Sunday, December 28, 2014

PattiBlows: Shub-Niggurath Edition


Patti Stanger is not a fun person.




That's okay. Remember when she talked about her own thoughts and opinions as they related to herself for two whole sentences? Narrow-minded as those opinions may have been, they were hers, as they related to her life, and that was nice. I mean, her wants in life sound very limiting and boring to Clementine, but the beauty of not being Clementine is that you get to want different things from Clementine. Humanity is a lovely quilt of whatever and such.

Of course your right to be boring ends where my fun begins. Patti Stanger also thinks all non-straight people are slutty-ho slut sluts and that people with kinks are sick and disgusting. (Although I will cop to that one. Every time I get hit with a belt a little bit of my humanity slips out of me, leaving shards of the void to prepare my body to become the tainted vessel of the demon-mother Shub-Niggurath. It's a hoot and a half.)

It's always hard for me to put myself in the mind of a bigot, but here, I'll try: I think Patti truly believes that all of humanity is exactly like her. And that there's one little queer person. Just the one, running around all queer, streaking through her gender-segregated lockstep parade marching ever toward the endgame of marriage, laughing at her good soldiers and shouting about kyriarchy. She hates that little queer person. She thinks that little queer person is the jester to her court, the little wise fool who has kingly license to mock the world, and she doesn't remember inviting them.

So I thought she'd employed a little jester:


Actually, no, that does not accurately describe my thoughts upon seeing this title in the blog links. Here, take my gentle loving hand and let's walk you through my Cognitive Matrix Bullet Time Explosion, you and I:

  • Wait, what? What the hell? Patti knows trans women exist? YES! 
  • I mean, NO! Oh my god, she's going to be mean and reductive about trans women!
  • Ugh, I bet it's going to be one of those "here's what you need to know about trans people: they are very sick and deserve our pity" sort of dealies at best. She seems the type.
  • Oh, it's a guest contributor! A trans man maybe? Would Patti hire a-
  • Jester! That's it! She hired the jester to debase himself while speaking truth!
  • No, wait, that doesn't seem right. Patti doesn't hire the jester, she puts him in the oubliette. Medieval lord-kings were more enlightened than Patti Stanger. Wow. That's sad.
  • Maybe she doesn't run the site though. Maybe the people who do are smarter than her. That's a safe bet. There's factory runoff mutating at the bottom of a lake that's smarter than her. Maybe those people held her down and forcefully updated her site with something positive.

Spoiler! This content note might ruin the ending for you.

(Content note: transphobia, weapons-grade misogyny, gender-essentialism, MRA, racism, implied threats, kink, male entitlement up my fucking hooha, it's a bad one.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ain't I a Woman?


Hang on. I'm going somewhere with this. Bear with me for a while, okay?

Okay.

Ever since I've got an iPad, I've been browsing the internet without adblock. I haven't done that for years. In that time I'd honestly forgotten just how badly the internet wants to keep me updated on the status of famous boobs, sell me Asian brides and enlarge the dick I ain't even got. Most of all it wants to tell me what I'm like. It's really, really invested in telling me who I am, what I do and why I do it. This is strange to me, because as well as I know the internet, I never felt like it really took the time to get to know me at all. If it did, it wouldn't keep showing me stuff like this:






It's really hard to ignore this sort of crap, because they shove it in your face as blatantly as they can get away with, hide it in legitimate content, trick you into clicking it or just holler at the top of their lungs by highjacking your tabs. If you're going online without adblock, dear lord, what's wrong with you? It's free. Takes like one minute to install.

So here's something you need to know about me.

All my life I've been told I'm doing this "being a woman" thing wrong. That's annoying enough as it is, but what made me extra angry is that this seemed more important to people than telling me how I was doing as a human. That's what I cared about at the end of the day. Genital and genetic configuration aside, how am I doing as a person? Good? Okay-ish? Needs work? What? Oh, I should get breast implants while tut-tutting women who get breast implants? That's not helpful.

It's like asking feedback on your short story and being told you're a terrible sculptor.

"Women" never seem to do the things I enjoy. It didn't take me long to get wise to the fact that men are people and women are women, and all women are basically the same. That's devastating news for a little kid like me who grew up with books and some fairly involved ideas about How To Be Good.

There's some trauma there. Which is why ads like that tend to set me off with the assumptions they make about my person. Oh, you're a woman? Well allow me to detail at fucking length who you are, what you like, what you shouldn't like, what you do, why you do it, how you live your life and what crawls and oozes in the deepest nethers of your soul.

Fuck off, internet. Y'all don't know me.

So anyway, this.





When someone starts talking about "we" and "us" without taking the time to verify whether there even is such a beast, it's called "forced teaming." I only bring it up because it's very common in abusive relationships.

Look, let's get one thing straight: I'm not here to pick on an inconsequential fluff piece on an inconsequential site. I'm here to illustrate a point. Because this headline makes me wonder about a great many things. For example, the fact that this piece isn't called "15 Things Some People Have Done on a Date," which is what the content is actually about. I know why. Because that one doesn't get clicks and the headline they went with does. I'm very hesitant to speculate too much about the tribalism and stereotyping and teaming underlying the fact that "all women" gets clicks and "some people" doesn't. I'm not an anthropologist, media expert, psychologist or anything. But I've been a woman for 28 years now. And I've noticed some stuff. Horrifying stuff.

The point is, I've been reading stuff like this ever since I was six years old. Men are humans, women are women. It's one of the first lessons I ever learned in my life. Women are women. Looking back now I understand why I was so focused on finding out what being a woman meant, because I was told it was my identity. Do not underestimate the tenacity of a child trying to make their way in the world and learn how to be either human or woman. (They're mutually exclusive.)

Steph Stephs, I am picking up this gauntlet you have thrown down. I bet you didn't even realize you wrote the phrase "every woman" and expect me to focus exclusively on the "dating" part. Well, my country doesn't have a dating culture like yours. Most don't. So right off the bat, your "all women" thing collapses like a fart souffle. I know we're never going to be friends, and I can proceed with abandon.

Tell me who I am, Steph Stephs. Or rather, tell that six year old girl that lives in the back of my mind who she is. Because she's the one I'm going to give the reigns to below the cut, and you've pissed her off something fierce.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Repost: Manhood Academy

Some context is going to be necessary here.

I used to have a (now hidden) general comedy blog where I just wrote about internet culture, all loose and breezy and hopefully funny. I wanted to write comedy. I wanted to be a comedian, because making jokes and making people laugh made me feel happy and in control of all the badness. That's what that blog was about. It was badly organized and I said a lot of things there that I regret now, but that's not the reason it's gone now. The reason is the post below the cut.

