The Feminist vs Cute Animal Videos

Okay, so, I don’t know if you know anything about what’s been happening over here in the UK at the moment (realistically how could you not?) but we’ve just had a little referendum type deal. No biggie really.

Initially today’s post wasn’t going to be about that but then I commented in a FB group saying “Hey guys, come on, maybe it won’t be that bad.” … ('cause I'm all about positivity) and then I was called “offensive” “rude” “delusional” and my personal favourite “racist”. Uh-huh. Racist. 

This whole thing has turned people into rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth maniacs. Everyone wants what's best for the country and the world – people just disagree on how we get there. And I'm okay if someone disagrees with me. I'm happy to debate stuff ... just don't start name calling. That's so not cool. 

So I don’t really want to ramble about feminism stuff today. Or the stupid referendum. I just want to watch cute animal videos!

 

When you get to them playing with the wolves – that is totally me and Mr Wolf ... only I think I get a bit more savaged than they do!

How badly do you need one of theses cute guys in your life? 

Enjoy!

The Feminist vs The Anti-Feminist

So, I was researching stuff on the internet for my third Bridget book (for “researching stuff” read “procrastinating”) and came across this whole “Women against Feminism” movement thing. Have you heard about it? I researched it a bit and realised that everyone is already talking about it. I’m late to the party as usual. If you haven’t heard about it have a look here.

There are loads of intellectual arguments discussing this all over the internet but I’m not smart enough to understand most of them. Assuming you don’t have a degree in Feminist Theory either let me give you the nuts and bolts. This group says that Feminism is bad. Basically, that’s the crux of it. They think that “feminist” means “misandrist ” (man hater to you and me). They post things like this photo.

Now, I don’t know how far out of context these quotes have been taken but they do sound preeeeeetty bad. I could see why if this is all you’ve ever been exposed to under the heading of “Feminism” why you might be against it. But this is the twenty-first century. With the internet the world is tiny. Why would these anti-feminist women not have a little gander around Google and see what else Feminism has to offer? You do that when you’re shopping for a new mobile phone, right? You look around for which service provider offers the best value for money or the plan that fits your needs. Why wouldn’t you do it before buying into an ideology? Or not buying into it if it's not your thing. But you have to understand what it is before you can say "Unlimited minutes? Nah, I'm more of a texter.".

Before we get any further, let me just state my own position here (in case you didn't see the title of this blog!) and so you know what direction I’m coming from. Personally, I think Feminism is good. I think we live in a world where we need Feminism. Not the beat-a-man-to-death-with-a-high-heel type Feminism, but Feminism that supports my right to get paid the same as a man if we did the same job to the same standard. My right to be treated equally.

I’ll be honest and say this group terrifies me. In my oh-so-humble opinion I think it’s shunting equality back a good few decades. And what saddens me the most is that there are women supporting it. You might disagree and that’s totally your right. But take a look at this picture.

The caption says that “Getting assaulted has nothing to do with the way you’re dressed when you’re so drunk you pass out in public! Grow up and stop blaming men for your irresponsible behaviour!” I wanted to type that out just in case however you’re viewing this post the image doesn’t display properly. Now, when I first read that I had to go back and read it again. And then again. Let’s deconstruct this a little, shall we? “Getting assaulted has nothing to do with the way you’re dressed …”. Yeah, ‘cause as a society we never judge people on how they dress! “Getting assaulted has nothing to do with the way you’re dressed when you’re so drunk you pass out in public!”. Ummm, what? So, if a nun in a habit passes out in the street from too much communion wine then she’s fair game? What if the nun passes out from heat exhaustion or because she’s on a hunger strike? Will the potential rapists walking past know that and leave her alone because she’s not passed out drunk? Like ... 

Rapist 1: “Hey man, let’s rape this nun.”

Rapist 2: “No way, dude, she’s passed out because she’s on a sponsored hunger strike as a way to raise money for the homeless.”

Rapist 1: “How can you tell, man? She just looks unconscious to me.”

Rapist 2: “It’s in the posture.”

Rapist 1: “That’s such a selfless thing to do. Let’s get her in a taxi and make sure she gets home safe. What about her friend next to her?”

Rapist 2: “Oh, that one’s passed out from too much communion wine. How about we rape her while we’re waiting on the taxi for her friend, the not drunk nun?”

Rapist 1: “Multi-tasking, I like it.”

I mean … in what world? 

