Category Archives: Regular Stuff

Every day stuff that anyone can experience, but in this case it happens to me.

The One About David Hon and His Dumb Article

It seems as if I am writing more and more of these responses than usual. Perhaps it is because there is a general increase of idiocy floating across my awareness than usual. Yay internet. Anyway, this most recent example is this oh-so-valiant article written by journalist David Hon, chronicling his reasons for not wanting to date a Feminist.

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Mmkay. Let’s go with that.

Even though there is just so, so much to unpack with this one, I am going to address one element which seems to continue to raise its ugly head, the one continuing misunderstanding about Feminism, which is mentioned in the very first sentence of the article.

“If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you’re going to find it.”

-David Hon

Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that one can literally replace the word ‘man’ in this sentence with any noun and it would still work. Go ahead. Try it.

“If you look for a reason to hate hats, children, television, squids, bananas, motorcycles, Facebook, religion, eggs, Ghostbusters, round earth theory….. chances are you’re going to find it.”   

See? It works with anything. He did not stumble across some great secret tenant of feminism. Sorry.

But the truth is, and it is really, really sad that this even has to be explained, feminists don’t ‘hate men’. That is a diversionary tactic and quite an old one at that. There is so much information out there about what feminism stands for that not getting it reeks of ignorance.

In all actuality, we love men.

Love them.

You know why? Because the men that we surround ourselves with are awesome! These are the men who get it, who hear what we have to say, who recognize the inequalities surrounding us (all of us) on a daily basis. These men will change a diaper with the same skill and mental prowess as they would use to change a tire. These men know that taking care of their own children is called ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting for mom’.

These men will hold a door open, but not because of patriarchal expectations of chivarly, but because they happened to be in front. They will not only watch the movie, but maybe even shed a tear when the dog dies. They will read the thing and talk about it after. They will acknowledge the culture of objectification surrounding women and little girls, the patriarchal gender norms which damages all children, girls and boys. They notice how difficult it is to find a Black Widow action figure to go with their son’s collection of Avengers toys. They realize how difficult it is that their partner can’t walk to the library without getting harrassed.

It is because of the existence of these men that we know bad behavior is not somehow inherient to male-dom. It is because of these men, that we know it is possible to function in the complex state of existing-while-human, to encompase traits of empathy without compromising one’s masculinity. (or compromising it, if that’s your thing).

When we draw attention to the inequalities surrounding us, we are not saying ‘We hate men’. We are saying, do better, and we are holding you accountable because we know it can be done. We know you can do better, because we are surrounded by those who do. Not only is it possible, but it’s also not all that difficult. I mean, look around.

Daniel Radcliffe gets it.

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John Legend gets it.

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George R.R. Martin gets it.

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Joss Whedon gets it.

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Even Sir Patrick Stewart gets it.

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And perhaps most importantly (to me anyway), this guy right here gets it.

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Free Comic Book Day 2016

In conclusion, it has been my experience that we as a culture are more prone to demonizing those who point out inequality, than we are to take a moment of self-reflection, examining in what ways we might be contributing to the problem. Furthermore, if you have a vocal outloud feminist in your life, congratulations. You made the cut. If not… well. I’m sure that’s purely by choice, right?

 

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Unfriended Me Over Ghostbusters

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Yes, I’m talking to you now, but don’t think it’s because you are special in any way. I’m singling you out, even though you conducted yourself like nothing more than a common internet troll, because once upn a time we were friends, real-life, face-to-face friends. Something I assumed to still be true, right up until the moment you unfriended me. Over Ghostbusters. I want to be clear, I was perhaps a bit stunned at first, but I have long since moved past that, since you have so clearly shown your true colors.

Prior to that moment, I made the obviously erroneous assumption that we operated on an equal playing field. That if you commented with brash boldness, that I could reply with brash boldness. If you began name calling, I could reply in kind. After all, it’s all in good fun, right? You posted to my wall, and I posted to yours.

I’ve posted about a lot of things on my Facebook timeline. Some of it had to do with feminist stuff. Some of it has to do with fandom. I’ve posted about Star Wars. I’ve posted about Firefly. I’ve posted about the Dark Tower movie coming up staring Idris Elba. I’ve posted about how people are outraged that Rowland is cast by black actor, Idris Elba, when it is assumed he is white in the book. I’ve posted about the outrage aimed back at the original outrage. I’ve posted about how the media skews headlines to meet an agenda regardless of what the truth may be. I’ve posted about #blacklivesmatter. I’ve posted about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and I have even stated that I think we might face another holocaust if Donald Trump is elected. I have posted about lots of things. Yet, out of all these things, it is Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters! Which pushed you over the edge.

