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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Feminist Feline has a new home!

Hello, readers!

I have some great news: The Feminist Feline has a spiffy new website!



All new posts will be published at http://thefeministfeline.com.

You can also follow the blog on Bloglovin' at http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12295741.

The Feminist Feline loves its new makeover!

Monday, April 28, 2014

How Game of Thrones failed its viewers


WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Do not read if you haven't seen season 4 episodes "Breaker of Chains" and "Oathkeeper."

Last week's episode of Game of Thrones contained one of the most disturbing scenes yet. GoT often pushes boundaries, with bloody battles, graphic sex scenes, and horrifying weddings named after colors of the rainbow. But Jamie's rape of Cersei right by the corpse of their son Joffrey is the most disturbing scene of them all. Many people have weighed in on their opinions of this scene and how off-color it is - not only because of its content, but because the scene was not a rape in the books. George R.R. Martin himself admitted that he was confused by the director's choice to make it a rape scene. Worst of all though, director Alex Graves won't even admit that he made a mistake, pointing out that the scene "becomes consensual in the end."

No, Graves.That's not how rape works.

By not admitting that the scene is a rape, Graves contributes to rape culture. Also, it looks like Graves does not even understand that the scene is a rape in the first place. He should read this Buzzfeed article on rape culture. Here's some highlights he needs to understand: No means no and a rape cannot "become consensual."

In a HuffPost article, Maureen Ryan goes through 12 reasons why the rape scene matters. She discusses how many other shows often do not depict the aftermath of rape - the emotional and physical pain it has on the survivor and how the survivor gets through the pain. She says:

My complaint about how rape is often depicted on TV boils down to this: Many writers treat it as the narrative equivalent of a cheap firecracker and don't get that they set off the story equivalent of a nuclear bomb. If rape occurs, especially one involving a leading character, it has to be given the weight and gravity it deserves and not treated like a lesbian kiss during sweeps -- a melodramatic event that is quickly forgotten. If "Game of Thrones" goes that route, it will be disappointing, not to mention irresponsible -- but I hope the show demonstrates intelligence on this front.

Unfortunately, GoT went that route. The one scene that shows Cersei in "Oathkeeper" shows her in her natural habitat: drinking wine and throwing shade. The scene is with Jamie and they don't seem to interact any differently than they have in the other episodes from this season - except for the rape scene of course.

The worst part about "Oathkeeper" is that it presents Jamie as a hero because he has decided to keep his oath with Catelyn Stark and protect Sansa. Although this is what happens chronologically in the books, it looks horrible on TV when shown after the TV-fabricated rape scene.

A friend of mine, Shira Hereld, posted her thoughts on the issue on Facebook today. Here's what she said:

Game of Thrones, you failed me last night. After the particularly brutal Jamie/Cersei rape scene last week, I waited with trepidation to see how you would deal with the aftermath...
And you proceeded with an episode all about Jamie, that gave him about 4x more screen time than his sister (and even when she was on screen, so was he), and caressed his glorious jawlines as he made positive decisions regarding his brother and a potential new love interest.
Meanwhile, Cersei had the opportunity to drink and act with about the same level of bitterness as usual, and we saw NOTHING about how the assault changed her - only a few minutes of how it changed her in relation to JAMIE. 
This isn't just a fictional, story-line issue. In the real world, the male director (who said the scene "started out as rape but became consensual [??!!] and the actor playing Jamie (who said parts of it Cersei was into and parts of it she wasn't...) have been quoted and requoted. Yet the most said about Lena Headey's reaction is that she had "mixed feelings." 
This isn't just a Game of Thrones issue. Every aspect of the media tells a story that people internalize, and we've heard this story way too many times: after rape, the media is more interested in figuring out the motives of the rapists than the impact the rape has had on the survivor. It's bad enough that the internet has been arguing about whether the scene was rape (seriously, we need more classes in consent), but the long-lasting aftermath of sexual violence is constantly swept under the rug and survivors' voices out-shouted by a media clamoring to "understand" the mindset of the perpetrator. We've internalized this so much that now even our fantasies force survivors into silence. 
Go ahead, GoT. Tell a good story. Humanize both sides of it, because the real world is messy and emotionally confusing. But don't silence the survivor while making love to the rapist. Don't ignore Cersei's storyline while obsessing over Jamie's. Because many people will eventually forget Jamie did anything wrong and turn on Cersei for her bitterness - they will see her cruelty and alcoholism and wonder if maybe she didn't deserve it just a little bit. And the rest of us - well, we'll just stay silent.

