women's narratives

 Does It Pass The Aila Test?

We all know the rules of The Bechdel Test. In recent years, fans of more feminist-friendly films have included their own character tests, like The Mako Mori Test, The Furiosa Test, The Sexy Lamp Test, the list goes on. While these are all helpful (though comical) tools feminists have used to criticize media narratives, very few of them seem to empower or apply when viewing Indigenous and Aboriginal women in media narratives / storytelling.

As a Native woman, I’ve experienced disappointment and heartache from the way Native women were represented on film, television, cartoons, and other forms of media. From stereotypical “Indian princesses” to the distressing amount of physical and sexual violence in live action period pieces, it felt that a Native woman was not a character you were meant to love and root for. She was never a character you were supposed to relate to or want to be. In almost every role she’s in, she cannot exist without being a prop for another character’s story, and if she has a “happy ending,” it’s usually in the arms of a white colonist or settler.

I’ve created the Aila Test to bring my own concerns to the table when feminists criticize media. Not only should these issues be analyzed and addressed, but content creators who write about Indigenous / Aboriginal women should consider writing characters who pass this test. We need them now, more than ever.

To pass the Aila Test, your film / animation / comic book / novel / etc, must abide by these three important rules:

1. Is she an Indigenous / Aboriginal woman who is a main character…

2. Who  DOES NOT fall in love with a white man…

3. And DOES NOT end up raped or murdered at any point in the story.

Do you know characters that pass the Aila Test? Please submit them to this page!

Tell me again it’s not canon.

It’s in the music.

True Love, Tallahassee, Regina’s Price. Cues and keys and crescendos, intertwined, layered again and again, pinned to scenes with the creator’s approval. Operation Mongoose? A TL motif. Going Home? A TL motif. Sacrifices, magic, teamwork? A TL motif.

It’s in the wardrobe.

Red and grey and black and back again. Plaid–confusion, discontent. Deep blue–loneliness, searching for family. Shared clothing, further intertwined. Parallels and callbacks to past couples, inciting conscious and subconscious connections. Why do they share this look instead of them or them?

It’s in the scenery.

Gallant knights with golden hair all in white abreast upright steeds. Splashes of color reflecting mood. Mirrors reflecting each other. Seals and symbols–the Tallahassee and Storybrooke, the dreamcatchers™, mirrors. All mirrors. Unicorn mobiles linked to unicorn hearts. A black unicorn, an unused mobile–innocence lost, never gained? White horses, black swans.

It’s in the camera direction. It’s in the editing.

Iconic shots, tricky angles, cued reactions–focus on her, not on him–which mean something. Rom-com zooms, reflections capturing both, pans guiding our attention to the thoughts behind the dialogue. Everything means something.

And the text. Hell yes, it’s in the text.

The magic to transcend realms. Unstoppable. Unbeatable. Wholehearted understanding, from one to the other. Mirrored storylines and struggles. Intertwined fates–both share a True Love already, after all. Longing glances, jealous quips, situations that require the one to save the other, then the other to save the one. Ultimate sacrifice. All canon. “I saved you, now save me.” “With you, I always know.” “I know you.” They’re stronger together than apart, time and time again.

Yes, it’s in subtext. It’s in innuendo and acting choices, it’s in interpretation and suggestion.

But when it’s built into the very foundation of the show–the Savior meets the Evil Queen–it’s not delusional. It’s not unintentional.

Either the wardrobe department, the music department, the prop department, the actors, and the editors are all going rogue…or someone told them to put it in the music, the wardrobe, the scenery, the camera direction, the subtext, and the text.

Tell me again Swan Queen isn’t canon.

Women warriors: story of Khatoon Khider and her Daughters of the Sun
Khatoon Khider used to be a popular Yazidi singer. Now she’s the head of an all-women battle unit with Isis in its sights. By Emma Graham-Harrison
By Emma Graham-Harrison

After what happened to Yazidi women and girls, I decided to stop singing until I take revenge for them,” she says. “Maybe I will go back to music, but I think this job as a soldier will be a long one.”

