We’re just about two weeks from the launch of TheMarySue.com, an entertainment/news site for the the geeky girl, from the ones who love The Lord of the Rings but have never actually read the books, to the ones who want to know which movie stars are going to be at Comic Con, to those planning out their Minecraft cross stitch samplers. (Just me?)
We are planning a February 28th launch, so we’re not quite ready yet, but I wanted to share one part of it that we’re particularly proud of: our logo.
I knew, going into the site design on The Mary Sue, that it would be very, very important to get the look of the site right. (In fact, I believe my exact first words on the matter were “It can’t be pink.”) The first thing we tackled was, naturally, the logo. ”How about a generic girl geek? The every-geekwo-man!” Well, that sounded great until we sat down to try and decide how to depict a generic and obvious but inclusive girl geek without diving headfirst into stereotype. Do you give her glasses? A book? A certain air of social unease?
Harder than it sounds. Eventually we decided to tackle the problem from a completely different angle: have a bunch of different geek girls as our logos, each one inspired by the look of a different iconic and well loved female character. (The very talented Christianne Goudreau put them together for us.) Maybe a hero, maybe a villain, maybe just a character that was interesting or well rounded; but every one a character that a geek girl might think about when we need just a bit more psychic armor to get us through the day; and not just another Mary Sue or Affirmative Action Girl shoehorned into the plot.
Since the women have attributes that were just inspired by characters, they may not be immediately identifiable. So let me give you some hints. (Okay, maybe not hints so much as defining clues.)
1. A Wonder Woman look was a given, as the female superhero with perhaps the greatest mainstream recognition.
2. There were certain fandoms that we wanted to be sure to make a shout out to (okay, maybe there were just certain fandoms that we are really into), and Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of them. There are plenty of female characters to choose from in the series, but Katara’s braid and “hair loopies” are the most recognizable.
3. Like Airbender, Battlestar Galactica has no dearth of great women in it, but Starbuck wins out, particularly because she was originally a male character, and many fans thought that a cocky, boozing, promiscuous fighter pilot wouldn’t work as a woman. They were wrong.
4. Carmen Sandiego, the villain of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, for all of us who wanted to be a mysterious globetrotting thief.
5. Many of these characters were chosen because they could be represented by a few simple (subtle) distinguishing characteristics. Rei Ayanami, of Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of them.
6. Tank Girl, eponymous protagonist of Anglo-Australian post-apocalyptic psychedelic mutant kangaroo comics, was another inspiration.
7. We chose to include San, the titular character of Princess Mononoke, but we could have just as easily picked her adopted mother Moro, who bites off a rival’s arm after having her head cut off. Moro, however, is a wolf.
9. The Bride (a.k.a., Beatrix Kiddo, a.k.a. Black Mamba, a.k.a. the woman who wants to Kill Bill) is the answer to every movie studio that thinks that female characters can’t carry action movies.
10. We almost forgot to put Leela in here, because her role in Futurama is so rarely used to drive typical “feminine” sitcom plots that we kind of forgot she was female. Even though she’s the eternal object of affection for the main character, she’s also a completely rounded character with plenty of her own problems, character development, and really solid reasons for turning him down. Which is exactly why she should be on the list.
11. The game Portal is viewed from a first person camera, and so it takes a bit of finagling to get a look at yourself. But when you first figure out how to put two portals in a corner and use them as a highly expensive mirror, it reveals not the usual “Ageless, Faceless, Gender-Neutral, Culturally Ambiguous Adventure Person” that most video games default to, but an olive-skinned, understandably disheveled woman. In fact, pretty much every character in Portal is a woman, but, like Moro, GLaDOS isn’t exactly… human. Or humanoid. Or humane.
Like The Mary Sue will at launch, we’ve tried to cover the gamut, from video games and movies, comics and television, cartoons and live action, western and eastern animation, indie and mainstream, comedy and drama, sci-fi and fantasy. I’m certain there are geek women icons that we’ve failed to pay homage to and I can’t wait to expand our logo repertoire. Just you wait.