Posted on

The Female Perspective: The Women of the Marvel Netflix Universe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on

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!


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.


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

Posted on

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.


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?


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!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: “Forget Women Seeing This”

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.

As I was scrolling through the online world this week I came across an article that both amused the holy heck out of me and pissed me off royally. The article, is a short piece about a “veteran” film blogger who was talking about the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “The Revenant” and how women wouldn’t enjoy it because of it’s brutal nature.

Hmmm…okay veteran blogger, generalize much?

Now, the movie isn’t out yet so I cannot comment on that. I can, however, comment on the trailer that I have watched a couple times. It looks interesting, sure, but I’m not sure it’s interesting enough for me to trek out to the theater and shell over 400 million dollars for the film (that might be an exaggeration of the cost of a theater ticket…). I can say unequivocally though that the reason I wouldn’t rush out to see it is not because it looks raw and brutal. Nope. I can watch a brutal movie any day of the week, I just want to WANT to see it.

These days, with the cost of seeing a movie so high it takes a lot for me to want to see a film. It has to include movie stars I enjoy, a director I love, a good story. It almost always has to include super hero’s and/or be made from a book that I adored. I’m very picky and I know for certain that the next movie I see will the Star Wars: The Force Awakens and after that? Not so sure.

My taste in movies aside, this article proves a very good point, people are VERY sensitive these days and they take the smallest comment and turn it into a “controversy”. Case in point, the veteran film blogger who simply Tweeted,

“The Revenant” is an unflinchingly brutal, you-are-there, raw-element immersion like something you’ve never seen. Forget women seeing this. – Hollywood Elsewhere @wellshwood

Film Blogger Jeffrey Wells
Film Blogger Jeffrey Wells

For those four words, “Forget women seeing this,” Jeffrey Wells caused quite the Twitter furor (what else is new these days?) and had to apologize for his comments. The fact is, this is not the first time Wells has gotten himself in trouble, the article goes on to say,

This is not the first time Wells has triggered controversy. In a post about the trailer for Trainwreck, he criticised Amy Schumer’s looks, describing her as “Jennifer Aniston’s somewhat heavier, not-as-lucky sister”; he wrote: “Life would be heavenly and rhapsodic if women had the personality and temperament of dogs” in a post about the Neil LaBute play Reasons to Be Pretty; and Deadline leaked a 2007 email in which he asked 3:10 to Yuma director James Mangold for topless photos of Vinessa Shaw. –The Guardian

So yeah, this guy is pretty obviously a misogynist so I will not defend his words. He has his opinion and he feels that a brutal, unflinching look at a man trying to survive in old-time America would be too much for our fragile female souls.

Basically, I think this guy can go pound sand.

There are probably a handful of MEN in this world who would also find a movie like “The Revenant” difficult to watch and Wells could have chosen any other combo of words to express the fact that the movie is harsh and unrelenting and violent. He didn’t though, he said what he meant and what he means (I assume) is that women don’t like violent, brutal films. As a writer of any kind generalizing like this is a dangerous thing to do. It is unfair to whatever sex or race or whoever you single out because odds are, there are going to be people who disagree with you. As did many, MANY folks disagree with Wells and his comment.

"The Revenant"
“The Revenant”

Newsflash Mr. Wells, women can enjoy a brutal, violent film like the next guy, but sometimes we choose not to subject ourselves to violence in our theater experience because, guess what? There is TONS of violence in the “real world” these days and we can all do with a little mellow, a little peace. Just like anyone else, male or female.

I don’t know if this all makes sense but what I am trying to say is this; People need to just leave jerks like Wells to their dark holes of misogynistic women-judging and move on to address the things that really matter. Like feeding hungry families, helping the poor and all the other issues plaguing our nation today.

That being said, all Wells did was make me WANT to see this movie now so you can bet your bottom that I’ll be watching it in some form and I won’t shy away from it’s brutal ideas and visuals. I’m a horror movie junkie and while I may get grossed out, I’ll still watch the darn thing because half the fun of going to a movie is living through someone else’s experiences and seeing what happens. Besides all of that, if a movie is well done (and with this film there is a lot of pre-Oscar buzz around it), even if it’s a rough watch, it’s worth my time. I’ve watched plenty of movies that have difficult themes including some of DiCaprio’s latest work, and have found them challenging to my heart, soul and mind and that, to me, is the BEST kind of entertainment.


