Make it count

As a strong woman with an appreciation of other strong women, I was very impressed with the numbers that marched all over the world the day after the presidential inauguration to speak out as a gender. It takes organization, leadership, consensus, a sense of unity and, in this case at least, a very scary cause for so many to gather and combine their feet and voices.

We just have to remember, in this day and age, it won’t be enough. Marching makes a statement. It doesn’t change legislation. It doesn’t change leaders.

As United States citizens of legal age, women, or anyone for that matter, who are unhappy with the state our our government and its officials need to make it count with a vote. Not just in the presidential election, but in every election. Your council members, your mayors, your state congressmen and women, your governor, your federal congressmen and women; federal mandates are one thing, but federal dollars are another. Quite often it’s up to state officials to decide how that money is divided, then districts, counties, townships, and finally cities and villages. You pay all of them. You need to know at least who they are.

Don’t like what the US congress is doing right now with your money? Who are your congressmen or women? Did you even vote when they were elected? Here in lies the problem. Less than half of the US citizens of legal voting age voted in the last election. That apathy not only affected the presidency, it affected all the officials on that ballet, right down to a sheriff or county clerk or state representative. And the percentage is even smaller in a bi-election year when the highest office in the land is not up for grabs.

So, yay, I’m glad, grateful, proud that my gender gathered together in solidarity to make themselves known and noticed. How about showing up to the next election in your area and voting? Go online to your municipality and see what’s up for elections in April, who is on the ballet, and what they would bring to the post.

Even better, get together in numbers and discuss ways to keep up the fight. Do your own campaigning and collect signatures to oust the US congressman or woman whose agenda is hurting you, your family, your country. When those signatures are collected en mass, send them to that representative and contact them often. Let them know that you will fight them with your vote if they don’t change their ways and listen. Whether they like it or not, you are their constituent and you deserve to be heard.

For some it may be a little late. But leaders are elected to the US House every two years, the US Senate every six. 2018 is not that far away. If Trump doesn’t self destruct in the next four years, it’s still possible to restructure the US Congress to take away some of the one sided power. And don’t forget everyone else down the chain.

Battle with will. Battle with stamina. Battle with unerring consistency, and battle with passion and integrity. But most of all, battle with your vote, all the time, every time, before the privilege to do so is taken away.

On the move

October was nuts in my personal life. When our home, recently cleared of questionable renters, failed to sell, we moved back into it from our gigantic, but weird and precarious office building, so my ever growing full time job would have a safe environment in which to crawl/run around.

I did write, but it wasn’t much and is still sitting in my notebook, waiting to be added to the electronic rough draft that is Woman in the Wind.

That doesn’t mean the story isn’t progressing, in my head, anyway. The characters are on the move, working around each other, like on a giant figurative chess board. Everyone is hiding something. Secret agendas abound. Deadly debts will be called in. Revenge is lurking, waiting to come to fruition.

And encompassing all this intrigue is the burning question all my fans are begging to have answered. Will Bernice and Evan FINALLY live happily ever after?

But, being the meany author that I have proved, time and again to be, I pose you a different question. Will Bernice and Evan live? Muhaha.

Interesting…I wonder how Bernice fits in this observation

from…Not sure how I missed part one. Oh well.

Just a Love Interest – Compulsory Heterosexuality on Screen Part 2


by Anansi

As mentioned in my previous post, relentlessly hammering every show we watch with some tale of love and sex between ‘opposite sexes’ claims this as the natural way of things, and all of the baggage that carries with it, without ever examining the validity of the concept of heterosexuality or its power dynamics.

Heterosexuality as we know it today comes with built-in sexism. It comes in the form of societal expectations that pigeon-hole men and women into specific roles when in relationships with one another. Some examples include: the assumption that a man should be the one to buy a diamond and propose to a woman. It is the assumption that a woman will take a man’s last name when they marry. The idea that a man must be the primary breadwinner or he’s failed or been ’emasculated’. These, at least on the surface, are some of the more benign examples. The list is endless.

All of this is built into heterosexuality even if specific individuals eschew it. It’s a part of our collective agreement of how these relationships work. There are people who still vehemently defend this way of life. Although some may find that this works best for them, it’s the unquestioning acceptance of heterosexuality as ‘normal’ and ‘right’ that produces problems.

On television, this often results in female characters who are cast in roles where their sole purpose is ‘love interest’, even if they are initially presented otherwise. It seems like this used to be a largely acceptable role for women (or at the very least no one could hear anyone complain about it), but now that we expect a little more out of our female characters, we have to dress them up as if they are more. This means that characters who appear to be deep, powerful characters are really not. They lose their identity as soon as they enter a relationship with a male character.

Take Alice Quinn from The Magicians. (Spoilers ahead)

Alice begins the story as a student at Brakebills University: a school for studying magic. She’s the head of the class. She is legions ahead of her peers. She possesses a beautiful intellect, and she doesn’t even care about magic. She’s there to find out what happened to her deceased brother and bring him back if she can. If she were not destined to be a love interest, this would be a solid foundation for any character to progress.

Then the male lead, Quentin, arrives. It’s immediately obvious that Alice will be his love interest. She’s a nerd, like our hero, and despite her awkward wardrobe, she is gorgeous. It’s not hard to pick her out as Quentin’s objet d’amour.

After Alice and Quentin inevitably get together, she has no identity outside of her relationship with him. Her primary goal is resolved early on, leaving her without a driving force or room for growth. As the love interest, she is largely relegated to the role of hoping and wishing her boyfriend will be okay, helping him do what he needs to do, sexual scenes that are abundant and sometimes awkwardly contrived, and causing jealousies with other male characters.


Has anyone seen my storyline? I misplaced it somewhere.

This is the same character that was initially portrayed as the most badass magician in the entire school. They even make it a point to have her say that as good as they know she is – she’s actually holding back. Good thing she can channel all of that talent into ill-fated sexcapades.

Portraying women as love interests is part of a long-standing tradition of eclipsing women’s presences and noting their value only in the context of sex or romance. In order for better roles for women and better television to evolve, we need to be able to recognize how often this happens. Beyond robbing what should be good female characters of any depth, it’s also predictable and boring. Characters with stories independent of their love interests are more compelling and well-rounded.

Not only is this more engaging on screen, but actresses regularly lament the lack of good female roles. It’s about time they were given the same number of varied roles men have historically held. It’s about time women can see themselves on screen as multi-faceted and important characters independent of their relationship with any of the male characters. It is changing, but, as always, not unilaterally across the board, and not nearly fast enough.

The Magicians is by no means alone in this. It’s the rule, rather than the exception. It’s just a recent and clear example of it.

To be fair, other female characters like Julia Wicker do have meaningful storylines. However, it should be noted that Julia is not a love interest. Regardless, this doesn’t change anything about how Alice is portrayed.

I know this seems like I hate this show and this character, but Alice was my favorite. I kept hoping she would do something, anything, that would break her out of the mold. I wanted her to live up to the potential she supposedly has, even though I knew she wouldn’t. Here’s hoping this changes in season two.