Women are people. Women face misogyny regardless of what they do.
Sometimes people do bad things. Some of the people who do bad things are women.
When women do bad things, that justifies criticism. It does not justify misogyny, or sexualized insults.
For instance: If a female politician votes against health care for poor people, it’s important to talk about how that will get people killed.
That doesn’t make it ok to call her ugly, mock her body, or make comments about how she needs to get laid. None of that has anything to do with health insurance. None of that is valid criticism. None of that serves any constructive purpose. It’s just misogyny.
Directing misogynistic insults at any woman is harmful to all women. It sends the message that there’s no problem with misogyny so long as the woman is a bad person who has it coming somehow. This implies that the only real disagreement about misogyny is about which women deserve it.
We need to object to misogyny in principle, regardless of who the target is. Misogyny is not criticism. It’s just destructive hatred.
We need to be as good at lifting up as we are at calling out
In advocacy/activist space, we’ve gotten really good at noticing and naming oppression. We’ve gotten really good at criticizing the things that people are doing wrong, and demanding change. We’re also good at noticing organizations and people who shouldn’t be supported, and explaining why people shouldn’t support them.
This is important — and it’s not enough. We need to be equally good at noticing and naming things that *are* worth supporting. We need to be equally good at noticing what people are doing well, describing why their approach is good, and finding ways to support it. Calling out isn’t enough. We need to seek out things to lift up.
When we focus exclusively on finding things to call out, we send the implicit message that nothing good anyone is doing is worthy of our attention. But none of the work of building a better world happens by itself. It depends on the people who are putting the effort into doing the work. When we ignore the value of the work people are doing, we both harm those people and the work itself.
The work is hard, exhausting, and vital. It’s also often thankless — because we’re not acknowledging it in the way we need to be. Often, doing activism and advocacy means signing up for a life of being paid less than a living wage (or volunteering your very limited time), having your work ignored, and being noticed by your community only when people are angry at you.
This is particularly common when the work is done by marginalized people. Our culture socializes us to ignore the work that women and other marginalized groups do, except when we find reason to criticize it. This dynamic carries over into activism/advocacy spaces. It’s just as toxic when we do it as when corporations do it.
There’s nothing inevitable about this. We can make it stop. We can pay attention to the work people are doing, and we can show respect to the people doing it. We can describe the worthwhile things people are doing, and talk about why they should be valued. We can seek out ways to support what people are doing, whether that means donating, signal boosting, going out and voting, connecting people to each other, or any number of other things. By getting just as good at support as we are at call outs, we can make the world much better.
Perfectionism is very addictive because it is very seductive. It’s so great to think, ‘There’s a way I can do things where I can never be held in judgment by other people, that I can totally escape criticism.’ But it doesn’t work.
He’s not afraid to speak his mind–no matter who you are.
Dean never hesitates to call people out on their bullshit. Not even Chuck gets a pass. God has been part of Dean’s story from the jump–his disillusionment in a being he isn’t always sure exists. And when Dean finally gets confirmation that God does exist, when he actually meets Chuck, he tells him exactly how he feels. He doesn’t sugar-coat it, and I love that about him.
Why do film adaptations always add lines and unnecessary details to designs that work perfectly fine? Just because you have the money for elaborate costumes, make up and effects doesn’t mean you have to make everything elaborate.
A few examples
Comic Black Panther:
Smooth and shiny black outfit, a few lines around his gloves and that’s it, looks like a panther.
Movie Black Panther:
Lines and divots and unnecessary details all over. While some outlining is required to make the different parts of the costume more discerning in action scenes, they overdid it. It looks more like a robot than a panther.
A simple arrow tattoo on his forehead.
This level of detail in completely unnecessary. It in fact makes the tattoo less clear as an arrow.
Disembodied head in a tube. Doesn’t get much simpler.
I’m not saying all of these are bad designs or that it’s bad if you like them. But they’re rather unnecessary and I find them distracting and detrimental to expressing anything meaningful about the character to the audience, which is what a design is supposed to do.
It looks more like the production wanted to show off how much money they have than actually put any thought to what the audience is going to see.
It worries me when people actually believe that Beauty and the Beast is about Stockholm Syndrome and/or abuse. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation, for sure. But when people start shaming others for enjoying the tale, it becomes a problem.
Let’s break it down:
“Beauty and the Beast shows how Stockholm Syndrome works”
Actually, Stockholm Syndrome is yet to be recognized as an actual mental disorder, and people who have been part of hostage situations have denied it.
Stockholm Syndrome involves adapting your actions to please a captor when you feel threatened. It is a survival mechanism. In this case, Belle never changes for the Beast, and instead challenges him every time.
“But Beast kidnapped and captured Belle in his castle. He is a captor”
He didn’t kidnap her. Belle chose to take upon herself a penalty that fell on her father due to his trespassing.
