Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Here's Your Revolution

I am convinced that Anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories are where the Tinfoil-Hat Left meets the Tinfoil-Hat Right, in the middle of a deeply paranoid, misogynistic Venn Diagram.

Via Jill Abramson, writing at The Guardian:
"For decades [Hillary Clinton has] been portrayed as a Lady Macbeth involved in nefarious plots, branded as “a congenital liar” and accused of covering up her husband’s misconduct, from Arkansas to Monica Lewinsky. Some of this is sexist caricature. Some is stoked by the “Hillary is a liar” videos that flood Facebook feeds. Some of it she brings on herself by insisting on a perimeter or “zone of privacy” that she protects too fiercely. It’s a natural impulse, given the level of scrutiny she’s attracted, more than any male politician I can think of."
And yet, despite being perceived as the least honest candidate, Clinton is the most truth-telling of all 2016 presidential candidates.

That being said, I know substance, competence, and honesty aren't as compelling as a bird on a podium, so. Here we are.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Femslash Friday: The Women of Sense8

All I'm going to say here is that in Season 1 of Sense8, this happened:

Image result for sense8 hot tub scene
I'd ship it.

Which, fine. That's cool. Nomi gets all the guys in the hot tub.

So, um, when is our companion scene with Nomi and the rest of women? Season 2, I hope.

Just once? It's only fair.

Preferred quad: Nomi/Sun/Kala/Riley

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Moral of the Story

A woman has to be exponentially more competent, more careful, more intelligent, more conciliatory, better groomed, and more thoughtful than a man in order to be a serious contender for President. And meanwhile, a man can be an exponentially worse person by nearly all measures compared to a woman and still be a serious contender for the same job.

That's basically the shitty-ass take-away from this article.  It asserts that women disproportionately dislike Donald Trump and men disproportionately dislike Hillary Clinton.

Could you even imagine a female candidate existing and being viable whom men actually had legitimate reasons to disproportionately dislike on the basis of gender?  One who, say, regularly expressed misandry in the way that Trump expresses his misogyny?  Who maybe went on obsessive rants about her male critics being creepy, disgusting, flaccid pencil-dicks - and who still did well in elections?

Yeah, me neither.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Just a Quick Post

To say: remember how Sharon Stone was in The Quick and the Dead?

I feel like her character was kind of badass, and also pretty hot. In the movie, I always thought of her as the main character, although it's sort of an ensemble cast where all the other main characters were men. That's always a major missed opportunity with that small fan base known as "women," "lesbian/bisexual women," and "men who also appreciate films with multiple women.'

So, that's today's deep thought. Aren't you so glad you read my blog today?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ghost Lady Friday


It is a truth universally-acknowledged by TV/film writers and producers that any show with a lesbian or bisexual woman must be in want of her to be killed off eventually. (And yes, today's post was brought to you by the mess that was The 100's handling of Lexa. More here, if you're curious.).

Perhaps I don't have to explain this trend to most of you, but here goes anyway: queer characters make up a tiny share of TV/film characters. So, while ideally, they would get the same treatment any other character would get, including the possibility of death, it seems that lesbian and bisexual female characters in particular are killed off in disproportionate numbers. So, we are already barely represented in media, and then when we are, this representation decreases further when these characters are killed off.

(I have no idea if this is also a thing for queer men. Whatever the case, I don't see them critiquing the phenomenon as much. Or maybe I just don't pay as much attention. Anyway).

I dedicate today's post to these lesbian and bisexual characters, an assemblage of which can be found at Autostraddle. (Addendum: Without getting pedantic about it, I would have included Xena on this list. Which means Lucy Lawless could have been on this list 3 times. Which makes me feel very confused, to be honest. I love that she's playing lesbian/bi, but for once would love to see her get a happy ending doing so! Also, if movies were included in this list, this list would have been quite a bit longer, as lesbian/bi characters in movies get similar treatment as in TV).

HOWEVER, to end on an upbeat note, I think it's important to add that it is a rare lesbian/bisexual character death that I accept as canon. In my head, despite their tragic ends, all of these characters are now somewhere happier. Together. Like getting down with their bad selves at a Dinah Shores Afterlife.

Or, perhaps, canoodling in a secret password-protected vault of stories at A03.

I am quite sure of this.


Dana Fairbanks (The L Word)  is alive, giving Samantha Krueger (Ascension) free tennis lessons, just because Samantha reminds her of a "soup chef" she once knew. It is precisely as adorkable as you think it would be.

Tara Thornton (True Blood) and Tamsin (Lost Girl)  are generally in charge of things in this 'verse, and are even more badass when their powers are combined (and yes, I mean "when their powers are combined" in the dirtiest manner possible).

