Raya, Captain Marvel, Katniss Everdeen, Trinity, and GIRL POWER

I’m about as pro-female as the next woman. I want to be judged based on intelligence and ability, know that being female does not make me automatically enjoy flower-arranging, and get excited whenever Natasha Romanova takes out another bodyguard with her sweet moves.

Scarlett Johansson Film GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Still, all this pro-woman stuff is starting to bother me. It’s the super- superpowers that’s the problem. It’s the lack of female characteristics. It’s …it’s …difficult to put my finger on, especially in a high-strung world that seems determined to erase any gender lines ENTIRELY.

Take Raya, the lead character in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. I wanted to like her. She’s determined, honest, has a worthy cause she’s fighting for, and is not naïve. But she really bugged me. First, the voice actor sounds 40 even when Raya is a young child. Her voice is old and her language is old. I get that Raya is supposed to be precocious. She is not, however, supposed to be 40. Nor is the chick she spends time with from the Fang Clan. Both of them needed to be young-ified.
….Okay; really, the voice and vocabulary are my #1 complaint.
After that, I am bothered, as I usually am in movies with female leads, that she does not have to pull her hair back, have downtime once a month, or hurt her hand when punching a rock…

Disney Movie Raya GIF by Walt Disney Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Next up is Captain Marvel.
Woo-wee. Where to start? How about the fact that she is even more powerful than Superman? Again, I wanted to like her. She can do anything even though she’s a chick, so that means we women can do anything too -right? (granted, that’s if we first absorb the energy of an alien power source…).
I can’t like her. I can’t believe her. The film kept trying to show that her ‘weakness’ was not being confident. Thank you, Marvel writers, for showing me that all I need is limitless abilities (including not being crushed in the vacuum of space) to get over my crushing self-doubts and alien-installed dampener on my neck.

Captain Marvel GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you see what I mean? I recognize my concerns and begin to understand when I compare women like Raya or Cpt. Marvel to female leads I do like.

Like, Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss is sixteen, independent, and not very touchy-feely. Her superpower? Archery. Oh, and good survivalist instincts and knowledge.
Katniss is godlike in shooting arrows, described in Mockingjay as being able to bullseye multiple targets thrown into the air. She’s also able to recognize edible plants, find water, start fires, and kill children…. The only part of her character that irks me is her naivety to plans going on right under her nose –but, wouldn’t a sixteen-year-old be oblivious?
I love that Katniss’ instinct is to run and hide, sniveling, when danger rears its ugly head. She’s calculating, yet cares deeply. She’s human -a teenage human.

Jennifer Lawrence Aim GIF by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Another of the female powerhouses I love is Trinity from The Matrix film series.
Cool, powerful, strong, independent. Trinity makes everything looks awesome. Yet, she is also terrified. At times, she is vulnerable. My favorite, favorite scene is when she is lying on the ground, guns drawn, after flying through a window. She’s just run across rooftops after wiping out an entire police force and expects an Agent to break through and annihilate her at any second. Pistols pointed at the broken window, she grits her teeth and tells herself, “Get up, Trinity. Get. UP!”

Ready To Fight The Matrix GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

Why do some women leads bother me and others not? I think everyone is confused about what Girl Power means.

I’m a woman. I’m female. I grew up seeing girls choose dolls and friends; hearing girls talk about fingernail polish and cute boys; smelling girls spray fruity vanilla scents on each other and worrying over their hair. Even as a woman, I notice most other XX’s fretting at house decorating or “The Bachelor” or botox.

Me? I had Barbies with superpowers who went on adventures. I chewed my nails and thought boys were disgusting. I think ‘doing my hair’ is pulling it back in a ponytail. I wouldn’t be caught dead watching something as stupid as fake-dating for a supposed millionaire.

I want girls to be anything.

Buuuut, I also know that females have many physiological differences. They seem to gravitate toward certain tastes. Many share attributes like being nurturing, good at communicating, and -yes- arranging flowers well. Quite obviously, they are also the only ones able to make babies.

