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The Female Perspective: Being Offended By A Sorority Video, Too Sensitive?

Welcome! This is a twice-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 a sorority at the University of Alabama released a recruitment video that has stoked some ire amongst various groups. I watched the video today and after almost six minutes of blond co-eds running around, frolicking, blowing glitter and other such nonsense I have to say this about it.

I am not offended. Bored, yes. Offended, no.

The video has been deleted by the University but other’s may be able to locate it (I could not for this story).

If you saw it, did you make it through the entire thing? I kept waiting for them to start sacrificing puppies or throwing blood at each other, anything to make sense of why it has upset people and I’m sorry but I can’t find a darn thing in here that is overly offensive. Is it dis-empowering to women? Maybe, but honestly, I don’t see the girls doing anything except what girls in Sororities do, which is have fun, be blond and smile (don’t get me wrong, I am sure they do other stuff too but it’s hard to tell from the video what other stuff they actually do. I assume at some point they actually go to classes and stuff).

Opinion writer A.L. Bailey has latched onto this video and deemed it, “worse for women than Donald Trump,” now, that seems to be a bit hyperbolic to me but let’s see what else Bailey has to say about the video.

“It’s a parade of white girls and blonde hair dye, coordinated clothing, bikinis and daisy dukes, glitter and kisses, bouncing bodies, euphoric hand-holding and hugging, gratuitous booty shots, and matching aviator sunglasses.It’s all so racially and aesthetically homogeneous and forced, so hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives: College Edition. It’s all so … unempowering.” ~A.L. Bailey

Interesting. I have to say that I do agree with Baileys point here, it is extremely homogeneous and uninteresting. It doesn’t in any way reflect the diversity of a college campus. Then again, I don’t know a whole lot about sororities, are they typically very diverse? They seem to attract the same kind of people, people like the women in this video. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s boring to someone like me, sure, but it’s not against the law and until I know something different, it’s not racist either.

While I see what Bailey is trying to say (and I admit that I have tried to say similar things on my blog) this kind of thing makes me stop and wonder, are we getting too sensitive? Are we avoiding the things that really, truly matter in order to focus on trivial items like a sorority recruitment video (which, if you ask me is supposed to look like this, they want to get people thinking, “Damn, these girls look like fun! I have to join!”)? I have to wonder if this type of focus is worth the anger.

A whole lot of matching outfits.
A whole lot of matching outfits.

Even as I type this I wonder which side is the “right” side of this argument. Is there even a “right” side? I mean, these girls put together a fairly tasteful video that, to them, sums up their lives at the sorority house. There is no nudity, no drinking, nothing overtly sexual even. Sure, they prance about in bikini’s and blow glitter into the air but honestly, Baywatch was more gratuitous than this video is.

Then, when you look deeper you start to really see the pretty blonds in bikini’s, the matching outfits, the … whiteness of it all and you have to wonder, is this video a true portrayal of their lives or is it only a fantasy meant to get the sorority girls attention from both men and women, to up their numbers? Is this sorority excluding women of color, homosexuals and girls with curves or imperfections?

These are all issues that I simply don’t know the answers to since we don’t know these girls personally.

Look how much fun they're having!
Look how much fun they’re having!

In the end, there really is no good, solid answer to these questions but I’m curious, what do you, my readers, think of this video? Is it too much? Is it offensive or un-empowering to women?

Is it worse than Donald Trump?

On that last one I have to say no, there truly isn’t much worse than Donald Trump but do these girls deserve to be slammed by someone like Bailey simply for promoting their sorority?

Tell me what YOU think! Sound off in the comments below!

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The Female Perspective: True Detective Season 2

Welcome! This is a twice-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 been a bizarre week for this Rhode Island gal, first we have a, what I have dubbed, a hurrisoon 2015 that knocked my power out for 2 days and then the cable was down all morning. Fully established back in my lair of things electric and cable-fueled, I am here to type the blog I meant to write on Tuesday!

True Detective Season 2 has been less than impressive.
True Detective Season 2 has been less than impressive.

Said blog is about the HBO show True Detective. While I realize we have one episode left and I should really wait until then I decided to write this blog early and after the finale I’ll add a bit more about the show. My thoughts thus far? Meh.

I was a HUGE fan of the first season, Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, New Orleans, creepy goodness abounds, you cannot go wrong! McConaughey’s acting was some of the most bizarre, intense and nonsensical wonderfulness I’ve seen in a long time. The below speech is just one example of dozens I could show you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbcwAPZycGE

True Detective Season 1 was a revelation. A wonderfully creepy tale about murder and religion. I couldn’t binge-watch this show fast enough.

