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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Do women love 'The Hobbit'? NYTimes says no
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News From Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Apr 15 2011, 11:40pm

Post #1 of 68 (3786 views)
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Do women love 'The Hobbit'? NYTimes says no Can't Post

Ginia Bellafante, in a review of HBO's "A Game of Thrones," that makes its television debut this weekend and stars LOTR's Sean Bean, insinuates that women, or at least women in book clubs, aren't passionate about "The Hobbit," the beloved book by J.R.R. Tolkien. With over 10 years of experiences with fans of Middle-earth, and the many women that are passionate about it, Ms. Bellafante might be missing something. She said:

While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.


Readers of the interwebs, especially the female portion, are a bit miffed at the writer and there are several good female-authored blogs and responses, (read after the break for a full list) but most are from the perspective of "Game of Thrones," readers. So, Tolkienites, do you agree or disagree with the above statement and the full review?
TheNerdybird.com
Geek with curves
Geekmom
Why men can't like "Game of Thrones"
Geek girl diva
Pajiba.com
Thinkhero.com




marillaraina
Rohan

Apr 16 2011, 7:15am

Post #2 of 68 (1668 views)
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She's doesn't know what she's talking about [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this woman doesn't know what she's talking about. She's done stuff like this before, she makes these grand assumptions about how all women feel about stuff or what they are doing. She wrote an article about Supernatural, that wasn't exactly negative but she seems to think that only guys and 15 year old girls watch it and condescended to it accordingly. The average age of people who watch the show is something like 34 years old and most of the fandom is made up of grown women.

Sure there are some women out there who watch nothing but romantic, soapy stuff like Grey's Anatomy but I've seen it time and again this assumption that "women don't like that stuff". Anyone remember Highlander the Series? For some reason they thought that show would attract men - they were apparently shocked to discover that most of the fandom and people who made a point to keep up with the show through it's many syndication time and channel changes were WOMEN.

I don't know how much clear it could be, I think fantasy, which is where Tolkien is or Martin is, attracts a lot of women, not more than men but certainly a sizeable number, and it's attracting more and more. I really don't think most girls nowadays think of this sort of fantasy as "boy stuff".


Maiarmike
Grey Havens


Apr 16 2011, 7:24am

Post #3 of 68 (1582 views)
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I've never really thought about it... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but I would guess this writer hasn't known many Tolkien fans in her day. There are plenty females who enjoy Martin and Tolkien, as we are all aware. This is actually one of the problems that I can see PJ having with the critics, The Hobbit is by nature, by and large a story dominated by male characters, and doesn't have any large female roles, at least not in the book. This could be a cause for concern for the studio, they might feel like they're taking a gamble on a film that comes from a story where there are no females of note. Will this affect the audience make-up? Will there will be swaths of female Tolkien fans coming to see the films? Of course we know there will be, but will the studio believe it? Will critics and Academy voters hold it against them that there won't be any major female roles, besides Cate Blanchett for however long she's in the film? This could be the genesis of where the possible inclusion of a non-canon female elf character comes from. But I suppose this topic could very easily be expanded to whether females in general are turned off by science fiction/fantasy in the first place, or just fantasy tales without female characters, but that argument could go on for days between both sides, even though I don't personally believe that.

"I'm just a happy camper! Rockin' and a-rollin!"

(This post was edited by Maiarmike on Apr 16 2011, 7:28am)


Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea


Apr 16 2011, 7:25am

Post #4 of 68 (1545 views)
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Great first post [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to TORn! I completely agree with you.

As I mentioned on Facebook's discussion, I really, really dislike stereotyping. This is the 21st century! Women should be able to enjoy video games and D&D, and men be allowed to enjoy soap operas without judgment of it not being "correct" for our gender.

