Sleeps With Monsters: Historical Representations of Women, Now With Visual Aids

My latest column is up at

St. Wilgefortis, the bearded lady, hanging out all crucified and smiling…

In the course of my perambulations, I came across several visually arresting pieces that have a bearing on the discussions we’ve had here on, about historically authentic sexism and cop-out arguments.

So this week, I thought I’d present some visual arguments for the historical validity of many ways of representing many different sorts of women, from Hellenistic Greece to seventeenth-century France.

Not my most brilliant work! But it has pictures. Including of a sculpture of naked female wrestlers from seventeenth-century France – a lovely bronze piece, realistically posed (relatively) with visible musculature.

While I’m linking to things, last night I listened to the latest Galactic Suburbia podcast and enjoyed it buckets – although I confess I dozed off in the middle, and woke up in time to hear about Ursula LeGuin’s The Telling at the end. This is what I get for listening to things at 0200 hrs.

Meanwhile, Kate Elliott is hosting a discussion about reviews at her livejournal and her wordpress blog.

And Tim Pratt is running a Kickstarter for his latest Marla Mason novel.

That’s not exactly all the news that’s fit to print, but it’s all I’ve time to share today…

Sleeps With Monsters: Where Are The Older Women?

So my latest Sleeps With Monsters column is up at Where Are The Older Women?

By “older,” I mean women whose concerns are those of motherhood, middle age, old age: women who believe in their own mortality, who wear the weight of their pasts as well as their responsibilities to the future, who have a place in the world: a place that may or may not be comfortable, or suitable, but worn in around the edges and theirs. By in science fiction and fantasy I mean acting as protagonists, or as mentors whose importance to the narrative is not sidelined or minimised by relentless focus on the youthful angst of less mature characters.

Unfortunately, some of the commenters appear to interpret “older” as “in their (maaaaybe late) thirties,” which was rather not what I was aiming for. It goes to show how very disappeared elder women are, in media and literature.