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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Movies I wish I’d seen

June11

I don’t really like watching movies very much because more and more it’s becoming incredibly obvious that movies aren’t aimed at me or people like me, where “people like me” are “female.” You know. Roughly 50% of the population. Also, these people think and have thoughts and notice plot holes large enough to drive a semi through.

I’m not even going to touch on the ingrained, established sexism of the motion picture industry, despite the fact that women outnumber men when it comes to movie consumption. What I am going to touch on is 2 things:

    The Trailer for “Killers”

      The movie “Dog Soldiers”

      In “Killers,” Katherine Heigl plays a woman who goes from the over-protective, domineering, patriarchal custody of her father to the marriage bed of her husband, who is a former assassin for the CIA and Ashton Kutcher. He, of course, has not told her of his past because relationships based on lies and omissions are the best kind of relationships. Predictably, his past catches up to him and he winds up having to kill a lot of people while he protects and bosses around (dominates) his wife. Apparently he kills/has his wife kill a lot of female people? In brutal ways? God knows there isn’t enough of THAT in the world! What a novel concept: a man causing the deaths of lots of conventionally attractive in blood spattery violent ways!

      WHAT I WOULD LIKE THIS MOVIE TO BE: Heigl is the former assassin! Or current assassin. Either way, she is capable of taking care of herself and doesn’t need a man to protect her. In fact! Her past catches up to her and she winds up– shocking idea– protecting Kutcher. I think it would be really awesome to start the movie with the conceit that she’s just an innocent young woman, sheltered from the world, oh heavens what on earth will she do with this massive phallus gun??!? and then shit gets real and she shows her sharp shooting ability and saves the day instead of being saved. And possibly also she is not a white woman. Is that at all within the realm of probability?

      “Dog Soldiers” is not a werewolf movie about soldiers, it is a movie about soldiers and the bonds of brotherhood and also there are werewolves in it. That’s how it’s been described, anyway. What it actually is about is about trying to kidnap and experiment on local non-human people, and then breaking into their house and busting shit up and eating all their food and being surprised when they want to kill you. I mean, duh. Also, except for the female character and the main male character, everyone else was pretty interchangeable and flat… including the bad guy soldier character. I mean, they had characteristics like “likes football” and “is married” and… uh. That’s about it, I think. One guy’s really fast, maybe? I don’t even remember. The female character acts sympathetic towards them and then suddenly towards the end of the movie it’s like someone else started writing her or perhaps somebody realized they’d written themselves into a corner and OUT OF NOWHERE she starts talking about how the main character is a dudely dude who hates women and she’s just a bitch and it’s that time of the month and then she reveals that she unlocked a door and let the werewolves in. And also she is a werewolf. WHAT A TWIST!!! (this is after a really nice bit where someone was talking about pack dynamics and alpha male and female and I thought to myself “huh, cool, nice bit of parallel there, maybe this movie isn’t as bad as I thought” and then no, it really was.) I mean, it’s not a BAD movie, but you know. It’s not a good one. Also, the bad/evil guy is needlessly bad/evil. Relentlessly. For no reason. He’s just a massive evil dick, like he wakes up every morning and takes his “pure evil maliciousness” pills which make him do irrational but evil things like command a soldier to shoot an extremely expensive tracking dog which would have traumatized the dogs handler, and when the soldier doesn’t, he does it himself. Because he’s just so hard core evil that murdering dogs is second nature, even when that would require a lot of paperwork and explaining and also the cost and inconvenience of having to purchase and train a new dog.

      WHAT I WOULD LIKE THIS MOVIE TO BE: Actual defined characters would have been nice. In a movie where almost everyone dies, if you have a small group of people, it’s kind of boring unless you actually care about and are invested in the people being torn apart. Realistic evil and moral grey areas would have been totally cool too. Also, the fact that the soldiers commandeered someones’ house and ate their dinner and busted shit up really goes unremarked. Honestly, I would have loved it if all the myths and legends of monstrous beasties eating people were just that– myths and legends. And the werewolves were hunting prey animals like deer or something, and they only attacked the humans because the humans were 1) trying to capture and experiment on them, Ultimate Weapon style and 2) broke into their house and fucked shit up. I mean, if I were a werewolf and somebody came into my home and ate my dinner and locked me out etc etc etc I would probably go apeshit on them. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d do that even without being a werewolf. But that gives you a nice moment of “who is the real monster here.” Is it the humans who invade a sentient beings’ home and place of security, or is it the furry fanged creatures who simply want to be safe? Also a female character who is an actual fleshed out character and also isn’t an evil bitch monster would be totally rad.

