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The Female Perspective: Why Social Media Is Stressful

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


 These days social media is a challenging place for myself and many of my friends to be. A lot of my Facebook friends have bowed out of that particular site because it’s simply too negative, too political, too, whatever other word you want to use there. A part of me agree’s.

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Before I get too far into this, I want to say two things:

  1. I am on Facebook – though my presence is less and I took the FB app off my phone so I can’t check it constantly.
  2. This is in no way a condemnation or judgement of others on social media. I love social media. It’s a great way to connect with people all over the world.

So let’s move along, shall we?

My point in writing this blog is to chat about social media and how it can have such an impact on us emotionally, which seems like a strange thing because in essence, it’s an online forum. It’s not communicating with actual people face-to-face, it’s communicating via electronic means. So why then does it upset some people, anger others, and reassure still another group of people? What is it about social media that keeps us all so engaged, so active in it? According to one survey, in 2016, 78% of the US population was using social media.

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In 2012, Brand Dignity wrote an article asking why social media was so popular and listed some of the basic reasons why people use it, things such as social media is free to use, it’s a way for people to network and promote their businesses, it’s a way to meet new people, and social media sites are extremely user-friendly and easy to use. All these reasons are extremely valid, but leave out the cons of social media, stuff like bullying, trolling, stalking, and just people being able to say whatever they want behind the safety of a computer screen. Not to mention, it leaves the door open for a lack of social etiquette or person-to-person connection.

It’s a funny thing for those of us who grew up before social media and before computers. I thank the good Lord on a regular basis that we didn’t have smartphones or Twitter when I was a kid. No one could document my day-to-day stupidity and the bully’s couldn’t follow me home and harass me online. Kids today have it rough in a way I never did. But at the same time, are they also learning that because you’re “safe” behind a computer screen you can say whatever you want without any real consequences? Is kindness and proper grammar going out the window? Are we living in a world where you just abbreviate everything and it’s all about selfie’s and getting the most likes?

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These aren’t questions that I can even possibly answer on my own. I just know that seeing the things I see recently, what with the 2016 election, everything Trump does every, single day that horrifies most people I know, and the general negativity and shaming that goes on –I mean jeez, Lady Gaga got body shamed for her Superbowl performance – really? Because just anyone can flip over on wires and dance AND sing well in front of MILLIONS, but please, by all means, let’s mock her for her body. The world of social media is a strange place and I for one am taking a small break. I still check in once or twice a day, and I still post my blog there and when my new book comes out, I’ll post stuff then, but I can’t look at the fear-mongering posts, the angry posts, or even the happy posts all the time anymore. It’s just too much and I’d rather have human-to-human contact than the coldness of a computer screen.

What about you folks? Does social media ever stress you out? Does it effect you in any way? Why or why not? And if it doesn’t, how do you manage to say unattached? Share your tips, your tricks and your thoughts below!

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The Female Perspective: The Women of the Marvel Netflix Universe

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for superhero films and TV shows. I, like so many others, have been enjoying everything Marvel, including their foray into the world of binge watching on Netflix. Recently my boyfriend and I sat down and watched Luke Cage and I have to say, it was phenomenal. It also got me thinking, how come Marvel, and by extension, Netflix, can get this stuff so right and so many others get it so, so wrong?

The awesome women on "Luke Cage" on Netflix now!
The awesome women on “Luke Cage” on Netflix now!

What am I talking about? Not the content necessarily, though they nail that, but more specifically I’m talking about the women. The female characters are well thought out, they’re developed in fascinating and engaging ways and they walk around fully clothed and act like the grown ups they are.  It particularly struck me during Luke Cage as something that is a pleasure to see. Women who are powerful and smart, not just sex objects.

Take Rosario Dawson’s character for example, Claire, she its he connecting character between Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and in all the shows she’s tough, she’s no-nonsense and she’s brave as all get out, especially when surrounded by larger than life enhanced people. She doesn’t wuss out when things get tough, she grabs the closest weapon she can find and she fights, or she used her words, which she’s more than capable of stringing into full sentences and fights that way. The women of the Netflix Marvel Universe are so much more than just women, they’re partners to the crime fighters they stand by. They’re equals. 

"Jessica Jones" on Netflix.
“Jessica Jones” on Netflix.

Of course, it’s not just in the Netflix programming either, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is equally as impressive in its female roles. No quiet wallflowers here, they’re all out to protect those that they love, keep themselves safe and fight toe-to-toe with some of Earth’s greatest hero’s. It’s something that strikes me as at odds in today’s world of angry anti-feminist rhetoric. It’s amazing when you look at the toy lines and the fight that it’s been to get the female characters represented alongside the male characters. How can Marvel and the studios get it so right on the screen, but so wrong in other places?

