Tag Archives: opinions

50 shades of–where did decent writing go?

After the debut of the 50 Shades of Grey preview, my social media has exploded with pros and cons, excitement and condemnation, and all around judgment of any of those opinions.  As with anything that is so largely talked about, one tends to get an opinion rather quickly.  If one blogs, one itches to share that opinion, hoping for a new outlook to entertain, amuse or otherwise invoke in the reader an emotional response in hopes of gaining more said readers… You still following?  I highly doubt this is anything original, but for years, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on the 50 shades phenomenon and this is it.

Here’s the thing with me:  I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, or any of its trilogy.  Honestly, it isn’t my bag.  I tend to lean toward fantastic and epic adventures (more stereotypically read by the band geeks that ate lunch playing Magic in High School) than what is becoming widely known as “Mommy Porn.” What I have is an issue with the current lack of storytelling  and how that affects the next generation. This series seems a perfect example.

However, my curiosity was piqued as I do tend to want to see what the hub-bub is about when EVERY WOMAN ON EARTH, or so it seems, refers to or simply gushes over anything in a mass pop culture vomiting of social media over it.  So, a few years back when it hit my radar the first time, I asked my husband if he had heard of these books.  –Now, I’m female, and I totally read into every last twitch of an expression my other half makes without thinking, but I swear—He seemed to go through a look of concern like “Why, are you going to read them?” and then sheer amusement as he told me about this Stephen Hawking voice online that reads a horribly written sex scene from 50 Shades involving a female sanitary item.  He said it was exceptionally badly written even aside from the abhorrent content, and then warily asked if I had considered reading the books.

To my recollection, I laughed at the idea—honestly assuming that it was a spoof-ish thing, not having any clue what these books were about.  Yet, going back to my news feeds, it was there gain, staring me in the face.  The internet post version of drooling over a male character, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since Mr Darcy (other than Edward Cullen, whom I’m still convinced is a practical joke played on the literary world/female population that backfired and shouldn’t count.)  I then turned to my go to Wikipedia and other such sites.  I also looked up and read snippets from the books.  My thoughts went something like this:

Fan Fiction from Twilight?  No thanks.  Stephanie Meyer won’t associate with it?  Dang, that speaks volumes.  Story about a gorgeous but tragically-unaware-that-she’s-gorgeous chick who needs to get some and finds an emotional baggage laden S&M fan to get some with? –What?– The plotline, if it can be called that, is simply a tug of war between her wanting him to be a normal partner and his wanting to harm her physically to get off?  No thank you *backs away slowly, imagining already kind of creepy Edward running around pulling tampons out of people* 

I lost a bit of my faith in Humanity the day I finally listened to the Stephen Hawking reading and found it so uncomfortably funny (because of the voice reading it) and so revolting at the same time.  It wasn’t even well written!  I tried to make justifications that weren’t “mommy porn” such as a lack of modern literature that entices the populace—but I hated that because if badly written S&M and dominated females is what the populace wants, please oh please, don’t mass produce THAT!   I have four book worm daughters that I want to be confident and intelligent women who respect men–but they’d darn well better be respected back!   That goes for authors and relationships, by the way.

Now that the trailer is out, I have to agree with Matt Walsh that a boycott is in order.  Why?  Because we have to draw the line somewhere.  You know what my favorite movie this summer has been?  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  It isn’t because I love science fiction or fantasy—which I do.  It is because there was more story and depth in that film than most of the last few years movies put together.

What we see, what we put in to our minds through our senses and through our interactions with each other, effect who we are.  You ever hear “You are what you eat?”  That goes for your mind as well.  I’m tired of being spoonfed garbage in the book store and the box office.  We need to demand more.

Writers! If you want to entertain me–enlighten me, enthrall me, thrill me—but entreat my mind to feel that.  Not just my shock value and adrenaline and/or hormones.  Just like “mommy porn” shouldn’t be a basis for a book or film, neither should “disaster porn”.  Writers need to unlock the stories that grab the stuff they are stitched together with and they need to bleed it on to the page.  That is what I want. It can be funny, dramatic–anything really as long as it is a part of you that needs to be told.  You can even add city destruction if you really must or giant robots, because they can be awesome, but for the love of humanity WRITE.  CREATE.  Don’t pander to me.  I’m in my own head if I was solely entertained there, I wouldn’t outsource.  Make me feel and think new ideas.  Break molds that aren’t an insult to my intelligence or integrity.  It is a tall order, but if you want my money, my devotion and for me to purchase your next work and suggest it to my friends, it is the very least you can do.  You aren’t a money machine, you are an artist.  Make a work of art.

Women, for the sake of our daughters, don’t show them that real literature is lack of character development, decent dialogue, and plot.  Let their imaginations thrive on how great they can be someday, where they can go, and what adventures life can lead to.  Help them see that life can have ups and down like a story, but life isn’t the bedroom.  “Life” is the meat of the plot that drives the book to be fascinating.  Your characters grow and explore and are whimsical, or dramatic and deep.  Again, the bedroom isn’t the main course of life, it is the dessert. Let our girls know that desserts should be sweet and enjoyable.  Let them see that the sky is the limit and all good things are possible.  But teach them that the “nice guy” who would treat them like royalty is the one they want instead of romanticizing rich and exclusive emotional baggage turned abusive as an ideal beau.