I was a little naive when I wrote it. I hadn't yet fully understood how MRAs operate, how damaging they truly were, what the social implications of their existence were and what lengths they would go to to defend their privilege.

I found out.

They found this post. After a flood of intensely abusive and scary comments, emails, tweets, posts on forums I visited and other communications, I folded and hid the blog, changed my online information, whatever it took to get these abusers off my back. I was scared and I was hurt. Most of all I didn't understand why this was happening to me.

I'm not scared anymore. I'm still hurt, but I refuse to let that rule me. So here it is. The old post that marked the beginning of my first stint as an online abuse survivor. I earned my stripes with this one. You're not a feminist blogger until you've been threatened with rape and murder fifty times in a day. It's like getting a badge of honor pinned right into your flesh.

It made me a feminist. Not just a person who hated sexism, but an active feminist wanting to learn and grow in that movement. It didn't make me a decent person right off the bat though. But there it is. I think this is what Jessica West was talking about.

"The real force that made the suffrage movement was the quality of the opposition. Women, listening to anti-suffrage speeches, for the first time knew what many men really thought of them."

Please note that I wrote all this a long-ass time ago, when I hadn't yet learned how to be a fucking person, let alone an intersectional, relatively-privileged feminist. I was still in the very early stages of scrubbing the kyriarchy out of my brain and this post reflects that mentality. I'm not proud of some of the things I said there. It does not reflect me as a I am today, but it does reflect who I was, what I thought and how I got punished for saying it. Posting this here is nothing more or less than a statement that I'm done being scared. I haven't altered a word since I first posted it, because that would defeat the entire point. But in the intervening years, I've really worked on becoming a smarter, more compassionate, more mature person.

With that said...

(Content note: ableist and homophobic language and slurs, many swears, many mentions of rape and sexual abuse, images and quotes depicting abuse victims, copious MRA language, mention of suicide... Look, it's just a big ol' triggery mess. Basically I throw a lot of groups under the bus to make fun of these people. It's allies behaving badly. I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry.)

Comments are heavily moderated.

Uh-oh


Everyone fucking brace yourself. There's a storm of angry white men incoming, and it ain't gonna be pretty. Bar your twitters and nail down your children. It's going to be a rough one.

Obama answers only female reporters' questions at year-end press conference

That's reverse sexism is what that is.



Friday, December 19, 2014

Let's Watch Flash!

So Flash is a pretty exciting but nigh-ungoogleable show in an otherwise dismal season. I'm into it. It's got everything I want from a superhero/genre show: lightweight drama, very good acting (absolutely great in some places), a diverse cast, a chance for me to rant about rarely acknowledged psychological theories and most of all FUN.





Flash is fun, which is a thing superhero fiction completely forgot to be somewhere along the line. They've got a villain of the week thing going on right now which I like very much, the drama is human enough to be engaging but doesn't take it's pretty silly premise seriously enough to slip into grimdark wankery (ahem), the palette is appropriately colorful, it's decently shot and often very funny. It skips over all the origin story nonsense pretty damn daintily (thank Christ) and moves right to the competent crime-fighting action stage of the superhero lifespan, a decision which tends to go over well. Granted, it's got 100% less sexy abs than I'm accustomed to (you're welcome), but I'll live. It's perfect popcorn entertainment, and I don't mean that in a dismissive way. I'm very, very happy we seem to be moving away from the angst-laden pop-psych era of genre fiction. It's a good show. I like it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hey, Goldieblox, leave them kids alone


I want to root for Goldieblox. I really do.




I was with the Kickstarter from the day it came online. I didn't back it. I didn't have the money. I am very poor. But I followed it pretty closely. I got excited about it. Every time it popped up in the femi-sphere the news was hopeful and positive. I already talked about my hatred of gendered toys and the artificial gendering of little children which I hate just so very much. Goldieblox wasn't like that. Everything about Goldieblox was about excitement. It just oozed bright positivity and can-do attitude. Engineering is fun! STEM fields are something you can get excited about! It reminded me a lot of a grown-up, less flawed and less commercially tainted version of the grrrl-power movement I grew up in.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

PattiBlows: Cognitive Matrix Bullet Time Edition


I keep feeling a little self-conscious about targeting Patti Stanger like I do. Dealing with a deeply misogynist woman is just different from dealing with a misogynist man. She's got her own experiences being female in this world. She strikes me as a bit of a frustrated and unhappy person. The sort of person you kind of feel bad for picking on. Then I spend like two minutes on Google and I'm much better.




This is Patti's actual dating advice to intelligent single women, which by my count contains three layers of comedic irony. If you have trouble seeing them, they're right beneath the two layers of weapons-grade misogyny, right between the cis-sexism and homophobia deposits.



This is actually a very rare thing we should all stop to appreciate: an opinion from Patti. No, wait, stop laughing, I'm serious. Usually it's all commandments and rules and dictates with this blight, but this is her opinion. Savor this title, suck the salty juices of I-statements and personal belief from its bones, roll it around in your mouth a little, see what that does for you. Because as soon as you get past the title we're back to Patti-brand facts and rules.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Correction

I've been meaning to get to this.

In my post about three excuses for female objectification that don't hold up, I made some pretty bold claims.

Sex is a cooperative, collaborative and consensual activity between two or more sticky people undertaken for the orgasmic benefit of all involved.
[Sex is] a fun social activity (2 to infinity players, ages 18 and up.)

I illustrated things with this picture:




And I'm fucking wrong, aren't I?

Not that I'm doing the fucking wrong, I mean... I am fucking wrong about fucking... Like a non-sexual fuck about sexual fuck... You get it.

Let's break it down.

First of all, Past Me, who made you the arbiter on what sex is and isn't? I suspect, Past Me, that in your zeal to make a point about sexual objectification, you overstepped your bounds and trampled all over the sexual experiences, preferences and identities of people who experience sex different from how you experience sex.

Cooperative, collaborative and consensual, sure. Two or more people? No. You can have sex, a sexual experience, on your own just fine. You do it all the time, Past Me. For shame.

Orgasmic? Sure, it's a fun word to use, but like you pointed out, language matters. Sex isn't sex unless there's an orgasm involved? No. You are dead wrong.

Ages 18 and up? Check the goddamn age of consent laws worldwide. Don't pretend your own countries' laws are the only ones that matter, and don't pretend like the law is always just.

