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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

TMNT-Sexy-Donatello-Purple-Deluxe-Adult-Costume-Disguise-BSDS-68908

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 

sexy-chucky-costume

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: August 26, 1920

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.


I wanted to chat today about Women’s Equality Day, which was actually yesterday,  August 26th. Women’s Equality Day is the anniversary of the 19th Amendment going into effect.

19th_amendment_loc_img

Some of you may be asking, what is the 19th Amendment and why is Jessica talking about it? As a feminist, the 26th of August is a rather important date, the 19th Amendment is what granted women the right to vote. Ninety-Five years ago women were finally allowed to vote, to make their voices heard. It’s important because had those women not fought for this amendment, we ladies wouldn’t be able to voice our opinions at the voter booths! Let’s take a moment to think about what kind of world that  would be … Scary isn’t it?

In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America. ~History. com

I have written before about women today making a big deal about saying that they don’t need feminism because they are this or they are that. It makes me angry because they seem to be purposely forgetting about this huge part of the history of women. That before August 26th, 1920, women couldn’t cast a vote in an election, it was all men deciding what was best for the country. The country that women also happen to live in.

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The current state of Feminism has it’s pocket of man-hating, extremists, as any social movement has it’s share of extremists. That does not mean that all feminism is bad. There are women (and men) like me who see feminism as a fight for equality, a way for all creatures on Earth to be equal to one another. A place where women can breast-feed in public if they want to without fear of being shamed or judged. A place where a woman who is raped isn’t called a slut or shamed because she was clearly “Asking for it.” If you’re wondering how such issues connect to feminism might I remind you of this;

Feminism (as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  • the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

  • organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

Men aren’t shamed into thinking they “asked” to be raped or beaten. Men aren’t asked to keep their shirts on in public because their breasts are seen as “indecent”. At this moment in time, the fact is that women are not treated equally and it saddens me. We have taken such strides and yet, this imbalance remains. To the point that even when I post this blog I get comments about how I am some kind of angry feminist or I get trolls that want to talk about breasts or how naughty they (the commentator) is, in the hopes of getting me to either yell at them or flirt back.  Now, some of that is the weird society that is the internet but some of that is about a lack of respect for my ideas because I am female.

Suffrage

I sometimes wonder, with all that is going on in the country, if the equality fight is the most important issue and the answer to that, if I am being honest with myself, is an uncertain no. Other movements require attention right away, what with the onslaught of gun violence in our country and the deaths of too many at the hands of the police. Our country is in a state of turmoil and feminism often gets kicked to the bottom of the pile, but that’s also exactly what makes it so important. Feminists cannot become complacent or our rights can easily be stripped away from us (especially if Donald Trump wins election, or even the nomination is too close for comfort for me). The fight for equality, for all of us humans to become the united, is a fight that, while subtle in may respects, deserves as much attention as we can give to it.

What do you think? Did you celebrate Women’s Equality Day yesterday? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: “The Darkangel Trilogy” – A Review

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.


If you read this blog that you have some idea that I am a huge book nerd along with being an all-around other stuff kind of nerd. I feel then, as a blogger, to make special note of books that I particularly enjoyed. Recently I’ve read two such books (and a review on the other will be forthcoming), one is The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce. I stumbled upon this trio of books while perusing the internet and someone had done an extremely extensive review of the story. It had vampires, a girl on a quest and gargoyles. I was sold.

dtomn

Now, to me, I love a good opening line. It doesn’t have to be particularly poetic or inspiring, it doesn’t even have to be a cliff-hanger or dramatic. It simply has to set the tone of the book.

Aeriel rested the broad basket against her hip and adjusted her kirtle. – The Darkangel

See what I mean? I’m instantly curious. Why does Aeriel have a basket? What is a kirtle? What a great name for a character. Is she the main character or is she secondary? All of these questions just from a few simple words.

