native strength

This was my final project.

I wanted to make a piece that represented both the atrocities committed against Native Americans and the strength of their culture and spirit despite this.

My great great grandma walked on the Trail of Tears and I’ve always had very strong feelings about such events and I’m constantly trying to connect to that part of my identity.

In the end, I want this drawing to give this message:

You can burn down our villages
You can slaughter our people
You can take away our land
But you will never extinguish our culture

We are still here
And we are still strong

By writing her self, woman will return to the body which has been more than confiscated from her, which has been turned into the uncanny stranger on display – the ailing or dead figure, which so often turns out to be the nasty companion, the cause and location of inhibitions. Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write your self. Your body must be heard. Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth. Our naphtha will spread, throughout the world, without dollars – black or gold – nonassessed values that will change the rules of the old game. To write. An act which will not only “realize” the decensored relation of woman to her sexuality, to her womanly being, giving her access to her native strength; it will give her back her goods, her pleasures, her organs, her immense bodily territories which have been kept under seal; it will tear her away from the superegoized structure in which she has always occupied the place reserved for the guilty (guilty of everything, guilty at every turn: for having desires, for not having any; for being frigid, for being “too hot”; for not being both at once; for being too motherly and not enough; for having children and for not having any; for nursing and for not nursing …) – tear her away by means of this research, this job of analysis and illumination, this emancipation of the marvelous text of her self that she must urgently learn to speak. A woman without a body…can’t possibly be a good fighter. She is reduced to being the servant of the militant male, his shadow. We must kill the false woman who is preventing the live one from breathing.
—  Hèléne Cixous, from The Laugh of the Medusa
Fury Road - Physics & Feminism

[it got longer…]

Warning - philosophizing ahead.

In a previous post conversation with malibujojo we were talking about Max & Furiosa’s fight, which led me to thinking about the broader context for the fight.  And once I get started, I kinda just keep writing.  Better to start a new post rather than clutter the previous one :)

I said:

….and then in the final moment, having overcome everyone in this 4-way brawl, when you’re going holy shit she is so fucking done, what does he do? fires 3 warning shots into the sand next to her head.  WHY??  Why does he spare her?  It’s a moment of instinctive *something* - training, compassion…what? and I exhale in disbelief, no sense of victory or relief.

and malibujojo has a great answer - Max is seeking a moment of calm to figure out what the hell he wants, what he should do next.  The warning shots are everybody SHUT THE FUCK UP.  Perfect - yes!  That fits exactly.

my response:

For anyone aiming to control the outcome, gaining control of the chaos, of the various vectors of danger, of the intersecting elements of all, is step one.  Shut the fuck up, indeed.  Warning shots are the most efficient deescalation at his disposal.

[I JUST NEED 30 CONSECUTIVE SECONDS TO THINK HERE, PEOPLE]

If he’s looking to have the best possible outcome along a path-of-least-resistance from the humans around him, NOT killing is a much much smarter move.  It saves dealing with now-probably-unhinged survivors, and it spares him the most possible energy to keep him mind clear enough to formulate a workable plan. [poor Max, he’s operating on almost no mental spoons]

annnnd here’s where redshoes delightedly goes off the rails!  Nah - here’s where redshoes expands from one scene to an overall theme of the movie.  Like she does.  Because context is everything.  Here goes:

There is one hanging thread in this scene for me - and it relates to an ethic I’ve been pondering that runs through the whole movie.  Furiosa didn’t hesitate more than a second before pulling the trigger on the shot gun.  Max knows absolutely and for sure she is a deadly threat and given the chance she wouldn’t even hesitate the next time because now she’s seen the extent of his capability.  And yet he doesn’t react with the same deadly-force-is-the-only-option approach.  Instead he bargains for a moment to think.  I think this is one of those moments when the movie tacitly acknowledges how different the stakes are between men and women:  she cannot safely subdue him, he’s simply too strong.  He would be a constant danger.  But he can safely subdue her and carve out a moment to think.  She didn’t have a choice; he did - a simple fact they both must know to the bone, living in the wasteland.  He wouldn’t blame her for that.  It’s just reality.**

In every way, this movie respects physics - bodies fall and break.  It also respects the realities of size and strength and how the men and women strategize for that reality.  The men are stronger, the women are trickier.  Furiosa’s skill as a sharp shooter is no accident; the Vuvalini are, every single one of them, sharp shooters.  It’s their best tactic - don’t even let the men get close.  The grannies do everything they can to stay out of reach - because once they close with a male attacker, the odds of winning drop dramatically.  While they’re all fighting on the rig they maintain distance as best they can - swing the rifle stock at your attacker, don’t get close enough for him to hit you.  Hide and sneak attack. Trick, feint or pick ‘em off one at a time from a high perch.

There’s a moment in the brawl on top of the rig when one of the grannies has been barely fending off a war boy and when it comes to a moment where Max can get to him, he just wipes the guy off the map. [in my brain I was going ‘aw maaan - menfolk! UN FAIR! …and hot.  reeeeally fuckin’ hot.  yes, I am a hominid who would chose the strongest mate, it’s all true]  This is the reality of strength, and they played it that way without apology.  Way to go, George Miller, way to go.

I admire that they did not choose to have super-human-strength women.  The grannies are grannies - however strong their harsh desert life makes them. But they are crafty.  The wives are sheltered women who have never had the opportunity to learn to fight or sharpen their reflexes or strengthen their muscles.  In the wives, it is their will that is strong.  Furiosa is nearly 6 feet tall and has been forced by living among the war boys to always play at the top of her game physically - maximizing her native strength and honing her tactics for times when her strength won’t be enough.  And even that cannot save her against a similarly sized man (yeah, he’s shorter, but they probably weigh pretty close :P) and the complication of Nux suddenly waking up.  Everything about the way she approaches that fight says she knows she’s got to win before the fight is even fully started, before Max can get his bearings, and when that doesn’t happen, she gets increasingly desperate, angry, ferocious.  