And Past Me, I know what you were thinking when you made that image. It's a visual joke that gets the point across, har har, and you knew it was wrong when you made it. You posted it anyway. Because you were too damn lazy to find a picture that accurately represents all your fellow human beings, and too privileged to realize that no such picture can even exist.

Implying that that is what all sex looks like, that this is what sex is, is wrong for so very many reasons.

All "Past Me" cuteness aside, I want to offer my sincere apologies to all the (many, many) people whom I alienated and made invisible. I am sorry for discounting your sexual experiences. I did it out of laziness and privilege and I am deeply sorry and ashamed. I will make it a top priority to correct my thinking, my behavior and my language in the future.

Again, I'm deeply sorry for the misinformation and the hurt I put out there.

a fun social activity (2 to infinity players, ages 18 and up.) - See more at: http://trashyinpink.blogspot.be/2014/06/3-excuses-for-objectification-that-dont.html#sthash.zMTTkOmS.dpuf
Sex is a cooperative, collaborative and consensual activity between two or more sticky people undertaken for the orgasmic benefit of all involved. Objectification, on the other hand, is not. - See more at: http://trashyinpink.blogspot.be/2014/06/3-excuses-for-objectification-that-dont.html#sthash.zMTTkOmS.dpuf
Sex is a cooperative, collaborative and consensual activity between two or more sticky people undertaken for the orgasmic benefit of all involved. Objectification, on the other hand, is not. - See more at: http://trashyinpink.blogspot.be/2014/06/3-excuses-for-objectification-that-dont.html#sthash.zMTTkOmS.dpuf

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

PattiBlows: Flipping Tables Edition


Before anyone starts to feel like I'm a jerk for being mean to Patti, keep in mind that I've got a goddamn million of these:




There's no curbing Us People, ah tell ya.

Patti's particular brand of sexism is as old as dirt (or at least the fifties,) so while it obviously bothers me, I've sort of gotten used to it. Get married yesterday, starve yourself in the name of beauty standars, cake yourself in make-up, smile and nod, shave your legs, wax your tits, nag nag nag. She's more of an out-of-touch single aunt than a credible force for evil. Her brand of Cosmo-style sexism is on every channel and newsstand in the western world, so you kind of get desensitized. After a while the steady drumbeat of abuse just becomes white noise.

Then she went and insulted my husband.




And it is on.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dear Dude Feminist: You're Probably Okay


So let's assume you're a straight white dude, and I absolutely mean that in the nicest possible way. You're probably smart, and you have a good heart, and you're aware that inequality is bad. Recently your social media feeds have been brimming with talk about how the media doesn't really cater to anyone but you, and you can see that. There are people out there, mostly women but all kinds of people, who make inspiring statements prompt you to say "well I never." You've never in your life had cause to say that. That alone makes it worthwhile.

And feminism might still be a bit of an icky word, but there's other words and phrases that you recognize and love and respect. Words like equality, freedom, the right to choose, the right to live free of persecution, the right to representation, and you are down with that. Feminism sounds great! And it is!

Then other words and phrases start popping up. Kyriarchy, patriarchy, male entitlement, rape culture, Schrodinger got involved somehow, and there's a lot of anger. We've already established that you are smart and have a good heart, so you know better than to confuse attacks on systemic oppression for personal insults. You are capable of great empathy and compassion. You know that the good fight is worth fighting no matter how you get involved.

Still, it's complicated. Looking up the dictionary definition of these words and phrases doesn't help much. Every time a new controversial topic pops up, you can't find two feminist blogs that actually agree. You see your own opinion echoed by someone else and immediately torn down. It's super scary. It's complicated. It's enough to make you very, very nervous about participating in this movement. On the one hand, you hear that male voices are needed. On the other hand, you are told to shut up and listen, and ponder privilege while you're at it. Scary, frustrating and confusing don't even begin to describe it.

You've already broken through that barrier of male entitlement. You've done it without taking it as an attack. I commend you. Many people don't make it that far. Now what?

Here the thing though: it's scary for everyone.

Feminist theory, at its core, is an intellectual discipline, comparable to a soft science. A lot of activism and opinion flows from this, but it starts with thought, with history and fact. It introduces a new way of thinking. And any new way of thinking is daunting at first. Nobody comes into the movement fully formed. You cannot walk into your Psychology 101 class and expect to be a licensed psychologist by the end of the week. You should be a little daunted stepping into that class, because you're about to be buried under centuries of history, conflicting theories, opinions, papers, personalities and the lessons of teachers both good and bad.

Feminism is much the same. If you expect to read one or two blog posts and be up on your feminist theory in time for dinner, you're probably going to have a rough time of it. This is the same for everyone, not just straight white dudes. Anyone coming into the movement has a learning curve in front of them. And feminist theory evolves just like science does. You have to keep up, keep learning, keep reading. When have you learned enough? Never. Don't wait until you've learned all there is to know about feminism before you speak up. It's not going to happen.

But you've done all that. You've done your due diligence, you've listened quietly, really listened, you've challenged yourself, you're committed. I know some men in your position, quite a few. Women too. They've done a lot of heavy lifting, they've listened, and now they would like to speak. But they're scared to. Because feminism, like any social justice movement, is filled with people who have strong opinions backed by the fury of a thousand angry voices. And they're all going to yell at you.

Yes. Yes they are. You've done your research, so you know that women aren't a monolith, there is no such thing as a female hivemind, no "all women" anything, nothing in our soul or DNA that gives us even one common trait.

Feminists are much the same.

Of course that group is a little more narrowly defined than "women." There certainly are things all feminists have in common, like the belief that female-identifying people are being systemically marginalized. But we are not the Borg. As in any theoretical discipline, there are different schools of thought, different ways in which different theories are presented, varying levels of engagement and activism.

There has to come a phase when you start speaking. Not lecturing, not teaching, not throwing down the gauntlet, but engaging. You've done it right, you've listened to many marginalized voices, you know your theory and you know compassion. But before you start confidently confronting the issues in your daily life, there's one more step to take, after listening but before activism: it's time to engage with feminists.

Yeah, I know. I was scared too. Not because feminists are grrr scaryclaws, that's just such a nasty stereotype, but because you and I don't want to hurt people. What if our stupid question really upsets someone? What if the point we make in good faith places us on one side of a fence we didn't even know was there? What if we try to do good and cause hurt instead? That's fucking awful. That's the worst feeling in the world, trying to do good and falling face-first into a steaming pile of the opposite. Nobody wants that.

But it's going to happen.