Now I can’t pretend to be knowledgeable about comic books since I haven’t read most of the ones that are the basis of these shows, but the comics I have read have struggled with representing women as equals to their male counterparts. I will never, ever understand why someone thinks it makes sense to draw a woman who is in a life or death fight as wearing a strapless top and a skirt. I know comics aren’t meant to be realistic and I love being sunk into  fantasy world of super hero’s and super villains, but still, I want my super ladies to wear pants, is that so much of a stretch? And shirts with sleeves and stuff would be good too, but one thing at at time. Pants would be great.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

Anyway … What do you think? Have you watched any of these shows? What do you think about the portrayal of women in the Marvel universe? Sound off in the comments! Tell me what you think!

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The Female Perspective: Halloween Costumes Gone MAD!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s that time of year again, when I get to look over the Halloween costumes selection and find joy in how ridiculous the designers get with what they deem a “sexy” costume. I found some good ones this year folks!

Hey honey, we should go as rotary dial phones for Halloween. Doesn't that sound fun?
Hey honey, we should go as rotary dial phones for Halloween. Doesn’t that sound fun?

To begin, I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to wear a sexy costume. This list is all in good fun because honestly, has anyone ever thought, “Gee whiz, I want to be a sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle this year”? There are plenty of the traditional sexy costumes like Harley Quinn, Egyptian Goddess, Witch or Milk Maid, but there are also some very, very silly options that I like to highlight here.

Read on, and if you pick one of these, please, for the love all things holy and fun, post a pic!

Women’s Sexy In a Galaxy Far, Far Away Costume

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Are you looking to be a sexy version of Princess Leia without all those pesky layers of white robe? Well, have I got the solution for YOU! Behold the Sexy In a Galaxy Far, Far Away costume. Not only does it not bother to cover your legs with something as silly as a skirt or pants (Eee gads, not PANTS!) it even comes with a HOOD. So if you get cold you can just curl up into the smallest ball humanly possible and get into that hood of yours.

Sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

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Sure, you like turtles, you even like ninja turtles, but are they sexy? I suppose to other turtles they might be … Hmm … Anyway, I came across this picture at random and had a good chuckle at the idea of trying to make the TMNT gang sexy. Or really, trying to make any ninjas sexy seems slightly ridiculous since ninja’s at their core, are meant to fly under the radar, not jump up on a table for all the attention. Perhaps I’m getting too literal? Regardless, whatever way you go with your turtle love, make sure you can at least eat pizza while in your costume, otherwise, what’s the point of even being a TMNT?

Sexy Optimus Prime (yes, you read that right)

Autobots! Roll Out!
Autobots! Roll Out!

Now, I can’t be alone in saying that the big OP has a sexy voice (for a talking Mack Truck) and he does some heroic stuff (“You got the power!”), but sexy? I did not think it could possibly get any sillier than a sexy TMNT ensemble, but I was wrong. This one gave me quite the chuckle, I mean it’s adorable, but if you’re a true Transformers fan, there is no way that this is going to be your costume. At least, I have never seen a woman in such an outfit at any of the Comic Con’s I’ve been to. Typically if you dress as a Transformer, you wear something blocky and bulky, the total opposite of sexy.

I will, however, admit that this one might be my favorite, the skirt is actually adorable.

Sexy Chucky Costume 

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There are literally no words.

What About The Dudes?

You might be wondering, why are all these costumes for women? Well, I wondered that myself and decided to do a quick search of sexy men’s Halloween costumes. You know what I found? Stuff I can’t put in this blog for one (too risqué) and then it’s boring stuff like a guy in a suit, dressed as a Scottish Highlander (with pants under his kilt, so wrong) and other stuff like that, carpenters, firemen, etc. Nothing at all to the level of the women (see Sexy Chucky above). Though I did find this one and if anyone can tell me what the heck it is, I’ll send you a lollipop.

*sigh*
*sigh*

It seems sad that men can’t get in on the super sexy costume game like women do, but then i realized oh wait, it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they don’t feel as if they have to. Not to take this blog to a serious place but the fact is, we live in a patriarchal society where women are groomed to think they always have to be sexy or attractive and god forbid if they do something else. The other side of that is that the tide is changing, many women are choosing costumes that reflect who they are and not what society expects them to be. Not to mention, on Halloween it’s all about being someone else and sometimes that means getting a wee bit sexy. As I said before, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s on your terms and not something you feel you have to do in order to please someone.

