American Thanksgiving is this Thursday. So, it's likely this is the only post from me this week. I've novels to finish rewriting and pies to bake. (Six of them to be exact.) At least there's zero chance of Headbees. :)
This week I wanted to add on to last week's discussion about white women and women of color working together. This is something I want to explore. We need to discuss the differences in our varying cultures and face our biases against our sisters. Don't get me wrong, from my perspective (a white woman's perspective) I feel a huge part of the work is necessary on white women's end of the discussion. I will not shift the blame--not that blame is an active part in the discussion. Trump, white nationalism, and racism are in power at this moment because a majority of white women actively worked for it. We are responsible. That needs to change before we make any headway. Period. And the only way that happens is if we own up to our own biases. Anyway, I wanted to draw attention to this Red Table Talk video. Even though it barely scratches the surface of the long discussion that needs to happen--it's a start. Sadly, you can't watch it without getting into FB. Not ideal, I know. But it's totally worth it. I haven't made my way through all those videos yet, but I will.
The next video answers a question I had about Feminism and Right Wing women--an important discussion when talking about white women and their relationship to power. Bonus note: everything said about Hefner's stance on what Playboy was all about is directly applicable to Crowley/Alexandrian/Gardnerian witchcraft. All three are bound up in the gender binary and sexism. It's in their blueprint. You cannot use sexist symbolism and simply declare it not sexist. The unconscious doesn't work that way. Symbolism is a language. It's used to communicate with the unconscious. And just like when you use words--you're using all the definitions of words when you communicate whether you mean to or not. This is even more the case when symbolism is used. (Now, add to this picture the film The Runaways -- watch the whole thing to understand what I'm saying -- and punk's/rock's relationship with women in general.)
This next video is amazing. Get ready to cry.
And now, those links.
Ok. I'm just going to say it. I never watched the original show--although, my husband did. (one of the many reasons why my husband rocks, y'all.) You see, I barely got through one episode of He-Man and knew it to be total crap. When She-Ra came out and I heard it was related, I didn't even bother. Turns out, I was wrong to do that. But hey, teenager. :D
I love the new look. She's clearly a teenager or preteen storyline-wise. Here's what she used to look like.
That was the other reason I didn't give She-Ra a chance: male-gaze. When I was eight or so I picked up a comic book--X-men, I believe--and instantly knew it wasn't for me due to the tight clothes and giant breasts on the female characters. I may have read a few pages before putting it back on the rack. (I'm pretty sure I saw some sexual harassment on the pages and decided I had enough of that in real life.) Anyway, male-gaze does not belong in material intended for young girls. There needs to be someplace safe for girls to see themselves as whole and powerful. Their own imagination should be one of those places. I'm damned glad the reboot decided to make that change regardless of the stupid whining of fanboys.
Dane and I are only a couple of episodes in, but I'm already hooked. Also? Aggretsuko is awesome. More on both of these later. I've a book to finish rewriting and editing. :)
 Note: He-Man claims to be the most powerful man in the universe. She-Ra, on the other hand, is just 'a princess of power.' Funny how the indoctrination of misogyny starts so early. She-Ra also has a team of helpers--one of them a man. He-Man stands alone. Look, I don't have a problem with teamwork. Frankly, that's how things really get done. The Lone Savior Myth is harmful in so many, many ways--not the least of which it sets up men (and the rest of us) for failure. Because did I mention that teamwork is how change really happens?
Good morning, y'all. Today, I thought I'd add a bit to that previous post because I've finally finished watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and well...there are things to say. (Oh, did you see this? I told you pagans are getting sick of the same old "witches are evil!" bullshit.) There may be some mild spoilers. If you haven't watched it yet, just skip the next paragraph and move on to the discussion that follows.
First, it ultimately fails in its inclusive Feminism when it lets down Prudence, the African American leader of the Weird Sisters. I'd like to add that Prudence's story just fizzles out. It goes nowhere. It's not even remotely satisfying. I had hopes that it was going to go somewhere cool--an understanding between her and Sabrina. (And one of the first times ever white women and African American women are seen cooperating within a genre story.) But no. It went straight to the same old "angry black woman" vs "nice white lady" stereotypes. [sigh] (I'm glaring at you, American Horror Story.)
Y'all, I'd really like to see inclusive genre fiction showing women of all backgrounds, abilities, and orientations working together. Women need this, badly. The reason why is because individually we can't overthrow the Patriarchy. Case in point: American white women continuing to vote Republican even though this runs against their self-interests. This is no accident. This is how systemic misogyny stays in power, y'all. Divide and conquer. And as long as this happens we'll see defeat on election day. Everyone (justifiably so) keeps asking why? The problem is, they keep missing the obvious. I know I did.
I was planning another essay about Sabrina and the issues that cropped up in the last half but...I've a deadline and I really, really, really, really need to get things done. So, I'm going to not do that today. Sorry. (Nonetheless, this essay from TeenVogue goes into detail about what went wrong.) I hope you have a lovely week!
Today, I'd like to say a little something about The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
It's October, and I'm a Pagan. Typically, this means both rejoicing that my favorite holiday is here and near constant cringing. Everywhere you look there's a misogynist display of dead or dying splatted witches, disembodied body parts of witches, ugly witches, green-faced witches, fat witches, overly sexed witches, stupid witches, evil hag witches...and on and on and on. All of it negative. I'm justifiably offended. Because as long as these are the first things that spring to mind every damned Halloween when someone says 'witch' then it's an indication that misogyny is still heavily engrained in American culture. Witches are one of the few popular cultural images of women with power in this country. Is it any wonder that we've never had a woman serve as President of the US as long as this shit is what's most prevalent?
And yet, I'm enjoying the hell out of this show. (I'm on episode five.) I even read the comic book. My husband has been justifiably confused. I admit, I've been a bit confused myself. So, now I think I'll unpack a few things.
I tend to look at the bigger picture--or at least I try. I've found that if you back up from what's going on and stare at it from a distance, more often than not, helpful information crops up. Human beings are creatures of patterns. Our brains are structured on a base level to see patterns--even when none exist. The scientific study of perception is full of very good reasons why, starting with how the human visual cortex processes information. At any given moment, your brain is inundated with an overwhelming amount of information. In order to walk across a room and not smash into a wall or fall into a manhole, your brain sorts through a lot of the data and determines what is useful and what isn't. It doesn't have time to review every single bit. If it tried, you'd crash into that wall or worse, be flattened by the giant ball of stone rolling down the tomb's hallway.
Yeah, okay. I couldn't resist the Raider's of the Lost Ark reference.
So, the human brain takes shortcuts. These shortcuts involve pattern recognition, among other things. From the moment you're born your brain begins to learn what shit will kill you and what shit won't. The shit that hasn't killed you in the past gets ditched into the old mental file 13. This means when things happen fast, there are huge gaps in your perception and your memory. It's fascinating stuff, and I highly recommend reading about perception and human development. It's the main reason why I'm very aware that human brains are NOT computers and never have been. It's a totally incorrect model for the brain. Computers process all the data. They don't sort it, and then process it.
Good morning, y'all. I think I've got a handle on my personal stuff this morning. The bottled water has been obtained. The cat has his meds. And while I'm still having head bee issues, at least they're managed. So...here we go.
Gimme a break. There is no maybe. Bullet/torpedo bras are definitely about about replicating erect nipples. That's the point. (Pun intended.) Okay. Now, for those links.
Feminist Monday will have to be a day late. I've been dealing with Head Bees and my cat got bitten by another cat and that meant a vet visit and Austin is on a water boil alert and... I can't today. It'll have to be tomorrow. So sorry, y'all.
Lately, I've been reading Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark which is a nonfiction book about the future of AI. (I'm on the second read through right now because there's so much to unpack. I do that with research that's a key part of whatever it is I'm writing.) It's a fascinating read, and I recommend it, but it has some serious problems.
If there's a marriage made in hell, it's the pairing of AI with Libertarianism. It disturbs me when wealthy tech barons blithely discuss disruption of economic markets as if it were a tiny nuisance that nations get past in a matter of moments. When the reality is that people's lives are thrown into chaos. Jobs are lost and--quite possibly in the instance of AI--whole careers destroyed. And yet, the fallout is merely hand-waved over like it's a minor inconvenience. I don't buy his statement that 'everything will be fine.' It won't be fine. Not for years, possibly decades, not even for your precious tech company. If you're going to argue ethics, and pose how one creates an ethical AGI whose goals don't conflict with humanity's, maybe you shouldn't espouse a political and financial system that is laissez-faire?
The opening fiction story about a small group of amoral, selfish, greedy AI geniuses working within a tech company is downright hair-raising. Have you never heard of Lord Acton? Dictatorships, especially those run for profit, aren't a good thing. It's quite eyeopening.
And ZOMG, people, PLEASE understand that Wikipedia is not an unbiased collection of encyclopedic data. For fuck's sake. You're this really smart man, and yet...
Also, there's an assumption that even though vast, unlimited wealth can be generated by AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), the majority of that wealth will be hoarded by the few. There's zero reason for that--particularly if this is a Utopic perspective, and it takes place after the current censure of Capitalism has completed. He doesn't explain why exploitation and/or the broad imbalance in the distribution of wealth is so essential He merely assumes it will be because: Capitalism. I see it as a flaw in a narrow political and philosophical perspective.
The cherry on top of the tea cake is the unexamined sexism. There are few women (if any) mentioned by name in the entire book. Those who are mentioned are wives of Great Men--and none are technical contributors to the project. Or if they are, their contributions aren't mentioned even in passing.
Yeah. Wow. So much to unpack. Still, there's a lot of really interesting ideas in it. And I do recommend reading it. More on that later. For now, videos.
Halloween is my favorite holiday. So, today I'll collect some links about fun things to do. Hosting a party? Pop on over to USA Today's list of inspiring adult drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are listed) and other treats. Dinosaur costumes officially rock. Author Heather Greene tweets a list of 31 films about witches. Sadly, a majority of them are awful, sexist, and promote harmful stereotypes from a modern witch's perspective. However, there are a few fun ones. Heather also has a new non-fiction book out about witch films. Have some costume ideas, couples costume ideas (same sex couples are included), and makeup tutorials. Got kids? Have some kids' craft suggestions. And have some DIY suggestions for your home.
Next week? We'll talk about my favorite Halloween movies.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.