As we’ve emerged from a long history of mostly baby-making out into the limelight of higher education, politics, and management; we’re not sure what to do. We’re not sure what to encourage. Women who’ve obviously chosen home life are raising their daughters to choose the opposite. Petite movie directors and writers make their characters sound middle-aged, fly to other worlds, win in a deathmatch, and stand up to beefy-armed hirelings.

I guess that sells better than The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

What to do, then; what to do…

Here’s a simple takeaway: keep female characters believable. Keep them as good, reachable role models. Why do I hate Captain Marvel? No weakness; no humanity at all. Why do I love Katniss? Her go-to is to hide when things get difficult; to act irrationally. Why do I prefer Disney’s Moana over Raya? Practical physical limitations and age-appropriate behaviors. Why do I favor Trinity, even though she pushes some realism? Because she shows fear, uncertainty, jealousy, and deep emotion.

Women are complicated. Don’t make us impossible as well. Right?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

©2021 Chelsea Owens

R.B.G. and Why It Sucks to Be a Woman

I’ve been living in a hole -not a bad one, mind you. I have all the material comforts, I’ve given birth before my biological clock feels it missed something, and I live in a very safe area.

The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set me wondering, questioning my cozy hole and how much of it is that cozy. For, despite my ease, I am constantly stressed and depressed at my position as a stay-at-home-mother. I feel trapped by my sex, my children’s well-being, and the overall logic of my being the housewife and mother.

Why did learning about Mrs. Ginsburg’s life open this can of worms? If you ask that question, you haven’t read her Wikipedia page.

By Supreme Court of the United States – Supreme Court of the United States, Public Domain

I tend to get all of my political information from my husband, by choice. I do not like politics, a subject that turns human beings into snarling, glaring dogs -dogs who can talk, naturally, in order to insult each other’s mothers. From Kevin, I heard how Ginsburg was anti-family and pro-abortion. She was liberal. Thank goodness we’ll get another justice soon.

Sound harsh? Don’t raise your hackles until you acknowledge what categories you place political figures in. Yes, categories. CATEGORIES are what drive me mad.

I’ve discussed this subject before, because I do not fit in and I do not like attempts to fit me in. Primarily, today, and in R.B.G.’s tiny but ignominious shadow, I refer to sex (or, gender, if you prefer) .

I recently encountered a female realtor. Dressed in a sheath and high heels, she displayed white, straight teeth and blonde-colored hair. She, like others in the profession, was selling herself. And, as I always do, I hated her for it. I disagree with dressing sexily. Would a male realtor show up in such a getup, displaying cleavage as he outlined the merits of his wares?

I didn’t think so.

I also recently encountered a female repairman. Dressed in long shorts with socks and a company shirt, she smiled occasionally and her hair was short and of a nondescript color. She, like others in the profession, was selling furnace warranties. I marveled at her. She dressed and acted just like the male repairmen we’ve hosted in our basement.

Do you automatically categorize the two women? I do. The first is probably a wife and mother of a few children*, loves romance, and doesn’t know much about her car. The second is a lesbian, likes action movies, and could wire her own house if her cats stayed out of the way**.

Categories, categories, categories. They help us humans in a complex world of other humans. But, they also limit and often diminish those other humans. I feel it. Do you?

But I mentioned Ginsburg. I mentioned women. I mentioned sex.

Ruth Ginsburg is the sort of person I wondered at, as I enjoyed attending any college I wished or voted for whomever I wanted. I’d heard that women didn’t always have the freedoms I enjoyed, historically. I’d heard that women were advised to not go into this career or attend that college on the mere merits of their being born with a uterus. Mrs. Ginsburg’s life story, as I learned, attests to that rumor.

And, frankly, my own husband’s views do as well. While telling me that he values my intelligence and opinions, he simultaneously puts women down for seeking to further themselves academically or professionally. Why? Because family is most important to him, and women who choose school and work do not have large families. Many do not have families at all.