Season 2 however? The only thing I can come up with is to say it is a disappointment.

It was full of potential. A great cast with Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams. Great casting. Problem is, there are too many actors in this tiny kitchen. I get that they were trying to make up for the lack of diversity, the lack of females in the first season but don’t just put people in as fillers (and for the record, all the leads were still white men so yeah, there’s that), use them to their full potential!

This show could have been stellar with just Vaughn and Farrell glaring at one another over  table. Their interactions are crisp, tension-filled moments of intense eye stares and blank facial expressions that are showing the tiniest cracks of barely suppressed fury. Vince Vaughn as the mobster trying to make some money is actually really amazing. He has better acting chops than I recalled and I could watch him all day was he releases his rage every once in awhile on his poor victims.

When Vaughn and Farrell are face-to-face, sparks fly.
When Vaughn and Farrell are face-to-face, sparks fly.

It’s obvious that Farrell and Vaughn were meant to be the stars of this show and that’s fine, as I said already, their interactions are fantastic to watch. Some of the one-liners tossed out are brilliant and fun but over all, the rest of the mess of True Detective Season 2 doesn’t help anything.

The fact is that Taylor Kitsch isn’t given much to do, his story really makes no sense and he seems to be a glorified gopher for the Farrell and McAdams. Even McAdams doesn’t get to do much but her character is fleshed out a helluva lot more than Kitsch’s is.  The thing is though, she’s a cliche. She’s the tough girl who had a rough life. She is brave, she is ballsey and yet, she’s fragile in some indefinable way that makes her almost likable. Almost, but not quite. I give McAdams a lot of credit for this, she manages to take a character that is barely well-written and make her seem three dimensional and interesting. I would honestly like to know more about her but sadly, I don’t think I will get that chance since we only have one episode left.

Will it get better? Maybe this guy knows...
Will it get better? Maybe this guy knows…

The thing is, the story loses me in almost every episode. I’ll start go get bored or tired an then BAM! Suddenly some serious stuff goes down that wakes me up. But those moments are quick, flash and gone. Those moments aren’t enough to make me say that Season 2 has been worth my time. I am waiting for the finale this Sunday but I am not quite sure that it’ll be worth it. True Detective has been a pretty short season, only 8 episodes, and it has felt very, very long but I’m hanging in for that 90-minute finale, I am REALLY hoping it’ll make up for all that has come before it!

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The Female Perspective: Don’t Go In The Water…40 Years Later

Welcome! This is a Tri-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.


Jaws has been one of my all-time favorite movies since as long as I can remember and with it being re-released into theaters for it’s 40th Anniversary I thought, heck, I’ll write a wee little blog post about a big shark and the gang.

Jaws Original Poster (1975)
Jaws Original Poster (1975)

Why Jaws Is Still Awesome

If I had kids I would make it a point to show them Jaws as soon as it was logically possible because it is the epitome of what a horror movie should be: it has great characters, a story and…a giant shark that you don’t even see until near the end of the film!!!

Now, as many people know by now, the reason for this was the malfunctioning shark, Bruce, that just wouldn’t act on demand (those darn mechanical sharks are quite the diva’s, I hear). It was a lucky break for all of us because the amount of tension that is built up by not knowing what the darn shark looks like (even though we know what sharks look like) makes this movie a classic in the horror genre. It builds a level of suspense that few movies can match.

It’s one of those movies that simply holds up (unlike the TV adaptation of The Stand, that thing does not hold up, dear me), the effects are pretty stellar (and minimal) and the shark is scary as all heck.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie you need to get on that. Like now. Oh, there be spoilers ahead!

The Feminism In Jaws

Mr. and Mrs. Brody.
Mr. and Mrs. Brody.

This being a blog with a feminist slant,  I have to chat a little bit about the women in Jaws and this pretty much includes poor, doomed Chrissie at the start and Mrs. Ellen Brody, played by Lorraine Grey. Yeah, so the one thing about Jaws is that it is definitely a man-fest, which actually works quite well in my opinion. While it’s not exactly a pro-women stance, at least the women aren’t relegated to damsels in distress so much as…unimportant, to a certain extent. Don’t get me wrong, Ellen Brody is a great character, she is clearly Brody’s rock, his emotional tether and she does her best to keep him from going nuts but other than a few scenes and a mushy goodbye at Quint’s boat, we don’t get all that much from Ellen (until the sequels, but we’ll not go there in this blog today).