There's a reductive, dare I say sexist joke that feminists could have anything they wanted if they just stopped bickering amongst themselves. It seems like we're at each other's throats a little more than we rally together to sisterly kick the patriarchy in the nards, or whatever it is we do. And in my experience that's not quite how it is, but there are going to be clashing but equally valid and thought out opinions. This is a good thing. Challenging each other to think in a different way about the things we think differently about is intellectually invigorating and crucial to the continued growth of this movement. All facts and opinions need to be questioned from time to time. Everyone needs to be told to check their privilege now and again. Everyone makes mistakes.

Man, I've made some mistakes. Big ones. Embarrassing ones. Harmful ones. I got yelled at and everything. There are thoughts I've had that I'm very happy I didn't vocalize or commit to the internet. I've agonized and picked over every single sentence I've posted on this blog and I'm horribly insecure about half of them. My biggest fear is that I'll cause harm anyway, through privilege, unexamined biases or even plain old thoughtlessness. I've also had differences of opinion. I've had standpoints challenged and after consideration chose to stand by them anyway. It happens. And that's okay.

And so you, dude feminist, you're probably going to be challenged if you speak. You might even get yelled at. I don't support the yelling so much, but it might happen. Being a dude and all, you might even catch more flak than anyone else does. That sucks. But that doesn't make you a Bad Feminist. If you've done the work, if you know how to engage in good faith, how to accept an intellectual challenge and test your own ingrained biases and beliefs on a daily basis, well, guess what?

You're probably okay.

Don't be afraid to speak up. Know that there is a learning curve, and that this curve exists for everyone. It'll be a little less steep for those who intuitively understand these things from personal experience, but we all have to unlearn the habits of a lifetime and deprogram ourselves on a daily basis. It's a lifelong challenge. But being challenged is a kindness, an invitation for growth, not a smack-down. It still sucks, it hurts and smart when we unintentionally cause harm, but it's part of that steep climb up the learning curve. And once we make it to the top, we still make mistakes. The feminists I respect most, the only ones I find genuine enough to listen to, they know how to say "I made a mistake. I sincerely apologize. I promise I will apply myself to challenging the thinking that led to this mistake."

Of course they also know how to say "I see your point and respectfully disagree." I find that the best of them employ a mixture of both, where appropriate.

And I don't even agree with all of them. That's how it goes. And that's okay.

Dude feminist, I thank you. We need your voice, and I'm not even a little bit bitter about that. You are my ally, and I welcome you. Don't be scared. Don't be afraid to speak up for fear of enraging the feminist hive. If you do, and you probably will, it won't be pleasant. But that too goes for everyone. All of us, any gender, orientation, race or background, all of us make mistakes. All of us are unique in our personal interpretation of feminism. All of us are active in our own ways.

You are welcome in my space, dude feminist. Do the work, listen before you speak, practice good faith and learn how to say "I'm sorry" and I promise you, you'll be okay.

This space is yours too. It's okay to speak with care, good faith and confidence.

Until you fuck up.

And you will.

And that's okay.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Maniacs, Losers and Wretches: Flipping the Psycho Switch


(Content note: mental ableism including ableist slurs, normalization of mental ableism in pop culture, personal account of discrimination)

I play a whole lot of video games. Between twenty and thirty a year or so, on average. Every year the Steam Summer Sale wipes me out completely and I've never once felt bad about it. I love games as a storytelling medium. It's quite unique in that way, because the interactivity alone sets it apart from all other storytelling formats. I'm not interested in quibbling about whether they're art or not. They just feature very prominently in my arsenal of tools that facilitate escapism, adventure games especially. There's some absolutely wonderful stories to be had there, and for all the crap video games rightly receive for their gender politics, adventure games do amazingly well with great female protagonists. But I like psychological thriller/horror/mystery stories especially. Like this game:




If you can't watch that, here are the pertinent quotes from the developer:

We're taking full advantage of the asylum setting. It's not a game about zombies, it's a game about patients and their craziness. They're criminally insane people so you never know what to expect from them. They might attack you, but they might also let you live for a little while. [...] What we want to do is scare the shit out of players, so we'll do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. Whatever works.

I spent over half of my life (the fist half, regrettably) being clinically depressed, and a small chunk of that time voluntarily institutionalized. I can confidently say that, at sixteen years old, this was without a shadow of a doubt the kindest thing I have ever done for myself. I finally got the help I needed, medication that worked for me, therapy from kind people, and I was surrounded by people who were going through the same thing I was and were endless wells of support, kindness and strength. Back then I didn't understand the shock and hand-wringing of the people around me that went with that decision. I was sick. I needed to go to the hospital to get better. What's the big deal?

I understood it even less from my fellow patients. All of them, to a man, told me that I should never, ever, under no circumstances admit to having been institutionalized. And again, I was confused. I really didn't see what the big deal about getting medical care was. Well...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PattiBlows: Blasphemy Edition


(Content note: homophobia, specifically bi-invisibility, kink hate, reductive female stereotypes, alcohol and sexual assault, brief reference to partner violence, copious f-bombs, Patti does math wrong)

I've talked at length about how, for me, the single greatest joy of being of a feminist mindset is giving myself permission to like women. I stand by that. But I never said it was an obligation. Where before every woman in my life started at -50 respect points, these days they get a nice neutral 0 just like everyone, maybe even a little more, because sisterhood.

But I can't talk too much about The Sisterhood.

That being said, I hate Patti Stanger with the fury of a thousand feminists. That's a whole lot of fury. You may not know this, but as turns out we're an angry bunch.

Actually, no, I should qualify that. I don't actually know Patti Stanger. For all I know she's the most wonderful, caring human being I could ever hope to meet. I'm absolutely, 100% sure that just like everyone else on earth, she has the potential to make the world a better place. But that is not her public persona. Her public persona is hateful and reductive. So keep in mind that when I say "Patti Stanger," I am referring exclusively to the persona she (and a whole bunch of editors, producers and publicists I'll bet) presents to us for public consumption.

With that out of the way...

You may know Patti Stanger as the Millionaire Matchmaker, although I sincerely hope you don't. Every collective minute of that show watched sets humanity back a decade. Not just women, everyone. Absolutely nobody at all is better off for this horrible woman and her horrible show existing. In fact I'm pretty sure her innate noxiousness is poisoning the collective soul of humanity. For example, I don't think people who are in the business of matching people up should openly refer someone with kink leanings as a sick, sick person. (And it's called erotic asphyxiation, you dolts. It's perfectly safe and surprisingly common.)