What are YOU going as for Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

 

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The Female Perspective: The Mary Sue Stuff Must Stop

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Have you heard the term Mary Sue lately? If not, let me offer up the definition:

Mary Sue for female characters and Gary Stu or Marty Stu for male characters is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment. ~Wikipedia

One of the more recent uses of this term is towards Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it annoyed the wholy heck out of me because not only has no one ever used the term “Gary Stu” or “Marty Stu” for a man (I’d never heard of it before today), but because saying a woman that is strong, smart and powerful is “unrealistic” is really, REALLY annoying. The double standard of not using it towards male characters is what really sticks in my craw and my annoyance has been revitalized due to the release of the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer.

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Our newest “Star Wars” protagonist…Jyn Erso

All the ugly anti-feminist argument trolls are out in force people. In FORCE.

In the trailer, we are introduced to a new, female, character named Jyn Erso who has been dubbed a Mary Sue even before anyone has seen the movie. Simply because of the following:

  1. She’s a woman.
  2. She is the lead character.
  3. She clearly kicks ass.

That’s it folks. Let’s take a moment to unravel this a bit. All of these people claiming she’s a Mary Sue and that Star Wars never gets to have powerful male leads, (seriously, that was a Tweet I saw…I can’t even begin to talk about that either it made me so mad) as if there is something wrong with a woman being in control in the Star Wars universe. Have none of these people ever actually seen Star Wars???? Seriously, have you never heard of Princess Leia?

For pete’s sake.  I can’t even, the stupidity is overwhelming me people. Why are there so many stupids all around? Why do they have internet access and computers and, you know, fingers with which to type??? It boggles my mind that people would get so up in arms over a woman being shown as not only capable, but brave and tough too.

Lucas has admitted that Luke is his character wish fulfillment on film.
Lucas has admitted that Luke is his character wish fulfillment on film.

The fact is, the term Mary Sue needs to be retired, expunged from our lexicon. Deleted forever from the world. It is sexist, subjective and completely insulting to the female characters it has been attached to. The fact is, if you really look at it, Luke Skywalker (known to be George Lucas’ wish fulfillment character) is a Mary Sue himself! He’s “too” perfect in unrealistic ways. Even wee little Anakin is “too” perfect and yet, no one complains about that. No one cries out “Gary Stu!” (or whatever it is). No. No one does, because Mary Sue is a sexist, anti-feminism term meant to belittle and subjugate the female lead. To make her feel less than, to bring down her potential and to, once again, take a woman’s power and crush it into dust.

Actual Tweets by actual people...Or something resembling people...
Actual Tweets by actual people…Or something resembling people…

Sorry (totally not sorry) to all those who are running around crying foul that “yet another” woman is a lead in a Star Wars film, you’re going to have to get used to seeing the ladies in charge because clearly that’s the way that Disney is going here and clearly it’s well received by those of us who aren’t neanderthal misogynistic morons.

My brain hurts...
My brain hurts…I can’t even deal with this much stupid.

Welcome to the new Star Wars world, it has women in it who do things, important things. Get used to it, and while you’re at it, stop using the Mary Sue terminology. It’s antiquated and lame, not to mention entirely insulting to the female gender who desperately want women to be role models for the younger generation. Feminists don’t want to take down the menfolk, now listen carefully, feminists want to be equal with them.

Why is that so difficult?

What do YOU think of the term Mary Sue? Is it time to retire the term? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

P.S. If you haven’t seen the trailer, watch below, it looks AMAZING.

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The Female Perspective: You Should Be Watching…

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Are you looking for a new TV show to enjoy? Do you enjoy dystopian fiction? Post-apocalyptic craziness with teens and adults? Romance? Double crossing? Swordplay? Then I’ve got the perfect show for you! The 100 is seriously one of the best shows that I finally just caught up with recently. My boyfriend has been telling me to watch it for awhile now and I just didn’t have the time. Fortunately, a cold laid me up for a few days and it was the perfect time to binge watch The 100 on Netflix until I caught up to the current Season 3.

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The 100 is based on a trilogy of books by author Kass Morgan released in 2013. According to Wikipedia, TV execs were interested in the stories before the books were officially published and the show premiered in 2014 on the CW. (Authors note: That is one extremely lucky author. I’ve never heard of a book being optioned before it’s even published! I’m super jealous now.) The show itself has a fairly simple, if depressing premise, 97 years after the world is (supposedly) destroyed by nuclear bombs we find that humanity has managed to survive by living on space stations, called The Arc, but their time is running out, their air is running out. To help save air and to also see if the Earth is habitable (though science and logic say it takes about 200 years for the world to clear after nuclear war but hey, it’s TV!), the powers that be on The Arc decide to send the juvenile delinquents/offenders down to Earth, and guess how many of them there are? You guessed it! 100 teenagers go down to Earth and find that Earth is actually livable, sort of.

