I’M WATCHING THE LAST EPISODE OF GILMORE GIRLS’ SEASON FOUR AND MY BRAIN IS STUCK ON A LOOP OF ASDFGHJKL
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” Oscar Wilde
This gif’s widespread use as shorthand for the concept of ~weaponized femininity~ has always bothered me, and I’ve never understood why it’s become so popular. I mean, sure, at first brush, it seems obvious: here is a studiedly beautiful woman who, with the simple gesture of placing a cigarette between her lips, has dozens of men wrapped around her finger, vying for her favor. But just take a minute here and look at her face. She’s not reveling in this, you get the feeling that she didn’t even expect it, this woman is upset and overwhelmed by the amount of male attention she’s getting.
Because this is a pivotal moment in a movie about a woman who is forced into prostitution.
Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena came out in 2000, and starred Monica Bellucci as the titular Malena, a young wife whose husband is off fighting for the Axis Powers in WWII. Beautiful and shy, Malena tries to keep to herself, but finds it increasingly difficult as word of her husband’s absence attracts not only the attention of all the men in town, but the bitter jealousy of their wives and lovers. She does nothing to encourage any of her suitors, and instead spends her days caring for her aging father. But this uneasy peace in her life is shattered when she receives word of her husband’s death, and she’s left to fend for herself in a town where half the people only care for her body, and the other half hate her for it.
In the rest of the film we see the following: Malena’s relationship with her father destroyed as a result of sexual slander, Malena taken to court by a jealous neighbor who swears the young woman was sleeping with her husband, Malena’s rape by her lawyer as “payment” for her legal fees, Malena’s entry into the world of prostitution, and Melena’s public beating, stripping, and humiliation at the hands of the town’s women when the Americans arrive at the end of the war. Her husband appears in the third act, somehow alive, and he reclaims his wife, restoring her to respectability, and the townspeople begin to accept her once more, now that she is on the arm of her husband, and has, as some of the women whisper, ‘put on a little weight”.
But in spite of all of that, the film isn’t Malena’s story. Instead, we see her life through the eyes of our narrator, a young boy who by turns worships her and is disgusted by her “fall”. This is his coming of age, his discovery of himself through Malena’s trauma and the specter of female sexual jealousy.
In short, this is not a woman’s movie. Malena’s beauty is a cage, something that draws awful, selfish responses from the men around her, responses that she is forced to endure as a result of her situation. And what’s worse, her looks isolate her from women, none of whom can see past her smoky eyes and hourglass figure to the heartbroken widow who needs a friend.
So you know. Use gifs if you like, weaponize that femininity in the most numbskulled, reductively simple way possible, because lipstick is ~how you control men~ and Sex Is About Power, like Oscar Wilde said. Just remember that in this film, and so tragically often in real life, that power doesn’t rest in women’s hands.
I’M WATCHING THE LAST EPISODE OF GILMORE GIRLS’ SEASON FOUR AND MY BRAIN IS STUCK ON A LOOP OF ASDFGHJKL
Tumblr, teaching more about rape culture than they do in school
tumblr, knowing more about rape culture than governments do
Today I was feeling especially shitty about gender binary, and how it’s acceptable to be androgynous only if you’re young, thin and pretty. I hear people talking shit about old “men” who wear makeup and “look ridiculous”, and I feel like they’re talking about me because one day I’ll be old and wrinkly and maybe finally brave enough to wear whatever the fuck I want. So I doodled these to cheer myself up, as a kind of a “fuck you” to assholes and a “love you” to fellow genderqueer people. Let’s grow old together and be awesome. <3
I will stop reblogging this when it stops being perfection.
If I ever stop reblogging this please presume I’m dead
I had a strange experience with a reader’s response, and it taught me something fascinating about the power of the narrator’s perspective.
I’d just introduced a woman, and I’d described her military uniform and suggested she was a capable runner. Beyond the description that she was small and fit, I described nothing sexual about her appearance.
Here’s the exact description. The context is that she’s reclined on a mattress, smoking from an opium pipe.
