From Thinker – non-fiction

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Month

Excuse me, First of December. A word, if I may, please. You know you’ve come too soon, right? Yet you’re just on time. How do you do it?
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh month, I sat down, fingers poised over my keyboard, brains searching for news on what’s gone on in the month that has flown by like my friend, Terry the Pterodactyl, I realised that it was a month jam-packed with goody-goodness.
Starting with NaNoWriMo that was for me, more successful than the years before, but still unaccomplished. It taught me that I’m not a disciplined writer, but one who intertwines work with writing, with life. I say this positively as I know what it takes for me to finish writing a book, and I also know that I’m driven to keep writing. At this year’s NaNoWriMo, I celebrate the fact that my first book, that I had started writing at NaNoWriMo two years ago, is published, and is doing well out there in the big bad world. If it doesn’t sound too weird, I would love to say a quick ‘well done’ to Sun. And ‘thank you’ too, for making me a happy author.
Goodreads giveaway
November also saw my Goodreads Giveaway campaign for Sun. I had expected a couple of hundred requests for the entire campaign, and was blown away by the final 1,313 requests! I packaged up the signed copies of Sun and had them sent off to Melitta and Pat in Canada, and Debra in America. I’m so excited that they will be reading Sun, and hopefully some of the 600 people who have added it to their ‘to-read’ list will be doing just that too.
Having thought about my books, I turned to an older project of mine – Earth.0. Do you remember it? A transmedia science fiction project, I pulled out Earth.0’s old files and creations that were collaborations with other writers and artists for a bursary application to The Writing Platform. The bursary interested me as it provides a chance for a writer to partner up with a technologist to create new writing projects that doesn’t conform to traditional mediums. It made me think about my research in the areas of ‘experiencing text’ and got me excited about continuing with that work.
Finally, November also saw ‘Parliament Week’ – a week of Outreach by the Parliament, and notably (for us science fiction-ers anyway), the #SciFiParl event, where we got to hear and discuss what parliament in a hundred years would be like. Though visions were mixed, some bleak, others bleaker(!), there was an underlying theme of democratic reach of knowledge and access to vote, connecting every person in the country. This made me think that the powers of the future will not be with the politicians, or those with money, but those who control the data flow.
Something for you to ponder upon as you head to the shops to buy the next gadget for Christmas…while I switch off the laptop and head to my kitchen for coffee and biscuits. This talk of elevenses is making me hungry.
Coffee and breakfast rolls by @kenephatfingers
Coffee and breakfast rolls by @kenephatfingers

The New Woman, the origins of Twilight Moms. Seriously?

This is an editorial piece in response to the recent craze on Twilight, focusing on a specific selection of its fan-base, the Twilight Moms.  The opinions are all my own – any comments or feedback welcomed, especially in how to develop this piece further.

THE NEW WOMAN, THE ORIGINS OF TWILIGHT MOMS.  SERIOUSLY?

The Victorians started putting the idea that women can be good and useful to the nation too (as opposed to men only) and drove for equality through women’s rights to education, politics and more. Fast forward a century and a half later and what do we have to show for womanhood? Twilight Moms?

There are clearly loads of very important and good women movements today, but the reason I chose Twilight Moms is to show that not only are women given equal rights, it has surpassed that. Women are now feared by those who used to rule us in a patriarchal society.

Twilight Moms is a movement of women who have one thing clearly in common, the love for the Twilight saga and fans to Stephenie Meyer who wrote the books. When visiting the Twilight Moms official website (www.twilightmoms.com) it is impossible to ignore its feminist suggestions. The slogan of the group is planted just below its logo, stating in bold that “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”. A heavy slogan for a group that is ultimately a fan-site, don’t you think?

In its original movement nearly a hundred and fifty years ago,
“the woman movement, which has been scoffed and jeered at and misunderstood most of all by the people whom it is destined to help, is a spiritual revival of the best instincts of womanhood – the instinct to serve and save the race… The world needs the work and help of the women, and the women must work, if the race will survive.” (Devereux, p.177)
The point was to show that women have a place in the world; a place that is much larger than it had been given initially. It was about women working openly for the nation and for themselves.

Also, “because of their daring portrayals of women’s experiences, New Woman narratives have in the last decade [Victorian] been described as the ideological seeds of English modernism”. (Walls, p.230) If this was indeed the case, could we say that Twilight Moms is a result of it? Clearly something happened between then and now. “Women have “become pointed”, wanting “everything” means that the nostalgic woman is in danger of becoming obsolete.” (Walls, p.238) The nostalgic woman who remembers the original struggles and the ideals of the New Woman is no longer available in our world today. Women back during the “imperialist suffrage rhetoric involved a representation not only of “what women wanted” within the context of the Empire, but of what roles women were to play in the march of progress.” (Devereux p.177) They were more aware of the big picture.
Today, women, especially in the Western society are treated with respect and have more or less the same rights as do men. Where there are inequalities that discriminate against women, one can probably say that there are equal inequalities that discriminate against men.

Go to www.twilightmoms.com. It is a website that drools over young actors and actresses, and mushy romance through the Twilight Saga. Though it tries not to discriminate in its love for the characters and actors, naturally (heterosexual) women would flock towards male characters, and in this case, very young male characters. If you search “twilight moms” in Google Images, you will find some disturbing photos of women with entire rooms dressed in Twilight paraphernalia or middle-aged women screaming in passion at a film premiere.
If we reversed the genders and had middle-aged men drooling over young actresses and actors, would women sit back and accept it? Why does our society accept Twilight Moms without question, when the idea of Twilight Dads would surely ring alarm bells of paedophilia?

I say that it is because women today are feared by society. Where women have won the right to being a New Woman, they have also developed a hunger for masochism, for crossing the lines, as they have not found their limits yet. Isn’t it good to be a woman today?

References

Cecily Devereux, ‘New Woman, New World: Maternal Feminism and the New Imperialism in the White Settler Colonies’ Women’s Studies International Forum vol.22 no.2 (1999) pp.175-184

Elizabeth Macleod Walls, ““a little afraid of the women of today”: The Victorian New Woman and the Rhetoric of British Modernism”, Rhetoric Review, vol.21, no.3 (2002) pp.229-46

Twilight Moms http://www.twilightmoms.com/ accessed 27 January 2012

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