random blog post because I forgot how to blog, but I wrote this for class and liked it.

Note: I had to write this for my Interpersonal Communication class. And, well, I liked what I wrote. So I’m posting it here. Also, tonight is the last night I’m 30 and I’m writing about gender bias in geek culture. I’m pretty sure that means I ended 30 on a high note.

 

Across all cultures  and sub cultures there are preconceived notions of gender and gender roles. Narrowing down this blog to one particular topic was nearly impossible for me. As a raving and ranting feminist, I have books sitting around my apartment on the subject of female gender roles. I read an article nearly every day regarding a variety of topics. Where in the WORLD was I supposed to start?

But, if I want to tie in culture then it makes sense to look towards my subculture. Or one of them, anyway. And so, let’s take a little journey over to my corner of the world: geekdom. In a culture that praises itself on being made up of outsiders, gender roles are so incredibly and utterly defined that any person who dares to step outside these predefined roles is attacked.

Fair warning, Professor. This isn’t going to be a short post.

First, let’s examine comics. The gender roles are very well defined in comics. The heroes are big, strong and masculine men. They have power, wealth, good looks and charm. The sidekicks are not quite as masculine as the heroes, though often more layered than their hero counterparts. And finally, there are the women. Some of them may have superpowers (hello, Wonder Woman), but traditionally women are romantic interests, villains or sidekicks (who sometimes have crushes on their male heroes.) Comic books are no longer a hobby left to geeks. Superheroes and heroines have become a part of popular culture. Marvel’s The Avengers has made over 600 million dollars. However, with the nine Marvel films released in recent times, not one of them has featured a female lead. DC has not fared any better.

Lois Lane, for example, is a character most people in America know. I would wager that if you ask the average person her career most, but not all would know that she is a journalist. However, if you asked the average person who her love interest was, they would likely all know the answer. Lois, who in the early editions of the comic was a strong and capable woman. In Forbes Magazine, Christina Blanch, shows us that with the changing view of women following World War II, Lois changed as a character. Blanch also provides other examples of gender bias in comics. Sue Storm’s power is to become invisible. Batgirl who is just as intelligent and capable as Batman is crippled by the Joker and yet Batman does not suffer any permanent damage throughout his encounters.

I could go further into this topic and compare and contrast the way women and men are drawn, but I’ll save that for a giant research paper I’m sure I’ll have to write at some point in my college career. (Note to Self: Somehow you can make this your thesis.)

The views towards women extend from comic book pages to the attitude towards women in the geek fandom. Two particular areas stand out. The first is the objectification of women cosplayers. (For the non geek inclined, a cosplayer is a person who dresses up as a character. It’s much like a Halloween costume, but far more intense.)  While women in general are presented with unrealistic ideals for beauty, women who are fans of comic books are presented with fantastical expectations. As a result, own definition of beauty changes. Men and women are eager to dress as their favorite characters from comics, but the characters women identify with are drawn in revealing costumes with perfect bodies. Combine that with the roles these characters play and, well… this is the result. The author of this piece doesn’t say it’s okay to ogle women, but he does say that if a woman dresses in revealing clothing then she should expect to be ogled.

Women are treated as objects in comics and then when those characters are literally represented in the flesh, they are treated as objects. The media presents an image of a damsel or sex object and our culture tells us that this is okay. Our culture tells us that women in the geek world only exist to please men, arouse men, support men or punish men. If that gender bias is so present on the pages, it will transfer to the ideas readers of these comics have.

Which leads us to my last example of gender roles in geekdom. There is even a meme to support this particular bias. The Fake Geek Girl is a further extension of gender bias in geek culture. The Fake Geek Girl is a woman who enjoys comics, but not up to the standards of the men around her. She is stereotyped to wear “geek clothing” and talks about how much she loves various characters, but is not an expert. This, somehow, ruins her authenticity as a fan and earns her the title of fake. This particular instance is different than the others because it is not only men who shame the Fake Geek Girl, but women as well. A Fake Geek Girl is ridiculed for her lack of knowledge, but if it was only her lack of knowledge questioned then surely there would be Fake Geek Guys as well. And yet there aren’t. Only women are singled out in this regard.

