Friday, April 4, 2014

The Role of Women in SciFi and Fantasy

At Emerald City Comicon, I had the opportunity to attend the Supernatural Fan Panel, where fans of the show discussed trends, issues, and potential futures for the show. A common issue that kept coming up was the inability of the show to maintain a female character. Every major female character, to date, has been either written out or killed off.

In fairness to the writers, female characters have typically not been well received by the fanbase. Hate mail, violent memes, and passionately enraged blogs flood the internet whenever a female character interacts with the leads on the show.

(The exception to this rule is Charlie Bradbury whom, even Misha Collins has suggested, avoids the ire of the fanbase because she is openly lesbian, and therefore not perceived as a threat)

I didn’t stand up and comment during the panel for a variety of reasons, but this is the message I wished I could have conveyed:

I think we, as women, need to stop cutting off our own opportunities.

As much as we like to think that the entertainment industry is all about the characters and storytelling (and a portion of it is), it’s first and foremost a business. Producers, executives and writers are not going to invest the time, energy and funding necessary to create intelligent, well-written female characters, unless they are seeing a return on their investment.

It’s not just Supernatural. This is a problem that is industry-wide.

If, week after week, showrunners receive copious complaints about female characters, the result is going to be 1) those female characters are not going to remain on the show much longer and 2) it’s going to be much harder to convince the show to introduce any other females in the future.

I’m not suggesting that we stop providing feedback regarding our individual fandoms. Opinions are valid, and feedback is important. But, I am suggesting that we, as women, are more careful with the language we are using. Saying that you dislike a character because she is shallow, two-dimensional, and transparent in her intentions is one thing. Pointing out that you feel that a character is an overly sexualized stereotype, or that you disagree with the direction the writers are taking her story is also valid.

Calling a female character a tramp, slut or witch is not empowering, and is self-defeatist. We need to be supporting each other as women, not tearing each other down.

The only way we’re going to see a change in the industry is if we demand it.  We need to be giving the-powers-that-be a reason to develop strong female characters, not sending them scrambling for creative ways to kill off what is perceived as an error in judgment.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Year Beyond The Loss

I don't wish losing a parent on anyone.

My mom died a year and some change ago. June of 2012, to be exact. Her birthday was/is November 18th, so this week has been particularly hard on me.

It's extra difficult because my dad has moved on with his life, and now has a live-in girlfriend. (Odd to use the term 'girlfriend' with a parental figure, but it is what it is...)

My mom and I had a difficult relationship, mainly because the disease that was killing her (Multiple Sclerosis) was also killing her mind, and stealing every one of our memories, and every maternal instinct she ever had. In my mind, I know that she didn't mean the things that she said and did to me in her final years. I know that deep down, in the part of her that was still HER, she loved me. But, since she's died, all that I've been able to feel has been the pain, hurt, loss, and anger of the final few years we shared.

However, recently, I've started remembering things from the past. Things I'd forgotten about, like the Red Rose Tea figurines she collected for me from a woman she worked with. The My Little Ponies she'd always managed to find for me on every birthday and Christmas, whether they came from Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or any garage sale she'd stumbled upon. The cookies we made together when I was barely big enough to stand and stir the giant bowl of dough.

This holiday season feels so much more painful than last, which surprises me, since it's not the first that I've been without my mother. I figured things would be easier as time moved on, but that's just simply not the case. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Heart

My heart is hurting tonight, but I cannot say anything about the cause. So, TEA. Drink tea. This time of year, peppermint is delicious. And hug your children. Whether they are FOSTER or ADOPTED or BIOLOGICAL, it doesn't matter. Just call them your CHILDREN, without the caveat, without making them feel less-than-worthy-of-your-heart. LOVE them. And never, ever, EVER, use the word REAL to describe a biological child. Because those of us who are adopted feel the searing pain of not being so real.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

7 week update


You know how I told you about my amazing friend who I'm blessed to know, and how circumstances miraculously aligned that I needed a neurologist and she just so happened to work for an amazing one?

A few days ago, I received news that she's been laid off from that office.

I'm heartbroken on her behalf. I can't believe she lost her job.

My first thought was that something had happened as a result of the favors she pulled for me, but no, it was just standard budget cuts that knocked out half of her office. This economy? Stinks. I can't find words that I can actually use on this blog to share how devastated I feel right now. ,

I can't even talk about myself or my progress right now; it feels selfish and superficial. I'm not the only person whose life is being torn apart right now. While the pieces of my life are starting to put themselves back together, someone else's life is coming apart.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Six Weeks

Wow, okay, yeah, I missed two weeks.


Sorry, y'all.

Okay, here's the quick rundown of what's been happening:

1) I am super, super blessed that one of my oldest friends works at a brain research center. She spoke to her doctors there about what's been going on with me, and they agreed to look at my case. Just for consultation purposes, as a favor to her. ANYWAY, I was able to talk to Dr. J, a very nice doctor who is highly respected in neurology. First, he was SHOCKED at the level of tests that my neurologist, Dr. R, hadn't run. He asked me why she hadn't done XYZ, and I'm going, "Um, I don't know...I didn't know she was supposed to!"

The second thing he told me actually made me equal parts pissed off and hopeful. Going back 6 weeks, when I was first admitted to the ER, (when they misdiagnosed me with a migraine), the doctor there commented offhandedly that I had a bit of a sinus infection on the CAT scan. Nothing further was said, nothing was prescribed for it, and I was sent home. W I was admitted to the hospital 3 days later, no one said ANYTHING about the sinus infection. I wasn't really feeling sick, just a bit sniffly, and with everything else going on, it seemed rather silly to bring it up.

