So, I have to tell you how happy I am to be able to keep this series going by jumping from Ned and Catelyn to Iron Man himself, Tony Stark. That happy little coincidence would justify this post on its own, but worry not friends, I have actual points as well!
We’ve coveredCaptain America: Civil War a bit so far, but we’ve been light on the endorsements. And I certainly can’t speak for the entire LGG group here, but while I admit that there is no way I could ever say no to Steve Rogers if he asked for my help, when you give me a moment or two to think it through, I’m with Tony.
I’ve been pretty stressed out recently, so whenever I get a chance, I like to just conk out in front of the TV and relax a little. However, on one of these mindless couch potato outings, my cat decided to curl up on my lap and go to sleep at about the same time the movie on TV ended. This is generally a more than welcome occurrence, but the next movie that came on was… the movie version of Ella Enchanted. I looked around. The remote was out of reach.
“No,” I said to myself.
Since I obviously couldn’t push my cat off my lap, I ended up, to my immense regret, sitting through most of the movie. Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted was one of my favorite books as a kid (and still is today, if we’re being honest). To get the bad taste of the movie out of my mouth, I immediately went to reread my old copy, and I started thinking about why I loved it so much. It’s obviously a revisionist fairy tale, like the many other takes on Cinderella there have been throughout the ages, and what I really admired about this particular take on Cinderella was its worldbuilding. Unlike Maleficient, which didn’t exactly succeed in adding magic to its story, Ella Enchanted added magic to its story in a way that subverted tropes and enhanced its plot and characters.
Nearly two years ago I made a post on Tumblr proposing that snarky young superhero Kate Bishop, a member of the Young Avengers and Clint Barton’s protégé, was a trans woman. Even upon this most social justice-y of websites, the response was a mixed bag, but the most notable opposition was a version of the classic “ermagerd why does everyone have to be queer?!” argument, with a heaping scoop of “I’m not transphobic tho” for some added zest. Now, in this case I had a little tiny crumb of actual contextual evidence that could possibly suggest that Kate is trans, but the really delightful thing about trans headcanons is that nearly any character in any media could be trans, and ain’t nobody gotta prove nothin’.
When I last left The 100, it seemed like religion was a crutch for those who don’t have the right technology, and spirituality is for everyone (but you get more out of it if you’re from an “advanced” society, of course). Now that we’ve finished the season, I’m both impressed and horrified by the ways in which religion is used this season. Religious symbolism moves beyond suggestion into a strong motif, to great effect. While I’m disappointed that religion remains a tool for our characters to use, the writers thoughtfully employ religious imagery and actions in ways that give us a better, more disturbing story… particularly if you’re an adherent to the religions they draw from.
It’s three months later and the final installment of the first story arc of Faith, “Hollywood & Vine”, has come to a close. My high expectations for the inaugural issue were met with flying colors, and I’m happy to report that these colors are still bright and vibrant three issues later. So, if you don’t want to get spoiled, here’s my TL;DR summary: if you’re looking for a refreshingly optimistic outlook on superheroes and regular people, or an interesting plotline that doesn’t go where you think it’s going to, definitely give Faith a shot. For everything else, spoilers below the cut.
It’s no secret at this point that I enjoy the kinkier side of things. BDSM has always been something that has interested me because there is something especially enjoyable about the power dynamics. And I enjoy seeing those dynamics in the fanfiction that I read, even when the fanfiction itself isn’t strictly BDSM.
There can be issues with power dynamics, of course; for example, most romance novels have some kindof power dynamics between the couple. Usually, the male holds a good portion of the power. This doesn’t necessarily mean the female love interest is docile in any way, although it is often the case in some novels. It’s been my experience that fandom likes when the less physically and/or sociallypowerful person is strong willed and intelligent and doesn’t take any crap from their more powerful counterpart. However, they usually still ultimately need their more powerful love interest. Even classics like Pride and Prejudice share this dynamic. Elizabeth doesn’t take Darcy’s shit, but ultimately he has more power in society than her, and it’s only with his help that Elizabeth’s family is able to escape a scandal that would have ruined them forever. The problem with these dynamics is that in mainstream pop culture, we largely see women in the less powerful role. And even in fanfiction, which usually focuses on queer relationships, the power dynamics still come off as heteronormative at times.
I suppose that one of the things that drew me to BDSM is that those power dynamics are out in the open and negotiated before the relationship begins. Rather than deal with societal understandings of who should be the dominant partner (men) and who should be the submissive (women), BDSM allows people to discuss what frankly all couples, whether kinky or vanilla, should be doing anyway. Since BDSM isn’t considered a quote-unquote “normal” part of society, there are fewer preconceived notions of how a relationship should be. But what if BDSM was the norm? Fanfiction often has a lot of alternate universes that I enjoy, but none moreso than AUs where BDSM is the norm. However, they bring with them a lot of interesting and problematic issues.
Man, just when I thought things were looking up for everyone, Orphan Black reminds me that no one is safe and nothing is okay. Take note, Game of Thrones: this is how that concept works without all that unnecessary misogyny.
Trigger warning for a mention of suicide and spoilers for this week after the jump!