also fond of Amelia Underwood and Sweet Orb Mace for very different reasons.
                          forum

                          1. a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of public interest
                          2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
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                          • #28
                            Una P/Oone (of course)
                            Amelia Underwood
                            Oona (The dreamthiefs daughter)
                            Gloriana
                            Catherine C/Cymoril
                            Mrs C
                            The Rose
                            The Iron Orchid
                            The Everlasting Concubine

                            Mike's women are so strong - history changing - pivotal (more so than his men in many of the later novels - Oone is the real lead character in Fortress of the Pearl for example)
                            Last edited by Una Persson; 09-05-2010, 03:27 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Marie-Bernadette View Post
                              I think a "heart-shaped" face usually means one that has a broad forehead (sometimes with widow's peak hairline), broad and prominent cheekbones, and a narrow, somewhat pointed chin.
                              Anna Karina



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                              • #30
                                I discovered Michael Moorcock's works with the rôleplaying-game "Stormbringer".
                                I fell in love of Myshella.
                                And, I continue...

                                Sorry for my english and french's governement.
                                Papi

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