Her website, PattiKnows, is the most inaccurately named thing since One Million Moms had a Facebook hategasm. I wanted to write about that site of hers, but there's too much. The show, the website, the interviews where she claims bi people don't exist and bisexual guys are just in gay denial, and also ew, it's just... There's too much going on here.

So let's start with the basics.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pop Trash: Your Big Fat Butt (June 2014)

A while ago I wrote about just how much sexist, racist and all-round repulsive crap pop music gets away with simply because of its form. I genuinely asked whether this was being discussed or not, and the answer is that it sort of is, to a point. There are plenty of music reviewers who will point out the most egregious and obvious -isms, shrug, chalk it up to being part of the decline of whatever genre they're discussing and move on. Other than that, I rarely see pop music mentioned in the pop culture femisphere unless we're talking about super-mega-smash-hits, which is weird, because every other part of pop culture gets picked apart until there's not a scrap left on the bones.


 Or it would be if every single pop culture site on the internet hadn't turned into a Game of Thrones recap/review site.

So I stand by my point: this shit needs to be discussed, for reasons I mentioned in the original post, and the iffy or downright bigoted messages pointed out. I'm not a music critic. But I'm an excellent pointer-outer. May as well make this a monthly thing. Or bi-monthly, given the absolutely glacial pace of change in top 10 songs lately.

So here's the American top 10 pop songs at the time of writing, as taken from Billboard's Hot 100.

(Content note: top 10 pop music and all that entails. Cultural appropriation, sexual objectification, homophobia, the lot.)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Illustrated Guide to Female Power Fantasies: Action Girl



It's the most obvious and well-known manifestation of the female power fantasy: the woman who wields the sword, stake or big-ass space gun, going into battle with the boys and kicking ass for earth, Murricah or whatever noble cause she serves. She is physically fit and powerful, has immense power of conviction and takes pride in being as good or even better at what she does than the men she runs with. She is often a main character, but not always. She's very, very visible in our entertainment and fiction, but mostly sticks to genre fiction. From this description, people of my generation can probably rattle off an endless list of them, including but definitely not limited to...




And of course the immortal God-Queens of them all:




It's almost pointless to describe Action Girl, because you know her very well. She puts the most obvious definition of power in the power fantasy. She is strong, kicks ass, and the allure of being her doesn't need much explaining.

Allow me to explain it anyway.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Day Five)


After all we've been forced to endure, I think it's about time we start wrapping this sucker up so I can get back to talking about chick flicks I actually like. I think I've made my thoughts on most of what follows abundantly clear in previous parts, so it's time for the lightning round!

Take it away Andie!




(Content note: animal abuse, heavy gender-essentialism, tears as emotional manipulation, comic book violence and a personal note on being traditionally "feminine.")

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lessons Learned From Super Market Dude


Every year when the weather turns summery and insecty, I fondly remember my one encounter with Super Market Dude. I'd call him something else, but I never learned his name. We exchanged some pleasantries a couple of years ago. That's it. But I'll always remember SMD fondly, because SMD got it right.

Summer is always a weird time for me. As the owner of several dozen sun dresses, it's always nice to get to wear them when I'm feeling femmy. As a young woman I always have to weigh my desire to go loose and breezy with my emotional capacity to deal with catcalling. (If the latter isn't high enough, I'll brave the summer heat in jeans and a loose shirt, sad as that is.) But that day I was alright with it. I just had to go to the store to pick up some party supplies for my theater group.

(Content note: approaching female-presenting strangers in public)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Three Excuses For Female Objectification That Don't Hold Up



I argue a lot about women's issues and social justice, and objectification especially. I don't mean to argue, but that's where the conversation usually goes, mostly because these three chestnuts replace all my words with pissed off glaapr, oorghg.

(Content note: nude and sexually explicit images, objectification in advertising, "equally objectified", swearing, Rob Liefeld)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

This is the worst decision I have ever made


And my groin is itching like fuck.

If you ever find yourself thinking, "you know what, I'll try it just this once, millions of people do it every day and they're just fine, let's see what the fuss is about" then fucking don't. Whatever it is you were thinking of doing, stop.


No. Stop.

So I had a sore down there. Usually that's the end of a bad decision story, but no, this is where it starts, so you know it can only get worse. It was a bad one too, all burning and oozing and red. Nasty business. And since it was on my outer labia, and I am nothing if not wholly apathetic-to-vaguely-proud about the size and shape of my glorious bush, I couldn't take care of it. A grand bush is a divine thing, because why else would God speak through them? Try and slather cream on there and it becomes a whole different beast. After trying to apply cream and ointments and band-aids it honestly looked like something Jabba the Hutt might feed his captives to. Clearly that wasn't going to work.

Long story short, I shaved my pubes.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dreams with Product Placement


My youngest sister is twenty now, but she's been watching reality TV pretty much her whole life. Well, not watching, really. She's in college right now and I'm living back home too, because of reasons. The moment she gets home, she turns on the TV and lets it play in the background for hours. Just a constant background noise of shrieking and chattering and crying. We don't even live in an English-speaking country and I swear that if I hear the phrase "and I was like, oh my gawd" one more time I'm going to hurl.

It doesn't seem to bother her. It bothers me, all this manufactured drama and cruel pageantry, but when I say something about it, it's just TV, gawd, don't be a mom, mom.

See, I made the huge mistake of commenting on this stuff earlier. I wasn't kind about it. She took it very personally, like I was calling her out for being sexist, racist, classicist and consumerist instead of the producers of these shows. I unintentionally set her up to agree with everyone else in my family who think that women should be women (whatever that means.) She and my mom have labeled me an extremist. It hurts down to the marrow of my bones, but what can you do?

So I don't comment anymore. She's a grown woman, she can watch whatever the hell she likes without my permission or comments. For the last year or so though, I do keep finding things to do in the living room, just to see what she's watching. Sue me. That's my baby sister. She's all grown now, but fuck you if you think being a big sister stops when they go to college. With a mom who's staunchly anti-feminist, I just want to know what sort of stuff she gets pumped into her head for over nine hours a day.

It's not pretty. Here's some of the stuff I've seen during the last year or so of totally inconspicuously lurking behind the couch.

(Content note: physical violence against women, female bisexuality for male consumption, ableism, consumerism, chivalry, slurs of all kinds, discussion of cultural indoctrination. Illustrated with Youtube clips)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Day Four)


Ben masticates like a cow on meth.

It's got nothing to do with deconstructing this movie. I just noticed is all. If I were the producer of this movie I'd keep him away from food, because if his lower jaw were moving around any more independently it would get its own SAG card.




