Tag Archives: feminism

Yes I Can, Yes I Can!

Let’s start with this brilliant musical theatre duet:

I admit that I am pretty easily manipulated if you frame something in terms of my ego, for example, our household’s longstanding Quilt Challenge.  My husband has very openly stated that he would love it if I would make a quilt, but he knows that I couldn’t do it.  Despite this pathetically obvious attempt to use reverse psychology (in reality, my husband believes that I can do anything), I have totally fallen for it and I know damn well that someday I will make a quilt!  My excuse now is that I don’t really have a sewing room or even a sewing spot and our cats would sleep on it and it’s actually really expensive to get started and I also don’t own a sewing machine.

But god damn it, I’m going to sew a quilt one day and make M Fox eat it.

The problem with pregnancy Dos and Don’ts is that it’s not just about your ego; your choices affect the life (or lives, in my case) of a blissfully ignorant little creature who is happily jabbing you in the cervix because it’s so excited that its limbs move.  Awww.

There are the undebatable Don’ts — like you can’t chug a Long Island Iced Tea, shoot up some heroin, and then hop on Space Mountain.

To be fair, you probably shouldn’t do that when you’re not pregnant, but ESPECIALLY when you’re pregnant, such behavior is frowned upon.

The dietary Dos and Don’ts are mostly a matter of common sense and personal preference.  Apparently you’re not supposed to eat cantaloupe, fro-yo, or turkey sandwiches.  I say (and, remember, I am a doctor*) use your best judgment.  If you want to live off of goldfish and the occasional grape (after drudging it in vinegar to get off the poison), then hey, go ahead.  If, like a certain Classy Dame, you want to drink diet soda and gorge yourself on sushi, then hey, go ahead.  Pregnancy safety is a matter of statistics and paying attention to statistics is, oddly enough, totally subjective.  *No I’m not

But that’s a conversation that a lot of people have already talked themselves hoarse over.

The thing that I find most oppressive about pregnancy is the conversation that goes beyond eating, drinking, and going to Disneyland or Space Camp — it falls into either the pitying with concern (“How are you going to be able to do that?”) or the pitying with certainty (“You realize that you won’t be able to do that ever again”) category.

 

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Hedwig O’Hara

Still Beautiful

I saw a live production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch a few weekends ago.  If you’ve never seen the movie, you really should because it’s amazing.  Since I posted my review of the stage show on teh internetz in a somewhat official capacity, I couldn’t really delve into how much Hedwig’s story really means to me on a personal level because it would have devolved into emotional dribble.  But here I can do whatever the hell I want, so HA.  The review I wrote is pasted at the bottom.

When I first saw Hedwig in college at a midnight movie theater (said everyone who’s ever seen the movie), I pretty much became instantly obsessed.  I love Hedwig.  I feel her.  I know her in my core.  I’ve really had to overcome my shyness at admitting to be the soul sister of a transsexual woman who was coerced into having a sex change operation that was completely botched, especially considering I am a heterosexual ciswoman.  But my GOD, I gaze into John Cameron Mitchell’s wet, aching blue eyes on screen and, as the poetic lyric goes, I could tell by her expression that the pain down in her soul was the same as the one down in mine.

To be honest, in my projected imaginary mirrorland, I like to think of myself as a mixture of:

hedwig-345-20896

The glorious Hedwig

And:

250px-Vivien_Leigh_Gone_Wind_Restaured

The equally glorious Scarlett

There is something about Scarlett’s spoiled and impetuous (and, dare I say, feminist) nature that just charms the hell out of me.  And I completely empathize with what it’s like to chase after the dream of Ashley only to find that he’s a total wiener. (Side note: Yes, I am aware that the novel Gone with the Wind is sentimentally racist.  The film, which thankfully cut a lot of that out, did give Hattie McDaniels a chance to win her well-deserved Oscar, so I’d like to think it helped pay back at least a little karma.)

