Today, I'm focusing on one group of women: veterans. Unsurprisingly, American soldiers who happen to be women tend to get forgotten on this day. It seems everyone imagines males. Movies shown in the US today emphasize the role of men. Rarely, if ever do they portray women. In that vein, I recommend watching Courage Under Fire.
It's not perfect--let's be honest, I can't think of a film that is perfect. Nonetheless, this is one of my favorites. It makes me bawl every time. It's the story of a courageous woman who saves the lives of the men around her and dies in the effort because one of them can't deal. It's a great exploration of misogyny and its effects within the ranks of a military group in combat. However, we spend almost the entire movie focused on the men. Karen Walden is in the background. If this story had been about a male war hero, the entire thing would've been centered on him. Still, during what little time it spends featuring her, Karen provides some really interesting perspective. For example:
Captain Karen Emma Walden: [to Monfriez, after she's been shot in the abdomen] "I gave birth to a nine-pound baby, asshole. I think I can handle it."
I love that--even if it borders on a stereotype.
Now, for some links. The VA has a woman problem. It starts with its motto. More than 345,000 women have been deployed since Sept. 11, 2001. Women welcomed at their local VA hospital have to deal with the staff addressing their husbands first. Also, there is no excuse for not having gynecologist on staff in a military medical facility. None. And a female vet being given a prosthetic that falls off because it was designed for a male? Holy shit sauce, Batman. OH, HELL NO. Female vets shouldn't feel like an afterthought, indeed. For more information, here's a link to the Center for Women Veterans. ("Funny" thing: when you first go to that page the image is of a man. [eyeroll]) Also? You know what gets my goat? According to the Veterans Affairs 2016 fact sheet on Women Veterans Population, the State of Texas has the highest number of Women Veterans in the country. Three guesses which state is currently doing its best to take away women's rights? If you guessed Texas, you'd be right. National Guard, Reserves first up in expansion of VA sex assault treatment. Yeah, in case you weren't aware, the US military has a huge sexual assault and sexual harassment problem. And my impression is, they're still doing very little about it. Here's a great site with some history of women in the US military. And here's one that focuses on minority women serving in the military.
Americans out there celebrating today...please give thought to the women who've served, not just the men. Okay?
 I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be a woman in charge of men's lives in a combat situation. I have a hard enough time wrangling my male friends in my DnD group during an imaginary battle, and these guys are my good friends. When my character is placed in charge, a couple of them find it difficult to a) shut up--stop talking over me long enough to b) listen to what I'm saying without my shouting and c) can't bring it upon themselves to act for the sake of the entire party and not just themselves and d) won't give my character the same respect they give one of the guys if they were in charge. Let alone keep the gender of my character straight. (I often play male characters, and in this case, my paladin is male and gay.) OMG, I get annoyed, and this is entirely imaginary. 
 So much empathy to those who are gender fluid and/or trans. This is exactly why I play characters who are not me in DnD. It helps me understand people who are not me.
We're getting a new Star Trek!!! I'm so excited. What's even more exciting is, it looks like the new captain is to be a black woman. And her commander is Michelle Yeoh!! At the least, it looks like Yeoh is the captain and Sonequa Martin-Green is the second in command. Either way, a Trek series piloted by women of color?!?! I'm so freaking happy and proud to be a Trekkie! Seriously. Just watch.
And because there are a number of severely unenlightened individuals out there, who call themselves fans and yet have apparently never seen the show--ANY of the series...we have ‘White genocide in space’: Racist fans seethe at diversity in new ‘Star Trek’ series. Give me a damned break. First, finally, one of these headlines actually called them out for what they are: racists. Second, in the whole history of Trek series and films (that's 51 years of Trek for those not keeping up) every starship captain with exactly two exceptions has been white and male. That's one black man and one white woman in 51 years. Now, we finally have two women of color and all of the sudden it's a "genocide in space"? I seriously don't fucking understand this reasoning. Mathematically, white men still have the advantage. Do the fucking math. Seriously, if two women of color can wipe out the entire history of white men in a fiction world by merely existing? I mean, Michelle Yeoh is a bad ass and all but... Y'all are weak ass M-Fers. Also? My favorite scene from Bring It On pops to mind.