For whatever reason, the presence of a post about Ghostbusters seemed to offend you to the point of mouth-foaming frenzy. You claimed that “we” made this about “us” (Us being feminists, I guess?) Even though it is wildly documented repeatedly across the internet that this movie, much like other movies with female leads, was targeted by anti-feminist groups.

You stated that if something is to be equal, then men must be included too. Okay, sure let’s examine that for a minute. Women make up 50% of the population of the planet. That’s half. That means there are an equal amount of women existing as there are men. You with me so far? Good. Yet, they only take up 30% of speaking roles in movies. That is out of a survey of 7000 characters out of 300 movies, and only 15% in lead roles. So we’re still seeking that elusive equality of which you speak. This is of course, ignoring the fact that men were “included” way back in 1984 when Ghostbusters was released starring an all male cast.

 

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“Circle, circle, dot, dot! Now I got my cootie shot!”

If by chance, you were referring to being included in the discussion itself, you were plenty included in that as well. You began with the name calling and the accusations. When I responded to them, (see above) you then claimed that I was incapable of responding to a critical discussion. I am fully capable of that.

 

You, however, did not invite critical discussion. You name called. You posted pictures of phallus-shaped objects. You insisted that me and my friends show you our vagina because all feminists are all about showing off the vag, you said. (Why do people think we have some kind of hive mind? We are not bees.) You called us fat and ugly (an outdated and, quite frankly, lazy attempt at insult). And yet, you said I was the one incapable of critical discussion.

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And then, when things got too hot to handle, you shared my post to one of your other accounts, which I guess you forgot I was following. This prompted the beginning of the threatening language from your friends, followed closely by the unfriending. After all, I assumed a level playing field. Guess not.

All this becuase I posted stuff akin to what I usually post. A little bit of fandom. And a little bit of critical discourse. Why did that bother you so much, I wonder.

What is even more laughable is you actually used the sad argument that this remake ruined your childhood. Ruined. Your Childhood. That’s some serious gravy right there. You marked yourself when you said that. You claimed solidarity with all the legitimate trolls who flooded Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and other sites to bash and downvote the movie before it was even released. It is one thing if someone watched it and legitimately did not care for it, but to go out of your way to sabotage a film which may not pander directly to your market is nothing less than that of a little boy throwing a fit and nailing the “no girls allowed” sign on his tree house

.

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“Except Mommy”

 

This may be tough for you to understand, what with having the majority of media represent you in a positive light and all, but the new Ghostbusters was made just as much for you as the old one was made for me.

Take that in for a moment. If that makes you feel left out somehow, then welcome to the club, brah. Think about it.

No one excluded you… except you.

For the record, I enjoyed the old Ghostbusters. Why? Because I possess the capacity to idenfify with characters who exist in a different demographic than myself. Women, minorities, gay people, trans people are constantly exptected to look to the white teethed CWM manly hero types as the driving force. In fact, if we want to take part in a fandom we kind of don’t have a choice in the matter. So when we do get a snippet of representation, we get a little bit happy. The playing field is not level. Not yet. So stop pretending it is.

Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my fandom. Just as outloud as I do any other fandom. Not participating in any way is an okay option for you. I genuinely wish you well. Sadly, I don’t expect the same from you.

 

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“Let’s bust some Ghosts!”

 

 

BANNED!!!

Well, this is a first…

A couple of days ago, I am scrolling through my Facebook feed, as I do and I come across a post, responding to the bathroom debate. This post strikes a chord with me and so I repost it. I click through to the original post, and I find that it is in the early stages of going viral. I believe it was stated that it had been shared 15,000 times in the first 24 hours. That’s viral, y’all.

Then, some time later, I return to facebook to find that I have been completely logged out. When I go through the steps to log back in, a page sized warning appears, containing the very post which I already know has gone viral. I have already posted it twice as the original poster has said that hers had been removed several times as well. Okay, fine. I log back in. Now I don’t consider myself TOO MUCH of an online activist. I have at most dabbled in the whole SJW scene, but this post was good. Very good. Like Killer Martinis good, and obviously, I am not the only one to think so.

I reposted it. Last night I opened my phone for one quick check. Once again I have been completely logged out. Once I go through all the steps to log back in I receive a page sized warning that I have been BANNED from Facebook for 24 hours, and the offending post is named as the reason. Much eye-rolling ensued. This is a description of one person’s perception of her own experience. Nothing more.

So why then, did it continue to be removed? One of the warnings I received stated that it contained “nudity or descriptions of nudity”. Unlike, for example, the group I found rather easily who’s description contains a well-known slur and who’s icon depicts a celebration of rape? Or another page which contains memes such as one describing the “perfect date” followed by a picture of a chloroform bottle, a black van, and a forest. Both pages show followers in the thousands. These are just two examples.