Book One in "The Darkangel Trilogy"
Book One in “The Darkangel Trilogy”

The plot of the three books is simple. Aeriel (a slave) and her mistress (and sort-of friend) Eoduin are on a mission to collect a certain kind of flower for her sister’s wedding. They are climbing high up on the mountain and Aeriel, we find out, is a clutz and a nervous-nelly. She worries they are going to high for she had heard tales of the Darkangels that swooped from the skies and kidnapped pretty ladies.

It is quickly made apparent that Aeriel is a plain-Jane, she is nowhere near as beautiful and graceful as her dear Eoduin and everyone tells her this. Even the Darkangel (because, yeah, he shows up).

“I am to be your bride,” she said, not questioning. The certainty of it overwhelmed her.

The dark angel looked at her then and laughed, a long, mocking laugh that sent the gargoyles into a screaming, chattering frenzy. “You?” he cried, and Aeriel’s heart shrank, tightened like a knot beneath the bone of her breast. “You be my bride? By the Fair Witch, no. You’re much too ugly.” – The Darkangel

Yeah, Aeriel does not get much love at first.

Book Two in "The Darkangel Trilogy"
Book Two in “The Darkangel Trilogy”

I don’t want to spoil the series for you so I’ll try to sum up without spoilers for you. Basically, Aeriel gets taken by the dark angel to be his servant girl to his twelve wraiths, women he has taken as his bride and stolen their souls, they are thin creatures, barely sane and horrid to look upon. Aeriel also finds herself in the precense of gargoyles, ferocious beasts that really only suffer from a lack of love and attention.

Some stuff happens and we start to see that Aeriel is more than just a slave, she is more than just an “ugly” girl. She is a smart, resourceful woman who manages to make the best out of a really REALLY bad situation. In the darkangels house she lives under the constant threat of death and yet, she manages to find some good in her life.

Sufficed to say, in all three books of The Darkangel Trilogy we get to see Aeriel grow up and become a woman, a force, to be reckoned with. She is tasked with many things throughout the three novels and each task is arduous and damn difficult for her but she does it all.

My biggest complaint about the books is that a few times things are happening and the reader (aka, me) knows exactly what is about to happen and yet our heroine seems clueless and in the dark, that frustrates me because it makes Aeriel seem stupid or slow and she is neither. What I loved about these books is that she isn’t weak, she is extremely resourceful and she is amazingly kind. Even as she grows into a beauty, she never relies on her looks to get her way. She never expects a man to save her. She is her own hero and that, I simply adore.

Book Three of "The Darkangel Trilogy" also known as, "The Pearl At The Soul Of The World" - ack! Doesn't that make you want to read it?
Book Three of “The Darkangel Trilogy” also known as, “The Pearl At The Soul Of The World” – ack! Doesn’t that make you want to read it?

In a world where vampire novels are a dime a dozen The Darkangel Trilogy deserves your time. It is a new take on a classic villain and besides that, it’s not even really about vampires! It’s about an entire WORLD that Pierce creates that rivals some of the stuff that Tolkien or Martin have created (granted, it is not nearly as in-depth as their works). It’s a series written by a woman about  a woman who is able to be the best parts about feminism and humanity.

I can say with 100% certainty that if you are into fantasy literature, then this series is for you.

To purchase, click here!

Have YOU read The Darkangel Trilogy? If so, did you love it? Hate it? Feel indifferent about? Want to make tiny babies with Talb? Tell me about it in the comments section!

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The Female Perspective: Ant-Man!

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.


Last week I promised to give you all a review on the movie Ant-Man and I did not tell a lie. What follows are my thoughts on the movie and its female character. Before I get into that though, I must warn, there are SPOILERS! If you haven’t seen the movie and WANT to see the movie then stop reading. Like, now.

Still with me? Cool.

Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!
Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!

First off I’ll admit that I had never heard of Ant-man before this movie. I read comics, sure, but Ant-Man, lost on me. The name is lackluster and ants have a tendency to creep me out a tad. But then I saw the trailer for the movie and I started to get excited, this movie looked fun. The kind of fun that Guardians of the Galaxy had. The kind of fun that I have come to expect from Marvel movies.