(As a side note: There’s dozens and dozens of these sorts of stories that are constantly mailed to me. I am usually uncomfortable posting them, as there’s a legitimate case to be made that they are wartime propaganda. Most I’ve seen have been poorly written, poorly sourced, and slanted to encourage cheerleading over critical thinking. What sets this one apart for me is its in-depth interviewing, and focus on who she is as a person over the ‘ISIS/ISIL/Daesh fears women’ narrative.)

(thanks to Becca for sending this in!)

Fish....or cut bait!

Been an interesting couple of weeks, hasn’t it?   I’ve been around, just a bit too busy to comment with football season right around the corner, I do have a day job after all.  Yet with folks acting the fool all over the place I do think it’s time for another PR lesson.

I don’t know who’s running the PR show at Outlander – I have an idea – but I do know one thing, they’re floundering and it’s not completely their fault.   Mr. Heughan told on himself the other day with his statement in that lovely little interview.

“Say yes to everything.”  

It’s a studio’s and agent’s dream.  It’s PR nightmare, but it can be managed if you’re smart about it…which I’m afraid the Starz PR team is not!  I have a theory about what’s going on with the Starz/Lionsgate/Sam/Cait mess so let me explain.

First off…. let me tell you what I’ve been doing -the Falcon’s first pre-season game is the 10th so I’ve been setting the talking points for all the upcoming interviews.  That’s right, even at a sports level the interviewers are told what they can and cannot talk to the players about.  What does that tell you?   It tells you that if an interviewer asked whether Sam or Cat were together it was because they were told too by Starz PR, pure and simple!   PR sets the narrative, so with that in mind, let’s look at what PR is trying to tell us.

PR wants us to know that Sam and Cait are “obviously” not together and to bring home that point they have Sam and Cait state emphatically in interviews that they aren’t together (pay no attention to their co-stars who have trouble keeping straight faces through all this) and they trot out the blonde in a couple of scenarios so staged her ex-boyfriend found it necessary to throw a little shade.

Now my mind immediately goes to the “why” of them setting this narrative.  Why do they want us to think Sam’s hooked up with a 28-year-old blonde that really does nothing for him but make me roll my eyes at his taste in women?  Could this narrative be simply because Sam’s in love?   Nah, don’t buy that for a second.  Sure, Sam posted a pic on Instagram, but did he tag MM?  Has he ever?  Did he call her by name?  Has he ever, once indicated he has a girlfriend or significant other while avowing he and Cait are just pals?  A Little tip here people, if you’re going to try to sell this gal to me as his amore, for the love of God get some body language tips from somebody!  And don’t use Hargrave, that’s who HiddleSwift used and they were about as believable as a tutu on a crocodile.  Oh, and my favorite part, we had those lovely posed pics but the one candid shot had Sam on one side of the helicopter and her on the other and we’re supposed to believe it was because of weight distribution….um okay.  Add to that mentions that his brother was originally supposed to accompany him on this outing and the fact that Sam and MM are both represented by the same agent doesn’t help sell the “love” to me either.  But seriously they could be dating, who knows…they just don’t sell it too well if they are!

Okay, rant over, back to my theory.    So why the push of this narrative?  Let’s look at what’s going on in Sam’s life now.

The new movie. Let’s not pretend for a second that Sam’s part in this movie isn’t due to the Starz/Lionsgate connection – I’m not that dumb – are you?   And I’m not so dumb that I don’t think Lionsgate doesn’t realize what star potential they have in the boy, but here’s the problem. Outlander, while having a worldwide MASSIVE fan base, has a fan base of women who are mostly over the age of 35. To make Sam the star they want him to be, he’s got to appeal to a younger audience (18-35) as well and with Jamie and Claire aging in the show…it’s a dilemma - at least to the middle-aged male idiots that run things.   They can’t change Outlander and have Jamie run off after some younger woman (and not risk getting tarred and feathered) so they change the personal.  They concentrate on the shallow – his looks and his physique.  They insist that Sam “obviously” couldn’t be with a beautiful, intelligent, successful, woman nearing forty (whether they actually are or not, they can’t even allow the perception).   No way! (It makes me wonder, is that what caused Cait’s attitude - not her ire at fans, but at the underlying reason for having to make the remarks in the first place?)

