Saturday, June 10, 2017

WONDER WOMAN: AN UNDER THE RADAR FEMINIST PIECE FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION

When the credits rolled on Wonder Woman, my mom turned to me and asked,
"Do you think it's a coincidence that this movie came out when it did?"

Taking Literature Into Film last semester taught me two major lessons:

1. Every film/TV show is an adaptation of a book (at least, it seems that way)

2. Every film is made when it's made for a reason (i.e. historical, social, and/or cultural context)

That second lesson in particular is why I was able to reply confidently with a big, fat...

"Hell no!"

Sure, this movie may have been "in the making" for a long time. But there's no doubt in my mind that it finally came to fruition when it did for good reason. In a world where women still have to battle every day to protect the rights and opportunities that we've worked tirelessly to secure, it's only appropriate for a kick ass character to make her glorious return.

And boy, has she ever. 

Before we go any further, here's my disclaimer:

I have no problem admitting that I enjoy superhero movies as much as the next person. Thor, Suicide Squad (though it definitely had its issues), Doctor Strange, The Avengers.

Don't even get me started on Batman vs. Superman though...the best part of the three torturous hours was Wonder Woman's introduction!

What I'm getting at here is that while I've enjoyed the films, I didn't exactly take anything away from them. Good for entertainment, not so good for anything greater than just that. It just always felt like something was missing. 

I'm happy to report that Wonder Woman did so much more than entertain me.

Although, it most definitely did that too!

Yes, the film packed in explosions, fight scenes, and a nefarious villain (or two) like your typical Marvel/DC movie does during its 2-ish hour runtime. The scene where Diana is fighting her way across the front, deflecting bullets and bombs backed by her male counterparts, epitomizes these elements but there's something different about it. 

In fact, there's something different about all of the fight scenes in the film. Diana and her counterparts work together rather than one trying to overpower the other. 

Yes, Diana is more powerful than Steve or his friends (she is a demigod after all...) and that fact is awesomely highlighted. Yeah, she usually goes ahead of the others because she's much better equipped weapon-wise and training-wise.



She did throw an effing TANK, after all.

And honestly, the name of the film is Wonder Woman, so CLEARLY we're all there to watch Wonder Woman to kick some serious booty.

But, Diana, Steve, and their friends are always looking out for each other and doing their best to support the cause in the best way that they can. 

The buzzword/concept surrounding this movie is without a doubt "feminism", and the feminist in me is jumping up and down out of pure happiness!

When it boils down to it, feminism is all about equality for the sexes, not putting women above anyone else. The way that Diana, Steve, and their counterparts function as a successful unit is a perfect example of this. 

Don't get me wrong, the thought of a strong female character like Diana kicking ass 24/7 does make me tear up a bit. But so does the way that Steve and Diana's relationship unfolded.

Personally, I didn't want to see a sex scene between Diana and Steve. And weirdly enough, I'm glad I didn't see one. I love a good sex scene as much as the next gal, and while it was clear plot-wise that their relationship was headed somewhere steamy, it didn't feel right to see that on the big screen. The relationship between the two characters seemed genuine and special (unusual for a superhero movie but much appreciated) and I respect the director's decision to omit whatever happened after the kiss we did get to see. Sometimes not seeing something says more than seeing it, and this was one of those times for sure.

For once, a female superhero was so much more than just eye candy. Gal Gadot is virtually the most beautiful woman on the planet, and we all know this to be true from watching Wonder Woman. Unlike other female superheroes, Diana is coveted for more than just her beauty; her wit, intelligence, and selflessness are what truly make her a desirable character.

A superhero film practically free from the "male gaze" that pervades every other Marvel/DC film, thanks to director Patty Jenkins, the shots focus on impressive leg sweeps and sword-swinging arms rather than jiggling breasts.

Speaking of jiggling, can we talk about the fact that Diana's thigh actually jiggled when she hit the ground?!

#RealThighsJiggle

I could go on and on about Wonder Woman, and I'll probably write more about it when I can cohesively synthesize my thoughts, but for now I'll leave it at that.