Out of all of these examples, the Fake Geek Girl is the most frightening to me because there are other women buying into this. It is an example of bullying and it, quite frankly, breaks my heart. It implies that women must meet a certain criteria in order to be accepted into a culture where men are simply welcomed without question. A woman must continually prove herself and if she fails to meet the standard set by the culture, she is asked to leave.  There would be people who considered me a Fake Geek Girl because I could not tell you the first time The Silver Surfer appeared or the name of Peter Parker’s co-worker. But I can tell you the most obscure characters in Harry Potter and don’t you dare challenge me on anything Doctor Who related because I will put your to shame.  Even with my knowledge in certain areas, I most likely would be shamed for wearing an Avengers shirt because I do not know everything about that comic series.

All three examples who the gender bias in the geek culture, but more than anything it shows that bias can start in one place (media) and extend out. The gender roles presented in the comics have seeped into the way people in the geek culture think, behave and interact. And, to be honesty, it’s bullshit.

my trimuphant return to blogging.

Hi there, friends. I’ve forgotten how to blog. Or maybe I’ve just been so busy working, spending time with friends, traveling on weekends, watching massive marathons on Netflix and reading that I’ve simply forgotten how to make time to blog. Either way, I’m back. Hi.
I could take this time to tell you all about the really boring things I’ve been doing, but there is something so much more important than that I’m going to do.

I’m going to share with you all one of the best nights of my life. As most of you know I’ve been a part of the Northwest Indiana Listen to Your Mother cast for the past two years. And while I certainly loved my first year and all the people I met, I have to say that this year was different. This year was a little more special and magical. And that’s because this year I got to enjoy this with my mother.

8977905847_d30bc3d508_c

Mom and I at Listen to Your Mother Northwest Indiana 2013. Photo by Beth Fletcher Photography

My mother is my best friend. She’s the best person in my life and my favorite person in the world. Yes, I make fun of her constantly and with no remorse, but that is how we show love in my family. My father taught me that. He’s my second favorite person in the world, but it’s a very close second.

Anyway, this year I got to take the stage to talk about the changing relationship I have with my mother. Last year I read about being the child of a working mom, but this year I wanted to do something different. I wanted to talk about how far we’ve come in our relationship. I wanted to compare who we are now to who we were 20 some years ago.

Here is a small excerpt from my piece that night.

There will never be a point in time when I don’t need my mom. I needed her to clean up my skinned knees. I needed her to keep me in line when I was a sassy little shit of a teenager. I needed her to show me how to become an adult. And now I need her to hold my hand as I navigate the real world on my own. She’s my map and my compass and my North Star all rolled into one very loud, opinionated, suit wearing, technology challenged woman.  And without her I would be lost.

The only thing better than being able to stand in a beautiful theater in front of my loved ones and tell everyone how amazing my mother is was being able to watch her on stage. My mom gives me so many reasons to be proud of her, but I was grinning harder than I’ve ever grinned before when she took the stage. She was amazing.

During Listen to Your Mother you don’t really have time to absorb the pieces the other cast members are reading. Your heart is pumping so fast and you’re caught up in this incredible energy. Well, this year I’m going to take the time to review each of the pieces and write a little bit about it. I might not be a mom, but I’ve always said you don’t have to be a mother to learn from this show. You just have to be alive.

This year, Listen to Your Mother has partnered with The Partnership at Drugfree.org. They are sponsoring the release of our videos. Please, take a moment to make a pledge that you will not abuse prescription drugs.

Once you’ve done that, watch my video! (I can’t watch it because I hate my voice with an unholy passion. Also WOW my hair was bright.)

Watch the others as well, of course. And look out for my reviews of all the lovely ladies I met during this amazing experience. Next year I will be in the audience watching the next generation of LTYM voices. I cannot wait.

on the 3rd anniversary of your 59th birthday

Without every asking for anything in return you have given me 30 years of love and support. You have forged through the thickest forests of doubt and struggle and left me a clear path to follow. When I veer off that path to find my own way you never pull me back and insist I follow behind you. You endure my endless mockery, my constant attitude and tedious inability to listen to you for one single second with ease. For my entire life you’ve been an example of grace, determination and intelligence. Everything you’ve done in your life has been for yourself, but by focusing on yourself you have also created a better life for me. You never put aside your own ambitions or dreams simply because you have a child. You’ve taught me that I do not have to sacrifice who I am under any circumstance.

