Celebrity

Meghan Trainor and Outrage Fatigue

I know I may be a bit behind, but I do have something to say surrounding the controversy behind Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband.” I just can’t. The song itself is insipid. No, I don’t like the one sided mentality Trainor has, that women are crazy and men are basically servants. But the way some people are carrying on about the song and video, you would think Trainor was singing a ditty about how women shouldn’t be allowed to vote or drive and that abortion is wrong so we should spend all our time giving birth and never saying a word about it.

Part of me thinks Trainor is such a target because many people expected her to be the voice of the average person, that because she isn’t a supermodel with a microphone like Katy Perry or Nicki Minaj (who have been made into real Barbie dolls in the past,) she should be alternative and 100% feminist. Instead, her attempt at female body positivity turned out to be all about boys and what they want, followed by a song about how all men are liars, and now a very one sided list of demands for a potential husband that’s accompanied by a video of Trainor sexily washing a kitchen floor.

Is it problematic that Trainor is considered a teen idol and spreading such a message to young girls? Yes. Is it the most sexist thing in the history of the world? No way. I think I’m more burnt out by the degree of anger people have towards the candy colored throwback, acting like it’s the biggest injustice ever committed against women. There are far more important issues than an insipid pop song that feminists should be fighting against. More and more states are making it harder to get an abortion, there’s still the matter of equal pay for equal work, and why women in the media constantly get quizzed about clothes, nails and diets while their male counterparts get to discuss whatever they’re promoting. That should be the bigger concern.

So in short, while Trainor’s song is dopey and could use a refresher as to what a healthy marriage actually entails, I really don’t think it’s the most offensive thing that has ever happened in popular culture. I don’t know if it’s me getting older or burning myself out getting so angry during my time at LivLuna where I destroyed Taylor Swift not once, but twice over her boy craziness, but I really wish people would just step back and see that you can’t have the same level of anger for everything that offends you.

I’ll put it to you this way–when I was in college, I had friends who were part of a social justice organization. I admired what they did, but didn’t always agree with them.  This prevented me from really joining them, as I was afraid that if I didn’t get angry over every single thing they got angry about, I wouldn’t be good. But when the issue of the food service workers on campus not having a contract came up during my senior year? I was all over it. And honestly, I felt better connected to the cause as I wasn’t spreading my energy to every single cause that came up alongside it. I was able to focus on the right things. Perhaps some of it is age (I notice most of the blogs having a major coronary with Trainor’s video are oriented towards younger audiences,) but I think overall, it’s learning to figure out just how angry to get over a particular subject. Aside from my winter burn out, I’ve been struggling to come up with content for this reason. What deserves my anger, and what deserves a “meh?”

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Celebrity, Women

The Women of The Wolverine

I went to see The Wolverine last night, and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t that I thought the film was going to be bad, I was just surprised to see that women played such a big role–and not just as a sexy villain or damsel in distress.I’ve mentioned before that women in comic book movies are kind of a mixed bag. While they’ve come a long way from just being the love interest/damsel in distress and are also the heroes or love interests with awesome careers, there’s still an element that comic book movies are meant for men.

While I’m not going to call The Wolverine a feminist film by any means, it was a nice surprise to see that women were such a major part of the story, and not just as a prize of sorts. Before reading further, here’s a quick summary of The Wolverine for those not familiar with the X-Men/Wolverinefilms as I can’t write one myself without giving too much away and pointing out differences between the comics and the movies the way my inner Comic Book Guy wants to.  If you’ve seen the film, you’re good to go.

The Wolverine has four major women: Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Mariko (Tao Okamodo), Yukio (Rila Fukushima), and Dr. Green/Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). Now, I know there may be some people who are confused as to why I’m celebrating these choices when Jean Grey haunts Wolverine and spends her time in the film in a lacy white nightie, Mariko is a damsel in distress and gets kidnapped more than once, and Viper’s powers are sexualized (she uses her tongue a lot, I’ll leave it at that.) Again, I’m not saying that The Wolverine is a feminist film by any means, but without these women, there would be no story.  And the women put twists on the tropes.

Jean in a nightie is more than just serving as eye candy to the men in the audience–it’s a symbolic choice, as she is dead. She is at peace, and the white suggests a rebirth as she was downright evil in the last X-Men movie she appeared in. Mariko, while initially presented as a docile, innocent woman, is not a typical damsel in distress. Unlike when Rogue (a mutant with the ability to really mess people up by stealing their memories/powers, mind you) got kidnapped in the first X-Menfilm and screamed her head off while waiting for Cyclops and Wolverine to save her, Mariko fights back. She’s not afraid to stand up to Wolverine, either. She is proficient in knife throwing, and is super important to the climax of the film, which I’m not about to give away as the film just opened last weekend.