The more often I watch that scene, the more perfect I think it is. Honestly, Isis has exactly the right response to Tori. Does that mean Tori is wrong to make the offer? Nope. She's right to do so. It's right for Isis to shred the check too. "Why do you have to be so mean?" is ye old White Woman Tears™ and Isis pegs it. Seriously, I just adore this scene. It's so fucking powerful. And it nails the point that I'm going to bring up.
When one group is given all the advantages over other groups, how can they be sure that they're performing at their very best? Giving everyone the opportunity to excel is what civilization is all about. You know why? Because we collectively reap the benefits when all members of society can contribute their best skills and talents. We bring out the best in one another too. No one knows where the next Einstein or Neil deGrasse Tyson will come from. We don't know. We could be killing ourselves because the one person who can create the cure for cancer or global warming is too busy trying not to starve to death. Terry Pratchett said it best in The Truth:
Death: "AH. NUGGA VELSKI. YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER HIM, OF COURSE. HE WAS SIMPLY A MAN WHO WALKIED INTO HIS RATHER SIMPLE LITTLE HUT AT THE WRONG TIME, AND YOU ARE A BUSY MAN AND CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO REMEMBER EVERYONE. NOTE THE MIND, A BRILLIANT MIND THAT MIGHT IN OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD, DOOMED TO BE BORN INTO A TIME AND PLACE WHERE LIFE WAS NOTHING BUT A DAILY HOPELESS STRUGGLE..."
Yeah. And then Nugga's life intersected with Mr. Tulip's. Mr. Tulip was not a nice person. Mr. Tulip destroyed every chance Nugga had. You know what? Don't be Mr. Tulip.
Ultimately, if you're too weak to handle real competition--if you believe you can't hang if the world's best are truly allowed to bring it--then you don't belong on the top, do you? You're also nowhere near as tough and awesome as you think you are.
One more thing: if you think that liberalism in Trek is a new phenomenon? You've never comprehended what you were watching. Seriously. It's never been that well-hidden a secret that Trek is full of liberal ideals. Hell, Trek one of the reasons why I used to think that SF was liberal in general. (Poor sweet deluded me.) Kirk and Spock literally punched Nazis, after all. I'm not sure how much more explicit you need things be.
 FYI, have you noticed the language used by bigots is often violent in nature? I have. It's an over-reaction to a nonexistent threat.
 And you know what? That scene crops up in my brain quite a bit these days because I'm involved with sponsoring writers of color for the Armadillocon Writer's Workshop. Is this guilt money? Fuck yes, it is. Have you read the statistics regarding writers of color getting published?
Well, there's not much going on over here except writing. And, you know, trying to sink myself into a new universe. This is both my favorite part and my least favorite. Anything can happen, starting with losing track of time. (Which clearly is a thing right now, obviously. Sorry.) Be patient. It pays off. Usually. :) In addition, I've started a series of injections that are supposed to call a halt to the Head Bees for up to a year. That'll be great because trying to think around a migraine is a bitch and those things go on for days. Nonetheless, whenever I go through any medical procedure that involves hospitals and unconsciousness I get a little wiggy. (Even if it's minor and of the outpatient variety--which this is.) Sorry about being a giant flake.
At least the writing is going well.
In addition to writing, I've been catching up on my space opera. I was strongly focused on Fantasy for a couple of decades. It's time to switch gears because I've missed a great deal. I've read a few volumes of The Expanse which I enjoyed. There's been a visit with Vonnegut and Bradbury, of course. At the moment, I'm plowing through Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan novels. Soon there will be more current works as well as some Samuel L. Delany, more Octavia Butler, and then a revisit to C.J.Cherryh's Faded Sun series. (Because I absolutely love it.) I've stacks and stacks and stacks of reading to do. So, there's that. I've also been checking out Space.com for inspiration. I'm way, way behind, y'all. Holy crap.
