Tag Archives: social issues.

Well, Duh.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-big-questions/201106/homophobic-men-most-aroused-gay-male-porn

Just further proof of what most of us in the community know, if you spend a lot of time fighting the gay, you are probably one yourself. I mean, really, let’s get this shit together.


I Love Lucy.

Question posed by People magazine:

How do you feel about gay rights?

Answer from Lucile Ball:

It’s perfectly all right with me. Some of the most gifted people I’ve ever met or read about are homosexual. How can you knock it?

Reason this is awesome? It was from an article done in 1980. Fuck yeah!

Also:

You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.

-Roy McDonald, Republican Senator for NY, reversing his stance.


Cyber Bullying In Adults.

A sad, but apparently quite common occurrence if my news feed is to be believed. A friend of mine recently posted a link to pictures related to pro-marriage equality protests, and a ‘friend’ of hers promptly told her she was going to Hell. Now, I am never going to say that you can’t have your own opinion (unless you are my child and it is for your own good, which is a very different situation), but I’m also a big fan of keeping your damn mouth shut.

For me, it goes like this, fuck PC, just be respectful. Irreverence and jokes are all fine, but if someone is hurt by them, it is not okay to continue. If someone posts a link you don’t respect, or you have a problem with, leave it alone, especially if it isn’t harming anything by law. If someone is being hurt, then it might be right to speak up, but in the proper context. Crimes should be reported to the police; abuse should be reported to the proper authorities.

As adults, we should know better than to resort to hate and fear tactics to get our way. As reasonable persons, we should be able to express ourselves without someone telling us that we are too young to be able to argue against years of oppressive thinking and cultural conceptions that are deemed irresponsible by modern standards. And as human beings, we should realize that we have the responsibility to every generation in our contact to be the best person possible and to help others do the same in a respectful manner and in appropriate settings.

But your opinions? They belong on your own damn wall.


Up In Blue.

Tangled was my last movie received from Netflix. It’s Disney’s version of Rapunzel, the girl with the super-duper long hair. The cast was okay, with Rapunzel played by Mandy Moore, former pop idol, and her love interest played by Zachary Levi, of Chuck fame.

As is Disney’s habit, several changes were made from the original text. Rapunzel was not the daughter of a poor couple living near a witch. And Eugene, her Mister Right, was not a prince, however charming he may have been. The witch stole Rapunzel from her royal parents to make use of her innate magic, instead of making the parents hand her over to satisfy a devil’s deal. These changes, as well as certain elements included in the story developed into a much more pro-feminism storyline than is normally packaged in Disney princess movies.

Multiple times Rapunzel in reinforced as a more modern woman. Not only is she spunky, she’s capable and seeks to fulfill her own desires. (Unlike Cinderella, who has her own desires, but refuses to do anything about them, or Mulan, who is obviously capable, but is more focused on protecting her family and denying herself in the process.) Rapunzel is persistent in her goal, not losing hope when denied, but finding another route.

She defends herself consistently, finding a weapon she is capable of wielding, but that also is a symbol of her emerging self: a frying pan. Traditionally a woman’s tool, the frying pan in question looked to be a cast iron model, also known as a brain-basher. When you hear those stories of an abused woman finally going crazed on her dirt-bag husband, she’s usually brandishing this particular implement because it is hand, heavy, and can very easily do a lot of damage.

Rapunzel Brandishing! (image taken from http://threadmaiden.blogspot.com, because it was the most illustrative)

There is a delicious sort of irony that a prop like a skillet is used to injure, even potentially kill, a man who has harmed women. A woman using a woman’s tool to rage against the male-dominated world. Rapunzel turns this on it’s head though, as she doesn’t just use it against the patriarchy, or a man; this is her tool against everyone.

She also is able to use her hair, which Disney has imbued with magic powers, to defend, heal, and change the world around her. It is her great gift, the ultimate symbol of her womanhood. It is as much a hindrance as a help, though. She can use it to move things around her, or to make others happier, but it ultimately also trips her up when she’s in danger, and causes her more stress than I would consider worthwhile.

At the end of the movie, Eugene takes Rapunzel’s hair by force, a violation she was unprepared for. He does it to save her, but also to keep her from over stepping her rights to make a decision for himself. But by that act, she isn’t just saved, she’s also set free. She is of no use to the witch, who is quickly dispatched, and is able to find her way back to her parents to join them once more. You would think that this would be a setback, but it seems to be more of a natural progression.