I couldn't have put it better myself. The scene is clearly one of rape and if the director didn't intend it to be, then clearly he knows nothing about rape, as most people don't. I believe that rape can be depicted in the media if and only if it depicts the aftermath and its effects on the survivor. But as we saw in "Oathkeeper," GoT failed to do that.

Thankfully, a cat saved the day. While we were all sitting on our couches upset and angry that Jamie was presented as a hero in the episode, we were introduced to Ser Pounce, Prince Tommen's adorable cat.


Now here's a video of a cat meowing the Game of Thrones theme song. Why? Because cats.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2016 could see an all-female Democratic ticket


We all want Hillary to run in 2016. Poll after poll shows that people want her to top the Democratic ticket. It's long overdue for America to have a female president. But what if the vice presidential candidate was a woman too? It seems too good to be true, but people are speculating that it might be the case.

The Democratic Party hasn't had a woman on the presidential ticket until Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984. It's embarrassing that the party hasn't had a woman on the ticket since then.

Well now we might have two. This afternoon on Andrea Mitchell Reports, she discussed the possibility. There was also an article in the New York Times about it that said that Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would make excellent VPs.


We all love HBO's Veep. Now it's time to make a female Veep a reality. But only if we have a female president too, please!

So get ready to shatter that glass ceiling. In fact, a female president and VP would destroy the entire building.

Now let's just hope that if Hillary becomes president, she brings another cat to the White House. RIP, Socks.


Until next time,
Corinne

Saturday, February 8, 2014

GoldieBlox makes history


If you're a dedicated feminist like me, you didn't watch the Super Bowl for the game, you watched it to call out sexist commercials on Twitter.

Thanks to The Representation Project, thousands of people joined me last Sunday, using #NotBuyingIt to call out the companies who made these offensive ads.

Thankfully, there were much less sexist commercials this year than years past. The Representation Project and their #NotBuyingIt campaign are to thank. (Remember when they got GoDaddy to end its sexist advertising?)

But the biggest winner of the night was not GoDaddy, it was GoldieBlox, the girls' toy startup that won a 30-second spot on Sunday's game.

GoldieBlox is a revolutionary toy company, as it encourages little girls to explore innovation. Instead of producing dolls and pink stuffed animals, GoldieBlox makes building toys targeted to girls.

Their Super Bowl ad is absolutely adorable. It features little girls building a rocket out of the pink toys that bore them. The rocket then flies into space and the girls cheer. Check out the uncut version here.

          

We need more companies like GoldieBlox. It's about time that girls realize they can be more than wives, beauticians, and babysitters. I wish GoldieBlox was around when I was a kid!

         

In other Super Bowl news, Lil Bub made an appearance on Puppy Bowl X! Be sure to check out her Special Special on Animal Planet Saturday, February 8 at 9pm!

~ Corinne

Friday, January 17, 2014

Put down whatever you're doing right now and watch this


"Shrinking Women," by Lily Myers at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The poem was awarded Best Love Poem at the tournament. 

There are so many great things going on in Myers' poem. She discusses society's expectation that women be thin throughout their entire lives, while men can get as jolly and fat as they'd like once they reach a certain age. 

This poem brings to mind the blog, Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train. In the blog, people take pictures of men sprawling out on subways, trains, etc., taking up way more space than women, who often sit with their legs crossed and hands in their laps. The blog aims to expose the fact that women are always trying to take up as little space as possible (whether that's by their weight or just the way that they're sitting) while men are encouraged to take up as much space as they'd like.

Myers' poem focuses a lot more on the fact that women are expected to be thin, yet body placement is another important topic to bring up when discussing gender norms.

Let me know what you all think of this video. Are you one of those people snapping along as she performs? I sure am!

Check out more of Myers' work at:  http://shapeswemake.tumblr.com/. She's pretty awesome.

