Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

Mickey Smith (Dr Who) helps Sherlock Take On Starfleet… And it’s just wrong…

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

I’ve been rather disappointed by recent movies in my favorite genre(s). I’m a Sci Fi and Fantasy fan. I like superhero movies and comics, games and RPGs (more Cyberpunk than D&D) and MTG. They’ve always been dominated by the cisgendered, straight, white and male crowd. I’ve been used to that. But, I’ve also been inspired – not only by how SF&F has been used to call out the worst bits of our society (X-Men), but also by the desire of people to make a change and to start making art that more accurately represents our very diverse world. I’m in the works of writing up my Norwescon experiences separately already, so I’ll leave that one at that.

Back to the recent movies — Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the upcoming Lone Ranger. Please note that I’m not even addressing the gaping plot holes and missing pieces and the like.

Let’s go chronologically and start with Iron Man 3 (IM3). This was very much a mixed movie for me. We start out with one of my favorite actors – Sir Ben Kingsley. I adore him as an actor. He’s gone from Ghandi to Sweeny Todd. He’s talented and wonderful. He did make the character that he was given in IM3 richer. However, the storyline took a person of color (POC – a Chinese POC at that) character with a full background and turned him into a different race POC character who was a front for the now-able bodied, cisgendered, genius, white male character. Despite other issues, I did like super-Pepper stepping up and saving the day and lives including that of Tony Stark. I call this one a bit of wash, but overall on the “Meh” side.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (STID) really gets into the race-bending issues. It started out with me being a bit on the fascinated side as it mashed together actors from such a wide variety of fandom (hence, the title of this post). But, then, there was Khan Noonien Singh who is genetically engineered to be the best that human genetics has to offer. In both the TV episode that introduced the character and the first movie with this character, Khan was played by Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban. Now, ostensibly, Khan was a Sikh Indian. But, considering the time (1967), it was still a big deal to have major characters played by actual POCs. In STID, there was great character development of Khan and I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was great in the role. But, the fact that Khan is genetically engineered made the white-washing of the character even more egregious. I know that Kal Penn has been busy working for the White House. But, I think he might’ve made a great Khan with a similar mashup issue (Mickey helps Kumar fight against Harold and Starfleet).

Now, for the Lone Ranger. Now, I have to say this is, as yet, unreleased. So, this a pre-viewing set of statements. I’ve heard a lot of concern about the white-washing of Tonto. However, I have to give some credit to the casting. Tonto was not quite white-washed. Johnny Depp, while seemingly predominantly white and ostensibly a rather small part Native American, does not fully pass as being white and he at least had the good sense to consult Comanche tribal members on his role. Still, not good. But, it just goes to show that the idea that we Indians are not good enough to play ourselves when it comes to major roles is still alive and kickin’. We’re OK as “background” Indians, though. This seems to have become a common enough theme (think Twilight). Why not someone like Adam Beach or if you wanted someone who might “pass” better – Tahmoh Penikett? Actually, I think Tahmoh passes better for white than Johnny. Maybe Tahmoh should’ve been the Lone Ranger? That would’ve been fun!

Nonetheless, I have been disappointed of late with my favorite genre(s) – particularly given that it’s 2013 and not 1983 or 1993.

Don’t Treat All Men Like Rapists

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I keep hearing this refrain that it isn’t fair or right when women treat all men as though they are rapists. On the surface, I agree. It’s not right and it sucks. At the same time, as a woman, I’m constantly admonished to protect myself. I have also been raped and gone through the process of reporting and dealing with all that entails. So, I try to take “reasonable measures” to not end up in that situation again. I’ve spent some time noodling about this as these two things don’t mesh.

Ultimately, I’ve come to the conclusion that if men don’t want to be treated like rapists, then they (in addition to everyone else) need to start working on changing the way that our world treats rape and victims of rape. What was the first thing that happened to me when reporting my rape? I was asked whether or not I said no. Then, how forcefully I said no. Then, how was I dressed. Did I yell out loudly? Did I scream? Did I cry? Then, what precautions did I take?

