advice on women

Black Woman Gladiator with Servitude Ties

@pieforhumanity asked:

I have a fantasy story with a black female MC. She is in a industry where homeless children are snatched off the streets and trained as gladiators. When they become adults they can be “rented out” as bodyguards and such. 

There are gladiators of all races and are judged by their performance. However, I realized it could be very problematic to have a black protagonist in this position, due to how similar it is to slavery in how the gladiators are treated as objects or animals. 

The race of the character was a complete coincidence bc I created the character before I created the plot. And the whole system is shown to be corrupt, kind of like a fantasy dystopian society. 

I wouldn’t want to take away diversity from the story by making her white, but still, this greatly worries me and I’m really unsure if I should continue the story as is. Do you have any advice on how to handle the situation? Is it like super offensive and problematic? (I’m so sorry if it is!)

The first thing that comes to mind is, would this be representation I’d want to read as a Black person? This really is a concept we get too much to be a mere coincidence and it makes me wonder what would be best to do. 

In terms to debunking harmful tropes it would best be left to a Black author who has their own lived experiences to find the right nuances, points and areas to focus on and sensitivity to write this so it’s not jarring even with the best of intentions. And with a premise and protag like this you really need that sensitivity and knowledge to give it different from all the other harmful representation we get. 

Another thing that comes to mind is that it would be great if your Black MC is not dehumanized in your writing, even if other characters are. This story needs a fully developed and complex character and they need agency, even if it’s limited by their situation. Allow them to be vulnerable too, no Strong Black Woman nonsense here.

But most of all you’ll need to think about if this would be a story your readers would like to read. Ask yourself: is this representation Black women are looking forward to reading?

~ Mod Alice

honestly, i’m much more confident now, im still a depressed fuck and i hate myself, but, i go out in public in a dress and lipstick and i am not scared. the looks make me feel bad, but i have to keep in mind “if they hurt me or touch me in an inappropriate way, that shit is illegal. i don’t have to worry, dont let your fears get the best of you.” And it is really such an improvement. I know alot of other trans women don’t get over stuff that easily, and i want all of you girls 2 know, you are beautiful and you look so great in that dress. Those looks? They mean NOTHING, if a gross man comes up to you and starts harassing you or touching you inappropriately, MAKE A GODDAMN SCENE IF YOU ARE IN AN AREA WITH PEOPLE. People will notice it, maybe someone will call the police, regardless, it will give you time to get the hell away from him. You are beautiful and i love you, and don’t think for a second you deserve any of that harassment.

little life update:

I finished my first assessed placement last week and I thought I absolutely smashed it but when my mentor was marking me she was saying things like “i don’t want to mark you too high so you still have something to work towards” and “i think you should get 90%+ in this area but I cant mark you that high as it’ll look suspicious” which was actually so annoying as she would ask for my advice with a lot of women especially when they had medical problems that could be perceived as more nursing based. SO yeah I finished on 81.4% which isn’t bad but i did feel a bit deflated 

had my first exam on monday which was a three hour written exam with four essay questions and it actually went horribly. I was so annoyed as i’d correctly guessed what the questions were and I remembered almost everything i had prepared I just didn’t have the time to get it all down. I went way over on my third question and had like half an hour to write my fourth. I wouldn’t be too worried if I had to pass overall because i’m fairly certain i did well on the jaundice question and okay on the genitalia question but the last two were questionable and you have to pass each question individually to pass overall! so yeah I’m genuinely worried

i’ve felt poorly all week and i have my breastfeeding and infant feeding assessment (written and practical) on monday and then my other massive exam the monday after and we’re at uni within that time so i’ve barely got time to revise and they’re expecting us to do prep work for lectures? how???? couldn’t you have given us a reading week?

anyway in better news i have booked to get my hair cut on saturday so hopefully i wont look like hagrid anymore

Advice for the Women’s March

I’ve taken some of this text from my friend N’s journal,  and amended it with my own advice.  Between the two of us we’ve got considerable march/protest/large crowd experience to share, including Occupy, the 2008 inauguration, clinic escort service, and a dozen or so similar events in DC and NYC.  Hopefully, this will be useful to folk.

IT IS ABSOLUTELY **NO ONE’S** BUSINESS WHAT ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS. ***NO ONE’S*** James O'Keefe, professional liar, is running surveys asking for marcher’s full name, email address, and travel information, and word through various orgs is that he has help. Pro-life protesters are also planning on infiltrating the march (Sunday is the day Roe v Wade was decided.) If they aren’t a friend or a clearly-identified cop, it is absolutely NO ONE’S BUSINESS who you are, how you can be contacted, how you got there, or why you are there.

Also - it’s just as legal for you to videotape them as it is for them to videotape you.