It did not disappoint.

Let’s start off with the fact that the lead character, Scott Lang, is played by one of my personal favorites, Paul Rudd. I remember Rudd back from his days in the movie Clueless  and I thought he was both hysterical and cute back then. I have since come to enjoy his dry humor in movies and on TV. I was interested to see someone like Rudd take on a Marvel superhero (it worked for Chris Pratt right?). I am also a huge of Micheal Douglas (as Hank Pym) and Evangeline Lilly (as Pym’s daughter Hope). I’ve liked Lilly since her days on Lost so this flick was shaping up nicely.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope.

The story is a simple one, Lang is an ex-con trying to set his life in order (and befriended by a ridiculously funny cast of misfits) to be a better dad to his daughter. He hooks up with Pym who convinces him to help with a heist. The heist is to get the Pym Particle technology away from Darren Cross. Hank sees it as too dangerous for wide use (he himself has kept it a secret and used the Ant-Man suit to save lives these many years), he is right.

Ant-Man manages to take the best of the Marvel-verse and add in some surprises, we see an Avenger and we also get to see Agent Carter and a few other familiar faces. I have to say, the way that Marvel is weaving all these stories together makes it an even better experience for moviegoers.

Rudd does a really good job of being the down on his luck Lang while also infusing the character with his trademark wit and dry delivery. It’s a perfect fit for a guy who stumbled upon the superhero life. Douglas is solid as Pym and it’s really nice to see him having some fun a few times in the movie as he tries to teach Lang how to handle the suit.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.

The only hitch (for me) was Hank’s daughter Hope. When first you meet her she is the typical, call your dad by his first name because he ignored you while you were growing up female cast member. Then we dig in a little deeper and we see that she actually does get along with her father, sort of, and wants to be in charge of the heist herself because she already knows how to harness the powers of Ant-Man. Which begs the question, why bring Lang in if Hope already knows how to do it?

The answer comes simply and beautifully, because Hank can’t stomach the idea of putting his daughter into the line of fire whereas Lang is expendable. It’s a really well-done and well thought out scene when Lang himself explains this to an angry Hope. Is it believable? Sure. In the context of the Marvel Universe I bought it. Especially when we realize that Hank’s wife was killed because he let her suit up and join him on missions. It makes sense.

I read an article that had a very confused argument about the whole situation between Hank and Hope. At one point it asks why she isn’t the star of the movie and cries sexism and then goes on to say that Hank’s reasoning is actually pretty sensible.

Huh?

Make up your mind Daily Dot article. Is it sexism or is not?

I have to go with not.

The fact is, this movie isn’t just about Ant-Man and his adventures. It’s about superheroes and saving the world from factions of Hydra but it’s also about Fatherss and Daughters. Lang is motivated to do all that he does in order to make his daughter proud of him and Hank wants nothing more than to keep Hope safe from harm. What Hank begins to realize is that after a certain point, you can’t do that anymore. He realizes by the end of the movie that the best way to keep his daughter safe AND have a relationship with her is to give her what she wants (no, she doesn’t don the Ant-Man suit but if you stay for the credits scene, you’ll see what happens!)

Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket
Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket

I love that this movie was about more than just a fancy suit and ant charming, I love that it was about relationships and family as well as being about saving the world from Hydra getting Pym Particles to wreak havoc. It’s why I enjoy these Marvel movies so much, they constantly surprise me.

Not to mention, the special effects were phenomenal! The scene with Lang and the villainous Cross duking it out in Lang’s daughter’s bedroom is hysterical and amazingly well done.

Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine
Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine

All-in-all, two thumbs up from this lady. Ant-Man is a great addition to the Marvel Universe and I can’t wait to see more of Rudd as Scott Lang!

What about you? Did you see Ant-Man? Did you love it, hate it, have nightmares about ants? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Humanist Versus Feminist: Is One Better Than The Other?

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.


Teach Humanism.
Teach Humanism.