She was short, only a touch over five feet tall, and had a slender build reminding him of a long distance runner. Her clothes were the standard British Raj uniform, cut small but loose for the heat, and probably tailored out of something intended for a young soldier. She’d worn it with purpose, filling the pockets with tools and materials and wrapping her boots up with puttees—yet vanity compromised the military appearance elsewhere. Her shiny, slightly greasy hair tended to wing outwards, so she’d cut it above her shoulders and tied it back with a short yellow ribbon, and she wore a tiny, frilly green chiffon scarf around her neck.
Let me break down my thinking as an author. I gave the most general description of her build and fitness, both of which matter in a book with in-depth action scenes. I showed that she was seriously prepared for the conditions, but I also suggested that she sacrificed a little functionality for appearances. She was actually introduced wearing period and region appropriate clothes, unlike the main characters who arrived in formal outfits. This contrast was deliberate and will be plot important.
Later in the story, her decorations will be useful in two ways. First, they’ll be visual shorthand for her presence. For example, she can tie her ribbon to a stake. Second, they’ll be reminders of her past. I can use them to introduce discussions about human memory, which is especially important with her character because she deliberately forgets events.
None of this is particularly sexual, but when I pasted that exact tidbit to a reader, his response was, “Erotica?”
He honestly thought that description came from someone’s pornography, which probably said more about his perception of women in literature than it did about my description. However, it still suggested that I’d done something wrong, since the text was meant to communicate a state of preparation and an attitude towards the scenario rather than her visual attractiveness. But what was wrong?
I thought about what the text implied. She was small, fit, and wearing traditionally pretty decorations. In the absence of traditionally ugly details, the baseline would be a pretty woman.
I wondered if that implication of beauty was the root cause of the strange response. It was certainly a part of it, but not all of it. There had to be something else. The question was, could I do anything about it?
Of course I could. I brainstormed with my friend Jon, and we came up with a theory.
The individual elements of her description weren’t the problem. Rather, it was how long the narrator spent looking at her through a character’s eyes. It was accidentally implied that the character studied her in great detail, not for appraisal of competency but for appraisal of beauty. Essentially, the narrator was leering.
Male characters usually received longer descriptions, and it never felt like the narrator leered at them, but clearly some readers were holding her to a different standard. The amount of attention she received was perceived by some readers as a measure of her attractiveness.
The solution was not to remove attention from her, but rather to find a way to force the reader to see her through the intended context. Thus, I divided her description into two parts and couched the pieces in dialogue and exposition.
The Baron recognized her, but she didn’t expect him to.
She was short, only a touch over five feet tall, and she was built like a long distance runner, wiry and light. Her clothes were the standard British Raj uniform, cut small but loose for the heat, and probably tailored out of something intended for a young soldier.
"Why didn’t you dodge?" Gen asked.
"Landi Kotal isn’t that safe," Beth said. "If they were here, imagine the mob standing outside the temple."
The Baron was impressed with her preparation. She’d worn the uniform with purpose, filling the pockets with tools and materials and wrapping her boots up with puttees—yet vanity compromised the military appearance elsewhere. Her shiny, slightly greasy hair tended to wing outwards, so she’d cut it above her shoulders and tied it back with a short yellow ribbon, and she wore a tiny, frilly green chiffon scarf around her neck.
He recognized that scarf, though he hadn’t known its color.
The dialogue beat reminded the reader that she was a competent agent in the preceding scene, even if she was absent from the narrator’s point of view. It led into the Baron assessing her in terms of preparation, deliberately pointing towards functionality, and then I gave her scarf an immediate plot purpose, which reminded the reader that the main character—and thus the narrator—was observing salient details, not sexual ones.
By breaking the description in half and forcing the reader’s attention elsewhere, I stopped the narrator from leering at a woman.
Plus, it just reads better now.
I’m in a very porny place right now. I also apparently still have high hopes for the alpha/spark thing.
WHAT IF they were making out (because you know they’re gonna make out) and Derek bit Stiles (because you know he’s gonna bite Stiles) and he just shuddered and his eyes started glowing red and he was suddenly an alpha again? AND THEN of course he decided that fucking Stiles senseless should be his first priority as a newly sparked alpha, because. well. all you need is
I would like to cast my vote for the universe a step left of this one, where Stiles charges Derek up but it only lasts so long, right, which means whenever there’s a Big Bad in town Stiles and Derek have to duck into the back of the Jeep while Scott takes the rest of the pack in the Camaro, or into a closet, or a time or two just tucked behind a tree while hell is flying loose around them, thank god for Stiles’s danger boners.
