i feel this is a good representation of a period

I don’t write a lot of posts; I’m mostly a lurker here on tumblr who reblogs other people’s awesome stuff. That said, I’ve been seeing some posts going around berating people for not including certain characters or elements in a meaningful way in their fic or their art. Or that they’re focusing too much on certain white, male slash ships. 

Pointing out racism, sexism, and other issues is fine. We definitely need more diverse content, better representation, etc. That said, if you’re making people feel guilty for making what they want to make, if you’re telling them “you’re not making the content I think you should be making”, chances are they’re going to stop creating things, period. And that’s not a good thing. 

If you want change in fandom, don’t hang back in that comfy lounging chair and point fingers at your peers. You want something and it’s not there? Go create it yourself. People generally don’t make money from the stuff they make in fandom. It’s not their job to please you. You’re lucky they shared it with you at all. Fandom is a place where you create stuff you want to see and when you share it, you do it because maybe someone else will find enjoyment from it too. Once it becomes a chore to please others with, you should be getting paid.

I’m not saying that you should just settle for what you get when it comes to movies, TV series, books and other forms of commercial entertainment. We pay for it, they make money off of it, so there’s nothing wrong with challenging them to do a better job. But don’t treat your peers, to whom writing and making art for their fandom is a way to unwind and have fun, the same way. They don’t owe you anything. 

I’m not the kind of person who’s really very good at forming her own opinions on things. It takes me a while to kind of ponder and crystallize how I feel about most topics, and pretty much everything winds up having elements where it looks different from different angles, so I never have like, A Solid Feeling I Always Feel About This Thing.

(I used to worry about it a lot, when I was a kid. There are still some songs/bands/albums I listen to and remember my deep anxiety: how could I tell if this was Good? Other people seemed to always know– that music’s shit and we’ll laugh at you, this music’s Great but only right now, that music there is Classic and no matter what will always be Good. How do you know which is which.)

Anyway. So, I don’t really have An Opinion Of My Own about Rogue One.

What I do have, after reading many reviews, is an interesting observation to make:

Every person of color I’ve read a review from loved it. I don’t know that my sample is representative, but for so many people, it fulfilled such a deep-seated need inside them that, several reviewers independently said, they hadn’t realized they still had, to see someone who looked like them in this context. And that’s incredibly touching, to me. I know I cried to see a lady pilot among the 70s-moustached dudes! My only tears of the movie. So I get that, I do, and I’m so excited for it.

The critical reviews I’ve read have mostly not been from people of color. And they’ve made excellent points– how terrible is it, for one, that the only way the powers that be could see their way to putting so many men of color into a Star Wars film was to kill them all in the end? The hope, and eventual success, of the Rebellion is literally built on the ashes and bones of women and people of color, who were expressly not included in the glorious success at the end of the original trilogy.

(And also: where are the women of color. Where are the women, period. What the fuck, racists and misogynists were already going to protest your movie; you could have done whatever you wanted at this point, so why was this all you wanted??)

I feel like the critical points are good to make. And I feel like that’s maybe who should be making them. Sure, there are valid points to be argued about structural or thematic weaknesses, sure there are still complaints to be made. But. 

If you got to have representation for the first time in this movie, you should feel free to enjoy it uncritically. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and I haven’t actually read one YA book I feel has positive representation for disabled people. I’m not at all saying they don’t exist, but they aren’t in my radar or on my TBR, which is interesting especially when you consider that I, myself, am disabled. 

When I dug a little deeper my thoughts were ‘well, I don’t like reading sad books’, and here lies the problem. All the books I can think of that cover disability are sad, the protagonists or their significant others struggle with the harshness of disability (which is fair enough because I do too) but what about the happy days? Where is the positive representation?

DISABILITY IN YA WEEK 2016

Thus Disability in YA 2016 was born. For this two week period, running from Monday the 8th of August to the Sunday the 21st we will allow an open non-judgemental environment in which to discuss YA books that deal with disability, and talk freely about how certain negative portrayals make us feel. I want to allow a platform for disabled and non-disabled people alike to discuss what they feel is acceptable in books, and how they interpret ‘positive representation’, without hurtful comments or abusive language.

After all, healthy discussion is a GOOD THING. We all have different opinions, and as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, then comparing and learning will help us all as people and diverse readers of YA.