Think he’s wrong? Think he’s outdated and rude and opinionated? Think back to your perceptions of the two women I described. Morever, acknowledge that stereotypes exist because they are accurate; those women are what I described and behave accordingly.

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

Which brings me to another problem I encounter in my efforts of World Peace and Unity in the face of sexual differences: sexual differences. They are there. Men behave in stereotypical fashions and women behave in stereotypical fashions. There are general intelligence differences. There are anatomical differences, for Pete’s sake! Yet, when I attempt to bring them to surface in order to understand the world, we are (understandably) cautious.

To be fair, stereotypes exist in other categories (categories!!) as well. I enjoy jokes about engineers and play a personal game of guessing which instrument someone plays when s/he asks me (I have a very high rate of accuracy, too!). In that light, why are stereotypes about sex so wrong? Why are they taboo?

Should we ask R.B.G?

“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women are people, that’s why. We are people who breathe, bleed, feel, and aspire to things. We THINK. Unfortunately, we women are sometimes going about equality as “equality”. We’re sometimes cheating.

Photo by Misha Voguel on Pexels.com. Why is she suggestively resting amongst rope??

The problem, as always, is sex (not the sort that’s gender, this time). I live with all males and prefer talking to males. I know how often this is a factor. When it comes down to males and females, females have the advantage of sex. And, many women are not ashamed to flaunt their attractiveness to gain favors. Hence, my disdain for the realtor and my wonder at the repairwoman.

For, in my perfect world, Ginsburg and women and sex would be nonissues. Merit, intelligence, and performance would be everything. Unfortunately, we humans are not blind nor unfeeling.

Another issue is child-bearing. Women are the only ones who can do it. As part of that package; we have menstrual cycles, fluctuating hormones, pregnancy itself, and a lifelong responsibility to raise what came out of us. This is where I differ from Madame Ginsburg slightly in opinion, since the woman is not making abortion solely her own choice if she decides to keep the baby (I refer to costs of welfare). Still, making and caring for humans is a big deal; someone needs to do it for the future to not suck so badly.

And until surgical techniques improve drastically, that someone is going to be female. Ideally, she’ll be the one from whom the child comes. Why? Attachment issues, darn it.

I have no solution to my problems of fitting out. I have no solution for stereotypical thinking. I have no solution for women like me. What do I have? A respect for people (PEOPLE!!!) like Ruth Baden Ginsburg. Way to be. Not only did she try to be fair, she did so in the face of obviously-sexual discrimination.

Do I agree with everything she said or did? No. That would be silly. That would be a category. What I do agree with is what I said: authenticity, fairness, and merit.

Rest in peace, Madame. May your ideals live on as you intended.

From left to right: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, (Ret.), Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Justice Elena Kagan in the Justices’ Conference Room prior to Justice Kagan’s Investiture. Source.

©2020 Chel Owens

*It’s Utah. Everyone’s married, with children.
**In fact, the repairwoman was also married and had children.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (and I’m Adrift in Space)

Gender and sex and such are hot topics, and have been for the past …few thousand years. What -you haven’t heard of Pompeii? Ancient Greece? Today may not be as ‘woke’ and original as people assume, but defining male and female is not a popular place to go.

Yet, there are lines. An obviously major category-maker is one’s sex-defining parts. I can’t use a urinal, and my husband can’t grow a baby.

Dangit.

The differences do not remain within those parameters; but, as I said, these are not recommended waters for sailing. And yet, we all behave as if those differences are in place and are perfectly acceptable. Why?

Could it be that there are female traits? Male traits?

Girls are better students; they’re people-pleasers so they want to be good for their teacher. They’re able to sit still for a task and give it greater detail. They plan well, multi-task well, and improve their appearance well. Girls are good at communication and feelings -including hurting those feelings.