Don’t sass cops.  Assume that they’re there because they have to be, and may be 100% supportive but aren’t allowed to show it (alternatively: they may be assholes, but don’t give them any excuse to prove it).  If they say you have to stay on the sidewalk, stay on the sidewalk.  I saw people in NYC arrested for stepping off the curb during protests (in a city where jaywalking is both a sport and an art form!).

Now, on to the basics of march/protest survival.

1.  Dress for the weather.  If there’s even a chance of rain, bring a plastic poncho and/or rain hat, NOT AN UMBRELLA.  Cops can and will consider umbrellas as weapons, in a crowd situation.  Don’t wear nice clothing, or anything that can’t get wet/muddy/spilled on.  WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES.

2.  Signs on sticks are banned at most protests (sticks = weapons).   I’ve only ever seen Quaker contingents get away with carrying actual sticks, at a climate change protest.  Hand-grip signs and banners won’t get you into trouble.

3. Don’t bring anything aside from ID that it would break your heart to lose. Confiscation is a thing, and large crowds draw pickpockets. Keep your ID and some folding money somewhere NOT your wallet (under a closed coat, ideally under a shirt.  Travel belts are a good idea, or pinning it to your bra, if that’s an option).

4. Write important information on your forearm in Sharpie. (Emergency contact, drug allergies, etc.) It will wash off eventually. In fact, bring a Sharpie with you to share with others for this purpose. Also keep any medical information you might need a paramedic to know on a card with your ID.

5. Have a travel plan, a backup battery for your phone (not that it’s going to work in a crowd that large; don’t rely on calls, email, or texts), and a meet-up location in case you get separated from your group.  ASSUME YOUR PHONE SERVICE WILL NOT WORK.  And don’t panic that it’s a plot - it may just be too damn many people trying to access Twitter or Facebook all at once.

6.  Assume mass transit is going to be overloaded, and parking insane, if even available.  You will probably have to walk much further than you anticipated. Wear comfortable shoes.  Bring an extra pair of socks, and some band aids for blisters.  If you don’t already have the Lyft app on your phone, you might want to install it, JiC.

7. Bring several protein bars and a water bottle.  Even if there are restaurants or food trucks available, they will be a) mobbed and b) overpriced for the occasion. 

8.  If you bring aspirin, pepto/Imodium/ or wet-wipes with you, you may become a heroine of the revolution.

9.  If someone tries to start shit, walk away.  If you see a March official, alert them, but don’t get involved yourself.

10.  If you feel the energy of the crowd start to change, or feel at all uncomfortable, find the nearest jump-off point and GET OUT. Trust your instincts.

Be brave, be fierce, and be careful.  <3

Stereotyped vs Nuanced Characters and Audience Perception

Writing with color receives many questions regarding the stereotypes Characters of Color and their story lines may possess.

There’s a difference between having a three-dimensional character with trait variance and flaws, versus one who walks the footsteps of a role people of their race/ethnicity are constantly put into. Let’s discuss this, as well as how sometimes, while there’s not much issue with the character, a biased audience will not allow the character to be dimensional.

But first: it’s crucial to consider the thinking behind your literary decisions.

Trace your Logic 

When it comes to the roles and traits you assign your characters, it’s important to ask yourself why you made them the way they are. This is especially true for your marginalized characters.

So you need an intimidating, scary character. What does intimidating look like on first brainstorm? Is it a Black man, large in size or presence? (aka a Scary Black Man) A Latino with trouble with the law? If so, why?

Really dig, even as it gets uncomfortable. You’ll likely find you’re conditioned to think of certain people in certain roles on the spot.

It’s a vicious cycle; we see a group of people represented a certain way in media, and in our own works depict them in the way we know. Whether you consciously believe it’s the truest depiction of them all or not, we’re conditioned to select them for these roles again and again. Actors of Color report on being told in auditions they’re not performing stereotypical enough and have been encouraged to act more “ethnic.” 

This ugly merry-go-round scarcely applies to (cis, straight) white people as they are allowed a multitude of roles in media. Well, then again, I do notice a funny trend of using white characters when stories need a leader, a hero, royalty, a love interest…

Today’s the day to break free from this preconditioned role-assigning.

Keep reading

to all my female friends:

• yes, your stomach does expand a bit as you go through the day because of the things you consume

• yes, the scales may go up a pound or two just before / during / just after your period because of the water weight, so don’t freak out, because it’s not a real pound

• if you wash (and especially condition) your hair on a daily basis, it will actually dry out more quickly, so it’s best to wash it every other day, or even every couple of days if your hair isn’t too oily

• it is not the end of the world if you bleed through your pants. chances are, everyone around you knows what a period is, and they will understand

• brush your hair out once in the morning and once at night so you can get all those nutrient-rich oils from your scalp to the ends of your hair strands

to my male friends out there:

• once again – your stomach will expand a bit throughout the course of your day, that wasn’t just a thing for women

• it’s not ‘gay’ to clip your nails. take care of those fuckers. proper nail hygiene is incredible.