Recently, Sarah Jessica Parker went on record with Cosmo magazine as saying that she is no longer a feminist but a humanist.

“As [playwright] Wendy Wasserstein would say, I’m a humanist. I’m enormously appreciative of the work that my mother’s generation did. We are the beneficiaries of a lot of disappointment, heartache, discouragement, and misunderstanding. But I see a lot of people trying to sort out their roles. People of color, gays, lesbians, and transgenders who are carving out this space. I’m not spitting in the face or being lazy about what still needs to be done — but I don’t think it’s just women anymore. We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement.” ~Jezebel

I read and re-read that paragraph a couple of times, the entire time nodding my head in total agreement. Why? Because darn-it, she is totally right. We would be enormously powerful if we all banded together to forward the cause of humanity. Not just one small section of it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not turning my back on my ladies and their needs, I am instead opening my arms up to everyone who needs support and equality, minorities, homosexuals and the transgendered community. If we all simply chose to work together instead of separating ourselves from one another, imagine how much louder, how much more powerful our voices could be?

SJP hit it right on the nose.
SJP hit it right on the nose.

They could shake the world.

And then they’d shape the world.

YES!
YES!

What Is Humanism?

I’m SO glad you asked!

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism). ~Humanism as defined by Wikipedia

Isn’t that a beautiful idea?

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be a feminist and I am proud to fight for my ladies wherever I can but at the same time, I see the division, the cracks, in the feminist community and it seriously bums me out. How are we ever going to accomplish our goals if we divide off into various factions? How are we going to come together and fight for our beliefs if we think a woman who wants to be a mother and a wife is somehow less than a feminist who is single, childless and working a high-paying job? Am I less of a feminist because I ask my boyfriend for advice? For comfort? For support?

NO.

If you stand up for women. For their rights and their equality in the male-dominated work force and beyond, than you are a feminist. You are a feminist whether you have kids, don’t have kids, work a corporate job or go to school full-time. There shouldn’t be levels of feminism. There shouldn’t be division.

What’s that old saying? “Together we stand, divided we fall,” and let me tell you, that’s completely true. I would be nowhere without the love and support of my family, friends and boyfriend. I would not be doing what I love every single day and I would not be able to do that without the blood, sweat and tears of the women who marched before me.

The thing is, if we joined forces with all the other equality movements out there we could be louder and stronger than any of us have ever been before. It seems so simple when I write it but at the same time, as we all know, it is much harder than that. We as a species need to learn that accepting help is okay, respecting others ideas is great and working together is Earth shattering.

I am proud to be a feminist but I am even prouder to be a humanist.

Capt. Picard knows where it's AT!
Capt. Picard knows where it’s AT!

What do you think? Is one better than the other? Do you believe in division or togetherness?

Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: #AskELJames Is Internet Bullying and Here’s Why

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.


Author E.L. James
Author E.L. James

Awhile back I talked a bit about the Fifty Shades of Grey controversy that says that the book and the movie promote domestic violence, rape and abuse. If you haven’t read that blog, feel free to check it out here. If you have read it then you know that I disagree with this point of view. The fact is BDSM is not about abuse (for most), it is about exploring pain, pleasure and your own power. It is a lifestyle CHOICE and I do not believe that Fifty Shades of Grey glorifies it in any way.

That being said, I will say that both the book and the movie are boring, mindless and poorly written. All of this is my personal opinion and I don’t dislike author E.L. James for giving us this mindless drivel, she got extremely lucky and made a great career for herself, one that I am totally jealous of. She has the success every writer dreams of having and it’s made an even more amazing story by the fact that she really isn’t a very good writer.

#AskELJames = Failure
#AskELJames = Failure

Recently, to help promote her new book, Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian Grey’s perspective (that’s not the title I know but it really should be) her publicity team decided to host a live Twitter chat with the hashtag, #AskELJames.

This backfired horribly.