I won’t fault Jaws for being lacking in the lady department because of two reasons: One, Jaws is based on a book and from what I understand (I have not read it) the characters go entirely different ways in a lot of respects and I think that I would have liked Ellen quite a bit less in the book than I did in the movie. Two, Spielberg treated the ladies in the film pretty well (especially for the 70’s) so I’ll give it a pass this time. I’m just grateful there wasn’t any excessive nudity or crap like that! So for a lot of reasons, I give Jaws a pass for being less than awesome on the female front. It needed to be a story about the 3 men, battling the shark, It made sense. Or maybe I’m allowing it because this is one of my favorite movies, hey, I never claimed to be perfect!

My Favorite Scene(s)

I have a few honestly, but my all-time favorite scene that gets me every time? This one, right here.

When the camera zooms in on Brody (while Ellen tries to relax him) I want to scream, it perfectly, PERFECTLY represents the total, poop in your pants fear that Brody is feeling when he sees that poor kid on the yellow raft (aka Alex) get killed. It’s Brody’s worst nightmare, it’s the thing he’d been fearing all this time. Another person has been killed, a child no less, and he was right there, powerless to stop it. Then all goes quiet and you see bloody surf, a torn yellow raft and you get chills. Chills. Things are about to get real folks.

The 3 Amigos- Jaws Style! Quint, Brody and Cooper.
The 3 Amigos- Jaws Style! Quint, Brody and Cooper.

Now, my second favorite scene is a popular one with many folks, it’s the Indianapolis Speech. Good lord almighty, Quint (played by Robert Shaw) makes you understand his character is so much more than you thought at first. His speech gives dimension to a guy you thought was just some salty sea dog type who hated people.

No way man, this guy has seen…stuff. The kind of stuff you never want to ever see.

Yeah. I think we all need a moment now.

On to the last one, this clip will give you smile…

AHHHH! Classic!

Brody is all peeved about having to chum and BOOM, everything changes in that instance and he utters one of the most famous lines in cinema history. What really strikes me is his calm, his utter calm. He doesn’t yell, doesn’t scream, he simply stands upright quickly and backs away to utter his famous line to Quint. That’s the moment folks, that’s when we see what Jaws is really about. It’s the moment that we realize Jaws is no teeny tiny shark, he’s at least 24 feet long and he is going to be quite the adversary. It’s also the moment where you can’t help but wonder, can these guys prevail?

The Jaws Legacy

Perhaps I am biased but as someone who has seen her fair share of horror movies I can honestly say that few have managed to capture the same feeling of fear and tension that Jaws still does 40 years later. It’s a classic for a reason folks and I try to watch it at least once a year, usually in the summer too. This year, I might finally have the opportunity to see it on the big screen, which would be a rare treat for many of us diehard Jaws fans.

Spielberg in the Jaws of...well, Bruce.
Spielberg in the Jaws of…well, Bruce.

What is your favorite scene, or scenes? Do you think there is a better horror film than Jaws

Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Jem And The Holograms or How Movie Execs Ruined Another Childhood Memory

Welcome! This is a Tri-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.


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I never watched a ton of cartoons growing up, I remember the Smurfs and GI Joe and Transformers but more than any of those, I clearly remember watching Jem and The Holograms ALL the time. It was one of the few (the only?) cartoons centered around girls and it was also about a woman with dual identities who had and created kick-ass music and the color…oh my Lord, the colors! Not to mention, it often featured action scenes that made it exciting and conflicts as Jem tried to grapple with her multiple identities.

You can imagine that I was excited at the idea of a live action Jem movie, really excited in fact. Until this week. What happened this week you ask? Well first we saw some set photos emerge and they looked like this:

Ummmm...
Ummmm…
Huh?
Huh?

Pretty glum. Not at all like the vibrant fun of the cartoon- and before you say it, I didn’t expect it to look exactly like the cartoon, I simply expected more than this…blah-fest. I mean, come on…

Cartoon versus Movie. See the difference?
Cartoon versus Movie. See the difference?
Sigh.
Sigh.

When you compare the two…it just seems unfortunate. I know they wouldn’t follow the source material perfectly but this…this seems a lot like what happened with World War Z, they used the title of the book but that was it. It seems to me after seeing more and more about the Jem movie that they are using the names only, the rest is of movie execs creation. Sad but an unfortunate reality in today’s world. They want to make money, they don’t care about fans. I simply wish there could be a balance between the two, a middle ground between making loads of money and pleasing the fans.

There is no comparison...the movie is taking a "darker" tone.
There is no comparison…the movie is taking a “darker” tone.