I'm so happy we live in a world where girls and women have a role model like Gadot's Wonder Woman to look up to. As a woman, I couldn't help but get misty-eyed watching a film made by a woman that featured some seriously bad-ass women and some bad-ass men as well. There's no doubt in my mind that this movie couldn't have come at a better time. We needed this. We still have a long way to go, but this is definitely a jump and a huge leap in the right direction.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

SEX POSITIVE/BODY-POSITIVE SHOPPING IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE AND HERE'S WHY

Shopping in "that aisle" has pretty much always been an awkward experience, but like a fine wine or cheese, it gets better with age.

You know what I mean by "that aisle".

Feminine hygiene products and/or sexual health supplies.

(Okay, depending on the store, sometimes you have to go to two separate aisles. Yeesh.)

I hate the phrase "feminine hygiene" for so many reasons, but for all intents and purposes, it stands.

The spotlight effect is the real deal, and perusing the aisle(s) of your local Target or Walmart for ultra-ribbed condoms and tampons (maybe not in the same trip...or maybe, yes?) can crank that baby up to a blinding brightness you didn't even know was scientifically possible.


So many thoughts running through your head while you stand there and search the shelves...

This would be a fantastic time to see someone I know, especially a male acquaintance or that hot guy from Starbucks with the impeccable man bun.

Whatever you do, DON'T let your eyes stray too far. They're totally going to think you're looking at the pregnancy tests.

Looking at condoms and/or lube? Cool, the entire store thinks you're a slut now.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Alright, the first one is somewhat rational. It is a possibility....

But that's besides the point. Shopping for things like condoms, tampons, pads, and lube (I could go on and on, really...that's just a sampling of all the cool stuff you can find) feels awkward because we're taught and told so many conflicting things.

Dress scantily, but don't sleep around. (Let alone enjoy sex. Scandalous!)
Be sexy, but not too sexy.
Attend to your body, but keep it under wraps because it's "gross". Periods? Ew.

Well, though I may not be 100% confident myself when it comes to shopping in "that aisle", I do know that it's kind of silly to feel ashamed or embarrassed.

If anything, we should feel empowered, excited, and grateful.

Empowered by the choices we make for ourselves and our partner(s).

Excited, because sex is awesome and so are our bodies!!!

Grateful to have access to things that help us live easier and safer lives. Sadly, not everyone has access to products we think of as necessary!

What I'm trying to say is next time you go shopping and you find yourself in "that aisle", linger a little bit longer than usual.

Take your time, don't rush! There's so much to look at and try.

Chances are no one is looking at you anyways and maybe you'll even discover something new.

Stay safe, kids.

Friday, May 26, 2017

R.I.P. COLLEGE?

So, I graduated from college last Saturday.

As I climbed the stairs to the stage, carefully, I was worried about falling on my face. A totally rational fear, I assure you.

I was also preoccupied by my cap, which kept falling off my head because I wasn't forward-thinking enough to check which side was the "front" before I stared decorating.


I swear I'm smart enough to wield a degree. Promise.

I made it up the stairs and across the stage with little to no problem, but I got tripped up by what the president of my university asked me as we shook hands.

"So, what are you going to do now?"

"Oh, I'm waitressing!"

After the words came out of my mouth, and his face seemed to droop a bit, I started to think I said the wrong thing.

It was a stupid answer, right?

He was expecting me to say something like, "Oh, I got a fabulous position at a magazine!" or "Yes, of course, I'll be working at the world's most renowned publishing company!", right?

I mean, that is the point of going to college after all. To develop the skills and master the tools that will start you on the path to career stardom. And to get that fancy piece of paper that confirms said tools and skills.

The more I thought about my answer, however, the more I realized my answer wasn't "wrong" or "stupid". Not everyone finds the perfect career-boosting job fresh out of college, or even finds a relevant job at all at first, and that's okay.

There's no shame in doing something that you didn't go to school to do, and honestly there isn't any shame in doing something like waitressing at all! It's a really hard job and I am constantly amazed by how effortless many of them make it look!

#Goals

I also admire the people who do get awesome "I-totally-went-to-school for this" jobs right out of college as well. I know I'll find the perfect English-y career sometime soon...for now, I'm going to enjoy rolling around in large piles of cash and serving hungry people all the seafood they can stomach.