See, I think it’s a battle of wills between Lionsgate and Starz when it comes to PR, Lionsgate wanting to quash the Sam/Cait rumors so they can push the Sam agenda and try to appeal to the younger crowd.  NOT a good move in my opinion – especially when the movie is just filming – way too early for such a move.  

Starz had it right in the beginning, play off Sam/Caits’ natural chemistry.  Are Jamie and Clair such a timeless tale of romance that even your actors even fell under its power?  The problem now is fans – even though they say they don’t – relate the actors to the roles.  Sam pulling away from Outlander will be emotionally perceived as Jamie pulling away from Claire – and it will hurt them, it already has – why do you think we’re getting all these spoiler pics.  It’s like when you’re fishing, you put bait on your hook and if you don’t get any fish…you keep throwing out more bait.  Right now, Starz is throwing out bait.  The less fish they get…the bigger the bait.  Problem is, they haven’t figured out just what kind of bait they need yet.

Remember last time I told you silence was golden.   Well for actors and shows it’s the kiss of death…if you want Starz - this time Lionsgate as well -to change its bait, stop eating what you don’t like.  You don’t like seeing Sam/MM…please for the love of heaven quit putting those nasty comments on her Instagram, you may think you’re hurting her but all you’re doing is raising her Q-score.  IGNORE her, and if you want to send Sam a message about her, ignore him anytime she posts a picture insinuating she’s with him.  Shower the show with love, go quiet on Sam.   Shower Cait with love, pretend MM doesn’t exist.  And let me be clear when I say ignore, I mean be quiet, don’t say her name, don’t comment on her blog, don ‘t check her twitter or her instagram, behave like you did before we knew who she was!  When the show throws you bait you like, eat it loudly – ignore what you don’t like.  And trust me, all the social media numbers are checked on a daily basis, probably twice a day I would guess, morning and afternoon.     

What would I do, if I had the com so to speak?  (a little Star Trek reference in case you know who gets a hold of this blog). First off, a certain blonde would fade into the wood work.  Sam interacting with younger males in the workout and sports area would go farther in endearing him to younger women than dating a quasi-child.  I’d go with attendance at lots of football games in the company of 20-something males and females and an appearance at the World Series.  A sighting of Cait visiting Sam in Budapest – or wherever else he’s filming the movie…. maybe a picture that may or may not be her. Then . just before the Outlander premiere…. a fan picture, fuzzy but one you can just make out of the two of them in an embrace….NO more comments of their personal lives period and let people think what they will!

….and that’s why they pay me the big bucks.

Thinking About Korra

Having rewatched most of the first season now, I’ve been mulling something over.  I’m aware a lot of people dislike Korra, regardless of the stories or plots.  Now, I’m not saying this applies to everyone who dislikes Korra, not at all, but I wonder if it fits into a theory I’ve mentioned in the past.

Its because Korra is a woman.  And no, this doesn’t have to do with misogyny or disliking women or anything like that.  It stems from something else.

Korra starts out as somebody who, while wanting to do good, is also egotistical, thuggish and self centered.  For every good thing she does, she messes up something else.  Her anger gets the best of her, she’s easily manipulated and she’s socially awkward.

Additionally, Korra fails.  Against nearly every enemy she faces, she’s entirely outmatched.  She gets beaten by Tarrlok, Amon, Unaloq, Zaheer and Kuvira.  Often, she only wins with the aid of another.  In the end of Season 3, she’s left crippled emotionally and physically.  She’s frequently put into positions of weakness.

In short.  Korra embodies everything we’re not used in media.  Korra is the hero but she’s deeply flawed, with major negative traits.  She’s consistently shown up, consistently making bad decisions, and often put into positions of pain and suffering.

Consider if Korra was male.  We KNOW there are male characters who display several traits like this.  From the past Avatar series we have Zuko.  From a more modern example, we have Bakugo from My Hero Acadamia.  There are people who like both, despite them being jerks and taking multiple seasons to get through their character development.