"Over here," Derek said, whispered, pulling Stiles along by his hand.
"What’s happening?" Stiles followed along willingly enough, past a bath salt kiosk and a clutch of blue haired octogenarians, down a side hallway and into the family bathroom. "Is something wrong?" Stiles hissed.
"Yes," Derek checked under all the single stall for feet and then locked the door and herded Stiles up against it.
"What is it?" Stiles said, fanning his fingers over the back of Derek’s neck. "Is it dangerous? Do we need to phone someone?"
Derek said nothing. He hoisted Stiles up by the thighs, started sucking warm marks on his clavicle, rubbed circles along Stiles’ flanks with his thumbs.
"Are you out of juice already?" Stiles demanded, curling his fingers in Derek’s hair.
Derek paused, nose tucked along Stiles’ neck. “Yes,” he said, after deliberation.
"You’re a filthy liar," Stiles said. He gestured magnanimously to the sinks, his breath catching, excited. Maybe there was something dangerous, who the hell was he to argue. He bounced a little in Derek’s arms, squirming against him. "Over there, the counter is extended for changing. Hurry."
Derek grinned, eyes red.
Hi guys :)
Since I have yet to make an about me page and I’ve been getting new followers this afternoon, I thought I’d resume the blog so you guys could make up your mind more easily about following - or not.
This is a fan and personal blog, mostly Teen Wolf oriented. I’m a big Stiles/Derek shipper, and I don’t always tag it because there is just too much of it here, which may not be too great for you if that’s not your thing. Even though I like the show, I also discuss its problematics aspects, so it may be an unpleasant experience for you if you want to enjoy it without being reminded constantly of its (many) faults. Actually, I tend to reblog social commentaries pretty regularly.
The rest of the blog is filled with unpredictable, random blogging.
Also, sometimes, I draw fanart. And once in a blue moon I drabble.
There, have at it! or not. No hard feelings!
express your feelings the tony stark way; with math, pick-up lines, or both combined.
thank you cayce for giving me this idea and also outfit choices!!
nichelle nichols on filming the first interracial kiss on television [x]
Keeping it real with Nichelle Nichols.
Thought I’d try Officer Stilinski since I did Officer Hale last time…
oh god I really think Stiles should arrest Derek while he’s peacefully protesting for werewolf civil rights and be incredibly gentle when closing the handcuffs around Derek’s wrists, even though the crowd is against him, shouting, roaring, spitting in his face, and the cop’s face is impassive, but he cups his hand protectively over Derek’s head as he folds him into the back of the squad car, and when he catches his eye in the rearview mirror, he grins, and says,
"Well, I think they liked me."
Derek looks out the window; he knows all about this part. Cops pretend to be your friend so you’ll admit to something incriminating, and they’re all really fucking assholes underneath.
Derek was trespassing, it’s true, he violated his probation (probably for graffiti-ing a giant wolf paw on a highway barrier when he was sixteen, he got of with six months of community service and probation). The cop doesn’t say anything else, but at the station he books Derek through quickly, points him down the hall to the phone while he’s signing the paperwork with a ballpoint pen. Derek shrugs. He doesn’t have anyone to call.
"You—then you’ll have to spend the weekend here," the cop says, mouth tucking down into a frown. Derek shrugs again. Officer—Stilinski, he can see now, on the nametag, clicks the pen a few times, and then says, "Okay," and puts him in a cell.
The public defender shows up at 4:53, a young guy in a dark suit who smiles at him on the police station steps and tucks a card into his hand—a card for the most expensive law firm in town.
"I can’t, um, afford," Derek says, and the guy—McCall—waves it off.
"Pro bono," he says. "Favor for a friend."
Derek hesitates; that sounds like there are strings attached. The sun is setting, crimson and purple, and McCall’s eyes glint, reflect, flash red.
"I have a—vested interest, you could say," he says, shoving his hands in his pockets, ruining the line of his suit.