Anyway, back to Hedwig. I realize that I have not undergone anything tremendously horrific as, say, having my sexual organs permanently disfigured, but I recognize the fear of loneliness and pain of being rejected.  I thought I found my soulmate in every poor sap I ever dated.  If there was a book on my dating life before M Fox, the title would either be You Probably Should Have Joined a Nunnery, subtitled At Least Jesus Would Love You  or Sex Doesn’t Equal Love, You Freaking Idiot. (Spoiler: I am the freaking idiot.)

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I do love me a good mocking

In case you didn’t read my last post heralding author Jenny Trout, a quick recap.  Jenny Trout is a prolific erotica writer who recently made a splash on the internet doing a chapter-by-chapter recap take-down of the 50 Shades of Grey series.  And they are HILARIOUS.  If you haven’t already, you simply must read these. Go ahead, trust me.  It also blows a big hole in “feminists don’t have a sense of humor theory” while also pointing out how these books glorify abusive relationships and misrepresent the BDSM community.

(You know you wanted it.)

Jenny has also decided to write her own 50 Shades-inspired erotica entitled The Boss, done in a way that doesn’t insult women, BDSM, and uses real grown-up words for genitalia instead of “*gasp!* He touched me down THERE!!! Tee hee!”  This free (free!) novel is available online only here.  There are three chapters live and it’s pretty good so far!  I would say that my only real nitpicky thing is that I feel like I’ve been through a few cliff-hangers already, but I don’t read very much erotica so it might be a stylistic thing.  But the characters are really fun, the writing is witty, and the main guy is pretty hot, so disco!  I also appreciate that the main character Sophie is a distinct personality, not one of those stupid faceless protagonists who just happens to be around when something interesting happens.  Sophie is a real person with opinions — AND she’s a girl, weird, right?

In celebration of The Boss and intelligent mockery, I had to draw everyone’s attention to another clever and hilarious spoof done by someone completely unaffiliated with Jenny Trout, but who is also doing the Lord’s work.  Enjoy!

No. . . no. . . NOOOOOOO!!!

Okay, I am way behind on several posts that I had planned to write.  I need to tell you all about the Neopolitan ice cream cheesecake I concocted for M Fox’s birthday, I wanted to do a how-to on making chicken stock (because it’s not as scary as it sounds), I had planned an opus on why Hedwig is my soulmate (and I don’t mean Harry Potter’s owl), AND I really need to finish polishing this month’s writing assignment (theme: First Day).

But I had to vent my spleen about something so heinous that it would have been a sin against humanity to keep quiet about it any longer.  I had to reach out to the sane and just world and hope that someone, somewhere would look me in the eye and say, “Yes.  You’re right.”

I found out from Publisher’s Weekly that they are re-publishing the first three books of Lucy Montgomery’s hallowed Anne of Green Gables series in one volume.  Which is wonderful.  But this.  THIS is the cover:

There are no words for this.

There are no words for this.

What.

The.

Bloody.

Fuck.

And I really think the use of the f-bomb is totally appropriate considering the magnitude of this outrage.

Why is she blonde?  Why is she making sexy eyes at the reader?  WHO IS THIS?!  Because this is NOT Anne-with-an-E.  This is NOT my bosom friend.  Hell, this isn’t even in the correct time period!  A plaid shirt?!  Hair just falling all over like spaghetti?!  And LEANING AGAINST A HAY BALE?!  Alright, that might have happened in that era, but SERIOUSLY?!  I mean,  I know they’re trying to sex-ify everything for tweens and little girls so that they will know how to be proper consenting sex kitteny women when they grow up (ie turn 15), but this is ridiculous.  How much do you want to bet that the people who sat around to discuss the cover had never read the book?  Or knew anything other than “Pre-teen Anne gets into trouble with her BFF Diana. And she likes a BOY! Tee hee!”

Anne Shirley isn’t a Bratz doll.  She’s a reader, a dreamer, a writer, a teacher, an intelligent woman ahead of her time.   How could do they do this?  They’ve turned Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite into skinny little fembots, MUST they go after our literary heroines, too?!  What’s next?

