Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘ableism

FWD/Forward: Why I Am Not Riled About Every Instance of Crip Drag

This argument comes up in response to critiques of disability in pop culture. It’s often accompanied with the assumption that the writer doesn’t think that it’s ok to portray disability in pop culture ever, or that the writer thinks that only disabled actors should be in disabled roles. This line of thinking, which focuses on which representations of disability people happen to be critiquing at a given time, ignores the structural nature of the critique. It is also accompanied by the implication that it is necessary to do everything at once when it comes to critiquing pop culture.

FWD/Forward: The Island That Heals: Lost, John Locke, and Disability

We were introduced to Locke in the pilot as the man in the wheelchair who walks again as soon as he lands on the Island. This becomes a recurring theme in the series; the Island heals people who are meant to be there, evidently, so John is rewarded for reaching the Island by being cured. At several points in the series, Locke experiences a recurrence of his injury, almost as a warning, before recovering the ability to walk again without any explanation.

The Sexist: Sexist Beatdown: The LOST Women of LOST Edition

In this edition of Sexist Beatdown, Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown and I reconvene to solve the enduring mystery of ABC’s LOST: Why have all the compelling female characters been systematically eliminated from the plot, while Jack is allowed to live on as Dr. McFixALot, a character who exists only to fail unspectacularly at everything and shoot enduring looks at Kate?

Viva la Feminista: Women Olympians Face Unique Challenges

The only Winter Olympics event in which women cannot compete is ski jumping. Why? Apparently it’s because women are “too fragile,” along with an outdated system of rules that allow the International Olympic Committee to keep “American Lindsey Van, who holds the world record for the single longest jump by anyone, male or female” from competing for a gold medal. When the IOC tries to explain that women can’t compete because there aren’t enough women jumping, the conversation circles around to, How can we increase interest and participation if women’s ski jumping isn’t allowed at the Olympics?

Womanist Musings: Emily Blunt Makes Disability Fashionable

Crutches are not a fashion statement; they are a mobility aid. There is nothing chic about crutches because they help to mark a persons body as faulty to the outside world, due to our understanding of disability. Crutches mean limited access, and exposure to disableism, therefore the idea that they can enter a fashion shoot in the same way as a pretty dress or a nice pair of shoes is highly offensive.

Autostraddle: Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

However, before I brought it up again (especially this late, as the backlash-to-the-backlash part is over and we’re now in the Valley of WhoCares, which is clearly where I “thrive”), I knew I had to do my Taylor Swift due diligence. After reading that MTV article I did it: I listened to her music, read her blog, and watched her videos.

And I finally figured it out.

Taylor Swift is a feminist’s nightmare.

Women & Hollywood: Pondering the Bigelow Nomination in Larger Context

The reason why I want to talk about it is because I think that no matter how much Ms. Bigelow doesn’t want to talk about the gender implications in her nomination, they are everywhere. I heard them when I was listened to the Oscar Talk podcast when Kris Tapley called her “hot” and Anne Thompson said that she’s not 100% convinced she will win because the Academy is “overwhelmingly male and she just doesn’t trust them.”

Clarissa’s Blog: Why I Dislike Third-Wave Feminism

Unfortunately, the excellent intentions of third-wave feminists are completely undermined by the statement (from the same blogger I quoted before) that “third-wave feminism respects the choices of everyone.” After a very short discussion, it always comes out that these feminists do not really support any kind of choice on the part of everybody. People who abuse others, racists, chauvinists, ableists, and xenophobes make all kinds of vile choices, and obviously third-wave feminists do not support those choices.

Well, this is it.  Dollhouse is over.  It’s done.  A lot, a lot of stuff happened in “Epitaph Two.”  I don’t even know how to summarize it.  “Epitaph Two” starts up where “Epitaph One” (the lost episode of season one) in the year 2020 when the tech has gone crazy and there are completely wiped people called “dumb shows” or imprinted people that attack everyone called “butchers.”  Mag and Zone are following the mini-Caroline to haven when they meet up with “real” Caroline and Paul and find Topher (who has gone crazy).  But Topher is close to developing tech that will restore everyone’s (as in the whole world, everyone) original identities.  At haven they find Adelle, Prya (Sierra) and Prya and Tony’s (Victor) son, T.  Tony brings his merry band of butcher-fighting tech heads.  They all head off for Los Angeles to get to the Dollhouse where Topher can find the tech that he needs and Caroline, Prya, and Tony can be protected from the pulse that will restore everyone’s original identities.

