Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Bullies of the Outlander Fandom

            Some things never change. They just escalate.

Take for example the bullying that the SSers (super shippers) continue to heap on anyone in the Outlander fandom who disagree or disprove the Ship. The hubris of these women! I know they like to think they are the center of the Outlander fandom universe and make up the majority of it, but  they are far from it. They have gone after countless fans, many reporters, Meril, Matt, Terry, Ron, Diana, Graham, Steven, Paul Camuso, Grant, even Sam and Cait themselves, and anyone that Sam or Cait has been photographed with of the opposite sex who is not Sam or Cait. 

Awhile back these SSers decided to take on William Shatner. He was defending his friend, Sam, and not letting them get away with their pack of lies. Which, of course, infuriated them, because nothing upsets a bully more than to be called out on his or her actions, and they decsended on his twitter page en masse like a swarm of shrieking eels. Not to worry, however, as Mr. Shatner can say in only 140 characters more than I can in two pages of writing. Now remember, the SSers were the ones to start the battle (with one of the leaders even telling him to shut up), but true to bully form, they all claimed they were horribly bullied by a misogynistic has-been. There were those not of the SSers' group who disagreed with how Shatner went about smacking these women down. And that's certainly fair enough. But Mr. Shatner refuted all their lies about the ship and brought to light the problem the fandom has with this group of bullies.

The SSers are a bigger group of misogynistic women I have not seen. Psychology Today states:

A recent study finds that women are more likely to be misogynists than men—at least on social media. The study, which was conducted by a social intelligence company called Brandwatch … found that 52 percent of misogynistic hate speech tweets came from women, versus 48 percent from men. … half of misogynistic tweets (which contained the word “whore” or “slut”) came from women. … the tweets in question, are still social media—or as I like to call it: Disneyland for trolls, where bullying and cruelty are its main attractions. (Emphasis added) (October 25, 2016)

Sound familiar? The current favorite to bully online is Mackenzie Mauzy. They want her to die. They slut shame; date shame; body shame; photo shame; work shame her. They mock her photos, her poses, her life. But guess whose fault this is? Why Mackenzie's of course! She didn't disable the comments on her IG posts! This is classic bully behavior - it is never the bully's fault that they bully. The victim has somehow done something to allow it or cause it. Then if the bullies are called out or receive flak for their terrible deeds, they firmly believe they did nothing to deserve such treatment and are themselves being bullied (a/k/a William Shatner and "the entire fandom").

So after bullying cast and crew, friends, SOs, and others in the fandom, the last thing left to do is to turn on the ones they profess to love - Sam and Cait. "Cait had to demean herself" by posting the picture for Sam who was "abdicating his responsibility" for not coming out and telling everyone every detail about his personal life.  They were betrayed! It doesn't make sense! Why are they doing this to meeeeee?!!!! 

For nearly a year and a half Sam and Cait have definitely been leaving everyone breadcrumbs - in the form of the "We are NOT together" video interview. "We aren't together" articles in proper magazines, newspapers and online news sites. The fact that you blatantly chose to ignore ALL OF THIS is your own fault. Not Cait's; not Sam's. They have not manipulated you or played any games. Their significant others do not stir the pot, cause controversy, or taunt the fandom.  Sam isn't a coward for not sharing his private life with you. He's not afraid to claim his girlfriend ("so his costar does it for" him). They don't leave shippery breadcrumbs. Sam doesn't need "to be seen dating her in public." For God's sake, neither Sam nor Cait owe you anything regarding their personal lives. They owe us all a great performance as Jamie and Claire and that is all. (Which they deliver in spades.) (And regarding Sam and Mack being seen in public - he attended a wedding with her where a video went around showing them looking pretty cozy. Also, don't forget the photo of them at a winery(?) where they were facing each other, mirroring each other, and the look Mack was getting from Sam was so hot it nearly set my monitor on fire.

One more thing about Mackenzie - one of the SSers on the top of the food chain stated that it's "been a year of solid bullshit. Mackenzie has done nothing to earn my respect, and, quite frankly, is partially responsible for a lot of the bullshit fighting in this fandom. I don't feel the need to be nice to her just because she's associated with  Sam and Cait.  …so I'm not going to apologize for what I've said today and I don't expect anyone else to either. I'm sick of being told who I have to be nice to…" (Well for heavens sake, by all means DON'T APOLOGIZE for crappy things you say! Dear god! The horror!) No one expects you or anyone else to have to like or respect someone simply because of who they are dating. I think the majority of this fandom expects people to be nice. It won't kill anyone to be nice on social media. Mackenzie in no way is responsible for any fighting. That is bully mentality blaming the victim. Nobody has to like her, but everybody should be kind to her. Not because of who she is, but because she's a human being. Take your misogynistic, bully hats off and if you can't be kind, be silent. Leave her alone. The world does not revolve around you, SSers. She won't miss you a bit if you leave her alone.

The SSers claim that they've been misled all this time because of how Sam and Cait act around each other when doing promos for the show. (See how it is never the SSers' fault?) I feel sad for the lot of you because you obviously haven't experienced a close friendship with a member of the opposite sex that doesn't actually include sex. As friends you will admire what the other is wearing, you will look at them with a smile for a secret joke, you are touchy/feeling (some people more so than others). You know things about each other and tease each other about it. You are comfortable around each other. You hug. You kiss on the cheek (sometimes on the lips). But it doesn't mean you are in love with each other past the point of genuine friendship. It doesn't mean "So Married!" Add to it that Sam and Cait are going through this newfound fame as actors together, on a new show, with intense love scenes, and intense emotional scenes together. All while working in tough conditions, probably 18 hours days, far from friends and family. You are bound to become close and learn things about each other. There is no denying that Sam and Cait together are adorable, funny and sexy.  Who doesn't want those people to be together? However, they are not being disingenuous. It's a part of their job, and fortunately they actually are good friends so they can have a good time whilst doing the promos and the cons and the interviews, etc. But the real life Sam and Cait have their own interests and lives. Which is to be expected.