You gave me a love of geekery. Without you I wouldn’t be counting the days to the new Star Trek movie or wearing a TARDIS necklace at this very moment. You taught me that endless worlds exist within the pages of a book. When my imagination ran away from me and I lived in my own world of fantasy you never tried to pull me back. You never chastised me for wanting to be bigger than the small town I hail from. I only ever received endless encouragement and praise from you.

Every time I made (make) a mistake in life, you hold my hand through it all.  Even when I’ve angered you with my stubbornness and stupidity you have loved me. That love, that amazing, true and incredible love, has never wavered. You love me completely and unconditionally.

Älska mig mest när jag förtjänar det minst, ty då behöver jag det bäst.

Love me most when I deserve it the least, because that’s when I need it the most. ~ Swedish Proverb

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of your 59th birthday and you don’t look a day over 55. I am proud to be your daughter. I am honored to be your friend. I am excited to see how our relationship grows in the future. There are days when I fear I’ve not become the woman you want me to be or that I haven’t achieved enough in my life. But then I remember that I am just like you. Your passion came later in life. Your child came later in life as well. I am not failing in my life, I am simply following the path you’ve cleared for me.

I love you, Ma. You are beautiful, intelligence, passionate, kind and determined. I am so thankful to have you in my life. I am so honored to be known as “Leanne’s Daughter.” For all my teasing and mocking, you are the woman I aspire to be in the world. Happy Birthday, to my amazing mother. I hope that today and every day following is as beautiful as you are.

IMG_3297

I’m geeky and I know it

So if you follow me on twitter, have me friended on facebook or have spoken to me at all for the last few weeks you’ve probably noticed that there is a new love in my life. And that love is IGGPPC. Also know as the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club. Yes, my friends and family, I am an Iggle. (PS: I’ll be guest blogging there starting in May on the 1st Friday of every month.)

I’ve always been a geek, but for a long time I didn’t share it quite so freely. But that time is done. Now I am sharing and oversharing my love of my geek self and proudly announcing that I am a giant dork. Because, let’s face it, we’re all happier people when we are honest about ourselves, right?

Because for awhile I thought I had to hide who I was. No one wants to admit that they cry over books and can’t sleep before the midnight showing of Harry Potter. Because there are labels that come with being a geek. Negative labels. We are taught from a young age how important it is to be cool and socially acceptable. We are instructed to wear the right clothes and like the right things and GOD FORBID you’re even a little different than the other kids in your class. Nothing like telling a little girl that she’s wrong because she’d rather be watching Star Trek than playing with Barbies.

So, to all my classmates over the years who made fun of me and to all of the people in my life who made me think I had to hide my geekiness… A POX ON YOUR FAMILY.

I am a geek. I have a cut out of Ron Weasley, for crying out loud. I have a TARDIS in my living room and I have Hogwarts acceptance letters framed and hanging up for decoration. I have more geeky tee shirts than I should and guess what? I’m pretty damn happy with my life. Because I’ve learned to embrace who I am. I’m content being a giant geek and I’m not going to change that or hide it in order to make people like me more.

Let’s stop acting like “geek” is a negative thing, okay? What’s so wrong about loving something so much that you can’t contain your excitement? NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT.

I’ve been embracing this part of myself more and more following my divorce and now I’ve found my fellow Iggles and I realize that there are loads and loads of us geek girls out there. So if there are literally hundreds of us then obviously I should be proud of who I am.IMG_20130411_203416

Please note that I am very tired and I’m fairly certain this blog makes no sense.

Go forth, friends. Embrace your geek. EMBRACE OR I’LL EMBRACE IT FOR YOU.

a second attempt at domesticity.

I get these ideas sometimes. Ideas that I am a STRONG. INDEPENDENT. WOMAN. WHO. CAN. DO. ALL. THE. THINGS.

And when I get these ideas, I usually try to do something that seems to come easy to so many other people. And lately I’ve been attempting to bake. You all remember the hell I went through with the cake, right? Well tonight I decided that I would try making a pie. I cheated a little and used a pre-made crust because COME ON, WHO HAS TIME FOR REAL CRUST?

