Badass Female Characters Infographic: The Marvel Edition

Courtesy of morphsuits.co.uk:

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I Rage: A Treatise on Street Harassment

I work in pretty rough neighbourhood and, every day, I take a 10 minute walk to and from my car and to my office building. There’s a jail literally a block away, I’ve found used syringes in my parking lot fairly frequently, and I’ve seen a homeless guy’s old, dirty balls on more than one occasion. Walking to and from work is an adventure and, while the area is rough, I’ve never actually felt unsafe – if that makes any sense.

This morning, I got cat-called on my way to work. Like most, if not all, women I’ve experienced street harassment before. I’ve also been groped at bars and at comic conventions and, on more than one occasion, I’ve been the subject of unwanted attention. Even when I’m wearing my wedding ring.

Unwanted attention from men is not fun. It’s not flattering. It’s not a compliment. It’s not an ego boost. And it doesn’t matter if the person doing the catcalling is fucking attractive.

It’s bloody terrifying. It’s something where you’re actively looking for an escape route because things could quickly escalate, especially if you say “no”.

Because, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking about what could happen when you tell a guy to go fuck himself. His response could be fairly benign – like calling me a “dyke” because if you’re not interested in his attentions I might as well be a lesbian – or it could be serious. The internet is full of stories of what happen when women refuse a man’s advances. So, mostly, I say nothing unless I absolutely have to.

I’m so fucking tired of this shit, you guys. I’m tired of being angry all the time. I’m tired of being outraged all the time. I’m tired of the entitlement that men feel towards women, their bodies, and their lives. I’m tired of living in a culture that excuses misogyny and promotes rape culture. I’m tired of living in a society that a man thinks that it’s appropriate to harass women who are minding their own fucking business. I’m tired of people excusing this behaviour and telling women that they’re “lucky” someone finds them attractive.

No matter how tired I get, I still rage.

I rage because I should be able to walk down the fucking street on my way to work without being harassed or cat-called. I rage because I should be able to exist without the constant threat of violence against me. I rage because I fucking hate bullies. I rage because so many women are victimized by different types of harassment that are constantly minimized as being benign. I rage because people tell me that I should be flattered and that I should take it as a compliment when my bodily integrity is threatened.

I rage because women who speak out against street harassment get rape threats.

I rage because I can’t sit at a bar with a book and read without some guy chatting me up. Because why else would I be at a bar reading other than to get attention (read: to get picked up by some skeevy perv who’s in town for a business meeting and wants a little piece on the side before he goes home to his wife and kids)? Certainly, it couldn’t be to enjoy a pint and read in peace! I must want that attention!

I rage because a friend of mine actually had a guy stop his car in the middle of a busy street, run over to her, and try to FORCE her to take his number while she was walking to the subway one morning. When she refused he kept pestering her until she finally was able to get away. Because how dare she walk down the street being all beautiful and fabulous other than to get his attention? She was totally asking for it!

I rage because that level of entitlement leads to other, more insidious acts of harassment and assault against the female body. I rage because my body is not public property and no one should touch it without my explicit and enthusiastic consent. The last time I was groped at a comic convention I was told that “it wasn’t a big deal” and that what did I expect wearing too tight of a t-shirt? I mean, how dare I wear what I want! What about the poor men who should know better than to sexually assault another con goer because they’re reduced to their base animal instincts at the sight of a girl in a t-shirt! I guess it was a good thing I wasn’t wearing a mini skirt or else I’d totally be fucked!

I rage because I feel powerless, degraded, and objectified. I rage because I get victim blamed for doing something that caused this to happen in the first place. I rage because I can’t fight back because it might get myself threatened, hurt, or killed. I rage because no one takes this shit seriously. I rage because it keeps happening over and over again.

I rage because these same men who harass me would be livid if the same thing happened to their wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters.

I rage because other women are victimized in this way (and in other ways) every. single. day.

I rage because I and every single woman I know lives with the ever present knowledge that we live in a society that a woman is in constant danger of having sexual violence perpetrated on her because men feel entitled to her body; a culture where women are afraid to tell a man to “fuck off” when he propositions her because she doesn’t know how he’s going to react.

I rage because if I don’t it means that these motherfucking cunts have won.

