Mansplainer #5: Why Whovians are Upset and Why It Matters

On August 4th, 2013, the salivating masses of fanatical Whovians tuned in to the much anticipated unveiling of the Twelfth Doctor. The announcement came in the form of a live broadcast televised special hosted by Zoë Ball. I, like many salivating fanatical Whovians, tuned in with equal measures of excitement and apprehention. You see, I’ve been a dovoted fan for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Tom Baker episodes at my grandmother’s house (she had cable). And as a devoted fan, the revival of the series in 2005 has sparked a resurgence in my obsessive fandom. So you get the excitement. But then there’s the apprehension.

Steven Moffat is an undeniably talented writer. His episode “Blink” is one of my favourite episodes of any series, and an accomplished stand-alone horror film in its own right. Weeping Angels creep me the heck out, to the point that, as I will include a picture of one in this post, I will never look at this post again after it’s published. Go ahead, laugh at me. Then send me a picture of a Weeping Angel just to freak me out. You won’t be the first. So we know that Moffat is capable of great writing. He’s also capable of very problematic writing.

Caption goes here.

Still a better love story than Twilight


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Mansplainer #4: Guys, Stop Defending Street Harassment

There’s a conversation that’s been brewing lately. I’m not sure if it’s a conversation that’s been been getting louder and reaching a tipping point, or if I’m just getting better at listening and being more aware. The conversation is about street harassment.

On a near daily basis, I hear stories from friends about inappropriate comments and catcalls from passersby. These friends are invariably angry, upset, scared, or fed up with this perpetual demeaning treatment. These friends are exclusively women. The cat-callers are exclusively men.

When these stories come up, in the ensuing discussions, women share their similar experiences, show empathy, and discuss potential strategies for combating street harassment and improving their general safety.

Then the inevitable happens:

“Just take it as a compliment.”

“It’s only harmless flirting.”

“You should be grateful for the attention.”

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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Here are my thoughts on Star Trek Into Darkness which I just saw this afternoon. (I know, I’m late to the party)

I predicted that I’d enjoy it but that I’d find parts problematic. This is exactly what happened.

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There are some aspects of J.J. Abrams interpretation that can only be described as “masterful”. There are areas where he entirely captured what Star Trek is. Beyond the look and feel, which were utterly flawless, the parts that captured the essence and spirit of Star Trek were fleeting. And some areas, entirely missed.

Needless to say…

{SPOILERS AHEAD}

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Star Trek TOS s01e01 The Man Trap

Let me first start off by saying that anybody who claimed the romance between Spock and Uhura that was presented to us in J.J. Abrams‘ feature film adaptation of the series was far fetched and unfitting of the characters need only watch the first twelve minutes of the first episode of the first season to see Uhura flirting shamelessly with Spock.

“Why don’t you tell me I’m an attractive young lady, or ask me if I’ve ever been in love?”

Got it? It’s pretty obvious. It wasn’t made up. It’s there. It’s been there from the beginning. Now we can move on.

I suppose it goes without saying that when I first watched these shows as a six year old, it probably went over my head exactly how sexually charged the series was. Especially this episode. There is no way the prepubescent mind would ever grasp the implications of what goes on at “Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet” nor why comparing McCoy’s old flame Nancy Crater to a woman he left behind there would earn Darnell a scolding and a time-out for inappropriateness. The youthful image that Crater —  being some kind of psychic shapeshifter —  projects to Darnell gyrates and rolls her shoulders in a way that exudes sexuality and eroticism. Then she struts away beckoning Darnell to follow. Darnell, of course, follows… to his untimely death. Oh. So that’s why this episode is called The Man Trap.

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Mansplainer #2: Is Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy Holding Women Back?

Brezhnev took Afghanistan
Begin took Beirut
Galtieri took the Union Jack
And Maggie over lunch one day
Took a cruiser with all hands
Apparently to make him give it back

– Roger Waters (on Pink Floyd’s “Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert”)

The passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has led to a divisive public discourse over her legacy and whether it should be celebrated or denounced. While some would call her “one of the great champions of freedom and liberty”, others contend that she was a war criminal on account of the sinking of the Belgrano.

The controversial figure, who once called Nelson Mandela’s ANC “a typical terrorist organisation”, is being heralded as a feminist icon, even though she did not see it that way herself.

“I hate feminism. It is poison.”

Even though she is still reviled in the public sphere and even in British Parliament (and justly so, I might add), it is still disconcerting that sexist language and misogynistic overtones have dominated the public conversation, even to the point of rocketing “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” to #1 on the UK charts.

Such animosity is understandable given the context of Thatcher’s role in the bloody battle of Orgreave, a violent conflict between police and unionised miners. But that does not excuse targeting Thatcher for her gender or labelling her with gendered profanities. Fortunately, amid the white noise, there is one voice of reason that stands out balancing the hardships and woes of Thatcherism with the advancement of women to positions of power in global politics. That one voice is Morrissey:

“Iron? No. Barbaric? Yes. She hated feminists even though it was largely due to the progression of the women’s movement that the British people allowed themselves to accept that a Prime Minister could actually be female. But because of Thatcher, there will never again be another woman in power in British politics, and rather than opening that particular door for other women, she closed it.”

Well, almost.

Ok. I lied.

Not at all.

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