Onward and downward. Day four is upon us, Andie and Ben have another date scheduled, because this movie is nothing if not depressingly repetitive, let's get on with it, I barely care anymore. What the hell else am I doing to fuck up my relationship, Andie?


Make Him Miss the Sports Thing


Motherfucker. Didn't we cover this already? Because I feel like we've covered this already. It must be a double-plus ungood supermistake all women make. Otherwise why put so much emphasis on it? Trope-laden misogyny? Nah.

(Content note: explored sexist tropes include female tears as blackmail, division of labor in shared households, making him miss the sports thing, taking over his private space. The movie makes light of eating disorders and touches on fat-phobia. Implied physical abuse. Elevatorgate. Giant clitoris. Gender essentialism. Swearing. Kink reference. Drug reference. Batman.)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Love Letters: The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad


I saw Kill Bill: Volume One when I was sixteen, maybe seventeen, and I knew I had changed.

At the time, I couldn't put my finger on it. I kind of realized that I was watching the ultimate Dork Action-Porn Extravaganza. I vaguely realized this movie was made by a complete and utter nerd. I did notice that this movie was different. There were no Star Spangled Splosions, no gruff tough guy with personality of a plate of dry pasta growling sexist things at the strictly decorative "love" interest. I knew in my gut that this was a movie for My Kind of People, even if I didn't know who my people were back then. (I know now. It's dorks. Massive unrepentant dorks.)




Most of all I didn't give a damn. It was one of those rare movies that made my brain shut off and let me cringe and cheer and gasp on a very basic, primal level, no intellectualizing required. And that's weird for me, because I love over-analyzing inconsequential pop culture stuff. At the time it was one of the most visceral things I had ever seen. It demanded that I sit down and shut up, pay attention to this ultra-violent nerdfest, and my brain obliged.

(Content note: links to extreme movie violence and gore, embedded images of mild movie violence, discussion of gender essentialism, swearing, ableist slurs and language)

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Case For Pageant Culture as a Manifestation of Patriarchal Indoctrination in Prepubescent Female-Identifying Children and the Social Consequences Thereof: A Persuasive Essay By Clementine Danger (Age 28)


Sometimes there's a lot of frustration radiating from background of common Google searches.




I like to imagine one frustrated Googler growing ever more desperate to be definitively persuaded that putting prepubescent girls on a stage in sexy outfits and rating them by how well they shake their peach-fuzzed hairsprayed booty to All The Single Ladies is a bad idea.

Allow this blogger to set you free from this prison of your own making.

Yes.

The answer is yes.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Illustrated Guide to Female Power Fantasies: The Disney Princess


A lot of ink has been spilled over what sort of message the Princess narrative imparts on young girls and how is shapes their perception of romantic love and womanhood. And as a company that pretty much holds a monopoly on animated nostalgia, Disney has some pretty vested interests in this discussion. But that's not the discussion I want to get into here. We're dealing with female power fantasies.

For the purposes of this post, I'm going to be looking at the Classic Disney and Disney Renaissance movies that really cemented the formula that Disney created and crowned them the undisputed God-King of children's media for a good long while. So to be clear, the official princesses starting with the earliest feature length Disney movie and ending with the end of the Disney Renaissance are Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan. (Although Pocahontas often disappears from the line-up. She's sort of a B-squad princess.)





The Illustrated Guide to Female Power Fantasies: Introduction



I've always been fascinated by the concept of power fantasies.

In essence, they're very simple things: daydreams we slip into when reality sucks and we allow ourselves to imagine what our perfect world and perfect selves would be like if we were in charge of every single aspect of it.




As such, power fantasies are intensely personal things. I'd go so far as to say that no two people will share the same. But there is overlap, there are archetypes, and the concept of female power fantasies especially is something that is being widely discussed, directly as well as indirectly.

Now that women are slowly (way too fucking slowly) gaining ground and claiming their voice in pop culture, and geek subculture especially, we're seeing more and more conversations and controversies about the depiction of women in media. And as women, who are not a monolith, we are extraordinarily fragmented when it comes to what we want to see and how we want to be depicted in fiction. The same archetype of a powerful women can go very right and very wrong, but still have the same basic desire at its core.




Take for example the character of Buffy. Devoid of all context, some will praise the show for having a (literally and figuratively) strong young woman as a protagonist. Others will be offended by the egregious violence continuously heaped upon her in the course of the show. The very same character can summon a host of different reactions, but she is rooted in an archetype: the Action Girl.

So I'm going to take a stab at discussing these types, the problems they present and the specifically female-oriented wishes they help fulfill in our fantasies to the best of my ability. But before I do that, I want to clarify a few things about how I'm going to go about that.


Defining Power Fantasies




When I use the term "power fantasy", I am specifically referring to a character active in a context that we the audience project ourselves onto in order to feel powerful, vindicated, dominant, or otherwise uplifted in contrast to others. In other words, a power fantasy is escapist in nature. It allows us to either pretend in our minds that we have more power than we realistically possess, or to cheer for those who do.

Power, in this context, is used in its broadest possible sense. Physical power is part of it. So is social power, financial power, emotional strength, any inherent and/or earned trait that gives a person expanded agency relative to us. Basically, the more you can get away with, the more power you have. Buffy may be physically strong, and her status as Chosen One gives her leverage over every other human on the planet, but she does not have the same type of power that, say, Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada possesses.




The characters inhabiting and exemplifying this power fantasy are not audience surrogates. They are not blank slates for us to project ourselves onto. They are quite the opposite: forceful characters in one way or another, exercising their power to achieve a personal agenda.


On Female Empowerment


God, that's a nebulous term.

There's a lot of clear real-life examples of movements and landmarks that objectively represent female empowerment, suffrage and bodily autonomy being two of the most obvious. It's definitely a thing that exists in real life, and at it's core, it simply describes any action undertaken to secure autonomy for female-identifying people.

In fiction though, it becomes a whole lot less useful. Like I said before, power fantasies are intensely personal. One woman's power fantasy is another woman's living nightmare.




I'm working from the assumption that depictions of female power fantasies are only very, very rarely inherently empowering. They are not the thing that leads to female-identifying people gaining more autonomy, they are the result of it. Fiction and media, especially TV and movies, have a strong trend of being a couple of years behind the times when it comes to social issues. Part of the reason for it is that TV and movies are ridiculously expensive to produce, and in order to get their investment back, they have to play it safe and not risk alienating large portions of the audience by showing things that are controversial and unfamiliar.  

So I'm not saying it's impossible for media depictions of women to be empowering to individual women. I am saying that these depictions will almost always limp behind the actual social change that allowed them to be depicted at all. And that's the reason why I won't be using the word "empowering" in this series.