Below is a sample of some of the tweets sent over to #AskELJames, they start out funny enough:

What’s your favourite shade out of the 50? Is there a chance that more shades will be added?

How on earth did Ana manage to graduate from university in the 21st century without an email address or a laptop?

Then things started to go a bit wrong…

Do you ever feel guilty that you made so much money from romanticizing sexual abuse and selling it as “erotica romance”?

Is it only ok for Christian to stalk, coerce, threaten & manipulate Ana because he’s hot, or is it also ok because he’s rich?

after the success of “Grey,” have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write?

And things just kept going wrong after that…

Will you be rewriting the book from Stephenie Meyer’s point of view next time?

Are you going to answer any of these questions, or do you need Stephenie Meyer to do a Twitter chat first?

Do all these negative tweets sent to you seem abusive to you? I think it’s romantic enough to be turned into a novel!

Are you getting tendinitis from having to hit “block” so often? 🙁

What gets me is the way in which people are choosing to take something as innocuous as a Twitter forum, meant to engage James’ readers with their fave author, and turn it into a giant bullying fest.

This is wrong. This is so much wrong. No matter how much I dislike the books and bemoan the fact that someone like E.L. James is famous when she can barely even write, I would never say that to her face in such an unkind manner, maybe that makes my a hypocrite but the things that people were saying to her were cruel and unnecessary.

Personally, I wouldn’t take to a Twitter group and decide it was the perfect time to bash and abuse her. Yeah, she’s not one of my favorite. Yes, I have said that time and time again during any discussions of her books. Yes, I feel guilty about it because she is a fellow writer and I should support her 100% because of that fact alone. But I am not a perfect person and I admit that. There’s something about this “attack” that really made me feel icky inside. It’s one more example of the internet world being a cruel place and I am really tired of it.

el-james-fifty-shades-of-grey-twitter-questions-gone-wrong-lead

What these folks did, and what they continue to do on various open mic forums on Twitter (why celebrities keep doing these, I just don’t know. Robin Thicke experienced a similar situation when he did the same as James) is take time meant to connect a fan with a favorite artist and turn it into something ugly. They take that time meant for others and choose to insult celebrities that they think are less than worth their time. This is a perfect example of why the internet can be a horrible place. Bullies thrive in the online space of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. They can say what they want, whenever they want with virtually no repercussions. I’ve been the victim of bullying on this blog and it takes some serious getting used to! The fact is, if you, as an artist, manage to stir up the masses to such passion (whether it’s good or bad) than you are clearly doing something right.

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The fact is, being a celebrity of any kind requires a thick skin. E.L. James and her team learned this lesson with great clarity last night and no matter what kind of person James is (I have heard some various stories that she’s not the nicest woman but I don’t know if that’s truth or not so we’ll just assume she’s a nice person) she doesn’t deserve to be bullied online. Yes, her writing is a mess. Yes, it is a well known fact that Fifty Shades began it’s book life as Twilight fan fiction and yes, it often toes the line between abuse and erotica (sort of, it’s not all that erotic if you ask me), but no matter what you think of James’ writing, there is no need to go online just to bash her when she was honestly trying to connect with her fans, not her detractors. I have better things to do with my time than to be an online troll.

What do you think? Do you think #AskELJames is bullying? Trolling? Did she deserve it or not? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Female Dinosaur Toys? Dear God NO!!!!!

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.


How many of you have seen the Jurassic Park movies? Okay, that’s like a bazillion-trillion of you, good. Now, how many of you recall that all the dinosaurs on the island are female? No? Watch this for a quick refresher.

Okay, now that we are all on the same page let’s take a moment and check out these wonderful new Jurassic World toys! Oh boy, dinosaurs and raptors to play with, what fun! Wait…huh? These dino’s are described as being boys. Well that’s quite odd…

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Oh wait, it’s not all that odd because girls can’t have toys unless they are gender approved. God forbid your son gets a GIRL dinosaur to play with. I am sure that will instantly make him like…what exactly? Girl dinosaurs? Will it make him gay? Can we please just call this for what it actually is? Sexism. The fact is, we see it over and over again, does anyone have any Black Widow toys? Not really right? Because they are so against selling women figures or female toys that they will actually go to the lengths of actually erasing a woman off her own toy or changing the entire mythos of the story by making the dino’s boys instead of girls.