While Viper is sexy, she is not one to be messed with. She is a mutant who is immune to every poison known to man, and is responsible for infecting Wolverine, who is supposed to be an immortal quick healer, making him invincible. She is also a brilliant biochemist, not just a woman who uses sex to get what she wants. She is cold, she is uncaring and doesn’t have a change of heart at the end, which is refreshing. I was also impressed with her final fight scene, after expecting to be disappointed (again, the film just opened last weekend, I can’t give too much away!)

rsz_yhdfjsfuyohiI haven’t even touched on Yukio, who may be my new favorite character. A mutant who is able to foresee death, she is also an assassin who is very proficient with a sword. While it’s easy to dismiss her as an anime character come to life, she is not a stereotypical giggly school girl meant to annoy Wolverine–she’s a serious warrior meant to assist him, yet is not cold and heartless, she has personality, which is rare–female sidekicks either have to be stone cold bitches or goofy cartoon characters. Yukio hits the balance.  At one point in the film, she tells Wolverine that she is his bodyguard, and is also a decent part of the climax, which I loved. She’s also featured on the Russian theatrical poster (pictured, left) along with Viper–however, unlike Viper, who appears to be modeling the latest in green raincoats, Yukio is ready for a fight, not gazing adoringly at Wolverine.

While women still have a ways to go in terms of comic book movies, I feel that The Wolverine is a step in the right direction, perhaps taking a cue from the Joss Whedon directed The Avengers, where the women actually fought instead of just being eye candy princess-y types. While the audience for comic book movies will always be largely men, it’s nice to see that they’re realizing that women like comics and comic book movies too. (I’m pretty sure they included a scene of Wolverine getting a bath and haircut to appeal to women, not gonna lie.) Maybe soon, we will get that Black Widow or Wonder Woman movie!

So, LivLunatics, what’s your take on the women of The Wolverine? Are they a step in the right direction in terms of women in comic book movies?

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Women

Holy Sexism, Batman! What is up With Geek Culture?

I’m seeing a disturbing trend in geek culture, true believers. I see many blog posts and news stories posts calling out the sexism and misogyny within the culture. Don’t get me wrong, I like that it’s being called out. It needs to be called out. I just don’t like there’s this awful attitude towards women in geek culture in the first place. This awful attitude goes beyond the trouble with the roles of women in comic book movies–I’ve seen posts asking a photography company to stop using cosplay images on body pillows, reposts of angry tweets directed at Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian and her vlogs on video games, and posts documenting sexual harassment at various sci-fi/comic book conventions.

 

What the hell is going on?Aren’t geek guys supposed to be shy and nice and excited whenever a girl shows interest in something the mainstream considers “lame?” you may be thinking. Oh wait, I see the problem. Geek culture has become mainstream. CBS airs The Big Bang Theory (pictured at left), a sitcom where two physicists are the lead and not only do they talk about science, they talk about comic books, sci-fi movies and tv shows, video games, computer parts, conventions, so on and so forth without any shame. San Diego Comic-Con is no longer just about comic books, it’s more of a pop culture convention if anything–I just read that the cast of How I Met Your Mother will be going this year. Last I checked, HIMYM was about a man searching for his soul mate, not about a superhero or captain of a futuristic space command center.  I feel that a lot of these geeks see this as an invasion, and are fiercely trying to hold on to things that are no longer considered quirky or unique to their subculture.

 

When women get involved, it’s tricky. I feel there’s a sense of “women are trying to take over, trying to make it PC, change everything we love and grew up with.” It doesn’t help if the woman in question is considered “hot” or “attractive,” more mainstream. The vicious attacks against Sarkeesian to me are partially these guys saying “Hey, you’re a hot girl, I’m supposed to show you what video games are, you can’t know this already, who are you to say that there’s sexism in Super Mario Bros.? I hate you! You’re taking away my special thing.” If the women aren’t discussing these games, they get accused of not being a part of the fandom, they’re just seen as women who like to dress as sexy versions of Princess Peach, The Pink Power Ranger, Wonder Woman, etc. They’re not real geeks, they’re not welcome–so what are they supposed to do?

 

I feel a lot of this is tied into the “nice guy” thing–that certain guys feel that these women, who, if it weren’t for the popularization of geek culture, would have no interest in it, owe them something. “I’m a nice guy, I’m sweet, we both like Power Rangers, but you’re still going after a guy I think is a jerk because he looks like a guy who gave me a swirly in 6th grade? Fuck you, bitch, you probably don’t actually like the show, you just think the costumes are cute, you’re not a real fan!” It’s ridiculous, and has actually made me wary of “geeky guys” for that reason. Just because they’re not “meatheads” does not mean that they’re exempt from being jerks.

 

So what can we do to change this? Keep calling it out. If women want to do cosplay, they can be whomever they damn well please–they’re not dressing up to impress the men in attendance, they’re dressing up because they love a character and want to show their appreciation, get into the spirit of the convention. They didn’t ask to be body pillows, and they certainly didn’t ask for you to grab their ass while being photographed with you. Anita Sarkeesian isn’t shunning video games, she’s just letting people know that they can be problematic with character design and the roles of women within the stories. That’s all.

 

What’s your take, LivLunatics? The the mainstreaming of geek culture a fad, or is there no such thing? Are people being too protective of their favorite superheroes and sci-fi icons? Why the hate towards women?

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