If you want to take part all you have to do is read one YA book with disabled representation, and join the goodreads group here where on Sunday the 21st of August we will be having a discussion about the books we read and how they dealt with disability. 

If you want to take part

1. Join the Goodreads page

2. Read a YA book with a disabled character 

3. (Optional) Take a photo of your Disability in YA read and tag it #disabilityinYA

4. Join the discussion on August 21st!

Important to note that this includes ALL disabilities, physical and otherwise, and ANYONE can take part!

Later on I will be posting a suggested reading list, but for the meantime if you have any suggestions please let me know! You can message me anytime.

That’s it! I really hope we can get quite a few people taking part, so please share this with people who might be interested!

Historical Dramas With Predominantly Female Casts: A Thought Experiment

I am liking this idea as a philosophical question, though.

I think when you (general you) sit down to make a TV show about a famous historical event or period, you ask yourself, who should be the main players? Who are the credited cast? What cross section of preexisting historical figures and occasional OCs is going to give the show a diversity of political beliefs, demographics, personalities? Who do you pick to give your project the grand and epic scope it deserves?

Usually even while asking these questions, showrunners come up with a predominantly male cast. Often this cast also leans white and upper class, though it depends on what era they’re trying to tell the story of. Nonetheless, you often have 2-3 women standing in for All Women Ever in these groupings of characters. Women play recurring roles, but they don’t end up driving the story. One way to address that is to come up with a cast that’s more 50/50, and I’m super for that. I mean, hey, the statistics of reality and all.

ON THE OTHER HAND, it occurs to me, can’t you also tell the story of a Grand Historical Event (especially one as broad as the French Revolution) with a Predominantly Female Cast?

Because I think you very much COULD, and I think it’d be a very, very interesting challenge to the idea of Male As Default. We certainly have enough documentation of individual women during the French Revolution to come up with a cross section of actual historical ladies with different experiences and different political beliefs.

Sure, there’s gaps in that documentation, and we might have to make some stuff up and simplify things a bit to bring people together at times. But we do that with historical men already. Victor Hugo (and others) will have us believe that Robespierre, Danton, and Marat were running around together like a dysfunctional Montagnard boy band, and we know things didn’t quite go like that. Generally people forgive that when it’s a story about men, right?

And hey, sometimes the gaps in documentation create more opportunities. There’s some women we know stuff about, but don’t have a physical description or portraits of, which creates a perfect opportunity to cast actresses of color. And we can probably focus more on working class women. And so on.

So I’d like to pose this question:

Let’s say you’re making a miniseries that tells the story of the French Revolution. How do you tell that story?

Now pretend you are telling that story with a Predominantly Female Cast:

-Which historical women do you pick as your credited cast for the Revolution? Who gives you the best cross section to represent the diversity of beliefs associated with the FREV? (Try to pick 7-9 main female characters!

-Let’s say you get to create 1-2 OCs to address a need for your narrative that a historical figure can’t quite fill. Do you create OCs? What are they like?

-What are the key relationships you focus on in your show? How do you play your credited cast off one another? Where do their paths end up intersecting?

-Anything else you use to focus your narrative?

-Any actresses you’d love to cast?

-You get 1-2 credited male characters to add to your show and NO MORE. Male recurring characters are definitely a thing, but these are your only men in the Main Credited Cast. Whom do you choose and why are they good representations of Men’s Issues During The French Revolution? (Though, you know, feel free to just pitch them as love interests or to kill them off to drive the plot of your protagonists–just kidding. A little.)

Anyway I would like to issue these questions as a challenge to historical tumblr. If you’re not a FREV person I’d love to see it done with other historical periods or events. I am going to mull over it myself and, hopefully within a few days, post some thoughts re: the FREV or the Late Roman Republic or both.

Yeah, you know what, let’s just do this with ANY of our pet historical periods.

BUT YES let me know your thoughts if you have them. Go go go!

Alright, time for me to discuss Out Of The Woods.

Okay so, as we all know, the Out Of The Woods video is EXTREMELY symbolic. RIght? Well I’m just going to discuss this one little (more like big) part.

The wolves

She’s running from the wolves. I think we can all agree that the wolves represent all the negativity that was in this relationship (mainly the media) right? In this scene she’s running away from the wolves, which as we all know, the relationship this song is about (I won’t mention it for Taylor’s sake, it’s respectful) was very.. fast. It moved fast, they always were running from paparazzi or cameras or anything that would basically create a negative title on a magazine cover. 