Does this make me angry? A little bit, yes because the whole thing about Jurassic Park is that they manufacture the dinosaur’s to be all female all the time so that they don’t breed (but, as we all know, that fails in spectacular fashion). So why make the change? Why decide to write-up the dino’s as male instead of female? What’s the thought process on this? I am actually curious to know because I cannot think of one, single reason why you would take characters that are very much female and decide that they’re male because maybe the powers that be that make those kinds of decisions think that boy dino’s will sell better than girl dino’s? Newsflash, whoever you are decision making guy, you should get fired for being so dumb it actually hurts me. Why give the dino’s a sex at all? If you are so offended by the idea that they are female in ALL OF THE MOVIES why bother with a he or she pronoun? Oh that’s right, sexism.

All girls, all the time.
All girls, all the time.

It’s a tough world out there folks and while I realize that dinosaur toys as a movie tie-in is the smallest nugget of annoyance there can possibly be, it’s still frustrating that female’s get so little respect that there can’t even be a proper toy that represents them. Don’t even get me started on the Furiosa comic book that completely negates the beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Come on, sing it with me! "Girls, girls, girls!"
Come on, sing it with me! “Girls, girls, girls!”

It’s these “little” things that make up the bigger whole. It’s these things that remind me (and so many others) that feminism is important, that it is necessary. Equality will never be a thing of the real world until we are all actually equal and no one decides that a female dinosaur has to be male because it won’t sell otherwise. I can PROMISE you, even if you put a pink frilly hat on ole’ Blue up there, it would still sell because Jurassic World is a HUGE hit.

Come on decision makers, stop screwing us ladies over in the toy department, we like toys too and not just Barbie dolls.

What do YOU think? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: A Little Bit Of This & A Little Bit Of That

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.


I’ll be honest dear readers, I am hot and tired from a long day of working and some uncomfortable back pain. Today I want to issue a blog post that’s a bit of a mishmash of various bits and pieces I have found but haven’t had the time to write up into a full-length blog. Let’s chat about a few things.

John Oliver and His Thoughts On The Internet

This past Sunday, John Oliver issued a beautifully worded and true commentary on how women are treated on the internet. Check it out below and be advised, this is Not Safe For Work or children.

I did a piece on Gamergate awhile back and felt the same way, these poor women were harassed to the point of needed police protect and safe houses…over a VIDEO GAME. Does that seem right to anyone? I sure hope not because that is bat-poop crazy sauce. America has free speech and to me that extends to the internet. The problem is, some people simply didn’t get the memo, they decided that free speech only means what they believe and if you disagree…well, better be prepared for some pretty vile comments about your anatomy and possible revenge porn.

Batgirl Has Been Fighting For Equal Pay For a Loooooong Time

Sure, this is funny but it’s also right on point, Batgirl doesn’t have it any easier than Robin, so why isn’t she being paid the same amount? Oh, that’s right, she’s a woman. Come on Batman, get it together and compensate your workers fairly and equally!

Batgirl Wants Equal Pay!

The World Right Now and The World Long Ago

I’ll tell you, the world right now is a crazy place and has been for a while. I see the events that go down in places like Baltimore and South Carolina and remember names like Freddie Gray and Michael Brown and my heart aches for all that is happening and all that has happened. As many regular readers of this blog know, I have a special place in my heart for Feminism and it makes me very angry when young women decide they don’t “need” feminism. Coming soon is a movie that I hope will remind those young women all that suffrage did for us, all that feminism has done and IS doing for us. It is a movie that touches my soul just watching the preview and I hope that everyone goes and see’s it because if you think you don’t “need” feminism? Take a look at this and tell me that feminism didn’t do anything for us.

We need people who are willing to take a stand against injustice and inequality. We need people to stand up and proclaim that love is greater than hate and we need people to wake up and realize that these people who have fought and died for the various causes they have represented deserve respect. If you feel as though feminism isn’t something you “need” that’s your choice, of course it is, but please, educate yourself on what feminism has done and don’t assume that all feminists are crazy because a few extremists have spoiled it for the whole movement.

That’s my blog for today, tell me YOUR thoughts on any of the items I’ve posted here or tell me what’s on your mind about any current events. I want to hear YOUR voice!

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The Female Perspective: Dinosaurs and Feminism: Can The Two Exist?

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.


Jurassic World = Awesome
Jurassic World = Awesome

Last week I went to see Jurassic World (with a few million other people it seems) and I want to state up front two things.

1. I am a HUGE Jurassic Park fan though the sequels left me pretty cold, I won’t lie about that. None of them had the magic of the first one. That first sight of those dang dinosaurs blew my teenage mind 20+ years ago. It was a feat of movie making that made me feel excited and joyful at what I was seeing. It was an adventure story and it was about dinosaurs! Not to mention, I loved the book as well.

2. I loved Jurassic World, it evoked the feelings of the first movie and it managed to stay true to the roots of its source while also being its own fun romp through dino-land. I had a great time watching this movie.

That being said let’s delve into something I read after seeing the movie that made me roll my eyes a bit because it seems that every movie these days is being searched throughly for its feminist identity.

!!!IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE STOP HERE!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

Claire Dearing played by Bryce Dallas Howard.
Claire Dearing played by Bryce Dallas Howard.

I read an article about how the main female character, Claire Dearing, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, wears her high heels throughout the entire film and how that, along with her perfect ensemble, make her less than feminist.

Seriously? Do you hear yourself? We’re judging a fictional character on her outfit and saying that she is left wanting.

Claire’s outfit isn’t a sign of fierceness; it’s a crime of lazy filmmaking — a patronizing shorthand for her cluelessness and stubborn need for control. See how out-of-touch she is with her environment? Silly girl!

~Vulture.com

I see, okay, well that’s one opinion. My thoughts as I watched the film is that Claire doesn’t have the time to run off and change her clothing into something more “acceptable” and it’s more than reasonable for a professional working in a professional environment (even a dinosaur park) to dress the part. It’s quickly clear that Claire is rigid in her thinking and is a workaholic. In a funny exchange with ex-Navy, Raptor Wrangler Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt) we learn that Claire is the type of woman who prints out an itinerary for her dates. Sure, there are people like that, good on them. Makes sense for that type of personality to be in charge of a potential death park.

The one part of Jurassic World that stuck out for me as annoying? Not Claire’s outfit or her high heels (I’ll get to the heels in a moment) it was when she was talking to her sister and the conversation falls to the boring idea that one day Claire will understand how her sister feels because you have to be a mother to understand kids…or some such bull-crap. It was an annoying and trite line spoken in a way that rang untrue to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m tired of the stereotypical mother types or maybe it’s because it’s a quick and stupid way to pigeon-hole women into their “proper” roles. To me, that was a lazy bit of writing that the movie could have easily done without.

Howard and Pratt as they begin their Jurassic World adventures.
Howard and Pratt as they begin their Jurassic World adventures.

Moving on…

As many know, all hell breaks loose in the park as the new, genetically engineered dino, the Indominous-Rex, gets free of its enclosure and begins to destroy its way through the park. During that time Claire’s two young nephews get lost in the shuffle and she enlists Owen to help her find them. To do this they must venture into the park and Claire jumps right in, high heels and white suit be damned. I actually kind of loved her for this. She didn’t run off to change (she frankly didn’t have the time) and she didn’t kick off her shoes, instead, she RAN in her heels and let me tell you, she ran like the wind. It was actually impressive enough that I noticed it at one point. I later read that Howard actually trained for her heel running like it was an Olympic competition and she never switched her heels to flats or special wedges, she did all that running herself.