I was still willing to give the movie a go because it’s JEM and THE FREAKIN HOLOGRAMS and I figured, how bad could it be? Even if the photos from set made it look gloomy and…well, dull. Then the trailer came out.

How do we go from this:

To THIS???

SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!  As stated before it seems that the movie execs decided to just use the name Jem and then go a whole different direction. A seemingly bad direction. The direction of the horrible Josie and The Pussycats movie or just about EVERY OTHER movie out there today. A young girl has to wrestle with new-found fame and blah, blah, blah.

In case you have no idea what Jem is about, here’s a quick synopsis from Wikipedia.

The series revolves around Jem, the mysterious lead singer of the rock group “Jem and the Holograms”. Her real name is Jerrica Benton, and under this name she is the owner and manager of Starlight Music. Jerrica adopts this persona with the help of a holographic computer, known as Synergy, which was built by Jerrica’s father to be “the ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer” and is bequeathed to her after his death. Jerrica is able to command Synergy to project “the Jem hologram” over herself by means of the remote micro-projectors in her earrings, thus disguising her features and clothing enabling her to assume the Jem persona. While disguised as Jem, Jerrica is able to move freely without restrictions and on several occasions other people have been in direct physical contact with her without disrupting the holographic projection. Jem, through the use of her earrings, is also able to project holograms around her and uses this ability throughout the series to avoid danger and provide special effects for the performances of her group.

Add to that the rocking awesomeness of their rival band, The Misfits, and Jem’s love interest, the purple-haired Rio and you have the recipe for a pretty awesome show. Jem/Jerrica was independent, strong and, most of all, FUN. This Jem/Jerrica seems boring, sad and WITHOUT HOLOGRAMS!?!?! Will there be action sequences? Doubtful. This Jem looks as if she doesn’t want to ruin her hairdo or makeup. Ugh. I detest when female characters are minimized in what could be a fun and exciting role.

I really had hoped for more from this attempt, but it’s clear that movie execs don’t want my demographic (I.e. women who watched the cartoon) in the seats for this one, they are trying to reach a younger audience who don’t have fond memories of playing with their Jem dolls as kids, the dolls that had a switch in the neck that turns on the famous earrings. Clearly they figure my age group doesn’t go to the movies anymore and it’s a bummer.

Finally, what also annoyed me was seeing some of the other posts about the Jem trailer last night, various guys saying, “Well it could be worse, at least it’s not as bad as the Transformers or GI Joe reboots.” Um, yeah it is, just because you didn’t watch Jem as a kid, doesn’t mean that this isn’t as disappointing for those of us who did. (FYI, I was also disappointed by the Transformers and GI Joe movies too and I’m a girl, so yeah, there’s that). Just because Jem was considered a “girl” cartoon doesn’t make it any less than the “boy” cartoons. It’s disappointing for the fans, plain and simple.

The fact is, Jem and The Holograms was special for me and I’m bummed out that the movie seems to have gone the route of so many “chick flicks” (I detest that term). Oh well, I can always just watch the cartoons and enjoy it in all it’s colorfully wonderful splendor.

Tell me, where you a JEM fan growing up? What do YOU think of the trailer? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: A Feminist Who Sticks Up For Men, Eee Gads!

Welcome! This is a Tri-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!


I came across an interesting article yesterday titled, “Meet The Feminist Who Is Sticking Up For Men“. Intrigued, I read the article with an open mind, especially since I am a feminist who sticks up for men! The article annoyed me to some degree, not with the idea that a woman could stick up for men, but because of the idea that it’s so preposterous an idea that a woman would stick up for men that we have to have an article about it.

EQUALITY.
EQUALITY.

Yes, there have been lots of feminists that hate on men (still are) and as the article points out, some feminists have gone so far as to say such things as:

American writer Andrea Dworkin once said she wanted ‘to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig’, while author Sally Miller Gearhart suggested (in all seriousness) that ‘the proportion of men be reduced to, and maintained at, 10 per cent of the human race’.

Even Jilly Cooper, queen of the bonkbuster, famously asserted that ‘the male is a domestic animal which, if treated with fairness, can be trained to do most things.’

These types of comments sadden me, in my mind I don’t believe that feminism is about hating on men or trying to get rid of them. To me, feminism is about finding equality for the sexes, it’s about finding balance. To so many others it’s about man-bashing or hatred and that breaks my heart. I suppose the same could be held true for other movements, there are always going to be those who side with anger and hatred over calm reasonable discourse. I simply wish there was a way to make the world understand that feminism isn’t about man hating. Not at its core anyway.

