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I was taking the Market-Frankford line home from work at about 7pm, and eventually, as more people got off the train, it was just me and three guys in my section of the train. They started making loud comments about white girls (I’m not white, but am often perceived to be), like “ooh, white girls give me wedgies” and “I like my girls light.” I ignored them, and they started talking more specifically about me (“Do you think she likes her liquor light or dark? -Probably light, she’s probably scared of dark liquor”). I just completely ignored them the whole time, because I was terrified that if I said anything they would get physical or more agressive, since the train was almost empty and there were three of them. Finally, I reached my stop and left.
This dude thought he was Gods gift to the world. He called a woman a bitch because she would not talk to him.
Within twenty minutes, one man stopped in front of me and looked at me, two men walked past and said “hello pretty, how are you doing?” Then started talking about how rude I was for not responding. Third man walks past and says “hello miss, you should be a model”. When I continue to ignore him he says “did you hear me? Look at me! What’s wrong?” I tell him I want some time alone. He tells me to smile and asks for 80 cents. Hate feeling this uncomfortable in Clark Park.
by Nichole Louise
Cross-posted from GeeksForCONsent, originally published Jun 3, 2014 @ 3:28am
CAUTION: This review contains SPOILERS. Proceed with caution!
After seeing Maleficent, I walked out of the theater feeling hopeful, inspired, and empowered. There were a group of teenagers walking in front of me and I overheard one of the young ladies say “I think I’ll stick with the cartoon version,” while another said “I hope they don’t ruin Cinderella too” (to be released in 2015.) I was taken aback and confused by these comments given the strong message of feminism, female empowerment, and female unity in the film. These themes were so prevalent in the film that I was surprised it came from Disney–an entity that, to an extent, has a track record of perpetuating the damsel in distress trope. On the contrary, Maleficent is a far cry from the traditional gender roles of Sleeping Beauty (1959.) So, one might understand my dismay at deducing that this young girl would essentially rather watch a movie with 1950s-era gender roles than a film that paints a complex and empowered view of women.
Early in the film, Maleficent is drugged by a childhood friend/love. She falls into a deep sleep in which he, deciding to have “mercy,” cuts off her wings rather than kill her in order to gain the favor of the dying king so that royal succession might be passed to him. Maleficent wakes up and immediately discovers her great loss. Angelina Jolie gives a chilling reaction in her anguished, pained screams–a portrayal that echos a woman in our own world who may have been taken advantage of. Maleficent’s former friend not only betrays her, but takes her symbol of power and strength.Rather than feel shame and self-loathing, Maleficent lets her pain translate into malice and revenge. She becomes embittered and even mentions at one point in the film that she does not believe true love exists. She saves a raven’s life by turning him into a man who does her bidding. She creates a wall of thorny roots around her newly claimed fairy kingdom and shuts the kingdom of men out–literally. And rightly so. As an audience, we sympathize with Maleficent.
Later, when her lost-friend-turned-king has a celebration for his daughter’s birth–Maleficent crashes it. She curses the child as revenge against the king and takes pleasure in him begging for mercy. She concedes, partly, in driving his betrayal home by saying the only way the curse can be broken is with true love’s kiss (one that he had bestowed upon her at upon her sixteenth birthday.) Of course, Maleficent doesn’t believe in true love, so she essentially dooms this innocent child to death-sleep when she turns sixteen.
Maleficent begrudgingly watches over young Aurora, who is raised by three bickering but good hearted fairies. As Aurora grows, Maleficent takes note of the girl’s kindness, curiosity, and compassion for the creatures of the wood. Maleficent allows Aurora inside the fairy kingdom…and in turn begins to melt her bitter heart.
When Aurora learns about the curse and Maleficent’s identity, she rushes home to her now crazed father. She is promptly locked in a room where she inevitably escapes, pricks her finger, and falls into a sleep–the story we all know. The story we don’t know, however, is that Maleficent tries to reverse the curse before Aurora’s sixteenth birthday. But she fails and knows she must come to terms with the fact that she has already destroyed the one person who was able to mend her heart. Here is where the old trope of the prince saving the princess is thrown out the window.
Prince Philip, who Aurora briefly met on the road, is rushed to the sleeping beauty by Maleficent. She watches silently as the three fairies press him to kiss Aurora. But it feels all wrong to us because Philip is essentially a stranger–and he says as much too. But he does it anyway, perhaps highlighting the notion that it was a little weird for that to happen in Sleeping Beauty in the first place. Aurora does not wake up and Philip is thrown out of the room. While the fairies set about finding another man to kiss Aurora, Maleficent says her goodbyes to her “little beasty.” As a mother to a child, Maleficent kisses Aurora’s forehead and is ready to leave when–yes–they actually did that–Aurora wakes up! Such a simple remedy to an old trope, and yet amazing at the same time. To have this twist come from Disney astounds me because it essentially says that Aurora did not need a man to save her–but a woman!
Chaos soon ensues as the King attacks Maleficent. Aurora runs away and happens upon a cabinet containing Maleficent’s wings, which appear to be alive. Aurora, realizing that Maleficent has been more of a parent to her than her father ever was, frees the wings. Maleficent’s wings are magically adhered back onto her body and badassery commences. The message of female empowerment and unity is embodied in Maleficent and Aurora helping each other against the king and his soldiers. Neither of them need men to save them or mend them, as they have found that in each other and in themselves. This message, that perhaps the teenage girl at the theater didn’t understand, was that women must stop “cursing” each other, i.e. stop body-shaming, slut-shaming, gossiping, etc. and start supporting and nurturing each other.