Eugene Slicing! (image from http://nindogs.blogspot.com, but I'm pretty certain from tumblr as well)

It’s like this: I originally likened her hair to virginity when I saw this scene. That was my immediate gut reaction, the violence and savagery of the moment actually hurt me. But the more I thought about it, the less it was about sexuality and more about adolescence. Her hair wasn’t just womanhood, it was a perception of womanhood. It was her status as a girl, a female child who had yet to experience real pain or despair. Yes, she had been locked away for so long, but she never really found herself wanting for anything but maybe a bit more attention from her (supposed) mother and a walkabout every once in a while.

Eugene is seriously injured, really dying literally in her arms, and he makes the choice to refuse her help so that she will be better off. This sacrifice is the most pain Rapunzel has ever had to deal with. By losing her naivete, she isn’t harmed, not really. She’s just put in a position to grow.

From that point, she’s able to move away from the sheltering mother figure, and begin her way back to her parents. The closing monologue from Eugene makes it apparent that she spends years becoming a kind and wise ruler, and then, years later, chooses to marry Eugene. She doesn’t fall into the decision, it was made knowing herself as a capable adult, a powerful woman.

All in all, I’m actually quite proud to see what Disney put forth with this film. The message I see is one that I would feel comfortable passing to my daughters and sons.


FaveTiem Pt. 3.

I love fairy tales. Folklore fascinates me, in all variations, but I really love a fairytale down to my ever-loving, feminist heart. With a new version of Snow White hitting theaters on the heels of retellings of Beauty and the Beast (Beastly) and Little Red Riding Hood (Red Riding Hood). Here are some of my favorite reworkings or retellings of fairy tales. I’m not saying they are the best, I’m just saying these are the ones that I go to the most.

There is so much to say about each of them, so I’ll try to keep it brief and to the point. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to pass them along. I love a good read or watch.

In no particular order:

01. Snow White: A Tale of Terror

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Sam Neill, Monica Keena, and Gil Bellows, the movie is filled with a decent cast, it’s just too bad about the writing. The plot is passable, but the details are overworked, and for some reason this appeals to me. Probably because I love the idea of a fairy tale as an attention grabbing story that is over the top. Fairy tales aren’t just for entertainment, but also for teaching lessons and explaining cultural practices as much as an folktale.

Sigourney Weaver as the evil and crazed witch of a step-mother is dark and fun to behold. Monica Keena is very good at little helpless girl coming into her own. Sam Neill is Sam Neill. I’m pretty certain he was happy to have intimate scenes with Sigouney, but in between that and his moments of contemplation, he is quite passable as a doting, but somewhat lost father who is being shut down where he is most vulnerable.

The show-stopper for me, though, is Gil Bellows. The man is talented, and can completely pull of the angst-ridden, pained man who has lost his family in an incredible disheartening way. The tension he creates on his own is magnificent, and works magnificently with the group of men in the woods that are the dwarves of the story.

You’ll laugh as much as you’ll enjoy the dark story and graphic depictions. There are a few squicky moments, but overall worth the time.

2. Moss Gown

I read Moss Gown as a little girl, and have never outgrown love for it. William H. Hooks pulled very much from King Lear when he wrote this story, but I read it as a Cinderella tale. The main character was very sweet, and just trying to be the best she could be. When she leaves her family home and eventually finds her prince, she is still the same woman, only a little wiser, if still not willing to stick up for herself. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story takes place in the American South, which is very near and dear to my heart, even when it’s being stupid.

The story itself is still quite discriminatory as it pulls from the sensibilities of the South, even if it is cleaned up for a more modern consumption.

3. The Mists of Avalon

Retelling the legends of Arthur and his round table, Mists is a feminist version of the legends. It forces a potential view at the misogyny and religious intolerance the stories are built on, even as it weaves a beautiful piece of fiction. The protagonists are the women of the legends so often glanced over as breeding pieces or evil spectres. These are characters with conflicts and cares as varied and deep as their male counterpoints.

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s long novel was actually turned into a made for television miniseries starring Anjelica Huston and Julianna Margulies. Due to the nature of a miniseries, even as it is a better format than a movie, it still cannot capture the detail and depth of story telling that the novel can.