The subject of the article is an academic named Christina Hoff Sommers, she has written some books that have raised eyebrows in the feminist community. She currently makes video’s called “The Factual Feminist”, where Hoff Sommers attempts to break down the stereotypes surrounding feminism and the “facts” about various studies that try to tout women as being superior to men. I watched a few of them and honestly found them interesting. Hoff Sommers isn’t trying to woman-bash any more than she is making a plea for moderation. In her book, “Who Stole Feminism?” she made the same plea and found that it landed on somewhat def ears.

“When Who Stole Feminism? first appeared in 1994 I received fan letters from some well-known feminists, but – for the most part – the establishment was unhappy with my plea for moderation. I found myself excommunicated from the church of feminism.

“Some called me a backlasher, a traitor to my gender, anti-woman. One angry critic referred to Margaret Thatcher and me as ‘those two female impersonators’.

Sadly, not much has changed since the 1990’s. If a woman dares to stand up for me, she is met with scorn and judgement from the feminist community. It’s unfair and it’s uneducated. Men aren’t bad, some of them are really awesome and they create balance in our lives. So many feminists in the past have pondered the question, how would the world be without men? They often answer that women would be fat and happy or there would be less crime. The latter is most likely true, since men are guilty of most violent crime, but the question remains…would we be happy without men? I don’t think so, I think that most of us enjoy our interactions with men, we love men and we want them around to talk to, cuddle with and gain inspiration from.

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The fact is, feminism needs a face lift, we need to push forward the idea that women love men and that feminism isn’t about man-hating. It’s about finding balance between the sexes, making everything fair and honest. It is not about putting men down or trying to make them feel “less than”, I want men to feel as powerful as women do. I want us to live in harmony.

Is it a naive dream perhaps? It makes no difference to me, I have hope that one day we’ll find that balance.

Equality-feminism

What do you think? Do you agree that men need to go or do you think we need to strike a balance? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Photoshop & Celebs, We Want The Unobtainable

Welcome! This is a Tri-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!


There is a DeviantArt & Facebook artist named David who took it upon himself to photoshop some famous ladies with added weight. OK, I see what he is trying to do, he is trying to flip the idea of what makes up beauty in todays celebrity-obsessed culture. Unfortunately, when I look at these pictures, I just get annoyed.

Sigh.
Sigh.

Why do I get annoyed? Here’s why:

  1. The women have either giant bellies or are pregnant.
  2. The photoshop is done in a sloppy fashion.
  3. I am really tired of women being photoshopped for the pleasure of others.

You’d think as a curvy lady I’d appreciate his message but I don’t. Simply put, I find what he is doing to be insulting to the women he photoshops along with being so ridiculous that I can barely even look at the pictures without laughing hysterically. Not once does he put in a larger lady shape that is actually healthy looking. I also think he confuses pregnancy with being overweight and uses them interchangeably.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with being a larger lady, I think that what matters is that you are healthy and happy. The fact is, not everyone feels that way. Many people like to fat-shame those that are larger, they choose to judge another person by their size (it’s happened to me before) and that is insanely unfair. Someone like this artist David is trying to make what could be a valid point but I’m not sure he succeeds. Because these are famous women, you know they don’t look this way and so it ends up looking like they are wearing a fat suit. I want to like what he is putting out because I think there needs to be a serious conversation about body acceptance but I just cannot get on board with his message.

The fact is, I am tired of women (and men) being photoshopped. When did we become a culture that needs perfection in every magazine or online picture? There was recently a huge uproar when photo’s of an un-Photoshopped Beyonce were leaked. Her followers went NUTS. They could not believe someone would release such “unflattering” photos of their Queen Bey!

I saw the photos, they were great. They showed us a Beyonce who isn’t “flawless”, who has pimples from the half ton of makeup she needs to wear on stage. They showed us a Beyonce who is real and maybe that’s not what her followers want to see. They don’t want to think of their “Queen” as anything but perfection. For me, it only made me appreciate her hard work and her true beauty even more.

Un-Photoshopped Beyonce: She's still pretty gorgeous if you ask me.
Un-Photoshopped Beyonce: She’s still pretty gorgeous if you ask me.

This obsession with perfection is bizarre. We aren’t perfect beings and neither are the celebrities we adore. Why do we feel the need to hold them up to a level they cannot possibly attain (except through Photoshop)? Take a look at Cindy Crawford, she recently posed for photos and they are not edited in any way. Can you say gorgeous? She is perfect in her imperfection and it honestly made me like her more.

Cindy Crawford, perfect in her imperfections.
Cindy Crawford, perfect in her imperfections.