Regarding the photo Cait posted about Sam beating her up (again) on set while filming.  The SSers took this as a breadcrumb from Cait that Sam had given her a hickey on her thigh. Yes, that makes so much sense. Cait, who gives nothing of her personal life away, gladly posted a photo of herself with a hickey given to her by her super secret husband. ("So Married!") There was even an expert on the whole shot giving who said that Claire would never give herself a shot in the thigh because that's not how it's done. (She clearly hasn't read the book.) Claire does indeed give the shot in her thigh because Jamie is too concerned about hurting her with the needle. Also, for everyone who has ever given or gotten a hickey, we are aware it does not leave behind two pinpoint marks in the bruise. (Well, maybe - if you were making out with Dracula or Kaa.)

 Final thing. SSers, you do get behind Sam and Cait's charities. But why? Do you really care about that? Or are you simply looking to pat each other on your back, saying "Look what we did! We are the best fans ever!" You go to the comic cons and race to have your photos with Sam and Cait. This is after saying rotten things on social media about the people in their life, and about them. After mocking other fans' photos with Sam and Cait, you then then do the exact pose yourself. You claim to be all about love and light and hugs, but you are a den of vipers waiting to strike at anyone you feel is threatening your already sunk ship. Here's the thing - you are all so busy congratulating yourselves on how amazing you are as fans that you don't see the hypocrisy, bullying, misogyny, and hate that spews from your blogs. And until you take a look at what you are putting out into the Universe, you are always going to keep asking, "Why does everybody blame us?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Day the Magic Died

The Day the Magic Died
(Or: When the SuperShippers Collectively Lost Their Shit) 

This is in response to the outcry from William Shatner’s tweets last week to a specific group in the Outlander fandom.

First, I want to tell Jess that I’ve read on her blog about her passion for fostering kittens. I know it must be very rewarding, and you are very passionate about it, but it’s hard, too. I fostered a kitten exactly once and he’s a big epic foster fail! My parents ended up adopting him, but he believes that I am his mother and was too attached, so he had to come live me with me again (much to the chagrin of my first cat, Lily!). I think there must be a lot of good inside a person who fosters animals.

I also believe that there are many in this fandom who are slowly losing a parent, myself included. Or a loved one of some kind. There are too many terrible diseases that slowly rob people of who they are. Having to watch a parent slowly lose themselves is torture and insidious and we never should have to do it. How we handle this situation defines us.

Jess, you call yourself a “young woman.” Your followers have called you a girl. (Which Shatner correctly pointed out is incorrect.)  There’s such a thing as a young girl. Or a young lady. But not a young woman. When you get to the point where you call yourself a woman, there is no “young” in front of it. You are a Woman with all the strength and beauty that word implies. Own it!

Don’t be weak, Jess. Be Strong! Don’t play the sympathy card - be the strong woman you are mean to be! Use the love and support of your followers, not as a crutch to be a “girl”, but to help get you through each day

I have read often on your blog a question along the lines of “What’s wrong with shipping? It’s harmless fun!”

As far as shipping goes, there’s nothing wrong with simple shipping. It can be fun. And I’d wager there are many in the Outlander fandom who are simple shippers. By “simple” I mean that they look at Sam and Cait at ComicCon, Paley, or other outlets where they are promoting the show and think, “Dang! Those two are adorbs! They would be fantastic as a couple!” and they proceed to sit back and enjoy the show that these two actors give us and that’s as far as it goes. Oh sure, they may comment to a similarly-minded friend, “Did you see that Q&A they did? Wasn’t that the cutest thing?!” They enjoy the interaction and then get on with their lives. Simple shipping is harmless. And let’s face it: Sam and Cait ARE adorable - whether together or separate. Who doesn’t watch their interaction without a smile on your face? They are two incredibly funny, quick-witted, intelligent, beautiful friends with amazing chemistry.

But when shipping morphs into manips of the woman pregnant, or the two of them holding their fake baby (but someone’s real life baby), things have gone beyond innocent. This is SuperShipper (“SSer” or “SSers”) land. As is using tarot card readings to help sail the ship. Or believing that Sam is the captain of said ship and that he leaves breadcrumbs that only the SSers can see in his social media. Mmmm, that’s not harmless. Because inevitably Sam will do or say something that disappoints the SSers and they attack him on social media en masse and I’m sure he’s thinking “What the wha?!”

The SSers don’t stop there though. Any woman that Sam is seen with gets attacked by the super shippers. En masse. Jess, you truly don’t think that the SSers vilified Abbie?! We didn’t hear the end of the egg thing for months. Everyone had all sorts of terrible “nick-names” for her. You learned where she worked. Where she lived. She had death threats. It was text book cyber bullying. Why? Because by her very existence she threatened your ship. No matter what the relationship she and Sam had, this was a person that Sam cared enough for to spend time with. And this is how you and your followers show him you are a fan?

The same with Cait. The SSers say really rotten, terrible things about her friend Tony. Again, it doesn’t matter what the relationship is between them. This is someone that Cait cares enough for to spend her time with. To take him to things that mean a lot to her. And you guys are rabid with your hatred of him for no other reason than he threatens the ship. You say first that he is bankrolling  Cait’s career (such a disservice to such an amazingly strong, talented woman!). Then you say that his businesses have all failed and he’s hanging onto her coattails. He’s her PA. He’s at Cannes so he can hold her purse and sunglasses. You call him McNoballs. How can you profess to love and be a fan of someone and to treat a person that she cares for like that? You can’t see the hypocrisy in doing that? How that is bullying and harassment?

But let’s not stop there. You bully and harass the drivers (even trying to get one fired for pete’s sake). Outlander fans who aren’t even on Tumblr you mock and horribly make fun of for responding a lot to casts’ tweets. Any fan who goes to events and you don’t like their attitude, you bully. If they say anything to contradict the ship, you bully them.

But you don’t stop there. You’ve bullied Maril, Diana, Terry, Ron, Matt - anyone you can sink your fangs into. There’s not enough sex in season 2! Why would you say Sam and Cait aren’t a couple! The list goes on and on.  Yet you, the super shippers, think that you are the victims. Incredible.

You all feel so entitled to more from Sam and Cait. If they aren’t being cutesy on Twitter, you get pissed. If Sam talks to Shatner, you get pissed. If they aren’t doing any video bantering, you get pissed. If Sam only tweets about the My Peak Challenge, you get pissed. If there isn’t enough sex in season 2, you get pissed. (Poor SSers. You have to run in a continuous .gif loop sex scenes from season 1.) Sam and Cait can actually act, you know. Act their butts off. They are far more than whether they wear a modesty patch or not or how tight the string has to be on it. And for heaven’s sake, quit sending texts to Sam asking him if his favorite place is between Cait’s thighs. You guys act like a group of horny teenager girls!  And that is so incredibly  disrespectful and the fact you can’t see that is mind boggling.

Next on the list of things to piss you off was an interview the magnificent Cait did where she again stated she wasn’t dating Sam, but was seeing someone. The sunk ship took another hit. So what did the SSers do? Go to Cait’s SM of course proclaiming foul and filled with hate. You guys are like the greatest fans everrrrrrr!

Then Paul, a friend and assistant to William Shatner, innocently enough posts one day that he knows for a fact that Sam and Cait are not a couple. Boom! Paul finds himself in the middle of a nest of venomous vipers and they are out for blood! Fortunately for him, Paul seems to be made of strong stuff, donned his chainmail suit against the fangs, and handled it all gracefully and without having a nervous breakdown. Hooray for Paul!

The next day, I’m sure after surmising the situation and maybe perusing a few Tumblr accounts, Mr. Shatner sends out a few tweets in response to those bullies who came after Paul. Mass hysteria ensues on the part of the SSers. And they go after Bill, Jess even going so far as to tell him to “shut up!” Bill doesn’t back down and never in the history of the ship has someone taken on the SSers as a whole and not only made it out alive, but unscathed. Victorious even.  With the possible exception of Elizabeth Warren, I have never seen someone use 140 characters or less to get right to the heart of the issue and totally annihilate the BS and lies. I admit - I may have done the Snoopy dance. Bill became my hero that day.  I’d like to say that the SSers got a taste of their own medicine and found it bitter, but that isn’t the truth. Their medicine is to bully. And let’s be totally clear on one thing - William Shatner did NOT bully anyone that night.  He simply took your statements and showed them for the lies that they were. He exposed you as bullies and you hated it. He defanged you all and that pissed you off more than my cat while she’s getting a bath.

So you waited and waited for your self-proclaimed captain to come to your aid. To cry foul and disavow Shatner. And when that didn’t happen, you took your anger and took it to Sam’s Twitter TL. The next day when he did not disavow Bill or apologize for him and his truthy comments, you were even more enraged. You were probably as purple as Zebediah Kilgrave. So what did you do?

Go crying to Starz PR that’s what! And Sam’s publicist! And when that wasn’t enough, you went to the ACLU to report how Shatner hates women and bullies them on SM!

*face palm* William Shatner simply pointed out the flaws in your ideals. The bully that is the ship. The fact that some of his followers then went and bullied you was completely wrong, and not what Bill asked them to do, or even gave the suggestion to do. And one of those followers told Jess to go kill herself - obviously that is very, very wrong. Hate like that is abhorrent.  And yet, you - the SSers - practice this type of bullying. I know you think Purv is the AntiChrist. I can assure you she is not. So stop wishing her dead. Stop wishing her gang raped (see photo).

Real life hate pushed itself to the forefront on Sunday when 49 people were killed. This kind of hate and ways to fix it is what is truly important in this world - not some sunk ship. So when Sam and Cait posted words of condolence and sadness for the hatred and intolerance, instead of agreeing with them, you wanted to know why there couldn’t be tolerance for everyone. Meaning, you as a group made it all about you. Very nice. Like Trump made it all about him by thinking that this incident proved him right about refugees.

There is another group to the Outlander fandom and I belong in this group. Some of us are Truthers and some of us simply are Non-Shippers (“NSTs”) (I’m a non-shipper).  I’ve read where there are those who feel that the NSTs “police” the fandom. I don’t think that’s at all correct. Police have authority to stop something. NSTs simply have common sense, errr I mean, a differing opinion from SSers and point it out. One thing we have in common is we hate bullies. So we call them on it. It is important to stand up to bullying.  Do I believe the NSTs have been 100% innocent in how they do this? Not remotely. In the past I’ve been a bit of a Pollyanna asking for my fellow non-shippers to call out the bullying in a respectful way. And for the most part, I believe we do. Yet I know that both sides have gotten carried away. I do wish we find a way to co-exist peacefully.

With that being said, there had been in the works an idea to get the SSers and the NSTs to get along and stop all the hate. This would have been nice except when the designated SSer found out a NST was going to be allowed to participate, she quickly backed out. Which my personal opinion is that the SSers don’t really want peace after all. You enjoy your ability to terrorize the fandom and then cry victim when you are all called out on it.

So why can’t you just have your safe, harmless place and be left alone? Because your blogs are not safe for anyone who dares to disagree with your ideals re: the ship. Your blogs are not harmless as they bully mercilessly.  As I’ve said before, if you don’t like how this fandom treats you, you have only yourselves to blame!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

At The Car Wash

I learned something about myself recently.  And it wasn't pretty. We all have our little phobias that may or may not make sense to anyone else: Heights, Snakes, Spiders, Clowns.  My most silly one?  Car washes! 

I'm as terrified of car washes now as I was when I was six.  After lunch one day, my friend Susan stopped and got gas for her car and paid for a car wash. She asked me if I would mind if she ran the car through the wash before we headed back to work.  As I was in no particular hurry to actually get back to work, and we still had plenty of time, I said “Sure! Why not.”  She pulled up to the automated car wash; punched in the key code. I watched as the door opened - and I had that split second moment of knowing that I should say "Um, see you on the other side!" and get the heck out of the car while I still had the chance. But the rational part of my brain said "Oh stop it! That was a long time ago. You can't still be afraid of car washes, silly!"

So there I sat. 

We start to creep in. Those thingies that clean off the sides of car start to rev up. The water starts coming from out of nowhere. Then the suds.  We've made it onto the track and the car is in neutral and we are sloooooooowly being moved along.  Claustrophobia sets in.  I hear myself making hysterical "Oh god oh god oh god" comments.  My poor friend looks at me as if I've lost my mind.  My eyes are squeezed as tightly shut as they possibly could be and I added my hands along the sides of my eyes as blinders - extra protection, I suppose.  I nearly screech (I probably actually did screech) "I'm very afraid of car washes!" and she laughs at me and says "Why didn't you say anything? I asked you!" I am clearly not in a place where I can have a sane conversation.  Why didn't I say anything???  Oh because it's just way too much fun to become terrified of the cleaning thingies whooshing all around you and sudsy water being squirted every which way.  It suddenly got very dark (I could tell this through my tightly shut eyelids and my hand blinders) and she calmly tells me, still trying not to laugh, that it's just cleaning the car. I open one eye and realize there's now more cleaning thingies whirling and whoosing about our heads. To which I immediately squeeze my eye shut again and continue my rant of "oh god oh god oh god."  She started asking me a question about my latest guy crush (she's no dummy!) and - and I cannot stress this enough - this is how panicked I was - I couldn't utter one single word about him. Not one. Usually, that's my "happy place" and I bore my friends senseless with idle chatter about him. But not at that moment.

We finally (How long does a car wash last? An eternity when you are irrationally afraid of them!) get closer towards the exit and my "oh gods" become quite loud. My poor friend says "What now?!" to which I say, "That blower dryer thingy is going to come down and roll over the top of your car and it's going to squish us and we will drown!" (Yes, that was my clear, intelligent thought process at that moment.)  She calmly tries to point out to me that "No, there are two blowers on either side of the car that stay stationary and we'll just drive past them" but that would have required my opening my eyes to notice. I think I might have just gone back to my "oh god oh god oh god" hysteria.
Needless to say we made it safely through the car wash. The car was not squished. We did not drown.  No boogie man with a white mask jumped out at us from behind the whirling, whoosing cleaning thingies to kill us both with a huge knife (because this is, I am certain, what actually happens in car washes).

But I won't be going back into a car wash anytime soon.  Rain is my friend.

*This was written in 2009. I’m pleased to report that I have been able to (mostly) conquer my fear of car washes, and have even been known to take my own car into one. Any screeching anyone may, or may not, hear during this time is purely coincidental. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Shippers vs. Super-Shippers

          Recently there was some discussion about shipping in the Outlander fandom and how it has been “vilified.” That conversation got people talking, which I think is a good thing. As long as it isn’t completely one-sided, or slightly misrepresented, which it was. There is such a schism in our fandom. And it lies in the hands of only a very small group of fans. So who makes up the Outlander fandom?

          First, there are those of us old enough to have read Outlander when it came out. We’ve been fans for over 25 years. We’ve read every book in the series at least once, if not multiple times. There are those who have no interest in the books and simply enjoy watching the show. We can be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LiveJournal, and CompuServe. You name it, we are out there talking about our love of all things Outlander!
          Within these groups are people who are shippers, super-shippers, non-shippers, have no idea what a shipper is, know what they are but don’t care, are truthers, or are on social media simply to see all and hear all they can about Outlander.

          As my title suggests, I’m here to discuss two groups especially: shippers vs. non-shippers.

          People often ask, “What is wrong with shipping?” The simple answer is “Absolutely Nothing!!” Regular ol’ shippers who find Sam and Cait’s interactions adorable and think “Aren’t they adorable together?! I *heart* them!” - and that is as far as it goes - are fine. Maybe these people are a majority of the fandom, I don’t know. Because let’s face it - I think that on the face value of those interactions, we could all be shippers! Sam and Cait are adorable in those interviews and games and panels! I would even go so far as to say that it is impossible not to have a big smile on your face and feel a little better after watching them interact together.

          Here’s a truth for you regular shippers: If you think that the group of people on Tumblr/Twitter who strive to show the truth of the S/C ship[1] hate you, you are completely wrong. Shipping can be harmless and the majority of you stick to that fun, harmless shipping.

          However, there is a separate group of shippers, the super-shippers, who are not harmless or fun. (A super-shipper takes shipping above and beyond the realm of harmless shipping. Everything is scrutinized to help keep the ship alive, and it is imperative that S/C are a couple.) These super-shippers (“SSers”) will stop at nothing to defend their ship. (I will not post any screencaps here, as the SSers complained endlessly about non-shippers-truthers (NSTs) doing this to them.[2] However, if you have any questions or disbelieve anything I say, you need to go through the SSers’ blogs on Tumbr. Take a good, long look and you will find it all there in black and white.

          These “harmless” SSers are bullies. They will bully anyone who dares to say the ship does not exist. This includes not only us mere “mortals”, but the cast and crew of Outlander: Nell (she said that Sam was in Thailand instead of Costa Rica with Cait for NYE like the SSers wanted everyone to believe), the Thai guy, Amy, Terry, Diana, Sam’s ex-gf, Cait’s bf, the Outlandercastblog for simply discussing shipping in the fandom, three of the drivers, and Sam himself (their self-professed Captain of the ship). They attack with the ferocity of starving piranhas until we are stripped bare, the only thing left our bones to clean their fang-like teeth with.

          I hate bullies. I was bullied for a brief time in elementary school and it left a foul taste in my mouth. Sadly this group of people also bully and mock people who do nothing to usurp the shipping. People they feel answer too many of the cast’s/crew’s tweets or are always the first to answer (which they screencap to show their viewers). They get ruthlessly mocked.  People who send gifts to the cast/crew. Mocked. (Nevermind that they do the same themselves. The hypocrisy on the ship knows no bounds.) The SSers claim to be full of “light, love, hugs and positivity,” but their words and actions prove otherwise. If someone sends a question to them on their blog, they are answered in the rudest ways possible and then blocked.

          I also hate liars. And a bigger group of liars about the non-existent ship I have not seen. They are full of untruthiness. But do not take my word for it. Go through the SSers’ blogs and see for yourself how full of love they are for anyone not on their ship, or who speaks against the ship.

          Next, the two SSers (and let us be honest here. These women were NOT regular shippers. They were of the SS class.) who engaged in Saturday’s conversation complained that the shippers are called “tinhatters.” This is only a half-truth. Regular shippers are never referred to as this. (In fact, regular shippers are not discussed negatively on any NST blog.) It is the super-shippers who are discussed to prove their lies wrong and to showcase their bully ways. And this is why:

Derived from the stereotype of conspiracy theorists and other paranoid people wearing tinfoil hats to protect themselves from telepathic, microwave or radio transmissions by aliens, the government, or both[1]: a fannish tinhat is a person who believes that their favorite celebrities are really a couple, forced by The Powers That Be to keep their relationship a secret. A lot of tinhat theories are based on fantasies of closeted celebrities (mainly actors) unable to be open about their relationship in their profession, although tinhatting of opposite-sex pairings does occur (and predates the term itself). The term can refer to the stylish accessory or, by metonymy, to the fan who wears it.

The term can also be used to refer to any fans who deliberately ignore parts of a canon they dislike in order to continue enjoying the media, for example bad writing, questionable relationship choices, etc. (Emphasis added)

          The SSers love to use this excuse. “Sam and Cait would come out and show their love for each other but the PTB are keeping them from doing so.”  So every minute detail of every photo and video is scrutinized for their supposed love.

          Sam and Cait both hanging onto a pair of antlers after a night of drinking? That’s now known as the “antler finger porn” photo.

          Sam and Cait throw “secret” kisses at each other.

          Sam and Cait leave little “breadcumbs” showing their love that only the SSers can detect and find.

          Sam and Cait are always on the verge of “the big reveal” (which, of course, never happens. Oh, wait! Unless you count all those videos and interviews they did where the unequivocally stated, “We are just friends. We are not a couple.”)  That was indeed a big reveal!

          But again the SSers spin truth into fiction and state that “something was off” with them. (Yes, it was. They were pissed they had to state publically that they weren’t a couple!)

          This is only a teeny-tiny part of what the SSers do to “deliberately ignore parts of the canon they dislike in order to continue enjoying the media” and the ship. They have stalked Sam, Cait, their friends and loved ones. They have threatened their loved ones. Gone to Sam’s dad’s grave. Mined SM to a degree that they know every friend or family member and follow them whenever they can.  And that is the tip of the iceberg.
          All this is why shipping is harmless fun, but super-shipping is not. But please, do not take my word for it. Go read their blogs on Tumblr for yourself! Make your own decisions about how full of light and love and truth they are.

[1] Disclosure: I am a part of this group. I simply consider myself a “Non-Shipper”.
[2] NSTs screencap to show that the SSers have indeed said what we are saying they said. As opposed to the SSers who make up lies and post them as truth without any truth to back up their lies. It’s actually a bit of a safeguard to have a screencap, super-shippers. If the NSTs represent something that you feel you did not mean, then you can use the very same screencap we blog to disprove what we say.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Gratuitous Shower Scene; Just Say Thank You; and What Do Men vs. Women Consider Beautiful?

The Gratuitous Shower Scene; Just Say Thank You;
and What Do Men vs. Women Consider Beautiful?

I have pretty much forgotten what regular TV is thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime (which I can now get Starz through, thank you very much!)  So in March I binge-watched: Daredevil (“DD”), Jessica Jones (“JJ”), and The Politician’s Husband. I’ve been watched British shows almost non-stop since January. I’m finding that my inner voice is now speaking with a British accent and my outer voice is using British terminology to people.

(Side thought: Anyone know the easy way to put the closed caption on an Amazon Prime tv show from a smart tv? Netflix is so easy. Prime confounds me!)

In one of my last blogs I discussed a little about gender inequality for female actors and the gratuitous shower scene. And then I watched Daredevil and Jessica Jones.  So here’s the thing.  DD and JJ are both Marvel characters. Both on Netflix.  DD isn’t getting much action in the Teflon suit, but it is inferred that Matt Murdock is. A love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy. He comes home nearly every night broken and beaten - where surely a hot, steamy shower would be just the thing to help ease aching muscles. Yet we see none of that.

Cue the female Marvel character, one Jessica Jones, and we see her hop into bed with a stranger, and she does the shower scene. More than once.  Jess also has to deal with a terrible villain, gets beat up, the whole nine yards, so what makes her day harder to deal with that only a nice hot shower will ease it, whereas it obviously will do bupkis for Matt. Because he’s a guy? And they just shake it off and go about their day? Not buying it!

Point is - Both Marvel characters. Same network. Neither of these characters are exactly chomping at the bit for commitment. Both have had something happen to them that has fundamentally changed who they are. Yet they cannot be portrayed equally. Does the network feel that JJ wouldn’t work without the sexual scenes, but DD is just fine without them? Or are is it simply resting on its laurels and going full speed ahead with the Hollywood past practice of using their female actors for sex appeal?  (Full disclosure: If said network were to include a shower scene or two in the DD episodes as they have done with JJ, this author would not protest too much. I am only human after all!)

A couple of days ago I received a really nice direct message on my Twitter from a fellow blogger on Tumblr. We mutually follow each other.  It was really hard for me to just say “thank you” without adding a “Yes, but…” Women in general can’t do this. Why is that? If someone is kind enough to take the time to pay you a compliment, why can’t we simply accept the compliment and let it boost our day just a little. If someone compliments our hair, we have to tell them it doesn’t usually turn out so well. If someone likes our shoes, we have to tell them we’ve had them forever. God forbid someone compliments us on our outfit (“Oh! I feel so fat in it! You don’t think this shirt makes my feet look humongous?!”). We are crazy! Tell a man you like his shirt, and he will a) look down at said shirt as if he forgot he was wearing one; and b) say “thank you.” End of story.

What is in our DNA as a woman that cannot accept a little spotlight glory without the caveat, “yes, but…”? That will then bring up everything you noticed wrong about yourself not only since you woke up that morning, but since you hit puberty. When someone takes the time to tell you how lovely you look the last thing they want to hear is “God, I feel so awful! You really think so? You don’t think it brings out the black bags under my eyes? I tried to conceal them this morning, and ended up being late for work because they are just so dark and big…”  Snoooooooooze.   I wonder if men think “Oh god. I think she looks nice today. But if I mention it, she’ll bring up the zit that suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere - just this morning - as if it knew it was going to ruin her day which lead her to see that she now has, dear god!, three grey hairs…” and then just hide. Because men love nothing better than discussing zits, grey hair and skirts that make your legs look like an elephants.

So ladies, when someone tells you something nice, just smile and say “thank you!” Let it sink in that someone took notice of you and then took the time to tell you that you are beautiful. Don’t be a buzzkill to their lovely compliment.

And with that being said, I’m going to contradict everything I just wrote about in my quest to discover what men and women consider as beauty and maybe the “Yes, but” caveat is why I can’t accept when someone tells me I’m pretty.

My female friends are really generous with their compliments to me. They tell me that they think I’ve got great eyes or hair or whatever. When I did the bar scene, I would more often than not get hit on by women. And if this did it for me, then I guess I’d be all set. But I’m totally into guys. And yes, I do get looks and smiles and hit on by men, but not as much as other friends I’ve hung out with. Even in my skinny days, these gals were thinner than I.  And they were the ones the guys hung on like bees to honey.

Nowadays after over a decade of dealing with fibromyalgia and over five years with Lupus, my Marilyn figure is more like Jabba the Hut. That is the image of me I have. (And I get yelled at for saying it.) I know we women are pretty darn tough on ourselves (hence the “we cannot take a compliment” point above). I look in the mirror and see long blonde hair and nice eyes. Then it’s all Jabba from there.

And part of me is able to say “Must not be that bad if I just was flirted/hit on/etc” with, but it doesn’t sink in. The inner workings of my mind are going thru everything bad I think or feel about myself. I know that there isn’t a woman on earth who doesn’t have at least one insecurity about herself. And I have met a considerable number of guys with them, too (they just seem to be better at hiding them!).

Long story short - I think men and women just have a vastly different definition of what beauty is. Look at what most men fav and follow on SM. The women are twigs. For the most part, they look unhealthy to me. With large breasts. The face doesn’t have to be exceptionally pretty as long as the bod is hot. Women, however, seem to notice that hey - you have eyes! And they are pretty. Your skin is glowy. You do actually have a head on our shoulders! (AND you know how to use it!) Is this a reason why women are so hard on themselves? Because of what we see men flock to? Is it because we look at these other women and realize we will never be like that? I don’t know why it is so much easier to believe the bad and not the good.

But I really hope that someday we can all change that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prose For a French Actor

            So I may have a slight fascination about an actor. Notice the emphasis on the word “slight.” I’m sure that’s all it is. Truly. This actor, he isn’t exactly well-known in America. Not yet anyway. But he’s done a lot for someone so young. He’s directed. Produced. Made an indie film.  A strangely likeable guts and gore, darkly lit, low-budget film. A fairly popular TV series. Some historically-themed films. A lot of theatre in his home country.  Pretty respectable stuff.
            Have I mentioned yet that he’s French?  No? Mon dieu! Comment négligent de moi! (Don’t judge my French. While I’d love to rattle it off as if it were nothing, the French language and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it and it hates me. I nearly get hives just thinking about learning it!) He's a Parisian. He’s not just French, but the stereotypical Frenchman (at least in my opinion). Scruffy. Dressed as if his clothes were just thrown on. (But impeccable if the situation calls for it.) Hair made to look dirty. Bad hair day? Wear a knit cap, rakishly pushed back on the head. Various degrees of unshavenness, with rarely a smooth face. The cooler French brother to the American hipster. Hmmm, which now that I think about it, maybe the hipster movement was stolen from the day-to-day French look to begin with. Smokes. A lot. And as he is très French, he makes no apologies about it and won’t ask your permission about it either. In fact, he will light up in the presence of signs clearly telling him not to. But worst of all? He’s 29. Yes. I said 29. I can practically hear the beginning strains of “Mrs. Robinson” as I type this. “Coo-coo-ka-choo-Mrs.Robinson…”
            He’s impossibly tall and lanky. However, don’t confuse “lanky” with “scrawny.”  In a movie he may convincingly portray a man who will go down after one punch, but in real life you imagine he will throw the first and last punch. Lovely arms. Lovely abs.  And true to his Gallic ancestry, he’s dark. With eyes so big and blue you notice them immediately. They will pierce your soul with their intensity. Framing those gorgeous orbs are eyelashes so long and lush any woman would give their boyfriend to have them. Or just to stare into them. They give him an air of innocent charm, which is a dangerous thing to an unsuspecting female.  An air of vulnerability that he uses well in his films.
            Then there is the hair. In Shakespeare’s day sonnets would have been written about it. Your fingers itch to run through it the first time you lay eyes on that heavenly black mass. It’s thick and wavy, ending in curls at the nape of the neck. (He has a habit of running a hand through it, as if it bothers him and he wants to keep it off his forehead. I think he does it to appear deliciously rumpled. Bedhead. You might even imagine being the cause of that rumpled gorgeousness. IF you were the imaginative type, that is.) Sometimes he shaves his head for movie roles and you would think that would ruin the perfection. Like Sampson losing his strength once his long locks were cut. But it doesn’t. It sets off his features even more. Those eyes pop. So much so that you almost don’t miss that black mass of perfection that would make the best security blanket of all time. That security blanket that you could just hold onto and enjoy the ride… Ahem… Sorry I got a little off track there.
            Then we get to his mouth. With full lips that just beg to be bit and sucked on. Er, I mean kissed. That’s it. Kissed. A lot. A lot, a lot.
            He has incredibly large and long, long … fingers/hands. (Now where did you think I was going with that sentence?)  These hands could take one of yours as you stroll around Paris, or cup your face as he’s about to kiss you. Or hold you when you cry at a silly movie. And while you do not do this, of course, but if one were prone to daydreaming about what those hands and long fingers could do while otherwise engaged in say a bedroom, or up against a wall, or in an elevator, or riding in a car, those orgasm-inducing hands of his. *wipes brow* Well, let’s just say it is a good thing you aren’t prone to daydreams.
            Then you watch him in a romantic comedy where he finally kisses the heroine and that kiss makes your toes curl and your teeth ache - Just.From.Watching.It. And it might affect other areas on your body from your toes all the way to your teeth, but you won’t mention that. Because you never, ever give in to the aforementioned daydream. You might, however, possibly imagine what the real thing would be like. Which makes you stop to think: If he is French, but is, what we Americans call “French kissing”, then it truly isn’t French kissing to him, right?  It’s just Regular kissing. Yowza! You realize your teeth are aching again and you need to stop imagining. Immediately.
            He rather adorably allows himself to act the buffoon if it will make a joke work or get a laugh. A mixture of Laurel/Hardy meets Charlie Chaplin. He is always quick to praise his fellow actors and put the accolades on them.  And while he hangs out with the “boys” (and looks like he thoroughly enjoys raising a little hell), he posts beautifully artistic pictures from wherever he is. Almost, dare I say it, romantic. He will also post really sweet, thoughtful stories from newspapers for us to read. He supports the arts (even ballet). This side of him is completely at odds with the hellion you have pictured in your head.
            And I did mention he is French, right? Which means he speaks the language of love - fluently. While I may catch one French word in 100 that’s spoken, the magnificence of the language is not lost on me. In his films and photos he can look as innocent as a choir boy; scarily intense; or goofy.  He can be charming, romantic, or funny. Certainly a great actor as he flawlessly morphs into each character. And he’s got the scowling look down pat. That aloofness only the French seem to pull off so seamlessly. He can look like he’d rather slit your throat then have to talk to you, and the next moment smile so charmingly it is as if the angels from above are singing - your song. And only the two of you exist. In a meadow full of flowers where the sun is shining brightly and baby bunnies are hopping around your feet while bluebirds sing above your head, with little fawns coming to lay at your feet. (Might as well go with the Snow White theme to her Prince Charming, right?)
            During one movie scene, he’s passed out in bed and when he wakes up - the way he sits up in bed is so unlike anyone else and yet so childlike - you imagine he’s been doing that since he’s been sitting up in bed. Did his mother see that and smile to herself because that’s how he’s always been waking up?

            And maybe your heart smiles a little at the image that evokes. Because you can see the little boy still in the grown man and you find yourself thoroughly charmed by this talented actor. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

If Only We Would

It’s International Women’s Day today. I sent a tweet to Diana and Terry this morning telling them they were inspiration to me because they were strong women who spoke their minds. I really admire that. And boy did that really open up the floodgates on Twitter! I’ve never received so many notifications. I think there are women who are there, women who are getting there, and women who want to get there. It was all shown in the replies to the conversation with Terry. I find it so interesting to see how women around the world react to idea of a “strong woman who speaks her mind.”

I find I can speak my mind in my writing, but it is so difficult to do so face-to-face. I watched a TV report done a few years ago about women going to the car dealership to get a new car. For the most part, women cannot negotiate. Why? Because they feel it is confrontation and it makes them very uncomfortable. But more than that, women are not encouraged to be confrontational. It goes against the “nurture” June Cleaver persona we have been indoctrinated with. We simply don’t learn how to negotiate.

If we take a walk through history, how have women been portrayed? In ancient Egyptian society, women were treated quite well. They were educated. They were loved and could have a say in society. They could even become ruler in rare circumstances.

In ancient Greek society, most city-states’ treatment of women was drastically different. Women could not vote. They could not leave their house without a male chaperone (husband or family member). They were meant to run the household within the limits they were given. They certainly weren’t afforded many more privileges than that of the slaves. Women were simply necessary to continue the creation of more men.

Ancient Roman society was no better for women. A woman belonged to her father and then to her husband. Either could have her put to death for immorality or adultery. Women were not educated, or given very little education. Slowly, however, women were given more freedoms and were even able to own property. But it was a long struggle.

Ancient Chinese culture didn’t improve women’s situation. Confucius, bless his little heart, taught that women should not and did not need to have thoughts or ambitions of their own. They were to be respected as wives and mothers. And that is all they should strive to be. Women were regarded as inferior to men in all things.