What do YOU think of Wells’ comments? Do you think you’ll see “The Revenant”? Sound off below!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: I’m More Than My Hair

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.

Before I really get into this blog I want to start by saying that I realize there are way more important things in the world to be talking about other than my hair or women’s hair or haircuts. I get it, the world is messed up right now and there are many, MANY people hurting and I feel for them. At the same time, there isn’t much I can say here that isn’t already being said better by other, smarter, folks than me.

Let me just say this, closing our hearts and boarders to people isn’t the way to make this country safe. Evil always finds away, sad but true. Becoming part of the evil though, that’s a choice we make when we turn our backs on the hungry, the poor, the scared and “huddled masses”, we are all smart people capable of smart choices. Let’s try doing that for a change.

Just a thought.

I, like so many women, have attempted most hairstyles (not the mohawk, I would look silly) and dyed my hair a rainbow of colors. I have always liked to experiment and see how I look different ways. Eventually, that stopped when I was at my heaviest weight. I grew my hair out nice and long and kept it that way because I was convinced that my head was far too small for my body and the long hair masked that issue.

My "before" photo.
My “before” photo.

Recently I have lost over 100 pounds and I can see my cheekbones for the first time in a very long time. Also recently, I have gotten into wearing fun wigs, one of which being a purple wig in a short bob. I really enjoyed the look and decided that  maybe it was time to cut off my long locks in favor of a shorter do.

I went back and forth on this for a week or so, because for me (and a lot of women) hair is a big deal. It’s part of our femininity, our sexuality and I had been around so many men that said long hair was sexy, short hair was not, that I had pretty much decided that if I cut off my hair I would be unattractive to my love. Which could not be farther from the truth, he was ALL for me changing my look. He urged me to get really daring with it (I love that man) and to really transform my hair in the same way I have been working so hard to transform my body this last year.

Then a good friend of mine posted a story about a woman who cut off all her hair, it’s a story of sickness and recovery, of unbelievable bravery and I realized, holy crap, it IS just hair. It grows back. It’s not who I am or even what I am. It’s just some fuzzy stuff on the top of my body that I style (sort of) or dye different colors or get annoyed with when it gets caught in zippers or under purse straps. It’s. Just. Hair.

Clare Bowen. Photo credit - Joseph Llanes Photography
Clare Bowen. Photo credit – Joseph Llanes Photography

Here’s the story:

Clare Bowen

Wanna know why I cut it all off?

When I was four years old, I asked my mother; “Are there heaters in Heaven?”

I had just been diagnosed with end stage nephroblastoma, after several visits to a GP who denied anything was wrong and dubbed my parents “paranoid.” I’d overheard the doctors telling my family that the only hope of saving me, was an experimental treatment that might kill me anyway. But without it I had maybe two weeks left. The hospital was cold. I’d never felt air conditioning before.

Life in the White Palace (Granddad’s nickname for hospital) meant I got to grow up surrounded by children just like me. We were mostly bald, all tubed, taped, bandaged up and stitched back together. We were all missing parts, some obvious like eyes or legs, others more hidden, like lungs and kidneys. Those who still could, tip-toed around like little fairies because chemotherapy had destroyed the muscles in our legs and it hurt to put our heels on the floor. But we were all together, so no one’s appearance came into question. No one got laughed at or teased. We were all we knew.

And then I got really lucky. I survived, my hair grew back and I got strong again. I look relatively normal on the outside, but on the inside, I am still the same stitched back together little creature, in a world where people are judged so harshly for the way they look. It has always been completely incomprehensible to me. How can people think there’s time for that?

I was really inspired when I heard a story about a little girl who said she couldn’t be a princess because she didn’t have long hair, and I wanted her, and others like her to know that’s not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero. It’s not what makes you beautiful either. It’s your insides that count… even if you happen to be missing half of them.

Every scar tells a story, every baldhead, every dark circle, every prosthetic limb, and every reflection in a mirror that you might not recognize anymore. Look deeper than skin, hair, nails, and lips. You are who you are in your bones. That is where you have the potential to shine the brightest from. It is where your true beautiful self lives.