      Obviously, I want to see movies that don’t actually exist, except in my own head. I know there’s a few movies that veer close to the preferred vision of “killers” that I have, and I’ve yet to see “Ginger Snaps” which is apparently the most awesomest werewolf movie in all of existence. But I’m getting tired of movies that are “close,” especially as one of the big, glaring failures tends to be “women don’t really exist as characters, except as props/accessories for men or else bitchmonsters.”

      (Oddly, and a second viewing may not hold up, I found “Quantum of Solace” to be exactly what I wanted in a movie, especially with regards to the female characters… one of whom is in a position of authority over Bond and the other of whom has her own agenda and motives, uses Bond to further them, doesn’t sleep with him, doesn’t get killed, and needs the same kind of saving that a male character would have needed… and also is physically scarred but still considers herself attractive and is considered by others to be attractive, as opposed to being considered ugly, flawed, damaged, pretty-except-for, etc.)

posted under feminism, feminism friday, movies, review, women | Comments Off on Movies I wish I’d seen

Men and Women in Public Spaces

May24

There’s a lot of guys who do this thing, in public, that is really aggressive and potentially threatening and invasive and all around douchey, and I’m pretty sure they’re not aware that’s how their actions are perceived, because if they were aware of that they’d stop doing it. Maybe. There’s a lot of aggressive, entitled, douchey guys out there, though.

Anyway, this is the thing:

When you are a dude in public, especially if you are with other dudes in a group, and you happen upon a lady who is minding her own business reading a book or eating an ice cream cone or working or whatever, and you want to know her name, give her yours first. Don’t just demand her name. Especially don’t follow up with questions about where she lives.

Because that? Is threatening. That’s now two pieces of private information you’ve tried to get out of her, and could easily lead to stalking.

And there is a LOT of pressure on women to play nice and answer the question. Because, you know, he’s just being friendly. They’re just questions. What possible harm could it do?

But it’s one of those things that makes women feel unsafe, especially because if she doesn’t answer these (very personal, private, could endanger her life and security) questions, she doesn’t know if the guy asking them will start screaming at her and calling her an uppity bitch.

Maybe you are thinking to yourself “huh, how could simply knowing a woman’s name and neighborhood make her unsafe?” Here is the thing. It’s really easy to watch women, especially in a big city. It’s easy to narrow down where a person lives, what public transit routes they take, including what block they live on, what apartment they live in. It’s easy to get access to women. It’s especially easy when you know that woman’s name. “Oh, hey, I’m here to see [woman’s name] and I think her buzzer is broken? could you let me up?”

I mean, think of how normalized-as-romantic this incredibly scary behavior is, how often it’s portrayed in romantic comedies.

So, you know, your harmless questions can actually be very alarming. Especially when the flow of information is only going one way.

So be mindful of that. If you MUST intrude upon a woman’s personal space (like, maybe she’s the most attractive woman in the known universe, or she has a tattoo with an obscure quote on it you recognize, or she’s reading your absolute favorite book series about soul-bonded dragons, and you know in your heart of hearts that you are soul mates), open with your own name first. Get the flow of information going both ways. Make it a conversation and not just an interrogation. And be mindful also of the fact that women don’t owe you anything. They don’t owe you a smile, or a conversation, or answers to your questions. If they don’t want to engage with you, that doesn’t make them bitches or whores or nasty people out to get you. It makes them human beings who don’t have the time, interest, energy, or whatever to expend upon you. And that’s their right, to not interact with some stranger who is making unreasonable demands on them.

Sometimes when a woman is being interrogated by a stranger (who, when male, usually is taller, stronger, louder, and heavier than her, all of which put her at a physical disadvantage), she might try to turn attention away from herself and ask questions of the stranger.