On Author Intent


Author intent matters, but discussing that particular aspect of interpretations of characters usually leads down a very muddled and foggy path. It's rarely possible to know exactly what a creator intended to do when creating a certain character, so the role of author intent is going to be addressed only in the broadest of terms.




Instead of relying on what they may or may not have meant to do, I'm going to be drawing from audience perception of strongly archetypal characters. It's hardly less subjective, but media analysis isn't ever an exact science. Since I'm going to be looking at archetypes and not individual characters, I find it more worthwhile to tie them to social movements and cultural patterns than to shackle them to the intent of a scattered few individual creators.

Like I said, in individual cases, author intent matters to some degree. But we're not going to be looking at individual cases.


With that said, let's start in the most unlikely of places:






The Good Guy Rapist


A few days ago I visited an ex whom I hadn't seen in over five years. I don't really know why it had been so long, because we always get along great. I can honestly say we split up because we were incompatible in our life plans and nothing else.

Speaking of incompatible creatures getting along just fine, here's a baby monkey cuddling with his bestest friend to balance out all the horribleness behind the cut.

D'aw.





(Content note: rape, rape culture, rape apologism)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Day Three)


"The horse shit continues!" shouts Ben's boss at the dawn of day three. I give Ben's boss five stars.

Welcome back to Ben and Andie's circus of abuse and deception, and we're on to the next act, another one of those things us pesky ladies pull out of our rancid grab bag of adorable torture. Take it away, Andie! What else can I do to drive Mr. Danger and any man before him just absolutely potty?


Engineer his physical assault




Oh, well, obviously.

You know how it is, ladies. Your man, that beast of a creature that farts in your couch and is adorably baffled at tampons, well, he's quite a catch. But how do you know he's really Teh 1? Clearly you owe it to yourself and the relationship to goad other men into beating him. How else will you know?

(Content note: gendered slurs, misogyny, brief physical violence)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Eclipse Phase Bans MRAs From Forum, Receives Cookies


It's only been about a year, maybe two years since I tearfully left my internet home, a delightfully geeky roleplaying forum, because I was simply too tired to deal with the aggressively anti-feminist, casually sexist bullshit of even the kindest members of the geek community anymore. It was one of the saddest things I ever had to do, leaving another place I loved because the price of admission was just too high. So believe me when I say I feel amazed, suspicious, elated, guarded and carefully ecstatic when I begin seeing signs of change.

Change such as deeply geeky forums not putting up with the most egregious of bullshit anymore.

Here's our stance: If you self-define as an MRA, please fire yourself as an Eclipse Phase fan. We don't want you. We want our forums to be open and inclusive, and we don't see the point of debating with you anymore. You have other places on the internet where you can wallow in the awfulness of your male privilege.

The comments, of course, are awful. I, of course, am feeling happy and thankful and a little bit better about the world. If you do too, go give Eclipse Phase some love any way you see fit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gendered Advertising Mashup


I could talk for hours about gendered marketing and advertising towards kids. Literally, hours. Shouting will happen. Phrases like "cultural indoctrination" will be used in earnest. But why talk when I could just show?

All videos and audio courtesy of the Gendered Advertising Remixer. Go try it out. It's a hoot and a half.















Thursday, May 22, 2014

Natasha, Pepper, Jane, And The Importance of Not Settling For Less


Privately, I've been very critical about the roles assigned to the womenfolk in the Marvel movie universe. I've been publicly critical on one occasion about the upcoming Agent Carter show. And I have a complicated relationship with the Marvel movies. On the one hand, I think they are the most kick-ass thing since Tony Jaa lost his elephant. On the other hand, I am constantly and persistently frustrated with how safe these movies play it with their cookie cutter villains and tame, boring, setpiece-oriented plots with holes the size of S.H.I.E.L.D. carriers. On the third mutant hand, I think Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger could easily crack my top fifty movies of all time. At the end of the day though, it's a movie series I have given a lot of thought. I dare say at least as much as Gavia Baker-Whitelaw has when she talks about Black Widow and her treatment by the critics.




(Content note: heavy spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers and Thor: The Dark World)

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Day One and Two)


Before I start part two (part one being right here) I'm going to start by repeating two very, very important things to remember throughout:

  1. Neither of the leads has any idea that the other is horrible. As far as they know, they are emotionally manipulating and abusing an innocent person.
  2. Andie is not just being generically horrible to get Ben to dump her. She is writing a piece about common mistakes women make that drive men away.

I'm going to be banging that particular drum a whole lot, and it will get old soon enough, but I'm going to do it anyway. Because it's so very important to remember how loathsome these people are and how hollow, creepy and downright depressing this comedy is. Off we go. How do we lose a guy in ten days, Andie?


Change Your Mind About Consenting to Sex


....

Holy shit, movie.

Ho. Ly. Shit.

(Content note: slut-shaming, brief mention of rape and consent issues, Ben and Andie are loathsome.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Privilege Check: a Funny Card Game (But You Wouldn't Get It)


(EDIT 4/6/2014: I encourage you to read the comments, where the creator of the game explains their position.)

(EDIT 10/1/2015: also this)


Sometimes, when the planets align just right and the sun is out and my dog is being the cutest, I find myself thinking that this whole social justice thing is going to be alright. People are speaking up, laws are being passed, ground is gained. Give it another, oh, let's say 200 years and maybe we'll get somewhere. My teaspoons are helping! Excelsior!

Other days, I get emails from my favorite Indie RPG site advertising this shit:




It is a truth universally acknowledged that you cannot win an argument on the internet. This common presumption is, however, incorrect. It is perfectly possible to win an argument on the internet, not by being right or by using evidence, but by the simple expedient of being more oppressed than anyone else. 
Not oppressed in the actual meaning of being oppressed, but rather how many minority groups demographics you can cram yourself into. If you're the most oppressed, nobody can hope to challenge anything you say or think without being a horrible bigot. 
Privilege Check is a game that recreates this phenomenon by setting the players against each other to compete in order to be the least privileged person at the table and, thus, to win while the most privileged person at the table is dubbed the 'Shitlord'. These cards can also be used to create random Tumblr profiles. 
All the fun of a knock-down, drag-out, 'social justice' argument on the internet, even when you don't have access to wifi!

And I kind of want to quit this whole "advocacy" thing and make a life for myself farming beets on Jupiter. I'll have a funny little star pet named Dirk and we'll be best friends and wear matching sweaters and be so happy far away from the fuckery of these earth beasts.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chick Flick Deconstruction: How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (Introduction)

Ugh.

