women as a lamp

folk’s reaction when we first heard of the balloon squad:
naaah they can’t be trusted they look shady i’m not getting good vibes from them stop marginalising them all to be muslims how do you KNOW they are muslim??? lmao why y'all reaching for how much do u wanna bet they won’t even be on s4 y'all are reaching for nothing.

the balloon squad:
get introduced within the 2nd clip of the 1st episode of the season and from then on, in under 24 hours, already have profiles, have a youtube channel, have already posted a video of themselves on it holding a bottle of coke, are all muslims, are all bros who love each other and call each other’s shit out when it comes to respecting women, and are aimlessly throwing a fucking sock into a lamp everytime snoop dogg says smoke weed everyday because they are that lame.

Wonder Woman

Oh yeah remember when we bechdel tested things? Anyway uh funnily enough if you make a movie about a woman who lives on an island of women then yeah it fucking passes. Also passes the Mako Mori test, Sexy Lamp test, and the Fury Road test and possibly some others.

Since this was opening weekend I’ll hold off on any spoilers yet other than to say I think it was, well, wonderful. It was refreshing to see a movie devoid of snark and one that I think handled the whole ‘highly capable fish out of water’ theme in a way that seemed realistic. Was it flawless? Obviously not. But I think it was a great movie, one I enjoyed seeing, and the first superhero film that I’d recommend to female friends who don’t like superheroes.

Also some of the fragile masculinity highlights, courtesy of “I follow a lot of feminists on twitter and tumblr”

-Men suing the Alamo Drafthouse over violating equality laws. I’m pretty sure private businesses can generally do what they want for private events, just not have a long-standing policy that is discriminatory, and I’m pretty fucking annoyed at the lawyer who is a. from my current state and should maybe stay in his goddamn lane and b. gets super tone policing (a la I wasn’t going to do anything but then they were mean to men’s rights activists!) Anyway it’s going to take several months so like… it already happened and if the Alamo Drafthouse loses I will exclusively go there for movies for the next few months even though it’s in fucking Brooklyn to help them recoup the costs.

-Someone on Twitter wrote “If you write it, they will come” in response to the success of a movie with a female star and director and some dude who appears to definitely be a Sean Hannity fan among other fatal flaws was like “actually it’s If you build it, HE will come” and like, is that seriously the best you can do, mansplain fucking Field of Dreams at someone who is clearly adapting the quote anyway as seen by their use of the word “write” instead of “build”

- a lot of anti-feminists can’t spell the word feminist which is pretty great

- also someone pulled the fake geek girls thing to which someone pointed out that Wonder Woman is based on two bad-ass bisexual women so um actually

- anyway computer programming and science fiction were both invented by girls who were just trying to get away from Lord Byron so women are technically the gatekeepers of geek culture

-Oh also FOX was like “this isn’t American enough” and like bitch, she’s from a magic island of warrior women and then the rest of it takes place in London and Belgium, maybe you’re not Themysciran enough

- In conclusion throw a tank at your haters

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was a poet and playwright, winner of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She was also awarded the Robert Frost Medal in 1943, for her lifetime contributions to American poetry.

Her poetry often explored issues of femininity and sexuality, such as the love between women in The Lamp and the Bell. She was named as one of the 31 Icons of 2015 by the Equality Forum, for LGBT History Month.

3

March 24 and 25, mark the two main days of the Chamaya-vilakku crossdressing festival in Chavara, India (Kerala). It is the first of four major crossdressing festivals held in India during the vasanta or spring season and occurs on the tenth and eleventh nights after the Mina-sankranti. The Chamaya-vilakku festival is held at the Kottankulangara temple in Kerala. For two nights during the month of Chaitra, thousands of men of all types dress up as women and offer themselves to Sri Bhagavati-devi, an expansion of the goddess Durga. In a special ceremony called Chamaya-vilakku, women and crossdressing men grasp tall, lighted lamps and wait for the procession of the goddess in the form of a sila or stone to pass by. The goddess Bhagavati then blesses the pilgrims and showers all good fortune upon them. The crossdressing festival is based on a story surrounding the temple’s origin: Long ago, a group of cowherd boys worshiped a stone in the mood of shy, young girls. After some time, the goddess Bhagavati personally appeared before them to accept their worship and become the stone. The Kottankulangara temple was then constructed to house the stone deity and formal worship was commenced, along with the annual festival. The Chamaya-vilakku celebrations are very well organized; the crossdressing men are registered at the temple and makeup, dresses, wigs and jewelry are all available for rent on site.