What the kids quickly come to discover is that Earth is not all it’s cracked up to be, yeah sure there are trees and fresh air and flowers and radioactive butterfly’s, but there are also people throwing spears and running through the woods in pretty fearsome ensembles. Which can mean only one thing, Earth harbors survivors.

These kids seriously never get a break, from the moment they land on Earth things go sideways crazy. Grounders (the habitants of the Earth post-war) run rampant and we soon learn about the Mountain Men as well. There’s lots to fear on this new Earth, not the least of which is a 2-headed deer that roams majestically through the forest and acid fog that kills in bloodthirsty fashion.

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Things aren’t looking up for the grownups on the Arc either, they are running out of air faster than expected and everyone is angry and looking for a way out of their space Hell. It’s a compelling story in many ways, not the least of which is that what turns out happening is that women end up being pretty much in charge. The main character, Clarke Griffin (played by Eliza Taylor) is quickly shown to be strong, smart and more than capable of wrangling these kids who have become a hipster-esque post-apocalyptic version of Lord Of The Flies. Her mother (the main doctor on The Arc) is equally in control up in space. Then, when we meet the Grounder’s leader, we see that it is also a woman.

It’s freakin’ fantastic.

I cannot stress enough how surprised and pleased I was to discover that women seem to be the ones running things in this new world. Sure, it’s not perfect, but what is? What I really dig about The 100 is the fact that characters are constantly changing. Someone I think is a really dink turns out to be smart and savvy. A love triangle that could have bogged the show down for season after season instead resolves itself in an episode or two and it’s dang refreshing, it’s adult but yet, it’s about teenagers. It’s a paradox of themes and ideas and yet, they all work astoundingly well.

Take one of my favorite characters, Octavia, not only does she have a fabulous name, but she also becomes this total bad-ass warrior woman by the current season 3. She starts out kind of devil may care, party girl but quickly, once confronted with death of someone she loves and her own injuries and more, she becomes stronger and more capable than you would have expected when you first meet her. It’s smart writing. It’s a smart show. It reminds me that writing smart young women is actually something that can happen (and something that the writers on Supergirl should take note of). I used to think that TV shows on the CW were silly and boring tales of soap opera romance but with such hits like The Arrow and The Flash and now The 100, I have definitely rethought my stance on the CW. It’s a network that isn’t afraid to take chances with it’s shows and it makes them better, smarter and infinitely more enjoyable to watch.

The Arc
The Arc

Currently The 100 is in the middle of its 3rd season and has been getting some heat lately due to the death of a prominent character who was also a lesbian. Many are saying that killing off a lesbian character is unfair and “too fast” but the fact is, it made sense for the timeline of the show, it had to happen to keep things moving forward. This season is ripe with political intrigue that mirrors our own current political quagmire as well as raising issues of what’s right and what’s wrong in a world at war and complex themes of love and honor. It’s what makes the show as smart and interesting as it is. Is the 3rd season as good as seasons 1 and 2? The jury is still out on that one, I for one was kind of glad the character died last week because I thought she weakened the story a bit and it was getting a bit tired. It’s a brutal world they live in now and death happens a lot, it makes sense on this Earth.

Regardless of any controversy, The 100 is a show worth checking out. If you are a fan of strong women who know how to fight for what’s right (hopefully) then you’ll enjoy the holy heck out of The 100!

Have you seen The 100? Do you love it/hate it? Tell me why in the comments! Do you have any show recommendations? Tell me!

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The Female Perspective: Oh Agent Carter, You Wiley Devil You

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I’ve written about Agent Carter before and gosh dang it, the show is so good, I’m going to do it again, because it deserves more attention than it seems to be getting. If you haven’t watched the first season, go, now, do that and then come back and read this!

Onward and upward as they say…

My fave TV couple, Peggy Carter and Jarvis!
My fave TV couple, Peggy Carter and Jarvis!

In season one of Agent Carter we got to know SSR Agent Peggy Carter a bit better, we knew about her love for good ole Captain America and we know how that romance ended, but what about the woman behind SHIELD? The woman that shot Captain America multiple times to make sure his shield worked? What is her story? How did she fare after WWII was over and the “womenfolk” were sent back to the kitchens?

Well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Agent Carter had a rough go of it after the war but if nothing else, she is tenacious. You cannot stop her and that, I absolutely adore. She makes me want to be just like her. Never give up on what’s right and above all, don’t give up on what you want.

It’s a perfect message for female viewers, young and old.

