Say “Clitoris.” Out loud. Right Now.

Please be advised that the content of this blogpost is NSFW and not suitable for minors.

Apparently saying “clitoris” is a big deal. I don’t mean it’s a big deal for me personally, I say it all the time. “Clitoris.” In case you need a little reminder, here is an awesome cartoon explaining the clitoris to you:

Le clitoris – Animated Documentary (2016) from Lori Malépart-Traversy on Vimeo.

I hope there is no further need for me to tell you about the clitoris. If you’re a woman, you know it (and if you don’t know it, get off the internet right now and get to know it) and if you’re a man you hopefully know it too. So I won’t have to explain to you why I am a huge fan of the clitoris. And I won’t have to explain to you that I’m not the only one in the clitoris-fanclub. Just look at Lindsey Doe from Sexplanations.

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Sense8…… CANCELLED!?

For almost a year, I’ve had a blogpost in my drafts folder titled 80 Reasons To Love Sense8. It was originally going to be titled 8 Reasons, and the setup was that I’d link each of the main characters to one of my favorite aspects of the show. The reason it didn’t work was because I had TOO MANY THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SENSE8and so, after the New Year’s special and the equally stellar second season, I started working on the 80 Reasons. It’s a moot point now: the show has been cancelled.

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The first stage of grief, as you know, is denial. Is this a hoax? Is Netflix on some sick power-trip? Are they going to up their monthly rates and is this an attempt to show us how reliant we’ve become on them? Because if so, it’s working. I’m biting my nails to the quick and tearing my hair out and one wrong comment away from crying. No kidding. They don’t call me Frenzied Fangirl for nothing.

And the reason I’m sad isn’t even primarily that I won’t get to see any more of my favorite cluster, although, after last seasons cliffhanger that breaks my heart. I’m dying to see how Nomi and Neets organize their wedding. I’m dying to see what Kala’s shady husband is up to. I’m dying to know how we’re going to rescue Wolfgang, and what we’re going to do with Whispers now we’ve got his sneaky ass caught. I want justice of Sun Bak. I want Capheus to be elected president and I want to see Lito achieve commercial success as an openly gay man. Is that too much to ask?!

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But that’s not the main reason I’m sad. I’m sad because this television show was a game-changer for the entertainment industry and I’m afraid its cancellation has brought us back to square one. I’m sad because of what Sense8 means to me, and to countless other people who have felt like they were other for most of their lives. I’m sad because Nomi was shoved under boiling hot water for being trans, and I’m sad because Lito’s career has somehow become threatened by his sexual orientation, and I’m sad because Nigerian politics are corrupt and because the world is full of sexism and racism and homophobia. I’m sad because sometimes, sometimes, just for a little while, Sense8 made me believe that a strong sense of community, empathy and mutual understanding could overcome these hateful phenomena. Tonight I mourn a show that gave me a sense of empowerment and agency and belonging.

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Nomi: Your life is either defined by the system or the way you defy the system.

Sense8 was cancelled tonight, but in a thousand ways it’s only just beginning. For me, this show was the opening salvo in a long-lasting war against bigotry and hatred, which will be battled in terms of television and books and songs and comics and any type of media we deem useful. I will miss Sense8 because it reminded me of the political power of stories, and that power is not something Netflix can cancel.

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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.

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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

The Character Assasination Of Dean Forester

I’ve written about  character assassination before. That particular article was about Toby Ziegler, unsung hero of the Bartlet administration. However, since character assassination is something I feel strongly about, I have more to say on the subject today. The object of my scrutiny and affection in this case is Dean Forester, Rory’s first and  arguably awesomest boyfriend on Gilmore Girls.

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Now, Supernatural-lovers, don’t get confused. On this show, Sam goes by the name of Dean.

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