Friday, July 25, 2014

The Top 7 Female SuperHeroes

With all the popular comic book movies coming out, a common observation is about the lack of strong females. Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Thor, none of these movies have strong female leads. In fact, most of them don't even pass the Bechdel test!

Thank the powers that be for fantasy and sci-fi, which has been quietly offering women strong role models for decades now. My superheroes don't have figures that make Barbie feel fat, and they don't play second fiddle to their male counterparts. They get the job done, unconcerned about being called "bitch" or "masculine" or "ball buster." As I think about my growing up, and being allowed to watch movies like Alien and Aliens, and the Star Wars movies, and even Star Trek (which became less sexist with time), I see how I learned how to be an assertive, powerful woman. I didn't need Wonder Woman or Batgirl. I had Ellen Ripley and Eowyn.

One of my earliest memories, in fact, is watching the cartoon Lord of the Rings, and being blown away by Eowyn's battlefield gender reveal. That moment awoke something in my heart: not only could a woman be strong and powerful, but in fact, her gender could be an asset. ONLY a woman could have killed the Witch King.

So I say, let the comic book people have their men in tights and women in fetish fantasy outfits. I will continue to let sci-fi teach my daughter about how to be a powerful woman in this world.
Ripley: disobeying orders and killing aliens whenever she wakes from hypersleep. And oh, yes, recovering from the loss of her own daughter by saving an innocent girl from the alien queen.

Captain Janeway, one of the best captains in Star Trek. Tough as nails, capable of making the hard decisions, and oh yeah, kicking Borg ass when necessary.
Starbuck: It's not just men who can be awesome pilots and total assholes. Self-destructive but never apologetic for her gender.

Maleficent, who in the end found true love to be that between a mother and daughter, not a man and a woman. Oh, and capable of ruling her own realm and mustering an army without any help, male, female, human or fairy.

Olivia Dunham: strong, feminine, smart, in BOTH worlds.

Twist on the classic: the princess does the rescuing!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mad as a Wet Hen

It's 2014. How long are we going to have to wait for publishers to realize that there are Bible stories about girls and women???
There is an unwritten canon of bible stories for kids. Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham (but not Sarah), Joseph, no judges except possible Samson, David and Goliath, Daniel, then boom, Jesus. Maybe a story about the Virgin Mary. Which means we get to learn about genocide, mass extinction, violence, killing, and lion's dens. Wait, what?
Let's see, what if we told some of the women's stories in the Bible? Like Miriam and Jochebed, who saved Moses' life? What little girl wouldn't relate to Miriam's heroism as she watches over her brother and tricks the Princess into paying Jochebed to nurse her OWN SON? How about Sarah, who learns that if you wait patiently, God answers prayers. How about Deborah, a judge who didn't actually kill anyone, but still managed to lead an army and bring peace to Israel? But if you want violence, hey, tell about Jael, who was the fulfillment of Deborah's prophecy? Let's not forget Ruth, who was loyal and was rewarded for it. Or the story of Esther, who used her beauty and her brains to stop a genocide. Sounds like stories I want my children to hear. Stories that, for the most part, don't raise troubling questions like, "Why did God kill all the people not on the Ark?" or "Why did God kill the first born babies in Egypt?" or "So if a bully threatens me I should throw rocks at him like David did?"
I'm exaggerating, but I'm angry. I'm not just angry because my mom and I have written an awesome Bible story book focusing on 22, yes twenty-two, awesome heroic women of the Bible and it doesn't have an agent yet. I'm angry because no one is addressing this. No one seems to have noticed that we get the same old stale Bible stories in new books each year. Or that the only girl oriented Bible story books are so offensively pink and princess oriented that they lose the impact of the stories.
Come on, authors! Come on publishers! I dare you to tell the stories of the women of the Bible. Sell the book to both girls AND boys. DO something!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life Transitions

We are not meant to know the dates of liminal moments. Birth, death, these are the mysteries of transition and to know the dates is a burden.

17 years ago I made my second long term commitment. My first commitment was to get engaged to a young man. That didn't work out. My second commitment was more successful: I adopted two cats.
I knew I was making a life commitment to these little animals. I was unsure about marriage, but I knew I could take care of cats, and that's what I did.
Now, after 17 years together, my beautiful tuxedo cat, Shadow, is at the end of his life. He has liquid in his lungs. He has a mass on his liver. His kidneys are failing. His bowels are diseased. His heart is enlarged. He has cataracts on his eyes. His muscles are wasted. Shadow was always my comfort cat. Whenever I cried, over my latest heartbreak, over frustration with my career, out of sheer anger, Shadow would come to me. And yesterday, as I wept for him, I realized that on Friday, when I am crying over his death, he will not be able to comfort me.
We are not meant to know the dates of life's passages.