Contains general discussion of the premise, but no other spoilers.

Dollhouse is the new Joss Whedon thing (you know, Buffy, Firefly: that Joss Whedon). It stars, and is produced by, Eliza Dushku, who played Faith in Buffy. Dushku plays Echo, one of the “dolls” in the Dollhouse. The dolls are reprogrammable people: their personalities are wiped and replaced with whatever the clients of the Dollhouse ask for. The Dollhouse isn’t just a brothel, although it’s part of what it does.

When the first episode appeared, there was a lot of debate on here on LJ, with posts heavily laden with feminist theoretic jargon about agency, the male gaze and so on. It’s easy to see why the feminists objected: the idea of being able to program Eliza Dushku to do whatever I want certainly causes some triggering in my safe space, let me tell you.

Still, a more telling criticism was that it wasn’t really that good. In his other work, Whedon does witty dialogue to keep us amused while the story draws us into the relationships between the ensemble cast, and there’s always a story arc which rewards watching the series in order rather than as individual episodes. This sort of thing was initially absent from Dollhouse. The first few episodes of Dollhouse are pretty much Quantum Leap (which must count as one of the neatest tricks you can do with episodic SF) without the fun bits.

Things have been looking up for the last couple of episodes, so perhaps we can forgive the early stuff as really laboured scene setting. It looks like there is an arc, we’re finding out more about the characters’ pasts so we care about them more, and the last one was funny. Worth a look, I’d say.

Inasmuch as there’s an atheist movement (Dawkins for Pope!), it seems pretty male dominated, both online and off. So, what about the atheist women? They’re out there, and this is a post to link to some of them.

  • Greta Christina is gay and atheist, and draws some parallels between the two. Atheism seems to be a lot harder in the USA than it is here. Greta writes about how to be an ally to atheists in the same way that you might speak of being an ally to any other disadvantaged class of people.

  • Mathurine (not her real name, for obvious reasons) is an ex-Muslim woman. She wrote a three guest posts over at Tree Dreamer: one the hijab, another on making atheist communities friendly to ex-Muslims, and another answering atheists’ questions on Islam.

  • Lily originally blogged at Leaving Eden, writing about her experiences as a closet atheist at Wheaton College, a Christian college in the USA. Since graduating, she’s been blogging as Peaceful Atheist (I’ve mentioned her before in my posting on doubt). There’s an article over there specifically on women in atheism.

  • No Longer Quivering is the blog of two women who were once part of the Quiverfull movement. As Salon explains in an article about them, that means that as well as accepting the standard evangelical stuff on male leadership, they also rejected birth control and sought to have as many kids as possible. They got out, and are blogging about how they feel about it.

    I traditionally googlebomb the word complementarian with a link to Houseplants of Gor. Of course, there are differences between the Gor series and the Bible: one is a historically-based fantasy which, although some people have found it rich enough to base their lives on, undoubtedly advocates a patriarchy based on the “natural roles” of men and women; and the other is a set of books by John Norman.

  • Deborah Drapper isn’t an atheist. She’s the Christian girl who was the subject of Deborah 13: Servant of God, a BBC documentary about her and her family (the link goes to a post on the Dawkins site where you can watch it on Youtube). She’s something unusual in this country: she’s part of a large family (there are hints that they subscribe to the Quiverfull idea) and home-schooled. I was reminded of her after No Longer Quivering because of the point in the documentary where she explains that she belongs to her father until she marries someone.

    Deborah comes across as bright, articulate and a firm believer in evangelical Christianity. Her blog has been inundated after the screening of the documentary, but I hope she’ll continue to write. Her father also has a blog where you can find out about how the EU is part of the coming world government of the Antichrist, and that the King James Version of the Bible was inspired by God.

There’s a new LiveJournal meme doing the rounds, where you make a post about what you think of theferrett‘s Open Source Boob Project. All the cool kids are doing it, so I thought I’d join in. Here’s a compendium of comments I’ve been making elsewhere.

I agree with springheel_jack‘s point that this is all about geekery. theferrett has been here before, expressing similar sentiments about how it would be easier if you could just tell women you wanted to do them.

The dance that most heterosexual courtship rituals involve is (what? all my courtship rituals have involved dancing) at least partly about face saving if it goes wrong, but also about not scaring off the woman, who is physically smaller and weaker, on average, and probably has reason to fear the sort of man who would ask direct questions of the sort theferrett talks about. Some geeks do dispense with some of the dance, and that can work for them when they’re dealing with other geeks.

theferrett wants to dispense with more of the dance than most people are comfortable with. He had a nice time at the convention, which is fair enough. It also seems that the original thing was instigated by women who are happy to defend it. His mistake is to think that experience can be generalised and codified into a “project”, and his other mistake is writing about it on LJ, especially in the style he used.

I’m becoming a big fan of synecdochic, whose postings on the drama itself and how not to be That Guy are excellent.

Oh my. The feminist bloggers have taken on the Internet Hate Machine known as Anonymous. Encyclopedia Dramatica (very NSFW and extremely offensive, don’t blame me if you get fired) has the scoop on the post which might have been from Biting Beaver that started it all, as well as the on-going aftermath.

Some of the commenters on the feminist blogs get it, and actually tell them what’s going on and how to weather the raids (ilyka, or Holly in this thread). Luckily for Anonymous, the rest of the commenters either ignore them or jump on them and accuse them of misogyny, while beginning the countdown which will end in them reaching Defcon 1 and launching the e-lawyers against the Patriarchy. Hint: the only winning move is not to play.

It’s like the Internet perfect storm. Who brought popcorn?