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02 April 2009 @ 03:01 pm
Open Ideas Post  
It's time for another open ideas post! These are posts specifically for brainstorming topic ideas. We want anyone and everyone to feel comfortable picking up and idea and turning it into a programming proposal, because your thoughts and theories will make Sirens interesting and exciting.

Please comment with any topic ideas you might have that you'd like to see someone propose, and please adopt any topic idea that interests you. (And, if you're not sure how to present it, check out the last post for ideas.)

Want to advertise for co-authors, co-presenters, or panelists? Feel free to do so at sirenschat, the Sirens message board, or elsewhere (and give us a link to where that is), and we'll do a roundup in a future newsletter.

For Sirens, we're really looking for the following:
  • presentations on fantasy written/produced by women
  • presentations on fantasy works with important women characters
  • presentations on this year's theme, "warriors"
  • presentations related to production of fantasy work (publishing, writing, art)
  • presentations that are less directly about women in fantasy, but that provide a framework for understanding the fantasy genre in general
  • presentations and demonstrations for afternoon classes

    Swords and Sorcery: Historical Women Re-imagined as Warriors

    Alanna, Katsa, and Brienne of Tarth: Woman as Warrior

    When Borrowing from the Real World Works--and When It Doesn't

    Postmodern Fantasy

    World Building for Aspiring Authors

    Teaching Fantasy Workshop

    Defining Fantasy for the Twenty-First Century: What We Have and Where We'd Like to Go

    Must We Be Queens at the End? Fulfillment and Fantasy

    She Who Must Not Be Named: Women as Forces of Evil in Fantasy Films

    Campbell Didn't Have My Itinerary: The Heroine's Journey

    Archmages and Witches: Women Wielding Magic

    Kissing Frogs: Enlightened and...Less Enlightened Fantasy Boyfriends: Once upon a time, the boys did the fighting and the girls wore the dresses. And then the girls took up the sword, and sometimes the boys loved it, but sometimes they resented it. An examination of boyfriends in fantasy starts with Aragorn and ends with Po, perhaps his more enlightened successor.

    The War Story: Leaving Ginny Behind in Deathly Hallows: Poor Ginny. She can cast a mean Bat-Bogey Hex and a killer Reductor curse, and yet, when Harry runs off to conquer the villain, she not only stays home to faithfully wait for his return, she offers him her virginity when he goes. What happened to our warrior chick?

    Heaving Bosoms and Happily Ever Afters: Romance as Fantasy: Romance novels, which sell millions and millions of books a year, encourage women to escape to a land of pirates, dukes and oh-so-naughty (pre-marital) sex (in a carriage). Are they fantasy? Are they fantastical? Should we classify them alongside dragons and swords and faeries?

    Killing Me Loudly: How Katsa and Katniss Changed the World: Girls have killed before, but never with quite the grace, ease and everyday complacence of Katsa and Katniss. Cashore and Collins both wrote of girls with phenomenal, unusual, perhaps inappropriate skills -- and made them wonderfully sympathetic, flawed and amazing. Come discuss how writing girls who kill has changed our world for the better.

    "Off with Her Head": "Hysterical" Women in Fantasy: A common adjective hurled at women of all walks of life is "hysterical." We're frequently urged to stop behaving "hysterically" or to stop being "hysterical." Some of the most powerful female fantasy villains, from the Queen of Hearts to Harry Potter's Bellatrix, are depicted as hysterical, fraught, out-of control. Come discuss depictions of "hysterical" women in fantay literature, and whether those ladies are hysterical, or merely powerful.

    Please Bite Me: Twilight and Real-World Fan Fantasy: In 2008, a young fan, in all seriousness, asked Twilight's Robert Pattinson to please bite her. (Later, as part of a publicity stunt, he would bite Tyra Banks on her talk show.) This incident was only one incident in a long line of Twilight fan fanatacism centering around Stephenie Meyer's Edward Cullen, and Pattinson, who portrayed him in the film. When book fantasy becomes real, when TwiHards and TwiMoms swoon, what's a girl to do?