So they get to Los Angeles and Paul is killed by an attack.  Caroline doesn’t react then, but then loses it later because she didn’t tell Paul how she felt about him and now she’s all alone. And it turns out that Alpha has turned the dollhouse into a dollhouse again…and he’s friends with everyone!   Topher ends up having to sacrifice himself for the sins of his tech because the bomb that activates the pulse has to be set off manually.  And in the end, Caroline imprints herself with Paul (I think) so that they can be together in her head…it was kind of weird.  And those who were imprinted and don’t want to go back to their original identities (Caroline, Prya, and Tony) are stuck underground in the dollhouse for a year waiting for the effect of the pulse to wear off.  The end.

(Note: This summary is not totally complete because so much happened that I couldn’t really include everything or else it would get ridiculously long as opposed to just long.)

First of all, I liked that they brought most of the people back for the finale.  We didn’t see Amy Acker (Claire/Dr. Saunders/Whiskey) or Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November).  But we did see Alpha and Bennett come back (Bennett in an old video as she was killed a couple episodes ago).  It felt nice (if that’s the right word) to see everyone together again, kind of.

But I didn’t really appreciate how people who were wiped were referred to as “dumb shows.”  It was kind of ableist and offensive…and by “kind of,” I mean totally.  But we already knew that Joss Whedon has a tendency to create ableist shows.

I just don’t really know what to say.  It’s over and so much has happened that I don’t really know where to start.  They brought a little bit of their original questioning of what makes a person back into this episode.  With Prya and Caroline not wanting to return to their original identities, I thought that they were showing that Prya and Caroline, despite being imprinted, are real people.  They have real memories and feelings.  I thought this was kind of saying that memories are what make you a person.  But Bennett, in her video, was bringing up the idea that “we are what we do, not what we have done or will do.”  We are best defined why our actions in the now.  But that still holds with the idea that people who are imprinted are still people.

And Eliza Dushku did a great job in this episode, especially when it came to showing emotion.  Throughout the series, she has struggled with showing emotion.  I know that as Actives, they aren’t really supposed to show a lot of emotion, but even when she was imprinted, I didn’t always buy the emotion that she was trying to get across.  It usually felt a little forced.  But tonight, especially in her reaction to Paul’s death, she did a great job.  She was good at showing her sense of both loss and loneliness.  And she was, of course, good at tacking control and kicking ass.  But Eliza Dushku is usually pretty good at that…just look at Faith on Buffy.

And I like/am kind of frustrated by how Joss still left us with a major question: Right before Topher exploded, he looked at the “Remember” wall in the office and said “huh?”  But then he (and everything around him) exploded so we have no idea what he saw.  My idea is that since he was looking at the wall of people who had fallen in the fight or were imprints, I think he saw a picture of himself.  But that’s just my idea.  No one really knows.

And also, when did Dollhouse become an action movie?  There were parts of the episode, mainly the big gun fight, that I thought were a little over the top and didn’t really fit with the series as a whole.  I’m pretty sure it was just Joss living out his childhood fantasies.

As much as I did like the final episode of Dollhouse, I’m a little disappointed with how the series ended overall.  In the end, the show was moving away from the themes of identity, consent, human trafficking, and personhood for a more of an action storyline of trying to bring down Rossum.  I think, though, that this was a result of trying to wrap the show up earlier than they would have liked and they needed to have some sort of finality in the show.  And bringing down Rossum and restoring everyone in the world to their original identities definitely had a sense of finality.

Sorry my review is kind of all over the place.  So much happened in this episode and I’m still trying to process everything.  And writing this post has helped me a little in processing and because of that, I think of a new idea and add a paragraph and it might feel out of place.  But I think it makes sense for the most part, so that’s good at least.

Also check out meloukhia’s review up at this ain’t livin’.

What did everyone else think of the final episode of Dollhouse?  Did you think that they did a good job of wrapping the show up?  Did you have any problems or issues with the episode or show in general?

Bones is back!  This week’s episode revolved around the case of a murdered UFO chaser and was full of alien speculation.  The storyline outside of the case was mainly about Angela and Wendell.  As we saw a while back, Angela and Wendell were starting a relationship, which they have now delved into deeper, yet they are still keeping it a secret…or so they think.  But throughout the episode, they have to tell Hodgins about their relationship, which is sufficiently awkwards and makes Hodgins realize that he is still in love with Angela.