By the way, for those of you who think that a woman can’t run in heels like that I can tell you with 100% certainty that they can. Not from my personal experience but I have a good friend who can run in heels so it does happen folks. Believe it! For me, I didn’t think Claire’s outfit signaled lazy filmmaking, her running in heels didn’t seem ludicrous, it’s what happens when all hell breaks loose and you are trying to keep yourself safe and your loved ones safe. You don’t have the time to think about what you’re wearing, you don’t have the time to care, all you have the time for is surviving. To me, in a movie like Jurassic World it rang true and I didn’t even stop to ponder that it might be a sign of anti-feminism.

To say that the characters are all “types” would be a truth and it’s not a slight against the movie. It’s the kind of movie that doesn’t have the time to spend developing deep and subtle characters. Character development has to be quick and it has to be easy. Dressing Claire in head to toe white with beige heels and perfect hair is a great way to show the audience right away who she is. Dressing Owen in a leather vest and tight jeans is the best way to show us who he is. Clothes do make a difference a film and in this case, they do it very effectively.

As for feminism in a dinosaur movie? Yeah, it’s there, it’s quiet but it’s there. It’s when Claire saves Owen, even though her nephews then prefer the supposed safety of Owen’s company to hers. It’s when she doesn’t hesitate to release the T-Rex and have it chase her to save her loved ones. It’s there when she protects them from danger and it’s there when she goes after her nephews. One of my favorite small scenes is when Claire and Owen are running from the I-Rex and he stops to give her a hand, she buzzes right past him, a quick little f-you to being a gentlemen during a fight or flight scenario. She was going to keep going, chivalry be damned!

Remember how badass Laura Dern was in that movie? She played world-renowned paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, the intellectual equal to her partner, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and a tough, resourceful heroine in the mold of Alien‘s Ellen Ripley or Terminator‘s Sarah Connor. She was able to identify extinct poisonous plants on sight, went toe-to-toe with Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm on chaos theory (with that great line: “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the Earth”), and got elbow-deep in a mountain of dung to diagnose an ailing triceratops. When it came time for her to fight off a velociraptor while taking the initiative to restart a power grid, we had faith she would prevail. In fact, the entire movie was quietly feminist in the way it depicted the downfall of male hubris, from Wayne Knight’s botched attempt to steal dino embryos to the exile of man from the island by an entirely female dinosaur population. Women did inherit the Earth after all. -Vulture.com

Laura Dern's Ellie Sattler was pretty darn bad-ass.
Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler was pretty darn bad-ass.

To compare Claire to Sattler is ridiculous in my opinion because while they aren’t the same woman, they share similar qualities, namely in terms of being able to battle dinosaurs when called upon. Sattler and Grant were equals, yes, and she was a bad-ass character in a lot of ways but so is Claire. I think to simply dismiss Claire’s strength because of her outfit and frigid behavior is to not give her credit for who she is. Simply put, it’s judging a book by its cover. Claire does a lot in this movie and to me, she is resourceful, smart and brave and she should be given credit for being so instead of put down because her outfit and hair are “impeccable” (which isn’t even true, she’s a hot mess by the end of the movie). I think articles like the Vulture.com one is part of the problem with people trying to “defend” feminism everywhere they go. The fact is, not every movie is going to be full of feminist fun like Mad Max: Fury Road was but I feel like when we get a character like Claire, who can be both feminine AND strong it’s a win-win situation. People need to reframe their perceptions of what feminism should look like and realize that it can take all shapes and sizes. From a tough, post-apocalyptic bad-ass to a modern, professional woman in heels. Let’s all open our minds and broaden our feminist horizons.

But then again, so was Claire...I mean, she lured the T-Rex to the I-Rex...not something for the faint of heart.
But then again, so was Claire…I mean, she lured the T-Rex to the I-Rex…not something for the faint of heart.

What do YOU think? Did you see Jurassic World? Did you love it, hate it?

What did you think of Claire and her heels?

Sound off in the comments!