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I’ll admit right here that I haven’t checked the ratings on Agent Carter but I’ve begun hearing pesky rumors that she won’t be back for a season 3 and that really makes me angry. If the dang Kardashians (gag) can be on TV season after season, than Agent Carter, at the very least deserves a 3rd season.

Why is one of the best shows on TV not getting the attention it deserves?

In one of the recent episodes a character named Whitney Frost declares that she is trying to find a place of power for those that are treated as unequal (namely, women and African-Americans), it’s a poignant message in this time of both racial and feminist inequality.  Unfortunately, Frost is taking a bad path, she doesn’t just want equality, she wants power. ALL the power. She wants to rule. She wants to take over. Unfortunately, that’s not the way to do it. Luckily for the world, Agent Carter and her team is on the job and they are going to do everything they can to stop Frost from enacting what I am sure is a truly evil plan. I can’t wait for the season finale (I’ll be watching it tonight) to see what Frost tries next!

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER - "Better Angels" - Peggy's search for the truth about Zero Matter puts her on a collision course with her superiors as Howard Stark barnstorms in, on "Marvel's Agent Carter," TUESDAY, JANUARY 26 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) WYNN EVERETT
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER – “Better Angels” – Peggy’s search for the truth about Zero Matter puts her on a collision course with her superiors as Howard Stark barnstorms in, on “Marvel’s Agent Carter”.

I was excited about Agent Carter when it came on for it’s “special run” last year and was even more thrilled when season two was announced. This season has actually been even better than season one because we have distanced quite a bit from Captain America and Peggy is standing on her own stylish two feet as she runs, jumps and quips with Jarvis (can I take a moment to say I adore Jarvis) on a weekly basis. It’s a smart show and each episode is full of meaningful moments and important statements that directly impact our own politically-charged world.  The last 2 weeks have aired back-to-back episodes that almost feel like little movies and it’s been a joy, it’s also been quite a bit to take in all at once (this is certainly a show I want on DVD to enjoy over and over again) and you can feel the intensity building with each episode, I have no doubt we are racing towards a fairly epic conclusion and I cannot wait to see where we go.

Season 2 of "Agent Carter" has been full of politically important moments, including an interracial romance.
Season 2 of “Agent Carter” has been full of politically important moments, including an interracial romance.

The show is well-written, well-acted and darn-it, it’s important. In a TV landscape that can be quite iffy when it comes to great female leads Agent Carter is chock full of women taking care of business and standing up for themselves. The idea that it might be cancelled and a show like Supergirl (that I started out loving and have since become fairly bored with due to it’s trite treatment of its female characters) or a show like … Well, at the moment I can’t think of another show with a strong female lead (wait, there’s my newfound love of The 100 which I will get into next week) so therein I make my point, we simply don’t have enough TV programs with really great, strong, interesting female leads that aren’t about romance but are about action, getting things done and making a difference. Everything about Agent Carter is refreshing and fun. I sure hope it comes back for a season 3.

What do YOU think? Do you watch Agent Carter? Tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Women of “Deadpool”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


First off, yes, there will probably be a few spoilers so if you’d prefer not to know anything about Deadpool, I’d recommend not reading any further!

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I got to see Deadpool last Friday and I have to say, it did not disappoint me. I knew virtually nothing about the character except what I saw in the Wolverine movie a couple years ago. At that point Wade Wilson/Deadpool was played by Ryan Reynolds, but they changed the character quite a bit since then.

For one, his mouth isn’t sewn shut and thank God for that! Without the trademark snark, this movie would not have been nearly as much fun, but I get ahead of myself. Let’s begin at the beginning shall we?

You know a movie is going to be something special (good or bad) when it starts off in slow-motion and with “Angel In The Morning” playing while people are being tossed around, shot and more. Not to mention, we see a few tell-tale swipes at previous Reynolds characters like his forgettable Green Lantern and a cover of People magazine with a smiling Reynolds on the front.

I’m already happy.

Much like with Guardians of the Galaxy you realize you are seeing a movie that’s not afraid to make fun of itself. That you’re seeing a movie that’s not afraid to have some fun and that is sorely missing from the wider selection of films these days. I’m not saying every movie should mock itself and it’s universe openly, but it’s refreshing when it does happen.

Much has been made of the R-rating for Deadpool and it’s well earned. From the carnage to the language and nudity, this is not a movie for kids under the age of 16 or 17. Parents who take their kids to this and are then peeved that it’s totally inappropriate are asking for mockery, plain and simple.  I personally, as an adult (mostly) thought it was fantastic to see a superhero movie that pulls no punches and goes for the gross joke without shame. I enjoyed it in Kick-Ass and I enjoy it here.

