The Women of Night Vale and the Power of Female Leaders of Color

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via nymag

I’m not going to lie, I struggled with what to write about today. As someone already dealing with depression, this week has been extremely trying as I worry about myself and many of my friends and family. And I will not lie that as a white woman, I am utterly enraged by the actions of my fellow white women this election. While I always knew that all white women (I do not exclude myself from this) have issues with racism, due to our privilege, I guess I never realized how bad it was. So today I want to write about some amazing female characters of color from my favorite podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and some of the amazing women of color who have been elected to office and give us hope.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: The Problem with Exorcisms

exorcism-of-emily-rose

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Catholicism has a long history of belief in exorcisms, and while many people today may not believe in exorcism, for other Catholics, it is still a very real thing. Exorcisms are also a favorite trope of Hollywood horror films and TV shows, especially during the month of October. However, exorcisms have some issues in regards to ableism and sexism, and the movies rarely seem to want to explore those issues.

Trigger warning for discussions of ableism and disability below.

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In Brightest Day: Alice Isn’t Dead & How Disability Isn’t Only a Weakness or Superpower

art by (x)

art by Margherita Barrera (x)

A couple moments ago, I was finally able to listen to the season finale of the podcast Alice Isn’t Dead. We have already discussed how much we love this podcast, but now, I want to specifically talk about how it portrays disability. Usually stories show someone’s disability as a weakness they need to overcome in order to be “real heroes”, or they are portrayed as gaining extra supernatural abilities that more than “makes up” for their disability. But Alice Isn’t Dead did something wholly different: the podcast showed how someone can use their disability to help them get through a situation.

Major spoilers for Alice Isn’t Dead and a trigger warning for anxiety & panic attacks after the jump.

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Alice Isn’t Dead: A Queer Disabled Character

Alice Isn't Dead logoRecently I started listening to the Night Vale Presents Podcast: Alice Isn’t Dead and I will say that it might be one of the greatest things I have listened to in a while. I found myself relating a lot to our nameless narrator. Not only is she a queer protagonist searching the strange and terrifying world for her wife, she is also a character struggling with an anxiety disorder, and that is something I certainly can identify with.

All transcripts of Alice Isn’t Dead are from Alice Scripts.

Spoilers up to Episode 8.

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Who Survives the Apocalypse? On the Edge of Gone Has Some Ideas

I read a lot of YA books, and since not all of them are great, I keep track of the authors of the ones that I really liked. So ever since I read Corinne Duyvis’s Otherbound two years ago, I’ve been waiting and hoping that she would soon publish something else. Duyvis, an autistic writer who co-founded the Disability in Kidlit website and writing resource, is a writer with a particularly unique point of view. And when I found out about Duyvis’s newest book, On the Edge of Gone, a story about disability and classism told as an asteroid hits the Earth, I jumped to get it.

on the edge of goneMinor spoilers after the jump.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: “The Secret Illness” Project

Over the years, OCD has more or less become a joke in both the media and public perception, and that can be very harmful for sufferers because it leads people to believe that our metal illness cannot be serious. And when we combine that with the stigma that already surrounds mental illness, for OCD sufferers, sometimes I feel my options are to allow people to laugh at me or treat me like an unstable disease.

Thankfully, “The Secret Illness” Project is here to save the day. Trigger warning for obsessive thoughts and self-harm after the jump.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: ASL Stew

web crush wednesdaysDeaf people and Deaf culture have been seen more and more in our pop culture, and with celebrities like Marlee Matlin and Nyle DiMarco (#RedefiningDance), more and more people are realizing the importance of Deaf representation. Even Doctor Who managed to skirt cultural appropriation in their last series—in the episodes “Under the Lake”/”Before the Flood”, writer Toby Whithouse had wanted to include a character who could lip-read, but rather than write a hearing character who knew how to lip-read, he decided to include an actual Deaf character after remembering a writing festival he’d attended where including roles for characters with disabilities had been emphasized.

However, many writers, unfortunately, don’t come to the same conclusion as Whithouse, and many, for a number of reasons, don’t know much about Deaf culture or Deaf people. Fortunately, today’s web crush is a great educational and entertaining resource on just that.

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In Brightest Day: Deadpool and Coping with Trauma

DeadpoolCoping mechanisms are an essential part of life for everyone, whether you have any sort of a disability or not. Humans have learned to try and cope with various things that can be harmful or upsetting to them. For example, I tend to internalize every negative thing that someone says to me and make every little comment into something about what a worthless person I am, which greatly contributes to my low self-esteem. This is not healthy, and it is why I see a therapist, who attempts to help me develop a healthy coping mechanism to deal with my negative self-image. Good coping mechanisms are essential to living a healthy life. However, coping mechanisms can also be bad. For example, drinking to deal with depression is a bad coping mechanism because it is ultimately harmful to your health and well being.

Comics, unfortunately, tend to show characters coping in harmful ways, like having Batman deal with his grief by having him beat up on other mentally ill people. Other characters are shown just powering through their issues by sheer force of will and totally overcoming them by the next comic. This is not only a false representation of how to cope with trauma or other issues, but it’s also an extremely dangerous one, because it can convince people who could benefit from counseling that they should be able to overcome things by themselves. Deadpool, however, is not one of those characters. The recent Deadpool movie really shone in its portrayal of trauma and mental illness. We see both Deadpool and Vanessa trying to cope with grief, trauma, and mental and terminal illness by using humor as a coping mechanism.

Spoilers for the Deadpool movie below, and trigger warnings for rape and abuse.

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Lack of Depression in Black Characters

Dearest Readers, writing for Black History Month is difficult. There is a difficult balance of focusing on concepts vs. people, discussing people that are strangers vs. people you are friendly with, and characters vs real people. To further the complication, there is an urge to spend the whole month celebrating and spotlighting things that deserve praise. But at the same time, I find it absolutely necessary to discuss less enjoyable topics.

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Deadpool: True to the Comic and Even Somewhat Feminist

As a huge Deadpool fan I went into the movie hoping for the best, but fearing the worst, and after finally seeing the movie today, all I can say is it was amazing!

Seriously, this might be one of my all-time favorite comic book movies. It not only stayed true to the character, but was much more progressive than I expected.

DeadpoolSpoilers after the cut.

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