Its just the concept of a female character who has the faults of a man, who goes through the same kind of struggle as a male character, that is foreign to us.  Most media nowadays has women be able to face down and beat foes well outside their weight class.  We see female characters who are entirely capable.  We have female protagonists who, regardless of how snarky they are, are usually universally, respected or deferred to in their series.

Korra isn’t a damsel either.  She actually suffers and the audience is shown it.  She’s put into an intimately deadly situation with Amon early in Season 1.  We see her poisoned and dying in Season 3.  We see her suffer an emotional breakdown in Season 3 and 4.  Damsels don’t suffer like that typically, we don’t see women tortured on screen much, if at all.

I have to wonder is some of the dislike for Korra, for SOME (not all) people is rooted in the simple fact that Korra is depicted as the antithesis of the modern ‘women are wonderful’ media narrative we have had going for so long.  Its an alien concept in TV, let alone a children’s cartoon.

i feel like the narrative on women and makeup has become so muddled and confused and misguided. there is honestly an industry at this point based on denying that makeup has anything to do with patriarchy in any way, shape or form. despite the obvious fact that, no, the vast majority of men do not wear makeup–and yes, we still consider many of them beautiful without it, and without even thinking about it. 

the beauty industry has become attuned enough to the change in culture and women’s increasing liberation over time that they can no longer get away with marketing all their products as “fixes” for your “flaws.” no, they’ve actually co-opted feminist/activist rhetoric to sell their products to you. this imbues their product with a significance and a weight that, without this language, it simply does not have. sadly a lot of this language is similarly used by makeup blogs/vlogs/instagrams/etc without understanding that the capitalist machine has pushed this nonsense on us for years to dupe us. let’s actually take a look at some modern advertising in the beauty industry:

wow! it’s almost like “having it all” sounds familiar? hm, where have i heard that?

this is just one of dozens of products that compare their makeup to a revolution.

the beauty industry has been steadily using rhetoric to suggest that cosmetics bring women power and the like, such as:

but when all else fails, don’t convince women that beauty products will empower, change, enliven them, or make them assertive. just tell them it’s a part of who they are!

because how could the real you shine through without the help of some new foundation or lipstick?

there is such an absurdity to these slogans and such a sexism to the idea that these products are going to change women’s lives, bring them confidence, give them power or anything else. these products, nine times out of ten, are going to paint women’s faces in order to make them more appealing to the patriarchy.

it’s even gone far enough that women online have recently created a hashtag #thepowerofmakeup (?) to insist that makeup is not due to insecurities or a desire to please boys, but simply a personal choice and pleasure that exists in a vacuum and has nothing to do with anything else ever. this is the extent of the brainwashing. i don’t condemn these women in any way because their lack of understanding is not their fault and is a product of growing up in the society they have. to make myself perfectly clear, i do not condemn any women who wear makeup in any context. however the hashtag creator’s notion that “nowadays…it’s almost a crime to love doing your makeup” is literally baffling. makeup has never been more popular or beloved than it is right now, and the small group of people criticizing its misogynistic origins are nothing compared to the millions of women who feel compelled to spend hundreds every year on these products. it’s incredible to see women who do wear makeup portrayed as the outcasts, while women who don’t wear makeup know that they’ll have a tougher time getting jobs, be consistently assumed tired/upset/having a bad day, and be generally considered less desirable and inadequately feminine on the whole. 

speaking of the growing prominence of youtube channels, instagrams, tumblrs, etcetcetc centered around makeup and makeup products, i want to make a point. can makeup be art? absolutely! can makeup be fun? absolutely! can makeup exist totally separate from male dominant spaces? i’m not positive, but i think it’s possible. however, it is the dominant culture’s obsession with and need for these products which is harmful to women and girls. many will proclaim that, “i like how i look without makeup too!” and “i can still leave the house without it!” but, as someone who once constantly reiterated these phrases, unfortunately i know them to be denials in many many cases. i felt myself, over the years, insisting that i could leave the house without makeup, yet found myself doing that, at most, five times in an entire year. i told myself i liked how i looked without makeup, yet after two days in the house without a drop, i looked in the mirror and felt ugly, dirty, incomplete. and i know i am not alone. sure makeup makes you feel beautiful, but why?

if we want to talk honestly about makeup and the enormous influence it has on women and girls, we have to rid ourselves of patriarchal notions and delusions that makeup “just makes me feel good!” and embrace the idea that we can feel good, all the time, be beautiful, all the time, no matter what we look like, without makeup in any form. our choices do not exist in a vacuum, and there was a reason i cried hysterically to my mother at 13 for not being allowed to wear mascara. all women are beautiful, all the time. it’s okay that women wear makeup. we just need to start examining why we want to, and patriarchy’s role in that “choice.”