I keep seeing people growl that this isn’t a ‘feminist movie’ because it doesn’t emphasize women over men, or doesn’t gift women with strength or skills or magic that they do not have in real life so they can prevail over men.  It doesn’t have women dominate the plot until it warps under the weight - in mirror image to how male-dominated misogynistic action movies do.  

People seem to be forgetting that feminism isn’t about the dominance of women - it’s about the equality of women.  

Fury Road tells a story about the realities of women, and the feminine principle as a whole, in a brutal patriarchal society; but the point-of-view of the film refuses to be complicit with that in-universe stripping of agency.  In doing so, the ethics of the film show women as having equal value, equal agency, being equally deserving of freedom, fulfillment and their own destinies.

Magically endowing the women with super strength or insta-skills would have allowed the movie to handwave the entire issue of patriarchy, of misogyny, of feminism - and that’s what hollywood has been doing for more than 20 years now.

But George Miller didn’t fall for that trap.  Without even thinking about it, he wrote the women as people - and let the actors’ gender declare for itself.

That’s feminism, folks.  


**[as a woman with a background in combat sports, blackstump​ has a fantastic insight here - ‘He’s trying to fight her, she’s trying to execute him.’ That’s it exactly!  he has that choice…she does not] [this has been your ETA for today]

theparsologist  asked:

How did the Nazgûl look during most of the Second and Third Ages (i.e. before 3018)? Is there any indication whether they were mounting horses, for example?

Tolkien wrote annoyingly little about how the Nazgûl reached their LOTR form. We know that Sauron acquired the Rings of Power during or shortly after the S.A. 1693-1700 War of the Elves and Sauron. According to the appendices to Return of the King, the Nazgûl surfaced around S.A. 2251. I don’t think they surfaced until they were already under Sauron’s complete control and thus, basically, in their final form as Ringwraiths. Here’s the description of that process from the Silmarillion (“Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age): 

Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron’s. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Úlairi, the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.

Putting that together with the timeline from the Appendices, we get this: Sauron distributes the Rings, and the Men who bore them become powerful and wealthy, but eventually their eternal, ring-sustained life becomes unendurable. Gradually they fall under Sauron’s control. 750 years after he first might have distributed the Rings, they are first found, and by that time they’re already his slaves.

750 years seems pretty fast to enthrall someone’s soul, and at first I thought implausibly fast, given that Gollum holds the One Ring for nearly 500 years and is, by the end, pitiable but not two-thirds of the way to Ringwraithdom. But there are some important differences - the Men were using their Rings, Sauron had the One Ring and was actively trying to bend the other Rings’ owners into his power, and Hobbits are more resistant to the effects of Sauron’s power than are Men. And Gollum, too, would have been totally enthralled to Sauron if Sauron had the One Ring and would have bothered. So we can assume that the Ringwraiths had already fallen entirely under Sauron’s control by the first time he publicly made use of them. By then they probably already resembled the form Frodo saw.

Keep reading

YES! Ok, thanks! Let’s start with Mama America/North America/Native America, now she was stubborn with a capital S! She liked things how they were and was all in with the old out with the new. She was happy looking over her people, and she loved them all equally, no matter what! She never interfered though, she thought that was unfair to the opposing party. If you asked her what she thought was across the sea she would’ve said “I don’t know and I don’t care!” She was big too, bulky , and did I mention big, almost unnaturally so! She’s taller then the entire cast! She thought her land was the only land in the world, and that there was nothing else out there, and if there was, it wasn’t blessed by her lovely “children” (humans) now because of that, she never met any other nation. She could also see things like Iceland and England, but more like spirits and stuff, not fairies. All was good, until one day, Mama Native America got sick! No one know what to do, until young mother exclaimed that Mama America’s symptoms were like that of being pregnant. Naturally, this was very confusing, after all, Mama America never slept with anybody in her life! And she wasn’t getting a swollen belly or anything. The symptoms continued until a village off by the sea found too babies, (Canada and Alfred) now that was confusing, they had never seen anyone with skin that colour! Yet it couldn’t be denied that the blue eyed boy had Native America’s strength, and that the violet eyed boy had her eyes. The children were brought to Native America and she took them under her wing. Unfortunately as much as she hoped she could’ve, she could not teach her boys how to hunt or fight or swim or anything, because even after a month of them being born, she was still stuck in bed, fatigued. And each day it got worse and worse, until the personification was always sleeping. By this time Finland and Sweden has found the land, and when England and France came by, Mama America had died, withered away from the strong healthy woman she used to be, now just bones clinging to loose skin. Canada went to the more northern part of the land, in hiding out of sadness, but America stayed. Then England adopted Alfred and the rest was history… Well almost. Alfred and Canada slowly forgot about who Mama America was, but they still had her power and her sight, though thanks to their poor vision they could not truly see the spirits around them, but they could hear them faintly at night, until they faded away to nothing. Except some days, when they both swear they could hear a woman’s voice laughing happily.

(Oh. My. God. That was long, what do you think? I kinda want to. Make a fanfic around it)

I think this is a neat headcanon! Very detailed, too. Totally enough for a story. I say go for it! 

Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron’s. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Úlairi, the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death. — The Silmarillion