Little Women Cover

*shudder*

Being sexy is okay.  I’m not against sex or sexiness.  But I am an adult.  Little girls should not feel pressured by their favorite characters to look alluring or cool.  I don’t want my kids learning how to make pouty lips from Anne Shirley.  The fact that they would try and pervert Anne, who is SUPPOSED to be the overlooked girl that no one wanted, but who shone brightest because she had inner strength and beauty, and was valued because of her intelligence, is just disgusting to me.   If I have daughters, I am going to fight so hard to make sure they know that sex is not the only or most powerful thing they have to offer this world and when marketing jerks make these choices, it just makes my job, and our job as a society, harder.  I pray that my voice among the thousands of photos of these super kyute nymphs can make a difference because otherwise we are hosed.  Sorry to sound so fatalistic about it, but it just kills me inside.

***

Update:  The “good” news is that this is just some schmuck who reformatted it, slapped a CreateSpace cover on it, and is selling it on Amazon.  So it’s not Penguin Books or a real publisher, thank God. Also customers are giving this person hell in the comments. But still. Just the un-ironic existence of this upsets me.  I take my sheroes VERY seriously!

Taken: A Review

Caution: Contains Some Spoilers. . . but it’s an action movie, so you probably guessed what happened anyway.

Last week I saw Taken with Liam Neeson. It was actually quite enjoyable! The story is pretty straightforward: Neeson is an ex-agent (calling himself a “preventer”) and went through an extremely bitter divorce with the mother of his daughter. His ex-wife remarried some rich guy and Neeson tries very hard throughout the film to make up for lost time with his kid, having to compete with the rich step-dad’s wealth and attention. Against his better judgment, he agrees to let his 17 year-old daughter go on a trip to Europe with her 19 year-old friend. While there, they are kidnapped by some Albanian jerks who are known for abducting young women, drugging them and selling them as prostitutes. Liam Neeson immediately flies to Europe to get his daughter back, using his ole tricks from his long career as a bad ass. The acting was good, the action sequences were awesome (how often do you get to see Liam Neeson kick serious butt?) and I was pretty impressed with how this shoot-em-up action film handled the issue of sex slavery. It was, for the most part, tasteful and I’m glad that such a troubling topic was brought to the main stream as a serious subject instead of in a pervy, “look at all the hot chicks” way. I highly recommend the movie.

Despite my high praise, here are my beefs.

1) In the real world, sex slavery occurs across all genders/classes/races/etc., but in the film most of the girls in this film were white, European women. I think that this plays to white people’s general fear of white women being violated and perhaps ignores the women of color who are also abducted, abused and sold. They do say earlier in the film that in this particular sex ring, Americans are the most expensive and the most sought after, so maybe that’s why they’re all Euro/American looking. . . but it just made me think about the sex trade in Asia and how the film doesn’t address it. I realize that this is picky and perhaps asking too much of this particular film, but I wish it was addressed in some way.

2) Neeson’s daughter is a virgin in the movie, which is fine. However, I feel like the urgency of the film is highly motivated by this fact. Would it have been less stressful for Neeson or the audience if she wasn’t? It seemed an unnecessary fact to bring up. In fact, her friend is not a virgin, is portrayed as promiscuous and, guess what, she is killed. I was disappointed by this classic “slut”-killing trope often seen in action/horror films. One positive note, though. The friend is seen viciously fighting back when the abductors come to get her, breaking furniture, screaming, struggling wildly. I’m glad that she was depicted as fighting back, even if she doesn’t get away. Anyway, the daughter is kept alive longer BECAUSE she is “certified 100% pure” (how the hell could they prove that anyway?) and is sold for more money. Is this some sort of ulterior message that virgins have a better chance of survival or are more worth saving? I don’t know. . . it just seemed superfluous to me that she hadn’t had sex yet. So what? NO ONE should be abducted and sold, I don’t care if they’ve slept with zero or a hundred people.