Maleficent not only passes the Bechdel test, but also succeeds in portraying a real woman who is not “too feminine” (princess) or “too butch” (evil queen,) but rather a woman who is a complex entity like all of us are! What a simple concept this actually is that most of Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand.
This all being said, Angelina Jolie is an absolute beautiful badass as Maleficent and is perfect for the role. In fact, we have Jolie partly to thank for the outcome of the film given her influence as Executive Producer. Having that position in itself is a win for females in the movie industry, as the number of women in power positions behind the camera is low. Jolie’s second Directorial project is Unbroken, which comes out December 2014. With amazing source material (seriously, read that book!), one would be hard pressed to believe that Jolie would not receive high accolades as Director. Perhaps the success that she will no doubt receive from her involvement in front of and behind the camera in Maleficent will encourage more people to see Unbroken. This outcome is something Jolie could benefit from given the remnants of bad press from her days of being vilified as a “husband stealer,” despite her humanitarian work and large family. In fact, a lot of women may still dislike her because of public perception and gossip. This situation in itself is why women need Maleficent and everything it stands for.
Nichole currently works in Academic Publishing and lives in Philadelphia with her partner, Josh, their two cats Mara and Luna, and their dog. Learn more at NicholeLouise.com.no comments
Cross-posted from Geeks for CONsent (5/31/2014).
SDCC’s spokesperson, David Glanzer, responded to our petition so flippantly it is clear he didn’t even read it! In Glanzer’s full response, he makes it clear that SDCC is refusing to post signs about the harassment policy because they don’t want bad press to result. They will not make their policy more specific. They have not committed to train their volunteers. They have not outlined ANY plans for actually enforcing their vague policy.
As an illustration of how far away SDCC currently is from having a specific, comprehensive policy, combined with adequate volunteer training, check out this vague excerpt from SDCC’s 2013 volunteer training manual:
All harassment complaints should be documented in writing and submitted within twenty-four (24) hours, or as soon as it is possible. All submitted complaints will be promptly and thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken. The investigation will be as objective and complete as reasonably possible. Upon completion of the investigation, a determination will be made and the results will be communicated to the complainant, the alleged harasser and, as appropriate, to all others directly concerned. If inappropriate conduct is proven, prompt and effective remedial action will be taken. You must submit any reports of harassment in writing within 24 hours and wait an undetermined amount of time to see if they decide you have sufficiently proven that something bad happened. Then they will take unspecified “appropriate action”.
This is nowhere near good enough. The Mary Sue breaks down exactly how his response is not only inaccurate, but completely insufficient.
Glanzer’s response makes it clear that they care more about press and publicity than making the largest convention in the world a safe, inclusive space. Tell them this blatant disrespect of the concerns and desires of their patrons is what will give them bad press. Our safety, and the integrity of our geek community, will not be protected unless we stand up for what we know is right, and hold Glanzer and the convention accountable for their policies. Contact local press and conventions, use social media to keep up the pressure, and join us in July to vocally demand better from them as a leading convention.
When tweeting the petition to media contacts, use these twitter handles: @fox5sandiego, @10news, @abcsandiego, @bleedingcool and the #CONsent hashtag. And check out the feeds of @JillPantozi and @DCwomenkickingass breaking down how SDCC’s weapons and pet policies are WAY more specific than their anti harassment policy.
Thank you for joining us in this fight!
The GeeksForCONsent Team
A man in the passenger side of a trash truck (on the job!) stopped at the light and he began to yell out at me and tell me how I was ‘looking good’. When I ignored him and kept my headphones in he kept yelling if I could hear him. When I made a ‘no, stop’ motion he yelled at me ‘are you OK boo?’
A car full of young men drove by and yelled lude things at my partner as we tried to make our way home. One man hung his head out the window and gestured with his hand.
A man approached me and my partner asking for money. When we politely replied that we had nothing to give he seemed to be done and started to walk away. While my partner unlocked her bike he turned around bent down and licked his lips and made sexual comments about her butt. I told him to cut it out and go away and he slowly started walking again.
My friend and I were crossing the street and two men tried to get my friend’s attention and get them to come to their car. Hoping they needed a question answered my friend responded. The men made lude comments and asked if the two of us were dating. We quickly exited the scene. I’m sharing this because I have experienced or witnessed street harassment so many times (already 3 times in the past 7 days) I didn’t know where to start, so I started somewhere.
Thank you all for helping us hold SDCC accountable! Whether you found our petition at a convention or online, your support is the only way all of our voices will be heard! We plan to keep the momentum going all the way up to the actual convention, and can use your help! If you haven’t already, consider tweeting this petition at @Comic_Con so they cannot ignore your voice.
To amplify your tweet, add local press, like @fox5sandiego, @10news, @abcsandiego, @nbcsandiego, @bleedingcool and the #CONsent hashtag. And check out the feeds of @JillPantozi and @DCwomenkickingass breaking down how SDCC’s weapons and pet policies are WAY more specific than their anti harassment policy.
And if you haven’t already, the quickest way to spread the word and keep the signatures constantly flowing is if you share the petition with your networks. With 2,000 signatures in less than two weeks, there is no reason we can’t be up to at least 10,000 by the time the convention starts in Juy!
If we all collectively refuse to be silenced, SDCC will have no choice but to hear our demands and take convention harassment seriously, once and for all.
Thank you again for joining us in this fight!
The GeeksForCONsent Team
Reached 2,000 signatures