Thank you ABC network and particularly our creator, Callie Khouri for letting me change Scarlett’s hair, and my team, family and friends for helping me make the decision. If it makes even one person think twice about judging another, then in some small way, the world is better.
Self-esteem takes a lot longer to grow back than hair.


Amazing right? It says everything I am trying to say with a beauty that leaves me breathless and a little teary. It made me see that my worry over the length of my hair is about much more than physical appearance. It goes so much deeper than that, to a place where I lived for much of my life. To a place where I was afraid and lonely, thinking that no one could ever love me. To a place where I felt completely inferior.

I don’t live in that place anymore. Therapy. Friends and a man named Frankie have changed my life forever. I’ve learned to be confident and happy and to know that I am loved no matter what I wear, what I look like or what I do. It’s a beautiful place to live and it’s a place I live in with short hair now and guess what? I feel really pretty and free of long hair misery that the hair represented. That hair represented the fat Jessica. The unhappy Jessica. The unhealthy Jessica. While it is just hair it’s also so much more than that which it shouldn’t be and the good news? Most of it is all gone now and I couldn’t be happier.

So what’s my point with all of this? My point is that life is too short to obsess over a haircut. It’s too short to worry about what other people might think about how you look. Life should be lived in full color, with the sound turned way up, with laughter, with love (lots of love), with good food, good friends and good times. Don’t live in the place of fear. Live in a place of joy and your life will be a life well lived.

My "After" Photo.
My “After” Photo.

What are you afraid of? What fear do you wish you could conquer? Maybe 2016 is the time to do that! Tell me in the comments.


Posted on

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

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

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

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

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

John Oliver and His Thoughts On The Internet

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

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

Batgirl Has Been Fighting For Equal Pay For a Loooooong Time

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

Batgirl Wants Equal Pay!

The World Right Now and The World Long Ago

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

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

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

Posted on

The Female Perspective: The Women Are On Top!

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 stumbled across an article from NPR today (I love NPR by the way) and they were talking about how currently, women-centric films are at the top of the box-office.

This year, though, is different: We are almost at the midpoint of 2015, and as of right now, more than half of the top 10 box-office hits — six of them — center their stories on female characters. Besides Mad Max, there’s its archrival Pitch Perfect 2, as well as Insurgent with its combative heroine Tris; Fifty Shades of Grey; the animated kid-flick Home, in which a little girl saves the planet from invading aliens; and Disney’s live-action Cinderella.

NPRThis Year, Women (And Girls) Rule The Big Screen

Let’s just take a few minutes to take a look at that. More than half of the top 10 box-office hits feature women storylines. What does that say about the audiences? That hey, what do you know, WOMEN go to the movies! They watch traditionally man-centric films like Mad Max and movies based on (bad) books like Fifty Shades of Grey among others. It says that maybe Hollywood is actually taking steps to even the playing field when it comes to man-movies versus female-movies?

Pitch Perfect 2 is just one of the many female-centric movies topping the box-office charts.
Pitch Perfect 2 is just one of the many female-centric movies topping the box-office charts.

I can’t lie, reading a statistic like this made me really happy. Even though less than half of the female-centric movies were directed/written by women, it’s a step in the right direction for the film industry. Maybe there will come a time when the studio execs will realize that people WILL, in fact, watch a movie centered around a woman. The success of The Hunger Games movies should show that pretty succinctly. Katniss Everdeen is a household name for a lot of people and while the movies aren’t the best, I can’t fault Jennifer Lawrence, she has so far turned in some pretty stellar performances and the final installment is due out this year. I suspect it’ll have record numbers.

Spy with Melissa McCarthy is topping the box-office this week.
Spy with Melissa McCarthy is topping the box-office this week.

Recently, the movie Spy was released and it is a movie based around a female superhero (the always funny Melissa McCarthy) and it is topping the box-office charts after this past weekend. Proving once again that people will turn out and pay for movies starring and about women.

In 13 of the past 30 years, not a single top 10 box-office hit was centered on a female character. And in the other years, there were never many — just one per year for eight years, and two or three in the others, and that, largely thanks to the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises. -NPR

It does make you wonder what is the difference between this year and years past. Is it simply that better movies are being made (though Fifty Shades of Grey would make that instantly untrue)? Or is it that the characters are compelling, multi-layered and strong? Could it simply be that women LIKE movies and when they see movies being made about women, they go and see them? All of these or none of these factors could be true. I am not a genius when it comes to these types of things but what I can say is that it’s heartening to see this type of statistic. Please Hollywood, take note of the fact that women-centred movies DO make money. Take note that you should make more like this to entertain the ladies.

Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Max takes a lot of "orders" from Furiosa.
Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Max takes a lot of “orders” from Furiosa.

Or better yet, make more films like Mad Max: Fury Road, that had a man and woman SHARING the spotlight and in fact, Max took a lot of his cues from Furiosa which was awesome to see, not from a crazed man-hated perspective but from the point of view that yeah, sometimes men DO listen to women. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

Not all of these feminine characters are “empowered” exactly — don’t even get me started on the Bechdel test — but they are feminine, which is no small thing. Remember it’s just three years ago that Pixar’s Brave was called “brave” simply for being about an action heroine. -NPR

All-in-all I have to say that for the moment, women films are on top and I’m going to enjoy the holy heck out of it while I can!

What do YOU think? Are you happy to see Hollywood churning out more women-centric films? Do you think they are quality films? Should Hollywood do more of them? Sound off in the comments!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Call Her Caitlyn and Treat Her Like a Woman! Sounds Good in Theory.

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.


A beautiful, powerful woman.
A beautiful, powerful woman.

I felt the need to jump on the Caitlyn Jenner/Bruce Jenner story this week because of one video I saw from the ever awesome Jon Stewart. He made a point that even I missed.

In case you haven’t seen it:

Thank you, once again, Jon Stewart for bring to light the fact that now that Bruce has become her true self, she is no longer a strong, powerful athlete, she is now a woman and is subject to the appraisals and judgments that all women face. Welcome Caitlyn. It’s annoying and it kind of sucks.


Steward also makes an amazing point, not only is the media comparing Caitlyn to other women, but the media is making sure to take down other women all at the same time. Way to go. And yes, they are awful.

I personally feel that what Jenner has done is extremely brave and a step forward for all Transgender people. They are often forgotten in the minefield that is American culture today. So wrapped up in civil rights for all races, for women and for homosexuals that we have forgotten this segment of the rich and beautiful place called America. Transgendered folks pick possibly one of the hardest paths to follow with no reward other than their own personal body and mind freedom (which, don’t get me wrong, is HUGE). A transgender person gets shunned out of using a bathroom for fear of…what exactly? What do people think is going to happen to them in a bathroom? Peeing? Pooping? Is the transgender going to “rub off” somehow?

The fact is, as much as I detest all things Kardashian, I applaud Caitlyn Jenner for her bravery and her openness about her new body and her new life. I wish her only good things and I truly hope that she (along with women like Laverne Cox) continue to pave the way for all of the transgender community. They are brave in a way that I cannot even fully fathom. Let’s treat them as the powerful souls they truly are.

Now, if only the media could stop treating women, all women, like pieces of meat to be fawned over and judged. I am sick and tired of watching them tear down women in the name of “complimenting” other women. I find the Jenner transition fascinating because we can actually see the divide between men in the media and women in the media epitome in one person. Before becoming Caitlyn, Bruce Jenner was a highly respected athlete, a powerful man who people respected and spent time discussing his power and his athletic ability. Now, as Caitlyn, Jenner is held up to a totally different standard. How good she looks, who she look better than and so on and so forth.

It’s disgusting.

But how do we stop it? The sad and simple answer is that we cannot. We cannot control the media or the narrative. What we can do is to not do to each other what the media does to us. We can talk about a woman in terms of her athletic prowess, her power and her strength while also talking about her beauty and we can treat men the same way because honestly, men are beautiful too. We just cannot possibly call them that for fear of making them look, sound or feel “too feminine.”

This double standard has to stop.

For now though, I applaud Caitlyn Jenner and wish her well on her new life.

What do you think about the whole Caitlyn Jenner story? Is Jon Stewart right? Is there a way to change the narrative in the media about women? Sound off in the comments!

A reminder to those pigheaded enough to not be able to see Jenner as anything but a man.
A reminder to those pigheaded enough to not be able to see Jenner as anything but a man.

Posted on

The Female Perspective: A Little Something Different Today…Meet Tara!