Now to the last sentence: “Grow up and stop blaming men for your irresponsible behaviour!”. Ummm, double what? Stop blaming men for MY irresponsible behaviour? Ohhh, yeah, right. They must be referring to that super well known law that if you pass out drunk on the street any man who walks past you has to assault you. Regardless of whether he wants to or not, he has to. He has absolutely no choice in the matter. Because he couldn’t look down at you and think “I better put her in a taxi, she’s looking a little worse for wear …” or “I’ll grab her phone from her purse and try to call one of her friends or parents to come and get her …” or try to wake her up, or get the attention of the nearest bouncers. No. He has to assault. Yeah, they must be referring to that law.

I think that’s the scariest part of this caption because it removes the responsibility from the aggressor and places it squarely on the shoulders of the victim. It’s the perpetrator of the crime whose behaviour is the problem. It’s their behaviour that’s illegal. But this places the responsibility back on the victim and says “if you get raped it’s your fault”. Isn't that what we, as women, have been fighting against? Isn't that what all these "slut walks" are about?

It’s not your fault if your house is burgled or someone steals your car so why would it be your fault if you’re assaulted. Yes, if you leave your keys in the ignition you’ve made it easier for someone to steal it and your insurance company might not pay out. Similarly, if you’ve passed out drunk on the street you’ve made it easier for someone to assault you … but that does not mean they should – they are responsible for their own ILLEGAL behaviour – and it absolutely does not mean it’s your fault.

You can be the most responsible person in the world ninety-nine per cent of the time … but there’s always that one per cent when you’re on a night out, you didn’t have as much food as you thought, that last tequila hits you hard when you’re on your way to the taxi rank and you need to sit down. There’s that one per cent when you’re flirting up a storm with some guy and you suddenly realise that you’re still not really over your ex so you decide to call it a night. There’s that one per cent when you’ve worked out at the gym for three years straight to lose ten stone, you’ve bought the slinkiest dress you can find because you’re so proud of how far you’ve come and people judge you for it. None of this matters. None of it. All that matters is the person who assaults you is responsible for their own behaviour. 

So please, the next time you come across someone, anyone, who calls themselves an anti-feminist, just explain to them what Feminism actually is and why they need it in their lives. In their daughter's life. In their sister's life. In their mother's life. Because without it Donald Trump would punish us for aborting the baby of our rapist. 

No Spoilers, I promise!

I’m back! Hello all it’s Rhian again (geek and awkward at introductions girl). Jordaina has very nicely invited me back after my blog post last month, so I get to ramble on about random things to you lovely people again.

So there was a big event in the geek world recently. Yes, I’m talking about Captain America: Civil War. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on giving away any spoilers, I wouldn’t do that to you. After weeks of watching the trailers, fighting the temptation to read the graphic novel for spoilers, deciding whether I was Team Iron Man or Team Cap (Team Cap all the way!), I decided I would go for the ultimate cinema experience. Three films back to back: the first Captain America, followed by Winter Solider and finally Civil War at midnight. It wasn’t the first cinema movie marathon I’ve been to (and if I have my way it won’t be my last) but I have to admit it was definitely the best. 

Now, as you walk into the cinema, you find yourself silently assessing each other. Because everyone knows it’s Team Iron Man vs Team Cap (to make my decision obvious, I was wearing my Captain America converse and hoodie). Of course, it’s not a real rivalry because at the end of the day everyone’s Team Marvel. Maybe it’s the NFL fan in me but dressing up in my team’s colours made an already great film even better (I swear that’s all I’m going to say about the film; no spoilers, I promised). Maybe it’s because I felt more involved, even though I was sat in the cinema, with my 3D glasses on, stuffing my face with popcorn. Or maybe it’s because the whole audience feels connected; the majority of people in that cinema are strangers, yes, you might have gone with friends or family, but most people you’ve never seen before, but in that space of two hours you’re all rooting for the same thing: your favourite team to come out on top and an amazing film.

I’ve found that lately my life has resolved around three things: studying, reading and television (the latter two often distracting me from the former). But let me explain; for the last few years if anyone tried to text me on a Monday night during April or May, they would be waiting a long time for me to reply. I’m guessing a few of you know what I’m talking about; Game of Thrones is back! And it’s so exciting!!! This season anything goes, and there are no book spoilers that could ruin the series for me (I know, I’m ashamed I haven’t read the books). This is, in my opinion, definitely the make or break season because the writers’ have no books to refer to; they’re in charge of the story. I have read that George R. R. Martin has revealed to the producers who eventually wins the iron throne, although that could be a little bit awkward if the series finishes before the final book comes out. But like I said, it’s all so exciting. It also means if I don’t want to have to avoid the internet, television or human company, I have to watch GoT on a Monday night, so no-one reveals anything to me. That’s the excuse I use to stop studying anyway. 

