Although it’s often ridiculed as nerdy and those who are into it are often written off, fan fiction makes some serious progress when it comes to empowerment of marginalized people.
It allows us to call out problematic media elements of the texts we love and subvert those narratives – leaving space to reclaim the stories and characters we treasure and make them into something even better.
Now, fan fiction isn’t necessarily inherently a political act – there are plenty of entries into the genre that are problematic in many of the same ways traditional media is (or more so – Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?).
But it does also allow for some seriously wonderful exploration of feminist ideals like equality and empowerment, as well as representation in media depictions and voices. ...
1. It Helps Young Women Explore Identities and Create Communities ...
2. It Allows Us to Interrogate Texts ...
3. It Centers Diversity ...
4. It Provides a Space for Perspectives That Are Ignored by the Media ...
Fan fiction is a genre that literally anybody can create and distribute. Within fan fiction, there are infinite opportunities for marginalized people to express themselves, share their own experiences, and create a sense of community.
I feel like Agent Carter's writers have been hanging on Tumblr or something because the last couple of episodes have had a fair number of POC in tiny one-off roles, and YET.
Anyhow, a lovely minor plot point this week was Angie's performance of a speech from Ibsen's A Doll's House, which has that lovely 1-2 of tying into Dollhouse the show with regards to how women are literally programmed (via the Leviathan/Red Room plot) and erased.
All the same, because of its issues and limitations, I'm still going to call it White Feminism: The Show. Which is frustrating because I do like the recurrent themes of physical and social "disability" and erasure, plus the writing is tight and the actors are great.
GRR ARGH CULTURE.
Let’s talk about Lilith, okay.
Let’s talk about how she knew from the start that she was worthy, was great, was equal to anything this new universe could throw at her, and most especially equal to Adam. Let’s talk about the way she wouldn’t compromise herself or her sexuality, wouldn’t take part in sex acts she didn’t like no matter the pressure. Let’s talk about how rather than submit she ran as fast and far as her feet could carry her, and somewhere along the way she stole the name of God like Prometheus stealing fire, the greatest secret in the universe and the biggest cheat code for reality. Let’s talk about how, when God sent angels to drag her back to Adam, she laughed in their faces and used the Name to give them the finger, to banish them from her presence. They couldn’t lay a hand on her.
Let’s talk about how she chose the greatest angel of them all for her consort—not husband, but freaking consort, and no, I’m not talking about Lucifer with his gilded wings and whiny bitchface. Lilith wasn’t interested in a baby throwing a tantrum. No, she picked Sammael, not the most beautiful but the most powerful angel of them all, the angel of Death and justice, who never Fell because God needed him too much to call him on all the shit he pulled. Let’s talk about how the most dangerous, terrifying angel in all the heavenly host fell to his knees for the first woman, loved her and adored her because he saw what she was and could not look away.
Let’s talk about how their children were monstrous but Lilith loved them anyway. Let’s talk about how she refused to abandon them or destroy them, let’s talk about how she gave each and every one its own name, and when they needed a home she had Sammael carve Hell out of the earth for her, for them, so they would always have a safe place away from God and Adam.
Let’s talk about how she heard about Eve—her replacement, her rival—and instead of being jealous sent Sammael to warn her. Let’s talk about how Lilith used her consort to send Eve the apple, to give her knowledge and self-awareness because she wanted Eve to have the same freedom Lilith had found. You don’t have to be a slave, all you are is yours.
It didn’t work, but she tried.
Let’s talk about how Lilith has been used as a warning for thousands of years, the first and best Bad Girl. Be good be quiet obey or you’ll end up just like that. Let’s talk about this woman who refused to bow her head, who told the world to fuck off and snatched immortality from between the bars of her cage, made herself more than human with nothing more than will and fire. Let’s talk about a woman who took an angel for a consort without ever giving up her sovereignty over herself, who cherished her children when others called them evil. Who built her own kingdom when Earth and Heaven didn’t want her, and rules it as an Empress.
You say I’ll end up just like her? That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.
The routine, the arguments, have become far too familiar. A woman or a handful of women are selected for destruction; our ‘credibility’ and ‘professionalism’ are attacked in the same breath as we are called ugly, slut-shamed for dismissed either as stupid little girls or bitter old women or, in some cases, both. The medium is modern, but the logic is Victorian, and make no mistake, the problem is not what we do and say and build and create.