The fact is, our culture is obsessed with perfection. We are obsessed with the unobtainable. From plastic surgery to make a young man look like Superman to Extreme Corseting to give a woman a 16-inch waist like Jessica Rabbit, we want something that nature doesn’t create. To me, there is a reason that nature doesn’t create it, because it’s not natural! Yeesh.

I am hopeful that with time, the photoshop craze will die out and we’ll get to a place where natural beauty impresses as much as perfection does. In the meantime, artists like David will continue to raise eyebrows with their attempts to bring attention to the topic of beauty and body shaming. Maybe one day body shaming won’t exist and body acceptance will be the norm. That would be awesome I think.

What do YOU think? Do you like David’s work? 

For a little chuckle, check out these 33 Photoshop Fails of 2014 and tell me we haven’t all gone a bit overboard with Photoshop.

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The Female Perspective: Strong Women in Power Are Everywhere!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


I’ve been noticing a trend on TV lately, there are quite a few strong women being portrayed in positions of power. It’s wonderfully enjoyable and completely refreshing to turn on the TV and see a woman leading the charge and showing that a woman in power can be sexy, brave, smart, funny and a total bad-ass.

Some of my favorite TV shows are stuff like Walking Dead, Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder, Empire, House of Cards and lots more. All of these shows have the same thing in common, strong female characters.

Cookie is a little bit crazy, a lot powerful and a wonderfully fun character to watch!
Cookie is a little bit crazy, a lot powerful and a wonderfully fun character to watch!

Shows like Empire and Scandal are particularly empowering because they not only have strong women being portrayed but they have women of color being portrayed in positions of power as well. I mean, Olivia Pope in Scandal is the woman everyone wants, literally. This season proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. The fact is, these women are shown as being smart and sexy without shame or apology. The men listen to them and value their opinions. In a show like House of Cards, we see Claire Underwood, a woman who is often over-shadowed by her husband Frank but who is credited with getting him to where he is. Not to mention, she is his sounding board for almost every decision he makes. There’s is a partnership built on a lust for power and equality (I only speak of Seasons 1 and 2 here, no spoilers for the new season!). They balance each other out and feed off one another.

Frank and Claire Underwood are a team...but Claire is the true backbone.
Frank and Claire Underwood are a team…but Claire is the true backbone.

I am sure people will tell me about all the older shows that incorporated women in power but to me, those older shows didn’t do this with the same gusto. The writing, acting and stories being produced by these various TV shows is stellar work. As far back as I can remember, this is the first time so many TV shows are representing women in a way that is empowering rather than as victims. Heck, look at a show like The Walking Dead! Michonne and Carol are two of the toughest members of the group and they are sounding boards for Rick when he isn’t sure what to do.

Olivia Pope and her gladiators are a great example of strong women and strong men working together.
Olivia Pope and her gladiators are a great example of strong women and strong men working together.

It’s refreshing to see women characters portrayed as strong and beautiful instead of boring or vapid. These women aren’t victims but they are flawed human beings, just like men are. It’s a step towards equality. Maybe that sounds overly hopeful but I firmly believe it’s true. When people are able to see men and women interacting as equals it can only be a positive message that can hopefully inspire the next generations to work together instead of separately.

What do you think? Have you noticed all the Powerful Female Characters on TV lately?

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The Female Perspective: Superhero’s Drawn “Realistic” For a Good Reason

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


I came across a Huffpost Women article the other day. It was about a website called Bulima.com that decided to re-draw some famous superhero’s with realistic body types. Interesting idea, I was intrigued.

Bulimia.com is dedicated to helping those that suffer from body image disorder get better. Their Mission Statement:

Welcome to Bulimia.com, a resource dedicated to providing information and treatment options to men and women suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and other types of eating disorders.

What was their purpose in re-drawing the iconic figures?

“We didn’t intend this project to be a commentary on whether or not comic books send the wrong message about body image,” a representative with Bulimia.com told The Huffington Post in an email Tuesday. “Rather, our hope here is to show the extent to which superheroes’ body types (as is the case with their super-human abilities) are fictional. Our hope is that when viewers see these superheroes visualized in such a manner that they can identify with, they may feel better about themselves and realize the futility of any comparison between themselves and the fictional universes of Marvel and DC Comics.”

Makes total sense to me. I studied some of the pictures, you can check them all out here. What I saw was nothing that amazing. They very subtly made the women’s torso’s bigger, enlarged their waistlines and got rid of any visible collar bones or other details that would make them look thin. It was a simple and decent effort to help people who suffer from eating disorders to realize that pop culture is not where you should be going to find the people you want to imitate.