Women? There’s WOMEN In This? Awesome.

This isn’t really a movie review though, I liked the movie and enjoyed Reynolds as Wade Wilson, I can’t wait to see him as Wilson/Deadpool again, but what I really want to talk about is how kick ass the women are in this movie. Seriously. The women hero’s are fantastic and it honestly surprised me. I know there isn’t a lack of strong female characters out there (obviously Black Widow/Agent Carter/Wonder Woman are all prime examples) but having no expectations of what kind of characters I would get from this movie, I can say that I honestly didn’t expect two such fun female hero’s.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Deadpool have a chat.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Deadpool have a chat.

First off is Negasonic Teenage Warhead, she’s a grumpy teenager (duh) and she doesn’t talk much but when she gets to work, she is no one to be trifled with, turning into a fire ball that … Well I won’t ruin it for you, sufficed it to say, she kicks butt without any apologies and I hope to see more of her in future films. Even a grumpy teenager has a place in the superhero world.

My hands-down favorite though was Angel Dust, Ajax’s number one henchman. I don’t think she utters more than 10 words the entire film but she packs a huge punch. She goes toe-to-toe with Colossus and it’s dang impressive. Played by Gina Carano, who is an MMA fighter, we are given a woman who is not afraid to fight, who is not teeny-tiny and who packs a mean punch. I absolutely loved that she was right there with Ajax and her fight with Colossus is just as important as Deadpool’s battle with Ajax at the end of the film. Not to mention, she is carried off by Colossus so there’s hope we’ll see her again in the near future, whether in an X-Men movie or another Deadpool film.

Angel Dust.
Angel Dust.

As a woman it is wonderful to be able to see women being treated (on film at least) as equals in these high-profile films. Maybe not everyone will remember Angel Dust like I do but the fact is, the more we see these strong female characters, the more mainstream they will become and the more likely we will be to see some kind of equality between men and women in the film industry, on screen and beyond.

Why Women Matter

So why do I bother to write a blog topic about the few female characters in Deadpool? Because they matter. Why do they matter? Because it wasn’t that long ago that the women were shuffled off to the side, to be ignored but because someone somewhere has realized that guess what? Women do go to see these movies. Women do go to conventions and women do buy comic books! Making some of the important characters women means that some of your biggest fans (and yes, have no doubt, women make up a huge part of the comic con/movie/books audience these days) will have a character (or two) to identify with, cosplay and therefore, buy more merchandise. It’s smart marketing and it’s smart film making.

In the end, it’s moments like this along with putting a size 16 women on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition or a woman running for president that mean that equality is coming, even if it’s coming slowly.

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What did you think of Deadpool? Who was YOUR favorite character? Tell me!

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The Female Perspective: My Favorites

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


With some time off for good behavior (aka Christmas and New Years) I realized I was a wee bit late with this weeks blog and while I thought about writing about the fact that once again, a female character was being omitted from toys/games/etc, I decide to only quickly mention it because at this point, the story has been told to death, I myself have talked about it a few times in respect to Black Widow being ignored from the Marvel line of toys. In this case it was the character Rey in the Star Wars Monopoly game. What’s awesome is that Hasbro, after unleashing the lamest reason ever for not putting the female character in the game, to avoid spoilers even though Rey’s character is featured prominently in the trailers, has acquiesced to the internets anger and have agreed to put Rey in! So yay for internet anger accomplishing something that sort of means something but not really!

Now, if we could just get them to do this without the internet world having to get angry!

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Onward and upward my friends!

My Favorites From 2015

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."
“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”

I decided that this blog post should be about some of my favorite posts from the year 2015. There are a lot of them and I love them all in my special way so it was really hard to narrow them down but I found a few that if you’re new to my blog, you can take a minute or two to read over your morning beverage of choice (coffee, OJ, vodka, whatever you like, no judgement here…) and hopefully then you’ll hop around and check out even more of the blogs here at Great Stories!

Yes, Please Agent Carter!

I am always on the search for female-driven TV and movies and I was really excited about the show Agent Carter and I was even more pleased when the show was amazing. Everything I want a female-driven show to be, she is strong, smart and vulnerable in a realistic way. She isn’t stupid or fluffy-headed like so many female characters tend to be (Supergirl, how you disappoint me as the season has gone on) so I am very excited about her return for a 2nd season this month!

Feminism and Dinosaurs, Can The Two Exist?

Yes, the answer is yes. I hate to be a spoiler but after much thought, I’ve decided that the main female character in Jurassic World can wear her heals and run and still be a feminist and everyone needs to hush up and enjoy the movie about dinosaurs. Besides that, Chris Pratt is always fun to watch.