Because we’ve all been there, that awkward conversation when you’re trying to figure out if someone else has watched it, so you don’t give away any spoilers. I’m ashamed to say I may have told someone quite a big part of an episode I didn’t realise they hadn’t seen yet . . .  

So while I should be taking advantage of the gorgeous weather we’re currently having I find myself back in my nerd habitat studying, which if I’m being honest, most of the time means trying not to get distracted by the internet, and resisting the urge to binge watch the entire first five seasons of GoT. 

We all know it can end badly, poor Robb *sniff, sniff*

 

Imaginary friends for summer...

This isn't actually MY Wolf but he does look very similar.

This isn't actually MY Wolf but he does look very similar.

Hey, hey, hey folks! how about this weather, huh? I know that’s a terribly English opener but…hey, how about this weather?! For those of you not in the know (or in England), the week before last it hailed every morning. And I’m not talking dainty, little crumbs—I’m talking decent sized lumps of ice. My little Wolf (Siberian Husky) was out in it thinking it was the best thing ever. He had his nose lifted to the sky and his eyes closed like it was bliss as these lumps of ice pelted him in the face and got lodged in his fur. Then, of course, he came back inside and treated us to an indoor hail storm as he shook them off. All over the kitchen. Honestly. He’s lucky I love him.

But this week, this week it’s like summer has officially arrived. And my favourite thing to do in summer is read outside (in the shade, obviously—do you know how pale I am?! I swear there’s vampiric DNA somewhere in my lineage). But because I’ve been working on my own stuff for ages I’m a bit out out of the loop with what new books are out in the series I read. Do you ever reread a series before reading the new book? I do. I was talking to someone else about this recently (I genuinely can’t remember who) and she said she did the same thing. There’s so many things you miss in a book the first time around because you’re so focused on finding out what happens (or I am). So I love it when I reread a series and I find a piece of foreshadowing that I didn’t originally recognise or identify the seeds of a mystery that is explored in later books. 

So, to kick my summer off with a bang I’m revisiting Angela Roquet’s Reapers Inc. series. I’ve mentioned the delightful Angela Roquet before (she let me guest post on her blog! How nice was that?). Eyes right for a picture. I like to think that she’s keeping her head tilted down because—do you remember when Geoffrey Rush showed Keira Knightly his cursed skeleton face in the first Pirates of the Caribbean—she has a spooky skeleton face. She doesn’t. She’s really pretty—I’ve seen a photo on her website. I still like to imagine that’s the reason though…

I thought, since I’d mentioned the series a few times, I’d give you a few good (semi-superficial) reasons why you should start her series. (Read on for the actual reasons.)

1. The first book is free. To me, that’s like a money back guarantee without actually having to pay anything upfront. Or a trial. It’s like saying “I’m so sure you’ll like this book I don’t want to charge you for the first one because I know after you read it you’ll become a lifetime customer.” (Side note: Yes, I charge for my first book because right now it’s my only book. Also, I’m insecure! I need the money for therapy.)

2. There are now six books available in the series. Ghost Market (book six) is fresh from the ebook presses! I tend to be quite picky about committing to a series and one of my deciding factors is how many book are available. I don’t want to be totally blown away by the first book and have to wait a year for the next. Or ten—Mr Martin that dig was aimed at you. (Side note: Yes, I currently only have one book out—by December there’ll be three so you can totally start reading…just read reeeeeeeally slowly!)

3.  The covers are awesome! I know you’re not meant to judge a book by it’s cover but sometime that’s the best way to get a vibe for the tone of the book. It’ll grab you or it won’t. And look how cool they are lined up together. Pretty good reason, right? I thought so.

Click me!

Click me!

Then click me...

Then click me...

Then me...

Then me...

Then me...

Then me...

Me too!

Me too!

And finally me!

And finally me!

You can click on the covers above and they will take you to Amazon to download it. Have you done that? Have I sold you on the series? Awesome! You should probably go and read it quickly before the weather changes. Or maybe you're still not convinced this is the series for you? In that case, read on…

Okay, so now we’ve all embraced our shallowness let me tell you three real reasons why you should invest your time, money and emotions in this series.

