Carla M. Lee (carlamlee) wrote,
Carla M. Lee

[links] Sunday Sporadic Link Round-up

One of the things I'm working on in 2016 is clearing digital clutter. It surprises me just how difficult it can be to unsubscribe or delete a bookmark or remove a blog from my reading list. My life has changed in gigantic (sometimes terrible, sometimes wonderful) ways over the past few years, and some things just aren't pertinent to my interests or how I'm living, but it can still be difficult to let go. (I am struggling with some of the changes, and what they say about me, and what they don't say, and from where I draw my confidence and self worth. 2015 was a difficult year. 2016 doesn't look to be much better, but I am trying to be more positive day by day, even when I cycle lowest.)

As a part of that digital clutter clearing, I'm going to post links here instead of letting them linger in my bookmarks until -- well, since I use Chrome and the bookmarks go with the account, they no longer disappear with a computer dying, so I guess it now means until Google dies a fiery death with the end of the world as we know it.

Racism, classism, networking: Josette Souza's Dear Middle-Class People: It’s Time to Cut the Entitled ‘Networking’ Crap at Everyday Feminism is an excellent read. This part in particular struck home with me, hard:

When you’re a working-class, first-generation student of color who’s grown up in poverty, nobody gives you a map to navigate that confusing cluster of educational years we call college.

When you’re a working-class, first-generation student of color attending an Ivy League university 1,300 miles from where you grew up, nobody prepares you for the shocking amount of confusion, self-doubt, and anxiety you’ll experience as you try to keep from drowning under all the money, power, and privilege most of your classmates throw around like it was confetti.

fat shaming: "Drive-By Fat Shaming" at Dances with Fat hits on some great points about the easy, casual way fat shaming jokes turn up everywhere, even in things touted to be feminist and wonderful (yes, I'm looking at you, Jessica Jones).

This is drive-by fat shaming. Just a quick reminder to everyone watching/listening that it’s hilarious and cool to make fun of fat people – even on a show that is supposed to be feminist. I’m told that it never happens again in the show, and that many people have enjoyed the show, and I get that. Maybe I’ll keep watching, but enjoyment is going to be marred by the fact that I know that the character I’m supposed to be rooting for isn’t rooting for me, and doesn’t see us as equals.

fat shaming: Kiva Bay's "Fatphobia and Jessica Jones: Or How I Realized This Show Wasn't for Me at Medium delves a little deeper into that terrible early scene on Jessica Jones, and how something that is talked about everywhere as this great thing (and in some ways, it is great) can also be so easily, casually, horrible. So many of the great women I know who love this show and talk about it all the time don't address that at all.

Why did the show’s writer’s choose to include this? This scene makes no narrative contribution. The only possible narrative contribution of this line is to show Jessica’s mean snarky snarkiness, however, this is something virtually every other scene already does. There’s no reason for existing other than to do one thing: Let fat women know that they are lazy, that they are not Jessica Jones, that they are not welcome in the circle of safety the show creates for abuse survivors.

They are to be verbally abused.

Writing to the exclusion of fat women is one thing and it’s something that MCU has done pretty consistently but it’s nothing new or unique to Marvel. However, when a dozen women I greatly respect tell me I have to watch this show and I’m going to get so much out of it, then the show goes out of its way to insult and exclude me, I’m not really sure how I feel about any of it other than upset.

I've watched all of Jessica Jones, and I did love it. It really struck home with me in a lot of ways, particularly how it allowed women to express anger. However, this part, that came so early, was a gut punch of terrible, and I don't blame anyone for stopping there because it was so bad.

WWE, Jem & the Holograms: Scarlett Harris's guest post "Why Jem & the Holograms Flopped & What WWE Can Learn From It" at The Spectacle of Excess makes some really interesting points about the problems with the product WWE is putting out and particular owner Vince McMahon's views of the younger wrestlers and audience members alike.

This is followed by the obligatory makeover scene, a far less sophisticated and genuine version of what can sometimes be seen on Breaking Ground in the promo and character workshops. When Jem and her band emerge in wigs with their faces painted, it’s not unlike the Demon Kane or Sting, antiquities from a bygone era.

