#NotALLMedia One Year Challenge
For one year, you do not spend money on any media that stars a man. Period.
It’s a little more flexible and a little more complicated than that, but that’s the simple version. One year, no spending any money on media that stars a man.
There’s exceptions, caveats, and other rules, too. Let me explain:
- You may watch/play/read media starring men ONLY AS LONG AS you either bought it before your one year begins, didn’t pay for it yourself, or didn’t ask/cajole someone into paying for it for you. If you already owned the thing before the year begins, you can by all means watch/play/read it (ex, I already own Assassin’s Creed II, I could play that). If someone gives you something as an UNSOLICITED gift, you may absolutely accept it (ex, someone surprises you with an Avengers DVD). You MAY NOT ask someone to buy it for you, or even do something like go on your blog “SIIIGH I REALLY want to see the new Batman vs Superman movie but I JUST CAN’T because I’M DOING THIS CHALLENGE, HOW ~TRAGIC~.” That’s cajoling. It is cheating.
In the cases of subscription services like Netflix or watching stuff on cable TV / HBO, you MAY NOT consume media starring men, because that’s part of the subscription and those services DO track what you’re watching. You’re trying to vote with your money and make a statement here, so show that you prefer media with women stars!
The same is true of streaming media, even if it’s on Youtube. With Hulu, people get advertising dollars whenever you watch a thing, so that counts as giving them money. With Youtube, even if it’s illegal, companies can STILL see the number of hits on a thing, and can still tell how popular their thing is. That, in this day and age, is actually pretty valuable. Don’t give ‘em the satisfaction. This counts even if you own the media already, since ad dollars go to them ON TOP OF what you already paid.
- If the character’s gender is male, he’s male. If he’s a robot, alien, or cucumber that all the characters use male pronouns around, he’s a male.
- Conversely, if the character’s gender is female, she’s female. Transwomen = women, period.
- In media with two main characters or an ensemble cast, the cast must be 1. 50% or more women, 2. said women must get as much if not more screentime than male characters, 3. said women must be treated as more than a love interest, mommy-stand-in, or sexy lamp.
Valid: Game of Thrones, The X Files, CBS’ Elementary
Not Valid: The Avengers Movie (alas, only one main female character), the original Super Smash Bros (same deal).
Fighting games and co-op games count as ensemble casts in this case.
- If media has a main character with NO defined gender AT ALL, and NO male characters, it is valid (this mostly happens in videogames)
Valid: Journey, Flower
Not Valid: Myst (while the main character has no gender, all three NPCs that you actually “talk” to are men)
- For videogames, you must be able to play as a woman for the MAJORITY of the game for it to be valid.
Valid: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Megaman ZX
Not Valid: The Last Of Us (you only play as Ellie very briefly)
- For videogame DLC starring a woman, you may ONLY get it if you already owned the main game before your #NotALLMedia year starts, OR if you can buy the DLC without first owning the main game.
Valid: Infamous: First Light (starring a woman), because while it’s technically DLC, you don’t have to own Infamous: Second Son to buy it (as far as I’m aware)
Not Valid: Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part 2. If you don’t own the original Bioshock, you can’t play this DLC.
Why Are you Doing This?
For a long time I’ve been getting tired of what I call the Lily-White Square-Jawed Manpain genre of media. I’m sick of growly voiced white dudes grunting and angsting over inconsequential bullshit and then saving the day. This year’s E3 was the straw that broke the camel’s back when Ubisoft claimed that women were “just too hard to animate” to put into their co-op mode for the new Assassin’s Creed game. I mean, really?
I’m tired of it. Goddamn tired. And then I thought, well, they’re always telling you to vote with your dollars, so maybe I should do that. Maybe I should stop buying this stupid crap. Ever. No matter how good it actually is.
So I’m taking that to heart. No movies staring dudes, no TV, no games, nothing. Screw you and your squarejawed manpain. My action might not mean much but at least I’ll get to see media that’s maybe a bit different from the norm.
Hey, I Disagree with XYZ Part of This Challenge!!!
Then make up your own rules! Only buy media with people of color instead! Or queers! Or whatever! This is just a framework/scaffold to get people going. Also, hell, break your own rules, occasionally. I’m staying subscribed to the new Ghost Rider because it stars Robbie Reyes, a latino kid in east LA who just wants to take care of his severely disabled brother, and if somehow Grim Fandango re-releases for PC within the year, I’ll get that too… but those are the only two exceptions. Yes, I really, really want the Kingdom Hearts 2 re-release, but I sure as hell ain’t buying it, because sorry, Sora, you’re a boy.
Yeah, as a guage of ~feminism~ this is pretty useless. Plenty of works starring women are absolutely NOT feminist. But again, the thing is, media execs keep saying “things with women stars don’t sell!” and other bullshit. So, again, you want me to vote with my money? I’m voting with my money. Give me more media with women, dammit.
If you’re doing this challenge, I suggest you tag your posts about it with #NotALLMedia. Share your favorite women-centric media through the tag, and help spread awareness of alternatives to Squarejawed Manpain. Do the same even if you’re trying different rules (eg, only people of color, only LGBTQ+ people, only disabled people, etc).
If you have questions, my askbox is open. I am TEMPORARILY allowing anonymous asks, but if this privilege gets abused I am turning them off again.
(characters in banner, from left to right: Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary [TV show]; Daja Kisubo from Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic: Daja’s Book [book]; Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel [comic book]; Eliza Maza from Gargoyles* [animation]; Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill [movie]; Chell from Portal [videogame])
*Gargoyles may not actually count by the rules, I know, but I wanted an American Indian character up in there, and a character from an animated show, so… bending my own rules a bit.
#NotALLMedia has to star men. Let’s prove it.