Banning Books and Why It’s Dumb

As a writer, author and blogger, this one is near and dear to my heart. I think this is one of my personal faves that I’ve written and I want YOU all to remember that not everyone enjoys the same freedoms in terms of what they are “allowed” read and enjoy. Keep that in mind the next time you pick up your Bible (yep, it’s been banned many times) or read Dr. Seuss to your kids (also a banned author).  Reading is a joy and a privilege not allowed to many.

Confusing Feminism With Anger

A huge pet peeve of mine and something I’ve encountered time and time again. To be a feminist is not to hate men. To be a feminist is not to be angry. Being a feminist means you are searching for equality between the sexes. You want women to be treated the same as men. It’s really not all that hard.

My Favorite Book Is…

No spoilers here but rest assured, it’s a good one!

There You Have It …

So there you have it fine readers. Some of my favorite blog posts over the last year, I can’t wait to share more of my perspective with you all in 2016!

Did you have a fave blog here I didn’t talk about? Share it in the comments and thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!
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The Female Perspective: The “Mary Sue” Of “Star Wars” (No Serious Spoilers)

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I want to start by saying that I am going to do my best to not put any spoilers in here about the new Star Wars movie because I hate dirty rotten spoilers. If you prefer to know nothing about the movie though, don’t read this yet!

Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

That being said, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend and simply adored it. Now that I’ve seen the movie I can start reading the millions of articles about it that have popped up. One trend that is annoying the ever loving heck out of me is the people calling one of the new character, Rey, a “Mary Sue”.

In case you are wondering:

Mary Sue or, in case of a male, Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through extraordinary abilities. Often but not necessarily this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment. –Wikipedia

I actually didn’t know the full definition and I also didn’t know that Mary Sue’s could also be male characters so I learned something new today and it actually annoys me more because if Rey is a Mary Sue, why isn’t Luke or Han Solo?

Regarding the character of Rey in Star Wars: TFA though, to call her a Mary Sue is to insult a strong, capable female character. It’s not, in fact, the first time the Star Wars Universe has had a strong female character. Have we forgotten Princess Leia???? Or even after her, Padme Amidala, the mother of Luke and Leia? What is all this surprise that a woman who lives in the Star Wars Universe is not only  smart, but capable as well? Why can’t we just accept that and move on?

Strong characters are par for the course in "Star Wars" and I for one am thrilled about it.
Strong characters are par for the course in “Star Wars” and I for one am thrilled about it.

Oh, that’s right, because we live in a patriarchal society that cannot possibly accept a female character as smart, strong and able to get sh&t done alongside her male compatriots. As I said above, you can have a male Mary Sue as well but I don’t believe I have ever heard that term applied to a male character. It’s a clear sexism that a woman who is capable can’t be real but a capable man is totally believable. How annoying!

This kind of pseudo internet anger is infinitely frustrating to behold. The fact is, the new (all of them) characters add depth and dimension to the universe many of us love but beyond that, the Star Wars franchise has always been about the next generation overcoming the rules of the current generation. The original Star Wars starts off with Luke Skywalker, the son of Vader and we follow him and Leia and Solo through their various adventures. Even in the newer films, it is about the rise of Vader and the destruction of the older generation. That’s the whole thing that Star Wars does, it shows us that the wheel of time moves on and the younger kids are eventually going to inherit the mess the previous generation left behind.

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The fact is, the internet is a hotbed of angry trolls typing forcefully and looking for stuff to criticize. Rey is strong, she is smart and she one of my favorite characters in the entire Star Wars world because she was written well, she was created as a full person and not some damsel in distress at the first sign of trouble. She has her moment, and who can blame her, when she becomes overwhelmed with the weight of what is before her but instead of descending into tears and woe is me, she fights and she kicks butt. If that’s a Mary Sue, than I’m all for that kind of character being in every film.

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What did you think of the new Star Wars? Who was your favorite character and did you think Rey was “too” capable? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Celebrate Banned Books Week In Style!

Welcome! This is the weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


This week it’s been brought to my attention that it is Banned Books Week (Sept 27-Oct 3), a glorious week for those of us who love the written word and cannot possibly understand why anyone would want to BAN others from reading a book.

Truly, it boggles the mind.

bbw warning

I have written previously about banning books and this week I wanted to write a blog post about what Banned Books mean to me, because I’ve read some of them (often without realizing that they are even banned) and there are many, many others that I wish to read as soon as I have the time (ha-ha!) but more than anything else, I wanted to share this information with others so that they too can check out these books that cause such a kerfuffle among parents and other administrators. Why the fuss? What’s the big deal? Why don’t we want our kids to learn about all aspects of life? Even the messy bits are important in shaping their minds into … Well, bigger, better minds. If we shield them from everything, how the heck will they learn?