My LiveJournal ~ My artwork and photography

NARF since age 8, when I refused to read the Hobbit because the cover looked boring and icky.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Apr 16 2011, 7:28am

Post #5 of 68 (1534 views)
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There's very little in common... [In reply to] Can't Post

..between The Hobbit and Martin's books. She clearly has never read The Hobbit, and is simply equating all "fantasy". I am actually confused by her review... she doesn't exactly say that women do or do not love The Hobbit, just that she thinks women don't love fantasy and therefore HBO had to "tweak" its series to appeal to them, which is patronizing and silly.

I'm reminded of all the reviewers who said no women would go to LotR, despite the obvious fact that half or more of the people in the seats at the theatres were female.

Reviewers love to say these lofty-sounding things, whether they bear close scrutiny or not.






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Apr 16 2011, 7:33am)


Welsh hero
Gondor


Apr 16 2011, 7:35am

Post #6 of 68 (1516 views)
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I'm pretty sure a lot of female fans of being human will go to watch it [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

Twitter: @IrfonPennant


LoremIpsum
Lorien


Apr 16 2011, 7:47am

Post #7 of 68 (1587 views)
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White Straight Male privilege [In reply to] Can't Post

it's wrong to assume females or any other non-white straight male groups will not enjoy a certain story because the main characters aren't much like them. It's what we do all the time because if I refused to see a movie where characters are different from me I wouldn't see a lot of movies in my life. It's the privileged group that will complain if you ask them to see something not aimed at them.


marillaraina
Rohan

Apr 16 2011, 8:18am

Post #8 of 68 (1516 views)
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Thanks for the welcome. :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I think there needs to be less of a stigma for men as well - they should be allowed to be open to full spectrum of choices available as well--whether it's a martial arts film or a romantic comedy. I came to the books a little late, I read them for the first time around 1997 but I loved them, even though most of the important characters are males. It didn't even occur to me that it should be an issue. Because the emotions and relationships were very "human" and whether male or female, we're all human(or you know elf or dwarf but you get the idea:D) and ought to be able to identify with them on that basis.

And to follow up Welsh hero and show my shallow side - I'd be going to see these movies even if I didn't know what Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner really looked like under their dwarf costumes! :) As it is it's just a nice bonus to look forward to when the movies are ready to premier and we'll get to see them do promotional things.


(This post was edited by marillaraina on Apr 16 2011, 8:19am)


Nesse
Lorien

Apr 16 2011, 9:56am

Post #9 of 68 (1445 views)
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not your usual stereotype [In reply to] Can't Post

Look at me I'm a 50 year old grandmother of two and I'm not your stereotypical female, I love LotR and other historical epics like Gladiator, Troy, Robin Hood I also like action movies, I never watch soap operas or chick fliks. I dont knit or go to bingo instead I play Lotro or Sims, Ive also played WoW, UO, and other games Im not knocking anyone who likes knitting etc Im just saying were not all like that. I was disappointed by the suggestion of a love interest in TH it just doesnt need it, I'm sure if you want to attract females to see the hobbit just put in some eye candy for the ladies like in LotR:)


Welsh hero
Gondor


Apr 16 2011, 10:11am

Post #10 of 68 (1451 views)
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This is sexism [In reply to] Can't Post

To put males and females in groups of their likes and dislikes is wrong!

Twitter: @IrfonPennant


Welsh hero
Gondor


Apr 16 2011, 10:24am

Post #11 of 68 (1450 views)
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I'm just joking [In reply to] Can't Post

but I know it will happen. People always go to see films with the actors they love

Twitter: @IrfonPennant


dormouse
Half-elven

Apr 16 2011, 10:50am

Post #12 of 68 (1429 views)
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She obviously doesn't have much imagination... [In reply to] Can't Post

.... and assumes that we're all like her. We're not - it's that simple.

The thing that baffled me about her review is how The Hobbit came to be mentioned at all. There's no obvious connection there except that Sean Bean is in Game of Thrones and was also in Lord of the Rings which was written by the same author as The Hobbit - to call that tenuous would be a kindness. Or that the authors both have two middle names beginning with 'R's. Between the books there's no connection at all (she implies, more or less, that The Hobbit was written by Martin. Maybe she thinks it was.) Fact is any reader, man or woman, might like The Hobbit and dislike The Song of Fire and Ice or the other way round, or any combination of same.


