It’s okay to find out late, compulsory heterosexuality is thrown upon all of us, in the world we live in it’s not your fault you didn’t find out earlier, don’t feel guilty about it, when they point fingers and remember past relationships remind them that everyone makes mistakes, we take time to discover ourselves, but now you know and that’s all that matters, you deserve as many “stars” as any other lesbian
It’s okay to find out early, way too early really, to live with the burden since childhood, to hear “there’s no way you can be sure at that age”, you are sure, I trust you, and there’s no other flavor you need to try, no relationship you need to force yourself to experience, you are amazing, go on following your heart
Having family values instead of just saying “family values”:
So, anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to American politics over the last 30 years knows that the Republicans present themselves as the party of “family values.” Republicans insist that they will do the best job for American families, and consequently that the Democrats are somehow anti-family or immoral and thus dangerous to the American family.
In practice, the Republicans make this claim on relatively narrow grounds. For Republicans, being pro-life (on abortion matters), supporting anti-gay marriage/pro-traditional marriage, opposing accessible divorce procedures, and promoting various tax code tweaks to provide benefits to married people and people with children makes them the party of family values. Day care, education, transportation, family holidays – things that actually shape how parents live with their families – are left to individuals to figure out for themselves.
As a practical matter, however, these issues are hardly the stuff on which families build their lives. No one has children because of the tax code, and it is not clear at all to me how making two deeply unhappy heterosexual persons stay married necessarily helps children grow up to be decent people. And any group of people who supports the death penalty while opposing abortion rights is “pro-life” in a peculiarly warped way.
Which is why my experience in Finland has been striking. See, families get actual benefits here, not rhetorical ones. Aside from the obvious – Finns with children get direct payments from the state until the children are 17 – there are lots of other pro-family benefits in Finland that Americans would gawp at. Where Americans can get up to 12 weeks of UNPAID family leave after the birth of a child, for example, Finnish mothers get up to 154 PAID days’ leave … starting before the baby is born. (Men can get paid parental leave, too.) Finnish parents receive the famous “baby box” which contains an array of clothes and other needs for newborns and their parents. (Google it: it’s cool, and has really nice stuff in it.) Parents pushing a stroller can ride public transportation for free, at least here in in Helsinki, and children under 7 ride public transport and get into most events for free. They ride on trains for free as well. Oh: and trains, and most hotels, and lots of restaurants have children’s play areas in them. (That’s right: trains have play areas.) Finnish public restrooms regularly have kid potties, and toilet seat inserts for young children. Finnish children are entitled to subsidized day care … and I mean SUBSIDIZED: a month’s care at a decent place in the US costs some $850 for my daughter. It’s 153 EU here. Most stores were closed on Father’s Day so fathers could spend the day with their families. And Finnish people get – get this – SIX WEEKS PAID VACATION. Per year. And, of course, the Finnish elementary and secondary education system has been consistently rated the best in the world: Schools do virtually no standardized testing yet produce top performing students globally.
As I’ve reflected on this “rhetoric versus reality” gap, one explanation I’ve hit on is that because of immigration, the United States isn’t really worried about its population declining or disappearing. That is, the United States’ population is constantly being refreshed by new immigrants (and the children of current residents). So the US doesn’t feel much pressure to actually help families with policies rather than rhetoric. Finland, along with many other countries, is worried about declining population, however. There are only about 5 million Finns after all, and global population shifts might well wipe Finland out. So Finland, like many other countries, needs its people to have babies. And since Finland is expensive to live in and raise children in, the state has to try to soften the economic burdens” of childhood in ways the United States doesn’t. (Think I’m kidding? Check out the “Do it for Mom” campaign in Denmark.)
So in the US Republicans can get away with saying they’re pro-family without putting their money where their mouth is, while in Finland they don’t say they’re pro-family … they just are pro-family. Finns don’t have to scream that THEY HAVE FAMILY VALUES because they actually HAVE family values.
On this matter, let me be clear: the Finnish way is plainly better than the American way.
Okay, so basically…I’m not one for writing metas. I like reading them, but they usually get deeply analytical and shit and while I love shows and I probably read too deeply into certain things, analytical shit usually bugs me and half the time I lose track of what they were trying to say in the first place. But after episode 2x08, I think this is a definite necessity.
After I finished the episode, I was frozen – frozen like I usually am after such an amazing episode. Almost every episode this season has done this to me, only worsening after episode 2x06 – with a damned focus on a certain ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent I like to call Grant motherfucking Douglas motherfucking Ward.