The problem is that women are doing it. That’s why the naked selfies, the slut-shaming, is not just incidental to the argument – it is the argument. Underneath it all, you’re just a woman, just a body. You can be reduced to flesh. You are less. You are an object. You are other. LOL, boobs.
The problem is that women are creating culture, changing culture, redefining culture, and those cunts, those poisonous cunts, those disgusting, uppity cunts must be stopped.
They can’t understand why their arguments aren’t working. They can’t understand why game designers, industry leaders, writers, public figures are lining up to disown their ideas and pledge to do better by women and girls in the future. They can’t understand why, just for example, when my friend, the games critic and consultant Leigh Alexander, was abused and ‘called out’ as an unprofessional slut, a lying cunt, morally and personally corrupt, just for speaking truthfully and beautifully about all of this, it was Alexander who was invited to write her first piece for Time magazine, Alexander who got to define the agenda for the mainstream, who received praise and recognition, whilst her abusers’ words will be lost in a howling vortex of comment threads and subreddits and, eventually, forgotten.
This is a culture war. The right side is winning, at great cost. At great personal costs to people like Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and even Jennifer Lawrence, and countless others who are on the frontlines of creating new worlds for women, for girls, for everyone who believes that stories matter and there are too many still untold. We are winning. We are winning because we are more resourceful, more compassionate, more culturally aware. We’re winning because we know what it’s like to fight through adversity, through shame and pain and constant reminders of our own worthlessness, and come up punching. We know we’re winning because the terrified rage of a million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists is thick as nerve gas in the air right now.
I soon realized that calling me a "public figure" had nothing to do with describing my impact on the industry or recognizing my achievements within it. Rather, the term "public figure" is solely ascribed to me as part of justifying abuse, harassment, humiliation, boundary violations and invasion of my privacy by anyone -- from journalists to anonymous trolls to professional peers. When I protest journalists using bullying and dishonest tactics to exploit my life and relationships for page views, I'm a "public figure" and thus not allowed any privacy or boundaries, or to defend myself in any way. When my experiences and words are twisted, taken out of context and used against me as attacks; when months of my tweets are dug through to find a scrap of something to attack me with: "well you live your life in public!"
Ironically, people who actively stalk me, industry professionals and members of the media engage in the exact same rhetorical tactics of appealing to my "public figure"-ness to justify their acts. The constant gendered harassment, stalking and boundary violation I receive is considered by many to be the natural exhaust of my visibility. There's the assumption that the visibility itself is beneficial enough to me to merit the tradeoff of daily abuse, that I "should have known" it would be like that this, or that I have brought it upon myself by being a "drama queen," "attention whore," or by writing things that are widely read in the industry (which for white cishet men is termed "having ambition" and "being successful").
I also picked up Dowd & Eckerle's Genre and Women's Life Writing in Early Modern England at the library yesterday and have been making my way through it; it's a collection of essays focused on EME women's life writings (including diaries, letters, autobiographies, poems, religious treatises, cookbooks, etc.) and their presentations of "self" in them.
Traditionally when you talk about Early Modern women's writing, you talk about what's known as "the stigma of print", which is not just fears of public visibility but specifically *uncontrolled* public visibility (printing regulations had some controls and copyright and whatnot, but let's face it, media piracy goes a long way back; plus, manuscript circulation gave at least the feel of control because you could usually at least trace how someone came by something--a little bit like Tumblr or Facebook if you will) where there is control neither of how the text is presented but of how you yourself are presented. Print and manuscript circulation had the attendant implications of public/private discourse, though with a rather different impact: by sharing something through mss, though "unpublished" it was still available for consumption. Anyways, long story short, for these reasons Early Modern women have been identified with a specific textual production and consumption model for a bit.
Now, I think that we can talk about the analogs in likening manuscript transmission with social media: the ability to access text and how it is perceived. For instance, those warnings to beware of what you post online in case your employer sees it, etc. etc. Published yet unpublished, consumable and consumed. (I also think it's telling that the MLA guidebooks have FINALLY gotten around for developing citation formats for blogs, tweets, etc.) And I also think that while a fair bit of ink (or electrons) has been consumed talking about social violence in social media, we still have far the fuck to go. I'm lucky in that I'm a small-time blogger and scholar; I've never gotten rape threats etc. from dudez because I have the temerity to post my thoughts on books and comics, etc. But it happens enough to others that we have more or less accepted as a horrifying social norm. And because it IS a social norm there's all these other behaviors that society tries to encode into women writers: "be nice" and "don't be mean" etc. to the men who deign to recognize your work, even if "recognizing" means they are trolling your feed/blog/etc. It comes out of how we are taught "to behave" in everyday life and then feeds back into how we produce our writing.
