Recently, my husband and I burned through S1 of Orphan Black, which, as promised by virtually the entire internet, was awesome. But in all the praise I’d seen for it, a line from one review in particular stuck in my mind. The reviewer noted that, although the protagonist, Sarah, is an unlikeable character, her grifter skills make her perfectly suited to unravelling the mystery in which she finds herself. And as this was a positive review, I kept that quote in mind when we started watching, sort of by way of prewarning myself: you maybe won’t like Sarah, but that’s OK.

But here’s the thing: I fucking loved Sarah. I mean, I get what the reviewer was trying to say, in that she’s not always a sympathetic character, but that’s not the same as her actually being unlikeable. And the more I watched, the more I found myself thinking: why is this quality, the idea of likeability, considered so important for women, but so optional for men – not just in real life, but in narrative? Because when it comes to guys, we have whole fandoms bending over backwards to write soulful meta humanising male characters whose actions, regardless of their motives, are far less complex than monstrous. We take male villains and redeem them a hundred, a thousand times over – men who are murderers, stalkers, abusers, kinslayers, traitors, attempted or successful rapists; men with personal histories so bloody and tortured, it’s like looking at a battlefield. In doing this, we exhibit enormous compassion for and understanding of the nuances of human behaviour – sympathy for circumstance, for context, for motive and character and passion and rage, the heartache and, to steal a phrase, the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to; and as such, regardless of how I might feel about the practice as applied in specific instances, in general, it’s a praiseworthy endeavour. It helps us to see human beings, not as wholly black and white, but as flawed and complicated creatures, and we need to do that, because it’s what we are.

But when it comes to women, a single selfish or not-nice act – a stolen kiss, a lie, a brushoff – is somehow enough to see them condemned as whores and bitches forever. We readily excuse our favourite male characters of murder, but if a woman politely turns down a date with someone she has no interest in, she’s a timewasting user bimbo and god, what does he even see in her? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great online meta about, for instance, the soulfulness and moral ambiguity of Black Widow, but I’ve also seen a metric fucktonne more about what that particular jaw-spasm means in that one GIF of Cumberbatch/Ackles/Hiddleston/Smith alone, and that’s before you get into the pages-long pieces about why Rumplestiltskin or Hook or Spike or Bucky Barnes or whoever is really just a tortured woobie who needs a hug. Hell, I’m guilty of writing some of that stuff myself, because see above: plus, it’s meaty and fun and exactly the kind of analysis I like to write.

And yet, we tend overwhelmingly not to write it about ladies. It’s not just our cultural obsession with pushing increasingly specific variants of the Madonna/Whore complex onto women, such that audiences are disinclined to extend to female characters the same moral/emotional licenses they extend to men; it’s also a failure to create narratives where the women aren’t just flawed, but where the audience is still encouraged to like them when they are.

Returning to Orphan Black, for instance, if Sarah were male, he’d be unequivocally viewed as either a complex, sympathetic antihero or a loving battler with a heart of gold. I mean, the ex-con trying to go straight and get his daughter back while still battling the illegalities of his old life and punching bad guys? Let me introduce you to Swordfish, Death Race, and about a millionty other stories where a father’s separation from a beloved child, whether as a consequence of his actual criminal actions, shiftless neglect, sheer bad luck or a combination of all three, is never couched as a reason why he might not be a fit parent. We tend to accept, both culturally and narratively, that men who abandon their children aren’t automatically bad dads; they just have other, important things to be doing first, like coming to terms with parenthood, saving the world, escaping from prison or otherwise getting their shit together. But Sarah, who left her child in the care of someone she trusted absolutely, has to jump through hoops to prove her maternal readiness on returning; has to answer for her absence over and over again. And on one level, that’s fine; that’s as it should be, because Sarah’s life is dangerous. And yet, her situation stands in glaring contrast to every returning father who’s never been asked to do half so much, because women aren’t meant to struggle with motherhood, to have to try to succeed: we’re either maternal angels or selfish absentees, and the idea that we might sometimes be both or neither isn’t one you often see depicted with such nuance.

Gender, Orphan Black & The Meta Of Meta

read this, read it right now it’s absolutely genius.

(via sarahcosima)



Watching Pokémon on Saturday mornings as a kid

Me watching Pokemon as an adult



(;╹⌓╹) = What scares the character

I kind of already answered that question when I was asked about Mewtwo’s biggest fear, but that’s okay! Mewtwo is hardly scared of anything, because he is very self confident in his strength and thus opponents and such do not scare him at…

whalegomoo asked:

10, 20!

Viking - How do you feel about the ocean?

love the ocean! I watch a lot of nerdy documentaries about ocean life. For example, I was watching a documentary about seahorses the other night. I had no idea that they were endangered as much as they are!

Visiting aquariums is one of my favorite things to do, and I wish that they had one locally. But I make sure to visit the Baltimore Aquarium whenever I go to Otakon, and if there is an aquarium in any city that I visit, I try to make a trip to that, too.

Summoner - If you were to have a familiar, or spirit animal, what would it be like?

Hmm…something probably ridiculously small and cute. Like a cat/rabbit hybrid. With a unicorn horn that could manifest tea and cakes at my whim. And glittery pink fur. And it would somehow float and make cute squeaky sounds. And smell like roses. And of course it would grant me unparalleled magical girl powers. Yeaaaah.

But as far as real animals go? I’ve always felt a strong connection to narwhals. To me, they represent a belief in magic and lore, and to never stop believing in fairytales, and to chase your dreams. (Plus my last name has “whale” in it, so, y’know. It fits.)

Samurai, Dragoon, Dark Knight

Samurai - Have you ever upset someone who depended on you?

Oh, undoubtedly. I’m certain that I’ve let people down in small ways, such as group projects in class, being unable to make it to parties/social events, or not doing as good of a job on a project at work as I could have.

As far as major let-downs? I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but I am sure that I have upset someone close to me somehow.

Dragoon - When have you felt the most pressure on your shoulders?

Not many people know this, but I had a massive break-down around this time last Summer. The job I was working at the time had started become progressively more hellish, and I was working about 50 hours a week and not getting compensated for it. All the other employees aside from me were let go from the company, so everything fell direction on my shoulders. I had almost no days off and was completely hating the stress I felt each day, to the point I would cry in my car on my hour-long commute home each night. 

(as a side note, I also have an anxiety disorder, so this added pressure and stress did not help my condition in the slightest.)

In a year’s time, I’ve done a complete 180, though. Although I still feel painful bouts of loneliness on an almost daily basis, I’m pretty happy with my life at the moment.

Dark Knight - What do you believe in that most people don’t find honorable?

I don’t understand why we stigmatize prostitution and sex workers so much in this country. I see it as a legitimate occupation that deserves respect as much as any other job. As long as someone willingly enters the occupation, then I don’t see the problem. If no one is getting hurt, I don’t see why it’s anyone else’s business.