1. Let’s state the obvious—it’s a great series. How do I know this? Because I’ve read it. (Like I would recommend you something I’d not read!) Also, over nine hundred amazon reviews on the first book (over fifty per cent of them five stars!) don’t lie. It’s a super original take on…I don’t want to say the afterlife because that’s kind of a specific term and the world Angela has created is much more varied than that. And it deals with a whole host of religions and not just in a token way. That alone I find fascinating. I’m not going to say anymore than that because so you can explore it yourself!

2. Lana Harvey is kickass. Apart from the fact she’s a grim reaper (forgive me for not using spoiler etiquette here but I kinda think the series title gives this away!) she’s just a really strong, determined woman who does what she wants as much as possible. I’ve got no gripe against the YA heroines and the female superheroes taking up our screens but she’s pretty dang close to a Thorina. (Don’t understand that? Shame on you! Click here for an explanation.)

3. The final point and probably, for me, the best part of this series is that the Lana Harvey in book five (Honesty moment: I’ve not read book six yet) isn’t the same as the Lana Harvey in book one. And I mean this in a good way. Yes, she still has the same snark and the same attitude but she’s not Stephanie Plum. Stephanie Plum in book twenty-something who is still a terrible bounty hunter, who is still making the same mistakes as in book one, who can’t decide between two guys. Who despite being blown up, threatened at gunpoint, kidnapped, yada yada yada hasn’t learned from those experiences. Lana is changed by what’s happened to her not so much she’s a totally different person but enough that you, as a reader of the series will be like “Ohhhhh, I get why she’s behaving that way…” and that’s what I want from my books. Not my TV series so much, but definitely from my literary adventures because I invest more of myself in them.

Disclaimer: This isn't me. I have waaaaaaay more books on my reading list!

Disclaimer: This isn't me. I have waaaaaaay more books on my reading list!

I’d have written a longer post extolling the virtues, but really I just want to go and start book six while the sun is still shining! Don’t forget to drop Angela a message to let her know how much you love her series or just review it for her…which I haven’t yet done but I’m totally going to. See if you can beat me to it. If it’s raining where you are, you probably will. If it’s sunny and you’re outside reading—I’ll race you to the final page! Fair warning, I’m a fast reader!

 

About the author: Angela Roquet is a great big weirdo. She collects Danger Girl comic books, owls, skulls, random craft supplies, and all things Joss Whedon. Angela lives in Missouri with her husband and son. She's a member of SFWA and HWA, as well as the Four Horsemen of the Bookocalypse, her epic book critique group, where she's known as Death. When not swearing at the keyboard, she enjoys painting, goofing off with her family and friends, and reading books that raise eyebrows.

Find Angela online for digital (and sometimes real world) adventures:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Amazon | BookBub

Mmmm, lemony goodness!

lemons.jpeg

So, last week, the lovely Rhian waved to you from her geek girl armchair in one of her many fandom t-shirts (I work with her so I can tell you it really is true – she has a lot of those tops!). What you probably don’t know is that we had a technical glitch in getting the blog post, well, posted. I’m not the most technically savvy person on the planet, or even in the room (the only other “person” currently in the room is my handsome Wolf which should give you some idea of my technological capabilities) so I’ll just use the all-encompassing explanation that the website server was down. I have no idea what that actually means but that’s what this handy little website told me.

Whilst there, I did what any normal person would do and snooped on all the comments to see what people were saying. And all of them were complaining. Not a shocker, I suppose, but some were talking about how the service interruption would likely cost them millions of dollars in business deals (I don’t mean to be a Disbelieving Delilah but if you’re running a multi-million dollar company do you really have time to be leaving snarky comments?) and many were trying to outdo each other in what the service interruption would cost them/had cost them. I have a website (*spreads arms wide to demonstrate* ta-dah!) so I understand the challenges of getting people here and what to do with them once you do manage to get them here … still working on the latter! 

I was talking it over with my therapist (a.k.a. my mum). Talking about how people react to these situations and about how, when disaster strikes, people either react or respond. Mostly, I’m a responder (a lemonade maker, if you will). So when something like that happens I get out my little juicer, some water and a tiny bit of sugar (for “tiny” read “a lot”) and mix up a refreshing batch of let’s-make-the-best-of-it.

Of course there are days when I don’t want to do that. There are days when I want to pin the lemon dealer to the ground and squirt his own darn lemon juice right in his eyes. (That sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it?) But, on those days, I take myself by the hand and go and sit in a dark room for a while until I’ve overcome my murderous inclinations (I do this by imagining numerous gruesome fates that could possibly befall said lemon dealer in excruciating detail). Then I dust myself off, paste my smile on, adjust my positive attitude into place and head back out into the world with my diabetic-coma-inducing lemonade. Sometimes I have to fake the smile and the attitude for a while but the longer it’s in place the more real it becomes.

