Friday night on Netflix

I had to get a filling done at the dentist today, and I’m a really whiny baby when it comes to dental work. I feel totally traumatized when someone pokes sharp objects in my mouth for an hour, and today I spent the rest of the night curled up on the couch watching Netflix and feeling sorry for myself as the freezing slowly wore off. I had a lovely dinner of applesauce and scrambled eggs, because that was soft enough to eat.

I decided to watch some silly Christmas movies. The first one I clicked on was a recently-made cartoon, and I didn’t get into it at all. It seemed to have been made for kids with ADHD, because there was constant over-the-top action happening and it was overwhelming to even look at. There didn’t even seem to be much of a plot, it was just an excuse to fit hundreds of crazy moves into a short time period. The next film I clicked on was much better, and I want to talk about it. I clicked on The Christmas Bunny because the short description Netflix gave me made it look sort of feminist. This turned out to be a very interesting film.

The Christmas Bunny is a tear-jerker drama about a little girl living in foster care who is very withdrawn but then falls in love with a rabbit. She meets an eccentric old lady who takes care of lost and abandoned pets and the lady teaches her how to care for her rabbit. Her love of pets and her interaction with the “Bunny Lady” helps her to grow as a person.

It’s interesting sometimes how different people get something completely different out of the same work of art. This film has a strong family theme, and on the film’s website I noticed that it has received awards by Christian and pro-family types. Obviously this film appeals to the right wing. I also couldn’t help noticing that all the actors were white, which is not the choice I would have made if I was making a film.

However, what I got from this film wasn’t a right wing “pro-family” message. I actually got a very feminist message, and that might have something to do with the fact that I see an analysis of patriarchy wherever I look. You know how it goes, we see things in terms of our own perspective. I’m going to describe some things I got from this film, and just so ya know, spoiler alert! I’m basically going to retell the entire film. I won’t tell you about the climax or the ending though.

So let’s start with the eccentric old lady character. Interestingly, this character is played by the same actress who was the mom in The Brady Bunch. I didn’t know that until I read the film’s web site because The Brady Bunch was before my time. This character’s name is Betsy Ross, and they call her “The Bunny Lady.” I’m not sure what the significance is of naming this character after the woman who made the first American flag. Maybe to make her seem like a patriot? Anyway The Bunny Lady is a hermit who lives on a farm surrounded by tons of animals. She has innumerable rabbits and she also has other animals such as goats. Her love of animals seems to far exceed her love of humans. She’s pretty grumpy when she has to talk to people. The reason she has so many rabbits is because she rescues them when families buy them as gifts for children without having any interest or knowledge about taking care of them, and then discard them later on. Her farm is essentially a bunny rescue operation.

I read on the film’s website that the creator of the film wanted to make a family movie starring a rabbit, because he knew that family films about animals are popular, and he figured that bunnies are the cutest animals. He did research on rabbits and what he found out was that tons of people buy them as gifts and then don’t take care of them. The film ended up being largely about this subject. We even witness the family who gave up the rabbit in the first place, before the star of the film finds it, and how neglectful they were. They didn’t give it a name, treated it like a thing, fed it candy, and then released it into the wild when they got tired of it because they didn’t care about the fact that a domesticated animal won’t survive in the wild.

Betsy Ross, aka the Rabbit Lady, agrees to nurse the neglected rabbit back to health when the foster girl’s brother shoots at it with a BB gun. She is very unfriendly at first because of the fact that they have shot at the rabbit. However, she grows fond of the little foster girl because she is passionate about animals. She teaches her a lot about taking care of rabbits and she shows how passionate she is about them.

Photo credit: http://www.thechristmasbunny.com/

Betsy usually wears farm clothes—practical shoes, jeans, and a brown coat. Between of her farmer clothing style, her gruff and no-nonsense attitude, and her chosen profession of rescuing animals, I got a strong lesbian vibe from her. My partner and I high-fived each other and declared “Dyke!” while we were watching. Of course, a family film that appeals to the conservative American family isn’t going to make a character explicitly lesbian, so one day she dresses up in feminine pink and we find out she used to have a husband. I just ignored this information though, because there have been so many characters in films that sort of seem like lesbians and I’m so used to believing they are, that I will just go ahead and continue to do so. We know how to spot lesbian coding and we know how to believe!

The next character I will talk about, of course, is the star of the film, Julia, who is a young foster girl whose mother has drug problems and can’t take care of her, and who does not speak to her foster family, even though they really try to be good to her. She rarely communicates at all, and when she does it’s often just with a nod. All she wants to do is watch her favourite film over and over, The Velveteen Rabbit. She is, of course, traumatized by her difficult upbringing and her separation from her mother. She isn’t ready to allow anyone to love her, because she can’t trust it.

When the foster family finds out that Julia loves the found rabbit, they see an opportunity to bond with her and provide her with a positive life experience, so they allow her to keep the pet and they also allow her to spend time with The Rabbit Lady. Julia doesn’t talk much to the rabbit lady either, but she listens well and remembers, and obviously appreciates what she teaches her.

This film felt feminist to me because of the focus on female characters, the theme of women who love animals and because of the mentor relationship between the old woman and the young girl. It also deals with the way men can be uncaring toward animals while women tend to be very caring toward them.  The foster family has a son already, and he is a typically masculine boy who doesn’t share Julia’s reverence for animals. Not only does the brother and his friend shoot the rabbit with a BB gun when they first see it, but later they sneak the rabbit out of the house and put it in a toboggan to slide it down an obstacle course, putting it in danger. When Julia sees what the boys are doing, she punches and bites her brother until he bleeds.

This is where I felt like there was an analysis of patriarchy happening. The way the parents respond to this incident is to scold Julia for harming her brother, without scolding her brother for what he did to the rabbit. Julia is not generally a violent person, but she knows that her rabbit is worth defending and she knows that her brother has done something horrible. The film never deals with the fact that the brother has actually done something violent toward Julia, by harming her pet. Boys will just be boys, apparently; and boys’ violence is erased while girls’ reaction to boys’ violence is punished. Isn’t that just the way patriarchy always works.

Disclaimer: I am absolutely not saying that all men are violent toward animals. They are just more likely to be, and of course there are some men who are very caring toward animals.

Even though it wasn’t intended as such, as I was watching I felt as though the film was presenting to me an animal-loving lesbian who provides mentorship to a young girl who is learning to care for animals and navigate a world where other people don’t care for them. This I felt was absolutely wonderful. And even though the filmmakers didn’t actually intend to create a lesbian character, they did intend to teach the importance of taking proper care of animals, and they did intend to create some good roles for female actors. I very much appreciate this.

If you are looking for something on Netflix that is female-friendly and that makes you cry buckets of tears, click on The Christmas Bunny!

And since this is just a lighthearted movie post, feel free to talk about your other Christmas movie recommendations, whether they’re legitimately good or whether they’re so-bad-they’re-good. Because 2017 was a shit fest and we could all use some lighthearted content.

The freezing has worn off my tooth now. Gosh, I hate going to the dentist, but at least I’ll be able to chew with both sides of my mouth starting tomorrow. That hole in my tooth was kind of a bummer.

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The couple who invented love

Hello friends!

I’m still generally staying as far away from politics as possible, because basically I think that civilization is over and I wish it would just hurry up and collapse already, and you don’t want to hear me whine about that. However I have been doing something really fun, which is writing fiction! This involves some historical research, and sometimes I come across something really cool while browsing through a book.

Today’s cool find is a paragraph on love from The Companion to Medieval Society by Franco Cardini, translated by Corrado Federici. I was innocently reading along hoping to find information about foods eaten at the time, and I came across this startling declaration:

“Love was invented in the twelfth century, according to Denis de Rougemont, a scholar who devoted a great deal of research to the subject.” (p177)

Holy-fucken-moly! What a claim to make! Love was invented in the twelfth century!

The paragraph goes on to describe a relationship between a philosophy teacher and one of his students, who were married in 1120, and who were then separated, and who wrote each other passionate letters during their separation.

“Abelard is undoubtedly one of the fundamental figures not only of the twelfth century but of western culture as a whole. His love for Héloïse was not merely a historical event; we can say that the two “invented” love as it would come to be understood in modern times—as passion and complete devotion on the part of two human beings for each other.” (p179)

Wow! Imagine being the couple who invented love!

Now, I’m not a historian, and I’ve never researched the history or philosophy of love, so the information you see here is the sum total of everything I know about the subject. But this raises some fascinating questions, such as:

  • Is love a social construct, and can we actually pinpoint when it was constructed?
  • If love is a social construct, have different cultures and time periods constructed it to suit their purposes? (Probably yes).
  • Does the concept of love taught by our culture influence the way we behave and interpret our feelings? (Maybe).
  • Were primitive humans unable to feel love as we understand it today, and if not, was there a point in human evolution where love became possible?
  • If we did evolve a capacity to feel love, and if capitalism doesn’t kill us all in the near future, will we eventually evolve to a point where we are capable of some even greater thing than love? What will it be like?
  • Are homophobic people working from some Medieval idea of relationships, where passionate love is either nonexistent or morally wrong, and unions between men and women should be only for practical purposes? (I think the answer here is yes. Some of them actually state this out loud, don’t they? Honestly, homophobic people are several hundred years behind in human development.)

This is such a beautiful topic for a writer to come across. Imagine writing from a prompt such as “Write the story of the couple who invented love” or “Write a futuristic piece imagining what the next evolutionary stage of love will be?” How enchanting!

I shall not be writing on these topics, because there are only so many hours in a day, but dear readers, if you have any answers, please share!

Just hiding in my blanket fort

Hello friends,

I seem to have found myself on blog vacation again. Sometimes I get in a mood where I cannot stand politics at all, and just want to hide from any mention of the news.

I hate the rise of the crazy, racist right wing, and I find it absolutely frightening that we haven’t been able to get rid of the mentality that white people are better than others, when that is so obviously wrong, and that instead of getting rid of that mentality, we have allowed it to flourish out in the open. I can’t figure out why people are so hateful and I don’t know what to do about it. To me, telling people they’re racist should be enough to shame them and make them realize they’ve done something wrong, but there are tons and tons of people who literally think that racism is acceptable and don’t feel ashamed of it. When Trump was elected I felt like the world was pretty much over, and I’ve felt that way ever since. I’ve started hoping that he blows us all up and I just hope it happens quickly.

I’ve known for a while now that feminists have been kicked out of the left, and that is something that continues to hurt on an ongoing basis. I have joined several Marxist groups on Facebook to try and learn more about Marxist theory, and every time I’ve joined such a group, I’ve either left voluntarily due to the rampant misogyny I’m seeing or I’ve been kicked out of the group for the crime of pointing out misogyny. There are groups of antifa that I could join locally but they subscribe fully to trans politics which means I know they’ll be willing to bully and silence women. I’d like to join the leftist groups who are trying to oppose the disgusting hatred coming from the right, but it’s hard to do that when leftist groups are promoting disgusting hatred toward women.

I have taken steps to be more “out” with my real-life acquaintances about my gender critical views this summer. I have been very calm and reasonable and emphasized that I understand that transwomen are subject to violence and discrimination and that this is wrong. I do not wish violence against anyone and I fully support everyone’s civil rights. However, I refuse to believe in nonsense, which means that I will not believe that human beings with male biology are literally female, and I do not believe that “anyone who identifies as a woman” is a coherent definition of what a woman is. Despite me being very clearly not hateful toward anyone, and just concerned about the human rights of people born female, I was told I am violent and oppressive and outdated and I lost a friend over it. I am sad to lose a friend and flabbergasted that otherwise intelligent people can believe in incoherent nonsense. Witnessing this behavior really makes me lose my faith in human beings.

I hate the right wing, but what am I to do when the left has lost its mind and I can’t find a home among them either?

The recent no-platforming of detransitioned people from a trans health conference had me rolling my eyes too. I’m sure all my readers have heard of this but if not, here are some links about it. Third Way Trans talks about it on his blog here, Carey Callahan talks about it on her YouTube channel here and Crash talks about it on her YouTube channel here.

The no-platforming of Third Way Trans and Carey Callahan is ridiculous partly because both of these people are very balanced, reasonable people who don’t subscribe to any ideology and don’t oppose anyone’s rights, and yet they were banned for allegedly being “anti-trans.” Neither of them are against medical transition so there are no grounds on which to accuse them of being anti-trans. The people who complained and caused the no-platforming are loony tunes who think that the mere existence of some people who found out that medical transition isn’t helpful for them is inherently harmful to people who feel that medical transition is helpful to them. It’s unbelievable that conference organizers even give a shit what unreasonable and uninformed crazy lunatics on Reddit are saying.

Carey made an excellent point in the video I linked to above, that when you promote alternative ways to deal with dysphoria this helps even people who medically transition. Even people who feel they benefit from medical transition usually can’t transition immediately, they may have to wait for things like a surgeon to become available or health benefits to kick in, etc. In the meantime, alternative ways to deal with dysphoria would be helpful. Insane trans activists who don’t want anyone to know that there are other ways to deal with dysphoria other than buying medical products from a for-profit medical system are in fact hurting all trans people by hiding that information. I think we need to start telling these people they’re transphobic and LITERALLY KILLING trans people.

Crash also made an excellent point that detransitioned people have very similar health care needs to transitioned people, since they have a medically modified body and need health care that takes into account the effects of cross-sex hormones. Even detransitioned people benefit from trans health care conferences, but they are treated like threats to trans health care.

So many people are just fucking insane I can’t stand it. I feel guilty that I haven’t done much work in real life to change things for the better, but there is hardly anyone I’d be able to work with on any project because people are unfathomably stupid and disappointing.

So what have I been doing lately instead of blogging? Well, I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls, shopping, eating ice cream, hanging out, and reading. Yep, I’m basically just hiding in my blanket fort. And I’m going to stay there for the foreseeable future. I’ve been writing fiction lately and I’m probably going to focus on that for a while instead of writing this blog.

I’ve had an excellent book to read, BTW. Remember when I reviewed a fantastic lesbian novel called Bishop’s Run? Well, the author sent me a free copy in the mail (THANKS!) and I’ve been having a great time reading that again. If you are also hiding in your blanket fort, check out this book! It’s excellent blanket fort material.

Please let me know how you’re handling life during the Apocalypse. I could use any tips you’ve got.

Socialized Trans-the video

crashchaoscats

I recorded a video of myself reading one of my older essays about pressure to transition. You can read the essay Socialized “Trans” here. I mistakenly said in the video that I wrote it three years ago. Actually it was four years ago. Can’t believe I’ve had this blog for so long!

I decided to make this video because there needs to be more discussion about social dynamics that encourage transition and I thought I could reach more people this way. It also helps to have a face to go along with the experiences being talked about. I want people to know that pressure to transition is a real problem that happens to real people. It’s easier to dismiss it as a myth when it’s an abstract possibility instead of a story someone’s telling about their life.

I hope more trans people can learn to listen to stories like…

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Woman beaten by two men after one used the women’s washroom

From ABC 7 News:

“Exclusive: Woman describes terrifying attack by two men outside Harlem bar

In an Eyewitness News exclusive, a woman is describing a terrifying incident in which she was attacked by two men outside a Harlem bar. The 52-year-old woman was beaten with a bat and slashed after what started as a minor disagreement escalated.

“This man’s trying to kill me,” said the woman named Carolyn. She may have been right. On a sidewalk in Harlem, a man was attacking her with a baseball bat.

“He hit me over several times with that bat and all I could think about was my head getting busted so I kept holding this arm up to protect my head,” she said.

That may have saved her life. The huge defensive bruises can still be seen on her arms. And there is a scar on her face, the result of a second man slashing her on the sidewalk.

“A guy came on the side and I just felt somebody take something and go straight down my face. Sharp,” she said.

Carolyn says it started inside Lorraine’s Bar on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem. A man was using the ladies restroom when she went in to use it.

“He said I’ll use any (expletive) restroom I wanna use. I said whatever man.” she said.

The man warned her not to come outside, but she thought it was over. It wasn’t.

“All I could think of was my daughter, that’s all. I’m like, I can’t let them take me out,” said Carolyn.

Police have clear video of the beating and Carolyn says they know the identities of the men involved.

Another one of those incidents that trans activists claim “never happens.”