Author Archives: Mrs. Penguin

Strong Female Characters


Ok, I’ll admit it. I own a small library disguised as a home.

(a small section)

And yes, if there is a theme in my shelves, it’s that I like to read books about strong female characters. I think I imprinted on Anne McCaffrey‘s writings at an early age. That said, I don’t think I really noticed this theme until I married and my husband commented on it. In a topic for another post, it’s only been in this last year or two that I’ve “discovered” feminism.

So, while I’ve been reading strong female characters for years, it didn’t occur to me that this was unusual.

Imagine then, my delight in finding these articles. 

Why I Write “Strong Female Characters” by Greg Rucka

Best Quote:

The Quick Answer goes like this:

Q: How do you write such strong/well-realized/positively portrayed women?

A: I don’t. I write characters. Some of those characters are women.

My Other Favorite Quote (from his Long Answer):

“Gender isn’t simply a biological trait; it’s a societal one. The female experience is different from that of the male, and if, as a male writer, you cannot accept that basic premise, then you will never, ever, be able to write women well. A man walking alone through Midtown Manhattan at three in the morning may have concerns for his safety, but I promise you, it’s a very different experience for a woman taking the same walk, and it’s different again for a man wearing a dress. Think about it. That’s a societal factor, and it’s a gendered one, and this is not and can not be subject to debate. If you’re looking to argue that sexism is a thing of the past, that the world is gender-blind, you’re not only wrong, you’re lying to yourself.”

 Then there’s a video with Joss Whedon discussing this issue:

Keep watching.  No really, watch all the way to the end.  Isn’t that last answer the best?!  😀

Enjoy the links!

Mrs. Penguin.


Open Letter to

Dear Folks,
I love you. You’re great people and your customer service is fabulous. I love your selection and prices.
That said, your latest newsletter made me choke on my coffee and almost swear never to do business with you again. What utter NONSENSE for you to play into the idea that colors and professions are gendered!!! No, I’m not kidding. It is absolutely absurd in this day and age for you to be doing this. Be careful that you don’t shoot yourself in the foot the way Legos did.
Here are some educational resources that you can have your marketing folks sit down and watch / read:
This should be required reading:
This is a take on the Lego issue in the news:
and this video should be required viewing:
Mind you, I’m aware that there are traditional quilters out there who are reinforcing the color stereotypes. They, however, can find whatever they’re looking for just by looking by color. WHY did you feel the need to write, “The Boy’s Club- No Girls Allowed” on one side, and “Girls Only” on the other side. Do you see how this implies that the girls may want to try and get into “Boy Space,” but that there’s no need to warn off the boys away from a lower status area? Also, your descriptions of what the kids should be interested in are quite insulting: “Make your little superheros happy with prints of sports, trains, and robots; and your little princesses happy with prints of fairies, mermaids, and tea parties.” Right, do you see how you’re labeling boys as active (superheroes) who like to do things with actual real-world objects, while you’re forcing girls into appearance-based roles (princesses) focused on mythological creatures and social occasions?
I am by no means the most articulate person when it comes to this. I tend to see red and rant to all of my friends. In this case, however, I’m giving you a chance to make things right, first. If you want to keep your gender stereotyped “clubs” for the older quilters, fine. But include a club for non-gender-specific children’s fabric. Help those of us who are younger and more modern find stuff that’s not nauseatingly stereotypical. You could call it, “Club Kid” or something like that.
Here are some fast suggestions for a CHILDREN’S section:
Ugh. And while we’re at it, let’s talk about stuff that shouldn’t be in ANY section marketed as being for kids:
Seriously? If you don’t understand why marketing adult lingere and alcoholic beverages to little girls is wrong, then there’s nothing more to be said. Just keep it in that section and you can mark me off of your list of customers.
Ahh yes, and I might mention that I’ll be publishing all of this to facebook and to various blogs. Fix this, my friends, and fix it quickly.
I await your response.
A Devoted, but Disgusted Nearly-Former Customer.