First off, here is a good list from the Banned & Challenged Books website that lists some of the top 10 most challenged books.  Tell me, how many of these have YOU read?

1)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”

2)      Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”

3)      And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”

4)      The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”

5)      It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris

Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”

6)      Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:

7)      The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence

8)      The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”

9)      A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group

10)  Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: sexually explicit

~From the Banned & Challenged Books 

I have to say that I have only read two of those books, The Kite Runner and The Bluest Eye, both were excellent books and both were chock-full of challenging (i.e. difficult) material. More importantly, both were chock-full of amazing writing, vibrant ideas and brilliant thematic elements. Both were well worth my time and the time of many others.

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When I then look at a list of some of the most challenged literary classics, there are many more I’ve read  because I was lucky to have decent teachers who wanted us to actually read the classics and no one stopped them. There was an appreciation for the literature. Others, I have read since school and have enjoyed immensely.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
12. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
13. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
14. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
~See the full list here!

Oh man, some of these are favorites of mine, Animal Farm is one of the best books I’ve ever read and that one, along with 1984, are both extremely topical in today’s bizarro and often frightening political landscape. Along with that you have Beloved which is a horribly tragic, yet utterly compelling read and The Color Purple which blew my mind the first time I read it. I could go on and on but if you’re any kind of reader, you get the idea.

Banned Book Staff Picks 2012_Page_1
FYI this is from a previous year, this year Banned Books Week runs September 27th through October 3rd.

To put this into simplistic terms, banning books is wrong. Who gave anyone the right to decide what’s “appropriate” reading material for others? Who gave that power to one person (or persons)?

We all have minds (supposedly) and should be allowed to choose for ourselves what we want to read and absorb. Not to mention, parents who fight to ban books in the name of their (or other kids) so-called innocence are fighting the wrong battle. Pay better attention to what your kids are ingesting or who they’re hanging out with, not what they’re reading. Just be glad they’re READING and not looking at a computer screen. Yeesh.

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In my searching for material for this blog, I came across a beautifully written post where a teacher had to defend their right to teach Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale, a story I read many years ago and really need to revisit again. It is a brutal tale about a dystopian world where women are basically “incubators on legs” – it does not paint a pretty picture but it’s also so well-written and thought out that to not read it seems a disgrace in many ways. Regardless, this teacher sums up quite beautifully why reading such book is actually important in schools and why it is a valid choice to teach children critical thinking.

I’ll only include the last line from it here but if you wish to read the entire post, click here.

 I would add only that one of the functions of literature is to shed light into the corners of our world, even if what we find there is unpleasant.

~Josh Corman

I couldn’t say it better myself. Without literature, we would not have the light that illuminates our thoughts, our ideas, our very own creativity and critical thinking abilities. While some literature is better than others, it is all valuable in that it offers a passage into other worlds, some good, some bad, but almost all are worthwhile and all should be able to be accessed by anyone who wants to enter that world.

Finally, I came across this other article on Book Riot about how, according to Slate, Banned Books week isn’t really necessary anymore because books are widely available online or at other libraries or stores you can easily  drive to. The author, who is rebutting Slate’s idea, makes a good point about what libraries are there for;

When books are challenged, even when the result is not a full ban!, nobody wins.

Consider that libraries aren’t there to shrug and suggest Amazon when you’re looking for a book. They’re there to provide the books, not only to those who can’t afford to purchase all of their reading material, or are unable to drive to the next nearest library, but to anybody with an interest.

Libraries are a marketplace of ideas, and if they’re going to operate in a truly democratic fashion, all ideas should be represented. ~Michelle Anne Schingler

The point is, just because we can order everything on Amazon, it does not mean that everyone else can too. It doesn’t mean that challenging or banning books is ever going to be okay simply because you can then go online and buy it. There are many who cannot do that. Who will never know the sadness of reading The Diary of Anne Frank or the mind boggling medical mess that is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. There are many who will not get to read some of these banned books because they are banned and they’ll never cross those people’s radars. Banning books is wrong, it is futile and it is a problem that has persisted for hundreds of years. This is why Banned Books Week is important, because it reminds us all of the power of the written word and it brings to light all those books that maybe someone hasn’t gotten a chance to read but now will see and read and it will change their life view just a little bit more.

Make sure to pick up a banned book this week and every week!

What do you think about banned books? Have you read any that you love? Do you agree with the parents that try to ban books? Sound off in the comments section below. I want to hear your thoughts!

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