Ok, so while I think Angela and Wendell are cute together, I have some major problems with their relationship and the storyline around their relationship.  First of all, I think Wendell is too young/immature for Angela.  He just seems like this cute little puppy that Angela is playing with.  This is most clearly demonstrated in a scene when Angela and Wendell are out to lunch with Hodgins.  Hodgins makes coments about how they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable around them and they can hold hands, etc.  So Wendell randomly kisses Angela, which she was not prepared for and did not appreciate.  I did like that she made the comment that she didn’t like being kissed when it wasn’t about her.  I thought that was a good touch.

The second major thing that I have a problem with about this storyline is the way that Sweets talked to Hodgins about it.  Hodgins went to Sweets because he needed advice on how to deal with his feelings about Angela and Wendell.  Sweets tells Hodgins that it sometimes feels like it’s ok to feel lonely when the object of your grieving is also lonely.  So, now that Angela is in a relationship, Hodgins is starting to feel lonely again and grieving over their lost relationship.  Ok, this makes sense to some extent.  But did everyone just forget that Angela was in a relationship before this…with a woman?  So, she wasn’t lonley for a good portion of time between her relationship with Hodgins and her relationship with Wendell.  It just seemed to me like they didn’t take Angela’s relationship with the woman (I’m sorry, I don’t remember her name) seriously…like it wasn’t a real relationship, so Hodgins didn’t need to feel upset about it.  Why not just address what the real problem is…that she’s in a relationship with Wendell, Hodgin’s friend.

Then there was the representation of people who believe in UFO’s as “crazy,” “idiots,” and “morons.”  While I may not believe in UFO’s and I don’t always understand how other people could believe in UFO’s and aliens, I don’t think it’s completely appropriate to use ableist language in describing them.  Brennan makes a comment at the end about a man being a moron, “figuratively, not literally,” because “it’s exciting to use insulting colloquialisms even when they aren’t accurate.”  This is just basically a round about way of saying that she’s using ableist language and likes it.  But Bones doesn’t always have the best track record with ableism and representing disabilities.

Well, anyways, as I hear, we have some “great” (depending on who you are and what you like about the show) situations to look forward to between Booth and Brennan and the rest of the season progresses.  If you’ve read any of my other reviews of Bones, you know how I feel about this storyline.

A couple weeks ago I received a great email from a reader that posed many thoughtful questions.  I want to start by addressing one of them here.

This reader brought up the fact that in one of my posts about Glee I stated tht I wasn’t sure if I would continue to watch the show if it weren’t for the musical numbers because of the amount of sexism, ableism, racism, etc. apparent in the show.  So, when does the sexism of the show outweigh the positive or entertaining aspects of the show?  How much sexism is too much?

Because of the society that we live in, there is at least some sexism (and other -isms) in all tv shows.  And I watch a lot of television, so I “put up with” a lot of sexism.  So why do I continue to watch all these shows even though there is apparent sexism in them?

First of all, I am interested in how pop culture reflects the values of society.  So even though I enjoy these shows, I am always critiquing them — analyzing what they are saying about society.

But we still have to come to terms with the fact that I enjoy these shows — they are entertaining to me — despite the fact that they promote values that I disagree with.  Of course there are some aspects of certain shows that promote feminism, but they are certainly in the minority and still have sexist aspects to them as well.

For example, Secret Life of the American Teenager goes back and forth between healthy and unhealthy attitudes towards teen (and adult, sometimes) sexuality.  There is the teen who in one episode thinks that the fact that she had sex with her boyfriend whom she loves killed her father, then has a conversation about masterbation with her mother in another episode.  And Bones can have a great portrayal of bisexuality in Angela and then can portray stereotypes in heterosexual male-female reationships (Bones and Booth).  And there are some many other examples that I could go into.

But there are still many shows that I enjoy that have very few positive feminist aspects (How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Grey’s Anatomy, etc.).  When does the sexist factor outweigh the entertainment factor?

Honestly, I’m not quite sure.  I think it depends on each person and each show.  There are certainly a lot of shows that I don’t watch.  And that might be becuase their sexism and oppressive norms outweight the entertainment…or that the premise of the show just doesn’t interest me.  But I don’t really think there is a set line that can be used as a template for all shows.