Bad things happen sometimes. Things that irritate us happen sometimes. Things that annoy us to the very core of our being happen sometimes. Some people will just shrug and say “it’s life”. And yes, it is life. But, specifically, it’s your life and when this stuff happens you can choose whether to react or respond to it. You can choose whether you let that negative emotion consume you and let it drive you to write pointless negative comments and complain (which really isn’t going to help) or whether you stand back and say “Okay, so, this wasn’t what I had planned for today but let’s find a good lemon recipe and see what we can make.”.

When something like this happens I always think of this quote: 

I know that having your website crash might not look like much of an adventure but that’s because you’re looking at it wrong. Don’t stress it, instead use the time to do something else. Something useful. Something fun. If you can, take the dog out for a walk in the sunshine – you might just meet your future wife/husband. Finish/start another project – it might be the one that makes you a gazillionaire/wins you the nobel prize. Help a colleague – they might return the favour exactly when you need it. Read a book (mine is available here. I’m so sorry – just couldn’t resist!). But whatever you choose to do, don’t just sit there staring at the screen and count how many minutes your website has been down for, because if it’s been down for ten minutes then it’s been down for ten minutes. Counting each one of those six hundred seconds won't have changed anything and you’ve just wasted the last six hundred seconds of your life by counting the last six hundred seconds of your life. And you won't get them refunded when your website comes back online.

While mine was down I wrote this blog post, hung the washing out, made a cup of tea, had a biscuit and played with my puppy. Not simultaneously, obviously – I’m human not an octopus. (Someone recently told me that when an octopus gets stressed it starts eating itself. When she told me I had so many questions but she couldn’t answer them. Because I just can’t live with that I googled – here’s the rest of the story.) Did I have an adventure during that time? Not really, but then I didn’t waste those precious seconds counting out those precious seconds either. My puppy was happy for the attention. I was happier for having his attention (until he bit my finger when he mistook it for the toy we were playing with). And did you hear me say there was tea and biscuits?

I could try and get all pseudo-intellectual and be like “Life is all about *something smart* and *something else smart* …” but really life is about many, many things depending on who you ask. Happiness, love, money, success, yada yada yada but, for me, all of these can come under one heading: (Okay, so I am going get all pseudo-intellectual! Get ready for it.) perspective. And that’s something you have plenty of control over. So when that darn lemon dealer comes your way again, take a moment to choose your perspective. Choose to make lemonade. Or lemon meringue. Or lemon curd. Or some other lemon based edible thing that you think is tasty. You’re going to have to eat those lemons one way or another so why not make them delicious?

Introductions are so awkward ...

Hello people of the internet, sorry but no Jordaina this week, she’s agreed to take the week off so I can introduce myself to you lovely people. So hi, my name’s Rhian. I am what I like to call a writer in progress, meaning I’d like to call myself a writer but I’m not quite there yet (I’m currently writing my first novel though so that’s got to count for something, right?). Unfortunately it’s still very much a work in progress at the minute, so it won’t be out until next year, but I can give you a hint to what it’s all about – twisted fairytale, kind of Buffy meets Disney, if Disney was directed by Tim Burton. But that’s all I’m telling you for now. Mwahahaha (that’s my evil author laugh, just in case you didn’t guess), but maybe, just maybe, if you lovely people are nice to me (and I’m asked back to do another blog post) I could even give you some little sneak peeks, a few little spoilers. Just don’t tell my characters or they might get mad at me and refuse to give me their storylines.

One of the many pictures discovered on Pinterest, Harry Potter and a cute dog – what’s not to love?!

One of the many pictures discovered on Pinterest, Harry Potter and a cute dog – what’s not to love?!