Does a few extra pounds make her look more realistic?
Does a few extra pounds make her look more realistic?

I thought it was a fun way to convey a really important message. Not to mention, Bulima.com very smartly included male superhero’s in their campaign because men also suffer from body disorders and they deserve to be seen and helped as much as women.

What astonished me (once again) were the comments. People were really bashing the project.

Utter nonsense. Why is it every time a do-gooder makes-over a fantasy female icon as a “real woman” she gets larger thighs and smaller breasts. Newsflash, some real women have large breasts, some don’t have large thighs. There is no ONE real woman body, sorry.

***

Super Heroes are supposed to be SUPERIOR… AVERAGE people with average bodies look ridiculous in spandex…

***

This is by far, the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.
So, overweight heroes are supposed to make people feel better about themselves?

Hmmmmm…

What I gathered from the comments is that people missed the point. Or, maybe they understood the point and decided it was dumb. While I wasn’t overly impressed with the effort, I understood why they did it. To me the changes were subtle and sent the message that superhero’s do not have to be perfect and more importantly that people shouldn’t be trying to emulate their physiques. While I can see why people would think it was dumb, it saddens me a bit that they so clearly missed the message that Bulima was trying to convey.

I also thought that they could have Googled “cosplay” and they would have seen a huge range of body types to choose from. I think “real world” examples would have almost suited this project better. It would have made the message much clearer about accepting who you are, no matter what you look like.

Maybe I'm weird but I kind of dig the ab-less Iron Man...
Maybe I’m weird but I kind of dig the ab-less Iron Man…

I personally think this was an attempt by Bulima.com to get some attention and to try to be part of the cultural discussion on superhero’s and self-confidence. And when I say that, I don’t say it in a  snarky way. I think they very smartly created a campaign that will get them some attention which for a site like this, can only be a good thing. I think they succeeded above their expectations to get any kind of press on the matter. If that press makes even one person aware of their site and the site then helps them, than I’d say mission accomplished. I say well done.

What do YOU think? Does this project make sense or is it just dumb?

Let me know in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The “Agent Carter” Finale

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


I’ve posted a couple times now on the series Agent Carter and it’s no secret that I very much enjoy the show. So you can imagine how excited I was for the finale. I expected big shocks or at least a seriously bad-ass fight between Carter and Dottie but what I got was good but not great. It was a little less than the fantastic episodes we were getting in Agent Carter. Don’t get me wrong, there were some truly amazing moments during the episode. Maybe I’m sad it’s over or maybe it simply wasn’t a perfect episode.

The Agent Carter finale was good, but not great.
The Agent Carter finale was good, but not great.

Even with my disappointment, I disagree with this commenter, Anthony Ocasio on Screenrant, who says that “Marvel failed” with Agent Carter. Is it a failure that Peggy Carter brought a female with stellar fighting skills and a brilliant brain to the forefront of the Marvel Universe? Even for just a little while. I think that all shows have less than stellar episodes sometimes and it’s not a fault of anyone but the writers. The show as a whole is a huge success for comics, Marvel and for women superhero characters.

Ocasio goes on to stay;

Either way, the end result is a product some fans fully support, while others continue to champion its downfall. Ultimately, that means Marvel failed – but there’s always hope that they will return again with a new direction. Agent Carter season 1 isn’t perfect – and it never was going to be, either. It’s also not a triumph for feminism. It’s simply a TV show which failed, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What the HECK?

Not only is his conclusion condescending, it’s also false. I shouldn’t be overly surprised though, his comments throughout the article are very skewed in one direction. He commends the male characters as being the strongest members of the team and totally ignores the main character, ya know, that Peggy lady. His thoughts are his own and that’s dandy but I find it ignorant and misinformed to say that Marvel failed (but it’s OK, gee whiz guy, I am sure they’re grateful for your approval) and to also state unequivocally that the show failed because some love it and some hate it. I feel as though that is a mark of a show that is well done. It provokes discussion, thought and opinions. To me, that’s a success.

The fact is, the folks at Screenrant clearly don’t care for Agent Carter and they never have. I searched around and found various articles that felt differently about Agent Carter and I was able to get a much fuller picture of the season itself from a critics point of view (I’m always curious what the critics say and often my feelings disagree with their’s).

I love the show and I sure hope it comes back for a second season. Even saying that I can admit that the finale wasn’t all that I hoped for. It felt rushed, it felt uncertain, as if it didn’t quite know where to go and that was not something I had felt in any of the other episodes of Agent Carter. 