I know this isn’t really an answer to the question.  But I can speak to my personal preference in continuing ot watch shows.

First of all, I have a tendancy to get invested in characters and storylines.  Shows that are good at storytelling tend to keep my interest.  Also, characters that I can either identify with in some way or see as an escape from my life can keep me interested in the show.  For example, I use Gossip Girl as an escape from my life because the lives of the characters are so different from mine…but I can still see some of my personality traits in some of the characters.  If the show can’t keep me interested in the storyline and invested in the characters, then the sexism will start to outweigh the entertainment factor for me.

So…how much sexism is too much in television?  I don’t know.  It has to be considered with the storyline and characters of the show…at least for me.  I might have a higher tolerance for shows that have apparent sexism than other people.  But, like I said, even if the storyline and characters are enough to keep me interested in the show, I am still always critiquing and analyzing what the show is saying about society and the sexism, racism, ableism, etc. that is in the show.

I will be having some more time coming up as the holiday retail season is starting to wind down…a little bit…and I will be changing my hours to mainly mornings as I will be taking a class and taking over the newstand at the bookstore I work at (which is a morning job).  Due to all of this, hopefully I will have so more time to dedicate to blogging again.  Yay!  In the meantime, here are some of my favorite posts from the past couple days to keep you busy 😉

Women & Hollywood: It’s Complicated

If you are a Nancy Meyers fan the good news for you is that It’s Complicated will make you happy, but if you have issues with Nancy Meyers and her filmmaking style this one won’t sway you her way. It’s Complicated is pure Nancy Meyers for better or for worse. Meyers gives us another aging white, rich baby boomer woman at a crossroads in her life.

I saw this movie over the weekend and plan on writing a post about it soon, just so you know.

Womanist Musings: Yes Disableism and Fat Hatred Go Hand in Hand

I should have known when I read the title of this post “My Fat Spouse” that somewhere along the line I would be offended. It seems that a man is concerned with his wife’s health due to her weight, after all we have all be taught that fat is a no no. His concern should be for his physical fitness and not for her weight. There certainly aren’t skinny people running around with high cholesterol or any other health problems right? Nope, only the lazy food addicted fatties. To be fair, he was careful to state that he did not want to shame her about her size and so I will give him credit because the usual approach is to make someone feel undesirable because of weight.

this ain’t livin’: Excellent Ladies of the Small Screen

I’ve always had a contentious attitude with a lot of female characters. I didn’t like most women on television, and thought long and hard about why that was, and realized that it’s because they are horribly written and dreadfully portrayed. Women are all overemotional. Or have untreated mental illness. Are domineering, manipulative, and controlling. Are so sex-hungry that they will do anything for teh cock. Etc. Standout female characters are hard to find.

Professor What If…?: What if strong, successful females were not cast as domineering bitches? A review of The Proposal

To be successful, the movie indicates, Bullock’s character (Margaret Tate) has become a cold-hearted control freak whose employees fear and loathe her in equal quantity. Of course she is single, family less, and friendless because women who care about their career obviously can’t care about anything else.

Also see my review of The Proposal from this past summer (one of the first posts that I wrote!).

magicalHappy Sunday!  I hope everyone had a good Halloween here in the U.S. and Canada.  I enjoyed handing out candy and seeing all of the costumes that people come up with.  At work yesterday we were allowed to dress up and little kids could dress up and we would give them a “treat” (i.e. a bookmark).  As much as I don’t want kids (right now or possibly ever), I do want to be able to dress one up in a cute little costume for Halloween…but then have no further responsibility for those children.  I just want to dress them up.  I know, that sounds weird.

The picture on the left came from this week’s Post Secret.

Anyways, here are some of my favorite posts of the past couple days.  Don’t forget to leave links that what you have been writing and reading!

Whip It: Ripley’s Pick [Bitch Flicks] – a guest post review of the movie Whip It focusing on the body image message that the movie sends.

Princess and Privilege by Elena Perez [Women & Hollywood] – a guest post about the new Disney movie The Princess and the Frog and the representation of the first black Disney princess.

Another Disappointment from Barbara Ehrenreich: A Review of “Bright-Sided” Part 1 and Part 2 [Clarissa’s Blog]

Ableist Word Profile: I Can Feel Your Pain! [FWD/Forward] – I love this series because it is so informative and some of the words they profile (like this phrase) are some that I never even thought of before.