The thing about this is that sculptures like these in art history were for the male gaze. Photoshop a phone to it and suddenly she’s seen as vain and conceited. That’s why I’m 100% for selfie culture because apparently men can gawk at women but when we realize how beautiful we are we’re suddenly full of ourselves…
Girls don’t let anyone tell you loving yourself is vanity.
“You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.” ― John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Recently, my husband and I burned through S1 of Orphan Black, which, as promised by virtually the entire internet, was awesome. But in all the praise I’d seen for it, a line from one review in particular stuck in my mind. The reviewer noted that, although the protagonist, Sarah, is an unlikeable character, her grifter skills make her perfectly suited to unravelling the mystery in which she finds herself. And as this was a positive review, I kept that quote in mind when we started watching, sort of by way of prewarning myself: you maybe won’t like Sarah, but that’s OK.
But here’s the thing: I fucking loved Sarah. I mean, I get what the reviewer was trying to say, in that she’s not always a sympathetic character, but that’s not the same as her actually being unlikeable. And the more I watched, the more I found myself thinking: why is this quality, the idea of likeability, considered so important for women, but so optional for men – not just in real life, but in narrative? Because when it comes to guys, we have whole fandoms bending over backwards to write soulful meta humanising male characters whose actions, regardless of their motives, are far less complex than monstrous. We take male villains and redeem them a hundred, a thousand times over – men who are murderers, stalkers, abusers, kinslayers, traitors, attempted or successful rapists; men with personal histories so bloody and tortured, it’s like looking at a battlefield. In doing this, we exhibit enormous compassion for and understanding of the nuances of human behaviour – sympathy for circumstance, for context, for motive and character and passion and rage, the heartache and, to steal a phrase, the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to; and as such, regardless of how I might feel about the practice as applied in specific instances, in general, it’s a praiseworthy endeavour. It helps us to see human beings, not as wholly black and white, but as flawed and complicated creatures, and we need to do that, because it’s what we are.
But when it comes to women, a single selfish or not-nice act – a stolen kiss, a lie, a brushoff – is somehow enough to see them condemned as whores and bitches forever. We readily excuse our favourite male characters of murder, but if a woman politely turns down a date with someone she has no interest in, she’s a timewasting user bimbo and god, what does he even see in her? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great online meta about, for instance, the soulfulness and moral ambiguity of Black Widow, but I’ve also seen a metric fucktonne more about what that particular jaw-spasm means in that one GIF of Cumberbatch/Ackles/Hiddleston/Smith alone, and that’s before you get into the pages-long pieces about why Rumplestiltskin or Hook or Spike or Bucky Barnes or whoever is really just a tortured woobie who needs a hug. Hell, I’m guilty of writing some of that stuff myself, because see above: plus, it’s meaty and fun and exactly the kind of analysis I like to write.
And yet, we tend overwhelmingly not to write it about ladies. It’s not just our cultural obsession with pushing increasingly specific variants of the Madonna/Whore complex onto women, such that audiences are disinclined to extend to female characters the same moral/emotional licenses they extend to men; it’s also a failure to create narratives where the women aren’t just flawed, but where the audience is still encouraged to like them when they are.
Returning to Orphan Black, for instance, if Sarah were male, he’d be unequivocally viewed as either a complex, sympathetic antihero or a loving battler with a heart of gold. I mean, the ex-con trying to go straight and get his daughter back while still battling the illegalities of his old life and punching bad guys? Let me introduce you to Swordfish, Death Race, and about a millionty other stories where a father’s separation from a beloved child, whether as a consequence of his actual criminal actions, shiftless neglect, sheer bad luck or a combination of all three, is never couched as a reason why he might not be a fit parent. We tend to accept, both culturally and narratively, that men who abandon their children aren’t automatically bad dads; they just have other, important things to be doing first, like coming to terms with parenthood, saving the world, escaping from prison or otherwise getting their shit together. But Sarah, who left her child in the care of someone she trusted absolutely, has to jump through hoops to prove her maternal readiness on returning; has to answer for her absence over and over again. And on one level, that’s fine; that’s as it should be, because Sarah’s life is dangerous. And yet, her situation stands in glaring contrast to every returning father who’s never been asked to do half so much, because women aren’t meant to struggle with motherhood, to have to try to succeed: we’re either maternal angels or selfish absentees, and the idea that we might sometimes be both or neither isn’t one you often see depicted with such nuance.
There will be no grades in a class except the midterm and the final, so you have to study hard because failing one test means you fail the class.
Hey, you guys are working really hard on your third paper, so I'm just going to cancel the final and give everyone a hundred on it.
In college, class always begins exactly at the scheduled start time. If your class is at 9 AM and you get there at 9:01, the doors will be locked and you'll be out of luck, especially if it's the day of the midterm or final, because then you get a zero.
Does anyone mind if I start class at 3:35 instead of 3:30? These elevators are really slow and I want to have time for a cigarette before I teach for 90 minutes.
Every class you miss drops you a full letter grade in college courses.
You can miss three classes without a penalty, and a few more if you have a Doctor's note. Sorry to be a hardass, but you automatically fail if you miss more than ten days of class.
If you do have papers, your professors just lecture and put the assignments on the syllabus. You're completely responsible for remembering the deadlines, they won't remind you. All your professors will do is lecture and the rest is up to you.
Okay, so your next paper is in two weeks! I'll keep reminding you in the interim, but I just want to make sure you have enough time to do it! Let's run through the structure I want to see real quick, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me or come to my office hours!
You have to use MLA formatting and if you make any mistakes in your citations, it'll be considered plagiarism. You'll be expelled and probably sued.
Please do not use MLA, it is awful, we use either APA or Chicago here because we are not 14 years old.
There is no excuse for an absence. NONE.
I'm really, really, really sorry but it's -18 before windchill and I have to walk two miles to get to class.
You stay inside and stay safe. Here's what we're reading today. I'll quiz you next week and if you can get a 90% I'll mark you present. I know you live off-campus, do you have food?
Your advisor is just for academia, not personal problems.
Are you okay? I haven't seen you in class in two weeks and I know you have depression. I can drop off your work if you'd like. Please call me and tell me how you're doing even if you can't get to class.
Don't argue. You think this is bad, wait til college.
You wanna argue, do it in a civil manner. We didn't get here today without 5000 years of healthy debate.
nine photographs portraying quotes said to sexual assault survivors by police officers, attorneys, and other authority figures
more info about project unbreakable here
original tumblr here