I can't find the picture credit for this, so if you have it, let me know.

I can’t find the picture credit for this, so if you have it, let me know.

Women teach your sons to have taste in actual storytelling, and please let them at least think that you do too.  But more over, teach them something that is consistent when it comes to our gender.  It is downright confusing to teach them to be gentlemen, and then ogle the opposite.  Please teach them that a gentleman isn’t a suit and full wallet; it is an ideal of how to interact with other people.  Nurture that chivalrous ability they have that is so charming and to have strength of character.  To stand for what they believe in, to use their common sense and way they look at the world to compliment their potential mate.

I return, I’ll raise my daughters to understand that sexy isn’t cold, bland men with issues in the bedroom, but someone you can enjoy time with and go on adventures together, even if they aren’t romantic world travel getaways and look more like Malcom in the Middle episodes.  But you can bet that when my kids grow up and life gives them the days that there isn’t much to talk about but books, movies and such, they’ll have more on their mind to talk about than garbage novels and their movie counterparts.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Children, Family, Fiction, Motherhood

A note on parenting aimed at the Halloween Hitler in Fargo

A note on parenting aimed at the Halloween Hitler in Fargo

This story has gone viral.  A woman in Fargo, SD has taken upon herself to dole these cards out to the trick-or-treaters she feels are moderately obese.   Other kids get something else.  You can find the story here: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/web/kmgh/news/u-s-world/woman-plans-to-give-obese-children-letters-instead-of-candy-on-halloween

One of the first hiccups in my parenting journey was sitting in a WIC office, being told that my 6 month old was too skinny. They were so concerned, they suggested adding entire sticks of butter to her diet. It worried me as, as a first time parent I was doing everything by the book and that seemed not only disgusting but horribly unhealthy. Being starving students didn’t matter… At the risk of high medical bills, I took my daughter to the pediatrician to see what was “WRONG” with my baby.

We were told that she was just tiny. She had been growing and developing consistently and was right on track in every way. For years, this weighed on my mind. She was such a little peanut and was consistently in the third percentile all the way up into 2nd grade. Every check up, exam, or sick visit I asked and they showed me her growth chart. Right on track. Now in 5th grade, she’s in the 25th percentile for weight, still a skinny minnie.

Now,…About this moron in North Dakota. I cannot imagine, worrying over a child who was borderline over weight, hearing doctors tell me I wasn’t doing anything wrong, or knowing there was an issue and trying to fix it while kids at school made comments or bullies tormented away at my baby’s self esteem. I imagine the break of a holiday with the family going door to door, getting a treat and being complimented on costumes and looking cool or cute and then hitting the door of a woman who says: You’re almost too fat. You don’t deserve to be part of this holiday.

Ick. It makes my skin crawl. This isn’t done out of love. It is done out of a need to control. A need so strong, it doesn’t matter who it hurts, as long as she plows her ideals into the public.

Now, a word on parenting “helpers” with good intentions:

No one knows what is in the heart of children and parents, what the reality of issues are or if there really are issues your five seconds of introductory judgments hint at. What ever the reason, put on some big girl panties, mind your business and keep your own back yard tidy.

When I grew up people worried about children’s health, gave out fruit and veggies or toothbrushes, pencils, spider rings, etc.. instead of candy.

Anyway, I guess my over all sentiment Here is: Yes, it does take a village, but every village has an idiot.

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by | October 30, 2013 · 9:44 pm

My 2 cents on Miley, Kate, and My Daughters’ Self Worth.

From Kate Middleton’s tiny tummy and Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, to articles and opinions all over Facebook and twitter, my head is spinning with everyone’s idea of women and what their body roles and social expectations are.

I read an article posted by a friend, where the author of the post discusses why a mother should only talk to her child about her body on the technical issues and to tell her she’s healthy.  Granted, there were many good points in the article, such as how we women talk about ourselves and each other, affecting how our girls view themselves.  My main issue with the article is that each one of my four little girls will have friends, TV, and internet, among countless other venues including social media everywhere they turn.  I cannot fathom the damage I would have done to myself worth as a teen if I didn’t have a mom and friends to talk to.  From worrying about my “bubble butt” and hearing my friend call it a “Slammin’ backside” to talking to my mom about why cigarettes seemed so cool in the ads growing up and having her talk to me about long term–not so pretty–effects, it helped just as much as wishing my boobs were bigger and my tummy was flatter might have hindered.  I knew everyone else wanted that too.  It wasn’t just me.

Jealous Girls

Women compare ourselves to what we see.  I don’t know why we do, but I have yet to find another woman who doesn’t.  I want to be there to talk to my girls about what they are seeing and what that means for them.  With their own bodies, each one of my daughters have differences in appearance. Just between each other, and they notice.  All of them are beautiful, but different.  Kind of like chocolate. It can be shaped, colored, and proportioned differently and anyone with an ounce of honesty can say each one of these is desirable, purely based everyone’s love of the food in general.