Monday, January 23, 2017

THANK YOU, WESTWORLD... [BOOK UPDATE 3]

For once, I feel like the writing gods have smiled upon me.

Or at least they sent me Westworld (and its brilliant soundtrack) to fuel my inspiration/creativity.


Bless.

I'm about 1,000 words in and feeling good.

I had my boyfriend read what I've written so far and he sure had some great insight into how I should proceed...he even got me thinking about things I haven't even thought of yet. He's so smart.

And totally getting a big shout out when this book comes to fruition!

Anyways, these posts make me feel accountable/like I actually might be making process even though no one probably reads them...eh, who cares.

Hopefully someday when this book is published and I'm a roaring success in the realm of YA, I can look back on these and smile.

We'll just have to see, won't we?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SO ABOUT THAT BOOK... [BOOK UPDATE 2]

Okay.

It's been an EMBARRASSINGLY long time since I've updated on this whole book-writing process. My apologies.

The lack of updating would be due to the fact that I haven't written anything since July.

While that's extremely sad, I have great news!

I've been making headway with my book in the last few days (and by headway I mean pondering while driving/showering and planning things out in my head) and better yet, I'm taking Fiction Workshop this semester so I'll be forced to write for class.

Yay for being held accountable!

Alright, I'm going back to my Spotify playlist full of Western soundtracks and preliminary/necessary Wikipedia research.



Saturday, July 2, 2016

HERE GOES NOTHING... [BOOK UPDATE #1]

Hi everyone.

I know.

It's been a while.

If you've been here for a long time, first of all a "thank you" is definitely in order. I don't know why you've stuck around or so long, to be honest, but I'm glad you're still here.

My blog has gone through countless incarnations (beauty to fashion to academic, so on and so forth) but it has always been my personal space to write about that which I want to share with all of you.

And right now, it's serving as a form of procrastination.

I told myself that on July 1st, 2016 I would start writing my first book.

It is now technically (on the East Coast) July 2nd, 2016 and I have written zero words. Nada. Nothing,

They always say that starting anything is the hardest part. I would absolutely agree with that statement.

I've loved writing for as long as I can remember and I've always wanted to write books in some capacity.

Perhaps turning 22 has made me hyper-aware of the fact that:

a) I will be graduating from college in a year with my English degree

b) I will soon be out of school with loans to pay off

c) I've been telling people for years that I want to be an author and have yet to start writing books

d) I'm not getting any younger and I should probably start writing this book sooner rather than later so that the picture on the dust jacket is a half-decent one, preferably in which I don't have wrinkles

Okay, I could go on forever but bottom line is...I'm starting this process and I'm scared to death.

What if no one wants to read it? What if my ideas are completely idiotic? What if I can't get my book published?

Most importantly: What if I can't even finish it?

This quote really stuck with me: "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It kind of embodies how I'm feeling at this moment, at the beginning of this journey. I'm nervous but I have the make the leap sometime.

And I'm jumping.

---




Sunday, February 14, 2016

WYCHERLEY'S COUNTRY WIFE: WHAT'S IN A NAME...?

New year = new classes. 
This specific blog post is for Currents in Brit Lit 2.
If you are still here from last semester, welcome back! If you're new here...hi!

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but when it comes to literary characters names are the written equivalent. Perhaps nowadays in a world where most celebrities have unknowingly entered themselves into a "weirdest baby name" competition, names have taken on a different purpose and reasoning.

The modern state of naming, whether it be in the literary sense or not, is questionable. However back in the days of yore (for the sake of this post the Restoration period), names in literary works had a multitude of wonderful functions.

William Wycherley's The Country Wife is a standout example when it comes to the multi-functionality of character names. These character's names perform two major functions:

1. to illuminate the character's true nature
2.  to inspire humor within the reader


One of the main characters (he might even be our antagonist...that's up for debate), Mr. Horner, is one of the most obvious illustrations of these functions. His surname is explicitly tied to his inclination towards debauchery, as the main plot point for the play is Horner's rumor-fueled quest to  conquer every one of his friend's wives. As Martha Fletcher Bellinger writes in her article on Restoration drama

"The heroes of the Restoration comedies were lively gentlemen of the city, profligates and loose livers, with a strong tendency to make love to their neighbors' wives."