• the hair-washing thing applies to you as well

• it is 100% okay if you don’t have washboard abs or a barrel chest. the people you may be trying to romance / yourself should know that that’s just as unrealistic as the ‘typical standard model body’ for women.

• if someone tries to make fun of you for wanting to have a career that’s usually woman-dominated, like maybe a hairdresser or a nurse, that’s all kind of fucked up and you don’t have to listen to them. pursue your dreams.

• Christian Grey is NOT a role model oh my god please understand this

• don’t let women (especially some of the women on this site) tell you that you’re worth any less than any other human being on this planet due to circumstances that are out of your control

Surviving Time With Toxic Family/Friends

• Be the light
• No ego
• No emotionally heavy convos
• Stay in your center
• Take nothing personal
• Inhale deep
• Exhale slow
• Focus on the good––only
• Send love and light through the entire space
• Come light
• Leave light
May the Force be with you. ✨  

–– Lalah Delia | VibrateHigherDaily

retr0spectre  asked:

Speaking of sexist fighting advice! There's this really great fiction writing advice blog I read years ago, written by a lady, shut down ages ago. But it claimed a few times that there was no way a woman could physically handle a zweihander or the like. I've always had a feeling that's nonsense, but confirmation from a good source such as yourself would be great.

Consider this: the zweihander weighs seven pounds. The display version is ten pounds. If you can lift a backpack crammed with textbooks, you can lift a zweihander. House cats weigh more than a sword.

The issue with the zweihander is length, not weight. It is not a heavy sword. No swords are actually all that heavy, because weight defeats the purpose of the weapon. The heavier it is, then the faster your arms wear out and grow tired. This is a terrible, terrible thing.

Combat is highly frenetic. An easy comparison is sprinting, and it’s not just a regular sprint but wind sprints. You gotta go, go, go. You need to be able to move. So, a heavy weapon is detrimental to the goal of being able to fight as long as possible. Especially when that weapon is designed to give you an edge in reach, and counter pole arms. You want to be able to swing the weapon around for long periods of time because if you wear out first, you’re dead.

Endurance, not strength, is the great necessity for any warrior. So, everything your PE teacher punished you with is what you’re looking for (except dialed to eleven). Once you understand fighting is about going for as long as possible between energetic bursts, combat starts to make more sense. This is also why most action movies feature the pressure cooker, the slow grind down of the protagonist by giving them little to no rest between fights as they accumulate more injuries.

So, when people say strength in regards to combat, they don’t usually mean physical strength in what you can lift. They mean how long you can go, what you can endure before finally keeling over. This gets misinterpreted, mixed in with the confusion by historians about parade swords (which were incredibly heavy and often the only surviving weapons) and we get the beefcake barbarian.

Like all swords, and even shields, the zweihander is awkward to use if you don’t know how to wield it or have never held one before. This has to do with its balance point. Swords feel heavier than they actually are when we hold them because the balance is midway up the blade and that strains the wrist, which strains the arm, and causes the whole thing to tilt forward. Sometimes, the sword even gets dropped. You’ve got to learn how to account for it.

When you’re looking at actual combat considerations on weight, that’s in the armor. Armor is comparatively heavy, the warrior has to get used to carrying around fifteen to twenty or so pounds, or more depending on what gear they’re lugging with them between battles. So, if you’ve got a character going into battle without plate then they’re not going to have those weight considerations. Even if they are, the point of training is to build your body up to be able to handle it.

At the end of the day, its important to remember that, historically, large scale combat has been about being able to get the most bodies on the field as possible. You ran the gamut between trained warriors and farmers yanked off their fields with a hastily cludged together pole arm thrust into their hands. There are plenty of people who went into battle with no freakin’ clue what they were doing. The concept of a military as we know it today is a mostly modern invention.

The mystique of the knight and others like them came with their training, which is… they had some. Whatever they’d have liked us to think, there was nothing different about them compared to the farmers except the money, the (sometime) power, the time, and the “luck” of their birth. In the end, it’s less about what humans can or can’t do but what society corrals them from learning. It’s easier to control your population when only the powerful have access to weapons, educations, and castles.

So, yeah, a woman can use a zweihander if she trains on the zweihander. It also won’t be her only weapon, mostly because one never knows when they’ll have to fight indoors. (That’s a joke, HEMA peeps. I know half-holds are a thing, and it’s not a katana so it can strike straight.)


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