And then, what would happen if we mixed the authoritarian Helena Cain (Battlestar Galactica) with free spirit Jenny Schecter (The L Word)? Yes, please.

The possibilities are endless, really, and at this point, they belong to the fans.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Here's a Thought

[Content note: anti-trans bigotry]

If one's opinion on the issue of restroom accessibility for trans people is best summarized by a non-argument retort that's some variation of "That's whack!" then that opinion doesn't actually count and deserves as much respect as it dishes out, which is to say, none.

Just your regular reminder that Rod Dreher's bizarre loathing and mocking of trans people continues. At the link, he mocks a sign announcing the existence of an all gender restroom at a conference, the existence of which, in his esteemed gender-expert opinion, is "garbage."

Oh, did I say "esteemed" and "expert" in connection with Rod Dreher on gender issues?  Because I meant precisely the opposite.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Income Inequality in Sanders' Campaign

Oh, pardon me, I thought Sanders' campaign was premised on addressing income inequality.

And yet:
"Of Sanders’s highest-paid [campaign] employees, 10 are male and zero are female"
I'm not surprised by this finding, although I am disappointed.  Income inequality is his signature issue and I've found some of his rhetoric, specifically his seeming conflation of poverty and race, to be uninformed or, shall we say, lacking appropriate nuance.

Frankly, Sanders hasn't been put under a microscope for decades, unlike Hillary Clinton, and I think he's benefited greatly from the assumptions of good faith, enlightenment, and ideological purity his supporters are putting in him. I question whether he's deserving of these assumptions.

Perhaps the number one reason I haven't been "feeling the Bern" this election season is that I've been getting whiffs, as one does from many brogressives, of Sanders' "revolution" being more like a "change in management" than a revolution for all.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Femme Friday

So, this happened (possibly NSFW?):

As previously discussed, I have an appreciation for butch women who are HAF.  But a femme woman strutting it up to "Pony"? Yes, please.** (This post is about the first half of the video).

To take a step back and think about things from a feminist perspective, here is what I like. First off, she is emulating her husband's performance as a male stripper in Magic Mike. Although undoubtedly also appreciated by hetero men, her performance of "male stripper" implicitly caters to the female and queer male gaze.

For instance, her clothes: She's wearing sweatpants, sports bra, tank top, and a baseball cap. Women do not typically get to wear such clothing on TV, especially when they are trying to be sexy for the hetero male gaze.  Yet, go to many a gathering of queer women and that is often standard attire.

And then, relatedly -  my gods, listen to the women in the audience screaming! Watch the DJ watching her. They are loving her. And, I love everything about it.

A society that centers male (hetero)sexuality has a pervasive myth in which women as a class are uninterested in sex. Men (as women's "opposite") are in contrast framed as rabid horn-dogs who must trick/cajole women into sex in order to get any. Women's desires, if they are admitted to exist at all, are not viewed as legitimate.

Meanwhile, in reality, women have been sharing their sexual fantasies, as well as reading, watching, and writing stories that turn them on, since forever. These are widely accessible on the Internet. Unfortunately, two things happen.

One, men's desires, particularly their sexual ones, are promoted, mainstreamed, and catered to.  Rape culture narratives, as well as socially conservative ones, structure gender dynamics around aggressive male horniness and demand that women and society take measures to contain it. When male desires are treated as all-encompassing, there is no room for women's desires.

And two, when women's desires are acknowledged, the things and people women desire are often dismissed, mocked, and trivialized - for if predominately women like something, then it has the DUN DUN DUN taint of feminine inferiority! Think about it: 50 Shades of Grey. Justin Beiber. *ahem* Magic Mike. Romance novels. Erotic slash fanfictionHow do many men (and even some women) characterize these? As unimportant. Not legitimate forms of their respective media. Silly. Not serious in the way that men's desires, and the art that represents their desires, are serious business.

(**FYI -  I agonized over this post more than you will ever know, because being a lesbian feminist in a society that simultaneously sexually degrades women and degrades/fetishizes lesbian sexuality is.... complicated).

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Republicans Attack Duckworth

[content note: disablism]

Yesterday, somebody Tweeting for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) made an unfortunate choice to attack US Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), saying that she "has a sad record of not standing up for our veterans."

Duckworth's policies should be fair game for critique. However, she herself is a veteran and lost both legs while serving in the Iraq War, making the word choice within the Tweet suspect at  best and reprehensible disablism at worst.  Was this Tweet the result of some communications intern's use of poor judgment? Did an actual professional intend it as a snarky jab at her disability?

Whatever the case, someone at NRSC quickly deleted the Tweet. As, I suppose, one does when one supremely fucks up and can't even muster a non-apology apology.