3) Neeson goes on a rampage to get his daughter back (which is pretty fricken cool). He breaks up a couple sex houses, killing the bastards running it. He goes through the horrible, make-shift tents where these girls are drugged and violated, searching, ripping men off of girls who he thinks are his daughter. But after that’s all said and done, what happens to the girls he freed. . . .? The film doesn’t deal with them. There’s not even a line of text at the end saying, “The police found the other women who were sold and helped them return to their families.” Or something. Anything. Liam helps one other girl because she might know where his daughter is. . . but after he gets the information from her, she’s not seen again. At the end when Liam is kicking ass on a boat to get to his daughter, but there area two other girls on the boat. . . and after he kills the bad guy and reunites with his daughter, the other girls are nowhere to be seen. This was confusing to me. I kept thinking as they left the scene, “What about the other girls?!”

4) This last point is more a critique of the daughter’s acting. I was also a little confused at how flippant she seemed after the whole ordeal. No signs of PTSS. Which maybe is fine, maybe it hasn’t hit her yet. I just felt the actress could have looked a little more haunted instead of just really relieved, as if she had lost her iPhone and her dad had found it in his car. But that’s just because I’m a tough critic of acting ;)

I keep trying to write sentences to apologize for being picky. But screw that. When it comes to depictions of women, I am picky. I demand responsibility for what images/messages/whatever that we put out to humanity.

So that being said, despite these four points above, I really liked the film, thought it was quite good and I hope you get a chance to see it!

A Feminist Flounders

There’s some guy who recently started using the computer three spots down from me. I have no idea which department he works under or what his job title is. Since I recognize (and empathize with) occasional looks of blank boredom, I assume that he is an intern like me. Despite our close quarters, neither of us have taken it upon ourselves to say, “Hey, I work three computers down from you. What meaningless career-climber tasks are you doing today?” Not for any other reason except to be polite because we’re, you know, human beings and neighbors. For me, it’s mostly because I’m absurdly shy when I’m here. For some reason whenever someone that I don’t know says hi to me in this building, I can only manage a squeak and a nerdlette smile. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My only theory is that I’m actually anxious about being too childish in front of these sophisticated-literary-types, whereas I’m totally and utterly encouraged to be silly and entertaining at my other job (it’s theatre, folks, what do you expect?). There, I’m the polar opposite, often teasing my higher-ups and engaging in loud frivolity at every turn.

Anyway, so here I am, On the Rise Career Woman, scopin’ out possibilities, impressing superiors, writing important emails. And, yes, occasionally lugging buckets of slush to and from the mailroom. Sometimes they get pretty heavy (mostly when would-be authors try to bind the damn books themselves, oy), but it’s not impossible. You just have to do that funny, I’m-carrying-something-unwieldy walk. No worries.

I pass the guy as I’m waddling to the mailroom, we do the catch-eye, look-away thing with the polite smile of people who have recognized that we’ve shared the same workspace for three weeks and have said nothing to each other. He passes me. Then he stops and says, “Do you need any help?”

And you know what I do?

I fucking GIGGLE and shake my head, “No, that’s alright. Thanks!” I even use my upper-register. Shudder.

UGH!! BAH!! The only time he feels compelled to say anything and it’s because a girl is lugging something unwieldy and I react like a total vacant moron. Tee hee. Gee, thanks, mister. Thank God I didn’t let him carry for me.

I don’t want to get on this guy’s case; I’m sure he’s a totally nice guy, has no problem with women in the workplace (after all, mostly women work here), loves his mom and I’m sure that he meant nothing by it. I’m not even mad at him. It has nothing to do with him at all and, in fact, I have no way of knowing that he wouldn’t have offered a man help if he had passed instead.

Regardless, what made the moment stupid was MY reaction, not his. I’m just annoyed with myself for acting like a giggly damsel. I read feminist blogs, I belch feminist rants, I loudly snort in disgust at sexism. But without thinking, I just played into the same stupid gender roles. And it just made me think about the original issue. Why CAN’T I be funny and vivacious in front of people I want to impress? Why do I secretly feel that if I’m small and mousy, but work really hard and do good work that I’ll succeed more than if I’m spunky and fun, but work really hard and do good work? And is this even gender-bias-related or is this just me being a total paranoid lunatic?