Slash

You sigh. You roll your eyes. “Hasn’t Frenzied frickin’ Fangirl written enough about slash by now?” you ask. Maybe I have. But this time Slash is the title of a film I’ve just seen, and I’m here to tell all y’all that it rocks. As always, I have a few critical notes, but they’re not many.

So here’s the gist: Neil, the protagonist of Slash, writes slash for the fictional fandom of Vanguard. When his composition notebook is stolen (this is why we never take our attempts at writing erotica with us to school, children!) he accidentally befriends Julia, also a slash writer. Sidenote to people that know me IRL: There is a Julia in this film who writes gay fanfic, wears lots of t-shirts with cats on them and is an avid feminist. Sound familiar? I thought so. Julia encourages Neil to put his fic online, and when he does it soon becomes so successful that Neil is asked to do a reading at Comic Con. Then some other stuff happens that I won’t tell you for the sake of spoilers.

What I loved about this film: it’s about fandom, and more specifically: fanfic. It beautifully portrays the tensions within fandom that arise when old school fans are confronted with newcomers. Its full of in-jokes from RPF to curtain fic. It’s super open and honest about non-hetero sexual orientations.

What I didn’t love so much: Why is the protagonist a white guy? (SPOILER ALERT: Continue reading

Molly Hooper – BAMF

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first is this one, and it’s about Molly Hooper. The second will be a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

I don’t need to tell y’all that the latest (possibly last) episode of Sherlock caused quite a stir. One of the main reasons for that was the emotionally charged scene where Sherlock has a phone conversation with Molly Hooper.

 

Lots of people were upset because they had  hoped Sherlock was going to confess his love to John, but that’s a matter for a future blog post. Lots of people were upset because they felt, and I agree, that the kind of psychological torture we saw in The Final Problem was too gruesome for Sherlock, and not half as clever as we’ve come to expect of the show. But there are two other problems that seem to be bugging people that I feel the need to address in more detail.

Didn’t Molly have a fiancé in season 3? Hasn’t she moved on from Sherlock?

You’re right, Molly did have a fiancé. This is a major plot hole and frankly it’s just sloppy writing.

Besides that, I agree that it would have been fair to Molly if, over the seven years this show has been running, she’d have gotten over Sherlock. It sad that this scene implies she never did, and I think she deserved a more exciting and fulfilling storyline, because her character could have had so much more depth than just “pining awkward catlady.”

I think the media tends to ridicule the feelings of women and glorify those of men. I don’t hear anyone argue that Snape deserved a less romantically hung-up storyline. A man showing his feelings is seen as manly. A woman showing hers is seen as pathetic. Or, as Louise Brealey, the actress who plays Molly, tweeted:

And then, here’s the second and final (hehe) problem: what is Molly doing walking into 221B in the closing scene like she hasn’t just been humiliated by Sherlock over the phone?

 

It’s remarkable, to say the least. During her phone conversation with Sherlock, Molly is visibly upset. Even Euros, the psychopathic mastermind killer sister, can tell.

Euros:“Look what you did to her. Look what you did to yourself. All those complicated little emotions…”

But then, without any transition or discussion between her and Sherlock, she’s back at Baker Street and happy as a clam. This is definitely an oversight on the part of the writers. However, when Steven Moffat was confronted with this inconsistency in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that’s when things got ugly, things really got ugly.

If there is something fans seem upset about with this episode it’s that there’s no resolving scene with Molly after that very effective devastating call to her while she’s in the kitchen. Did you consider doing one? Is it fair to leave her that like that? 
Moffat: But that’s not how we leave her. People need to learn to face their televisions, we see her later on–

We see her skipping into the room but–
Moffat: She gets over it! Surely at a certain point you have to figure out that after Sherlock escapes tells her, “I’m really sorry about that, it was a code, I thought your flat was about to blow up.” And she says, “Oh well that’s okay then, you bastard.” And then they go back to normal, that’s what people do. I can’t see why you’d have to play that out. She forgives him, of course, and our newly grown-up Sherlock is more careful with her feelings in the future. In the end of that scene, she’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine. Source.

EXCUSE, YOU, MOFFAT?

This is seriously ridiculous. You want so badly to have an emotionally charged scene that you conveniently forget about Molly’s fiancé. Then, you have two terrific actors do the scene, and the result is emotionally devastating to both characters and audience. And then… you completely discredit your own writing and undercut your credibility by suggesting that it wasn’t such an important scene after all.

What’s more, you excuse your plot hole by accusing viewers of ignorance: “people need to learn to face their televisions,” what does that even mean? One moment you accuse your viewers of overanalyzing and the next we’re being dumb? I’m so done with you right now, Steven. And you know what? So is Louise Brealey.

 

Feminism Reading Challenge

This year I participated in the Feminism Reading Challenge, organized by Femividual, who has since taken her blog offline. The idea was to read as many books as possible from her list of feminist titles, as well as any other books that deal with feminist themes or topics.

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My favorite feminist book of the year, perhaps my favorite book of the year full stop, was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I know few novels that are simultaneously as rich and as light as this one.

Continue reading

Bisexual Erasure: It’s A Thing

If you’re not doing this yet, please take my advice and go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s my favorite TV show currently running, with hardly any competition (okay, Westworld is pretty great, but Crazy Ex-GF is more my jam) and a new episode is added to Netflix every week.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend chronicles the tale of Rebecca Bunch, a hot-shot New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California, essentially to stalk her teenage sweetheart. I hear you thinking it already: that’s not an innovative plot. Furthermore, there’s something sexist about having your main character move cross-country for a man. That doesn’t sound like a cool show at all.

But hear me out. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that debunks stereotypes at a heart-stopping rate. Even within the intro, the sexist nature of the show’s title is called out. Rachel Bloom, the writer, songwriter, producer and leading lady of the show, is incredibly self-aware, self-reflexive, funny and politically aware. Continue reading

Calling The Beast By Its Name

I was recently inspired to do a series of posts on my personal brand of feminism, and here is the first one, the cornerstone of my feminist beliefs: I think feminists should call themselves feminists, I think all women should call themselves feminists, I think everyone should be proud to call themselves a feminist. If you’re not, I think you’re either misunderstanding the meaning of the word or being very rude.

For whatever reason, the word ‘feminism’ has gotten a bad rep over the past years. Feminists are often viewed as irrational or silly, and the word ‘feminazis’ is used to describe the craziest of all. I was disgusted to find that there is now a movement that proudly calls itself: ‘Feminism Is Cancer.’ Apart from the fact that the word ‘feminazi’ is very disrespectful to survivors of the Second World War and their families, and that equating a deadly disease with a political opinion is very harmful to victims and survivors of this disease, I also think the rhetoric used to vilify feminists is despicable in its own right. As usual, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has phrased it more eloquently than I ever could, saying:

“Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)

Just as the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ recognizes that black people have been oppressed throughout history and ‘All Lives Matter’ glosses over the painful history of racism, so does ‘feminism’ indicate the problems society is facing and ‘equalism’ deny their seriousness.

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The Best and Worst of Fictional Mothers

 

“My mom smiled at me. Her smile kind of hugged me.”
R.J. Palacio, Wonder

This post is for my mother, whose smile always kind of hugs me.

Lily Evans & Molly Weasley from Harry Potter

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This fanart of James and Lily was done by Aicha Wijland and I found it here.

Usually I would limit myself to one character per fictional universe, but in the case of Molly and Lily I’m willing to make an exception. After all, a mother’s love for her children is a central theme in the Harry Potter series. First, of course, Lily saves Harry from Voldemort with her maternal protection. Then, years later, Molly Weasley adopts Harry like he’s one of her own children. And let’s not forget that it was Narcissa Malfoy that saved Harry’s life in the Forbidden Forest.

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I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.

Catelyn Stark

I have no words for Catelyn Stark. She is so utterly brilliant. Of course, there isn’t a single lady in Westeros that doesn’t kick ass, but when it comes to motherhood Lady Stark really wrote the book.

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She’s not afraid to tell her children the truth, even the arrogant male ones that are successors to the estate. She’s willing to fight for Bran’s wellbeing when it comes to that and she loves all her children equally and fairly. And let’s be honest, it can’t have been easy to love an eleven-year-old pre-pubescent Sansa, no matter how much I have come to love her.

Lorelai Gilmore

This might send me straight to the psych ward but Lorelai Gilmore is everything a mother should be in the 21st century. Lorelai Gilmore, I think, is much like my own mother in the way she approaches motherhood and that is the highest complement I could give. Lorelai is the funniest. Lorelai is the coolest. Lorelai is good at giving motherly advice and offering comfort, she is fair and honest and although she behaves as though her daughter, Rory, was a unexpected gift, I think much of Rory’s loveliness is due to Lorelai’s great parenting.

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Of course, the Gilmore Girls have their flaws. (Gasp!). Lorelai sometimes acts or speaks before thinking and Rory can be utterly selfish. What matters is that the Gilmore Girls, in spite of these shortcomings, love each other unconditionally. What matters is that Lorelai is always responsible when it comes to Rory, and that Rory’s selfishness is rarely aimed at her mother.

Mother Gothel from  Rapunzel

Here’s a quick reminder that not all mothers in fiction are lovely darlings like Lily and Molly, fierce protectors like Catelyn or sarcastic little shits with a heart of gold like Lorelai. Some are terrible.

Mrs. Jumbo from Dumbo

Some mothers are absolutely lovely, though.

 

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

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

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