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

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

I decided to do something a wee-bit different in todays blog post. From time-to-time I come across products that are really great and I want to be able to tell a large amount of people. This blog is one way for me to do that. I wanted to share with everyone some info I learned about Essential Oils this week due to my friend and doTerra consultant, Tara Devany.

Tara Devany, Wellness Advocate & Consultant for doTerra oils.
Tara Devany, Wellness Advocate & Consultant for doTerra oils.

If you have ever wondered about essential oils or how to use them, then this will give you a little bit of cool info on them. Read it and feel free to share or contact Tara on her Facebook page for even more great info on oils and how they can benefit your life.

Mmmm...essential oils are perfect for massage!
Mmmm…essential oils are perfect for massage!

Wellness Advocate Tara Devany: Essential Oils Are Your Friend!

Essential oils are one of those items that are useful but seem intimidating to many. It can often be overwhelming to decide which oils to choose. The fact is, oils are a wonderful and natural item to incorporate into your day-to-day life. You can use them for cleaning, body care, perfume, in your humidifier or even as a lip balm! The possibilities are truly endless! Besides their many uses, they smell fantastic!

I had the pleasure of talking to one of my good friends, Tara Devany, about her new role as a consultant for the doTerra company. According to doTerra’s website their mission is to;

“bring a new standard of therapeutic-grade essential oils to the world. [We] wanted something different that would appeal to all people—from those who knew nothing of essential oils to those who were considered experts in the field.”

Tara is now part of the doTerra family as a “Wellness Advocate” someone doTerra explains as being a person who;

introduces, educates, and sells dōTERRA products in their local markets through person-to-person contact and globally through personalized web shopping sites.”

I sat down and talked to Tara about her love of essential oils and found out some of her favorite uses for them. I also asked her why we, as consumers, should invest in doTerra essential oils.

Cedarwood is a rich, woodsy scent that is perfect for men or women.
Cedarwood is a rich, woodsy scent that is perfect for men or women.

What do you love about doTerra oils or essential oils in particular?

Essential oils are compounds naturally produced by plants to defend against pathogens and to attract pollinators. We can extract these oils from the plants and use them aroma- therapeutically.

doTerra provides products that are grown indigenously and have farms around the world that support local economies. Though they aren’t certified organic or fair trade their practices reflect those values. The testing they do to ensure a therapeutic grade essential oil, which is what you want, sets a bar for the industry. They have their oils third party tested for many things including for the presence of pesticides and guarantee the purity of their oils.

What made you decide to be a consultant for them? What makes you feel comfortable recommending oil use to others?

I was approached by my mentor Jodi Dyer Tefft about using and selling doTerra products at a time when I was beginning to return to work after taking a couple years to raise my son. I felt I was able and I genuinely wanted to contribute more financially to help support my family, but it needed to be something I enjoy. I enjoy being a part of the transformation and the process of discovery when people are seeking ways to empower themselves and their families to healthier living.

Personally, I always look for products with the least amount of ingredients and for ingredients that aren’t just non-toxic but also promote homeostasis, or your bodies natural tendency to seek balance. doTerra essential oils fit both criteria and have the added benefit of smelling wonderful.

Lavender = Yummy
Lavender = Yummy

What are some of your favorite uses for essential oils?

  • Melaleuca (tea tree) and lavender mixed with distiller water makes a great yoga mat wash.
  • Lemon oil or the Citrus Bliss blend are invigorating and work well for improving your mood during the long winters or to help keep students attention in a classroom
  • The wood oils like cedar wood or sandalwood make a great natural scent for men.
  • doTerra also makes breath freshening Beadlets filled with peppermint to aid digestion. They also have an immune support blend called ON Guard.

What are some of your favorite oils and why? What are their benefits?

I love that making your own cleaning products is a cinch with essential oils. Adding essential oils of tea tree, rosemary and lavender to an apple cider vinegar and baking soda rinse helps promote healthy hair and scalp. Add thyme to that for balancing the oils on your scalp.

doTerra's ON guard beadlets.
doTerra’s ON guard beadlets.

Why should people buy doTerra oils specifically?

