it just looks like it's doing a terrible disservice to the film

My emails to Netflix

I just wrote to the four people listed in this post about the cancellation of Sense8 and I thought I’d post what I said in case anyone wants a bit of an outline for what to write. Don’t write exactly what I said, obviously, or they’ll just be more likely to dismiss us all, but feel free to use this as a loose template for your own complaints.

It’s a bit long so I’m putting it under a read more

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magicalgirlapollo  asked:

I am working on developing a character who is a martial artist with background in ballet and gymnastics. Most of her fighting would be street-level, against gangs and stuff. But she's also very feminine and I'm kind of thinking dresses like a hipster. I know lots of films and comics portray female fighters in very impractical clothing. But what kind of feminine clothes could someone actually get away with wearing in a fight? Would a short skirt and leggings work? What about shoes and tops?

Well, here we go again.

Let’s start with the clothes because that’s the question we get less frequently. Most media presents women in combat as a sex object, and not in practical gear. That, includes your suggestion above. You’re still talking about, “how can I make my character look good?” The best thing for your character would be the kind of clothing you’d wear while working in an industrial environment, or something patterned off combat fatigues.

Heavy fabric that will take some scrapes and save you from a few cuts is worth far more than looking cute. You can save looking cute for a time when people aren’t trying to turn you into people-paste.

Work boots or sneakers. Something that can get a firm grip on the ground. Work boots will provide a little more protection, so that’s a bonus. Steel toed boots will protect against someone from stomping on her foot.

Long pants. Either jeans or work khakis are the best options. When it’s the difference between bruising a knee and scraping it open in dirty water that some drunk was just puking into and fighting off a nasty infection, fashion loses out.

A work shirt or a leather jacket. Again, it won’t protect against the blows she’s taking, but it will provide a little protection. An insulated jacket will make parrying unarmed strikes a little less unpleasant. Without one, you can easily end up with bruises along the leading edge of the arm, against the bone. A winter coat will provide enough padding to save you from that. It’s not armor, but it does help.

Anything that dangles or flows, and won’t pull free if tugged, is a liability, and should be avoided. I don’t care how awesome your leather trench coat looks, if someone gets their hands on it you’re screwed. This includes skirts (both on long coats, dresses, and as an independent article) and ties. Police wear clip-ons for this specific reason. Giving your character a scarf because it looks cool is a terrible idea for a fighter.

Makeup is out. The last thing you need in a fight is one more thing to get in your eyes. Fighting, or any physical exertion, will make you sweat. Sweating will get your makeup running and into your eyes, blinding you.

Piercings and jewelry are another bad idea. Most piercings become potential handles for an opponent to latch onto and pull. Most of the time, these are buried in soft, nerve-rich tissue, which will hurt like hell and bleed when torn.

Necklaces are another convenient handle, with a very inconvenient little question. Will the necklace fail before your trachea? If the answer is yes, than it has the potential of being a distracting interlude while you struggle for breath, and your attacker recovers theirs. If the answer is no, you just wrapped an improvised garrote around your neck.

Now, if a situation comes up, your character is wearing whatever they were wearing. But if they’re going out deliberately provoking a situation, then they need to be treating it seriously, and dress appropriately.

Also, fights will wreck your clothes. Most clothes, especially women’s fashion, aren’t designed to be durable. Thin fabric will snag and tear easily. So, if you’re putting your character in a skirt and leggings, expect those to be in tatters after any serious abuse. Anyone who’s getting into combat regularly, especially if they dress frivolously, will find their wardrobe getting strained very quickly.

Which brings up a really serious question: if your character is going into a dangerous situation where people will be trying to trying to seriously harm, or kill, her; why the hell would she care how sexy she looks?

No, seriously.

How botched are her priorities?

Looking cute is more important that living? What!?

Your character needs to prioritize her survival over the ego boost from looking good.

If you’ve never taken a psychology course, this will seem like a weird non-sequitur, but let’s talk about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for a moment. This will help you set your character’s priorities.

There are five tiers of needs. Each one must to be provided for before you can consider the one above it. You can’t skip one, and rush down the list to where you want to be. If one of these fails, everything above it drops off until you can deal with it.

The lowest tier is Survival: food, water, sleep, things you cannot do without or you will die.

The second tier is Security: safety from imminent harm, not being murdered by crazed cultists, thugs, or in a writer’s arbitrary fit of pique.