On Adults and Colouring Books

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I have to admit that I’ve embraced “one of 2015’s biggest and perhaps most-unexpected art trends“: Colouring for adults. One night, about two weeks ago, as I was browsing the stacks at the local Chapters, I found a bunch of colouring books for adults. I was drawn in (heh) by the fun and complicated designs. However, I didn’t buy one of the books at the bookstore. Unsure if I was going to enjoy the activity, I went to my local Michaels and picked up a bunch of colouring books (meant for kids) for $1 before heading over to Staples, where I bought myself some shiny new pencil crayons. I went to work as soon as I got home and had a pretty good time of it. (I will say that my colouring abilities are a bit pedestrian and childlike still, but practice makes perfect, right?)

However, I refuse to call myself a “colourist“.

Publisher’s Weekly tracks the surge in popularity for adult colouring books:

Johanna Basford’s first book, Secret Garden (2013), which was published by U.K.-based Laurence King and has more than 1.5 million copies in print worldwide, is largely credited with the surge in popularity for adult coloring books in Europe and the U.S.—but the trend really began some months earlier in France, with the publication of Art-thérapie: 100 Coloriages anti-stress in 2012, by Hachette Pratique. The press’s decision to focus on the therapeutic value of coloring paved the way for Basford and a number of other artists.

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While colouring for adults is not necessarily a “new” phenomenon – colouring books for adults have been around since the 1970s – the recent surge in popularity of colouring books for adults “has helped to create a massive new industry category.” Social media – especially Facebook and Pinterest – have fuelled this popularity by offering tips and disseminating the activity to a wider audience. Marketing for the books associates them with mindfulness and other therapeutic ends such as relaxation as well as reducing stress and anxiety. Taken together, this has resulted in colouring books for adults appearing on bestseller lists, including Amazon and Publishers Weekly.

I do not participate in the numerous activities that are associated with being “colourist”, including parties, clubs, contests, websites, and social media. Colouring for adults is so popular that Dover Publications sponsored the first National Coloring Book Day on August 2, 2015.

I will admit that part of the draw for me comes from the fact that it’s such a low tech activity. It’s nice to unplug for awhile and get away from my ever present companions – the tablet, computer, and smartphone.

However, as The New Statesman points out:

This “category” is a piece of marketing ­genius. By branding themselves as “analogue” activities, the new colouring books seize on our half-formed anxieties about living a digital life, providing commercially packaged screen-free pastimes that promise to reconnect us with ourselves. The analogue hobby then becomes a craze, with people sharing their work on Twitter or Instagram, thus bringing themselves right back to the digital world they were so keen to escape.

I have to admit the benefits of colouring for my mental health and well-being is part of the reason why I was drawn to the phenomenon (and why such a childish activity has now become socially acceptable for adults). Many of the books advertise themselves as exercises in mindfulness and that they have meditative effects.

Hyperbole aside, art therapists do suggest the act of colouring to help their patients focus and calm
their thoughts. Psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala believes that “the relaxation [coloring] provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.”

Another benefit of colouring is that it trains your brain to better focus because it opens up the frontal lobes, the part of the brain that governs organization and problem solving.

Colouring is also said to help your vision and fine motor skills. According to psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala, colouring:

involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements].

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Other sources point out that “There is some sketchy (pun intended) evidence that the repetitive nature of coloring may be a form of self-regulation and self-soothing.” However, it’s important to note that all of this is just anec-data. Regardless,

it is easy to see that coloring serves a purpose for those individuals who are in need of some stress reduction. The motion of crayon or pencil moving back and forth within pre-made boundaries is perceived as a form of containment, mastery and mind-numbing escape from the here-and-now.

Some experts have started to question the therapeutic benefits, whether or not colouring is actually an activity that is meditative or mindful, and are quick to point out that “colouring is not creative art expression“. Most critics point out that, rather than relying on the anec-data of colouring books:

The benefits of actual art making (using one’s hands to create from imagination) are many and are well-documented, including not only relaxation via stress hormone reduction, but also increased cognitive abilities and attention span, decreases in pain and fatigue perception, improved self-awareness and enhanced sense of quality of life.

Other critics associate the phenomenon with a history of adults co-opting childhood objects and experiences (Lego, video games, comic books, etc.) as a means of escapist fantasy.

Another thing that critics point out is that the marketing of colouring for adults has a gender bias.

These [books] appeal primarily to the female market, but it’s crossed over into the male market, too, with tattoo images, skeletons, Day-of-the-Dead stuff.

Personally, I think it’s just a fun, thoughtless activity that lets me unplug from the world for awhile to recharge my batteries.