Similarly, Jem’s whole facade is a throwback to the ’80s and I understand that’s the origin of the character, but perhaps the reason the modern remake flopped is a wider allegory for for WWE’s low ratings. WWE’s characterisations also echo a time when patriots defended the honor of their country against foreigners and super villains bested larger than life heroes. That’s not gonna fly when audiences have such diversity to choose from when it comes to telling these stories: Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad, House of Cards and, indeed, shows like NXT and Lucha Underground. The ’80s may have been a simpler time, whatever that means, but there’s a lot to be said for telling simple, good vs. evil stories with integrity and flair, an asset which WWE—and Jem—has lost.

I only started watching wrestling a few years ago, and practically from day one, my mantra was: Vince McMahon needs to fucking retire and take his racist, sexist bullshit with him. I stand by this statement.

(Love pro wrestling, cannot stand a lot of the choices they make. Also, haven't seen the new Jem yet, but it's on my To Watch list.)

LGBTQ, racism: Michael Arceneaux's "The state of the gay black man on TV" at Fusion takes a look at how gay black men are represented on tv and pushes back at a pretty shitty statement made by Tina Fey regarding the Titus Andromedon character on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Yes, if a person exists, theoretically “it’s fair game.” But the game would be much fairer if the person you know truly exists gets to be as multi-dimensional as the white woman who created him on paper. Fey and Burgess have done well, but I’m not at a point where I can trust scripted television to correctly portray an effeminate gay male character—and to a degree, any gay black character—particularly if the person penning the character is writing an experience they don’t know anything about.

Family, Christmas, Australia: Mikaella Clements' "A Guide to Missing Australian Christmas" at the Toast is funny, and delightful, and just a little heart-wrenching, in a really wonderful way.

10. Miss Christmas on a beach. Miss Christmas in some rented or borrowed beach house, and the troop down to the sea first thing in the morning, dragging along presents if you’re still attached, hoping the sand doesn’t get too engritted in the pages of a new book or the wheels of a new remote-control car. Miss waking up on Christmas Day and launching yourself into the sea, shrieking with your sisters and brother, the sun hot on your shoulders, the water a cool slap in your face. Miss taking your body board down with you and skimming along the foamy surface of the waves, delivered tumbling and laughing to where your parents sit on the sand, their legs outstretched and their faces grinning.

Pottery: Jasika Nicole talks about pottery and making holiday gifts over at her Try Curiousity blog. I have been the tiniest little bit besotted with her ever since the very first moment I saw her on Fringe, and this post did absolutely nothing to change that. (Spoiler: So much more besotted now.)

But what's really important to me about this piece is the way she talks about pottery. I started taking pottery classes at the end of 2015, and will continue working in the studio throughout 2016, and I have struggled. Not with the skill part, so much (I mean, yes, I am learning new skills and that can be difficult), but with my perception of failure. I rarely take any piece off the wheel, most attempted projects get squashed partway through, because they always seem broken and not what I want to make, and I often come away feeling like a failure. I actually started taking pottery classes specifically to be bad at something, because I was trying to teach myself how to be okay with (be happy at) being bad at something, but that was a failure in itself. I'm not bad at pottery, but I am too much of a perfectionist; I am terrible at not being perfect at something immediately.

I'll blog more about that throughout the year, but that is the brief background I brought to Nicole's blog post, and it struck my so hard right in the heart. I look at the pictures of her pieces, and I can see so many flaws but I can also see the absolute beauty of them. I need to be more willing to take a piece off the wheel; I need to be more willing to keep pushing through. Her words absolutely touched me, and inspired me, and I am all verklempt

With some artforms, like painting, I seem to have a very rigid idea of what constitutes as “good”, and I am very hard on myself when what I create doesn’t seem to match up to those ideals. But with pottery, I have had such a different experience. Maybe because I started out with low expectations of what I was capable of- I had never worked at a wheel before, and for all I knew I would be terrible at it. And if I was terrible at it, I wanted to be okay with that and still enjoy the process. So I just followed Torros’ simple instructions and figured a lot out on my own. When I made something that fell apart, I scraped it off my wheel and started over. And when I worked on a piece that didn’t seem to be turning out the way I had hoped it would, I wouldn’t give up on it. I would keep my hands on the clay until it morphed into something unexpected and cool or until it had been worked so much that it had no more life left in it. Working this way was SO much fun and it made the end results so exciting because I rarely started making any pieces with a prediction of how they would turn out.

That is an excellent place to end this list.

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Tags: links, pottery, sunday sporadic

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