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The Female Perspective: Vampires, Bats and Crazy, Stuff I’m Watching

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

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

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


With fall quickly approaching that means new TV shows are coming soon, but if you’re looking for something entertaining to binge watch this weekend (or week, whatever works for you) I have some great ideas.

Now, I could go with the typical like Stranger Things which is fantastic and totally binge-worthy, but chances are you’ve already watched it. So I’m going to go a with few shows that seem to have flow under the radar, but are fantastic all on their own

Penny Dreadful (Showtime & Netflix)

Penny Dreadful
Penny Dreadful

Now, this show took a while for me to warm to. I thought it was  bit overly dramatic, a bit slow, and I still think that at some points it does get a bit dry, but overall, the 3 season drama/horror show is truly fantastic. Using old-time characters like Dracula, Frankenstein (both Doctor and Monster) and even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you really can have a lot of fun with this show. Not to mention, the female characters are not just relegated to damsels in distress. No sir. One of my favorite plots was when Dr. Frankenstein created a bride for his monster and … Well, let’s just say things didn’t go as he planned. Instead of her being a docile housewife type, she declared a war on men and started an entire revolution against the men that had been using the women for so very long. It was fantastic, and horrific the methods she used to get what she wanted. There is so much mythical goodness wrapped up in this show it’s hard to summarize and still do it justice, sufficed it to say, if you have fond memories of old-school monsters, this is a great show to revitalize the myths and maybe change your perspective on these characters while also getting a heavy dose of horror, drama and feminism.

Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Ray Donovan on Showtime
Ray Donovan on Showtime

This one might be a no-brainer since Donovan has been on for 4 seasons now, but I have heard about this show for quite awhile and only just got to start watching it. I’m on season 3 now and zipping right along and I have to say, this is a terrifically written show not afraid to face challenging topics like child abuse, alcoholism and more. It’s a show about a family and the mess they are along with the insane work Ray does as a “fixer” of sorts in LA. He’s like the Olivia Pope for the Hollywood elite. It makes for some mighty fine TV I have to say.

Not to mention, in the role of Donovan we have Liev Schriber, who is one of my faves. He has a way of acting with his face that conveys exactly what he is thinking without him having to speak, it’s dynamic and exciting to watch. Not to mention, every time he gets out his baseball bat, you know something big is going down! Add to Schriber’s fantastic portrayal of Ray, we have Jon Voight as his father, Mickey Donovan and he is brilliant. He is a horrible, horrible father and human being who  you also fall totally in love with because he is such a mess.  I have to say though that my favorite character is Ray’s little brother, Brendan, aka Bunchy, played by Dash Mihok. Bunchy has been through the ringer and is sweet and kind and I just want to hug him all the time! This is not to say the women don’t get their fair share of screen time. I love how the women are written on this show! They are strong, capable and just as messed up as the men folk. Again, as with Penny Dreadful, the women are not damsels in distress, they are smart and their growth in the last few seasons is amazing to watch (especially Abby, Ray’s wife. I can’t decide if I feel bad for her or if I love her or if I hate her, that’s how awesome this show is!).

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 1 is on Netflix)

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I started watching this show because I was curious after doing a transcription with one of the show runners. I had passed on this show originally because I wasn’t interested in a show about a crazy ex-girlfriend honestly. I thought the term was sexist and that did not interest me in the least bit. After learning that the title is meant to be a joke of sorts, I thought, okay I’ll give it a go.

Color me surprised when first, they had musical numbers. MUSICAL NUMBERS in the middle of the show. The musical stuff is hilarious and often extremely clever and I have to applaud them on that. I’m still trying to decide if I actually like the show as it deals with, as expected, the main character being in love with her ex-boyfriend from camp when they were kids. I have issues with the way she runs about desperately trying to get his attention even though he has a girlfriend (who’s equal parts horrible and kind of hilarious, see video above for her song about Yoga).

I’m about 2 episodes away from the end of season 1 and I have to say that this show is worth a watch if you like musical numbers and can distance yourself from the stupid, unbelievable stuff she does or at least find it mostly funny. I’m willing to give it a chance because the supporting cast and their stories are pretty engaging (one character just outed himself as a bisexual and it’s pretty funny and also kind of amazing) and I am hopeful that by the end she will be over her ex and onto something more interesting.

So those are some of my faves, what are YOU watching?