This does not mean the woman is trying to bone you, is giving you permission to “have sex with” (rape) her, is flirting “aggressively” with you, or is, in fact, interested in you/your dick. It also doesn’t mean you can then suavely segue into demanding to know what female celebrities she wants to have sex with, nor does it mean you can loudly call her a prude when she doesn’t answer you right away. I mean, you know, maybe she’s flirting with you and wants to get all up in your business. Sometimes people connect in the most unlikely ways! But it is not probable. More than likely she is trying to get you to talk about yourself (most peoples’ favorite topic of conversation) so she no longer feels like you are stalking her. She’s trying to redirect the conversation in such a way that she no longer has to actively take part in it. She’s reduced to this strategy because most women are not permitted by strange men they meet in public to opt out of conversations the men initiate.

Think about that for a minute.

If you are male, are you routinely dragged into personal conversations by other people? Do they ask you personal questions over and over again, getting louder and more persistent? Do they insult you if you refuse to talk to them or avoid answering the question? If you are reading a book or listening to music via headphones, do people assume that you owe them attention, that they can monopolize your time, that if you don’t fawn over them you are somehow at fault?

Because that’s pretty standard for women who go out in public.

If you feel the need to apologize several times for you/your group and your “obnoxious” behavior then consider changing your behavior. I mean, if you are acting obnoxiously and then apologize for it and then keep acting that way it pretty much cements that fact that you’re an epic jackass with no regard for the feelings of others, and no care at all for how you’re impinging on their social/physical space.

Despite what the commercials claim…

December28

Despite what the commercials claim, dieting isn’t going to fix all your problems.

No, joining weight watchers isn’t going to prevent jerks from slamming into your desk and spilling coffee all over your shirt. Nor will joining weight watchers prevent rain from falling from the sky and getting you wet.

I just… what?

Dieting isn’t some magic fix that will repair everything that’s wrong with your life.

Also, if you are an adult, don’t be surprised if a child’s size chair is too small for you. No amount of Special K magical special diets will turn an adult’s butt into a child’s butt.

Adults and children are different sizes. Children are smaller than adults. Yes, there are especially large children and especially small adults, but in general, child-sized things are child-sized because children are smaller than adults.

As baffling as the weight watcher’s commercial was (seriously? coffee spills can be solved by losing weight? only fat people spill coffee when jerks bang into them? rain, which once fell on the just and unjust alike, now targets fatties?), the Special K commercial seems more harmful. There’s the push to shrink female bodies, to reduce them to non-adult sizes. There’s existing rhetoric about how dieting mentality infantalizes women by removing their ability to chose what to eat, that dieting mentality punishes women for defying the ideal feminine norm and growing hips and butts and breasts (you know, secondary sexual signs). But now the message is coming clear: adult women are fucking hose beast lard bags if they don’t fit neatly into furniture scaled for children. Women: they need to remain child like and child sized or they are useless and terrible and need to be fixed. Adult women: there is something wrong with them.

The hell?

Note also that both commercials show conventionally attractive women who do not appear fat, or even chubby, and who have children. Ahh, true womanhood. Hot and fertile.

posted under advertising, body issues, feminism, health, life, TV, women | Comments Off on Despite what the commercials claim…

I think I figured out why I don’t “get” TWILIGHT

November18

I love vampires so hard, guys. I really do. I’ve been really into vampire literature since I was 11 or 12 (before that it was werewolves), so on the surface books like Twilight seem like a perfect match, right? It’s Vampires! And they interact with the world! But there’s this “older, more physically and socially powerful man grooming/stalking/courting a younger, less powerful woman” theme that I hate. I’ve always hated it, and it is RIFE in YA lit, in fact pretty much all literature, aimed at women.

Most of the women I know have been sexually assaulted, molested, and/or raped. While some of the perpetrators were the same age or younger, or were female, most of them were older men who spent time grooming them, stalking them, and manipulating them. I don’t know if the women I hang out with are unusually unlucky, if broken people attract each other, or if they just talk about shitty stuff that’s happened to them more than other women do. The Powerful Older, More Experienced Man trope may be sexually thrilling in fiction, but in real life it’s freaky as fuck; and it’s something that’s touched my life both directly and indirectly. When I was 17 I was sexually assaulted at work by coworker with seniority, who had laid down a ground work of intimidation and silencing action ahead of time. Two of my girlfriends, both under the age of 18, had been raped– one by a boyfriend, and one by somebody she grew up calling “uncle.” The boyfriend’s stalking ended after a year of threats; the uncle encouraged the second girl to tell because “nobody would believe her anyway.” Both young women had powerful, assertive men roll up in their lives, treat them specially, “watch them sleep” as it were, and then fuck their shit up.