It's fucked up, man!
I do not understand the good reviews Edge of Tomorrow is getting, I'm going to say that straight up front. It is tedious, trite, goes on for ages, and does nothing whatsoever interesting. No, I take it back, I liked the mecha suits: they are proof we could have an excellent Starship Troopers film if anyone ever cares to make it.
Seriously though, it is the male fantasy/fairy tale: Weeny man Tom Cruise develops masculinity through War, gains affirmation in the eyes of others, and gets rewarded with a hot girlfriend. Emily Blunt's Rita is that classic Strong Female Character in the sense that her awesomeness is there for a male reward, and it is transparent that's what she's there for in each scene in which the characters go "OMG she's with him?!" It was exhausting and nauseating, and while I don't typically hate Tom Cruise, I did want to beat him to death with a spoon after this movie.
[Has anyone on my f-list read All You Need is Kill, the Japanese book on which the film is based? I'm curious if it is better or worse, esp. with regards to sex roles.]
In contrast, Maleficent: OH MY GODS YES. This is a film I can't wait to watch with my yet unconceived daughters and any other small girl younglings. It's fun both as a transformative work--every line and beat from the original is there, flipped and changed--and as a visually nuanced film. Someone mentioned that the fairies were surely inspired by Brian Froud--yes, yes, yes! (Also, memo Disney: I would ABSOLUTELY pay to see a film of Froud's Faeries, I'm just saying.) I also love how Maleficent herself is visually coded as both devil (horns) and angel (wings); it really speaks to patriarchal Christian revisionism/co-option of goddess figures from other cultures.
Slight tangent here: I adore the modern use of fairy tale "retellings." Fairy tales themselves are a genre whose roots are specifically found in the political and proto-feminist writings of women in 17th/18th c. France and Europe. As happens, the fairy tale gained respectability when male writers--including the best known of them, Charles Perrault--began publishing fairy tales that removed and repurposed the material of the women writers. (If it sounds like what's going on with contemporary YA, YOU ARE SO RIGHT.) Fairy tales became codified by the Grimm brothers in the 19th c., who did some retooling so that the girls and princesses all became passive, the mother figures all became evil, etc. etc. Make no mistake: this was patriarchal social violence to specifically women's writing, and that's what we've been stuck with, up to and including Disney's oeuvre of the 20th c.
This is why Maleficent becomes doubly interesting, because it's a transformative text that takes on and criticizes it's original: there is a dialogue with Disney's Sleeping Beauty not just in the storytelling and visuals but within the writing itself: "This is not the story you were told" etc. etc. This is about how history transforms narratives and *especially* women's narratives with a patriarchal agenda.
Within the story itself, just, here, have bullet points:
*The symbology of feminine Nature and masculine City/Civilization. Very Margaret Mead, but even so, it absolutely works, especially in the context of "developing patriarchy.
*The symbolic rape of Maleficent: She refuses to be broken, and she maintains her power. Likewise at the end when her wings are restored. Just: I love that we have this developing cinematic language of victims reclaiming their power, when we have this insistent history in cinematic and other textual narratives that this can't happen, better off dead, etc. etc.
*Women's power is shared power. Women's relationships are about mentoring and respect. (In specific contrast to the "pixies" that have total buy-in into the patriarchy, who view women's relationships as antagonistic, etc. etc.)
*True love is the relationships of family/found family.
*The prince: TOTALLY not into dubcon. He probably saw the "1 is too many" ads and was all "I would like to use my privilege to not buy into this destructive system, thanks."
*Diaval: I love how his relationship with Maleficent develops and how he is very much the anti-Stefan. Not only is he not threatened by Maleficent's power, but that lack of fear is what makes him her friend. I love how there's the ongoing joke of he doesn't like being transformed into this or that, but when she transforms him into a dragon, not only does he use his serious newfound strength to save her (note: he doesn't have to do this, and in any other narrative where we'd have a subservient male he would be filled with hate and not try to protect her), but I think she kind of realizes his friendship and love for her, because you notice at the end his clothing has transformed into a total echo of hers: a sort of royal garment that covers him completely (versus the sort of open shirt "you're pretty" outfit he has worn the rest of the film) with a feathered shoulder-garment that looks a lot like hers. I also love how they are flying together at the end, and that she is allowing and sharing her joy of freedom with him. The more I think about it, the more I think of him as a sort of counterpart to Pacific Rim's Raleigh Beckett: he is a male nurturer--he feeds baby Aurora, he always thinks protectively/defensively rather than offensively, and most tellingly, particularly after her rape, he is a male that Maleficent actually *does* trust. His power comes from accepting strong women, not fighting them.
