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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: Character Drama In Adaptations

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


This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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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.

Rio-Olympics-2016-logo-640x360

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: Frank Cho and Wonder Woman

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


So last week there was a flurry of stories regarding artist Frank Cho and his variant Wonder Woman covers. Seeing as a lot of the articles dealt with people being aghast at the amount of skin Cho was drawing and his departure from DC Comics because they did not like his covers (he quit the job) I became curious. Was this another case of women being drawn as fodder for drooling men?

Nope.

The few covers that Cho did do are actually quite stunning. They are well-executed and I have to say, awesome. I am neither offended by the amount of skin or the poses Wonder Woman is in. I am confused as to why there is even a story.

The fact is, Cho acted like a petulant child, posting this online:

All the problem lies with Greg Rucka.

EVERYONE loves my Wonder Woman covers and wants me to stay. Greg Rucka is the ONLY one who has any problem with covers. Greg Rucka has been trying to alter and censor my artwork since day one.

Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it’s a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)
I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible. Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics.

To DC’s credit, especially [Art Director] Mark Chiarello, they have been very accommodating. But they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I just wanted to be left alone and do my Wonder Woman variant covers in peace. But Greg Rucka is in a hostile power trip and causing unnecessary friction over variant covers.

ComicsBeat.com

Sure, Cho isn’t really taking the “high road” here, but whatever. What really annoys me is that DC hired him, knowing exactly what kind of artwork Cho is famous for (click here, but be warned NSFW) so why the heck are they hiring someone who has a website called Apes and Babes and who is KNOWN for drawing naked ladies in sexy positions?

The mindset of these comic companies baffles me. In 2014, Marvel had a similar issue, only they actually published a variant cover of Spiderwoman that was fairly insulting to women, spiders and anyone who has any respect for women. In this case, Cho’s covers are actually pretty awesome and in keeping with the characters spirit.

It’s a difficult thing in this world today, toeing the line between being “too” sensitive and being sensitive “enough”. I have to go with my own thoughts and feelings on these things, but as a feminist, as a woman, I see nothing wrong with Cho’s covers. I may not care for him as an artist (or as a human being), but his artwork here is pretty great. What I have to wonder is if DC was simply looking for some press (which they got) or if Cho just wanted out of the deal that he signed because he was frustrated with the team at DC, (or, Cho wanted some press) or these guys are really just children in disguise, and none of them know what they’re doing. My bet is on that last one.

There’s another aspect to this story though, is it inappropriate for the creative in charge of the story to want to have some control over how his/her story is packaged? Is it wrong that Greg Rucka didn’t like what Cho was doing and kicked up a fuss? That’s a tricky one. As an author, I would be aghast if someone took my character Katrina (from my book The Last Daughter of Lilith) and drew her as a sexpot wearing heels and a miniskirt (or something worse than that) because she is a simple character who wears simple clothing. I wouldn’t want that to happen either and would kick up a big ole fuss about it. In this case though, I’m not sure what is going on since (as you can see below), these covers are pretty cool, and not at all insulting to the source material.

Original Art.
Original Art.
Finished piece.
Finished piece.

While the cropping is different, ending at the knee, everything else is the same. There is no extra cleavage, no under skirt shot. I feel like I am missing some piece of a puzzle and these guys at DC are holding the piece I need to complete the puzzle over their heads going, “Nope, not gonna give it to you!”

Let’s look at one more.

Original Art.
Original Art.
Finished piece.
Finished piece.

Yep, I still don’t see it, do you? Am I missing something? If so, please enlighten me!

Tell me what YOU think about all this? Do you see the problem? Do you think there’s no problem and everyone in comics is coco-NUTS? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Ode To “Agent Carter”

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 been a few weeks now so I have been able to process my sadness at the fact that after only two (dynamite) seasons, Agent Carter was cancelled by ABC. I’m sure they have their reasons but to them I say, “You ABC people are a bunch of doodie-heads.” I know, I know, this is a family blog nd such strong language shouldn’t be used but I’m darn angry about the loss of Agent Carter so I just don’t care anymore!