Checking out facebook’s  Community Standards pinpoints objections towards nudity and hate speech as I was informed in my wrist slap ban notice. Apparently rape threats do not constitute hate speech? I cannot fathom what within this post would constitute nudity or hate speech, especially compared to what is already so easily found on the social media platform.

My intention is to re-post the offending letter here, but I do wish to gain permission from the original author for doing so. As I have been banned from facebook for the time being, I cannot contact anyone through the platform. But a quick Bing search of the name Kasey Rose-Hodge should give you a long list of the various outlets which have picked up the story. Why would this be banned so vehemently and consistently by a platform which encourages “People [to] use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices.” What do you think?

EDIT: The number of shares has been updated to 15,000 in the first 24 hours. The post originally said 4500.

 

Goals For the Day

I’m sitting in my “quiet office” as I call the space I use away from my home, staring out the open door to the green of the trees, enjoying the still cool fall morning. I have a boat load of work to do. And so I post here for a dab of accountability.

Pro work: 7K

Zstory: 1K

Be outside: 1 hour.

I’ll check back later to see how I have done.

Cheers everyone!

Movie Review: Thale (2012)

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In an effort to expand the influence of our media input we stumbled across a little gem on Netflix, the 2012 Norwegian Thriller, Thale. We were first introduced to the joys of Norwegian Independent film a couple of years ago when we watched the runaway thriller, Troll Hunter. If you have not seen that one yet, go see it. Now. Since we had so thoroughly enjoyed the first we decided to check this one out. Thale did not disappoint in any way. So far Norwegian films are two for two, so thumbs up to Norway. (No seriously. We want to check out more films from there, so if you know of any good ones, leave it in the comments for us.)

At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Elvis and Leo, two members of a crime scene clean up crew. Things get gruesome early on. Fair warning for the squeamish. Leo is the senior of the two and it is established fairly early that Elvis is filling in for someone else and this is not his usual assignment. When they arrived at a cabin in the middle of the woods to collect the remains of the deceased, they discover a series of evidence that unravels more questions than answers. Starting with the discovery of a hidden underground bunker the two men stumble across a collection of old canned goods, stacks of medical dictionaries and a mysterious young woman hidden within.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the movie is impressive on multiple levels. We were instantly hooked, and the themes ranged from delving into Norwegian Folklore (quite heavily), to the two men dealing with their own personal issues threaded throughout the film. One of the reasons I have always loved indie films is that the filmmakers have little to work with and must choose where they want their talents to shine. Thale is no exception. Set in a small underground setting the film captures the claustrophobic feel that the characters must be experiencing, the tedium, anxiety and confusion of Elvis and Leo is undeniably felt by the viewer, but it is the character of Thale that is the true prize of the film evoking both sympathy, mystery and terror.

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The title character is played in brilliant form by the mesmerizing Silje Reinamo. What struck me the most about her performance is how much she says without saying a word. Traumatized by her ordeal she remains for the most part mute throughout, unable to share her story with the two men who find her. Just about every scene that she is in she demands the centrality of the movie with just her presence and expression. She is for the most part of the film, silent, naked and outnumbered, but not for a moment did the filmmakers treat her as anything less than a powerful entity in her own right. Watching her made me have one of those moments in which I wanted to fall into the movie and give myself completely to the story. Unfortunately I could not help but wonder if the film were to become Americanized or remade, how would they go about ruining it, sexualizing the character and making her a victim. In this film Thale is anything but. I shall spare the readers my internal rant.

There is a good bit of nudity but no sexual scenario whatsoever. Filmed in Norway the movie does contain subtitles, but most of the best movies have subtitles anyway. There are some elements of subtle humor. At one point I felt like Elvis was having a Dante moment reminiscent of Clerks. (“I’m not even supposed to BE here today!”) So if you like foreign films, films with strong female characters, Indie films, Fantasy Thrillers with a little bit of mystery, have a look at Thale. You will not be disappointed.

Overall I give Thale a solid 9 out of 10 popcorn boxes.

I Don’t Want to be a Feminist Any More

What do you call a woman flying a plane?

Give up?

A Pilot.

Most of you who are familiar with me on any level know that I am a pretty vocal feminist for the most part. It has been a gradual evolution over the course of my life and I won’t go into the details of it at this time. The thing is that once you step into that, once your eyes are opened to the reality of what it means to be a female in America, the constant media input as to what the expectations are about your body, your behavior, your role in society in relation to those around you, be they other women, men, children, your boss, your subordinates, etc. Once you see that you cannot unsee it.