And then, this gem, via the above-linked Politico article:
"Republicans have criticized Duckworth for an ongoing lawsuit about her time at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and for allegations that she used her position to build her political career."
So, here's a question: What aspiring politician doesn't make employment choices in furtherance of their future political career?

Ohhh, right.

It's another can't-win double standard in which women are penalized for having ambitions, especially ambitious in which they are competing with men, while men are rewarded for making "strategic career choices" that benefit their political ambitions.

What next, an indictment of that ever-so-objective assessment of her "likeability"? You see, while male Republican politicians can successfully run for office on platforms of "who can be the worst person ever," it is essential that women remain sufficiently likable to all people everywhere.

In response to the NRSC Tweet, Tammy Duckworth re-Tweeted the following:


Friday, March 4, 2016

Femslash Friday: Robots

Today's Femslash Friday extravaganza can be a tricky one.

Fembots are somewhat of a trope in science fiction. Yet, to what extent does sex and gender differentiation tangibly exist for robots? Isn't it primarily something their designers build into them? Can mechanical beings have a sex or a gender?

My short answer: It depends on the 'verse?

Longer answer: When fembots exist in a given 'verse, their relation to male robots sometimes parallels that of how human men relate to the human women: That is, male writers sometimes (often?) create both female human and robot characters in a way that suggests men are the default, women are the deviation.

But sometimes, the robots are badass, nuanced, flawed, awful, cool, assholes, beautiful, and/or awesome. Sometimes, robot characters are written so that they are more human-seeming  and multi-dimensional than some of the human women character roles that exist for many women actors (See also: "A Producer is Tweeting Descriptions of Women from Movie Scripts and It's Hilariously Awful.")

1) Women of Battlestar Galactica  (BSG)

Battlestar Galactica is, for me, legit one of the most thought-provoking series I've ever seen. With three complete watch-throughs, I always find new threads and questions to turn around in my head. I see some of the characters slightly (and sometimes even much) differently on second and third viewings. Admiral Helena Cain, for instance, went from hard-core, unredeemable to, well....  life was complicated after the Cylon attack.

The humanoid Clyons - D'Anna Biers (Lucy Lawless), Six (Tricia Helfer), Sharon Valerii/Agathon (Grace Park), Tory Foster (Rheka Sharma), Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon) - had conflicting loyalties among each other, the Cylons, the humans, and even among themselves.

Unlike series such as (*looks around nervously*) Lord of the Rings, that has a clear-cut villain who must be stopped by the readily-identified hero at all costs, BSG suggests that good and evil is not always clear cut.  The cylons are an enemy to humans, but individual cylons have shifting loyalties to the humans, the cylons, and even themselves.

But here I am, not talking about femslash. On that note:

Pairings: D'Anna/Caprica Six (with Gauis Baltar nowhere in sight); Sharon "Boomer" Valerii/Starbuck. And, okay, if you insist: Ellen/President Roslin (for the power couple status).

2) Android (aka - the Zobot) - Dark Matter

Admittedly, I would watch Zoie Palmer in anything. In some ways, her portrayal of Android in Dark Matter seems a bit of an extension of the nerdy Lauren Lewis (Lost Girl).

And also, in one already-classic (for me anyway) episode Ruby Rose guest stars as an "Entertainment Model" (*eyeroll*) robot. While that veers into fembot territory ALERT ALERT ALERT, what it also means is that Zoie Palmer and Ruby Rose are both robots. Together. In the same episode. This is not a drill! Gleep Glorp.

In the episode, Rose plays a robot named Wendy. She is sexy, cooks really good food, has a cute accent, and has a variety of skills useful to the crew. So, naturally, Android gets jealous of the crew's attention to Wendy, leading to a character development arc for Android in which she realizes she might either have (a) human-like feelings, or (b) a software flaw.

Did I mention that the Zobot is adorable? She is. Watch a clip, here, and see for yourself.

Pairing: Zobot/Wendy. Obvs.

3) GLaDOS (Portal)

I have to admit, GLaDOS scared the piss out of me during my first play-through of Portal.

Like, you know when you're playing at first, and you're all, "Well, this is a nice-yet-challenging  little puzzle game?" But, then you do some side exploring around the different levels and you literally start to see disturbing writing on the wall ("The cake is a lie!") and then GLaDOS' robot quotes keep getting meaner and creepier?

GLaDOS [to you]: Have I lied to you?
GLaDOS: I mean, in this room? 

But, also, if you squint, maybe it's kind of ..... (*looks around nervously again*)....... sexy?

Pairing: GLaDOS/Companion Cube

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Treating Sick and "Troubled" People With Dignity

Is only remarkable if your default position is that such people don't deserve dignity.