The middle tier is Belonging: This can be summed up as: not being alone in the world. Finding support from family, friends, or loved ones.

The fourth tier is Esteem: This is about finding acceptance in a group beyond your immediate family, and having a place in the world. Finding value in yourself and from others.

The fifth, and highest, tier is Self-Actualization: this is the need for intellectual or creative endeavors. I’d be doing it a disservice to call it hobbies, but to some extent, that’s the idea.

Here’s the thing. Dressing to look good, and feel good about yourself is Esteem. On its own, that’s fine. But, dealing with people who are trying to kill you is a Security issue. If your Security is threatened, it doesn’t matter if you have family, self-esteem or a creative outlet. You will die, if you don’t deal with that problem immediately.

There’s a legitimate possibility that can have a character whose priorities are completely scrambled. People like that exist. But, in trying to present a competent combatant, you need to set aside the idea that your character is dressing to feel good about themselves. They need to dress for the job at hand. Or, as a writer, acknowledge that this is a character flaw, and probably should be addressed in the text.

And, yes, being perceived as feminine is an esteem tier need. I’ll be back to this in a minute.

Ballet and Gymnastics will not make you a better fighter.

No. They won’t.

Either one can help with physical conditioning. And, as anyone who’s taken ballet can tell you, it is a fantastic workout. But, it’s not going to help you fight.

They can help you become a better entertainer. So, if your character is a TV/Film stunt actor, cross training in either isn’t out of the question. But, as I just said, looking good is far less important than surviving a fight.

There’s an edge case, if your character is a prize fighter, then they are an entertainer. So training in either could be helpful, because they will be evaluated on how good they look in the ring in addition to their ability to fight.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a good example of this. He’s a fantastic martial artist, and an entertainer. His ballet training helps make his techniques look amazing, but it doesn’t make them more effective.

We’ve actually talked about this a lot, and nothing has really changed.

But, that’s not why you picked ballet and gymnastics. You chose them because you wanted to affirm your character’s femininity. Why gymnastics is considered feminine is a mystery for another day. But, the idea is flawed; your character is not automatically less feminine if she practices eskrima and parkour. In that case, she’d be far better prepared to deal with, and escape attackers.

You don’t need to remind us that your character is feminine constantly. No, seriously, don’t. It’s demeaning to say a character stops being feminine because she treats as a combat serious threat. Women can fight. They just need to approach it seriously, just like everyone else.

Train to deal with people that mean you harm, or you mean to harm. Be prepared to kill them, or not, depending on your morals and ethics, not your gender.

When facing the risk of combat, dress for it. No, not a cute outfit (or a suit and tie, for that matter). Dress like you would if you were going to work in a combat zone or in an industrial facility. Clothing that won’t kill you if it gets caught in heavy machinery, and that won’t break the bank if it’s destroyed. Clothes that will protect you from minor cuts and scrapes, because you will be getting those without it.

It doesn’t make you less feminine. It just means you’re approaching a situation from the perspective of someone who can accurately assess the dangers around them, and is prepared to deal with them. You know; competently.

Finally, and I really need to stress this, your femininity is less important than survival. You can clean up, look cute, and present yourself however you want when you’re not facing physical threats.

-Starke

anonymous asked:

So I'm not creative enough because I consider Kristoff to be athletic, and I think Anna would be his biggest cheerleader? Wow, thanks.

Alright, this is gonna get wordy, because now it’s been brought up so I have a chance to address it. 

In short: No, that’s not what I’m saying at all.

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transitoryenchantedmoment  asked:

I was just wondering, why did you think Imitation Game was a terrible movie? I really enjoyed it - I know it had the "awkward genius who has horrible social skills" aspect that some people don't like, but I didn't really see anything wrong with the movie in general. I've only seen it once so maybe I missed something, but I found it likable when I saw it.

Well, the thing about The Imitation Game is that it is a movie about a very complicated subject that is trying to be a very uncomplicated movie, and it doesn’t work. Aesthetically, it is an extremely by-the-numbers biopic. Every single beat is predictable if you have seen movies like that before: you know they’re going to break the code, you know how his relationship with Keira Knightley is going to turn out, you know everything. It is so by-the-numbers it basically could have come out of a (hah, hah) machine. Now, if you like that sort of thing that might, in and of itself, make for a satisfying viewing experience. I don’t, and I didn’t find it especially engaging but I certainly found it watchable, and actually less frustrating in that specific way than parts of The Theory of Everything. If that were my only problem with the movie – if it were about A Random Codebreaker in WWII – then I wouldn’t care about the film except to be annoyed at its Oscar success. (But it wouldn’t be having that success if it were about A Random Codebreaker, SO.)