(psst - I am a woman and have never heard of Lorrie Moore. Oh - and I'm not in the habit of standing up in book clubs demanding anything. I just read what I like!!!)


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Apr 16 2011, 10:59am

Post #13 of 68 (1495 views)
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Thank you Ms. Bellafante for robbing me my individuality. [In reply to] Can't Post

As someone lacking the Y chromosome, I'm so glad to be seen as a faceless and nameless puppet straight out of the mass production line. Isn't that just what feminism is trying to achieve?

Yeah. I love fantasy, westerns, paleontology, the history of warfare and politics, ice hockey and comic books. Should I now hand out my female card?


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Apr 16 2011, 11:02am

Post #14 of 68 (1437 views)
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Well said! [In reply to] Can't Post

Though let's not prejudge anyone. Being white male doesn't stupify you. They too are capable of liking and understanding movies not targeted at them.


(This post was edited by Faenoriel on Apr 16 2011, 11:07am)


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Apr 16 2011, 11:11am

Post #15 of 68 (1455 views)
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My concern as well [In reply to] Can't Post

The movie must hit at least two of the four categories (younger male - younger female - older male - older female) and it's real concern wether the studios understand the Hobbit that has serious appeal for females as well. Believing otherwise might push them to do something..... stupid.... like a female warrior chick with a forbidden romance....


Dalurtid
Bree

Apr 16 2011, 12:21pm

Post #16 of 68 (1476 views)
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Priests and religion... [In reply to] Can't Post

Fantasy, sci fi = Religion

Religion is male dominated as well, all religious leaders are male all holy people in India are males mostly. There aren't many high seated religious women. If she is religious or a nun it's out of having being dominated or forced into that position by men.

I think women are more interesting in caring....raising children etc. It's in their genes after all to find man...mate and have children. Males protect and build homes in different location in the jungle.

I think males are genetically guided to be interested in the unknown, more so than most women. This is probably why men hold the higest positions within society and women don't.

Most great leaders are men....most scientists are men. Most great athors are men. She migh have a point in that there are more men interested in the lord of the rings universe....hardcore facinated....

Perfect proof is Alan Lee and Howard Shore....there are some fantasy artists that are women. BUT it's dominated by men...women are intersted in knitting more than the great questions and invented universes.

It's not this black and white though...there are shades of grey in between. Obiously there are many of these grey women on this forum...but I think this woman got a point.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Apr 16 2011, 12:34pm

Post #17 of 68 (1437 views)
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In a culture driven by marketing and acquisition [In reply to] Can't Post

gender is often used as a tool of manipulation. Social roles are no longer built on cultural traditions but have become marketable constructs used to extract wealth from the consumers. Consumers of all genders are trained from birth on the appropriate means of attaining purported self-actualization. Fundamental human needs are distorted by the media that in turn supplies designer solutions to these recreated needs. All of this is smoke and mirrors. The writer is only a pawn doing her bit for her bosses.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
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Ulmo
The Shire


Apr 16 2011, 1:27pm

Post #18 of 68 (1398 views)
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She is a joke [In reply to] Can't Post

Another sexist opinion from some "better than thou" female blogger. Using anecdotal evidence to base your statements only serves to make you look more a fool than you actually are miss. I could give more anecdotal evidence that most woman LOVE the Hobbit from all of the women I know who enjoy it, but I won't make that stretch.


squire
Valinor


Apr 16 2011, 1:36pm

Post #19 of 68 (1415 views)
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Knitting? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just asking.

I would guess it's a little more difficult than you make it out to be, to attribute women's positions in most human societies to the genetics of their sex rather than to the conventions of their roles as mothers in the context of traditional labor-based economies.