*I love how Aurora is coded as beautiful not just because of her physical beauty but because of her openness and love for the world. This is a baby that goes up to a woman clothed in black with horns who reeks of "OH MY GOD WHAT DO" and is like "YOU'RE SO PRETTY I LIKE YOUR FEATHERS HI!" I love how she eagerly identifies Maleficent as her fairy godmother does not come off as naive and stupid--which it could have easily done--and instead comes off as a young woman who has paid attention her whole life and knows who genuinely does love her. (Which also makes her underplayed heartbreak at her father's coldness so sad, too.) I like how Maleficent confers the crown on her at the end, because again, shared power of women, women's community and continuity, etc.
In short, IT WAS A REALLY GOOD MOVIE AND I LIKED IT A LOT.
But the real reason I had to chime in was that Steve Rogers is my favorite superhero. Why? Because unlike other patriotism-themed characters, Steve Rogers doesn’t represent a genericized America but rather a very specific time and place – 1930’s New York City. We know he was born July 4, 1920 (not kidding about the 4th of July) to a working-class family of Irish Catholic immigrants who lived in New York’s Lower East Side. This biographical detail has political meaning: given the era he was born in and his class and religious/ethnic background, there is no way in hell Steve Rogers didn’t grow up as a Democrat, and a New Deal Democrat at that, complete with a picture of FDR on the wall.
Steve Rogers grew up poor in the Great Depression, the son of a single mother who insisted he stayed in school despite the trend of the time (his father died when he was a child; in some versions, his father is a brave WWI veteran, in others an alcoholic, either or both of which would be appropriate given what happened to WWI veterans in the Great Depression) and then orphaned in his late teens when his mother died of TB. And he came of age in New York City at a time when the New Deal was in full swing, Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor, the American Labor Party was a major force in city politics, labor unions were on the move, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was organizing to fight fascism in Spain in the name of the Popular Front, and a militant anti-racist movement was growing that equated segregation at home with Nazism abroad that will eventually feed into the “Double V” campaign.
Then he became a fine arts student. To be an artist in New York City in the 1930s was to be surrounded by the “Cultural Front.” We’re talking the WPA Arts and Theater Projects, Diego Rivera painting socialist murals in Rockefeller Center, Orson Welles turning Julius Caesar into an anti-fascist play and running an all-black Macbeth and “The Cradle Will Rock,” Paul Robeson was a major star, and so on. You couldn’t really be an artist and have escaped left-wing politics. And if a poor kid like Steve Rogers was going to college as a fine arts student, odds are very good that he was going to the City College of New York at a time when an 80% Jewish student body is organizing student trade unions, anti-fascist rallies, and the “New York Intellectuals” were busily debating Trotskyism vs. Stalinism vs. Norman Thomas Socialism vs. the New Deal in the dining halls and study carrels.
And this Steve Rogers, who’s been exposed to all of what New York City has to offer, becomes an explicit anti-fascist. In the fall of 1940, over a year before Pearl Harbor, he first volunteers to join the army to fight the Nazis specifically. This isn’t an apolitical patriotism forged out of a sense that the U.S has been attacked; rather, Steve Rogers had come to believe that Nazism posed an existential threat to the America he believed in. New Deal America.
I was particularly struck by this quote:
However, even in these versions, some of the political edge of the character is left out. Joe Johnson’s Captain America spends a lot of time punching Hitlers for the USO, but not so much hunting down corporate tax evaders or the German-American Bund, because that might raise uncomfortable questions. Likewise, when it came time to bring Steve Rogers into the Avengers, Joss Whedon describes that “One of the best scenes that I wrote [for the Avengers] was the beautiful and poignant scene between Steve and Peggy [Carter] that takes place in the present,” in which Captain America “talks about the loss of the social safety net that existed in his time, including the need for affordable healthcare for everyone.” It’s good to know that Joss Whedon was thinking about “a sense of loss about what’s happening in our culture, loss of the idea of community, loss of health care and welfare and all sorts of things,” but it really is a shame that the element of Steve Rogers that most challenges modern America with the question of whether we’ve lived up to the ideals of the “Greatest Generation” was left on the cutting room floor.