By picking that structure – the standard biopic format where people band together behind an annoying genius and therefore he eventually finds social acceptance and then defeats his “enemy” (in this case, Enigma) – the movie completely fails its subject, whose life was vastly more complicated than the movie suggests and ultimately much more tragic. Alan Turing did achieve a lot of really impressive things in his life, but his feet were essentially cut out from under him by his own country before he could continue making progress in his field, and the very service that the film glorifies was apparently not enough to make anybody care – in fact it was suppressed for a long time. The movie tries to make a point of this but doesn’t really manage it, because the only acknowledgment of the later part of Turing’s life comes in these kind of hasty flash-forwards to his arrest later in life. (These scenes are also, I just have to say, awful on the level of quality.) The argument that the marketing is making is that the film itself is reclaiming his legacy, but in order to do that effectively, it needed to truly acknowledge the full weight of what was done to him and what his life really meant. By focusing so exclusively on his war years it looks only at his triumphant period without really having to deal with the aftermath, particularly since the one scene showing him on hormone treatments basically just shows Benedict Cumberbatch looking tired.

And then there’s the more direct handling of his personality and homosexuality in the film on a character level. I encourage everyone to read this article in the NYRB about Turing and the ways in which the film misreprsents him (i.e. all of them). I am not an expert on this subject but by all accounts he was a very personable if odd guy, not the antagonistic man in the film, who is also a pretty terrible stereotype of an autistic person (what is a joke????? what is social interaction????? how do people??????). By suggesting that he can only really “connect” with his machines (he even names the Enigma machine after his childhood crush, which is just – I can’t even talk about it, it’s SO BAD), a theme that recurs quite horrifically at the very end of the film, the film devalues his interpersonal relationships with everyone else in his life, and also then implies that people with that level of “genius” are in a way crippled by their intellect. This is not true generally and none of this was true of Turing. (Quick aside since this doesn’t really fit elsewhere but is important: the movie also suggests that Turing lied about whether there was a Soviet spy in his group at Bletchley to keep his homosexuality a secret, which is a fabrication. This would have been treason. Nobody is happy about this suggestion.)

Finally, his relationship with Keira Knightley in the film really seals the deal on its discomfort with his sexual orientation. She plays Joan Clarke, a brilliant codebreaker who did exist and work at Bletchley Park. She is the one person who really manages to break through his walls, and they actually wind up getting engaged, until he breaks it off – for her own good, of course, even when she tells him she doesn’t mind that he’s gay, because they have a connection on another level. She is also the character who comes to see him at the very end of the film when he has been put on hormone treatments and reassures him that really he has made a difference in the world, so it was all worth it in the end. Per the film, this is by far the most significant relationship in his life. Now, it would be preposterous to suggest that gay men can’t have meaningful relationships with women, or that all gay men privilege romantic relationships above all else. However, Turing and Clarke had no such relationship. This is a convenient fiction to avoid having to depict Turing actually being gay, and instead effectively creating a narrative structure of heterosexuality that is imposed over the film’s supposed depiction of a tragic gay historical figure.

This is, in fact, a good way to look at the film as a whole: its narrative structure is extremely straight. Nothing about the film surprises because the structure is established. It is rigid. There has been a lot of writing over the years about queering narratives and about women (straight or otherwise) finding new ways to tell stories. Virginia Woolf even wrote about finding a new female sentence. This is a crucial idea and one that was really explored in the New Queer Cinema in the nineties. Now, there are ways to tell gay stories using traditional narrative structures – for instance, I think Milk is the best traditional biopic I’ve ever seen, but the creative team really knew what they were doing, and shaped the form to their own ends. (Gus Van Sant, incidentally, was a key figure in New Queer Cinema – it helps to have broken down established rules if you then want to play by them, because you understand what they are really doing.) But there can also be a sense of suffocation when those traditional structures oppress narratives that need to be told in ways that transgress the norm. Alan Turing’s story needed to be told in a way that broke convention. It needed to be told in a way that was not (narratively) straight. And it wasn’t. It was made in a way that would make straight people feel comfortable. Which did him a great disservice.