Boys are good at logic and focus; they get the job done and move on. Genetically stronger and hairier, they’re often suited for manual labor. In fact, their mechanically-inclined brains make manual labors easy to complete as well. They’re more physical and less emotional -including a desire to punch it out over talk it over.

But, but, but …exceptions!!

Yes, there are. Ever the square peg in the round hole, I chafe against being placed into any category I appear to be in. I’m sure others feel the same way. However, I wonder if any of them are, like me, living and behaving exactly as our sex is expected to.

Maybe the gray areas have always been, and the female/male attributes are simply a result of gray clusters.

Maybe women do talk more, cry more, and do that excited hand thing when they meet a friend.

Maybe men do talk less, cry less, and shift uncomfortably when their wives do that excited hand thing when they meet.

Why are we so afraid to say so? Do any of you feel the way I do, out in space and ashamed to step into place? What’s so bad about being a woman? What’s so bad about being a man?

—————-

Here’s what I wrote this week:

Wednesday, January 8: “My Other Half,” a post about my husband.

Thursday, January 9: Throwback to “C.S.I.,” a cliché within an enigma within a trope.

Friday, January 10: Let y’all know the winner of the 53rd “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest:” Matt Snyder. Congratulations!

Saturday, January 11: Announced the 54th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is The Bleak Midwinter. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, January 12: “The Threshold of Their Lives,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, January 13: An inspirational quote by Richard G. Scott.

Tuesday, January 14: “How to Have Kids When You’re Crazy” over at The Bipolar Collaborative Blog.

Also ish: a groggy poem, titled, “Poem?

Wednesdayish, January 15: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “What C-Section Recovery is Like” and “Fluent Minecraft.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens; except, of course, for those copyrights owned by almighty Disney.

THE Battle of the Sexes

That’s it. I’m throwing the gauntlet DOWN.

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I want to determine, once and for all, who has it harder: men or women.

Let’s take men first. For this purpose, I have brought in my masculine side. It’s just survived a long weekend with all four boys home from school for a holiday, worked outside in the yard, and done some manly exercises like …girl push-ups.

I say that men have the short end of the stick. Why?

  1. Men are expected to work for their entire lives. Even in a ‘woke’ society of both sexes working, or just the woman heading out in a business suit, a man is not considered a whole man unless he pulls his own weight.
  2. The male species cannot feel anything like sadness, vulnerability, or silly joy. Those are weak emotions, symptoms of an insecure or incompetent man.
  3. They have to deal with, date, and understand women (assuming, for this argument, they bend that way). And not offend any of them. And still be manly.
  4. Men must initiate relationships. They must often pay for a date. They must read what a woman (for sake of this argument) wants without asking blunt questions (see #3) and without getting accused of harassment and rape later.
  5. When a man gets sick, he gets mocked. Who cares if he literally feels at death’s door? Let’s kick his pride while it’s convalescing.
  6. Males are often stinkier. Practically everything sweats, and in large amounts. Thank goodness for deodorant, aftershave and cologne. And windows.
  7. Men are expected to be good at most things, especially where fixing stuff or sports are concerned. They are also supposed to only be interested in those topics. As before, lack in these areas is a sign of weakness.
  8. Similarly, a man must be strong. He needs to look fit and be ready to move a couch or a car with his bare hands.
  9. If a woman feels like it, she may pick on a man. She may slap him, belittle him, and accuse him. He may be strong, but man is not allowed to hit back.
  10. Even though men spend hardly any time at home (see #1) and are not supposed to get involved in decorating the house (see #7), they must figure out where their tools have been moved to and why a couch (complete with an obscene number of throw pillows) is now where their favorite recliner was.

Women think their life is difficult, but it’s a bed of roses (that match in color, and were complimented on by their hordes of friends) compared to a man’s.

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Now, in order to prepare an adequate female defense, I must think more girly. Allow me a few hours on Pinterest ….or not. I’m not the most feminine representative of the female sex, but I’ll try my best.

Women have a harder life, hands-down.