I think people should incorporate the use of essential oils into their daily lives to improve their health. doTerra makes purchasing oils easy and attainable. Start small with the Introductory Kit of lemon, lavender and peppermint. Visit and become a member of my group on Facebook, focus in~ Essential Oils, and share your experiences or find information. Ask questions so we can learn new things together as a community. I think the success of an endeavor hinges on the support created by the community you are a part of and we would love to be that community.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me Tara! For those that want to buy some wonderful oils make sure to check out Tara’s website!

*It should be noted that none of the statements in this article have been approved by the FDA.

What about you? Do you use essential oils regularly? What kind of tips or tricks can you offer about their uses? Sound off in the comments!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Women, Horror and Hags

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

Today I came across a blog about how a woman was lambasted for being in costume during one of her book signings. She was insulted by a fellow writer. Both are horror writers and he apparently felt she was trying to garner more attention by being in costume. Duh! That’s what we try to do! We WANT attention, we WANT people to come up and talk to us and buy our books! But what this guy was insulted by was the fact that she was in costume and…a woman? Hard to say really.

He said women were especially bad at trying to grab attention (“claiming” we’re horror writers when we aren’t) and most of us are hags anyway. ~Mercedes M. Yardley

Yeah, hags, women horror writers are hags. I shudder to think what he calls other female writers of other genres. This is simply yet another example of the division between the sexes. It’s why we have to have a Women In Horror Month (February in case you didn’t know) and it’s why feminism is so important. Because there will always be a man out there that thinks that women can’t write horror – um, hello, we bleed every month. We know a thing or two about horror my friend. We also give birth and if you’ve ever heard a birth story, you know it’s horrific (and beautiful). The annoying fact is, there will always be men who simply see women as “the fairer sex” and nothing more. They’ll see women as fragile and weak. Which is their failing, not ours as women even though we pay the price for it.

Women in Horror Month is more important than you think.
Women in Horror Month is more important than you think.

I can say for a fact that women kick some serious butt in both horror movies and in writing horror stories. Serious. Butt. We’ve all see Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies or Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. They don’t need a man to “save” them, they take care of business themselves. Women are far tougher than some men believe.

Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween" - a true bad ass lady in horror.
Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween” – a true bad ass lady in horror.

The fact is, why does anyone feel as though they get to degrade and judge another person? Why do we feel like we can assume to know what’s going on in a persons head and then judge them based upon that assumption?

I’m a writer, I’ve published two books, one a fiction fantasy novel and the other a personal memoir. I cannot speak to the world of horror except for one thing, I posted a piece of flash fiction I wrote on the wrong page on Facebook one day, I didn’t realize my mistake until I got unpleasant comments from two men on the page. It was a horror writers page. Neither man commented on my writing except to be rude about it. I was lucky in that they only insulted my writing and not me. Not a big deal but I wanted to say something about their rudeness. I decided the better and less stressful course of action would be to delete the post entirely (as I didn’t mean to post it there in the first place).

I’ve learned now that “fighting” on Facebook is a waste of my time and my braincells. As I’ve written before, trolls are out there and they LIVE for insults and starting arguments.

One of the aspects I liked most about Yardley’s post is that she doesn’t name the male horror writer who insulted her friend.  She says simply, “he doesn’t deserve the attention.” Yes! Exactly right on!

That’s the best way to combat these trolls (because yes, they are all trolls to me), IGNORE THEM.

I'd like to see these trolls say these things to my face...
I’d like to see these trolls say these things to my face…

Yardley then goes on to say something that truly struck a cord with me.

Why spend your time attacking women that are of no concern to you?

You don’t have the right.

We are here. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re going to write what we want and how we want. If we want to do readings in libraries, good. If we want to do booksignings on a lawn, more power to us. Our path to success doesn’t concern you. It doesn’t impede yours. You don’t like what we write, where we hold signings, or what we’re wearing?

Nobody asked you. And more importantly?

You don’t get to tell us what to do.

I think she hit the nail on the head here. This is the problem with the male patriarchy. THIS is why feminists become so angry. Go ahead, call us hags or other rude names. Mock our outfits, our looks or our size. But stop telling us what to do. Stop thinking that you are even allowed to tell us what to do. This is 2015.

Women are beautiful, smart, talented, strong and complex beings.

Men are beautiful, smart, talented, strong and complex beings.

Why can’t we simply all be human?

What do you think? Tell me in the comments section!