I Love the Shows, They Go Away

Grimm is ending soon and I am… what’s a word that means devastated but on a really shallow level? Like, it doesn’t affect my life in any way and I will move on from it like I do every show I love that ends or gets cancelled, but I’m pretty bummed about it right now, as the actual end approaches? I’m that word.

What’s different about Grimm is that it’s a Buffy for grownups. It’s an adult–eventually several adults–who come into their power in mid-life instead of say… discovering their mutant abilities at puberty or learning of their legacy as a high school sophomore. They’re not still forming their identity when that spider bites them or negotiating prom plans when a freak accident gives them special powers or wolf bite reveals their true underlying nature.

They’re not kids taking on the world before they’re ready; they’re adults frustrated with a broken system who find themselves with extra abilities with which to bypass the red tape that holds everyone else back.

Like how Wu just straight up eats some bad guys sometimes. Generally speaking, cops don’t get away with EATING people. Shooting them under certain (*coughracistcough*) circumstances, sometimes they can talk their way out of, but eating? Only Wu.

Grimm justice is just about cutting off heads sometimes because… you know, sometimes, it needs to be done and detectives just don’t have that kind of authority.

And don’t even get me started on Hexenbiest problem-solving methods because veterinarians don’t USUALLY esplode people to bits or like, throw them against walls repeatedly until they die. It’s just not professional.

As a mid-lifer myself who received neither her Hogwarts letter nor my Slayer powers, Grimm gives me hope that I’m not completely useless yet. Maybe there’s a vat of nuclear goo in my future or a cute Irishman willing to pass his visions to me as he sacrifices himself for the greater good.

I mean, there’s always the SMART PEOPLE shows like Scorpion or MacGyver or Madame Secretary to make me feel like SOME old farts are getting it done but as a non-genius, none of those hold the same kind of appeal as an old lady showing up at my door and saying, “Don’t you know who your REAL parents are?! Don’t you know what you can do?!”

Because I guarantee I would not cry and whine and Just Wish I Was Normal if I got powers. I’d be out avenging! I’d be righting wrongs! I’d be tearing it up! I’d be… honestly, probably pretty corruptible actually.

Never give me power, man. I’d just Hancock it all up.

Still, I’ll miss Grimm. Here’s to more grownups getting the power and using it for good!

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7 out of 8 characters pictured have far more super powers than me.

 

P.S. I’ve got a backburner WIP about a newish mom who accidentally escapes her mundane  mom life to solve some mythic issue with the help of her infant son. GROWN-UP HEROES! GO, GO, GO!

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Spank Your Inner Moppet and Get Over It

One of the things that bothered me the most about my crappy book review was this statement:

“If you want to write a story of decision then make the protagonist have a real choice. … When three quarters of the book is about the two girls you know how it is going to end.”

Because… the REAL choice had nothing to do with sexuality. And I mean, obviously, the reviewer didn’t understand that (or much else, apparently) but I’m wondering if my real meaning was lost in all the bi-phobia.

The main character’s two options for love interests were:

  1. A teenage fantasy of forever love and dramatic declarations
  2. A comfortable friendship with romantic underpinnings

And while option 1 is what the MC thinks she wants because her entire culture tells her to want that, option 2 seems like the better choice.

I’m not saying it doesn’t matter that option 1 is a boy and option 2 is a girl. That plays into the whole cultural influence factor. But it’s not just “should I choose the boy or the girl? Whoops, now I’m a lesbian forever.”

The other thing that REALLY REALLY bothered me, although more because maybe the reviewer is a little twisted, was this gem:

“Have some of the girls be mean to the guys or even molest some of the other girls.”

Um… there was no molestation in the story. There was a sexual assault by a boy, AGAIN because that plays into the cultural influence of boy/girl dynamics, and it was not graphic or gratuitous at all. So to REQUEST girl on girl molestation is… well, it’s freaking twisted, man. WHO SAYS THAT? Ugh, there’s not enough ick in the world already?

I promise that this is not about getting a bad review and dwelling on it. This is about just… a really nasty, bi-phobic, ignorant, disgusting review and I am so disappointed that no one else of the hundred plus people who downloaded and/or read the book haven’t commented on it or written a less horrid review to combat it.

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Ugh, I hate it when nasty people get away with such yuck.

 

Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good Too

“You know what, though?” my husband said on the way home from seeing Ghostbusters last night. “I think the best thing about the whole movie was Holtzmann. She was funny and weird and smart and badass. I think she’s my new girlfriend.”

“Mine too.”

“I called her first.”

“I call her harder.”

“This is Abbie Mills all over again.”

Little did we know at the time that the entire internet is abuzz with Holtzmann love. Homegirl is a sensation. And Ghostbusters: Lady Balls Be Blowin’ Up is a triumph.

But I don’t want to talk about FILM and analyze FILMMAKING and psychoanalyze and criticize and jazzercise this piece. I want to tell you how it made me feeeeeeel.