And what better pie to try to make than a chocolate meringue? I can rock an apple pie like it’s no one’s business, but this was all fancy. And I… think I failed.

IMG_20130411_214911

So, the pie LOOKS right. But it doesn’t seem to be thick enough. I don’t think I let the filling thicken up enough. I’m fairly certain it’s just pudding. So when we attempt to cut into this thing at work tomorrow it’s just going to be a mess of crust, pudding and meringue.

Whatever. I tried. And maybe I’ll try it again next time but thicken the pudding up a little more so it’s filling and not pudding. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BAKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN RIGHT, PEOPLE.

The funny thing is.. I always swore I’d never be the sort of woman who was barefoot in her kitchen baking. OOOPS MY BAD.

IMG_20130411_220749

why being lonely is sometimes super awesome

Note: If you got that reference please let me know. We’ll be friends for life.

I, like every other person ever, get lonely sometimes. When you have no one but a jerk cat to keep you company it’s bound to happen. And while my schedule is pretty packed with work, friends, church and various other amazing things (Listen to Your Mother, for example) I still have down time at home and that is when the loneliness likes to creep in. By creep in I mean it manifests itself in the form of a tub of ice cream and crying over the sad episodes of Doctor Who. Because that’s what loneliness is, okay?

But the next morning, when I’m all ready to go back to work after my single day off, I realize that being lonely isn’t a bad thing sometimes. It does suck more often than not, but there are the occasions when I realize it’s a good thing. Because it’s made me appreciate the people I have in my life so much more.

For example, my mother and I now have dinner together every Friday night. I look forward to those nights so much. It started as going out for fish during Lent, but we’ve both agreed that it’ll continue on forever. Or at least until she’s too old to hold a fork in a few months. If I hadn’t been lonely and seeking out time with my loved ones, I wouldn’t have started this amazing tradition. I’ve been able to appreciate my mom so much more now and laugh with her (and at her) more than before.

My friends have become an even bigger part of my life as well. If I don’t want to sit at home I know I can count on them to spend time with me. I even have an amazing group of girls (my bitches, I love you all) that I get to see and talk to more than I ever would’ve if I hadn’t been lonely. I honestly don’t think I would’ve been going to all these GNOs and random meetups if I wasn’t lonely.

But maybe the biggest change in my life has been how much more involved I’ve been with church. I’ve met people I would’ve never spoken to before and I go more often than I don’t. I say yes when people ask me to do this and it’s all because I don’t want to be sitting at home. Without sounding too cheesy, I think maybe God had a plan all along. Parts of his plan sucked and I really think there could’ve been another way to get the message across to me without spending ten years in a relationship that ended in divorce, but hey.

By being lonely I’ve forced myself to get out there more and be with more people and see more things. So, really, my misery was the best thing that could happen to me. I don’t think I’m lonely anymore. Sure there are days when I’m bummed out, but then I think about all the stuff I have going on and the plans and the people I can reach out to and I remember.

I’m actually pretty damn happy.

refusing to turn the other cheek

There are a lot of people like me out there. Younger Christians who don’t make a big show of their faith. And I’d wager there are a lot of Lutherans out there who REALLY don’t make a big show of their faith because we’re Lutherans and that just isn’t our style. But I think maybe we’re doing things wrong. Because by being quiet and private with our faith, we’re passively allowing others to believe we have no faith. And that’s not right.

My thoughts today come from a handful of Zombie Jesus jokes I saw on Facebook and Twitter this morning. Those who might not believe found it so easy to mock religion. One way to deal with this is to turn the other cheek and that is what I did this morning. I mostly ignored it. But then I started to think… if I ignore that, does it mean I’m endorsing that sort of behavior? Am I telling the world that it is okay to mock my faith simply because they don’t agree with it? Am I passively endorsing their behavior by remaining silent? Yes. Yes I am.

Besides. Turning the other cheek isn’t really my style.

So, this post is my message to all the people out there who AREN’T religious and also to the people who get on anyone who doesn’t believe the same exact way they do.

Knock. It. Off.