She falls down. The wolves are still chasing after her. I saw this as a representation of how whenever Taylor slips up or ‘falls down’, the media somehow always captures this moment. They’re desperate to get a shot of Taylor finally doing something HORRIBLE (not that she hasn’t made mistakes before, but we all pretty much know she’s an angel sent from heaven). This is actually pretty terrifying. 

The wolves (aka the media or whatever) finally catch up to Taylor. She keeps running. They tear apart a section of her dress. I see this as a visual on how Taylor feels (or felt) whenever the media (or just people on the internet) basically tore apart her image and it impacted herself, too. They slowly took little pieces of her every single time they made some false news story, papped a picture of her and her boyfriend, haters tearing her apart telling her to die and call her ugly untalented trash, just things like that. They slowly broke her down into this broken, tattered person. Sick tbh.

The cliff

I don’t really think there’s much to discuss here, but I still find this part important. So as you can see, Taylor’s spreading her arms out here, basically preparing herself to jump of this cliff. I could be reading too much into this, but I take this part as if Taylor was preparing herself for this relationship to fall and end. She was preparing herself for the decline.

Here;s the part where she’s actually falling. I can take this two ways. One is seeing the actual decline/fall of this relationship. I think it’s more than that. I see this as Taylor free-falling deeper into this relationship. She explains this relationship as very anxious, and kinda all over the place. You never knew what would come next. I think this part is showing Taylor taking her chances with this relationship and seeing where it would go, even if it ends terribly, she went for it anyways. 

So she finally falls in the water. I immediately thought of ‘Clean’ during this part. Not saying they’re related but they could be. This part is where she’s basically drowning after falling deep into this relationship. It made me think of the lyric ‘when I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe’, but I’m still speculating tbh. After this the water drops her in the middle of the desert but I’m still figuring that part out so I can’t really explain it yet.

The tree

We see this tree multiple times throughout this video. This is my take on it. So, Taylor constantly runs into this tree. I think this tree is a representation of the relationship, or the guy she was with (again, I won’t mention who for Taylor’s sake). Could be both tbh.

As we see in the video, Taylor gets tangled and caught in the vines of the tree. They grow around her, almost like they’re becoming a part of her. So she’s caught in this mess of vines and mud, parts of her dress have been torn, but this tree.. 

No matter how many times the tree tangles her up, no matter how many times she gets dragged through the mud, no matter how torn up her dress is, she always comes back to the tree. It almost seems like she can’t let go of the tree (like I said earlier, the tree probably represents the relationship). She always comes back.

I have no idea what the whole frozen thing in this was, but all I got from it was that whenever Taylor touched the tree, that part of her froze. I’m still trying to figure this part out. (You can inbox me your opinions on this if you’d like)

Anyways, so she;s finally trying to fight her way through this tree and escape these vines she’s been entangled in. This almost reminds me of ‘This Love’ and the line that says “these hands had to let it go free”. Not saying these are connected in any way, just thought I’d share that. (It’s up for interpretation)

Here we have Taylor coming to the end of ‘the woods’ or coming out of the vines whatever you see it as. In the distance you can see herself in the distance. Almost like she’s looking into the future.

The beach (end scene)

Finally, we see her walking towards herself. I’ve seen a lot of theories on what this could be already. Personally, my view on it is this. Taylor sees her ‘future self’. Her dress is untouched. It’s beautiful and perfect. I think this represents Taylor’s new beginning. So she’s basically walking toward the end of this chapter in her life (she talks about ending a chapter in her life multiple times in interviews and saying 1989 was her new beginning, this is what I base my theory off of. That, and the fact you can obviously tell she’s happier now. She’s free)

Here we have Taylor reaching out to the perfectly untouched Taylor (confusing, but also makes sense?) on the beach. I feel like this is a good visual representation on Taylor closing in on a chapter in her life where she lost herself. She’s reaching out to this new chapter in her life (aka 1989, or just the time period of when she focused more on her own self worth. Whatever you see it as) and is basically starting off anew. I find this so beautiful. It takes so much courage and motivation to let go of something from your past that basically tore you apart. I’m extremely proud of Taylor for doing this. 


Anyways, so that’s my interpretation of the Out Of The Woods video! Sorry it’s a bit lengthy but I figured some people might want to read this. If you actually read all of this I freaking LOVE you lmao. Hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to comment on any parts you disagree with or if you want to add anything.