    Creation Myths and Fantasy

    Adapting Fantasy for Stage and Screen

    Specific Themes, Time Periods, or Tropes in Fantasy

    Distaff Shields: Women's Weapons in Fantasy

    En Guarde: Writing Women's Bodies in Battle

    Female Fans and Fandom: Subversion, Empowerment and Safe Spaces

    Retold: Fairy Tales for Today

    Tales from the Boardroom: (Female) Publishers, Editors and Agents

    Gender Studies: Not Just for Women Anymore!

    Smarter than Hermione, Prettier than Ginny: Mary Sues for Fun and Profit

    Walking the Plank: Do Women Pirates Visit Whorehouses, and Other Practical
    Questions When Ladies Take on Male Roles

    Twilight, Blue Bloods, Buffy: The Modern Vampire as
    (Irresistible) Temptation

    Faeries Will Kill You: Examining the Work of Holly Black and Melissa Marr

    From Idea to Book: Publishing Fantasy

    Beat Me, Rape Me, Leave Me for Dead: Violence as a Catalyst for the
    Heroine’s Journey

    Expanding the Fantastic: An Argument for Including Spy Girls, Quarterbacks
    and Unlikely Prom Queens in "Fantasy"

    Like, OMG: Blue Bloods, Rhymes with Witches and Other “Mean
    Girls” in Fantasy

    Oh, Jo: The Missing Witches of Harry Potter

    Translation: Arwen and Eowyn from Book to Screen

    "Cleverest Witch of Her Age": Studying Smart Girls of Fantasy

    "Battles Are Ugly When Women Fight": Fantastic Fighting Girls

    Finding Yourself: Growth and Identity in YA Fantasy Lit

    Sidekicks: When Girls Play Second Fiddle to Heroes

    But What if She Did This?: Subverting Tropes Through Fanfiction

    What Would Buffy Do?: Feminism and Twilight

    Controversial Women: J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice in the

    The Susan Problem: When Authors Judge Female Characters

    Lipstick, Birth Control and Sex in YA Fantasy

    Eowyn in Book and Film: Badass or Just Bad Role Model?

    Are You a Warrior in a Skirt or a Lady with a Sword: Labels, Tropes,
    Appearances and Archetypes in Fantasy Fiction

    Writing Physical Courtship: When Magic, Superpowers and Graces Level the

    Love, Independence, Partnership: The Evolution of Romance in Fantasy

    Tropes and Archetypes: Depictions We Love to Hate, and Some We Just Hate

    Writing Fantasy for Teens: Responsibility Required?

    Where Have All the Good Girls Gone?: Purity, Virginity and Equality in
    Fantasy Literature

    ---I'd like to see a discussion of heroines whose primary weapons are intangible - Meg in A Wrinkle in Time, for instance.

    ---What are the characteristics of a woman warrior? Are there some common across the board? Are there specific or particular ones that make some woman warriors stand out amongst others, make them more memorable?

    ---I've been thinking about the mage/warrior symbols encapsulated by the Sirens logo, specifically the implied stasis (studying or reading) versus action (if your sword's out, you're likely to take a swing). Are there stories that invert those tropes to good use?

    ---I've been tossing around an idea about "wish fulfillment," which is part of what fantasy does. One of my favorite books is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, where the girl gets a new, magical life, saves the world, and married the king. But, most importantly, she's DOING. Twilight seems more passive to me, but I haven't read it a couple hundred times like I have Blue Sword.

    [Note: You can get connected with these contributors in this post.]

    Finally, get connected with other presenters via the Sirens message boards! It can be easier to work as a team, particularly if this is your first time presenting.

    Coming up, we have one more how-to post on putting together a proposal for a paper. In the meantime. We also have a help chat set for Sunday, April 12 (more information). We hope that some of these inspire you to send in a proposal. Good luck!