So, I have to admit, I find this a bit difficult, there I said it! I mean, yes I consider myself a writer but am I the only one who finds it a bit awkward to introduce themselves? I mean, unless you already know me *hi friends!* then sometimes I can come across as a little strange. Or, there’s that horrifying moment - when something I write as a joke, doesn’t actually come across as a joke . . . but we’ve all had them moments, haven’t we? At least I hope it’s not only me. I also tend to confuse people; you see I’m a big geek. I can usually be found in my natural habitat, which usually comprises of a comfy armchair and snack food within easy reach, wearing some kind of fandom top, reading some kind of sci-fi novel, searching for the latest Marvel/Game of Thrones spoilers online or scrolling down Pinterest for fandom memes; if you’ve never been on Pinterest I’ll warn you now, it’s addictive, you’ll be on there hours without realising. In addition to being a Marvel loving geeky girl, I am also a big American football fan. Now, when people find this out, I’m usually met with quite amusing looks of surprise or confusion, as I’m a girl, apparently (judging by the reaction I get) not a lot of British girls like the NFL. Who knew? I also sport (sport – get it? See what I did there?) a lot of multicoloured hair, this month’s choice blue and pink, and of course, we can’t forget the geeky fandom top ;) So I get that appearance-wise I don’t really conform to the usual sports fan look. But who cares? While boxes are great for storage, they’re really not great for categorising people.

So this September, when the NFL season starts, I’m going to be sat there, rocking my blue and pink hair, wearing a top that will probably say something like ‘The House Elf Liberation Front’ (3 points to Gryffindor if you get that reference), and I’m going to enjoy watching my favourite team play. Because at the end of the day, we shouldn’t be afraid of being different: we should embrace it.

Trumps and hugs!

I’ll be upfront, there aren’t any jokes about breaking wind in this blog. In fact, this will be the only time flatulence will be mentioned. Mainly because I couldn’t find a good enough joke! I meant “Trumps” as in supporters of Donald Trump … from here on out I think I’ll call them Trumpettes. Donald Trump and the Trumpettes. It’s got a pretty good ring to it, doesn’t it? Okay, ramble over, I’ll start making my point now.

Like probably a gazillion other people, when I woke up yesterday I logged in to Facebook and checked my newsfeed. Like probably a gazillion other people, I have friends on there that aren’t actually my friends. They are people I used to know, or knew through someone else, and now the only contact I have with them is through whatever they post on their FB page that comes up in my newsfeed. Most of which I scroll past without a thought. But a friend of a friend (who I’ve not really been in contact with over the past few years – totally my fault) shared a video about something called the Free Hugs Project.

So, basically, it is what it says on the t-shirt. Members of this project go out and give people hugs. It’s not a charity in the sense that you donate money and get a hug. It’s not some trick to steal your wallet or copy your credit cards mid-hug. And it’s not a bunch of perverts trying to cop a feel. It is exactly what the name suggests it is; a project that offers free hugs. I know some people might be like “whhhhhhat?” but I think it’s amazing. I love hugs. I love giving them. I love getting them. I don’t think you can make a more powerful statement of affection or support or comfort or happiness or pretty much any other positive emotion you can think of than putting your arms around someone and allowing them into your personal space.

Awwwwww ...

I’m very protective of my personal space. I don’t really like it when people broach that barrier. That said, I work in a team with four other girls and I give them all a hug when they start their shift and one when they leave. It sounds weird, even to me, as I write it and I’ve no idea how it started. But we’re a very happy team so … maybe it’s all the hugging. Who knows?

But, to get back on topic. The video my friend-of-a-friend-who-I’m-not-really-friends-with-anymore-which-is-totally-my-fault shared was of how people at a rally for Trump and those at a rally for Sanders reacted to this guy who was offering free hugs. In case you live in a cave like my friend’s mum (she really does live in a cave – I’ve seen the pictures. It’s a nice cave too!) Trump and Sanders are American politicians campaigning to be the next president.

Now, I have no clue what Sanders’ or Trump’s policies are and, in fact, I’m only peripherally aware of who Bernie Sanders is – so much so I keep wanting call him Saunders. I don’t know what they’ve promised to do for the country when they get elected. I’m not even sure who belongs to which party. I have, however, seen the slew of buzzfeed articles on how differently Obama (who, for all you troglodytes, is the reigning champ/president/whatever) and Trump deal with hecklers, or how they view women. I’ve also seen one video where Trump supporters are asked if they agreed with certain Trump quotes and when they agree they’re told the quotes were actually from Hitler. (My favourite reaction to this is the guy who says he doesn’t agree with Hitler and wouldn’t agree with the quotes if Hitler said them but would if Trump said them. Like, what??)

Despite this abundance of negative Trump clips I’m also aware that, if you look hard enough, you could probably find enough ambiguous video evidence to imply that Obama is really an elderly Chinese lady who lives in the antarctic and never leaves her home. Alright, so that’s an exaggeration but all I’m saying is that I’m mindful that you can find a specific bunch of quotes or clips to support any argument if you manipulate them correctly. Like, if you said “This is how Obama responded when we asked how he felt about puppies.” and then show a clip of him saying “We should bomb them all!”. Obviously, the average Joe would recognise that Obama’s answer was to a different question (I hope!) and someone had just spliced the clip together.

