May 2, 2022 | Art and Comics

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A lot of women have had very important roles in my life. Some of them have had merely minor but permanent effects on me, others have radically altered the trajectory of my life, others just seem to haunt me like benevolent ghosts or guardian angels. Some of the women who have done this aren't real, and are from books, movies, video games, or television shows instead. This zine is about those ones. This zine is about some of those fictional women.

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FICTIONAL WOMEN SIDNEY PRESCOTT — I'm usually not one to get super invested in 'final girls.' Truth be told, I hate what has happened to that term as it has flown from the pages of 'Men, Women, and Chainsaws' and become a sort of trendy, 'grrl power' buzzword to refer to any characters who are literally just the final survivors and also the girls of something. But Sidney is just so different to me somehow, and also so hot oh my god (especially in Scream 2 and 4!). Her perpetual character development throughout the whole series really captivates me, especially her stint as a crisis counselor in Scream 3 which made me cry the first time I watched it from how genuinely touching it is. She cares so much. Fuck Scream 5, though, I'll just pretend that it all ended with 4 (the best one). CATWOMAN — As I wrote in my 2020 personal essay 'The Transsexual Catwoman, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Feel So Much Yummier,' I can directly credit Catwoman in Batman Returns with baptizing me into womanhood back in 2017. I was a sicko for life from the moment that I saw her tear her closet to shreds to make her catsuit. I walked into that theater as a man, generally content with things, and walked out a goddamn she/her! Max Schreck may as well have thrown me out that window, too. I've grown so much as a woman since then, but Selina Kyle still warms my life in many interesting ways. Well after coming out, I've gotten interested in leather, which makes me feel super sexy and powerful...'so much yummier.' My friends send me Catwoman-related art because it makes them think of me, as inseparable from her. I still strive to be even half as hot and weird as Michelle Pfeiffer cracking a whip and licking herself. We usually can't choose the people or the things that make such a big difference in our lives, but I'm glad that I get to become who I am in her freaky, feline shadow. THE BRIDE — Although she was immortalized by Elsa Lanchester in the original 1935 film, which was so gracious as to make her eponymous, the Bride of Frankenstein never even rises from the slab in the original novel. She is mutilated, aborted, by Victor when he becomes too afraid of his female monster to complete it. For this reason I am always most captivated by the Bride as a screaming, demonic creature of almost incomprehensible and inhuman rage, electrified anguish. Not at all an Eve: an undead Lilith. I wrote heavily on Brides in film in my thesis on monstrous transsexuality (check it out at my website!) but—and this is hardly a scholarly point, but still—in the last few years I've been fixated on the idea of a new Bride movie starring Julia Fox. She would bring a certain amount of necessary derangement to the role, I'm sure of it. CHRISTINE ROYCE — The downloadable expansion for Dead Money for Fallout: New Vegas might be my favorite video game ever. It's a difficult and atmospheric survival-horror adventure about breaking into an eerie, pre-apocalyptic casino. You have three accomplices, and everyone's lives are bound by explosive collars around your necks. When you first meet Christine, she's mute, and you can only communicate in gestures and charades. You can still get to know her if you're patient or perceptive enough, and as I got to know her, I cared more and more about her. She was intense and capable, but afraid, fixated, and deeply vulnerable. She reacts with heartbreaking horror to her lost voice and her new scars—not her only ones. She's an endearing but compellingly tragic figure, and the first time I played, the grief and bittersweetness of her fate overwhelmed me. I've been, like, totally obsessed with her ever since. In the summer of 2021, I got a tracheal shave. I still have the scar across my neck. I look at it often—and I think about Christine. SAKURA & TENTEN — In 2021 my husband got me to watch Naruto with him. He'd grown up with it and wanted to share it with me, and it is a fun show if you can handle (or skip) all the filler. When we got to Shippuden, Sakura's new costume had these gloves that I became obsessed with—when she pulls them taut right before beating the shit out of somebody? Max cool. Sakura was awesome now. (Anyone who has seen this show can imagine my disappointment as the series went on). It wasn't long until, inspired, I bought myself a pair of black leather biker gloves, igniting a love affair with handwear that continues to this day. Believe it! Similarly, in one of Shippuden's end credits sequences (Ending 15, 'U Can Do It'), Tenten spars with Naruto, pulling off these fluid, beautiful moves with a bo staff while in these really tiny bike shorts that gave me secondhand gender euphoria just watching. Some bike shorts for myself soon followed those gloves, and both make me feel just incredible. Hmm...maybe I should also get a bo staff... (You know what? One more thing. Tenten's whole thing is she's a weapons specialist, and that's a really cool, interesting thing, which is why it sucks that she barely has any screentime and, like, barely matters at all, even by 'female characters in Naruto' standards! I was robbed! Tenten fan hive, we die bitter! FICTIONAL WOMEN