What Somehow Became A Rant About Feminism

So I have the house to myself for the first time I moved back into my parents' place in the lead-up to my shipping out. My brother is finally back at school and my parents are visiting my sister, and so I am celebrating by sitting at a real table as I write, which is possibly the most pathetic celebration ever.

I don't really care though, because I have (healthy) food I want to eat for my next couple of meals and am free to sit here in my pajamas and lounge without being judged. Which I'd forgotten was such a novelty after all those months house-sitting on a mattress in the basement of my parents' old place. 

We're THIRTY-TWO days from my ship date at this point, meaning that pretty soon I'll be bugging out on you guys for a couple months. Til mid-May, most likely. The way the next installment of the AJ 'Verse is going, I'll be lucky to get through the "McKay and Mrs Miller" rewrite I've been dying to get to, rather than "The Return," as I've wanted, but that's okay. I'll be back after, with luck. 

Sitting here, though, going through tumblr without fear of judgement from my parents' over-shoulder-peering, I've gotta tell you some of the comments I've been reading lately about misogyny in SPN have been making me rethink my own writing. It's kind of odd to think about, but I keep on worrying that there aren't enough strong women in my own stories now. Which is stupid, I know - every comment I've ever gotten, more or less, for The Guide Series (Twilight) has praised me for my BAMF!Leah; to say nothing of my gender-bent HP story. But now I'm really worried about my AJ 'Verse.

I mean, I get it. It's the nature of the genre. You write a gay romance, your two main characters are, naturally, men. But that doesn't mean that the women have to be one-sided. But, looking back over the series, I'm worried I've made that the case.

I know part of my problem with Teyla is, for all her BAMF-ness, she's never really been my favourite character personally, to say nothing of the fact I find her really hard to write. Sometimes I worry that I've shoehorned her too much into the "alien high priestess/spiritual adviser" category of things as a result.

And as for Elizabeth... well, too often I feel I've written her as little more than a foil to Iohannes - moral where he is bellicose, Earth-centric where he's concerned for Pegasus/Atlantis; naive to Pegasus where he is more aware of the dangers. And I know this doesn't have to make her one-sided, but, God, to I fear that's the case. I mean, I try... but arguments are easy. Other forms of character development are not. 

IDK. I really don't. I mean, I know I'm the only one who can change this, but it's hard. Not because I'm misogynistic - god, I hope not (I spent 15 min yesterday ranting to my dad and brother about that gang rape case that's on trial in India, and don't get me started here) - but because there is something essentially flat, I think, about these characters to begin with. Teyla IS a warrior-priestess and, once she becomes pregnant, a large part of her is defined by her status as a mother - perhaps more than is really necessary, even for the plot. Elizabeth IS a moral and civilian foil to John and Rodney, defined as well by her motherly, matriarchal status as Expedition head.

This isn't completely the case in th Stargate ranchise, of course. Samantha Carter is wonderfully developed in every sense of the term, though even she is defined in many ways by her love-interest status, is only on an episode-by-episode basis. (Remind me to rant later about the truth about fraternization and the military, as it relates to Sam/Jack.) Jeannie Miller is quite developed too, considering the few episodes she actually appears in. Then there's Janet Fraser, who is almost the reverse of Jeannie (more professionally-focused then personally, though she manages to balance the two).

But that's really it. I can't count Keller, because who the frak really knows what the writers were trying to do with her character, other than give her as much screen time as possible. I can't count Cadman, or any of "Team Amazon" from "Whispers." I can't even THINK of another major female character in SG1 (though it might come to me later). 

So, to close this rant, I'm not sure what to do, or suggest, to myself or the SPN people. On one hand, the obvious answer is to WRITE BETTER WOMEN, but, in my case, I'm still bound by what I have to work with, and, in theirs, the nature of SPN is that EVERYONE DIES, be they man, woman, or angel. But, on the other hand, people write what they can sell. Just tak The Avengers, Black Widow is a kickass character, but she was still asked in interviews how she fit into her costume/what she wore underneath it/the lack of romantic plot. People need to stop caring about these things (or, at least, only these things) for the writers to be willing to take their chances on strong women. 

But it's a vicious circle. We don't have as many strong female characters as we should because they don't sell, and they don't sell because people don't know they want them, because they've never seen them. Not outside of Joss Whedon's work anyway. Not really. 

::steps off soapbox::
I think you do very well, re: Teyla an Elizabeth. You do what you can with what you have to work with. Despite being the leader of the expedition, Elizabeth was never really more than Expedition Mom, there to give John and Rodney permission for whatever needs to be done. Teyla was always the warrior woman and spiritual/emotional adviser, able to coax John into haltingly explain his feelings or encourage Rodney. And then when Teyla became pregnant, it became all about Michael and what he wanted to use her for.

Besides, as you said, you're writing a gay romance. Although I wouldn't mind reading more about Teyla and such, I'm really here for John and Rodney. (And the plot, it's interesting to see where you're going with this.)

I doubt you'll be saying that if you knew how I plan to end this season.

As you can tell, though, I've been feeling very insecure about my writing today. I mean, I recongize I'm bound by the nature of the characters, but you'd think I'd be able to flush them out a little bit more than I have. Elizabeth especially (I've gotten a better handle on Teyla lately, I think). I feel I've been neglecting her. Even if she is the Expedition Mom.

I try to focus as much on John and Rodney as the plot can handle, obviously (though I had fun with the Lorne/Zelenka, I'll admit, and keep trying ot think of a new secondary ship I can insert into this season, though I don't have one in mind yet), as I'm not particularly a fan of those fics that start obessing about other characters when it's supposed to be about them, but... IDK. It still worries me.

That, and I went to an all-girls HS remember. The need to be ultra-feminist had been drilled into my head and happens to be spilling out now.
I have no doubt I'll be cursing you when I read the season finale XD

The nature of the characters and the plot don't leave much room for exploration of the characters, though - at least, not much, and not for characters like Teyla and Elizabeth. If you write a little drabble about them, I could see, but in the main plot line there is just so much going on, events that surround John and have a huge personal impact on Rodney, it makes it more difficult to focus on Elizabeth and Teyla...

You do well focusing on John and Rodney (and I've very much enjoyed your Lorne/Zelenka, and I look forward to see what secondary ship you're going to introduce). I suppose you could start a sort of mini-series within the series? And in the secondary series - the "Minors verse", for minor characters, or whatever - you could focus on events and how Elizabeth, Teyla, and others see/experience/are effected by them. Or write about what's going on in their lives...just a series of drabbles or something?
maybe - but the problem is that I'm not really compelled to write much about either of them, which i supposed is the whole source of the problem. but if I ever am, that would be an excellent way to do it.

as for the secondary pariing to work towards this season... well, Teyla/Kanaan is the only one that works I suppose, but that has the same problem as above. And all the others I might be interested in using haven't come to Atlantis yet. Though that may chance - the Lorne/Zelenka was very much unplanned, at first.

but you're right. about all of it. It's just... makes me sad.