I’ve seen so many of you yell about Christians who display their faith. And I understand where you are coming from. Because those who shout the loudest are often those who are the most unwilling to listen to anyone else. If you see a car with a bumper sticker that proclaims the driver is pro-life I doubt you’re going to be able to convince them donate to Planned Parenthood. But before you write all Christians off as zealots who will never agree with you, consider that there are a lot of us like me out there. There are Christians who are quiet in their faith and willing to listen and discuss and try to understand other perspectives. There are Christians who struggle with their own faith and question the teachings of their church. And when you mock the entire Christian faith, you’re telling them that they are foolish or dumb for believing. So why would they come to you to have a discussion if they believe you’re going to look down on them for having faith?

And to the Christians out there who won’t bend or take a breath and consider the other side? Shame on you as well. Because you’re still telling me that I’m wrong for how I choose to practice my faith. When you post things that love is only meant for a husband and a wife, you’re condemning me for my divorce. When you say that a woman should be submissive to her husband you’re looking down on me for believing I deserve an equal voice. When you tell me that my father is going to hell because he isn’t a Christian then, well… Well then you’re just a jackass because my father is the most loving am morally sound person I know.

So, both sides, just stop. Stop mocking Christians and stop belittling people who don’t worship in the same manner you do. All you are doing is pushing the majority of Christians further into the dark.

But.. for the majority of us? For the Christians out there who are quiet in our faith and let posts from the two extremes go unchallenged because we see no point in arguing? LET’S ARGUE. Let’s start standing up for those of us in the middle. Let’s show the world that there are Christians who love science and swearing. Let’s proudly tell people we have faith and be even PROUDER in admitting it’s a struggle for us. No one should tell us that we are foolish for believing or that we aren’t good enough because we don’t believe enough.

Anyone who makes you feel badly about your own faith is a jackass. And instead of letting them simply be a jackass, stand up for yourself. Because I know that’s what I’m doing from now on.

you blog about your kids….

Me: I think I’ll sit down and read all of the internet. That sounds like a nice way to relax while the 4.8 million grams of caffeine I ingested today slowly works out of my system. Goodness, this couch is comfortable and how I love being in sweats. Isn’t the world a better place when you don’t need to wear real pants? Ahh, I feel better. I feel relaxed. Dare I say it? I feel happy.

Cat: I WILL WALK ALL OVER YOUR LAPTOP AND TIP OVER THAT GLASS OF WATER. HAHA, HUMAN. BOW BEFORE ME. BOOOOOOW.

*furnace kicks on*

Cat: OH MY GOD THE END IS NIGH! I SHALL RUN AND HIDE! OH, PLEASE, MY LOVING CARETAKER, SAVE ME FROM THAT WRETCHED SOUND. I LOVE YOU. I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOU.

Some days I think that I’m in a really long game against the cat. Let me remind you all that he is NOT my cat. No, this little ball of hate and hellfire belongs to my former roommate who, after she left me for a man, begged me to keep her cat. And I did. because I’m a sucker. And she knows it. Dick. Anyway. Rhys and I have come to an understanding. I feed him and give him a clean place to crap and he doesn’t eat my face.

Except, well, most of the time I think he’s still planning on eating my face. He looks at me sometimes and just stares. Like he’s trying to see into my soul. Or he stares as though he’s charting my weaknesses and organizing a battle plan of attack. He will take any opportunity to wound me. Thankfully since he’s also insane and scared of his own fur, Rhys’ plans are often foiled by his own crazy.

Most days we sit around and ignore each other. He has his couch. I have mine. We don’t talk. I don’t speak cat so a conversation is pretty pointless. He pretends not to understand anything I say which is a total lie. That cat knows. He KNOWS when I’ve called him an asshole. And I think he smirks too.

The fact that this cat is such a dick honestly makes me love him more.

There will come a day when I forget to feed him because I’m thinking of something really important. Like twitter. Or Doctor Who. Or pizza. And on that day? Rhys is going to eat my face. I bet the little shit won’t feel sorry about it either.

IMG_20130327_184426

 

 

I am NOT a domestic goddess.

Not having a car (oh, right.. I don’t currently have a car. It’s hell) makes the simplest tasks insanely complicated. For example, if I had a car I would call a bakery, order a cake and drive to pick it up. Easy, right?