But it's fun. And that's good, or I'd be losing all hope of catching up.
Good morning. I wanted to say that I deeply appreciate y'all dropping by for each week's collection of links and commentary. Hopefully, this still helps provide a bigger picture just by having them in the same place. Yes, I curate the links. But I figure this is a good, solid start. Feminism isn't about agreeing on every detail. If the whole point to it is that women are people--this also means we're allowed to disagree amongst ourselves. Blind loyalty without criticism is not a good thing in a philosophy if you ask me. Anyway, I've learned a great deal from my sisters who've disagreed with me. And I've grown and learned as a result. Hopefully, this will continue. And now, for those links.
This is why I don't find it even remotely funny when people use "bitch" and "pussy" to put down others.
Jen's activism checklist: May 21, 2017.
It's been quite the week. The news coming out of the White House is increasingly frantic. I've been reading about staffers hiding in nearby rooms while long streams of curses are screamed in a locked down Oval Office. (Someone apparently scaled the White House fence again.) No doubt about it, some unbelievable shit is going on. The Washington Post and the New York Times are duking it out for a future Pulitzer Prize. (Thank the gods.) Thus, every day a new set of problematic/dangerous information comes out. The frequency has gone from weekly to daily and now hourly. One thing is for certain: Dear Republicans, this shit is going to stain.
To top it off, Roger Ailes died. That man did serious damage to American political discourse and American politics in general. Rupert Murdoch and his money are still around, sadly. Mind you, Ailes had already been removed due to the sexual harassment charges/suits filed against him. The fact that he's dead might mean those women might not get justice. I hope that's not the case.
All in all, I'd say that Toxic Masculinity is having a rough month. Good. I hope it goes down and stays down. No one needs it.
So, yesterday's post was postponed due to Head Bees, but not due to migraines. I had my first round of Serious Level Neck shots. They put me out for it--as painful as the Junior level shots can get, I figured it was wise. And I was correct. I even felt the pain under general (light) anesthesia. They must've had a good laugh. I know I was whispering "Ouch." over and over at one point. I've zero memory after that. So, they hit me with the hard stuff. Anyway, I'm super happy because it worked! It's raining and overcast today and I don't even have sparkles on the edges of my vision. Zilch. And I didn't wake up with my shoulders cramped up and digging into my ears. I feel very lucky to have this as an option. It isn't cheap, y'all. And not everyone who has migraines has an option that works this well. Did I mention I <3 science, modern medicine, and medical insurance? I wouldn't be alive today without them. (Please, oh, please, let single-payer be in America's future. It's not ethical that not everyone can get the care they need.)
Anyway, my husband took me home afterward, he made me a pillow nest like he does, and I ended up watching tv. I needed something soothing. So, I turned on Netflix and lo and behold there was Anne with an E.
I love it. I confess, I never read the novels. (I was too immersed in Joan Aiken's and Zilch Keatley Snyder's books to even notice.) Based upon conversations I've had with Jen from Skiffy and Fanta, well...I suspect they might have glossed over the very real threat and abuse Anne would've lived with before the Cuthberts came into her life. This version doesn't do that. At. All. Also, they do a wonderful job of underlining Diana's Aunt's lesbian relationship with zero judgement of any kind. I love-love-love that. Yes, the cast is awfully white. That's the only downside as I see it. So yesterday was pretty wonderful in spite of the (slight) pain. All that, and Torchy's Tacos. :)
So, imagine how happy I am to wake up to news that we've a special prosecutor in the Russia-Trump investigation AND he's amazing. I'm thrilled to death about this development. [crosses fingers] Here's hoping for an impeachment and a thorough White House scrubbing of collaborators no later than 2018.
To top it off, I also just found out about this:
Per usual, I'm actually crying right now. (Sadly, this happens every time I see an instance of Feminism/powerful, non-sexualized female representation in SF.) Not only an Asian woman captain but a black woman too?! FINALLY!!!!!! I'm so proud of Star Trek and of being a Trekkie. I truly am.
Good morning, y'all! Hope your Monday has been a happy one so far. Sorry for the Mother's Day aspects of the image (a day late and hey, not everyone has happy feelings about the holiday) but I felt the message was too important to pass up. Anyway, here's today's video:
If you follow me on FB, you'll already be familiar with that video. So, skip this paragraph and go to the next one. If you don't, here are my feelings on the matter. When I was first starting as a writer my first teacher/mentor gave me this bit of advice. (Imagine a very polite southern lady and it becomes quite memorable.): "The ideal POV from which to tell the story is from the perspective of the character whose goat gets fucked." That is, the character most harmed by the situation. The script writers made the least interesting choice. They assumed the male perspective would be the most interesting. As a result, they spend the first third of the film justifying his terrible decision. By taking the woman's POV, the entire film would've been 100% better. And this is why POV matters. Pick the best, most interesting one. Not the one you're most comfortable with.
That's a more suitable image. And hey, I love Gilda Radner et all. :) Head bees have been a problem this week, making it difficult to concentrate. Add the doctor's visits (all standard pre-procedure stuff, no worries) and well, my brain has been focused elsewhere. The good news is soon I'll have relief from migraines for a whole year. So yay!
In other news, I've been continuing to watch The Handmaid's Tale which continues to rock. Also, Hulu's Harlots is amazing--it just took a darker turn. (Poor Jessica Brown Findlay. Her characters really should swear off Irish rebels. Heh.) Oh, and Sense8's second season is out! YAYAYAYYAAYYAY! I've been through one episode so far. It's still great. And I got sucked into Stephen King's 11.22.63 (also on Hulu) which is turning out to be really good. (Now I gotta read the book.)
All of a sudden, I'm not regretting talking Dane into that Hulu membership. ;)
Sorry I'm late today. Spent the morning making words on the new novel project. Sometimes that has to take priority. Oh, today, we have a cartoon.
And now today's video:
So, I've been watching The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu during the latest round of Republican hate-slation. (See: a healthcare bill that targets women with "pre-existing conditions such as rape, c-sections, and other 'ailments,' a religious freedom executive order that permits religious organizations to participate in politics, as well as legislation regarding overtime--three guesses how that one turned out.) It's been anxiety-inducing to say the least. That said, it's an important novel (and TV series) with a message that needs to be heard right now by those who are sitting on the fence on the issue of women's rights.
Is it an exaggeration? It's SF dystopia. Of course it is. However, this is one of those instances where the exaggeration isn't much of one. Offred's world is only a couple more political pendulum ticks over to right from where we are now. It's the natural result of all the bigoted policies being instituted in the US government now. It's the ultimate conclusion via a belief that women's bodies are not their own and that the possible unborn's life always cancels out the mother's. It's the consequence of treating rape as a "gift from God." It's the end result when LGBT persons are declared "gender traitors" and have their rights stripped.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this could never happen. Women know all too well that it can--particularly after the last election. Frankly, I'm glad that I'm not married to a man that poo-poos my fears in this arena. (Again, not after the last election, he doesn't.) There's a scene where June's husband does this very thing after her job and her bank account have been taken from her. "It gives me the opportunity to take care of June and Hannah [his daughter]. What's wrong with that?" It gives me chills--particularly since I actually saw a woman on FB saying that she was going to give up watching it with her husband because he sees the whole thing as being ridiculous. [shudder]
Yeah. Tell HRC and her supporters and every woman and LGBT person that's been sexually abused, beaten, discriminated against in the workplace, and murdered that there's no misogyny and that it's not dangerous or harmful. Go ahead.
I'll add that the show is a brilliant adaptation of the novel. I read it more than twenty years ago, mind you, and I've recommended it to just about every woman I know. I'm definitely due for a reread.
 At least two US congressmen have made that statement, and as far as I know have never apologized or admitted they were horrifically wrong.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.