It’s a fantasy I can’t get behind. I’ve seen it play out in real life, and it’s pretty twisted. A guy who’s interested in you and climbs a tree to peek into your bedroom generally isn’t checking to make sure you’re safe. In real life, he’s likely to send you a photo of your room with a note saying he knows where you sleep at night. It’s a threat. He can get you at any time.

You aren’t safe.

It isn’t very sexy.

posted under feminism, fiction, life, social responsibility, women | Comments Off on I think I figured out why I don’t “get” TWILIGHT

Feminism: all about the men

October9

I want to open this by saying that if you’re a dude I interact with in a positive way, this is not about you. I have male friends who are feminists and if I had a problem with their behavior I’d address it to them directly.

This is directed at dudely dudes in general who are dipping their toes in this crazy thing called feminism.

Here are some pointers for you!

  • There are a LOT of resources about feminism available both on line and in print media. It is extremely lazy and demanding to drop into a conversation about feminism and demand that the people participating drop what they’re doing and educate you on certain matters. Nobody owes you anything. You do not innately deserve women’s attention, nor do you innately deserve personalized educating. Get off your ass and do your own reading; stop trying to change the subject to yourself. You are not the center of the world.
  • Feminism is a large movement with a large number of active and involved participants who are out working to make very real changes in the world. Will your male participation be welcome? In theory, yes. In practice, if you demand respect and attention and accolades simply because you have a penis, you are in practice an entitled douche bag. Feminism does NOT need men as participants to be taken seriously. In fact, that’s the whole POINT of feminism: that women do not need male approval to function. If you act like an ass and are asked to leave a discussion, please don’t rant about how feminism “needs more men” and shouldn’t waste a “valuable male ally/resource.”
  • If you feel compelled to open conversations with “If you have an issue with a feminist who JUST HAPPENS to have a penis, I don’t know WHY so many people TAKE ISSUE WITH WHAT I SAY” than the problem is YOU. If people keep calling you on the same shit, you need to examine that shit and change it.
  • It is utterly hilarious in a very bad way to have a dude talk about how he’s really new to this whole “privilege” thing and then demand that someone help him explore what his privilege is. Congratulations, you know a buzz word. You also fail utterly to comprehend anything about it, and are proving your inability to read or think critically.
  • Guess what: including praise about a woman’s body with praise about her mind isn’t really praise. “Joan has a great ass! And she’s pretty smart, too.” is insulting. “Joan is so smart! And has a bangin’ heiny” is also insulting. Congratulations! You approve of her body type! Who gives a shit? Why do you feel compelled to mention that? Why are you unable to separate your physical attraction to her body from her actual accomplishments and skills?
  • “The Patriarchy” exists. “Rape Culture” exists. They permeate all aspects of the world. Ridiculing women for taking to task book authors, writers for television, web comics, etc because they’re not focusing on “real issues” does nothing except prove how little you get it, how little you actually value and respect women, and how little you are aware of the work that feminists are doing around the world. Ignorance: you’re soaking in it.

If I have the time, I’ll work up an article about vaccines and morons next. It will have to go through many revisions as I remove insulting language and cusses and sheer ranting.

posted under feminism, feminism friday, social responsibility, women | Comments Off on Feminism: all about the men

Latest Terrorism Attack on American Soil

May31

Dr. Tiller, one of the few doctors in the USA who is willing and able to perform late-term abortion, was shot to death while leaving church services. He has been shot before, his clinic has been bombed, the women who have gone to him for health services have been intimidated, terrified, threatened, and injured. Now he is dead, murdered by a person or group who doesn’t believe that women have the right to make decisions about their health.

Late term abortions, those performed after 20 weeks, represent only 1.4% of total abortions performed by doctors in the USA. 1.4%. Even if you nudge the definition of “late term” back to 12 weeks gestation, a time where the fetus is maybe sort of possibly viable if you have cutting edge technology and millions of dollars to spend on health care (or a willingness to declare bankruptcy instead of paying astronomical medical bills), the total of abortions performed is only 6.2%. Yet late term abortions are presented by those who call themselves “Pro Life” (yet aren’t above murdering people) as incredibly common. Save the babies! It’s an epidemic of murder! God’s baby garden is getting too full of precious miracles!