But after I calmed down and had a few minimal conversations about the episode…I realised what I’d figured out. I know Ward’s endgame. I was asking myself questions – why did he kill Christian? His parents? And if he was just going to “join up” with HYDRA again, why eliminate high-ranking officials and leave Bakshi for Coulson to find? Why did he ask to be taken to Whitehall in 2x07, when he met with Bakshi? What is his play? But, I think, I’ve figured it out.
What we’ve seen so far is that he’s taken out some HYDRA operatives, as well as the people in his past that have haunted him every moment of his life. The Well was something he hadn’t thought about for a long time, but nevertheless tormented him. He wanted to know the truth – and in doing so, he wanted to bring Christian down. He wanted the world to see the great “Senator Christian Ward” for what he was. The monster that Grant grew up knowing. And now, what has he done? To recap, he’s eliminated those in his past that haunted him. And now, he’s face-to-face with Daniel Whitehall and the father of the woman he’s in love with.
Ward still fancies himself a member of Coulson’s team – he may actually still believe it. He wouldn’t point that out to Whitehall or to Skye’s father, of course, but I think that there are parts of him that still wants to be part of that family and that’s where my theory comes into play. We’ve seen him say various things – such as “I am still a part of your team” to Coulson, and later on to Skye, “I am hard to replace."
But the point remains, Ward has horrors in his past and too many skeletons in his closet than should even be able to fit. What he’s doing, is he’s slowly coming to terms with everything he’s been through and everything he’s done – with who and what he is, and most importantly, w h y. For the first time in his life, he’s not bound by someone being bigger or stronger than him. And in the only way he knows how, he’s lashing out against those who made him who he is today.
His parents and Christian abused him to no end, and he killed them, along with proving to the world that his older brother wasn’t the saint he claimed to be.
Garrett abused him both physically and psychologically, and by indoctrinating him with HYDRA beliefs and bullying him, unknowingly made him lose the people he was beginning to genuinely care about – Coulson’s team.
Spending time aboard the bus – like he said, they were "like family.” They were the only people that made him feel loved, and more than anything, I think Ward wants that again.
They loved the man he was (or the man he was pretending to be), and I think he believes that if he had once pretended to be that man, he can truly be that man. He wants to be the Grant Ward they knew again. He wants to be that guy. He had been him once, and he knows he can be again, as soon as he finds a way to get those damn skeletons out of his closet.
So, basically, that’s what he’s doing.
He’s crossing off every reminder of his past. Garrett is dead. His parents, his older brother – dead. He’s committed himself to taking down HYDRA, from working on the inside.
This reminds me of the conversation he had with Skye in season one, when she was scrubbing away their identities. She said he could be anyone he wanted, and he said he wasn’t quite sure. Of course he was still playing her at this point, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t being one-hundred percent honest. That’s what he’s doing. He’s choosing who, exactly, he wants to be – and what he wants more than anything is a clean slate. The opportunity to be someone who isn’t burdened by childhood trauma or the mistakes he’s made.
And for some reason – maybe because it’s what he’s been taught or perhaps because it’s the only way he knows how – he thinks the only way to become a new man is to erase every remnant of his past. That includes everything – Garrett, his family, HYDRA, everything. Only then can he be the person he wants to be.
Everything that was ever rotten to him, he wants gone. He wants a total clean slate, as the man he’d always wanted to be but never could be. The man he’d never had the courage to be before.
And as they say… “I had strings, but now I’m free. There are no strings on me.”And Ward, well – he’s finally set himself free.
I have a super important question that has been tormenting me all day. Who would be Dean's favourite Disney Princess?
okay stacey i feel like this could be a controversial question and i’m going to posit my answer and defend it but i want to hear everyone else’s interpretations too.
dean’s fave disney princess is queen elsa. firstly, she’s the oldest of two siblings, and she loves her sister more than anything. elsa’s childhood is taken away from her because of abusive parents who think they know what’s best for her, all in an attempt to keep her little sister safe. sound familiar?
since childhood she’s burdened with this terrible responsibility to suppress her own wants and needs for the good of her family, especially her sister. she has to hide her emotions and fears, to close herself off and be strong. when her parents die, she takes the place as the head of the family (and the kingdom) and takes on this awful burden she’s not ready for. in short, dean dean dean dean dean dean dean.
and in the end, what saves the day? literally elsa allowing herself to love and feel loved in return. what i’m saying here is that dean needs to let it go and love himself and feel the love everyone else has for him too. LET IT GO, DEAN.