More specifically, you do agree that there are "grey areas" in this debate, as typified by the fact that this Fantasy-author forum has more female than male members. Since the article in question was addressing the nature of another Fantasy-author audience, why do you conclude that that writer in particular "has a point"? By your own terms, she seems to have far less of a point than she might have had she been discussing political or corporate leadership, or the hierarchy of a church.



squire online:
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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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dormouse
Half-elven

Apr 16 2011, 1:47pm

Post #20 of 68 (1402 views)
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Speaking as a grey woman! ;-) [In reply to] Can't Post

.... I do hope you don't mean this seriously Dalurtid


Quote
This is probably why men hold the higest positions within society and women don't. . . .

Most great leaders are men....most scientists are men. Most great athors are men. . . .

Perfect proof is Alan Lee and Howard Shore....there are some fantasy artists that are women. BUT it's dominated by men...women are intersted in knitting more than the great questions and invented universes.


... or at least, that you might in due course be prepared to rethink some of these ideas. Women have held the highest positions within society many times (have you ever heard of Queen Victoria, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great....? I could go on) Women scientists - does the name Marie Curie mean anything to you? Women authors - Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, A.S. Byatt, George Eliot - this list really is endless. Fact is, human beings, male and female, are infinitely varied in their interests, their potential and their achievements.

Oh - and Howard Shore isn't a fantasy artist! Wink


Flagg
Tol Eressea


Apr 16 2011, 2:35pm

Post #21 of 68 (1362 views)
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I think it's quite an uneven division [In reply to] Can't Post

For every great female leader, there are many great male ones the fact that every all Presidents of the United States have been male is a powerful illustration of this. As for female scientists Marie Curie is the only that's a household name. I'm sure there are many others but (as far as I am aware; I have not researched this) a large majority of scientists are men. Males and females are on much more even ground in the world of literature, however.

And I would say Howard Shore could arguably be considered a fantasy artist; music is widely considered an art form, and like John Howe and Alan Lee, Shore has created many pieces specifically to accompany works of fantasy.


Eowyn of Penns Woods
Valinor


Apr 16 2011, 2:59pm

Post #22 of 68 (1390 views)
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Clearly, some people still don't know [In reply to] Can't Post

that knitting isn't "just for grannies" anymore or about all the 'fandom knits' groups...much less the 'men who knit' ones.
Or maybe I just haven't been hanging out with the right knitters or with real women. ;)

**********************************


NARF
NABOUF
Not a TORns*b!
Certified Curmudgeon


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Apr 16 2011, 3:16pm

Post #23 of 68 (1360 views)
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I only learned to knit because of sci-fi // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

My LiveJournal
My Costuming Site
TORn's Costume Discussions Archive


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Apr 16 2011, 3:28pm

Post #24 of 68 (1339 views)
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Yes, because of society not genetics [In reply to] Can't Post

There are fewer great women leaders because until recently women were only allowed to inherit the role if there were no men to do the job. Fewer female scientists because they were told to stay at home where they wouldn't cause trouble. Even today women are taught that politics and the sciences are boy's clubs and they'll be too hard for women to break into. It has absolutely nothing to do with any innate or genetic difference between men and women.

My LiveJournal
My Costuming Site
TORn's Costume Discussions Archive


Tim
Tol Eressea


Apr 16 2011, 3:31pm

Post #25 of 68 (1333 views)
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Look at the big brain on Kangi! :-) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
gender is often used as a tool of manipulation. Social roles are no longer built on cultural traditions but have become marketable constructs used to extract wealth from the consumers. Consumers of all genders are trained from birth on the appropriate means of attaining purported self-actualization. Fundamental human needs are distorted by the media that in turn supplies designer solutions to these recreated needs. All of this is smoke and mirrors. The writer is only a pawn doing her bit for her bosses.


Tries to absorb this information - information pushes against *Star Wars trivia* segment of grey matter - *Star Wars trivia* wins. I fail. Sly

Mad Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?

Sly There are some who call me... Tim?

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