4

The Blue Lamp is one of my very favorite songs. Blue Lamp was written about a blue lamp that my mother gave me when I first joined Fleetwood Mac. A very heavy leaded glass lamp that I carried on an airplane home with a friend of mine, she carried the base and I carried the shade, home to L.A. And we were really afraid it was going to get broken because it was this, you know, leaded glass lamp. They didn’t want us to take it on the plane cause it was too big. Well, we got it on the plane, by screaming and yelling and crying. So that is the lamp that I carried from my mother’s home. And it became and has remained my favorite possesion. It is the one thing that never changes. It is without a doubt the only light that shines through the shining night much of the time for me.
And the blue lamp was supposed to be on the cover of Bella Donna, the picture of the blue lamp. And I decided to change the cover so there are some very, very wonderful pictures of this group of women and this room and stuff around this blue lamp. So someday those pictures will come out and you’ll get to really see the blue lamp. Cause it really is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, it looks like a huge blue mushroom. And it’s a wonderful thing for my mom, too, because it’s all so real, even though it sounds like sort of a gothic fairy tale song, you know, it’s totally real, every line in it is real.“

2

ONCE UPON A TIME : the reboot
by drew and menelaos

season 6, episode 9 : Scheherazade’s Story

past : Following Jafar’s wish that prevents her from using the genie’s wishes, Scheherazade awakens within Marjanah’s lamp. Marjanah sorrowfully informs her that in order to grant Jafar’s wish, she was faced with three choices: death, turning Scheherazade into a genie herself, or trapping her within the lamp where Marjanah is powerless and unable to grant any wishes. Not able to kill her and wishing to spare Scheherazade the lonely lifetime Marjanah has faced as a genie, she chose the third option. To occupy her time, Scheherazade begins to write. First she writes her own story, then she rewrites it from Jafar’s perspective, then she begins to write the stories of people she has met: Ali Baba, Sinbad, Aladdin, the Sultan… eventually Marjanah gives her a magic mirror that allows her to watch the people from other magical realms, both past and present, so she can transcribe their stories. Scheherazade watches as Peter Pan kills Captain Hook, Phillip awakens Aurora, King Arthur discovers Guinevere and Lancelot’s deceit, Red turns into a wolf, Snow White and Prince Charming meet for the first time… And then she finds Regina, and as she writes her story and learns that the Dark Curse will rob everyone of their memories, she realizes exactly how important her chronicles will become. Scheherazade and Marjanah do everything they can to defend Scheherazade’s stories from the coming Curse, protecting them by binding them within a single book, and ultimately realize that this means trapping themselves in the lamp until it can be broken.

present : Feeling that something is amiss, Henry turns to his storybook for further information about Sydney and finally connects the dots to realize he was Jafar before he became Regina’s magic mirror. Ruby and Cynthia are left behind to guard Mr. Gold while Emma and Regina hunt for Sydney, leading them to Gold’s shop, where the door is standing open, the shelves ransacked. Regina finds the third lamp and rubs the side on a whim, and two women appear from within the lamp. Marjanah and Scheherazade reveal that they have been watching everything from their own magic mirror, and Scheherazade begs Regina to use her wish to take them to her brother. Regina obliges, and the four women are transported to the dock. They arrive just in time to see Sydney summon the Servant, releasing Gold from his cell as he arrives to the dock. Scheherazade calls out to her brother, distracting him just long enough for Gold to seize the Servant’s dagger, stab Sydney, and disappear. Regina acts quickly by using her second wish from Marjanah to heal Sydney’s wound. Sydney and Scheherazade are reunited, and Sydney forgives Regina for her past transgressions. Emma asks Regina what she is going to do with her third wish, and a glint appears in her eye. When Gold realizes what has happened, he decides to gain the upper hand once and for all by kidnapping Henry.