Basically, I take any articles like that with a huge pinch of reality. That said … the free hugs video absolutely terrified me. I might not understand all the ins and outs of America’s political system or who’s who in the race for the presidency or any of that stuff, but I think the caliber or character of a person can be most easily identified by the character/attitude/behaviour of those who support them. And this, for me, is when it all got a little scary.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, go watch it now and come back to me.

Back? Watched it? Excellent.

So, the video. If you were to watch it without knowing which group of supporters was attributed to whom – which candidate would you vote for based on the attitude of those at their rally?

Supporters of Candidate ‘A’. When offered a hug by a stranger their supporters tell him to get lost if he doesn’t share the same ideals as them. Threaten him with violence if he doesn’t share the same ideals as them. Place an arm around him and chant that they’re better than him because of their skin colour.

Or

Supporters of Candidate ‘B’. When offered a hug by a stranger their supporters greet him with smiles and an open-armed welcome. Have people run up to him to get their free hug – a good percentage of whom are men (just sayin’). Isn’t even turned away by an on duty policeman in uniform.

Which group of people would you want to live next door to? Imagine if you needed a cup of sugar – Candidate ‘A’s supporters would likely call the police and have you arrested for trespassing. Candidate ‘B’s supporters would likely invite you in for cake. (This reminds me of Eddie Izzard's 'Cake or Death' sketch.)

I don’t live in America so maybe my opinion doesn’t count, but I do live in the same world. And I don’t want to live in a world where one of the most privileged countries is governed by a man who’s supporters not only turn down free hugs but think it's acceptable to verbally attack the person offering them. A world where a kindness is responded to with anger. A world where people think that responding to positivity with extreme negativity is an acceptable way to behave. Let’s hope the majority of American’s feel that way too … ‘cause I just can’t trust a man with a comb-over.

 

 

Batman and Superman v Wonder Woman (and The Feminist)

Now, before all of you start correcting me, I know that The Feminist isn’t actually a superhero – I’d be interested to see her costume if she were though. Would it be a sexy skintight catsuit like the Black Widow or would she be completely covered up in a smart trouser suit with a high neck blouse? That could be sexy too, I guess. And, really, a pretty convincing argument could be made for her to wear either. She could be owning her body and sexuality in the catsuit or refusing to be objectified in her smart trouser suit. Maybe you think it would be something completely different. I guess you come down on the side of the outfit that epitomises what Feminism means to you.

The dictionary definition says it’s “The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes”. Which is great … except that’s still kind of a fuzzy definition and I think that’s why so many people have, sometimes wildly, different opinions on what it means. And, since it’s all over the news recently, the most obvious thing about Feminism is that it means a whole lot of different things to different people. Just the fact that it’s such a social media hot topic is great … except most of the talk seems to be about why’s it’s good to be a feminist, why it’s bad to be a feminist, who is and who isn’t, why they are, why they aren’t. Then we get into the area of topless selfies (I’ve included the link because I’d be clicking it too if I were reading this), film stars commenting on pay gaps, yada yada yada …

And whilst this is all totally great that these things are being repeatedly brought up and grabbing people’s attention, I can’t help but feel it’s a little futile. Yeah, topless selfies are great, but what type of lasting impression does that have – how does that change opinions? And where are these people that they can just whip their tops off in toilets and take pictures? I just can’t see it happening in McDonalds, can you? An actress commenting on gender pay gaps? Yeah, that’s great too, and thanks for saying that out loud, but how has that helped?

So how do I think we should tackle this? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve considered petitions, marches, demonstrations and all that jazz but I think if we employed some guerrilla tactics we’d have a little more luck. Now, before you start covering your face up with camo paint, when I say “guerrilla tactics” I actually mean female superheroes. If we were to have female superheroes in the volume that we have their male counterparts, yes we would be drowning in Marvel and DC films (aren’t we already?) but, that type of female empowerment message would just seep into society slowly changing people’s opinions on women without people even realising. It wouldn’t be, like, a couple of Wonder Woman films and suddenly gender inequality would be a thing of the past … but it would be a start.