Every review of Black Widow in 'Captain America' is wrong
In the Independent, Black Widow is a “sultry femme fatale,” although the Telegraph gives her the inaccurate but far more positive rating of “the most (the first?) complex female role in the Avengers franchise to date.” Apparently he failed to notice Pepper Potts (40-year-old tech company CEO), the four central female characters of the Thor movies, Peggy Carter (World War II intelligence agent), Maria Hill (deputy director of an international spy agency), and half the main cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
If you feel like playing film critic misogyny bingo when America’s first round of Winter Soldier reviews are published this week, I recommend looking out for the phrases “leather-clad” and “ass-kicker.” These are an easy way to weed out any reviewers who weren’t paying attention to the movie, because neither phrase describes Black Widow’s actual role.
There really needs to be some more commentary on the Falcon out there. I've watched several of Mackie's interviews where he is thoughtful and adorable (I could roll around in all the feels from that interview where he discomfits Bill O'Reilly just by BEING HIS UNAPOLOGETICALLY ADORABLE SELF) but there's no real analysis I've found yet on Falcon's role as the first African-American superhero, what it *means* when you have two heroes IN THE 70S AND ONWARDS having a regular book where they talk about progressive politics and idealism in America, just, gah, NEED ORE!
So this is a really interesting speech and I love that it's about *words.* And Joss supplies "genderist" as an analog to "racist" to contextualize, to acknowledge this whole history up until "we realized it was wrong"--and, here's the thing, HISTORY ISN'T LIKE THAT.
Lemme back up a sec.
The more and more reading I do the more I realize that history is utterly constructed. (This is me saying the obvious. Imma gonna do that a lot.) Twentieth century narratives were constructed in reaction to the nineteenth century (look how much we've improved!) which were constructed in reaction to the eighteenth century (REVOLUTIONDEATHANARCHYSEXOHMYGOD) which was constructed in reaction to the seventeenth century (....REVOLUTIONDEATHANARCHYSEXOHMYGOD!!!!!), etc. etc. But within each and everyone of those centuries you also have women who are fighting the status quo and there are men championing them too and then you have something like a dam opening up and then teabaggers making more laws. It's basically like BSG on repeat, constantly.
And right now, I know so many good guys who are feminists and who are smart, and who also total enable the problem. (Seriously, the older I get the more I totally think that separating the sexes is just the best off for sanity.) And they don't see themselves as enabling the problem at all. (I'm not sure if Joss is one or not. That'll require more time and reflection than I have today.)
Anyways, I wanted to think and rant. There you go.
Please, please stop trying to write stories in which dystopian worlds are best articulated through who owns the female body. We realize that as bearers of penises, the thought of one's body not belonging to you is exotic and more than a little bit creepy, but to FIFTY PERCENT of the POPULATION of the fucking GLOBE, it's a brutal fact of life that is a very real struggle.
You realize the shit you write about is real, yes? That women are raped every day? That in an "enlightened" (ie "Western") culture, we are "only" held up to impossible standards of beauty, BMI indexing, expectations of dress and hygiene, social mores, and that AT ANY FUCKING TIME AT ALL, a man can decide that we don't meet them and then write about it on the internet or on newsprint or talk about it on the air, or physically accost us (and again, thanks to rape culture, it will ALWAYS be our fault), or hell, go into the fucking gym and shoot us. This doesn't even touch on issues of obtaining birth control, rape kits, health care,etc ad nauseam.
And everytime you say what you're doing is a "critique", even as your main characters are flawlessly sexualized or appear to have minimal problems dealing with their horrible pasts, I really just want to throttle you.
(And yes, Mr Itoh, I know you died of cancer two years ago. YOU ARE NOT EXCUSED.)
So, in short: Dudez? Go fuck yourselves.
(Speaking of: Y'know how she directed Twilight? She recast Billy Burke, who plays Charlie in that franchise, as Cesaire, Valerie's father, in this film. YOU CAN MAKE A WHOLE 'NOTHER PAPER ON BURKE'S SPINS ON FATHERHOOD, PEOPLE.)
Most of all the film reminded me of the original Wicker Man, one of my favorite films of all time, from its sense of impending horror and suggested violence--and really, all the blood in it is not that bad, except it seems so much worse the way it's shot--to its dance of Christianity versus paganism and its hypersexuality.