‘once upon a time’ stars : Salma Hayek as the Evil Queen/Regina Mills, Emily Rose as Emma Swan, Jaimie Alexander as Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard, Henry Cavill as Prince Charming/David Nolan, Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket/Dr. Archie Hopper, Cate Blanchett as the Blue Fairy/Evelyn Oxford, Naveen Andrews as Jafar/the Magic Mirror/Sydney Glass, Daniel Gillies as Peter Pan/Dr. Matthew Llewelyn, Meghan Ory as Red Riding Hood/Ruby Connor, Sonequa Martin-Green as Cynthia Fogg, CJ Adams as Henry Mills, and Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold

recurring stars this season include : Aishwarya Rai as Scheherazade, Max Irons as Beau/Gabriel Barbot-Beaumont, Oscar Isaac as Prince Adam/Robbie Barbot-Beaumont

guest stars include : Estella Daniels as Marjanah

[ previously on once upon a time ]

as you can’t help but know, the most amazing thing to happen to me in the last two weeks were an unexpected, unprecedented, four days binge of fifty-four episodes of a chinese alt-history-fantasy drama nirvana in fire. like, usually i keep tv shows on my hard drive for years, it takes me either co-watching with somebody or a concerted application of willpower to watch tv - but i’ve watched this in gigantic chunks, pausing, basically, only for work, without sleep, food or human company, and after finishing i’ve, erm, started a rewatch. yes. at least it’s much more stately.

it’s very beautiful - prettily shot, with great cast, great costuming, beautiful everything - populated by a gigantic (there’s no shame in consulting a character chart in the beginning!) cast of not-always-good good guys and sympathetic-or-at-least-compelling bad guys, chock full of intrigue and plots inside plots and wonderful tropeness and an amazing amount of hurt/comfort. plot-wise it’s monte-cristo (there are some direct homages but it doesn’t play out scene by scene) meet king lear meet wuxia (which i found pretty but hilarious: people SUDDENLY starting to fly on invisible ropes and pummeling each other within quite srs bsns drama; but i relaxed and learned to love it).

in the alt-not-quite-china-empire the aging, paranoid emperor watches dejectedly his two sons pettily fight with each other for his approval and for his crown; twelve years ago he’s executed his eldest for a (false) conspiracy along with his best general, said general’s prodigy son and 70k people of his best army, because that’s how people roll here. this decision had slowly poisoned the country and the court, but as of now it’s a complete taboo.

MEANWHILE, to a no watcher’s surprise, the prodigy son had actually lived; a hilariously convoluted fantasy poison changed him from a robust military guy into a frail, terminally ill, (really much prettier) scholar with a different face, and after extensive preparation and planning under this new persona he enters the capital to play a long game: obtain revenge, clear the names of the accused and put his best friend, the third, neglected prince, on the throne. without telling the prince anything, because… reasons. from there on there are courtroom dramas, small and big intrigues, an incredible amount of angst and drama, some lovely lighter interludes (my favorite character is a relatively minor noble kid whom i’ve immediately dubbed ‘bertie’, because he obliviously canters through all the tragedy just asking everybody to be pals and go out and have some fun with him; he has a very satisfying character arc), and some glorious, glorious sarcasm mostly delivered by mei changsu who’s, besides being a gothic hero, a sly asshole at heart.

there’s our main character with his politely aesthetic bloody cough and his most cutting Eyebrows Of Disdain, there’s his obstinate, grieving, ignorant prince friend, there’s this ex-fiance who’s a terrifying army general in her own right, there’s the prince’s mother who, at some point, slays her way through the palace status wars with ruthless and terrifying kindness, there are secret agents and martial artists and wandering doctors and god knows who else, and the pacing never slacks, and some of the plot twists are s o s a t i s f y i n g and apparently it’s absolutely everything i ever wanted. (also, while the drama is mostly focused on the two main dudes, there’s a lot of different female characters, good and evil, with varying agendas and wants and need, neither of whom is a sexy lamp, and women here don’t hesitate to support and enrich each other). i don’t remember when i was last so invested, and i think you should be invested, too.

it’s available on viki in full, so clearly you should all come and see.