Unknown

Joking aside, I am annoyed that ABC cancelled it. I wasn’t shocked, Haley Atwell had signed onto another show so it was looking as if Carter’s days were numbered, but I was sad. Agent Carter was really the first TV show to focus on a female character. Unheard of in the Marvel Cinematic (or TV) Universe. It was a story about a woman who battled tremendous grief at the loss of her love Captain America, along with massive waves of sexism as well as the pain of survivor guilt (not just because of the loss of the Captain, but also, as we find out in season two of the show, her brother’s death). Peggy Carter is the hero we ladies always wanted but never got. She didn’t have super powers, she was just wicked smart, incredibly brave and amazingly talented. She was the kind of “superhero” I want to be as an adult. When I was a kid I wanted powers like Wonder Woman or even Batman, I wanted gadgets and seemingly super human strength. With Peggy Carter, it was different. She was the kind of woman that most women aspire to be. Smart, sassy and respected.

“… [T]hat’s what I love about Peggy and why I’m not ready to let her go. She’s easy to relate to: Her spunk, sass, determination, brawler fighting style—all of it is special and everyday at the same time. Peggy is utterly human and completely wonderful, and it’s a state I both aspire to and am inspired by.” – AMY RATCLIFFE for The Nerdist

The fact is, when we first meet Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger we don’t really see her at first. We see a pretty British woman who seems smart and uninterested in Steve Rogers. We’re so focused on the Captain that we don’t see Carter right away. Then, when the poop hits the fan, we see a woman brave enough to stand in the street shooting at a car that is driving right at her. Then she shoots at Rogers’ shield in a fit of anger. It was both a funny moment and also one that is extremely telling of her character. In a world full of men, Carter wants to be seen as tough and above “typical” female emotions, but she likes Steve and doesn’t like seeing him kissing another woman. It’s a wonderfully human response, but in the best, most comedic way.

It’s a moment that makes her memorable. It’s that moment that I wanted to know more about Agent Carter.

Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.
Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.

Both seasons of Agent Carter are excellent, but season two of Agent Carter was hands-down some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on TV. It was a complicated tale of two women going up against each other, trying to find their power in a male-dominated world. One, Peggy Carter, chooses to do it by fighting against the darkness. The other, Whitney Frost, chooses to do it by becoming the darkness.

Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.
Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.

In the midst of their battle, people get hurt (Mrs. Jarvis almost died for goodness sake!) and Peggy and Jarvis are constantly at odds with one another as he fears that Peggy will do whatever it takes to take down the bad guys, without concern for her life or others, and Peggy desperately wants to keep Jarvis safe, even if it doesn’t always look like that.

Now that I’ve mentioned him, let’s talk about Jarvis a bit, he’s blundering and wonderful comic relief but the chemistry between him and Peggy is electric and wonderful to watch (as is her interactions between her and Stark). I could watch them put together a stereo and be highly entertained. It’s a marvelous dynamic because even though Jarvis helps Peggy in many ways, she ultimately saves him time and time again. Jarvis keeps her grounded in her humanity, he gives her a reason to survive the missions. That push and pull is part of what makes Peggy so compelling to watch. Like so many of her male counterparts, Peggy wants to do what is right and save the world, but at what cost to her life and her humanity? Peggy deserves a third (and fourth, and fifth!) season to work this stuff out. Not to mention, don’t we want to watch her found S.H.I.E.L.D? I know I do!

Bring Peggy BACK!
Bring Peggy BACK!

I don’t usually get too upset over the cancellation of TV shows, the exceptions being Firefly and Constantine, but now I have to sadly add Agent Carter to that list. It’s a big loss for women and for TV viewers to lose such a smartly written, engaging show. There’s been a lot of talk lately of Netflix picking up the show as well as Atwell herself saying she would do “whatever it takes” to bring Agent Carter back to the small screen, fingers crossed people!

Here’s hoping Netflix picks it up!

Did you enjoy Agent Carter? How do you feel about the shows cancellation? Should Netflix bring it back? Sound off in the comments!

 

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The Female Perspective: The Mary Sue Stuff Must Stop

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

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

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


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

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

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

crylead
Our newest “Star Wars” protagonist…Jyn Erso

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that so difficult?

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

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

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The Female Perspective: 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: Mark Ruffalo and Feminism – Joy!

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

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

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


I’ve been a fan of Ruffalo’s since “The Kids Are Alright,” it’s a good movie and he’s fun to watch in it. Then he played the Hulk in “The Avengers” movies and I liked him even more.  Yesterday was the day that my casual like of the actor turned to adoration.

All because of a simple Tumblr post.

Ruffalo is no stranger to standing up to feminism, he’s made comments here and there about the fact that girls need superhero toys too (having daughters, this is of particular interest to him) but just lately, it’s come to light that he is more than annoyed at the lack of equality, he’s downright pissed off.

Why is he pissed off you ask? Because of the “I’m not a feminist,” movement that has swept the nation. The way that the word feminist seems to evoke feelings of  ridicule, division and anger in both men and women. What makes me mad about the “I don’t need feminism…” movement? The fact that 98% of the reasoning is coming from an uneducated source. From people who only see the bad side of the movement and who do not see all the good it has done and nothing pisses me off more than an uneducated argument.

Sigh.
Sigh.
This is also known as being uneducated about what feminism really is.
This is also known as being uneducated about what feminism really is.

My voice does not carry as far as Ruffalo’s, so today, I want to thank him for his words:

My response to the ‘I am not a feminist’ internet phenomenon….

First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, ‘I’m not the feminist babysitter.’ But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

Oh yes, thank you for that…hey, all those women (yes, I am targeting women) who think being a feminist is a bad thing, LISTEN UP.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis centre, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks. ~ News.com.au.

Thank you Mark for saying exactly what I have been saying for years. What I continue to say on a regular basis and for what I continue to hear on a regular basis.

There is no shame in being a feminist. There is, however, shame in not knowing what was done FOR you to be in the position to complain about the word feminist. Learn your history ladies and stop stepping on feminism as if it’s a bad thing. Look back and see what women were force-fed in jails, women were raped and beaten and no one was held accountable.

UNTIL FEMINISM.

Instead of being spoiled little brats that whine about the feminists who go too far (and please, every movement has extremists, get over it), how about YOU stand up and YOU remind the world what feminism really is.

It’s the fight for equality.

BuzzFeed/ India/ Feminism/ Actress Kalki Koechlin
BuzzFeed/ India/ Feminism/ Actress Kalki Koechlin

I am a proud feminist who stands up for herself and what she believes in and it makes me frustrated and a little bit angry when people CHOOSE to be uneducated about what the movement means. Don’t choose ignorance, choose knowledge, choose education and realize that feminism has saved women, millions of women, from death, from abuse, from inequality.

So for all of this I thank someone like Ruffalo (and not just Ruffalo, there are MANY that fight the good fight for feminism and their words are heard loud and clear and I am grateful for them beyond words) for being able to articulate just what feminism should mean to so many people.

Amy Poehler on Feminism.
Amy Poehler on Feminism.

Don’t be afraid of feminism ladies and gents, be proud of its long and powerful history and be proud to call yourself a feminist because we are lucky to be here today. We are lucky to be following in the footsteps of men and women who are full of strength, integrity and a bravery I cannot even fully comprehend.

Remember, feminism is equality and equality is a great thing.

What do YOU think about feminism? Are you afraid of it? Do you want to know more about it? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Women Baring It All For a Reason…But Is The Message Lost?

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

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

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


Yesterday, a group of women decided to bare their breasts for a cause. They wanted to protest the lack of coverage over deaths of women at the hands of police. Their argument being that ALL lives matter, not just male lives.

About a dozen topless protesters stopped traffic on Market Street this morning, as part of a National Day of Action for Black Women and Girls. Using the hashtag #SayHerName, protesters sought to draw attention to black women victims of police violence, such as Rekia Boyd and Kayla Moore. ~SFWeekly 

If you read this and thought, who is Rekia Boyd or Kayla Moore, you wouldn’t be alone. I only recently heard of the Rekia Boyd shooting and it broke my heart to realize for the first time that these shootings are happening at a rapid rate and I sadly know very little about them. It’s a sign of nothing more than a willingness to put blinders on. I don’t watch the news because it’s “too depressing” and while I see some stories in my Facebook newsfeed, I never saw anything about Boyd or Moore. This article was, to me, a sign that I need to get my head out of the sand and really pay attention.

#SayHerName protest group on May 25th.
#SayHerName protest group on May 25th.

The fact is, not all police officers are bad and I want that said right up front so anyone reading this understands that I am in no way railing against the police. There are good officers out there, good men and women doing their best in a corrupt system. There are also quite a few bad ones and sadly, the bad ones make the news.

Rekia Boyd was killed accidentally by a police officer who was then let go because the "wrong" charges were brought against him. #Blacklivesmatter
Rekia Boyd was killed accidentally by a police officer who was then let go because the “wrong” charges were brought against him. #Blacklivesmatter

I digress though, this post is about the women who decided to take a stand, bare it all and say “enough is enough.” My question is this, by baring your breasts you get attention, it’s true, but is your point lost in the shock of seeing half naked women marching? Is your message lost amidst the sensationalism of the act? All I know is what I see and what I see is people not responding to what the women are trying to say but what the women look like or I see juvenile men getting all weirded out by the breasts in front of them.

Firstly, grow up.

Secondly, please listen to the message. Realize that what these women want people to know is that there are more victims of police violence than Freddie Gray or Michael Brown or Trevon Martin. There are countless other nameless faces being killed for no reason and we as a people need to see it and realize that something needs to be done.

Recently, a clothing company called PacSun was under fire for selling a t-shirt that had an upside down American flag on it. The upside down flag represents an America in distress and is deeply insulting to Veterans, active military and other patriotic people. The thing is, when I read the article and learned exactly what an upside down flag meant I wondered to myself- but isn’t America IN distress right now? Aren’t we fighting a quiet “war” with the police force? Aren’t we troubled by racism, homophobia and sexism every day? Maybe this t-shirt is more relevant than what PacSun thought it would be. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of any America-loving (being an America lover myself) person but the truth is, America is in distress.

PacSun recently removed this shirt from their stores due to protests.
PacSun recently removed this shirt from their stores due to protests.

But who will save us if the problem IS us?

Many will tell you that an upside down American flag means “the country is in distress.” The US Flag Code allows this use of the flag in situations of “dire distress,” but the intention was distress as in immediate danger to life and limb, such as your ship is sinking at sea, an SoS signal.

I write in this blog a lot about feminism in terms of pop culture, movies and comics. I am a proud feminist and I get very tired of the subtle and not-so-subtle sexism that is prevalent in the world today. I get excited when I see progress, such as Ireland allowing for same-sex marriages. I get angry when I see people being hurt or brutalized by others. Not only am I a feminist but I am also a humanist. I want equality for everyone, not just women or homosexuals or various ethnicities.

So you might be asking yourself, what point is she trying to make today? I suppose my point is this, women baring their breasts to try and raise awareness around the female deaths at the hands of police; a clothing company selling an insulting t-shirt but accidentally also making a valid point about the state of America today; the need to realize that we are all one people and should act like it, are all part of what makes America such a beautiful and wonderful place. All of these arguments, protests and discord are part of what makes humans human.

But that doesn’t make it right.

The #SayHerName protest should be treated with respect, not jokes and breast humor or ogling. It’s sad to me that PacSun had to remove the t-shirt from their stores because of the uproar it caused (what happened to #FreeSpeech?) but I also understand it, it is disrespectful and the upside down flag should not be used to sell clothing. The fact is, the truth is hard for many to face but face it we must. The truth is, America is hurting, we are all making mistakes and I am fearful of the boiling point, the point where it all falls apart. What will we do then?

Let’s hope that before that happens, we find our way towards peace and equality.

world-peace-090420w

What do you think about the state of America today? Are you fearful or confidence we will fix it? Sound off in the comments.

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The Female Perspective: Ageism AND Sexism Rears It’s Ugly Head in Hollywood…Again

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

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

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


Recently, in an interview with TheWrap magazine, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal discussed ageism and sexism in Tinseltown, revealing that she was turned down for the part of being a love interest to a 55-year old man- Gyllenhaal herself is 37. Oh yes, clearly she is a hag at this point.

Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 40th Anniversary Gracies Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 40th Anniversary Gracies Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

It’s no surprise that Hollywood treats female actresses differently than males. It’s been happening since any of us can remember. In fact, a study conducted recently stated:

A study of the top 265 earning actresses and actors in Hollywood films between 1968 and 2008 released last year by the Journal Of Management Inquiry revealed actresses are paid less as they get older, with wages increasing steadily through their 20s and dropping rapidly after 34. Meanwhile, actors’ salaries do not peak until 51 years old and do not decrease with age. ~Huffington Post

Basically, if you are an actress over the age of 34 you are out of luck in terms of getting paid the same as your male counterparts (unless you are Meryl Streep, that woman is unstoppable!). So why is this a badly kept secret that the actresses themselves seem to do nothing about? Sure, they speak out about it in magazines, but are they doing something about it to make studio’s pay them what they are worth? Or, are they fearful that by taking a stand against a studio, they may never work again? I’ll never pretend to understand Hollywood and the weirdness that goes on there (why they keep “rebooting” films is beyond me, don’t people have new ideas anymore?) so I’ll keep this brief, my confusion is about the fact that a woman like Gyllenhaal, a talented actress, who is at 37, too old to be the lover of a 55 year old man. If anything, she might be too young! It’s a bizarre situation and I give her a lot of credit for being able to discuss it gracefully.

“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” Gyllenhaal said. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Good for you!

As I read more about the study I mentioned earlier regarding the pay rates of women actresses versus men, I couldn’t get angry, anger is the wrong emotion to feel here. What I feel here is sadness. Sadness that this is what Hollywood has become. This is why getting a Superhero movie starring either Wonder Woman or Black Widow is nearly impossible, this is why we can’t have nice things!

According to the study, “Men’s well-worn faces are thought to convey maturity, character and experience. A woman’s face, on the other hand, is valued for appearing young.”

No wonder young girls starve themselves to death or try to surgically enhance themselves to the point of danger (the Kardashian lip situation rings a bell here), Hollywood rarely takes responsibility for what young girls (or even boys) do to themselves in order to look “right” for the movies. The fact is, when you look back on the “good ole days” of movies, people looked NORMAL, women had curves for pete’s sakes, they had all different hair colors and cuts. Nowadays we see a lot of the same thing, straight hair and skinny ladies. Now, I’m not hating on the skinny gals (or straight hair), I love them just as much as my curvy ladies, but what I’m saying here is that we need INDIVIDUALITY these days, not a bunch of Stepford Wives.

Apparently these lips are worth disfiguring yourself for. Go figure.
Apparently these lips are worth disfiguring yourself for. Go figure.

I feel that even as I type this it’s a waste of my time. Hollywood isn’t changing- well, not entirely.

Maybe I’m actually wrong about that, the recent Mad Max: Fury Road film is a good example of how an action movie has become something more, something feminist. Maybe those are the little changes that will eventually effect BIG change?

Only time will tell for sure on this one and even though I sound hopeless, I do actually have some hope for the future of women in film. Maybe at some point Hollywood will see that it’s okay to show an “older” woman on screen and no one will die. People won’t turn from the theater in fear or disgust. Maybe I have to be patient and wait this out.

Even the 70s Stepford Wives were more individual than some ladies today!
Even the 70s Stepford Wives were more individual than some ladies today!

What do YOU think? Will Hollywood every change? Are older actresses appealing? Sound off in the comments!