Me: *thinks about the in the heights movie and all of the hype I’m giving it despite the fact that it most likely won’t feature any of the cast members that caused me to fall in love with such a production, the fact that it’s still a few years away so I have no idea if I’d still even like in the heights by the time it comes around, the ridiculously high standards I have for the cast especially in casting an all poc cast being my number one want (something Hollywood’s been notorious in withholding), the fear of adding foreign plot points or even worse SUBTRACTING important plot points, the fear of somehow removing women from the narrative, the fear of watering down such a beautiful story in general*

Me: *cries*

alias grace meta: sewing & textiles motif

Grace’s hands are never idle.

She says it herself, that “idle hands do the devil’s work” (perhaps said cheekily, or facetiously, or with earnest piousness–we never really know with her.)

As Grace weaves her tale for Dr. Jordan, there’s a corollary of Grace sewing and weaving a quilt. She is literally and figuratively “spinning a yarn.” The quilts themselves are narratives, warnings, and signs. And they are women’s work too. The making of the quilt and the unwinding of the story are both Grace’s to control and design. The power lies in her hands and voice. 

I loved all the close-ups of Grace’s hands tracing the needle and thread through the fabric as she spoke to Dr. Jordan. It complemented the building of her story, but also added an aspect of danger to it. I always braced myself for close-up of Grace pricking her finger, of blood bleeding into the white textiles. But it never happens, that possibility only lingers. 

The motif carries through in her relationship with Mary Whitney. Grace gifts her a needle carrier for Christmas. Mary gives her a red petticoat when she menstruates for the first time. 

And at the closing–it is three textiles from women’s lives that are sewn into her quilt of the tree of paradise: Nancy Montgomery’s pink dress, Grace’s jail nightgown, and Mary’s red petticoat. 

Textiles are important in these women’s lives, as they signify age, class, and transition. They are markers of identity–both trying to claim them, embody them, and hide from them. 

Interestingly, clothing (and I would also say identity) between women in the narrative is fluid. Grace speaks about frequently borrowing Mary’s clothing (”so why not her name, too?”), she runs away in Nancy’s pink dress, and she even wears it to court. Mary gives Grace her mother’s handkerchief. Perhaps Mary even inhabits Grace’s body, as easily as one might slip into another’s dress. The blurring of the characters speaks to women’s shared experience.  What the three women want, what they desire, what they strive for, and the deep anger they all carry–it can be seen as common and shared. 

Also, a quick shout-out to Grace talking about the restrictions of wearing a bonnet, and asking Dr. Jordan whether he’s ever worn one. Dr. Jordan returns the statement with a quirk of a smile. Of course he hasn’t, he’s a man. Experience of clothing is gendered and rigid. No man wears a hat like horse blinders.

(I may write something on Jeremiah later and his profession in peddling women’s goods and textiles, making him a character that is more “fluid” or less rigidly constrained by gender roles. Stay tuned.)

On another note: traditionally, sewing and textiles have always been considered women’s work. And when you consider it as an artistic medium, I would dare say that even in contemporary and postmodern art, male artists rarely use it as a medium of self-expression. It is still a gendered art form.  

As usual, please let me know your thoughts! Do you agree, disagree? Is there another moment where textiles were used? Let me know!

I think there’s a lot of really harmful pressures on butches both from feminist lesbians (yes that is backwards on purpose) and from queer groups that, even if they don’t actively pressure butches into disidentifying (which is rare) even then only begrudgingly allow butches and other gnc women some language to talk about ourselves. And a lot of that pressure is specifically around the proper relationship to men, masculinity, etc- all of which we are supposed to wholly reject as things to which we have any relationship, and that isn’t fair and restricts the way women are allowed to think of ourselves which I never support in general but especially not for a group of women who’ve been so wholly abandoned by a lot of groups because we aren’t convenient.

Like a lot of studs, bois, etc that I know (and butch is a particular term with some connotations different from stud, boi, etc although they refer to similar experiences) think of themselves as close to men relationally. Some even (gasp! THE HORROR!) refer to themselves as transmasc, or have mostly male friends because the women around them reject their gender nonconformity or they just relate to men better. And just because that’s not how all of us think of ourselves doesn’t mean it is bad or incorrect or antifeminist or anything like that. We are allowed to have complicated relationships to gender, to womanhood, to masculinity.

The only issue is making broad blanket statements, like that butchness and masculinity are totally separate or separable, when many women (myself included) find a lot of ourselves in narratives about “female masculinity” or “mannish women” or even transmasc narratives, and most butches I know who have rejected those (which is fine!) used to utilize at least one of those frameworks. But I often referred to myself jokingly with the word “guy” and find it comfortable as long as it isn’t taken too seriously, and there are men in my life with whom I have decidedly masculine bonds or bonds specifically over masculinity in a way that feels like brotherhood and those things are fine. You don’t have to choose. You aren’t ever obligated to lie to make someone else more comfortable about who you are and how you think of yourself. My butchness is going to be different from that of the other butches I know and that’s fine- we can voice the same experiences in different ways, and that is fine.

College Bloggin’

One of my teachers emailed me about the syllabus and added at the end ‘you contributions in class are superb,’ and I was gonna respond with ‘thank you, it is my last semester so I think I’ve luckily built up a lot of historical analysis skills.’

And then I got rid of the ‘luckily’ part cause I read on interesting article on how women often attribute their successes to ‘luck’ and things outside of themselves instead of personal hard work- which plays into narratives of women being passive vessels of their accomplishments instead of active participants.

So hell yeah I do superb talkin’ now, ain’t luck, I studied hard & think critically, hell yeah.

‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space. It means life.’ - An Analysis of The Pilot

I’ve written before about how life-affirming this show was, but finally we have a line that’s pretty much a manifesto for it and the Moffat era in particular. This show has, since I was 12 years old provided me with something I needed. When I began being seriously bullied, it was a respite where eccentricity and outcasts were welcomed, escapism in its purest form. I don’t honestly know what I would do, or who I would be without it. The stories have always saved me when I needed them most. 

Approaching another difficult period in my life where I’m about to start living as myself and it has done it again. ‘You’re safe in here. You’re always safe in here.’ positions the TARDIS as a safe space in a world where people love to shit on millennials and minorities for needing places of sanctuary. Doctor Who offers that without question without judging us for it.

Bill’s reaction to Heather’s ‘defect’, a thinly-veiled allegory for her sexuality is in a similar vein. Bill; who is open about her sexuality; refers to it as ‘a star’, which is what causes Heather to open up to her in the first place. Bill is acceptance, something which Heather was clearly lacking in her life, and which is part of why she held on so tight to her promise. A lesser show would have killed her off, but this is not a lesser show. This is a show which lives on affirming hope. Game of Thrones, it is not. 

Speaking of Bill, the power which women hold over the narrative this episode is crucial, including the absent ones. The TARDIS, Susan (who not coincidentally was left behind because the show in its infancy quite literally didn’t know what do with her, treating her as a Problem) and River being what persuades him to travel with Bill even against his unknown promise is wonderful, but most important is Clara Oswald, whose legacy is to stand up for Bill’s agency and force the Doctor to empathise, to realise what he’s doing is wrong regardless of any reason. It’s also this that shows the Doctor again that he needs someone, someone who calls him out at the right moments. The story begins again. This really is a time for heroes.

Time and relative dimension in space, it means ‘what the hell’. 

One of the most tragic casualties of bougie pop feminism has been the collapse of any qualitative differentiation between problematic and abusive. Once upon a time abusive meant something you could get arrested for. Now it’s just a synonym for mean or fraught. 