4. Snow, Glass, Apples (alternatively, you can read the story for free here.)

Neil Gaiman is already a bit of an awesome possum in my head, but you add in his penchant for working a story fresh, and you’ve got one hell of a retelling. Snow, Glass, Apples is actually a short story included in several different anthologies and publications, and it asks the question ‘what if Snow White weren’t the victim?’ The above link is to Gaiman’s book of short stories Smoke and Mirrors on Amazon.com.

The dark of the story, as well as the uneasiness, twists in your gut long after you’ve read the story. The concept of the step mother as a sympathetic character is unsettling, as even when you are supposed to identify with a villain-turned-not villain, they are not usually good people. There is a reason that they are read as evil to the general populace.

5. Fables

Fables is a comic book series that takes fairy tales from all over, though mostly Europe, and weaves them into a modern story. The legends have their back stories similar to the way we know them, but they are all from a land that has been invaded by an occupying force bent on domination. The characters have escape into our world, and have been living amongst us for some time, just trying to survive and keep their culture intact, if adapted to this modern, mundane world.

The story lines are intriguing, giving the audience glimpses into how these characters are real people. The artistry in the panels is beautiful. The covers are pieces that I would love to display in my home. All in all, I can seriously say that this is one retelling I love wholly from start to finish.


More From The Land Of Socially Weird.

I apparently convinced my husband to shave his armpits without even trying. Let me explain, please. Husband works in a profession that involves some manual labor and not always awesome work conditions. He has complained before that he doesn’t feel like his deodorant does much for him, and he’s changed deodorants several times looking for the right one. (I think he smells delicious, but I can understand why it would be disconcerting for others)

On several occasions, I’ve suggested he try trimming his underarms so that the deodorant is more likely to make contact with his skin, and also to decrease the amount of sweat that can gather and allow smells to dissipate more easily. I never expected him to ever take the suggestion seriously because he’s a more traditional guy.

I haven’t said anything about it recently, but he chose to experiment tonight, and I’m hoping it works out for him. Well, so long as his pits are the only thing getting messed with. He touches his chest hair, and I may have to contemplate divorce.


It Brings On Many Changes.

I’ve heard it said (many times) that suicide is selfish. That it is a permanent solution to temporary problems. Every time I hear that, I just want to say, “fuck you.”

Unless you have been suicidal, you have no room in that house. And if you have been suicidal, and you say that, I say unto you, “That’s great, and I’mma let you have your opinion, but fuck you, too.” How you feel about your own thoughts, impulses, and issues is your own life, and you don’t have the right to tell anyone that how they feel is wrong for them.

I’m not saying you can’t have an opinion. I’m an American who actually does believe in free speech, even for ass-hats (and I’m including myself in that ass-modiste’s shop at this very moment). But the fact of the matter is that your opinion is just that; your opinion.

By no means am I saying that you should ignore someone in pain. If you worry for someone, of if someone comes to you, do listen, do talk, do something. That person deserves to know that someone loves them, that the loss of them would be painful to this world. Make them understand that they are useful and needed in some way, that it can get better.

(That’s the point of the It Gets Better Project.)

My grandparent, a former counselor, told me that when someone is suicidal, the best thing you can do is give them project after project, assignment after assignment. My grandparent managed to coax dozens of people through their immediate pain and allow them the time to heal through this technique. I employed it on myself to the best of my abilities for quite a while before I finally had my brake down in college.

But the fact of the matter is that sometimes, a person is going to make the decision to leave this life. It is horrible, and painful, and often feels unjustified to those left behind. The anger and resentment can linger, torturing the good memories we have of that person. But in the end, it is not our decision to make for that person. It effects us, but we can’t control those thing that make a difference in our lives.

While many people can work through the issues that make them suicidal, not everyone can. And sometimes those issues are impossibilities to overcome. Terminal patients should have the right to have their lives end with dignity and respect to their own wishes. And frankly, depression can be just as debilitating. And I don’t think it is your place or my place to make that decision for them, regardless of how much we may want them to be with us.

~~~

I started writing this at work one night. I don’t even know why the topic came to my mind except that I’ve been suicidal several times, and I feel like I’m constantly evaluating where I stand on the subject. I’m not ever going to say that I’m a hundred percent one way or the other forever. I believe in constant change and just because I feel this way today doesn’t mean that I will feel that way forever.

Also, I don’t want to anyone to feel like just because I don’t agree with them that I don’t respect their thoughts and feelings. I’m a huge believer in honesty and integrity and being true to one’s own self, regardless of the circumstances or disagreements that may arise.


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