I spend a lot of time in introspection because I am an introvert and what I’ve been working on lately is how my upbringing led to some of my not so great decisions, some of my unfortunate delusions, and a lot of misconceptions about confidence, power, and relating to others. Oh and how Ghostbusters could have helped.

I had She-Ra growing up and the original sucky movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but otherwise, most of the women I saw in movies and TV were of the super hot trophy variety and what power they had came almost entirely from their appearance and how the possibility of possessing them (in whichever way was most appropriate to the rating of that show) was a main motivator for the males in the story.

cleo-from-the-catillac-cats-the-80s-26445402-498-376The cartoon Heathcliff was one of my inspirations for this concept of using appearance/sex appeal to control others way back before I knew what sex even was or what “suggestive” meant in relation to my body and the use thereof. It was that poofy-chested, pink leg warmer-wearing bad guy’s girlfriend who made me think all I needed to do was drape myself across a picnic table and wait for a boy to make goo-goo eyes and do whatever I wanted. Because that’s what all the girl cartoons did. Even Bugs Bunny in girl clothes had power in his prettiness. And I got it in my elementary school mind that that’s all I had to do too. In fact, that’s all I thought I could do because there were no Doc McStuffins or Sophia the Firsts or mothereffing badass women Ghostbusters having adventures and effing shizz up without showing off their boobies or midriffs.

She-Ra and Teela and Cheetara and Buffy were all babes in tight clothes. There were no female Transformers. Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite had no power or influence. For a domineering girl in the 80s, the only way I could see to affect the world was through sexy manipulation of males.

As you can imagine, that kind of understanding of power dynamics made adolescence very difficult, especially since I was not, in fact, a super attractive sexy girl who boys tripped over to do my bidding. Dating was incomprehensible from that point of view and so never worked out well. Friendships with boys were fraught with misunderstanding. And having self-confidence when you don’t look the way you think you need to in order to have any agency was near impossible.

We’ll save all the ways I overcompensated, my family and friends’ contribution to my insecurities, and The College Years for my memoir and how I escaped the cycle for my self-help book. I’ll let you know when they’re available on Amazon. I imagine sometime after I start actually writing them.

I keep trying to imagine my childhood with Rey from The Force Awakens or Holtzmann and the gang as my role models. I’m no gun-licking, ghost-punching genius scientist or anything but even having someone like me now, an adult woman who teaches respect and compassion to the kids in my after school program while building confidence in one’s own strengths and patience and diligence in overcoming one’s weaknesses could have made a major impact.

Instead, I grew up with all those internet trolls who threaten sexual violence on women who challenge the misogynist status quo as my classmates and peers. I was made to feel small and inconsequential by my lack of sex appeal because that’s the only value I was told I could hold. I dated boys who treated me like a third place trophy and suffered condescension from male authority figures who just assumed I’d never amount to much.

Ghostbusters felt like vindication. It felt like who I wanted to be when I grew up: a strong smart woman who could take care of herself and effect change the world without exposing her body. My inner child rejoiced and my outer adult swaggered out of that theater feeling like girlz do rule the world. And also like sex appeal has nothing to do with boobies and bellybuttons and everything to do with being your weird wonderful brilliant badass self.

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Go Get Yourself a Girlfriend

I watched the movie About Time recently which was mostly lovely and thoughtful except for that one little thing that continues to bug me: the main character tells his father he would like to use his time-travelling ability to “get a girlfriend”. Then, in a comedy of errors-type pseudo montage, he tries to woo his sister’s friend and fails. He cute-meets another woman later but through the magic of time travel, manages to undo the meeting and instead has to trick the woman into getting to know him in an alternate timeline.

Movie boys always be trickin’ girls into stuff. Movie girls always be fallin’ for it.

A man I know personally, although at this point I wish I did not, has been very public about his life goals this year, posting a list and real time updates on Facebook (this man posts a lot of things on Facebook. I may have mentioned him before. Unfavorably.) Among getting a new job, a functioning car, and meeting a particular weight is Getting a Girlfriend.

Psst, what he hasn’t posted is that he already got laid off from the new job which means he won’t be keeping that new car very long and if how he treats his “friends” is any indication, any woman willing to date him might not be willing for long either.

I was a Girlfriend once to a man who staked his self-esteem on such things. He felt that as long as he had this list of things, he was succeeding at life: job, car, apartment, girlfriend. Even when the relationship fizzled, long after all intimacy ended (ALL intimacy, like hugs and high-fives were more than we could handle), he refused to break up because in order to be ok, he had to be able to check off the things on his success list.

Little did I know (or care), he was using our failing relationship to woo another woman so as not to interrupt service in the transition from one girlfriend to the next.

And what are women for if not to give men a little more prestige? It was never about affection or attraction or emotional investment with these three (until perhaps the end of the movie) and it certainly wasn’t about the individual woman or her wants and needs. It’s just a goal for some men to aspire to, a trophy to put on the shelf, a item to mark off a list.

And it feels awful to be that woman, knowing that who you are doesn’t matter as long as you fill that role in that man’s life for however long he deems you worthy.

Girlfriends aren’t goals. Women are people. Why is this still an issue?