  1. Periods. Since many men do not understand this sensation: picture a sharp knife inside your lower abdomen that scrapes at your organs. Once a month-ish. Not only that, but you must endure odd hormonal effects like loss of mental capacity and car keys just before the fun starts; plus, blood.
    If all of that weren’t enough, people snidely tell you that you’re grumpy because of PMS or that you ought to just “deal with it” when crumpled over a toilet.
  2. Childbirth. It’s not much of a break from the alternative; especially since menstruation and pregnancy share symptoms like pain, forgetfulness, and grumpiness. Being pregnant is just weird, and delivery is the worst pain many have ever been in. Ever.
  3. Menopause. Imagine a relief from the #1 issue, that was designed by a drunk engineer who didn’t care how (or if) the machine functioned after it ran the full program.
  4. If the first three points didn’t win this debate for women, the judges have obviously been bribed. The women recommend that each judge pass a kidney stone before being allowed to vote. -Which leads to a real #4: more health issues because of female organs. One doctor visit for one symptom leads to an overall diagnosis of “because of womanhood.”
  5. Shopping for women’s clothing is enough headache and cost that they just might need a government-sponsored representative. Seriously. Men get measurements for everything and one name for each color. Women get inaccurate numbers by 2’s and colors like “blue with gray in it” or “gold that may be black.”
  6. In a traditional home; a woman needs to stay home, take care of the home, raise her children to not be psychopaths, and feel fulfilled doing so.
    In non-traditional homes; women need to do all of the above, plus work a job and arrange for childcare …and keep themselves sexy but not too sexy that they’re attracting coworkers.
  7. Females need to look good. If they buy into the ‘inner beauty’ and ‘be yourself’ crap, they have few dates and few friends. If they, instead; nip, tuck, makeup, inject, smile, style, and flaunt; they get a lot of positive attention.
  8. A woman is a b*tch if she’s pushy. She’s unfeminine if she (necessarily) picks up any ‘masculine’ slack. Her opinions are emotional ones, and therefore not as valid or as sound as a man’s.
  9. When a woman takes a younger man, she’s a cougar. If she sleeps around she is a slut. If she dresses attractively and flirts then she is “asking for it.”
  10. Women are expected to arrange everything around the house to buy some social cred, make friends (to admire the house), and plan fun family or couples outings. They are also expected to not overspend their budget doing this.

Men get ‘that look’ when they come home to a house full of pillows, but say they don’t want to go furniture shopping. They say they have simple needs, then demand that women look good and feel sexy after doing all the laundry. Face it: men hold the power and prestige, and women hold the garbage bag.

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In developed countries, the battlefield of the sexes is nearly even. In terms of permanent penalties, however, I feel that women will always have it worse. I’m not looking for compensation (though, some sort of temporary transferal of woman parts might be nice); I’m looking for agreement.

Do you agree? Do you not? Let’s hear your reasons. Don’t be shy; I’m a fair moderator.

—————-

While you gather your thoughts and rebuttals, look at what I posted this past week:
Wednesday, March 13: Talked about Dr. Pickell and our ignorant influences in “Do You Know Your Influences?

Thursday, March 14: “The Cure for Depression: Eat Healthy,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, March 15: Versed “Prometheus,” in response to Frank Prem‘s poem.

Saturday, March 16: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce Almighty Goodman!
Announced the Xth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is verbosity. I haven’t had a lot of entrants, so PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, March 17: “Crescent Illusions,” a sci-fi response to D. Wallace Peach’s popular prompt.

Monday, March 18: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Six.”

Tuesday, March 19:  An inspirational quote by Trent Shelton.

Wednesday, March 20: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Why Oh Why Must We Have The Teenage Years?,” “The Magic Clothes Washing Machine,” and “Five More Minutes” (a poem).

 

Photo Credit:
Image by VIVIANE MONCONDUIT from Pixabay
Image by Josethestoryteller from Pixabay
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay