Friday, April 18, 2014

Making and Sipping Lemonade

As I start this post, there's a glass of Turkey Hill lemonade beside me. Yum. But of course, there's more to the metaphor than that.

I knew the first time my roommie had to stay in PA for personal reasons that it wouldn't go well. Not for her, as in I thought whatever was messed up would get worse. But for me, because I'm a people person. I remembered living in a single room in a dorm as a junior in high college, and even that was hard, so I was certain it'd be rough when she had to go home.

And it was. I was at my peek in depression and ickiness then, and it's coming back now that I'm in my fourth month living without her again.

And Chelsea, I'm not writing this to make you feel bad, dear. You know me- there will be a positive message, so hang on and don't think I'm falling apart... yet. ;)

But really. It hits me hard sometimes.

It hit me really hard when I was leaving the grocery store last week, and keeps hitting me each time I go back*. It was raining that day, and I saw two gals that  had been shopping together while inside working as a team to get their groceries in their car- one was holding an umbrella over the head of the other, the former using a hoodie to keep her hair dry as the latter, hoodless, was moving groceries from the cart to their trunk. And I thought, "God, that's exactly what Chels and I would do, I think we even did that more than once." So I stared at them like a creeper, getting all wet as it rained on me and they laughed and joked with each other, squealing and being girls together.

And it's kind of depressing coming home to an almost empty apartment.

But  that's where it starts to get better. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are times I'd give anything to just knock on her door and have her come watch something on Netflix with me, or just babble about this or that together.

But I'm not entirely alone. I have this little goofball:

Taken literally just now
It helps to have to immediately run to open her cage and let her out to do her thing every time I get home. And there's usually some rope-tugging for a few minutes, too. And now that it's finally not freezing cold outside, we're going on nice walks around this park near the apartment, and I lose myself in how adorable she gets chasing bugs and sniffing around like a tracker (hah, right).

So that's good.

And I'll have to admit, I'm not the "strut around naked" type, but not having to put on pants right after taking a shower is kind of convenient (I still put on everything else, just not pants, because my legs never dry right and the pants stick to my legs if I don't air dry at first, and there's also lotion to consider...) (no, I don't protest too much...). 

Also, free reign over the kitchen means all sorts of yummy meals and experiments in baking I would have been less apt to do because of fear of hogging the space when my roommie needed it.

And while it's not like I ever had to ask permission to go anywhere or do anything from Chels, now I just flit around like the little social butterfly I am without having to consult anyone.

And I guess this brings me to being single. Because you knew that was going to happen, too, right? Well, yeah, so sue me.

I do want "someone" special, but I'm not entirely miserable without "someone" to hold and be held by. I make do with what I have. I spend time with friends whenever I can, running from work to letting River out to hang to River to hanging again. And at the end of the hanging, she rests her head on my lap and snuggles and I feel warm and safe, because I know she's never going to hurt me- and it goes beyond her not really being capable; I like to think it's because she'd never want to, as well.

And there are even some friends I feel safe enough to admit, "Hey, I'm lonely tonight, can we hang out?" Like recently, I admitted to a friend I was feeling lonely, and  then spent a lovely evening at his place with his fiance. I very much love both with all my heart, and we had a splendid time chatting, then watching a movie and eating cheesecake, then talking about their wedding invites. And it didn't make me feel lonelier, helping them with that- I was happy to be there for idea bouncing and giving my opinion and stuff. I like being  there for my friends, after all, and turning my needy moments into ones where I can help them is one of my ways of getting out of my funks. Maybe it's selfish, but everybody wins, so is it really so bad? Lemonade, right?

And being single means I can invest more in these friendships, too. I'd need a special guy to put up with the lengths I'll go for others. Last week, a friend needed me at about 1:00am, and if I had been next to someone else in bed, it would have been a problem  if he had wanted  me to stay home instead of drive to that friend's aid. Because I won't leave  a friend that needs me hanging. Of course, same would go for a SO, and it wouldn't ever actually be like I was choosing them over him, but still. I could see my giving, mama-bear nature being a problem, if the dude didn't get that about me fully.

But I'm not naive,  either. This lemonade-thing isn't entirely sustainable. That's why when I move to Seattle, I'll have two amazing housemates, friends from undergrad that are just as nerdy, fun, and open-minded as me. We'll have tons of fun together, playing board games and D&D and playing with the animals (River will need to learn to get along with felines... that'll be interesting).

There are some people that do okay living on their own. I don't, and I have the strength to admit that. So housemates it is. Now does this also mean I'll go running with suitcases to the first dude that offers? No, not unless I honestly believe I can see a life with him, if it feels like the step I want with him. Not because it seems like the next step, per se. I may sound desperate, but I have standards, and I'm going to try my hardest to resist jumping  head-first into something I haven't thought about enough. 

Still, I do get stabbed sometimes by the universe- seeing the car of someone that hurt me go by with the guy at the wheel, a woman by his side... that hurts. Being told, "You'll hear from me," then nothing, that cuts me. Getting the, "You're great, but..." speech, it's like a slit across my arm. That "f"-word that some dudes don't realize women hear all the ruddy time, too, so it's not like we don't get hurt by  being told we're "a good friend," ourselves... It burns, burns to the bone. And I can't not feel that.

So I gather up those lemons and let them sit for a few minutes, but then I squeeze all the juices out, add some sugar, and enjoy it. Because I know, once I've calmed down a little, and not even always before I stop crying, that any pain is making me a better person, a more loving  friend and considerate partner. I take damn good care of my friends (and my dog), and I'll take damn good care of whoever is lucky enough to see me for what I'm worth. And when that comes, we'll sip lemonade together and watch the sunset, knowing the next day carries the possibility of something even more amazing. 

*I'm terrible at getting all the stuff I need in one go nowadays, too... not sure if it's related to being alone or not, tbh. If it does, then I think it has to do with me calling people to try NOT to be lonely while there, and getting distracted.

**Not really. ;p

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Being Cool vs. Being Awesome During "Autism Awareness" Month

So one of the online "communities" with which I identify is that of Nerdfighteria and the Nerdfighters the group of fans formulate(d) around the brothers John and Hank Green. Not to brag, but I was one of the first subscribers to their online social networking site, the Ning (link to the right), and really enjoyed "hanging out" there for a while, even had a dude admit he was in "Nerdfighterlike" with  me after  a while.* But like with any online group, the more members it got, the worse it became- trolls invaded, and I honestly can't remember the last time I looked at the site, let alone logged into my account. Somehow, I can't remember how long ago, I found out about a Facebook group called "Adult Nerdfighters," and I once again became an early-on member of that group. I rarely scroll through the page or do much engagement with "discussions" there nowadays (if I post stuff, it's funny gifs or videos) because, once again, a bunch of assholes have sort of ruined it.

I'm in two offshoots of Adult Nerdfighters, though. Nerdfighteria Kitchen, where people just talk about cooking and food. That one doesn't get controversial or mean, and it's still relatively small (I even posted a picture of myself in my Batman apron and got lots of positive response, while I know the trolls in the AN group would have called me fat or something). And on a whim at the beginning of the month, I joined another group called "Single Adult Nerdfighters,"  which is also fairly small and, so far, hasn't been too bad**. 

But leave it to a discussion about disability to piss me off and feel like I'm back to the same old situation, where a person that refuses to listen but insists on "discussing" pisses me off. I'm hoping it was a fluke, but there is reason to stay, and I'll get into that now.

So a thread about velociraptors  (because of this video) started to become about how we, as nerds, often make ourselves look, um, silly, and get made fun of. And one of the people in the group said this in the thread:

"Yes, it's hard to be cool. It's so much easier to be awesome."

And I was like, 


That's exactly what I love. The Nerdfighters I can relate to, the ones I think  really get it (because if the Brothers Green knew about the trolls as individuals, they wouldn't like  them, I'm certain), are like that. They're encouraging, supportive, empathetic, kind, and open-minded. They care if someone is hurt, and if they think they caused the hurt, they go back and apologize.

So in the bad thread I mentioned, a few people were spouting ableist dogma about how ASD needs to be cured, how it means there's "something wrong" with the brain of the person with the diagnosis, and some of them were buying into the myths of savants and crap like Rainman. There was a lot of "supposed to" and "wrong" in the language- very ableist, no doubt about it. And they were talking about how great Autism Speaks is. 

That made me want to vomit. Autism Speaks is one of the most guilty parties when it comes to the spread of negative stereotypes and discourses about ASD specifically, and disability more generally. I hate that stupid blue puzzle piece- it implies there's something missing from the person with ASD, or the lives of their family. That's not true. Not true at all.

I should know. My brother has ASD.

Now okay, I'm not saying every person with ASD or their family should agree with me. But Autism Speaks focuses too much on the grief aspect when it comes to families, and not enough on practical support or acceptance.

And they have a close bedfellow in the National Autism Association- both discuss the "epidemic" of autism in their literature, have videos and ads that look like horror flicks (tell me this isn't creepy), and don't actually provide direct support for families like they profess they do. Oh, they'll take your money for a toolkit (say one like this ), but how about this to sort of get the gears going:

I get really sick of organizations like Autism Speaks and the National Autism Association because they spread the message of fear and make it seem like all happiness is forever lost out of your life if you have a kid diagnosed with ASD. They perpetuate the scientifically unfounded myth that autism is linked to vaccines, as well as that it's "on the rise" because of some external factor leading to more people having it.

Autism isn't "spreading." People are just testing for it more, and specialists are better at recognizing it. What used to be just "awkward" is now in the DSM as "Asperger's."

This negative treatment of ASD is what disability scholars refer to as the "medical" model of disability. It focuses on diagnosis and finding a "cause" and "cure" for the respective anomaly; it frames disability as a tragedy that the caregivers have to deal with; it relies on the "expert" opinion of someone without the disability, and thus it doesn't really acknowledge the person with the disability theirself very much. Any reference to them is abstract and indirect. If you've ever seen a doctor do the recording for an autopsy in a movie or on a TV show, it feels like that- disconnected, observing as opposed to actually participating and giving two shits on a personal level. (For my take on some other models, see my piece about Iron Man 3.)

So I hate it when I see crap from these people, and I hate shopping during April because stores sometimes join the bandwagon and have clerks ask me if I want to donate to AS or NAA. I went off on a defenseless young woman at TJ-Maxx last year over it (I did go back into the store and apologize to her, explaining myself, and she actually seemed to listen, though, so maybe it helped?).

Imagine my frustration when I saw an email from the NAA about a Chili's event (I'm on their email list because of some research I still have in the pipeline, if I ever finish my Ph.D.). Fortunately, I didn't get the chance to do much, because I was about to start our seasonal group meeting at the store I work at. Instead, I deleted it really quickly, intent on sending a counter-message via Twitter and Facebook about how people should AVOID Chili's on that day because reasons. So then imagine my haughty satisfaction when I got home from said meeting to see a retraction email, the content being:

"Please disregard our previous email. We are very sorry to report that Chili's has cancelled tomorrow's event."

I'd like to think it's because enough people gave Chili's negative feedback, but I'm sure there were other reasons. Reasons related to things like "logistics" and "profit," rather than discourses and hegemony and stigma and acceptance and accessibility. 

So what does this have to do with Nerdfighteria?

Well, this is how I'm awesome, not cool. This, right here.

I mean this blog, for one thing. I know it's just a blog, but if at least one person sees this and reconsiders their approach to disability, autism, or ANYthing because of what I'm writing, then job well done, self.

I also mean in general. I'm a mama bear, and I stand up for people that can't do it for themselves. I send counter-messages whenever I can.

So here's my counter-message vis a vis AS and NAA:

Autism Acceptance. 

"Awareness" implies danger. It implies caution and fear. It comes out of the mouths of non-ASD persons.

"Acceptance" implies inclusion. It implies warmth and  happiness. And it comes out of the mouths of persons with ASD.

Sure, we're more "aware" of autism, which is exactly why more people are getting diagnosed with ASD each year. It has nothing to do with diet, with vaccines. Not directly, at least. I'm willing to say that maaaaaaybe there's some abstract link, like  if the kid's genetic makeup already has these zillion other things, it makes ASD more likely- but direct cause, no.

Here's the thing. The people that buy into groups with messages like AS and  NAA, they're grieving. And that's fine. Because of ableist paradigms embedded in our norms and institutions, discovering your kid  has a disability today is a shock, a blow, and yeah, can feel pretty tragic.

But the next step is acceptance. If an organization wants to help families,  it needs to help them with actual support. With teaching them how to adapt so that they and their kid can live the fullest, and, here's the key, HAPPIEST, lives possible. Will it be easy? Probably not. But acting like all bets are off will never give that family the chance to embrace any joy that comes their way, or will taint said joy with the ominous clouds of disability and autism.

So in April, I try to remind people that we only  think there's something  "wrong" with ASD people because society places a higher normative value on a specific set of behaviors, one that excludes behaviors associated with ASD. "Wrong" is the wrong word to use. It should be "different." Or "atypical."

In April, I promote full inclusion. Meaning being understanding if a person doesn't quite interact like everybody else, not calling them a jerk or something. I do my best to try to encourage others to be understanding and open-minded.

In April, I remind people that you can't "catch" autism, and you certainly can't "cure" it. That disability is natural, and we shouldn't  decide how salient a person's disability is when it comes to their identity- that the salience of said disability should be  up to them and them alone.

Brief example.

So I usually use People-First Language, but some persons with disabilities self-advocate differently. They will say "autistic" instead of "with autism," and that's their right. Out of general respect, as a person without a diagnosis, I try to use PFL when talking about specific diagnoses; I do, however, say "disabled" when talking gernally, as that's what I've come to realize is acceptable both in academia and the real world. If I ever write a dissertation, I could do a huge chunk on that very topic. But my point is, I let the anomalous individuals decide how I refer to them. That thread I mentioned had a lot of non-pfl, and it irked me. I didn't see the "c" word, but I did see "handicapped" once.


So to get back to that ableist thread. I did my best to point out the problems I saw in the diction and assumptions being made, backing down when it seemed a few people were just not listening. But just before I stopped notifications on the thread, a gal that had already declared herself ASD in the thread (and that had also been going at it with the meatheads) posted this:

thanks for posting about problematic language. I've been told implicitly and explicitly all my life that my natural way of being is Wrong--and this is coming from someone who studied and mimiced [sic.] and practiced in the mirror so much as a very young person that I didn't get diagnosed until I was 32. Most people would never guess I'm on the spectrum, because I learned so well to hide the parts of me that are "wrong." It breaks my heart to think of all the millions of people who have fought and are fighting so hard every day to be Not Themselves because they've been assured that their brains are Wrong. We aren't Wrong, we're Different."

She desires acceptance, not awareness-she wants to be who she is and not hide. I felt pretty good about that- I had reached her, even if she wasn't the target of my contribution to the discussion. I helped her feel like there are people that do care and would accept her for who she is, which is a wonderful, caring, amazing Nerdfighter. It took a lot more guts to "out" herself than it did for me to get all jargony, I'll say that now.

So. I call on you, for the rest of the month, I ask you to consider donating to groups like Autism Acceptance, or the ones listed in the infographic; to counter someone talking about "awareness" with a message of "acceptance." You'd be doing something really positive, and believe it or not, at least for a moment, fighting back against ableist paradigms and institutions. Try not to forget that, and also, 

*Obviously that went nowhere. Turns out,  he was a closet MRA and anti-feminist. I shudder at the memory. He unfriended me on Facebook because I wouldn't say he was right, I think about rape culture...? I don't even remember, douche.

**I'm still contemplating it- I see more stuff about dates and relationships that are current and ongoing here than I did in the other group, and the whole point of joining was to commiserate with fellow singles about, you know, being single, not congratulate people that aren't for their accomplishment(s). Sigh. We'll see...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kitty Pryde and Sexism in Marvel Movies

Disclaimer: I haven't read any X-Men comics, but I hang out on enough nerdy sites and read webpages explaining and deconstructing storylines and such that I have a decent background and understanding  of the mythos. It comes up enough that I was able to name most of the characters in the uber-excessive character-dropping of The Last Stand. And as I've said before, I have nothing to prove, so if you think I have no credibility, then, well, fuck you- you're prolly the type that wouldn't think what I'm about to say is of value even if I've read some.   

I've said here and  here that I'm not as impressed with the female representations in the Marvel movies as some people seem to think I should be (obviously, these people don't know me well enough, but still). Well, let me tell you something, I've now become pretty frustrated and huffy over something about the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past

Whilst I was watching that preview and literally flapping my hands in delight, I was reckless enough to swipe the mousepad and make the screen scroll down. This meant I accidentally was faced with nigh but a wall of... the COMMENTS.

Right? Scary-ass shit, you'd think. Well, actually, it wasn't, for the most part. Mostly fanboys  gushing about how excited they were. But before I could stop myself, I noticed a comment that had the name "Kitty Pryde" in it. Intrigued, and recalling this is the character played by Ellen Page (whose X-name is Shadowcat) in the second and third movies in the first run, I decided to read the comment in its entirety to see why they'd bring her up (other than the fact that she's in a few seconds of this trailer, while she was in zero if the first). Now, her character didn't really do too much in those other movies, so here's a visual refresher: 
And then I came out. Fuck you.
Now first, let me rant  a little about how she was characterized in those two films. Her only real purpose in them was to create romantic/dramatic tension between Anna-Marie/Rogue and Bobby/Iceman. She didn't really do much  else. I mean okay, she helped some little boy get out of a room or something like that in The Last Stand, but she only had like ten lines of dialogue the whole movie, and I'm pretty sure even fewer in the one prior. She spent more time looking either scared about what was going on around her or making doe-eyes at Bobby than she did actually doing anything. I was disappointed- because while, as admitted, I haven't read any X-Men comics, my uncle has told me Kitty is one of his favorite characters and  has a long rant as to why. He's an UBERnerd (he DMd my first ever D&D experience), so I trust his judgment. And I hiiiiiighly doubt he'd pick her as a favorite character for any gushy love triangles. Yet she was reduced to an extra source of conflict for Bobby and Rogue's relationship (aside from Rogue's whole sucking-your-powers-when-we-make-out thing). 

And by the way, Rogue? Yeah, all of her storylines were about her attraction to Logan/Wolverine or her romantic entanglement with Bobby. And I don't even need to hear rants from my uncle to know that's total bullshit and reductive treatment of one of the most recognizable characters in the canon. I mean, God, I knew this chick when I was like five was Rogue from X-Men, before I even knew who Poison Ivy is:
Sigh. Please excuse the TERRIBLE
anatomy, there, but it's extremely
difficult finding un-boob pictures of
females in comics. Here is a great link
about that (and the next post is the result
of the SHITSTORM of hate she received).
I didn't even touch the watering-down of Kitty and Anna-Marie before, but... well... ugh.

So anyhoo, the comment I saw. I focused in on it, and it was in two parts, the first another gushy I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE wanking-fest. The second part, though, went basically like this: "I guess my only complaint  is that the original storyline had Kitty Pryde as the one going back in time. Other than that, looks amazing!"

My  reaction was, of course:

And I read a little more, and a number of people said, "Oh yeah, you're right!" and, "Huh, that's kinda interesting," and a few said they didn't mind that much, that they were mainly annoyed about it because they're sick of Wolverine being the main character.

This, of course, was entirely unsurprising for me to see out of them. I did my research to be doubly-quadruple-ee sure, and lo, 'tis true. Kitty Pryde was, indeed, the featured character in that arc when it was published in 1981. And for this film, the featured character is Wolverine.

Now, I get the fanboys' anger. Because yeah, this makes the seventh X-Men movie, and there's only one that didn't have Logan as the central figure, X-Men: First Class. And they're right, there are a zillion other characters to choose from, and Wolverine is, despite what the films would lead a body to believe, often a side-character and even, gasp, not on missions with the others
Yes, actually, I do.
I mean, when The Dark Knight Rises was still in production, I was really hoping Nolan would bring in some lesser-utilized members of Batman's Rogues Gallery that would fit into his "gritty-realism" take, ones like the Mad Hatter or the Calendar Man or either version of the Ventriloquist (and this isn't even entertaining  the theories that the Big Bad in TDKR would be Hugo Strange or Alberto Falcone- both of which I would have totally been behind). Anyhoo, my point is, I get being sick of seeing the same characters over and over in a series based on a mythos with so many more from which to choose. 

But those fanboys  complaining about Wolverine getting another movie are missing a big problem: Generally speaking, this coming movie takes what was previously a story-line centered around the actions of a woman, and making that character a man. And more specific to these movies, they're taking the opportunity to give a female her first lead while simultaneously redeeming the bullshit from her previous movies, and instead giving us a sixth movie with the same dude as the central character.

I'll work backwards. Because this argument is closer to the one the fanboys were expressing. Yeah, I'm kind of sick of Wolverine, too. I mean, I love me some Hugh Jackman...

Yes, please.
... but I'm getting sick of this character. How many times can the same dude have the exact same character arc, people? "I'm not a team player... yes I am." I mean, jeez. They're going with him because he's familiar to non-comic people. And because yeah, Jackman is fucking gorgeous and a good actor (I mean, even though the script for the first solo-film was atrocious, he did well in the scenes he was given- and  he's been amazing in so many other things). The X-Men universe has soooo many other characters that could hold their own as the main character in a movie- like how about Storm? Oh wait, ovaries.

I digress. 

My point is,  yeah, Wolverine is old. So if nothing else, it was ridiculous to make him the person going back in time, over every single other character in the X-Men cannon. And especially given how crummy Kitty was in the other movies she had a part in, it's a ruddy shame they didn't take the opportunity to redeem themselves for that and write a story in which she kicks major ass and saves the day.

Now, the more feminist critique of this switcheroo.

I'll start out by emphasizing the genders in the first, basic complaint. An underused and underserved female character is being replaced by an overused and overserved male character. See? SEE?

And more generally speaking, as I've said, the excuses for not having women at the helm of superhero movies are all grounded in sexism. I can just picture the meeting.

Dude in Suit 1: So it's settled, we're going with the  Days of Future Past storyline, great!
Dude in Suit 2: But we still haven't addressed the big pink elephant in the room.
Dude in Suit 3: Yes, it's very serious, we have to be frank about this. We can't possibly have a woman as the lead character, so we can't use that story, women don't star in successful comic book movies!
Dude in Suit 2: Yeah, look at Catwoman!
Dude in Suit 3: Catwoman? What about Elektra?! That was our fault, for actually thinking a comic movie starring a woman would make us money!
Dude in Suit 4: But what else can we do? We aren't creative enough to come up with our own storyline! Are you inSANE?
Dude in Suit 1: Gentlemen, gentlemen, please, calm down. Don't get your panties in a twist.
[The other men scoff]
Dude in Suit 2: So what do you propose?
Dude in Suit 1: Wolverine.
Dude in Suit 1: Let me repeat. Wolverine.
Dude in Suit 4: Jackman has agreed to do the next Wolverine movie, that was item One on the agenda, remember?
Dude in Suit 1: Nonono, I mean we switch Ghostcat with Wolverine. Everybody loves Wolverine. People that don't know the comics think he's the best, and those virginal comic nerds still living with their mothers will flock to the movie no matter who is the lead, so long as it's not a woman. Switch Ghostcat with Wolverine, and we have a winner. Guaranteed goldmine. 
Dude in Suit 2: You mean SHADOWcat, right?
Dude in Suit 1: Whatever, she has a pussy, and we don't want that.
[They all laugh]


Look, even if the dudes that wrote this script and everybody that okayed it along the way wasn't thinking like that, that a woman couldn't be the lead, the fact that nobody thought a woman's part going to a man is problematic is, in fact, problematic in itself. I don't know if you've heard of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, but, well, if you peruse the site, as well as links to other sites from there, you'll find facts like "[o]nly 32.6 percent of speaking characters from 2007 to 2010 were female, which translates into an on-screen ration of 2.1 males to every one female."

How is that okay? How is that excusable? Women make up more than half the world's population, yet they're not even 1/3 of the speaking roles in movies? I hate to see the stats on leading roles, it'd just prolly turn me into a ball of rage. 

So yes. It's problematic that these dudes (and yes, dudes) in charge of the media keep making men the main characters. And it's also problematic that fanboys don't really notice. Because like I said, the comments on the trailer were mostly, "Meh, I'm sick of Wolverine," and not, "Can't it be a woman?" And most of the comic/movie sites I found by fans were along those lines, too (and more general news-type sites were even less biased, just, "the old story was that and now it's this and here's the reason given"). The only site with a hint at the sexism involved was my beloved Mary Sue (and HOW I missed this piece when they first wrote it, I don't know, to be honest). 

If you read that MS piece, you'll see the writer is making it out to be a logistical thing because Kitty wasn't born yet. Well, that's just a load of crap, as far as I'm concerned, it's an excuse rooted in sexism. 
They could have figured something out- have Kitty possess someone else while there, another mutant (it'd be REALLY interesting if she possessed, say, her own mom (I could see them making that how she gets her powers and/or having it be her so that she'd have them), and met her dad in that state, holy poop). I mean, fuck, just transplant her with a time machine, they've already got astronomically advanced tech bullshit in this film series. Or send both back, so that she's at least around more!

Because here's another thing. I can't find a source, but I saw someone, somewhere when I first put two-and-two together a few weeks ago that Kinberg and Brian Singer were "going to great lengths" to make sure Kitty is a "central driving force" for the movie.

Well, how come when I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier* today and saw that above trailer and I made the effort to count the times Kitty was on-screen, I only got three? And how come she doesn't say a damn word in any of those shots? And how come one of them is of a pan-shot of her with the other kids she was at Xavier's school with in X2 and the center of the shot was gorram Collossus? "Driving force" my fat, Native American  ass.

And here's one last nugget to munch on, kids. When it was announced that Idris Elba, a Black man, would be playing Heimdall in the Thor movies, the fanboys  got all up-in-arms because it "messes with cannon." Because yes, Heimdall is white in the comics. And somehow, changing the skin color of a character with like five lines in the movie was going to destroy the whole thing.

Yet, it's all been pretty tepid over Kitty. 

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think changing the skin color of a character is a LOT less of a "cannon" change than changing which character is doing a thing entirely. And yet any fanboy reaction over the Kitty/Logan switch is very much a "meh" and not the damn firestorm over Heimdall changing races.

And I highly doubt I need to point out that it is not the same thing to change a white character to a POC as it is the other way around, and likewise when a male character is swapped to a female. This blog does a wonderful job explaining it with chocolate covered raisins. It applies to the Heimdall case just as much as it does the Kitty Pryde case. There are so few women in lead roles as it is, and the only two in comic were both utter disappointments (Catwoman and Elektra, of course). Taking away another opportunity for a woman to helm any movie, let alone a comic movie, perpetuates the marginalization of women. And it's noticeable. Tangible.

And it speaks volumes when the fanboys get their panties in a twist when a white guy is changed to a Black one, but don't really care too much when a woman is changed to a man.

We'll never be able to teach our daughters they can be leaders if we can't show them examples to admire and aspire toward. And it's unfair that it's cool for girls to "relate" to male characters, but if boys do the same with female ones, it's taboo. And since our market is used to women adapting and settling, it caters to men. Movie execs know women will go to the movies whether or not the lead is a female, but they assume men won't if it is. So, it isn't. 

Now, does this mean I won't see Days of Future Past? Fuck no. But it does mean I'm going to go in with compartmentalized sections of my brain. One will just be sitting back and enjoying, prolly fist-pumping and growling when appropriate. But another will be taking stock of how Kitty Pryde is portrayed- how the other characters treat and react to her, how much she does versus how much happens to her. And I'm more than skeptical.

*OH MY FUCKING GOD SEE THIS MOVIE NOW. I liked  the first Cap movie, but this one was way better. Certainly better than both Thor flicks, and the latter two Iron Man ones. I'd need to see the first Iron Man movie to decide which I like more now. Hm, I guess I know what I'll be doing before bed.