It comes from a well meaning place and has some merits but it’s misguided, punitive and lacks relevance to the complexity of real life relationships. This is especially true when we are talking about it in the realm of creative fiction, especially something as fantastical as Star Wars. As Rian Johnson has pointed out we relate to characters who reflect ourselves and our experiences in a heightened way and to do away with that in favor of dogmatic prescriptions of whether or not that “sends a good message” or whatever is to diminish the purpose of storytelling itself. 

This isn’t to say that mainstream libfem thought doesn’t advance important goals or make important points, goals that must be hard fought and points that are often faced with a huge amount of backlash. But it’s also the case that within bougie pop feminism there is this unshakable attachment to conservatism: like conservatives, pop feminists view their political and social mission in the terrain of “culture wars”. Like conservatives pop feminists view media as having very literal real life consequences and take an overwhelming concern with text and language and messaging. Like conservatives pop feminists stress the importance of characters and stories being role models. Like conservatives bougie pop feminists there are punishments for stepping out of line. Both place an emphasis on victimhood and hyper vulnerability and performative marginality. While we can certainly say that the oppressions that pop feminism claims to tackle - racism, misogyny, etc. - are certainly more real and valid than anything conservatives can claim they still function on a warped economy of virtue and social and cultural capital that arguably can at times strengthen those oppressions rather than challenge them.

The big difference is that pop feminism is LGBTQ friendly and stresses racial diversity and Independent Women narratives. Yet it does so within the narrow confines of a moralistic schema that inverts conservative thought but doesn’t break with it. The result is that the two can be stunningly similar in their outcomes, ways of thinking and their attitudes toward pop culture. 

Anyway, I guess my point is that the whole “Reylo is abusive”/”Rey doesn’t need a romance” is a part of this pop feminist web that really functions on notions that are not all that feminist in actuality and are dangerously reductive when promoting its views. 

alright kids listen up because i’m going to explain why anyone who feels sara “hotlips” “the biguar” lance or dinah “tina” “her?” drake is more true to comics black canary is wrong and their arguments are wrong

and also, no disrespect to sara or dinah, this is really about realizing them as separate characters of their OWN merit and how frustrating it is that people try to shove them into what they believe is comics canon because they’re uncomfortable with laurel. i don’t want to see dinah or sara hate on this.

and let me preface by saying that comics? comics are bad. i want us to all go in with an understand that some comics are good, but comics are bad. and i also want us to remember that arrow, arrow is bad. arrow is so bad.

one more preface this is super anti arrow’s oliver queen so just skip on ahead if you don’t enjoy the taste of me always being right. long post under the cut

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Is The White Princess Empowering? 

I love period dramas. Like most things in my life, I blame Xena for that. This past week I was able to watch a special screening of The White Princess through Refinery29. It was an interesting watch. I am not a fan of Phillippa Gregory’s interpretations of the women involved in the Wars of the Roses. However, I do often enjoy these types of shows because, despite it all, I know there are good acting and eye candy. The White Princess was no different and while I was watching it and listening to the Q&A after, I was thinking about how we tell the stories of women in history. Specifically as to how they choose to portray empowerment. This got kinda long, but I hope all my other history lady loving nerds will see where I’m coming from. I’m enjoying the show, but I just gotta call something out…

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anonymous asked:

do you think Wuthering Heights explores feminism in any ways?

Again, I’m not comfortable with using ideology and strategy terms on works produced before said ideologies were pinned down, and saying that Wuthering Heights explores feminism would be completely anachronical. Feminism was not even a concept; Emily could not have been aware of any of its implications.

What I do think is that Wuthering Heights explores female agency and in many ways, is a groundbreaking work of feminine characterisation in the literary canon. Through the lens of contemporary feminist criticism, it is an interesting, precursory book. 

Women control the narrative: Cathy and Catherine actively, as they control their fate and consciously make choices that end up defining the plot—Cathy marrying Edgar, Cathy insisting on Heathcliff staying when he returns, Cathy potentially haunting Heathcliff until death bring them together; Catherine choosing to sacrifice herself for Linton and her father, but holding her own against Heathcliff; Cathy damning Heathcliff, Catherine saving Hareton. Nelly controls the narrative as well, passively, as the narrator of the story, twisting and turning as she wishes, instilling her subjectivity in the tale that will eventually survive everybody else.