Gary Oldman and Julie Christie were restrained and did not overshadow the performances of the younger characters. I don't understand why Amanda Seyfriend is in everything recently (I told my friend Candy that she reminds me of Skipper, Barbie's little sister) but let's give the girl some credit--he held her own in her scenes with Julie. Fuck yeah.
The weakest part of the story was the characterization of the boys. I'm never quite clear why we're supposed to root for Peter, aside from the fact he looks really good in tight black leather. I was also really distracted by Max Irons's Henry, as I just kept thinking THIS IS PEETA, THIS IS PEETA! for when they make The Hunger Games film. Seriously, people working on that movie? HIRE THAT BOY.
Okay, I'm gonna go conk out now. But go see this movie after you see The Adjustment Bureau. Or before. Just promise me you'll see both of them, 'kay?
Almost as soon as anyone (mostly women, for obvious reasons) started noticing or asking how the world’s religions viewed their female adherents, women—and I would assume some men—either had to face it or not, make excuses or not, question their faith or not. During the 1970s, feminists called attention to any number of ancient fertility-mother cults. But though pre-Christian cultures had goddesses, and priestesses in their temples, Greek and Roman myths are essentially crime blotters recording rapes, near rapes, and metamorphoses into animals or plants to avoid or atone for being raped. There is no word for heroine in Homeric Greek.
More ruminations later.
She inculcates all her YA lit with feminism! Like the sparkles on the tiara Princess Mia wore in the Princess Diaries, Allie's fun rules and Em's sudden plunge into the world of high fashion are just the bait to draw readers to the real message behind my bookswhich is the same message I was taught growing up, and the message I feel is so important to today's generation, because it seems to be getting lost in a world where so few girls self-identify as a feminist:
Everyone has value as an individual. Let's celebrate our individuality, but at the same time, learn to tolerate one another's special uniqueness. And let's ensure that all children, girls as well as boys, have the same opportunities. We're all equal. By believing in ourselves, we can accomplish anything.MEGA-HEART.
Recently, in large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said:
¨THIS SUMMER DO YOU WANT TO BE A MERMAID OR A WHALE?¨
Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex?
Just look at them.....where is IT ? Therefore, they don’t have kids either.. Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?
The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a whale.
Women in modern society are pretty much programmed too: wear uncomfortable clothing to be found attractive; if you do not conform you will be sent away (I remember reading about a high school girl who didn't wear a bra to class and was sent home) and/or punished. In your professional career, to succeed is to be "like a man;" if you fail it's because you're a woman and too soft/emotional/bitchy. If you get your way, and you're a man, you're strong and know what you want, a go-getter; if you're a woman, you're a bitch. If you manage to succeed professionally and also to have a home life, you have the "second job" at home of primary care-giver to children and maker of meals. If you don't, you are selfish and a careerist.
Echo is trying to find out who she is.
What would a woman be without society's handicaps?
Elizabeth walks about with a pinched face because she's a monarch and can't get any. She's in a romantic triangle with her favorite lady-in-waiting and Sir Raleigh. She whimpers and whines when she has to kill Mary.
Y'know what the Real Elizabeth (TM) did? Had a portrait painted of the bitch's head on a pillow and kept it around, that's what she did. (It's still in the Tower. It's pretty creepifying.)
The destruction of the Spanish Armada is at best an afterthought. An expensive afterthought that would have been cooler if we hadn't already had cool ship battles in Master and Commander four years ago. I'm glad the pretty white horsie makes it out of there, though. (Symbolism? Hell if I know.)
The Inquisition huffs and puffs about. They might be plotting or they might have really bad indigestion, it's hard to say. The Spaniards come off as rather hysterical, and since they are always in black, rather like goth clubbers who got kicked out for being too annoying. You can't ever feel remotely worried about them, let alone horrified at the Inquisition. Frankly, everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition and are only worried about the actual mathematics of defeating them. (There's a lot of math talk in this one, especially when advisors pass around notes in study hall, I mean reports.)
Mostly I wonder why the hell popular culture is so intent on dumbing down kickass women. The Cleopatra of Rome was, shall we say, squirrelly at best. The Boudicca of the titular BBC film was also on the weak and whiny side, and for gods' sakes, she was the one who crucified whole Roman settlements! If I was in a very argumentative mood, I would note down some Hillary dissections, but as it is I'm just too cranky right now.