ALSO did i mention the pretty (at this point i’m compelled to add that, while mei changsu fears cold for hurt/comfort and plot purposes, i covet his fur cloaks.

Feminism: the simple belief that women are people.

Tautology: the simple belief that people are people.

Twitter contrarianism: the simple belief that #NotAllPeople.

Hallucinations: the simple belief that desk lamps are people.

Otaku: the simple belief that women painted on body pillows are people.

Solipsism: the simple belief that women are figments of your imagination.

Modus tollens: the simple belief that people are not women.

Platonism: the simple belief that women are featherless bipeds.

Cartesianism: the simple belief that women exist, I think.

Darwinism: the simple belief that women were not always people.

Freudianism: the simple belief that women are penis.

Expressionism: the simple belief that women are purple.

Optimism: the people belief that women are simple.

The White Princess: episode 7

“Men are weak, swayed by beauty. Women must be stronger.”

I gotta say, for all of this show’s flaws (and my gods there are so many flaws) that’s the reason I keep coming back to this show and shows like it. This show is all about the machinations of women. They’re very seldom using sex on this show either, they’re politicking and maneuvering and using their names to sway people. Little girls spy, young women manipulate and report, married women learn to use their husbands, mothers use their sons, and widows command great respect and move armies.

The men are largely there to get egocentric and make trouble. They get distracted by taking mistresses. They are prideful, easily insulted, warlike, and paranoid.

There are so many shows where the men are complex and interesting and the women are there as sexy lamps or powerless mothers, if they’re there at all.

Compare how Michelle Fairley was treated on Game of Thrones to how she is treated here. In both cases, the mother of a young upstart king with a scandal-causing bride. Catelyn Stark was largely defanged and depowered on Game of Thrones and relegated to a character who was mostly useless, dying once and influencing little. Fans love to talk about how they hate her for being stupid, for being whiny, for doing nothing and wasting time. 
Margaret Beaufort is one of the driving forces of this show. Her guilt, her grief, her ambition, her almost manic religiousness, her desperation to retain power, her manipulation and political maneuvers. She has a romantic subplot, a woman over 40 with a meaningful romantic plot that has pathos and tragedy and BEARING ON THE PLOT. She’s horrifying. She’s tragic. She’s difficult to read at times and seems at odds with her own conscious. She’s fascinating. 

For all their flaws, I’ll keep coming back to shows like this, because I want to see roles like this for women. I want complex, nuanced, meaningful female characters. 

EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY 1892–1950

American lyrical poet and playwright. She and her two sisters were raised by her mother after her father was asked to leave the family, and they moved from town to town with very little money, but with a trunk full of classic literature. Millay, who went by the name “Vincent” and was already dating women at school, began submitting her poetry to publications and competitions. Her poem “Renascence” was so well received, it earned her a scholarship to attend Vassar. While there, she continued her relationships with women, and would include lesbian undertones in the play The Lamp and the Bell which she wrote for the college. After graduating, she moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village, where she was “very, very poor and very, very merry.” Joining the Bohemian art set, she began dating men as well as women, openly identifying as bisexual, and turning down a number of marriage proposals. Her poetry collection A Few Figs from Thistles received attention partially for its frankness around female sexual appetite. At 31, she married Eugen Boissevain, who shared her interest in feminism, and didn’t mind an open relationship. They moved to a blueberry farm upstate called Steepletop, where Millay began gardening, while Boissevain managed and supported his wife’s career. in 1923 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and in 1943 was awarded the Frost Medal for her lifetime of contributions. She continued to write and make public appearances throughout her life, and died only a year after her husband.

5

THE EVE OF WATERLOO

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium’s capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it? - No; ‘twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! - that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is - it is - the cannon’s opening roar!

Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick’s fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death’s prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness.
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated; who would guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips - 'The foe! they come! they come!’

George Gordon, Lord Byron – to mark the 202 anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo