Explaining Slash Fiction

When I mention to people that I am a writer, and yes, that I write fanfiction, and yes, that I often write this fanfiction about men who fall in love with men, I am sometimes accused of fetishizing homosexuality.

A girl recently told me the following story: She was visiting a pub with her girlfriend when a group of men approached them and asked whether they’d make out so that the men could watch and enjoy the show. She felt violated by the experience, and a debate unfolded over the fetishization of lesbians, both in porn and mainstream media. The idea that women have sex because women enjoy it is somehow incomprehensible to many people. Instead, such people assume that women’s sexuality is there for straight men to enjoy. This fetishization is a disgusting, dehumanizing practice.

However, as a straight girl and an avid writer and reader of homoerotic (slash) fanfiction, I do not feel guilty of fetishizing gay men. Of course, I cannot speak for all of the fangirls all over the internet, as there are multitudes of people and viewpoints out there. I can only say that I consider fanfiction to be an innocent hobby, and in this article I will attempt to tell you why. Continue reading

How One Of The World’s Most Progressive Countries Is Turning Back The Clock

Prepare for a social justice rant. Seriously, people. I’m going to make some noise in this blog post today.

Here’s what happened in 2015:

The Dutch government decided to remove child psychiatric care from the standard package of health care. That basically means that if you get the standard package, which is mandatory, psychiatric care for your children isn’t covered in your health insurance. The idea was that municipalities could arrange health care for their citizens individually.

More affluent towns would therefore have better care than their less affluent neighbors. Well, of course, that ain’t right. It also forced communities to rebuild the infrastructure surrounding psychiatric care as they were used to a different system.

But municipalities are faced with budget cuts. Local government was asked between fixing potholes and providing care for mentally ill children. Of course, politics being as they are, compromises were made. Mental healthcare was purchased within a pre-determined budget for the oncoming years.

Here’s what’s happening now:

Some parts of our country have gone through the allotted amount of money. Underage victims of mental illness aren’t getting the care they need because there isn’t money to pay for that care. Only those people that can pay for healthcare out of their own pockets are receiving the treatment they need. Children with mental health problems are missing school.

“Re-doing a year of secondary school costs 5000 euros. (…) Treating an anxiety disorder costs 1200 euros. Do the math.” Peter Dijkshoorn, Mental Health Professional at Treatment Centre Accare.

Loosely translated from the NOS website.

Here’s another problem: what’s going to happen in January, when all of the people being denied healthcare right now rush to get their children the required treatment? Will the annual budget run out in February next year? And if so, what will people do then?

I don’t know what else to say about this. I don’t even really know who to blame. Obviously, mental healthcare should be part of every basic health care package. Yet you can’t blame a town for wanting to keep its busses running, and investing money in that, either. You can’t blame anybody for wanting the best possible care for their child, regardless of financial circumstances. I think the government needs to step in and solve this problem right the f- now.

This is Television

For those of you not as obsessed with TV land as me, here’s a quick newsflash: the pilot of the long-awaited drama This Is Us aired last Tuesday. This Is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia, whom I’m sure you all remember, Mandy Moore, and a bunch of other lovely actors. I just watched the pilot and I’m about to tell you why it’s great.

THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

 

Well, obviously because Milo is great. That’s nothing new. What’s also great about this show is that it has representation in it, and that it treats all of its characters with respect, while maintaining a sense of humor. Look at the example below. Continue reading

Coffee, Anyone?

“If you could have a cup of coffee and a chat with anyone in the world, who would you pick?”

Somehow this is a standard icebreaking question that I hear a lot. So, for those of you not yet tired of my ramblings, I have compiled a list to answer that question, and I will post about one of the people on the list every now and then.

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I love Chimamanda. Let me say that again because it bears repeating; I love Chimamanda. Her book Americanah is amongst my favorite books ever. The Thing Around Your Neck was equally spellbinding, and her essay We Should All Be Feminists, based on the TED Talk below, voices many of my thoughts on feminism. I’m saving her other two novels, Half Of A Yellow Sun and The Purple Hibiscus, for when I need to lift myself out of a reading slump. Yeah, she really is that good.  Continue reading

Pokemon Go Book Tag

Thanks go out to Happy Indulgence Books for bringing this tag to my attention, and to ReadAtMidnight for coming up with it in the first place.

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This is hard to remember. I think my development as a reader has a lot to do with Harry Potter, but The Letter For The King by Tonke Dragt, the greatest achievement in Dutch children’s literature, probably started off my life-long obsession. Before that book, I mostly had my parents read to me. The Letter For The King was likely the first time a book was so gripping I couldn’t wait to finish it and did all of the reading myself.

pokemon-tag02pikachu Continue reading

Best TV Intros

Intros are to TV shows as facebook pages are to people. Although looks can be deceiving, someone’s facebook profile and a show’s intro can give you a lot of information about them. For example, I started watching the first episode of True Blood, but stopped after a minute because the intro was too gruesome for me. A show’s intro is like its business card. And here are some of my favorite ones.

The West Wing

I love The West WingI wish I’d never seen it so I could watch it again for the very first time. I wish I’d never seen it so I would stop holding every other TV show to impossible standards. I love it so much that, like a Pavlovian reaction, the theme fills me with nostalgia and glee and sadness and every other kind of emotion a great TV show gives you, put together in an overwhelming mix. Additional fun fact: the theme’s composer is hilariously named W.G. Snuffy Walden. Continue reading

Raven Reyes: Dealing With Disability

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for season one of The 100 and the first few episodes of season two. It also contains lots of screaming and fangirling over the most badass lady from the Ark: Raven Reyes.

When we first meet Raven, she is floating through space to repair some vital part of the spaceship she calls home. That’s right: Raven Reyes is amongst the most talented mechanics on the Ark: busting stereotypes since 2148.

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Why I Dislike Dumbledore

Some thoughts I had when re-reading the Harry Potter books as an adult.

When I was a child, I liked Dumbledore. He was wise and kind and quirky, like my grandpa. He seemed to have a pretty good idea what he was doing, and when Harry kept the Philosopher’s Stone out of Quirrell’s hands, I considered the whole thing a job well done. Dumbledore had left Harry, Ron and Hermione just enough clues to solve the mystery, and the Golden Trio had successfully completed their task.

At the time, I was perhaps seven years old. I thought when you were eleven you were basically an adult yourself.

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But you’re not. Eleven is not old enough to play a game of lethal wizarding chess. Twelve is too young to fight a basilisk. Thirteen is no age to be traveling back in time to save an innocent man from doom and the age line around the Goblet Of Fire was put there for a reason. Continue reading

Displays Of Sexism In The Great Hall

Both Durmstrang and Beauxbatons were co-ed schools. Repeat after me: in the Harry Potter books, both Durmstrang and Beauxbatons were co-ed schools.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything harder than adapting a long, detailed and immensely popular book into a film. Inevitably, vital scenes will have to be cut, and frenzied fans like myself will be disappointed by these cuts. Do you all remember the scene with the Weasleys getting stuck in the chimney at the Dursleys’ house? I would have paid good money to see that. Also, Ludo Bagman never made it into the film, leaving me to wonder forever how handsome he actually was.

Yet I think that the filmmakers that worked on the Harry Potter franchise did a remarkably good job of adapting those books into movies. Most of the central storyline is in the scripts, and on top of that the movies are designed with such incredible eye for detail that you really feel as though you are entering the Wizarding World; the films never do harm to the dreamlike fictional quality of the Harry Potter universe. If anything, they add to it.

Of course, there are a few things that haven’t gone entirely to plan. For example, Dumbledore asking Harry a question “calmly” was turned into a crazed shouting match in the Goblet Of Fire film. This discrepancy has become quite infamous all over the internet, although it never bothered me much. The intonation of a single sentence isn’t important to the story; I would argue that, in a film, the fiery delivery of the line adds to the excitement. So no big deal.

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There is one other way in which the Goblet Of Fire film deviates from the book, and that is a more disturbing difference. Have a look at the pictures below. The top one shows the boys of the Durmstrang Institute entering Hogwarts to take part in the Triwizard Tournament. The one below shows the entrance made by the all-female student body of Beauxbatons.

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There are two things wrong with this scene. Continue reading