This wasn’t just from the police. But, also the prosecuting attorney. In order to be able to successfully prosecute, I needed to have very vocally protested and yelled loudly. I needed to have humiliated myself by yelling enough for friends to come barging into the room where I was nude and being raped. I needed to have physically fought off the rapist who was larger than I was and could hurt me. I needed to have been damaged during the rape — bruises, cuts, etc. I needed to not have been dressed provocatively. The list goes on and on. Then, after that, it came from friends and relatives and those who were worried that I might “destroy” someone’s life with my accusation.

We consistently tell rape victims that they *must* take some very specific and also some very nebulous precautions — or we will NOT get JUSTICE. Because if we didn’t take those precautions, we somehow “deserved what we got” and our justice system and peers of a jury won’t stand behind someone who didn’t take necessary “precautions.”

To me the combination of the jury system and the way that our media reports rape and the resulting reported opinions of rape — are the damning nails that go to prove that in America, we live in a culture that downplays rape and likes to blame the victim. Trials don’t focus on what the rapist did. They focus on what the victim did and whether or not they used “common-sense” precautions and whether or not they reacted and acted “appropriately.” This determines whether or not the victim’s “assertions” are “worthy” of being called rape. Your past history of consensual sex can be taken into consideration of whether or not you’re really likely to have said no this time. Apparently, according to our culture, girls who’ve said yes too many times aren’t likely to have said no at any point.

Then, if you start looking into local responses to proven rape charges, the jokes that get told, the gag orders placed on victims, and the prevalence of under-reporting — the idea that we, as a culture, are permissive of rape becomes more stark. Unlike, many articles, I won’t say that rapists are evil and deserve death. But, I do think that rape victims do deserve justice, protection, and having their rapists at least prosecuted more often and not having to deal with attacks on their character that belittle the fact that they were raped. The very idea that it’s legitimate in our politics, media, and personal lives to draw a distinction between “legitimate” rape, “forcible” rape, and all of other ugly terms just furthers the injustice and humiliation of so many rape survivors.

It’s far easier for many people to find a way to blame the victim rather than to accept that a person that you know or look up to is a rapist. We put so much baggage on that term that it’s become a hot button that ends up with many people turning a blind eye because it’s harder to look at it than it is to pretend that it doesn’t exist. Now, don’t get me wrong — this has improved over my lifetime, but we still have a long way to go.

So, at this point, in order to protect our legal rights and to have even a hope of getting justice — we must treat all men like rapists. Otherwise, we’re not being careful enough and we get what we deserve. If we don’t withhold sex enough and if we aren’t prudish enough — we’re sluts who get what we deserve. And all of the other derogatory statements aimed at shifting the blame. And after all of that, we also now have no sexual purity and no worth as future mothers and wives. As many abstinence only programs like to teach — we’re a chewed up piece of gum and no one wants a piece of used gum.

Tolerance of Hate & Oppression

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Hate and oppression are not things that need tolerance. Tolerance is about accepting a person’s right to believe as they want and to live their life how they want. It’s *not* about accepting that what they’re doing is good or right or even OK under *your* book. It *is* about accepting that they get to have that choice. It is *not* about accepting that someone has the right to force you to live your life by *someone else’s* decisions. It also does *not* mean that you have to accept it socially, if you don’t want to. But, hate and oppression move beyond believing differently and living your life differently. So, they don’t need tolerance.

I will speak out against hate and oppression. This includes when it’s against people that I don’t like or agree with. I will speak truth to power as much as I can. I will vote with my dollars. I  will actually vote against inequality and hatred.

Equality is pretty easy — you get to live your life the way that you choose. You get to believe whatever you want to believe. You do *not* get to *enforce* those beliefs through law. You do not get to discriminate in the public arena on the basis of those beliefs. That’s the underlying fundamental principle of the 1st Amendment. I do not get to force you to live under my personal moral code as an atheist anymore than you get to force me to live my life by your reading of the Bible. We both get to chose how to live our personal lives.

While I will not join in on mass shaming of individuals, I also choose to not have large volumes of hate or disruption in my life — so I may drop relationships if they are full of hate.

This is brought to you by a recent kerfluffle in the convention-going end of my world.