In plain terms, our main character is a rakish man who is "horny" and certainly potent, though his male counterparts are led to believe otherwise. So, Horner's name performs both of the functions we defined; it illustrates his intentions in an obvious way and that in itself fulfills the second function. The blunt nature of his name is what contributes to the humor surrounding it, as despite the repetition of his surname by the various characters he interacts with (combined with his questionable actions), they all remain more or less oblivious. 

Horner makes his intentions towards women very clear from the beginning. In Act I, Scene I he tells the quack, "Doctor, a good name is seldom got by giving it one's self, and Women no more than honor are compassed by bragging." In other words, Horner is a by-product of his reputation just as women are. Yes, his surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from those who make musical instruments, but in Wycherley's play Horner is Horner because it is, simply put, his nature. The Restoration period is defined by its obsession with wit and nature (of the human variety), and Wycherley harnesses both of these concepts within The Country Wife.

Another possibility regarding the significance of Horner's name is that it is a reference to the devil himself. Considering that Restoration literature is a rebellion against the staunch restrictions imposed by Puritan rule, Wycherley naming one of his main characters after Satan is an ironic throwback to more pious days. Horner...horny...horned? No need to leap very far to get to that one!

Another character from Wycherley's comedy of manners is Pinchwife, and boy is his name full of sad, sad truth. Pinchwife is newly married to Margery, an "innocent" country girl, and he fears that his friends will steal her away from him therefore rendering him a lowly cuckold.



Pinchwife's attitude towards his wife (really, just women in general) and his tendency towards violence is hidden within his surname. This exchange between Horner and Pinchwife in Act I, Scene I speaks to his unsavory and undesirable nature:

Horner: But tell me, has Marriage cured thee of whoring?

Pinchwife: Well, Gentlemen, you may laugh at me, but I know the Town. 

Horner: But prithee, was not the way you were in better than Marriage? 

Pinchwife: A Pox on it, the Jades would jilt me.  I could never keep a Whore to myself.

Pinchwife's name denotes two possible interpretations, both wholly valid and telling. The first is that as a bachelor he cannot keep a whore and he can barely even "pinch" a wife, taking to the country to find an innocent girl who will marry him. The dialogue between Horner and Pinchwife is dripping with sarcasm, as Pinchwife is not in any way a "lady's man" like his male counterpart. Horner uses this as ammunition and fires metaphorically at Pinchwife knowing that it will only bother him further.

Another way to construe the name Pinchwife is as a reference to his violent nature. Though his name is quite lighthearted and even humorous, his empty threats point towards darker realities. One of these many empty threats can be found in Act IV, Scene II:

Pinchwife:  Write as I bid you, or I will write “Whore”with this knife in your Face.

These numerous empty threats made by Pinchwife, while not fulfilled, also reveal what it was life was like for women during this period. Women were practically powerless and what power they did wield was gifted to them in the form of reputation. Pinchwife threatening to carve "whore" into Margery's face is 17th century domestic violence coupled with the possibility of crippling his spouse's livelihood. And any hope she might have of marrying someone who actually loves her and doesn't try to mutilate her.

As previously mentioned, the two major functions of naming are to illuminate a character's true nature and to inspire humor within the reader. As far as Pinchwife is concerned, the first function is absolutely met however the second function is not as successful as with Horner. Sure, Pinchwife's sad-sack status with women is comical in conjunction with the banter of the other men however the emphasis is less on humor in his case. 

With the Restoration author's obsession with the classics in mind, it only makes sense that the names of the characters within their works would be meaningful and complimentary to the themes and motifs of the play. Horner and Pinchwife's names are much more than something to call them, they are a brilliant device utilized by Wycherley to embody these themes and motifs in a literal sense. Horner and Pinchwife, with their qualms about women and marriage, are called Horner and Pinchwife to illustrate their complex relationship with these ideas. Wycherley's The Country Wife is a bawdy representation of life during the Restoration period and the characters that dwell within play a major role in portraying how human nature is flawed and in turn humorous.

until next time,

 
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