Characterisation of these women is primordial: contrarily to the pious, subdued female protagonists we encounter in literature at that time, Cathy, Catherine, but also Nelly and Isabelle give free rein to their emotions, impulses, and voice their strength time and time again. Cathy runs the show: passionate, loud, rash, she repeatedly dominates the men in her life and, until the end, remains free. Catherine doesn’t shy away from her own anger, and screams, bites, slaps to defend herself; although a prisoner, she wraps herself in fury and disdain, and conquers her enemies by the end of the novel. Nelly is outspoken and domineering, especially for a servant, and her influence spreads over several estates; and Isabelle, the princess-like, dignified Linton girl, acts on her passionate love and sexual desire in marrying Heathcliff against all odds.

The metaphors used by Emily are metaphors of liberation, of freedom, of instinct. Doors are knocked down, bolts are broken, souls burn, shriek, overflow; humans are not reduced to their gender, but to antisocial animals with bite-like kisses and clawed hitting, equal in their debasement and their passion for one another. Nevertheless, where women are elevated through impetus, men are defiled by their own sins, or else immobilised by weakness; there is no control for them. They are slaves to the women in their lives, their mistresses; only those women can absolve them, and free them again.

So, yeah, I think that Emily Brontë produced an exceptional account of female strength, intimacy and agency, a feat even more admirable considering it went against the very culture she was surrounded by and feeding on.

Every time one of the One Direction boys gets a new girlfriend or gets someone pregnant I check their tag to see the mad conspiracy theories and the little girls flipping out. Seriously though, they all seem to think that pregnancy is only something women do to trap men instead of a mutually loving decision between two partners. Can we end this narrative that women are bewitching the men you like with their genitals?

as a continuum from last year, here’s the info for this year’s Tolkien WLW Week! your can contribute graphics, fanfic, fanmixes, anything you want as long as it relates to Tolkien ladies & femslash!

             — wlw = women-loving woman
             — a week dedicated to Tolkien fandom femslash 
             — runs from June 18th — 25th
             — tracks the tag #wlwtolkienweek


            day 1 & 2:    favourite female character(s)
            day 3 & 4:    favourite femslash ship(s)
            day 5 & 6:    rewriting women into the narrative
            day 7:          free choice


and in the star-glimmer
the stars trembled
let not your heart be sad
beauty is terror
i waited until my bones turned to dust
but we are not men
not all those who wander are lost
our doom shall be alike
a merrier world
beyond sorrow and grief
into the west
want more prompts? message me & i’ll generate some more!


        do I need to follow the schedule/prompts? No, it’s just an (optional) guide if you don’t know where to begin. 
         what can I make? You can create anything you want :) 

#helpless (hamilton, a writeup)

okay so tl;dr? i cried. i frickin sat there with two teardrops rolling down my face and chin and neck and i couldn’t frickin wipe it away because i was so invested (and also i didn’t want to ruin my makeup) and it was just. it was so good guys. so good.

gushing about the staging under the cut

Keep reading

One of my issues with Crazy Ex Girlfriend is not with the show itself but how people talk about it. A big talking point for the past season has been to say “the show is not about shipping, it’s not about who Rebecca ends up with, it’s about her personal journey” which yeah! is fucking awesome! especially since it’s important to have narratives for women that don’t revolve around men or marriage being the ultimate end goal. 

However, when non mentally ill people start saying this sort of thing, it can get to sounding pretty unfortunate, especially when people imply that Rebecca is too “crazy” for a relationship, that she can’t do anything until she “fixes herself” and finds her own happiness. Which is like… okay, I see what you’re saying, but Rebecca’s backstory clearly implies that she WAS working on herself back in New York, focusing on her career, going to therapy, and taking meds, which are all things that mentally ill people are supposed to do instead of pursuing a relationship. And she STILL wasn’t happy. So yeah, maybe happiness doesn’t lie in a relationship with Josh or Greg or Nathaniel but is she just supposed to be like single for the rest of her life until everything is perfect and her mental illness is completely cured? Because that doesn’t happen my dudes!