Also, let’s remember that we can’t analyze a film without taking its historical setting into account. The story takes place in a Royal background during the 18th Century, when the justice system was nothing like ours.
As a result, Royalty -to which the Prince, who is now a Beast, belonged to- dealt with trespassers much differently than we do, as they believed their word to be the law.
Yes, the Beast/the Prince is her captor. But only because he is punishing her for what he considers to be a transgression on her father’s part. Let’s remember: this is a character that lost his kingdom, and the only power he now has, has been reduced to the castle and what exists in it. Growing out of this mentality and what has been wrongly taught to him, is part of his character arc (and it’s also why it makes sense that an Enchantress would want to teach a lesson to a Prince and not someone like Gaston, since the entire kingdom depends on him).
“But he’s abusive”
The Beast never insults or physically harms Belle. At most, he’s rude and demanding…in 2 scenes. Yes. When people talk about the Beast’s abuse in the animation, only two or three scenes where he’s yelling or smashing furniture are used to support the theory.
1- The scenes (being rude to Belle on the way to her room, demanding Belle dines with him, and throwing her from the West Wing and smashing furniture) occur on the same day. The very same day he’s had to interact with another person for the 1st time in 10 years, after almost becoming a complete animal. There’s pent up anger, for sure. But never again do we see the Beast being either forceful or violent. On the contrary, he learns his way into gaining his human behavior back.
2- In each of the scenes, the animators made careful decisions to show the Beast’s instant regret. When analyzing a film, we can’t forget the visual cues that it gives us.
3- Belle doesn’t fear him. Even after seeing him easily take on the wolves that attacked her (that is, at his most violent), she confronts him and calls him out on his rudeness. A scared person wouldn’t dare to do so. She’s an immovable force that the Beast doesn’t know how to deal with, not a victim.
4- We can’t choose to forget that the Beast sets her free, which is no small feat for someone who has been brought up in a royal background.
“But it glamorizes abusive relationships by making girls believe they can change men”
No. Choices made by Linda Woolverton (script) and Howard Ashman (lyrics) focus on Belle and the Beast as outcasts, and forcing her to stay in the castle is a plot device to help the characters get to know each other (and, like I mentioned before, it’s justified by the messed up royal background of the Beast).
It doesn’t ‘glamorize’ an abusive relationship. When the Beast is rude and violent, Belle doesn’t take an interest in him and she actively rejects him. It’s only when the power balance shifts and they treat each other as equals, that the friendship and attraction begin.
The tale is more about outcasts finding solace in each other, than about a woman changing a man to fit her standards. Both Belle and the Beast change in some way. Both must look past each other’s appearance and behavior (both are stubborn and set on their ways) to find what is within. The fact that what is in there pleases them both is what makes the tale great. After all, Belle could have found another Gaston inside the Beast.
“But in real life people don’t change for other people”
In real life, people don’t turn into beasts and furniture. There are no curses or enchantments. We’re dealing with a fairy tale that shows us how the world should be, could be or we would want it to be. And if things didn’t work out for the better, there would be no story to tell.
Let’s never forget the striking difference between fiction and reality. And if you’re worried kids will get the wrong message, talk to them. Don’t blame it on the films or the stories.
We can’t and shouldn’t judge a film on account of its validity in real life. In real life, most of us wouldn’t support vigilantism, yet we enjoy films like Batman or The Avengers without a hitch. In real life, we would probably reject terrorism, yet we enjoy Heath Ledger’s Joker (The Dark Knight) and Hugo Weaving’s V (V for Vendetta) despite the fact that both can be labeled as terrorists.
I’ll be writing more about this soon, but for now, I truly hope people will take a closer look at a film before just glancing at the plot and thinking: “oh, this sounds too much like this other thing! It must be the same!”.
Take the time to consider all the elements in a story before letting a Meme or a Tweet define how you see it.
It seems like a silly thing, but here’s an example of the guilt Dean carries because of the burden placed on him as a child. He is sincerely apologizing for leaving his little brother at Plucky Pennywhistle’s, and giving him a fear of clowns, when Dean was a teenager. He’s taking the blame for Sam’s fear of clowns and apologizing for it. Dean is apologizing for being a bad parent to his little brother; the one he shouldn’t have had to be a parent to, at all.
The narrative wants the viewer to agree that Dean was a bad parent too–that he’s right to apologize. Because Dean is being put in the same category, narratively-speaking, as the rest of the parents in this episode–the ones called out as “lazy parents” because they used Plucky’s as a place to dump their kids, rather than paying attention to them. So, basically the show is acknowledging that Dean parented Sam, but it doesn’t acknowledge all that means for Dean. It’s still the proverbial elephant in the room.
And now that the cat’s finally out of the bag after 12.22, with Dean explicitly stating he had to be mother and father both to Sam (finally show, what the fuck took you so long?), next on the agenda should be to have Sam and Dean talk about it, because I’m not sure Sam fully acknowledges the messed up family dynamic either.