I know we’ve got Katniss and Tris and they’re totally great. Yes, they’re both strong, capable and probably the best female role models we’ve had since Buffy but, personally, I kinda want a female version of Thor. Someone who’s charismatic and funny and strong and determined and tries really hard to do the right thing. Just like Captain America. Just like Iron Man. And then I hear you say “But these guys are all super-hot-heroes!” and it’s true, they are. So then, we’re back onto the topic of female beauty and how it’s portrayed in the media (don’t even get me started on the thigh gap – I mean, seriously people, why is that even a thing?). So, yes, that would be a bit of a minefield but still I think any female superhero would be a more positive role model for young girls than getting your boobs out flipping your reflection off. But that’s just me. And that’s not because I think showing a certain amount of flesh makes you a whore/slut/whatever – I just can’t see how it helps.

I’m a gal of the Joss Whedon’s Buffy generation. Did Buffy lose it’s way a little later on? Sure. But the foundation was solid. The foundation was a girl who was strong enough to defeat anything the came her way. And when she couldn’t do it on her own she relied on her friends to help. Was she pretty? Sure. Was she popular at school? Not really. The smartest girl in class? No. The thinest? No. As for a thigh gap – I’m sorry, did you see her wield a stake? Who cared? Where is this type of hero for girls (and grown woman) to emulate now? I’m not going to stand here (actually I’m sitting but you get the idea) and slate all the popular female “heroines” of the moment but, for me, I think we are in desperate need of a new Buffy. Or a Thorina? I think we should start a campaign … though someone needs to suggest a better name than Thorina …

 

 

 

 

Adventurers unite!

adventure-quote-4.jpg

 

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 

Okay, so let me introduce myself. My name is Jordaina *waves* and I’m a literary adventurer … or, y’know, writer. I’m actually a lot of other things too, some I’m legitimately qualified to be, some I just happen to be and some my sister tells me I am when we argue (don’t feel sorry for me about the latter – I tell her she’s a couple of things too!).

If you’d like more details on my origin story (yes, I did just use a superhero term to describe my past) then head over to the about page and it will briefly catch you up to the present. Also, my friends tell me it’s funny – I’m not sure how accurate that is since they’re my friends so … but read it, don’t read it, this should still all make sense. *crosses fingers*

Where was I? Yes, I’m a writer! How cool is that? I get to make stuff up all day long. So what do I write? Well, I write a couple of things. The series that I’ve just released is about a ghost who solves ghost murders in a bureaucratic afterlife when she should be learning about … y’know what? If you’re interested just check out Bridget’s page – there’s a blurb and stuff. For a writer I’m not great at pitching, you think I would be, right? Oh, and if you think she might be your type of girl but you’re not totally convinced then just sign up to my awesome adventure chronicles/mailing list and you’ll get a free novella.

In addition to Bridget I write about a girl called Aurora North (no, she’s not a porn star or a disney character – whenever I tell people her name they seem to lean to either extreme. Think that tells you a lot about the people I talk to!). She’s a reporter who investigates weird stuff, like if you think you have werewolves in your local park or your house is haunted. Mostly she finds a rational explanation along with a few dead bodies. Her story will be released later this year, probably late autumn, so stay tuned for updates on her. There are plenty of other series I have planned too but I really need Superman to fly backwards around the earth (like he did to turn back time so he could save Lois Lane) but not so much that he reverses time, just enough to make days about forty hours long. That way I’ll have the time to fit it all in and age waaaaay more slowly! Win/win.

So, about now you’re probably thinking “She used an awesome quote for her headline but she hasn’t got to the adventure part yet!”. Okay, so here’s the adventure part – I shouldn’t have dragged it out because you might not be that impressed now! Despite writing for the majority of my life I’ve only just released my first book. It took a lot longer and a lot more work than I ever dreamed it would. At the time I thought the journey to finally releasing a book was like my own immense trek through Middle Earth (yes, I did just make that comparison!) and pressing "publish" was the equivalent to tossing the ring into Mount Doom. And then, after pressing "publish", I realised that all that stuff before was the equivalent to packing a bag. Years and years of packing a bag. And pressing "publish" was the equivalent to stepping onto the road. 

So, this is my adventure. It might not be a thrilling, daring, nail-biting adventure to you but that's okay because this is my adventure. It’s been a long time in the how-many-towels-do we-need-to-take and should-we-pack-teabags stage but it’s here now.

So what’s your adventure? Are you still packing for it or are you on the road already? Wherever your dreams are pulling, dangerous business or not, you need to go out your front door (real or metaphorical) and step onto the road because … 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... so, you coming or what?