Now, after listening, reading, watching and judging this past week, here’s my soap box rant.

Our bodies are what we make of them.  If you walk up to the most beautiful woman you can think of, she can rattle off ten things she’d change about her body if she could.  There isn’t any thing wrong with wanting to be more healthy or beautiful, but as with every other part of life, moderation is key.

My theory is that if we walk the walk and talk the talk of the kind of woman we want to be, we become that very thing.  Women who carry themselves with class and dignity, who treat themselves as if they are naturally beautiful …are.  We other women sense it, believe it and tell ourselves we aren’t that at all and simply wish we were.

Honestly,it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I don’t think Miley’s performance was that big of a deal.  I’m grateful that Miley’s performance is getting bad hype, though.  It gives me a chance to talk to my girls, who heard about it at school, about how we present ourselves and how having something to prove (like “I’m not a little girl anymore”) can back fire.  We can talk about how Miley is beautiful, but doesn’t always portray that.  My daughter noted she didn’t look like she felt good about herself.  I love that Kate Middleton looks great postpartum and I am so glad that she has the ability to feel the joys of motherhood.  I was able to talk to my girls, who heard it on the radio in the car, about how our bodies change many times in our life and every baby Kate has will add smile lines on her face, inches on her waist line and even if she doesn’t melt those inches off, she will still be stunning because of how she presents herself.

I talk to my kids about how working out to be healthy and have the energy to chase after your kids, or giving up a diet to really enjoy baking brownies with your little girl (or any other body altering thing), is a personal choice every mom has to make when trying to balance herself with her nurturing nature and other hats every woman puts on.  I talk to them about the wonderful women who never get married or who can’t have kids and it opens their minds to the many options and situations that are both a blessing and a curse, depending on the woman.  All of them have body issues.

We all want to be beautiful, to be complimented, to be graceful and charming.  We want to look like what our generation sees as beautiful.  It was something else many times and whether it is curves, or rail thin, or long legged, or plump, there are always other women wishing they felt like people looked at them the same way.

I worry that in our “You don’t need to diet, you’re perfect just the way you are”/”Eat healthy or you’ll get fat” society, it is confusing.  We need our mothers, sisters, aunts and friends to be there and talk about it.  In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a single womanhood issue that doesn’t have opposing opinions being shoved down our throats.  There are so many mixed signals we send each other:

Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the film Charade

Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the film Charade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stay at home/work and provide.

Keep a clean house to be a good mom/let it be messy if you love your kids more than cleaning.

Don’t judge looks/that girl should never wear skinny jeans.

Natural healthcare/Professional healthcare

Be YOU! … Just not like THAT.

Be Grace Kelly AND Marilyn Monroe AND June Cleaver… ready go!

Going back to the idea that our self worth and sexuality starts at a very young age, sends my mommy instincts a whirl, wondering what my girls are going to tell themselves.  But I really don’t have to wonder.  They have the best source for their own well being right here.  Me.  –no pressure right?  But for me, I feel that everyone can be like their ideal role models–or at least aspects of them and I want my girls to talk to me about it.  The way my husband and I address these issues will effect so many parts of their self esteem and sexuality growing up.  I want them to see the good things and recognize the bad for what they are.

DAUGHTERS TALKING

What we should do is let our kids talk to us.  Ask our daughters what they see as appealing to them in their idols or role models.   Talk about why they feel that way.  It may surprise you that it is less her Prada or size 0 tag, or partying habits and more that she just seems… beautiful in general.  She has a quality… a confidence. So, ask if it is the way her idol looks, or if they want to feel like that celebrity or model must feel, being that confident or beautiful.  We can all feel confident and beautiful if we treat ourselves like we are, and act as if we are.

Marilyn Monroe

I am not built exactly like any woman I admire, but it doesn’t matter.  I have danced clumsily with my husband in the kitchen and felt like Grace Kelly.  I have had a meal baked, kids looking cute and had everything in place when my husband walked in and felt like June Cleaver… even though it was a little crispier than it should have been.   I’ve finally fit into that cute vintage dress and felt like Audrey Hepburn.  I’ve been on stage, looking great and felt like Marilyn Monroe.  But I’ve had pretty much ever insecurity a girl can have as well, and perhaps more frequently.

I believe we have these insecurities to be constantly trying to improve ourselves.  No, that’s not a bad thing.   If we stop growing, we lose out on so much.  It is why we are here, to get smarter and better and kinder and… well just insert the thing you desire of yourself: creative, strong, outgoing, or more quiet and reserved, etc.

Talk to your kids about what they see and think.  They’re smarter than we often give them credit for.

I want to note that I am not a perfect parent, and who knows what kinds of therapy my kids will need someday from my particular style, but I do know that I want my kids to be able to use what they see as a tool to feel better and strive to be better in a productive way.  Complaining forever more that society is evil won’t help them.  Admitting it is confusing and helping them figure out what works best for them might just work.

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by | August 28, 2013 · 4:51 pm