My observation is in response to a glowing National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) promotion of an article written by someone who supposedly witnessed Antonin Scalia being kind to a woman at his church who had "sores" on her body and who "behaved strangely, [and seemed like] a troubled person that you meet in large cities and quickly walk away from."

While we're on the topic, I'm mystified why purportedly great male leaders like the Pope always get big time props for, every now and again, being kind to people with leprosy. He's the fucking Pope. He should be nice to people.


Actually, I'm not mystified by the phenomenon at all. This is men we're talking about. Obviously the bar is very low for what behavior they can engage in while still being thought of as leadership material.

Image result for chris christie donald trump gif
Chris Christie is all of us right now saying "WTF."
 Just kidding. He's awful too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Well Isn't That Clever

A man basically said what I said yesterday, approximately 12 hours after I said it here and on Twitter, but when he said it it got 80,000 likes and re-tweets on Twitter (and counting).

Alrighty then.

My Summary of Suffragette

Here is my paraphrase of Suffragette the movie, about the struggle for equal voting rights for women in the UK (Spoiler alert? Can/should there be spoiler alerts for historical events?). Anyway:


Women: If it please you good sirs, might have we have the vote?

Men: No.


Women: We deserve the vote. Can we please have the vote? [Women hold rally to garner support]

Men: No. [Men monitor the rally, report to authorities on dangerous lady organizing.]


Women: [Throwing a rock through a window on a crowded street] Give women the vote! 

Men: Criminals! You don't deserve the vote! [Men arrest women]


Women: [Testifying before male lawmakers] Please sirs, can we have the vote? 

Men: No.


Women: Vote for Women! [Woman throws herself in front of horse, eventually dying, in protest of unequal laws].  Can we have the vote now?

Men: No.


[Credits begin to roll, including a timeline of the dates women received the right to vote in various countries. 25 years after the events in the movie, women received the right to vote in the UK].


In all seriousness, that the film crops this particular segment of history - a group of working class women trying various tactics to achieve equality and ending with them, tragically, still not having the vote - serves three important purposes.

One, it counters the Great Man Theory of History whereby individual men (and it's almost always men) are entirely responsible for important historical events and movements. In Suffragette, no one person is presented as being predominately responsible for equality, including the female protagonist. Were this a movie about male advocates, we would been presented with a male main character who was explicitly heroic, as though he were almost single-handedly responsible for making history even if, in reality, success was achieved through many people's efforts. 

Two, the movie shows that no matter where one's social justice tactics fall on the spectrum of civil to uncivil, a segment of one's opponents will always remain in opposition. In this case, a generation of men in power believed women shouldn't vote. Period. And so, women couldn't vote. The key seems to be to figure out which groups within the opposition are capable of changing their minds and saying to hell with the rest of the ones who will never change their minds. (When you figure out how to do that, let me know).

Three, by ending with women still not having the vote and then rolling the credits of when women throughout the world have achieved the vote, the film suggests that the fight for women's equality is not over. Indeed, women are still achieving suffrage rights into the 2000s. Had the film ended on an uplifting scene of women celebrating their equal voting rights, I think it would be tempting for some to think, "Welp, women's equality has been achieved, Next issue, please."

In reality, any time certain populations are categorically excluded from suffrage, I think their exclusion will most immediately impact who is and isn't elected to office. Even after excluded populations achieve suffrage, their prior exclusion will also have lingering effects on conceptions of who is and isn't appropriate for political office based on historical models of "what elected officials/leaders look like."

Hmmm, seems like this concept might still be relevant today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Does Anyone Else Think

The ascension of Donald Trump to what looks like is going to be Republican contender for President is starting to feel a little "dystopia novel"?

And, I mean, I know in political writing people often make (bad) comparisons to 1984, but I also think all of the usual rules of Internet discourse should be re-thought in light of the being that is Donald Trump.

The Republican Party has created this monster though years of feeding into people's anger, racism, sexism, selfishness, mean-spiritedness, and general xenophobia. That Trump exhibits all of these traits is no surprise. His supporters love him not in spite of these attributes, but precisely because of them.

While Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both engage in the act of "caring what various diverse constituents think about their positions," Trump seems to be playing a game of what he can get away with and still obtain widespread jerk support. His sexist remarks are commonplace. His "foreign policy" is absurdly macho and cartoonish. He has mocked a reporter with a disability. He's joked about being able to shoot someone and still get votes.

At this point, Donald Trump could literally say, "Starting in 2016, as punishment for political correctness gone too far, one boy and one girl will be chosen in a reaping ceremony each year and then taken to an arena to fight to the death for everyone else's entertainment." And, Trump's supporters would shrug and vote for him anyway. For a not insignificant portion of them, such a measure would just prove what a badass alpha he is.