Well, I don’t have a car. And so instead of ordering a cake from a bakery LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE DO, I decided to bake a cake. From scratch. I didn’t even use a mix. And I’ve learned one thing… I am not a domestic goddess. Actually, I’ve learned two things. I am not a domestic goddess and Julie has my undying appreciation and admiration.

One of my co-workers is having a birthday tomorrow and I’ve decided that there needs to be more cake in the world and so I’ve started getting cakes for all the birthdays. Because cake. I emailed my lovely co-worker, who is also named Julie and is also amazing, but not the above referenced amazing Julie and asked her what her favorite kind of cake was.

Julie, I love you, but the correct answers to this are as follows: chocolate, white, yellow, banana. Julie, however, picked German Chocolate Cake. All right, I told myself. I can do this. It’s just baking. HOW HARD CAN THIS BE?

Hard. And messy. And really messy. And recipes are confusing. For the record, I am using this one and I’ve no idea how it’s going to turn out. I’m terrified it’ll taste like crap and I’ll have to call in an order for a good cake and borrow a car to go pick it up. And because my kitchen looks like someone vomited flour, I’m not going to share pictures of this process. You can expect that from those bloggers who have skill and talent and stuff.

My biggest gripe of this process is when I was told to “save the egg whites for another recipe” when really they meant KEEP THESE EGG WHITES YOU’RE GONNA NEED THEM IN LIKE TEN MINUTES. Oh, hahah, you threw them away? JOKE IS ON YOU FOR NOT READING AHEAD BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT WE’D BE CLEAR WITH OUR INSTRUCTIONS. HAHAHA, FOOL.

Screw you, Betty Crocker.

Edited: I think this cake might not taste like death.

Edited again: I finished.

image

because I’m a huge geek and wrote and entire post about a character from doctor who

There are characters in the world that I identify with more than others. Characters who strike a cord in my heart and never leave me. And one of those characters, perhaps the character that I feel most strongly about is none other than Donna Noble. So, since I am a geek and I just finished bawling my eyes out to her last episode (spoilers), I figured it was time to write about my kindred spirit.

Donna doesn’t believe she’s anything special. And, on the surface, she isn’t. She’s in her 30s, single, living at home, working boring office jobs, falls for the wrong men, has friends who she doesn’t always like, fights with her mother and longs for something more. She is crying out for more in the world, for dreams that she doesn’t believe she deserves. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming.

Instead of allowing people to see all of this, though, Donna hides it all under layers and layers of sarcasm, shouting and snark. She shouts at the world with the hope that someone is listening.

Sound familiar?

The first time I ever saw Donna I hated her. Oh, I hated her. And when I expressed my opinion of Donna to my dear friend, Stephen, he pointed out what I was too blind to see. I am Donna. I am the same cut, the same spunk, the same everything. My life isn’t quite the same, but my personality? Oh fuck me it’s the same thing. I am Donna.

She will always be the character I feel for the most. Because I understanding wanting more in life, but being so caught up in the day to day that you don’t believe “more” is ever going to come. I understand having dreams that seem to slip away because you spend eight (or ten) hours a day typing away at a computer just to make enough money to pay the rent. And I understanding having BIG PLANS that always seem to fade away because the world doesn’t allow you to follow through. But more than anything, I understanding hiding all of your hurt with sarcasm and snark. Allowing people to see how fragile and lonely you really are isn’t an option, is it? And it’s easier to make people laugh rather than being laughed at. Being vulnerable isn’t easy and being closed off and absent from emotions is a cinch.

So when (seriously, spoilers) Donna is robbed of her time with The Doctor and forced to go back to her boring life, I bawl. I cry my eyes out because I get it. I long for a life outside of this small city, this small job and this small life. I yearn for a big life, traveling, seeing the world, making a difference. And, just like Donna, I am waiting for someone big and wonderful to come along and make it easier for me to achieve all my dreams.

Everyone has characters they understand. Everyone has watched a movie, read a book, listened to a song and seen a television show and thought… “Yes. Yes I understand this. Yes, I get this struggle. Yes, I sympathize.” And tonight, that was me. I understand the lonely girl who doesn’t think she’s worth much and hides it all with sarcasm. So, Donna Noble. I get you. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.