There are constant reminders that it is the job of the female to exist in a state of constant prettiness as determined by outside forces, even to the detriment of her own sense of self-worth, physical well being and personal autonomy, and ignoring any body of knowledge, training or skills that said woman may possess.

Some time ago I stumbled across an opportunity to submit an essay to a contest, the subject being Feminist Utopia. My first thoughts were, hey, I’m a writer and a feminist. This should be easy!

But I sat down to write it, and…. nothing.

The more I thought about what a feminist utopia actually means to me in my very heart of hearts, the more I realized that a feminist utopia is…. utopia. Just a regular old plain vanilla utopia. Everyone has plenty of what they want and they get to live their lives according to their own choosing. For anyone and everyone. That’s it. That’s all.

Some time ago I walked to the library by myself. On the way I got catcalled no less than five times. Do I think it happened because I’m just so danged attractive as to cause people to descend into some primal mating response of making loud noises with so as to attract a viable female? No. I don’t think that.

To tell you the truth I cannot no matter how much I try figure out why people cat call. Has there ever in the history of the human race been an instance in which the woman stops what she is doing and chases down the car to gather the phone number of the catcaller because she was some overcome with desire? I don’t know. Not to my knowledge. The message I received after about the third cat call was that I am not allowed to be out in the world, simply existing in my own skin without inviting commentary no matter how rudimentary it may be. I am not allowed to walk down the street alone with my own thoughts without the shrill reminder thrown at me from passing car windows that I do not belong to myself.

Just ignore it.

Okay and then what. One has to have a certain level of awareness to ones surroundings when walking, whether it be in the woods, down a side walk, through a parking lot, through the middle of the tundra, wherever. As human animals it is vital to be aware of one’s surroundings. To “ignore” outside noises is irresponsible to one’s baser instincts of self protection. Sure, I could just keep walking without responding, but this is not the same as “ignoring”. The damage has already been done. The happy observation of the blue jay just up ahead has been interrupted. The idea that I was rolling around for another novel has been cut short. The inevitable sense of danger that raises the ‘fight or flight’ instinct has already been triggered. Ignoring is just not an option.

Take it as a compliment.

It is so hard to address this one, because once again cat calls and wolf whistles are not compliments. They are harassment. What this statement is really saying is that you don’t have a right to be upset. You don’t have the right to feel threatened. If you do, then the problem is with you. This invalidates a persons reaction probably more than any other statement, because not only are you forced to hear the message but also you are not allowed to have your feelings about it. They are not valid and you should not feel what you feel. Not only are you subjected to receiving the unwanted attention, but you are also forced to feel how we tell you to about it.

Don’t go walking alone.

Okay. Really? I am grown woman, forty years old. I should be able to go for a walk in my own neighborhood if I want to.

Next!

Thing is, once a person is aware of it. You can’t turn it off. I would have loved, LOVED to walk through my own neighborhood without the intrusion of verbal harassment. I would love to live in a world in which my children can play with whatever toys they want to without getting the stink eye. (Guess what. As long as they are at home they already do!) I would love to watch a movie and NOT notice the plunging neck lines, the gratuitous camera angles, the badly written story lines (forced romantic elements, anyone?). I would love to live in a world in which both men and women are seen as fully encompassed human beings, fully capable of existing within their own agency.

Someone asked me recently if I was “that” kind of feminist, you know, a man hating feminist. Um…

If I want equality, which is kind of the whole point, why would I hate that which I consider equal to myself? No, I’m not that kind of feminist, and I don’t know of many who are. Not personally, not theoretically. I have yet to find that stereotype of the man-hating she-beast who berates anything male as being less than. That is just the same problem over again, and the complete opposite of the goal of feminism.

I would love to be able to relax and just exist, being in the world in the manner that I see fit without having to fight just to walk down the street. Once that becomes a reality, I will happily no longer call myself a feminist.

In the mean time…

Jem Watch 2015

Okay, so yesterday the long anticipated trailer for the live action Jem and the Holograms movie was released. Yaaaay! Said throngs of fans awaiting the much hyped event, that is until they watched the it, when the internet cried out with a great collective “Really!!??”.

For those of you not in the know, Jem and the Holograms was a cartoon series aimed at viewers between the ages seven to twelve (and up. Let’s be real.) The story starred a young girl named Jerrica Benton who tragically looses her father and inherits the music company Starlight Music and the foster home for girls, the Starlight Foundation. She also is given information which leads her to a secret underground room, revealing the large computer A.I. called Synergy. Through the magic of technology, Synergy had the ability to project a hologram onto Jerrica allowing her to become Jem, the truly outrageous pop star and lead singer of the band, Jem and the Holograms.

Of course one of the CEO’s of Starlight Music, the dastardly Eric Raymond, wants nothing more than to unseat Jerrica Benton and take over the music company for himself. He did this by coming up with various schemes involving his own star vehicle, the Misfits (Their songs are better). The resulting show consisted of wonderful chemistry between the Holograms and their enigmatic leader, fighting to keep her company while raising money to keep the home open for the poor orphans, against the archvillians the Misfits, the self centered fame hungry starlets.

Add to that the, secret identity aspect of Jerrica and Jem as only very few know that they are in fact the same person. It was Hannah Montana before Miley was even born. There was her somewhat confusing relationship with Rio, who had no idea that they both one and the same. It always made me wonder why Jem/Jerrica never had a problem with the idea of him cheating on her with herself. But it made for good television, so whatevs.

But the secret identity thing was a huge part of the show. Huge. It created tension which drove the story. Several episodes consisted of the ‘will she make it in time’ plot line in which one girl is expected to be in one place while the other has an engagement across town, or even better, when they are both expected to be in the same place at the same time, leading the viewer to wonder, what will they do??? (It’s showtime Synergy!)

Skip ahead about thirty years. We are presented with this:

Of course, this is just the trailer, and it could be misleading. But right off the bat, there are SEVERAL things very, very wrong.

One: Jerrica is an ordinary girl living a most unexceptional life. As of yet, there is not indication of any tragic backstory other than a veiled reference to absent parents. She lives with her aunt (who seems fairly attentive and caring) along with her various foster sisters in what appears to be an ordinary house (not any kind of foundation for girls or anything so high-falutin’). When Jerrica’s music is discovered, they are flown to a very L.A.-esque city (I’m assuming) to be transformed into Jem, her famous alter ego. Thing is, EVERYONE KNOWS THEY ARE THE SAME PERSON!!!! This takes away a key element of dynamic tension within the show. The relationship with Rio can now be classified as Boring McDullsville because there is no more “Who does he actually like?” The specifics of Jem/Jerrica being at odds with herself is being internalized creating a very angsty vision of the character, completely different from the confident, dynamic Jem of the original cartoon.

Two: Erica Raymond, gender flipped and played by Juliette Lewis, will probably turn out to be more evil than what this trailer hints. In the original cartoon, Eric Raymond had known Jerrica’s father as they worked together at Starlight Music. His ongoing plans to foil Jerrica’s inheritance made him that much more dastardly, as his actions betrayed the legacy of Jerrica’s father because he was his former associate. In the live action trailer, it appears that Erica is simply a regular old evil record producer, with no familial connection to the Bentons. Also, Starlight Music does not seem to be in anyway affiliated with the Benton family name or the foster home. I could be wrong. Time will tell. Removing this element of the story takes away from Jerrica’s drive to keep the foster home open and to run Starlight Music. The original Jem showed that girls could aspire to be shrewd business women and philanthropists (as well as drenched-in-pink fabulous pop stars).

Three, where the heck is Synergy? The early eighties represented a time when the nation was on the cusp of a technological boom. The dawn of the computer age presented us with dreams of new possibilities that previously had seemed impossible and magical. It was the representation of magic through technology that allowed Jerrica to turn into Jem through the use of a pair of computerized earrings. This device allowed her to communicate with the super computer Synergy and transform herself into Jem. In the trailer, there is a very brief scene in which she touches her earring and whispers the famed line “It’s showtime, Synergy.” Time will tell what that is referencing, but so far it just seems as if she is a girl with a haircut and a change of clothes. The magic has literally been eradicated from the story.

Four, where the heck are the Misfits? Every hero needs a bad guy. Batman has Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. Jem and the Holograms had the Misfits. You can’t have one without the other. This trailer indicates the equivalent of Superman roaming the streets of Metropolis wrestling with his inner turmoil of “Who am I, Clark Kent or Kal El?” That does not make for an interesting movie. The conflict has gone from Person vs. Person, to Person vs. Self. They are going to lose the supposedly targeted audience if they haven’t already.

At the end of the day, the movie may end up being scads better than the first trailor indicates. I would hope. If not, then what they have done is taken a beloved story with many appealing and empowering messages and story lines, and they have completely gutted it. They have attempted to make a movie for today’s tweens and preteens and I’m assuming girls. Problem is they have failed to recognize what today’s girl wants, a good story. I was ten when I watched the original cartoon. I knew then what a good story looked like. Today’s ten year olds have not been given as much credit.

Truly outrageous. And I don’t mean that in the good way.