Wow, this is getting depressing.

Flash forward to Victorian times. There’s a Queen ruling the entire British Empire, but that does little to advance the plight of women anywhere. They are definitely considered their husband’s chattel. Any property or wealth they may have had prior to marriage was given to the husband and was under his sole authority. If a couple divorced, the children went with the father, even if he abused them all. Women had no voice and no hope of gaining one.

1900s-1920s. Women are put in prison, beaten, terrible things done to them because they wish to vote. To vote. (Maybe men knew the power we women truly have and were terrified to unleash this power!) Once that right was won…home life didn’t change much.

1950s. June Cleaver. Father Knows Best, Bonanza (where are the women? Oh right. They are the damsels in distress to be rescued by the big, strong Cartwright men.), Ozzie and Harriet. Smell a theme here? While women could own property and work, it was a male dominated world and they just lived there.

1980s. Alexis Carrington. My how things have changed. A women running a multi-million dollar corporation. Nevermind that she lied, stole, slept her way in and out of mergers, murdered, attempted murder, and had to be the biggest you-know-what on the planet to keep that power. Which does nothing for women’s reputations as they are climbing the corporate ladder. Whenever a woman is strong and asserts herself and control of a situation, she’s clearly on her period. Hysterical. A bitch. Crazy! You know the drill. Whereas any man who acted the same would be lauded for his acumen, given a huge raise and a corner office.

All this brings me to something that has been gnawing at me for the last year or so. When I saw Kim Kardashian West’s tweet I knew it was time to gather my thoughts together and write them down.

People are praising Ms. Kardashian-West as a feminist; liberated, because she posts naked photos of herself on social media. Would anyone call Hugh Hefner a feminist? He did the same thing by posting naked women in a magazine and bringing it to the bathrooms of American men everywhere. I’m pretty sure no one would consider him remotely a feminist. So whether you post the photo yourself or let someone else do it, it doesn’t make you liberated. Or a feminist.

Slaves were liberated. Paris was liberated from the Nazis. The concentration camp prisons were liberated when American forces came. Posting naked photos of yourself isn’t liberating - it is just using someone you know to pimp yourself t to the world.

So good on Chloe Moretz calling out Kim! Kim gained notoriety through a sex tape (whether she knew of its release or not, she’s not quibbling now about the press it gave her). One of her latest projects was a massive book of selfies. A magazine cover of her behind with champagne raining down on it. When we and the next couple of generations have gone and our children’s children learn about this era’s pop culture, what will they take from it? About Kim and her self-worth/self-importance. Will she be known for her charity work? Her selfless acts of kindness to those in need? Probably not. Just someone who earned a huge amount of money showing her tits and ass. What a shame.

I went on Instagram a few months back and saw a photo of an actress I like who posted a photo with a hashtag of “WCW.” She had posted the picture with a friend of hers from a TV I enjoy watching. I’m fairly new to the crazy world of social media and had absolutely no clue what that meant. So I clicked on the hashtag. I now know it means “women crush Wednesday”, but at the time I thought it meant something like “women clothing? wrong!” or “what clothes? wow!” or “wear clothes? why?!” Because the women that popped up had no clothes. Just breasts and nether regions showing. (Just to clarify - the two actresses were fully clothed and simply showing some sisterly love.)

I’m by no means a prude. Nor am I Mary Poppins. But there’s art and then there’s selling yourself short. Are there really so many young women in this world who only see their self-worth in how many likes and hearts they can get from total strangers salivating over their nude bodies? What a sad commentary on today’s society! Yet what kind of role models have these young women had growing up? The world adored a teenage Britney Spears who showed excessive amounts of skin at a young age. Kim Kardashian is lauded by millions as she posts naked shots of herself wherever she can. Selfies have become an addiction to an entire generation of people. They are constantly putting themselves on display for the entire world to see. Has it numbed their still forming minds, allowing any sense of self-worth to stagnate and rot?

Boys grew up watching their fathers look at naked or nearly naked photos of women on social media. They hear the remarks their older brothers or dads make about these women, and they aren’t viewed as human beings, just sexual creatures. Sex sells, especially in Hollywood so women routinely have the gratuitous “shower scene” in a movie or TV show. They prance around naked without a plot reason to do so in front of the fully clothed male co-star. We all take this in without even realizing it and it leads to the desensitizing of women as actual human beings, instead of simply sexual creatures.

In closing one thing that confounds and infuriates me is colleges that have the “welcome to our school! Here’s a pamphlet on how not to get raped” which they give to their female students. Umm, what a minute!  Instead of teaching girls how not to get raped (as if it is ever their fault!), why not teach boys and young men that rape is NEVER acceptable? While I certainly don’t encourage this, a woman should be able to walk around in only nipple rings and a G-string without some male saying “Well, she was asking for it!” Men are not taught to respect women; they would never consider such an unspeakable act if they were.

So again, it’s International Women’s Day. Do we really need, in this 21st Century, to teach our daughters that their self-worth is in their looks? That it’s ok to put their bodies on display to gain attention, or love, or to fill some sort of need by the attention of men looking for a quick shower “date”? It is the 21st Century and we women actually do have a lot of power. We are educated. We run businesses, take care of families, change the oil in our cars (we can, but most of us choose not to). We run empires, rule countries. We are educated, brilliant, funny, sophisticated, artistic, sensitive, strong, amazing women and we need to start building each other up instead of tearing each other down. Why do to each other what man has done to us for thousands of years? Tell a woman you know today that you admire her. Tell her why. But don’t stop there. Do it every day. Little acts of kindness go a long way and soon we won’t even remember a time when there wasn’t a woman US president. The entire US Supreme Court will be made of female attorneys. The sky is our limit, but we need to stop being our own worst enemies and start being our greatest fans.