❝ I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. ❞
We can have discussions until the end of time about how women are put into hetero romantic roles far too often in media and how often this is done in an extremely problematic and sexist way. We can also talk about how there need to be more romance-free women and more types of relationships between women and men, women and other women, etc. in media. These are valid and important discussions.
But don’t you ever condemn a woman or think less of her just because her feelings for a male character happen to be romantic. And don’t you ever think a character is so much greater because she doesn’t fall in love with anyone in the narrative.
Mako Mori would not suddenly become less feminist if she had snogged Raleigh on the mouth at the end of the film. Donna Noble wants to stay with the Doctor because she loves adventuring and because she platonically loves him, but this does not make her more feminist than Rose Tyler who wants to stay with him because she loves adventuring and because she loves him romantically.
A romance plotline can be written in a way that demeans the woman involved and presents them in an extremely sexist manner, and this is sadly very common.
But the idea of a woman falling in love or not falling in love, whichever way it goes, has no bearing on her value as a character. And by behaving as if it does, not only are you implying that women who fall in love are lesser, but that a female character’s value really IS determined by their relationship (or lack there of) to a male character.
❝ You know those girls everyone loves to shit all over? The ones who really fucking love something? Those girls, man. They take all that energy, all that circulating fire in their veins, and instead of letting it destroy them, they choose to love, ferociously. Be it a band, or a book, or a series of films. They do it to keep themselves sane, and yet we mock them for it. Teenage girls find a buoy for themselves in the sea of emotional ruin, and they hold on tighter than anyone else. ❞
— Segment of “Why I Fucking Love Teenage Girls (A Personal Essay from an Almost Adult)”
Man it’s really fucking hurtful when white ppl dismiss racial critiques of media with in-universe explanations, because it implies that the supposed sanctity of those FICTIONAL rules takes precedent over REAL issues of representation. Like when people argue that show/series/movie x can’t have people of colour because it’s ‘based on European history/folklore’ that basically invalidates our inability to access those narratives because it’s more important to keep something accurate to a (white) canon. Never mind that non-white people have always lived in Europe (and our understanding of Europe as default white has been the result of centuries of systematic erasure), or that adapting European stories into an Americanized setting for an Americanized audience places it in the context of an American white hegemony. God forbid we critique the constructed internal rules of works of fiction written by white authors. Seriously, that shit is hella dehumanizing. Like when you prioritize your nostalgic attachment to historically whitewashed narratives above the concerns of actual people of colour facing tangible underrepresentation that’s just straight up being a poor ally.
❝ Human beings are prone to learn early in life to associate vulnerability with powerlessness and to associate the adrenalin rush of anger with personal power. The problem is that states of vulnerability are more often triggered by the diminishment of self-value rather than by the loss of power. When people feel devalued, they try to feel superior by exerting power over others overtly through aggression or by mentally devaluing them. Naturally, this tendency backfires: most of the emotional distress that clients suffer—indeed, much of the psychological dysfunction in the world in general—comes from substituting power for value. Temporarily feeling more powerful by driving aggressively or shouting at your spouse is unlikely to make you feel more valuable. In fact, it usually does the opposite. It subverts the motivational function of devalued states, which is to get us to enhance the value of our experience. Substituting power for value is like eating when your body tells you to urinate, sleeping when it tells you to eat, or taking an amphetamine when it tells you to sleep ❞
❝ How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers. ❞
— Isaac Asimov, “Art and Science,” The Roving Mind
, 1983. (via kenobi-wan-obi
❝ I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are. ❞
You know, I’m amazed how we don’t judge the choices that rich white men make. Look at how we don’t prosecute bank executives who illegally foreclosed on middle class families and rigged international lending rates. Look at how we defend mutli-million dollar pay packages for CEOs running their companies into the ground and yet scrutinize even a 10-cent increase in the minimum wage. Look at how we make excuses for male politician after politician who drop their pants and then make comebacks (pun intended!).
But poor women, especially poor women of color, immigrant women—we judge every choice they make. We judge them if they have children. We judge them if they get abortions and don’t have children. We don’t care that General Electric doesn’t pay any taxes— but we care that poor women of color collect public assistance AND have too nice of a cell phone.
❝ To me, a wicked man who is also eloquent
Seems the most guilty of them all. He’ll cut your throat
As bold as brass, because he knows he can dress up murder
In handsome words. ❞
❝ I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is. ❞
❝ I am really interested in silence. In inarticulacy also, which isn’t the same as silence. As a performer I like looking at the gaps between what people want to communicate and what they can communicate. I love good filmmaking that isn’t just about really proficient writers of dialogue, who think that everybody’s really articulate and everybody can hear each other really well. That doesn’t feel true to me, actually. I mean, that’s a fantastical universe. ❞
❝ Books don’t live and die by awards. You don’t listen to an Hector Lavoe album because it won some awards. ❞
— Junot Diaz —
❝ Mental illness is casually and readily used as a metaphor for evil or bizarre behaviour, it’s treated as the root cause for any kind of social deviance, and it’s feared and hated across society. Numerous people express an unwillingness to date, work with, or socialise around mentally ill people, perhaps fearing that mental illness is contagious or that they’ll be viciously attacked while innocently compiling spreadsheets or dining out with friends.
At the same time that society hates mental illness, though, it’s surprisingly vocal when it comes to the use of psychiatric medications and therapy to manage mental illness. Taking pills makes you ‘weak’ and not able to ‘just handle it,’ while therapy is useless and suspect, something that people are only brainwashed into thinking is useful. People who pay to talk to someone for an hour (or more) a week are clearly, well, you know. Crazy, and the entire mental health profession is obviously raking it in by deceiving all these people with their silly notions of ‘treatment’ and ‘management.’
The disdainful attitude when it comes to managing mental illness is at utter odds with social attitudes about mental illness. If crazy people are so awful, if we’re told that it’s ‘okay to be crazy so long as you act sane in public,’ how are we supposed to be less crazy if we can’t actually get any treatment? This paradoxical attitude is widely in force in society and people don’t seem to realise how absurd it is; if they think that, for example, schizophrenia is a scary and dangerous disease that turns people into monsters, uh, wouldn’t they want people with schizophrenia to be able to access whichever treatments help them manage their mental health condition most effectively? ❞
❝ First we feel. Then we fall. ❞