Hey, did you guys know that a sinus infection can actually get so bad that your brain is effected? Me neither. But it makes sense. All of the swelling can start to press on nerves, including optic nerves, which can cause double and blurry vision, dizziness and head pain. Sound familiar? Yep; there is a good chance that this sinus infection, which the docs and hospital had left untreated for a month and a half, could have 1) started the ADEM in the process (remember how it can be the result of a bacterial infection?) and 2) been keeping me from progressing in healing.

I got a crazy-strong round of antibiotics, ($200 for 7 pills, boy am I glad I have insurance!) and just finished them today. Funny thing, I didn't realize how much sinus pressure I had in my head until it was gone. I still have double vision and I'm still dizzy (I took a splendid fall yesterday and barely missed destroying my laptop), so it wasn't a total cure or anything, but I've noticed an improvement. Maybe I'll continue to feel better over the next few days?

2) Oh my gosh, you guuuuuys! Today was my first full day off of my walker!! I even went to physical therapy this morning without it. I'm wobbly, and I'm definitely not moving quickly (no marathons for me, haha!), but I'm completely unassisted for the first time in a month and a half. You have NO idea how good it feels! And yes, I know, I'm probably going to have a bad day tomorrow, and pay for all of this progress with an excruciating headache tomorrow, but for right now, I'm just enjoying feeling somewhat human, you know?

3) Speaking of therapy, basically what I'm doing is re-teaching my body how to walk. Yup.It's as fun as it sounds. The equilibrium in my body is off, so I'm having a hard time transferring my weight from one side to another, which is exactly what walking is. So I do a lot of work on parallel bars, taking one step forward and shifting the weight back and forth and trying to compensate for the fact that my body wants to keep falling to the right. And we do a lot of balance exercises. Something as simple as crossing one leg in front of the other can throw me off balance enough that I'd be falling if I didn't have a balance bar to grab me. Therapy is REALLY frustrating, and really challenging. But, I guess it's helping, since I'm able to get around on my own somewhat now.

Alright, so that wasn't exactly short and sweet, but hey, you love me anyway, right?

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Where I've been", or, "I have brain damage". No, literally. Stop laughing.

For those that don't know, I recently was diagnosed with a brain lesion and brain disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM for short).

Yes, I DO have a brain, I've seen it on the CAT scan and MRI.

Yes, we now have confirmed proof that my brain is a bit, shall we say, off-kilter, which we all knew anyway.

I know most of you don't want to hear about my crazy medical stuff, and some people are sensitive to discussions on needles and tests, so I've been blogging about my disease and recovery on a separate blog: Mental Misfirings and Other Tales. You know, in case you're curious. 

I'll get back to this blog when life becomes as normal as it's ever going to be again. 

Four Week Update

So, um, four weeks, huh?


You'd think it'Id feel like a long time, since all I've really been doing is sitting around the house, but no. I can't believe it's been just under a month.

First, I'm going to bitch for a sec, 'cause I got to get this off my chest. Being out of work when you live paycheck-to-paycheck really effing sucks. I have NO income coming in. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I've been approved for short term disability, which is supposed to provide a percentage of my income, but they've been dragging their damn heels in cutting me a check. I found out today that they mailed it on the 4th. It's still not here, probably won't get here until next week. And the bills are fricking due. The angry 'your bill is LATE you evil person you!" people are calling already.

I'm frustrated. I'm upset. I'm stressing. I'm angry. I CAN'T go back to work. Believe me, I would if I could. I can't pay these people because I don't HAVE the money. They can threaten me with collections all they want, and I can show them my empty bank account. But they still won't stop calling me. I'm stuck, broke, until that disability check comes in, or until I can go back to work. Which, considering I'm only able to type this by closing one eye so I can see a single computer screen is probably not happening soon.

This isn't a plea for money, or for help, so please don't think I'm asking for a handout. This is just the reality of the situation when you have a serious injury in America and companies can drag their heels as long as they want to keep from paying out what they should.

Also, the first person to bitch about disability payments being for freeloaders, lazy asses, or people working the system will get unloaded on. Because I'm in THAT kind of a mood.

Uh, yeah. Back to regularly scheduled update blog and all...

I started rehabilitation yesterday. Vestibular Therapy to be exact. It's mainly brain therapy, teaching my brain and body how to orient itself in space again so that I'm not dizzy and I have some sense of balance. Which would be nice, because I'm really, REALLY tired of stumbling, wobbling, and flat-out falling all over the place. The therapist seems nice, and I'll be going twice a week, plus I have a packet of exercises I'm going to be doing at home.

Vision-wise, I'm having good days and bad days. It's crazy. Some days, I wake up and it's great, I can even see pretty decently for awhile before it slips. Other days, nothing works right, I can't focus, and the double images keep sliding around in front of my eyes.

Balance-wise, again, I have good days and bad days. I guess it's all a part of the healing process, right? Two steps forward, one step back? (Or, in my case, stumbles forward, shuffles back?)

I want to get back to my life so badly it's not even funny. August is gone, and I missed the last gasp of summer. I missed the huge Labor Day, Last Camping of the Season trip. I'm missing The Fair. I'm missing The Mystery Wine Walk. September is in full swing, and I can't partake. I miss being able to walk to a friend's place up the street and gossiping over wine, or going to the dog park with my friends.

Most people know that I'm a geeky chick, and I play rpgs and games both on consoles and online. I miss the gaming a bit, but I really miss the comraderie and the family of my gamer crew. I'm blessed to play with people I've known/played with for YEARS, and we really are like family. I miss being able to jump into a game at the end of a long day and catching up.

Gods, I even miss going to work.

Yeah, someone remind me I said that a few months from now when we're in the holiday rush, okay?
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