What are you looking forward to seeing in the next couple months? I’m pretty psyched about Luke Cage on Netflix and the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!

 

 

 

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The Female Perspective: The Rio Olympics and Feminism

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


When I was a kid I adored the Olympics. The pageantry, the excitement, the athleticism was so impressive when I was younger and full of dreams. I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could be that dedicated to something, to anything. The 2 weeks would fly by and then it was all over for another few years.

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I haven’t actively watched the Olympics in a few years now. I simply find it difficult to find the same excitement I did when I was a child. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to hear about Phelps winning his 27,000 gold medal, but I simply don’t get excited about the Olympics anymore.

This year was different though, I felt actively angry and insulted about the Olympics. First off, with them being in Rio, a country that is extremely poor and in desperate need of financial stability, seemed in poor taste. Sure, it will bring money in, but the fact is they had to borrow millions of dollars to create the venues needed to host the massive events. The water is practically poison and even though it’s technically winter there, Zika was  a fear on many people’s minds. Not to mention crime that runs rampant through the streets. But I don’t make the choices over who hosts the Olympics so like many, I shrugged it off as “better minds know better”.

What really got me peeved was the blatant sexism being expressed by the commentators and news outlets. From the female athlete’s being referred to as “girls” even though they are grown women, to the news headlines in print and social media that state things like:

I don't know about you, but it would seem to me that someone breaking a WORLD RECORD is a bigger deal than a TIE.
I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that someone breaking a WORLD RECORD is a bigger deal than a TIE.

AND…

With the headline: "Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics"
With the headline: “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics”

These 2 examples are perfect as to what’s wrong with the world in terms of feminism and sexism today. First off, a woman breaks a WORLD RECORD and she gets the smaller, less impressive headline while Phelps, who TIED for silver, gets the big headline. There could not be a more perfect example of sexism if someone actually tried. To essentially push someone to the side who broke a world record is insulting to her athletic ability. Besides the fact that hey, Phelps has won like a gazillion medals, let’s let someone else have the spotlight shall we?

When I saw the Twitter post from the Chicago Tribune regarding Corey Cogdell winning bronze I wanted to scream. Not only does the post not even mention her name, but it also puts her neatly into the box of someone’s wife. Not bronze medal winning athlete. No, we wouldn’t want to let her have her own achievement. Her husband has to be in there as well. It’s unfair and it’s also ludicrous.

There have been other examples of this, commentators praising another female swimmer by giving all the credit to her husband for her ability to perform.

NBC credited Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s coach/husband as “the person responsible for her performance”. ~News.com

That one stunned me as well, I’m sorry, is he in the pool pushing her along? Is he paddling along beside her? Because it would seem to me that she did all the hard work. She was in the pool. She is in the Olympics. Not him. Why does it seem to be impossible for the media to give credit where it’s actually due when it comes to the women? Why do their achievements have to come tied to some man in their life? Why can’t these women be praised the same way that their male counterparts are?

Sadly, there are quite a few examples of this type of sexism that have run rampant through the 2016 Rio games. From commentators discussing the importance of makeup on the female gymnasts during their gymnastics routines to NBC completely botching the coverage of a HISTORY making swim by Simone Manuel when she became the first African-American woman to win a swimming medal in an individual event. They did air the medals ceremony eventually, but an hour after the historic moment occurred rather than airing it in real time (as the BBC did).

The fact is, our country is going through a massive period of change. A huge paradigm shift. From racial tensions to sexism to financial inequality, we are all watching our world shift and break apart in ways we never though we’d see. Donald Trump spews hatred and bile everywhere he goes while Hilary Clinton makes history, only to be overshadowed by her husband in the press coverage. It’s a strange world and the Olympics is simply putting a magnifying glass on that strangeness and showing us how the things we thought were gone (racism, sexism, etc) are still very much here and they are no longer as subtle as they once were. Now they’re right in our faces. It’s painful and it’s infuriating to watch women talked about as being “girls” and to have their accomplishments, in many ways, shrugged off or obscured by a male figure in their lives.

The fact is, women have been competing in the Olympic Games for 116 years;

Female athletes have been a part of the Olympic tradition for a whopping 116 years, since they first competed in the sufficiently ladylike lawn tennis at the Paris Games in 1900. –News.com.au

And yet, even after over 100 years of competing, the women still have far to go in terms of finding equality in their sports, but I will admit, progress has been made. I don’t want to deny that fact. I am hopeful though that it won’t take another 116 years for us to get to a place where female athletes are treated as equals to the male athletes and we will no longer talk about them in terms of their husbands or boyfriends, but in terms of their accomplishments and athleticism.

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What do YOU think of the Olympics? Are you watching?

Tell me your thoughts!

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The Female Perspective: My Fave Comic Con Trailers!

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


Like many, I was not at San Diego Comic Con last week, but like many, I got to enjoy the trailers and videos that came out of it with nerdy abandon. Today I thought I’d go over some of my favorites in case you haven’t seen them and to find out what other people enjoyed.

American Gods

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I read the Neil Gaiman book a year or so ago and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t overly ecstatic about it. That being said, I was curious when I heard that Starz was developing a TV show based on the book. It’s a fascinating premise so I thought, well holy heck, this might be a cool TV show!

If you haven’t read the book, here’s a short synopsis:

The central premise of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them (a form of thoughtform). Immigrants to the United States brought with them spirits and gods. The power of these mythological beings has diminished as people’s beliefs wane. New gods have arisen, reflecting America’s obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among other things. ~Wikipedia

The trailer released at SDCC did NOT disappoint. Besides this being an amazing cast, I think it having a home on Starz is the perfect place for it. Not to mention, the guy playing Shadow, who I adored on The 100, is perfect casting for the quiet felon who is thrust back into the world after this best friend and his wife are both killed in a car accident.

Watch the trailer HERE.

Justice League

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Okay, this look pretty cool. I was a bit hesitant on the new Flash since I love the TV kid so much, but there appears there is some humor to break up the darkness. More than anything, I cannot possibly get enough of seeing a posse of superhero’s all together, there is something so amazing about it that I honestly will watch anything just to get my fix of that. Maybe it’s wish-fulfillment, where are our superhero’s?

Check out the trailer HERE.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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I love me some Harry Potter magic, and really, magic in general. Not to mention the vast void of emptiness left in my life since the final book and movie were released so you can imagine my joy about seeing this trailer. The first trailer left me feeling a bit cold, but this one looks awesome. Plus, that familiar Harry Potter music brings back all the feels.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Doctor Strange

DrS

Holy smokes, I can’t even … This look so flipping amazing I can’t even! Here, watch the trailer and tell me this doesn’t fill you with all the feels when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Now, I know virtually nothing about Dr. Strange, but I can tell you two things with certainty.

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. I don’t care. He’s awesome.
  2. Magic and mind-twisting magic. Dude. MAGIC.

This is one of those trailers that gets you all goose-pimply and excited for the movie to come, but as excited as I am to see Doctor Strange I am even more excited for the next on my list of SDCC wonders. Can you guess what it is? Or who?

WONDER WOMAN

Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)

I am one of the people who thought that Superman V. Batman: Dawn of Justice was a good movie. Not great, not perfect, but really good. Having just watched the “Ultimate Edition” I realize that it’s even better than I remembered it and one of my favorite parts is the introduction of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. Seeing Wonder Woman on the big screen like this, tall, proud and powerful, makes me feel all weepy. Add to that being able to finally see the trailer for her movie and I was a total mess.

For years, those in power in the movie world said that a woman-centered stand-alone film wouldn’t do good in the theater so they avoided it like the plague. Now, to see it actually happening is almost overwhelming. Will Wonder Woman outdo her male counterparts? Hard to say, but from the looks of the trailer, it looks like she is going to kick some serious butt and do it in wonderfully awesome fashion.

Also, the line, “What I do is not up to you.” BOOM! That’s my Wonder Woman!

Wonder woman was obviously my favorite of the trailers, I can’t lie. Not to mention, the poster is phenomenal, “Power. Grace. Wisdom. Wonder.” AAAAAAHHHHH!! They are doing so right by this I cannot imagine it will go wrong (my fingers and toes are crossed anyway).

A few honorable mentions in terms of fun videos that came our way are below. These aren’t high profile movie trailers, but they are a bit of fun.

Honorable Mentions:

Rick Grimes tries to Glitter Bomb Daryl and becomes the dread pirate Glitter Beard!

Superman goes undercover!

There you have it folks, some of my fave videos from SDCC 2016. Did you have different ones? Show them to me in the comments and let me know what YOU think of the upcoming slew of movies and TV coming our way!

 

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The Female Perspective: The Women of “Deadpool”

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

I’m already happy.

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

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

Women? There’s WOMEN In This? Awesome.

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

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

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

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

Angel Dust.
Angel Dust.

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

Why Women Matter

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

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

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

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The Female Perspective: Podcasts, My New Love

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.


After a week off due to a really persnickety migraine, I am back with a blog this week! I wanted to spend a little bit chatting about some of my favorite podcasts because guess what, I really did just discover them! I know I’m a bit behind but as a writer and transcriptionist, I don’t have time during the work day to listen to podcasts and when I drive or exercise outdoors I like to rock out with some awesome tuneage.

What happened was that with the winter weather I started exercising indoors and all of a sudden I realized I could finally listen to the podcast my super cool friends have been talking about, Serial. I was instantly hooked on it. Though you will notice that Serial is not on my list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great program and I am very much enjoying the 2nd season’s delving into the Bo Bergdahl case, but Serial has plenty of airplay and I wanted to focus on 2 very cool and possibly kind of unknown podcasts that I have been really enjoying.

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The 2 podcasts I talk about below I find interesting for 2 reasons;

  1. I am a writer so anything that gives me insight into the human brain is fascinating to me. Both of these podcasts talk about people, technology, the mingling of the two as well as dealing with the life around us in an informative and fun way.
  2. They host(s) are not annoying or rude. They are respectful to their guests and they ask really great questions, not the typical boring interview questions and what’s more, they listen to what their subjects have to say. In all my transcription work I can tell you that is a rarity. So many interviewers interrupt their subject and that, in my humble opinion, is really annoying.

Anyway, here are my 2 favorite podcasts!

Reply All

"Reply All" - a podcast about the internet ... and so much more!
“Reply All” – a podcast about the internet … and so much more!

Part of Gimlet Media, Reply All is a fun podcast that’s about technology and how we use it in our lives every day. Hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, it was launched in 2014 and claims to be about “the internet” (yep, that’s all they’ll say, that it’s about the internet) but the fact is, it’s about so much more than that. I heard about it while listening to the classic of all podcasts, This American Life and had to check it out.

I recently just listened to an episode where one of the hosts and a friend take micro doses of LSD and it is utterly fascinating. Not because they get tripped out and stupid, but because of their amazingly long thought process about if they should even take the LSD (they do it to see if they can “unlock a better version of themselves”) and their fear around doing so. I won’t ruin the episode for you but it’s really good and fun. I also learned that there is an entire website devoted to helping people who are tripping out handle their high and stay calm. Who knew!?!?!

Reply All is about the internet and what it does for us and how it harms us (the Yik Yak episode is a poignant reminder of the damage words can do, but also how words can help) and how we, as internet consumers, can do a better job of utilizing the technology at our fingertips.

Death, Sex & Money

"Death, Sex & Money" hosted by Anna Sale
“Death, Sex & Money” hosted by Anna Sale

The other podcast I wanted to mention was actually recommended via Reply All and I am glad I checked it out. Death, Sex and Money is fantastic! Hosted by Anna Sale, she has that ability to really talk to people and help them to open up about (what else!?) death, sex and money. As Sale says, her podcast is “about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.”

She did a fantastic series of episodes from New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Sale hosted 5 episodes about all different aspects of the Hurricane and ensuing aftermath. She talked to a rapper, a doctor, a coroner and more about what Katrina did to their lives and how they continue to work through the trauma that disaster caused them. Well worth a listen. If you’re interested, click here for the first episode of her “In New Orleans” series.

Sale also did a poignant episode with Dr. Jonathan Clark. If you don’t know who he is, he is the husband of astronaut Dr. Laurel Clark, who was lost in the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003. As I pumped away on my elliptical machine, I started to cry as he recounted the day she died. An amazing 30 minutes of podcasting about death and starting over.

Sale has a natural ability to get to the nitty gritty of the “stuff” we may not want to talk about, money, sex, death and all that goes into those discussions. Death, Sex & Money is well worth your valuable time if you want to hear how other people handle those conversations.

Both of these podcasts are available for download and have new episodes coming out weekly. I started at the beginning for both and have been enjoying catching up as I make my way through the treasure trove of shows. If you are looking for some new entertainment on that long commute or during your exercise time, check out Reply All and Death, Sex &  Money, then come back and tell me how you liked them!

What podcasts do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The F Word…Again

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.


Yep, I’m going to talk about that F word again.

The dreaded Feminism.

I came across a couple things this week that made me see that this discussion is far from over. It both saddens and encourages me. The two videos showcase the best and worst of the mind and what it can do, how words can be powerful and how the person in charge can be a good and fair person.

Stacey Dash, “famous” for her role in Clueless and not much else, has made a point of being an outspoken, anti-person, or whatever it is she claims to be. She has basically gone against her own race along with her own sex. She recently appeared on Meredith Vieira’s show to discuss gender pay inequality.

Take a moment to watch this 2 minute clip and meet me in a minute to discuss.

Okay Stacey, I see some of what you are saying but not all of it. You clearly do not want to accept the fact that women do in fact make less than men, as Vieira said, 78 cents to the dollar. It’s an actual FACT. Sorry lady, you can’t really argue with actual math and stuff.

To say that pay inequality and racism is all an “excuse” and if you want to be extraordinary you should go ahead and do so is simplifying the issue to an extreme degree. There are probably hundreds of thousands of women today who are extraordinary, more so than their male counterparts, and they are still making considerably less than men. By your argument Stacey, you are saying that these women simply are not seizing their greatness or some such crap.

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It’s slightly insane how she absolutely refuses to see the truth and instead spouts ignorance and lies and worse than that, blames women being held back on excuses. It saddens me. The fact is, many women work very hard and they deserve pay that reflects that. We have made great strides in the years since suffrage, but we have a lot further to go.

My other video is so much fun I almost squealed with glee watching it. Once again, new Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has made headlines for his no-nonsense truth talking and I gotta say, more than the idea of Donald Trump being elected into office, this guy makes me want to move to Canada. Trudeau talks about how men (and women) need to embrace feminism  to improve decision making in politics.

I could not agree more with this fella.

The fact is, feminism is not a dirty word,  it is a word to be proud of. A movement that both men and women should be honored to be a part of. There is no shame in being a feminist because it is about equality and who could possible be against equality?

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Sadly, I think most of us know the answer to that particular query. There is so much opposition to equality in our world today that it makes it seem like an impossible hurdle to jump. The fact that there are still women being lambasted in public for breastfeeding because breasts are apparently offensive unless they’re squashed in a Victoria’s Secret bra is just one example of how the world views women unfairly.

Even today, a friend posted a video on Facebook of a woman doing some amazing acrobatics and the comments from some of the men were sexist and annoying. Jokes about  this is what happens when you accuse a woman of having a “man cold” or some such nonsense. All I could think was, “If that was a man doing it, it would be, wow, look at him,” or, “He’s a badass.” I realize to some it will seem like I’m taking it “too seriously” and I need to “chill” but at the same time, it’s these same little things that when they slip by unnoticed that become big things, that soon become bigger than the world can contain and things explode (or implode). So no, I don’t think it’s a small thing, I think it’s a clear indicator of the inequality all around us.

That same Stacey Dash video was one I snagged from Facebook and the comments from one guy were about how he’d have to research to make sure that women don’t get paid the same as men and then he actually posted a full list of professions and the pay inequality (thus admitting he was wrong and that yes, inequality exists) but it was really annoying for a man to be trying to find a way away from the truth. A truth that is well documented. While I applaud him wanting to make sure the research proved the video, I found it frustrating that today, in 2016, we still have non-believers.

Suffragettes Forever is available on Amazon.
Suffragettes Forever is available on Amazon.

I recently watched a 3-part documentary called Suffragettes Forever: The Story Of Women and Power on Amazon (it is excellent) and it reminded me that I personally am so very, very grateful (and that is still a paltry word) for all the hard-working, brave women that came before me. The women who fought (physically and mentally) to get us to a place where we can work, go to school and vote without persecution, but we and many other parts of the world still have a lot of work to do. This documentary also made me think of the group of anti-feminsts who say they don’t “need” feminism and I want to sit them down and have them see the true cost of their free lives. Had those suffragette not fought for their rights, those young “I don’t need feminism” ladies wouldn’t be able to speak their mind and video tape and photograph themselves with their anti-feminism slogan.

It’s endlessly frustrating to be a woman and to be able to see how far we’ve come and at the same time, how far we still have to go. Nonetheless, I have hope and faith that we’ll get to a place one day where women are seen as equals. If nothing else, the fight rages on and none of us will stop pushing towards a world where all are equal. Where all are one.

Sixteen-year-old British suffragette Dora Thewlis is arrested by two policemen on March 20, 1907 (according to info shared via Wikimedia Commons).
Sixteen-year-old British suffragette Dora Thewlis is arrested by two policemen on March 20, 1907 (according to info shared via Wikimedia Commons).

Are you a feminist and proud of it? Tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Gold Bikini and Why It’s Not That Bad

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.


As I am now fully recovered from the madness that was Rhode Island Comic Con, I feel I can sit down and happily write a blog post this week that both embodies my love of feminism and my love of Star Wars.

The gold bikini.

While I look beautiful, I am actually made of steel.
While I look beautiful, I am actually made of steel.

Recently, there has been a lot of hubbub about Princess Leia and the gold bikini because now that Star Wars is owned by Disney, they want to retire the bikini and move on to other things. This has caused more uproar than it actually deserves (shocking since we as a culture seem to love getting angry about the things that don’t actually matter, I call the Starbucks coffee cup controversy to the stand as evidence!). I read an excellent perspective on the whole thing that clearly see’s both sides of the “argument”.

Here’s the thing, those that love the gold bikini are full of concern that because Disney no longer supports the ensemble it means that they are going to go through and omit it’s very existence from the films and merchandise. Relax. That is not going to happen. The fact is, the gold bikini is entrenched in the Star Wars culture, you cannot get rid of it, even if you try. Besides that, there really is no point in doing so. It would be a huge expense for something that really, isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of thing. And seriously, if George Lucas “re-edits” Star Wars again, people might straight up beat him with wet noodles until he (or Disney) changes the movies back.

The article I read on Geek Tyrant makes an excellent point about the whole thing;

Leia is a princess, and now, like it or not, a Disney Princess. This means her character, likeness, and image will be marketed and sold to the core young girls of the world as such. When Disney says they are no longer supporting the merchandising of Slave Leia, they are saying “it’s weird that we are trying to sell sexy Leia to children.” – GeekTyrant

There it is, in plain, simple language, the fact is, it’s weird to market a sexy outfit to young girls when Leia wears a whole bunch of other, much more sensible outfits. In fact, as the Geek Tyrant article mentions, Leia is out of that gold number as soon as it is safely feasible to do so. The movie in no way sensationalizes it or make her wear it the entire movie. Actually, in the movie itself she is pretty much fully covered up the entire time after that.

She's just waiting for the right moment to strike.
She’s just waiting for the right moment to strike.

The fact is, Carrie Fisher is beautiful woman and clothed or half-naked, she is still gorgeous. The other fact is, she was a prisoner to Jabba The Hut and of course he’s going to put her in some crazy-ass attire, like all the other slaves in his clutches! Give me a break, that whole scene is creepy and gross, as it’s meant to be and there is nothing better than when Leia strangles Jabba with the chain meant to keep her captive. If that isn’t some serious lady power, I don’t know what is.

princess-leia

The second point I want to mention is best illuminated from the Geek Tyrant article;

Altering her costume or editing scenes does a greater disservice than the oppressive nature of her outfit. Would it be better to see a full clothed Leia choke a space gangster to death after he threatens to kiss her? The outfit fills in the blanks to an older audience while keeping children widely in the dark. Essentially it’s perfect on all levels in that regard. –GT

YES! Exactly. This is why it doesn’t matter if Disney puts some space between them and the costume. It’s been over 30 years since it came out and all the toys, marketing, etc has been done to death. At the same time, the costume is a part of the history of Star Wars and therefore needs to remain in the films as-is. It actually serves a purpose in the story.

I remember seeing Return Of The Jedi when I was a kid and thinking, man Leia sure looks pretty in that bikini. Not once did I wish I was wearing it (I was always fonder of her more utilitarian outfits) nor did I think she was somehow lesser in comparison to her male counterparts because of that outfit. I was always so glad that Leia was integral to the story, on equal footing with the men AND full of princess power. It was a win-win in my young feminist book and it continues to be so to this day.

Most of the time Leia wore pants.
Most of the time Leia wore pants.

I am definitely on the side of pro-bikini but not because Leia looked pretty or sexy but because it showed that even in a ridiculous gold bikini you can fight off a would-be rapist, get rescued while also fighting off the bad guys side-by-side with the boys and getting the hell outta dodge with the man you love. It’s a beautiful portrayal of a strong woman looking soft and feminine but within her is a core of steel.

What do YOU think? Are you for or against the gold bikini? Why or why not? Sound off 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: Ten Years Of “Six Feet Under”

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.


The cast of "Six Feet Under"
The cast of “Six Feet Under”

Over ten years ago now I started watching a show called “Six Feet Under.” I had no real expectations for it. I was watching because of two things;

  1. Alan Ball created and wrote it and I simply adored American Beauty.
  2. It was about a funeral home and that sounded morbidly wonderful to me

What I didn’t expect from “Six Feet Under” was to be completely entwined with the lives and disasters of the Fisher Family. I had no idea that it would take me on a five year ride of ups and downs, sadness and happiness. Fear and misery. As an author, this show changed my perspective on what real writing could be. What TV writing could be.

On August 21st, it was the ten year anniversary of the finale of “Six Feet Under” and as usual, that number made me feel old. Where did that ten years go? What have I been doing?

Living my life.

I’ve had my own ups and downs, my own misery and fear, my own depression and anxiety. In that time I’ve re-watched “Six Feet Under” more than once and what I realize each time I watch it is that it holds up. This show holds up. Sure the cell phones are old and some of the references antiquated but not in a way that screws up the story, it’s all wonderfully charming. Let’s take a few minutes to chat about the characters that make up the Fisher family.


“We used to say that Nate was Marilyn Munster and that everybody else in the family was much more overtly strange. Nate seemed normal. But as the series went on, that was very clearly not the case.” –Alan Ball


 

Nate & David Fisher (Played by Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall)

Brothers that could not be more alike. That’s the simplest way to describe Nate and David. When we first see the Fisher brothers, they are snippy and at odds with one another. David is clearly artificial, clearly hiding something and clearly unhappy to see his big brother. Of course, the reason Nate is there in the first place is for the funeral of their father, also named Nathaniel Fisher, who was killed in a car wreck.  Nate is only there to be present for the funeral, he has a good life (or so he thinks) for himself back at home in Seattle and he wants nothing to do with his bizarre family.

The Brother's Fisher.
The Brother’s Fisher.

That all changes when his mother Ruth asks him to stay just a little bit longer. Nate’s inability to turn his mother down would change all their lives in the most wonderful way and also leave the audience devastated by the end of the show’s run.

Nate is a free spirit, he seems normal at first but quickly we realize he’s as screwed up and as selfish as the rest of his family. At times I hated his character, other times I loved him and Krause played it all to perfection.

David is another matter, he is reserved, wound tight and cold. Then we start to see the ice chipping away, we start to see the secret underneath that dark suit and cold eyes. David is ashamed of himself, ashamed of his life choices and what bonds these two brothers it the fact that they are actually both ashamed of themselves and neither was as loved or adored by their father as they thought. Both felt slighted by the man they barely knew.


 

The Trailer For The First Season Of “Six Feet Under”


 

Claire & Ruth Fisher (played by Lauren Ambrose and Frances Conroy)

The women of “Six Feet Under” are no less complex and riveting as the men. We first encounter Claire as a screwed up teenager, high on meth, who now has to deal with the fact that her father is dead (she does not do well but luckily for her, Nate helps her out. Being the understanding brother who knows all about drugs himself). Once Claire sobers up we find that she is a confused girl who simply doesn’t have any idea who she is. Nate had left town before she was grown, David remained unattached and both her mother Ruth and her father Nate really didn’t have much to do with her. Claire was left to her own devices and she didn’t do so well. Throughout the series she goes through quite a few ups and downs, picking bad relationships, trying to find her voice as an artist and finally, leaving home to become her own person.

Ruth Fisher … Oh Ruth. Ruth starts out reserved and confused and in mourning for a husband even she didn’t really know. Her life had become a routine, stark, bleak and boring. We find out quickly that Ruth is not all she seems, she’s had been having an affair and when her kids find out, there are fireworks! But Ruth is more than a widow and mother, she is a woman who, after a lifetime of raising kids and tending to her husband, she has to figure out who SHE is (much like her daughter Claire is doing). I love that their search for self parallels so beautifully. I love that by the end of the series, Ruth is strong and capable (after quite a few mishaps) and I always love when Ruth finally snaps and sets her children right.

Mother and Daughter Fisher.
Mother and Daughter.

The Finale

For me, the finale is nothing short of brilliance in TV. Instead of tidying up everyone’s life and presenting us with a finished package, Ball and series writers take it further. Since the show itself is about death, why not kill off everyone? No, it’s not some bloody shootout, it’s life. It’s reality. It’s freakin’ haunting.

I recently re-watched the last 10 minutes of the finale and it still brings me to messy, ugly tears. It’s poignant and it’s truth. It’s a perfect finale for a show that only spoke truth. I mourn it’s passing and the fact that we only got 5 short years with the Fisher family but then I also realize, we got 5 years with the Fisher family and that is a blessing.

RIP "Six Feet Under"
RIP “Six Feet Under”

Did you watch “Six Feet Under”? Did you love it or hate it? Why or why not? Tell me about it in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: IT, The Movie

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.


Even though I didn't read "IT" until I was an adult, it scared the bejesus out of me.
Even though I didn’t read “IT” until I was an adult, it scared the bejesus out of me.

I am a huge Stephen King fan but I wasn’t able to summon the mental fortitude to read his book IT until a couple years ago. After having seen the Tim Curry TV movie I was honestly too terrified to crack the book. I have always been an avid reader and I know that books are almost always scarier than TV or movies. Our minds can go places no one else can and my mind can be a very scary place indeed.

That being said, I was over the moon excited about the film adaptation. They were going to split it into two films AND it was to be directed by True Detective genius Cary Fukunaga. The only sticking point was the actor they cast as Pennywise the clown, a relative newcomer named Will Poulter who was in the Jason Sudeikis comedy, We’re The Millers. I was intrigued though because Poulter, while relatively unknown, might be a good choice simply because he is unknown. I have wracked my brain trying to think who could possibly fill Tim Curry’s amazingly twisted shoes as Pennywise and could not really come up with anyone. I think a newcomer would be a welcome addition because expectations are low and therefore, the hope is that Poulter can only meet them and then some.


“We all float down here.”


 

You can imagine my disappointment when Fukunaga walked recently from being the director. He has since been replaced by  Andy Muschietti, the director behind the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Mama. 

Sigh.

Did you see Mama? It did nothing for me and I have to wonder, does this guy have the chops to take on something as huge as IT? Will the same theory about Poulter hold true for Muschietti? Maybe someone relatively unknown is better. I’m not sure because the reasons that Fukunaga left are because he and the studio could not agree on the direction of the film. Fukunaga had a “vision” people and Muschietti will do what he is told. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I know that no matter what, I will be seeing IT but until I see an actual trailer for the film, I won’t be able to decide if it’s worth my time or not.


Poulter in “We’re The Millers” – Funny, sure, but can he be Pennywise?


 

Not to mention, what about Beverly? Who is going to play what is essentially one of the most important roles in the film? Certainly, the most important female role in the film. It needs to be someone with chops, with a soft toughness that translates well for the character. If you’ve read IT you also know the bizarro ending King put in there that involves Beverly and all the boys in their group. I’m not sure if that ending would translate all that well onto film. It was strange to me in the book, though I think I understand why it was there, but it would be even stranger (and maybe even disturbing) for the film. There’s a lot about Stephen King’s IT that might be weird on film and I’m VERY curious to see how someone would bring such a strange, mystical and horrific book to life in a  way that would both terrify and intrigue audiences.

I blame Tim Curry for my hatred of clowns.
I blame Tim Curry for my hatred of clowns.

As a writer myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I sometimes wonder how my books would translate into film and I wonder what someone would do to adapt them. Stephen King is no stranger to adaptations of his work and some of them have even been really good (The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie and Pet Cemetery are just a few) and some of them have been really pretty bad (sadly The Stand (my favorite King book ever) did not stand up after all these years and the TV adaptation of The Shining was pure crap) but I think with someone like King, he has such a HUGE body of work that there’s bound to be a few flops in the mix. I just really hope that IT isn’t one of them.

What do YOU think? Did you read IT? Do you love it? Hate it? Who would you want to see play the main characters and Pennywise? Who would be your dream director? Tell me in the comments!


P.S. Come see ME and 19 other Rhode Island Authors this Saturday at Barnes & Noble on Bald Hill Rd in Warwick, RI. We’ll be there from 1-3pm signing and selling our books!