This cat should be featured in "Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train." But he's so adorable, so we'll let it pass :-P


~ Corinne

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Bitches Gots to Learn" Why Orange Is The New Black Kicks Ass


SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you haven't watched the entire first season!

As a college student who has been home on winter break for the past three weeks, I have found myself content in my natural habitat: on my bed consuming as much Netflix as humanly possible.

This week, I decided to watch the Netflix original series, "Orange is the New Black." I had heard from multiple friends that it was awesome so I figured I'd take a stab at it. I was not disappointed.

The show is a feminist's dream. Since it takes place in a women's prison, a large majority of the characters are female. Many of these female characters are multidimensional and force the viewer to set aside stereotypes and remember that prison inmates are human too. You can't help but feel sympathy for these women. The stories of how they ended up in prison are told, and you see how being isolated from society can really change a person.

There are three things in that this show does well that really stood out for me, and they are diversity, the presence of multidimensional queer women, and the tackling of controversial subjects.

Diversity



As Francesca Lewis writes in Curve Magazine, "To say that the show contains a lot of diversity is a laughable understatement up there with “Ellen is funny” and “Portia is beautiful." Not only are the characters racially diverse, but different socioeconomic classes, sexualities, and gender identities are also represented.
However, OITNB is not perfectly diverse. The show has been criticized for it's appropriation of women of color as little more than comic relief. However, there are several women of color in the show who serve as more than just props. We have Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, a woman who gets released from prison but then decides to re-offend, landing herself back in. She explains how tough the life of a poor ex-con is, and concludes that at least in prison she has food, shelter, a job, and friends.

Another woman of color with a complex story is Dayanara "Daya" Diaz, a Latina who falls in love with the adorable corrections officer, Bennett. About halfway through the series, Daya becomes pregnant and must find a way to protect the futures of Bennett and herself while still keeping the baby.

Queer Women



Being set in a women's prison, the show is bound to depict lesbian relationships. There are women who identified as lesbian prior to landing in prison, but there are also women like Piper Chapman and Lorna Morrello who get involved in relationships with inmates in order to fill a void caused by being separated from their male fiances. The show depicts the fluidity that is sexuality better than any other show I have seen.

Controversial Subjects



OITNB tackles subjects that many shows are afraid to even mention. The most obvious one is prison. In the U.S., women are the fastest growing prison population. By choosing to tell the story of female inmates, OITNB has the potential to change this statistic.

The show also critiques professionalism, as shown through the relationship between Daya and Bennett. The couple is in love, but they cannot let any of the officers know, for Bennett would lose his job and end in jail himself.

The subject tackled in OITNB that really got me riled up was the separation of church vs. state, as seen through the character of Tiffany "Pennsyltucky" Doggett. Pennsyltucky is your stereotypical Bible-worshiping hick. She believes that God has given her the power to heal and condemns every inmate that does not love Jesus as much as she does.

Pennsyltucky's back-story was the most shocking to me. Turns out she shot an employee at an abortion clinic, but not for reasons you might think. She didn't shoot the woman for performing abortions, but for "disrespecting" Pennsyltucky by joking that she should get her sixth abortion free as a frequent customer. Catching wind of the story, a lawyer from a Christian firm approaches Pennsyltucky and asks to represent her, free of pay. She agrees and in the courtroom, pro-life supporters cheer for a visibly flattered Doggett, believing her act to be one against the clinic's practice itself. Pennsyltucky becomes a religious zealot upon entering prison.

This story made me particularly angry, as it shows how some radical Christians take advantage of the poor in order to promote their own agendas. We see this practice in the Tea Party, and Pennsyltucky's story in particular reminds us of a time when bombing abortion clinics was all too common.

In conclusion, OITNB is not only an entertaining show, but it's also progressive in many ways. From its diverse cast of female characters to its tackling of controversial subjects, the show is a feminist masterpiece.

The Characters of OITNB as Cats
Instead of sharing a cat video this week, I have decided to provide a link to one of my favorite BuzzFeed articles in which the main characters of OITNB are pictured next to their feline doppelgangers. I'm not going to lie, this article is one of the main reasons why I decided to watch the show in the first place.

~ Corinne