Berenstain Bears and Parallel Universes

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Last year, the great purge happened.

My Aunt and Uncle – who had a huge property – had been storing boxes of old things for me (mostly books), some dating back to childhood. Well, the day finally came when they decided that they wanted to move. Since I didn’t have the space to store the scores of boxes that I had, I had to purge. I’ll fully admit that it was something that was long overdue.

Now, for a borderline hoarder like me, this was a difficult undertaking. Not because I was especially attached to most of the junk in the attic, but because there was just so much of it. I was overwhelmed. It was a daunting task. I resolved to do it, however. And, because everything was so disorganized, I found that I had to go through each box because there were certain and specific items that did have sentimental value. There were those small treasures that I wanted to keep.

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How did I do it? One box at a time.

I ended up going through boxes and boxes of books – most of which I ended up selling to BMV Books in Toronto. Upon finding my well-loved collection of Berenstain Bears books (by Stan and Jan Berenstain), I remember being surprised because I very clearly remember those books being the Berenstein Bears and that they were written by Stan and Jan Berenstein. At the time, I thought it was strange that I was incorrectly remembering something so beloved, but I shrugged it off and went on to another box.

Well, as it turns out, thinking that just might mean that I come from an alternate/parallel universe.

Back in 2012, blogger Reece argues:

… at some time in the last 10 years or so, reality has been tampered with and history has been retroactively changed. The bears really were called the “BerenstEin Bears” when we were growing up, but now reality has been altered such that the name of the bears has been changed post hoc.

Somehow, we have all undergone a π/2 phase change in all 4 dimensions so that we moved to the stAin hexadectant, while our counterparts moved to our hexadectant (stEin). They are standing around expressing their confusion about the “Berenstein Bears” and how they all remember “Berenstain Bears” on the covers growing up.

So, those of us who remember the name as “Berenstein” have travelled from our “E” universe and into this universe (the “A” Universe), where the name is actually “Berenstain”.

According Caroline Siede over at A.V. Club:

This E/A mishap is just one of many examples of a phenomenon called “The Mandela Effect” in which a large group of people all misremember the same detail. For instance, plenty of people are certain Nelson Mandela died in a jail cell in the 1980s, that New Zealand is north of Australia, and that Chartreuse is “something other than yellow-green.”

Another example of this phenomenon is my very clear memory of a roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland called the Wylde Beast. (According to Wikipedia, the old name of the Wild Beast roller coaster was actually Wilde Beast, so I am vindicated (partly)! Huzzah! However, there were plenty of arguments at the pub from people who were insistent that the name was, and has always been, Wild Beast.)

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Human memory – and all of its faulty recollections – is a funny thing.

(Via A.V Club and MTV)

*sigh.* More Ghostbusters Misogyny.

Before I get to the meat of this article, can we all agree that actors visiting sick children in hospital is a pretty awesome thing to do, especially when they do it dressed up in costume? Because it is. If you disagree, then I think you should probably stop reading, right about…now.

So, the stars of the new Ghostbusters movie – Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones – visited some sick kids at Tufts Medical Center. In full Ghostbusters costume. Which is pretty fucking awesome.

The following photos were posted on Tufts Medical Center’s Facebook page:

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Apparently, not everyone thought that this visit was a good thing and some vile, misogynist shit was posted in response to these photos on the Tufts Medical Center’s Facebook page.

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Underpinning all of these comments are the same arguments:

  • These women aren’t the REAL Ghostbusters (because they’re not white males),
  • It’s a dick move to promise that the “Ghostbusters” will be coming to visit and then to have these WOMEN (who are clearly inferior to the white male Ghostbusters) come and dash their hopes, and
  • This visit is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

You know what, Internet Misogynists? Go fuck yourselves.

And those (men) out there who are decrying that it’s not sexist to automatically hate any movie that doesn’t have a majority white male cast because any cast with a prominent female or non-white cast is a “gimmick” or is “pandering” and, therefore, cannot possibly be any good need to just shut the fuck up. Because you know what you’re really saying? Allow me to enlighten you. What you are, in effect, saying is that white male is the default and representative of the whole world and that anyone who isn’t a white man doesn’t count. Therefore, it’s impossible to have a film about anyone who isn’t a white male that also has any artistic or critical merit. Just shut it, hysterical manbabies. I’m seriously done with your misogynist (and racist) bullshit.