December 05, 2003
Truth in fiction

Eve Tushnet said something the other day that really resonated with me:

Anyone who is or feels herself radically opposed to the currents of the day is liable to feel that her own account of her life is "unrealistic." Her perspective is not realist. Her perspective is fantastic, outside, genre.

"Realism" only works for people whose worldviews are already accepted as realistic. The rest of us must make do with genre.

Last summer sometime, I found myself going to a matinee of the Tomb Raider movie. This was very strange, because I hadn't seen the first edition, had never played the game, and had no particular thought before then that I wanted to see the movie. But I enjoyed it.

Afterwards I talked to my mother about it, and it hit me: I've always gone for these "woman warrior in a supernatural adventure" stories. Whether it was Buffy, Xena, or when I was little, Wonder Woman (OK, that's not strictly supernatural, but close enough.) And I realized I like those stories because that's kind of how I see myself, even though someone looking at my life from the outside would see nothing of the sort. They express an internal reality that the material facts of my life don't. And they also express an idealized version, a dream of overcoming. (Not that I want to go kill people -- these are metaphysical enemies I'm talking about.)

Lara Croft isn't my favorite woman warrior, but since the other sources dried up, she did in a pinch.

Posted by Camassia at December 05, 2003 10:32 AM | TrackBack

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the connection between your dream of overcoming metaphysical enemies and your religious seeking.

Posted by: anne on December 5, 2003 01:33 PM

For similar reasons, my favorite was always Major Kira on the DS9 show--of course, the EARLY Kira, not the babe-ified version of the final couple years.

Posted by: Dash on December 5, 2003 07:01 PM

I go for "small, weak character in a supernatural adventure." It's one of the things I like about LoTR.

Although, on the other hand, Ripley in Alien is also cool.

Posted by: Lynn Gazis-Sax on December 6, 2003 01:38 PM
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