Peggy vs. Dottie is an unfinished battle that NEEDS to be finished!
Peggy vs. Dottie is an unfinished battle that NEEDS to be finished!

I refuse to say it was a failure though because ultimately, Agent Carter was a fun romp through another chapter of the Marvel Universe. The attention to detail, with the fun “old-timey” gadgets and amazing fashions were awesome to behold. Not to mention, having a woman of such power as Peggy have to deal with the sexism that ran rampant in that day was a treat to behold. She uses her invisibility to her full advantage during the season. Running around trying to solve the mystery of Howard Starks missing tech without any of her co-workers knowing. She ultimately saves the day by talking Howard Stark down (in the seasons most amazingly written and heartbreaking scene) and then, she gets none of the credit at the end! But this is where Peggy utters one of the best lines of the season;

 “I know my value, everyone else’s opinion really doesn’t matter.”

Oh yes…yes, yes, a million times yes!

Sure, there were parts of the show that didn’t live up to my expectations but there were parts of the episode that made me insanely happy. I was feeling all the feels and to me, that’s a mark of success.

Let’s hope we get to see more of Peggy and the gang in a Season Two!

The great cast helped make "Agent Carter" a great show!
The great cast helped make “Agent Carter” a great show!

What did you think? Did the finale live up to your expectations? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Why The Oscars Matter

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


I know, it seems like a ridiculous idea, that the Oscars matter. Here’s why I think it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds.

  • There was one acceptance speech about calling your parents, if they are alive, and telling them you love them.
  • There was one acceptance speech that talked about suicide.
  • The performance of “Glory” by Common and John Legend.
  • Patricia Arquette talked about equality for women.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at all of these. Point by point.

J.K. Simmons, star of the movie “Whiplash” won an Oscar and said the following:

And if I may, call your mom. Everybody — I’m told there’s like a billion people or so. Call your mom, call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them.

Don’t text, don’t e-mail.

Call them on the phone. Tell them you love them and thank them.

A simple, beautiful and truthful message of love. Don’t hesitate to tell the ones you love that you love them. Right now. Not later. Not when it’s too late. Now. A simple, but important message. So many of us wait until later. We always think there is enough time. The fact is, we have no idea how much time there is and newsflash, there will never be “enough” time.

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Graham Moore won an Oscar and gave probably the bravest acceptance speech of the night. He talked about how, when he was 16, he tried to kill himself because he felt “different” from everyone else. He went on to say to all those kids who feel different or that they don’t belong that they do belong and that they need to “stay weird”. A perfect, beautiful sentiment that got expressed to billions of people last night, adults and kids who may feel different, lost or unwanted. There is always a place for them. I know how that feels. When I was young, I felt “different” and I was deeply confused and scared. I half-heartedly attempted suicide more than once. Luckily it never worked because I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I second Moore’s sentiments. Be patient, it gets better.

In case you're wondering, this is what bravery looks like.
In case you’re wondering, this is what bravery looks like.

John Legend and Common. I don’t even have the right words for how amazing they are. Watching their performance gave me chills. It brought Oscar audience members to tears and it reminded us all that the fight rages on. In Ferguson. In New York. Around the world. The fight for equality hasn’t ended simply because we have a black president. If anything, the fight has gotten fiercer and needs to be given voice in this way. Eloquently. Beautifully and honestly.

Click this link for the performance and their acceptance speeches.

Finally, we come to Patricia Arquette. She won an Oscar and gave a speech that brought Meryl Streep to her feet (among others). She made a point of saying that we need equality in he sexes. Women deserve equal rights, everywhere. Rock on Patricia. ROCK ON.

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As silly and overblown as the Oscars are, it’s heart-warming to know that there are artists out there that take the opportunity to really speak from the heart and get important messages out there. Maybe they changed someone’s mind about equality or race or suicide. Maybe not. What matters is that their messages are all over the internet today and people who may not have seen the Oscars are seeing these words, spoken by admired celebs, and maybe it inspires them. Maybe it cheers them up or maybe it makes them see someone in a different way.

Maybe I’m putting too much hope into it all. I didn’t personally watch the Oscars last night, I prefer to catch the highlights the next day, but reading these stories today warmed my heart. Watching Common and John Legend perform “Glory” warmed my heart and gave me chills. This is what celebrity should be used for, to spread messages of love and peace. Of equality.

BONUS: And then there’s Lady Gaga singing a medley from “Sound of Music” – because, why not?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLH57pFhAkY

Did you watch The Oscars last night? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!