Of course, the women who chose late term abortions generally do so not because they suddenly realize OMG I AM PREGNANT OH NOES if only I weren’t such a slut! I better get rid of the evidence and murder this baby! They do so because they are physically or financially unable to have an abortion earlier, because a sexual partner or family member prevented them from having an abortion earlier, because they did not know that it was possible to get an abortion or that it was ideal to have an abortion before X weeks. In other words, most women who have late term abortions do so out of ignorance or fear of someone hurting them. Those eager and willing to murder men who provide medical services to women, however, are quick to paint these women as too stupid to make any sort of medical decision for themselves, even when it’s the efforts of these murderers that have ensured that young women in this country grow up taught little to nothing about their bodies and contraception, and have fought to deny funding to organizations that provide contraception and reproductive health services, and which assist women who are having financial difficulties while pregnant.

So women whose much wanted babies are hydrocephalic or have malformed organs or don’t have brain tissue or are already dead and starting to rot are pretty much fucked because the doctors who can provide needed medical services to them are either prohibited by law from providing those services or have to worry about being murdered if they continue to provide these medical services. Assuming, of course, that the women themselves can make the journey, often across state lines, to a medical provider and then can safely enter and exit his or her clinic without getting harassed or assaulted themselves.

People who claim to be religious and who claim to “respect life” value the “life” of a lump of poorly formed non-viable tissue over the life of the woman carrying said tissue in her body. People who call themselves “pro life” have no issue with attacking women. While claiming to “respect life,” they seek to inhibit women’s access to health care, contraceptives (one of the best ways, if not THE best way, of reducing abortions is to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies) and contraceptive education. After negatively impacting her reproductive health, these individuals have also tried to strip away social safety nets that can help women with children. Funding has been pulled for health care, WIC, food stamps, and child care and welfare programs. Women are expected to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” while also going into debt paying for vaccinations for their kids. They are expected to go to work and support themselves and their kids, but child care is so expensive that it’s very possible to turn over one’s entire paycheck to a day care facility. There’s a reason so many little kids from economically depressed backgrounds are shaken to death or otherwise killed by their care providers: their moms can’t afford anything better for them.

Women are expected to be virginal creatures, and if they have sex these “pro life” assholes expect them to be punished for it. They deserve pregnancy, as a punishment. They deserve poverty, as a punishment. Women aren’t meant to enjoy sex, and those who have sex out of the strictly defined marital bed deserve to be punished. And since a potential baby has more value than a living woman, even if the fetus is non viable (and conceived during heterosexual wedlock in accordance with Christian religious values), said fetus should be treasured and made comfortable despite any risk to the mother’s health. Because, you know, those women had SEX and sex is BAD when women have it, and they need to just shut the fuck up already and PAY THE PRICE. And if that price means KNOWING that their babies don’t have heads, they need to just continue gestating them for 28 more weeks with all the physical pain and discomfort that pregnancy entails and also the emotional discomfort and pain with knowing that their babies are going to be born DEAD, and carry that lump of malformed tissue “to term” and either push it out their disgusting, filthy cootches or else have major abdominal surgery to remove it. Because every life is sacred, as long as it’s not an adult woman’s. Sure, the precious angel fetus might die and start to rot and poison the woman and kill her slowly, but that bitch shouldn’t have been having sex anyway, am I right? Sin of Eve and all that.

There is a continual chipping away at my rights as a human being. Women should be able to go to clinics to get cervical exams without assholes who claim to represent Jesus shoving pictures of dead babies at them and harassing and assaulting them. Women should be able to visit womens’ health doctors without worrying about being shot to death doing so. Women should be considered, wait for it, rational human beings who are capable of making their own health and reproductive choices; not treated as childlike innocents who need these choices made FOR them. Time and again individuals and organizations have targeted people who provide medical services to women and have stalked, harassed, threatened, and killed them. Places where women receive medical care have literally been bombed and destroyed. Clinics that provide reproductive medical services (often to less affluent women) like PAP smears, vaginal and cervical exams (you know, to detect cancer), and contraceptive services (which, you know, prevent pregnancy), are picketed and pressured to not open. Women seeking medical care are verbally harassed and sometimes assaulted or murdered. This has been going on for YEARS and rarely is anything done about it. This is terrorism directed at women, and it’s going unpunished.

I’ll leave you with this graphic:
Chart of Abortion and Reproductive Issues

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