UUUUUGGGHHH.

Alright.




Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the "How To" beat for "Composure" magazine and is assigned to write an article on "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days." They meet in a bar shortly after the bet is made.

Ugh.

I kind of made a deal with myself when I started these chick flick deconstructions, and indeed this blog. I wanted to be positive, highlight movies that are sold as dippy crap but have a real core of worthwhile messages and characters underneath. I wanted to shine a light on the fact that just because a movie is for women doesn't mean it's vapid and toxic.

But this movie keeps coming up in all the lists of Top However Many Chick Flicks Of All Time, and it certainly does fit my three criteria, down to the unofficial fourth rule that its another one of those movies that critics hate but people love. So I decided to give it a go, hoping to be pleasantly surprised, as I often am when it comes to these movies. I ended up regretting every single solitary second of it. This thing is vile. It is actively malicious. It is hateful. As I watched it, thick black poison oozing from the DVD drive, I became keenly aware of the minutes and brain cells burned from my life like warts from my ass, and it was no less painful. This movie is so socially backwards I suspect it is secretly a magic incantation to bend time and kill Susan B. Anthony. It is so anti-feminist I went to the kitchen and made a sandwich. So why am I deconstructing it on my happy blog of butterflies and unicorn farts? Because I had to watch it. I suffered. And I'm taking you all down with me.

Gender Essentialism: the Movie. It's about how women are like this and men are like that and what about them airline peanuts? Coincidentally it is also the exact combination of sequential images and noises evil scientists implanted in my subconscious to trigger my secret superpower as a hulking rage-beast. I had to watch the entire thing in five minute chunks, because I saved up a lot of money to buy a nice laptop and punching it would be financially irresponsible. It didn't help, because even when it wasn't playing I could hear the movie mocking me from the confines of the disk.

"You like shoes," it whispered. "You love them more than pink ribbons and shiny things and boys. You shameful cow."

UUUGGGGHHHHH!

Let's go.

(Content note: everything. Just... everything. But mostly gender essentialism, fat-shaming, internalized misogyny in women, gendered slurs, swearing, shoddy journalism, Pussy Golem.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Love Letters: Colonel Samantha Carter


It seems like everyone in the world had childhood heroes and role models except for me.

I hear people talk about the characters that influenced them as children, the characters they looked up to and couldn't wait to see again and again, and I feel so left out you guys. Partially because I didn't grow up with the media the internet typically associates with the early 90s, but mostly because it just didn't work out that way for me. I just don't remember sitting down in front of the TV for one specific character and my candy-addled brain popping an aneurysm every time so-and-so appeared on screen. Except maybe Lisa Simpson? I also had an abusive dickhead brother who everyone liked a lot more than they should. I related to her, I guess. But only in the sense that I desperately did not want to be like her.


But looking back now, as an adult, there was one other character that did it for me. Whenever my mother would let me (which wasn't often, she really doesn't approve of forehead-prosthetic sci-fi silliness) and whenever the Belgian networks deigned to air the shows they actually scheduled to air (even less often), I would watch Stargate SG-1. 


If the theme song isn't playing in your head right now, we can't be friends. Oh, we'll be civil and
pleasant. But we won't be friends.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Give me an O! Give me a B! Give me a J.E.C.T.I.F.I.C.A.T.I.O.N. O.F. F.E.M.A.L.E. A.T.H.L.E.T.E.S!

I've always had a complicated relationship with professional sports. Growing up in a country where the national sport was soccer didn't help.

On the one hand, I like to gather round the TV in face paint and cheer for our guys while eating snacks as much as the next person. I like looking at people in peak physical condition and admiring them for it. As a person who was never any good at anything that requires me to move away from my keyboard, I always had a lot of respect for people who had it in them to train and train and work and work until they become exceptional at something. Go Patriots.

These people are objectively better at the American rugby game than
whichever guys you support! Woot!

But then again, it's... a bit of a boy's game, isn't it? And I don't just mean that in my country I was discouraged from watching and participating in sports because get back in the kitchen. Professional sports is more brutally gender-segregated than Summerisle. For strength-based sports, that maybe makes a modicum of sense perhaps. (Although not much more than that. How big is a modicum? Like, pea-sized? That seems about right.) But with endurance- and finesse-based sports like soccer and tennis and gymnastics and golf and the other 95% of all professional sports, I don't see the reason. Other than hur hur, girls can't dunk.

But throughout all that, there's was one group of professional athletes that I could turn to just to feel good about the whole affair: cheerleaders.

These people!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Damn Unpretty

Good morning, the internet.

Do you like old stuff? The nineties? Sure you do.


TW: eating disorders, medical coercion


TLC and their alien techno-temple never fully made it to my neck of the woods, but this was back when MTV played music videos, like, all the time. So I sure do remember this song. And, not gonna lie, it ruled my life for a brief window of time in 1999, which is 15 years ago, and I'm old, and so are you.

(Content note: discussion of unfair beauty standards, gendered slurs)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Just So You Know


There is a sexy vampire romance movie in the world currently, in which Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play said sexy vampires.





I'll be in my bunk.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

NBC's Constantine Trailer Promises More of the Same


So the trailer for the new NBC series Constantine is out:





Now I need to be clear here: I hate every second of it. Just everything, from the fact that we're getting yet another genre show about a Very Important Dude and the incompetent lady Muggle he drags around right up to the bit where I yell at my screen that ECT does not work that way! You hacks!

Chick Flick Deconstruction: Practical Magic (Part Three)

Last time on Practical Magic: the aunts are evil, sisterhood happens, and an abusive asshole gets killed. Twice. It was lovely.

Wait, isn't this a romantic comedy?




So it is!

(Content note: partner abuse, gendered slurs, Jimmy gets killed some more, and wouldn't you know it, even more magical removal of agency)


Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Continued Adventures of Agent Carter: Elite S.H.I.E.L.D. Administrative Assistant

I didn't talk about it here, but recently there's been some angry murmurings about the new star wars cast looking for all the world like a hearty English breakfast of white bread and sausage.


And so the rule of one woman and one PoC per trilogy continues. That's understandable. I don't like it any more than you do, but the law is the law.

And while I'm personally inclined to keep my opinions to myself until we get to see the finished project, even I had to offer an emphatic COME ON.

So with that on my mind, I was a lot less disappointed than I would otherwise have been when this short synopsis of the new ABC show Marvel's Agent Carter fell into my inbox:

It's 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life--Steve Rogers.

That sure is a lot of sausage in my clambake.

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