Female Warriors in Fantasy

Okay, so if you spend any time on the Internet and are a fan of fantasy literature, I am sure you’ve seen the movement to provide female fantasy warriors with reasonable body armor. (Also see this i09 article)

I am for this movement. Bikini chain mail has it’s place as a novelty item for those inclined, but when you’re slapping it on an Amazonian character who kicks major ass, it’s just ridiculous. Give the girl something to cover her vitals.

Gathering your entrails up with your fists is not fashionable, ladies and gentlemen.

I thought there had been enough chatter on the Reasonable Body Armor Movement, so I wasn’t going to post anything until I saw a BuzzFeed article on “fierce warrior makeovers” of Disney princesses.

My first thought was “Oooh, cool!” And then I opened the article. The first picture is of Ariel in mermaid form, sporting a purple steel bikini top, vambraces, and a trident. Okay, as she is a mermaid, I’ll give the artist this one. It’s not so far off her regular Disney costume as to cause me any kind of concern.

Then, I scrolled a little further down. The outfits, if you could call them that, became increasingly ridiculous, even for a sexualized fem-warrior fantasy. I have no objection to the art itself–the models are lovely, the digital manipulation on the armor quite well done. But these are not “fierce warriors.”

These are hyper-sexualized images of women pretending to be warriors. These ladies, while attractive, aren’t really the physical type you would associate with a warrior. And then there’s the fact that the armor leaves little to the imagination. Actually, the only thing I’m imagining is whether these women would survive in a duel.  (SPOILER: They wouldn’t.)

If we’re going to produce these images, let’s call them what they are: Sexy Fantasy Warriors. And, let’s throw in some Disney princes in beefcake outfits with large, phallic swords to make it all equally exploitive, mmmmkay? Ladies need some eye-candy, too.

You want a fierce Disney princess warrior? Allow me to present you this palate cleanser of Pocahontas by Jeffrey Thomas–who, while not wearing much actual armor, is not hyper-sexualized. At least this Pocahontas would be able to kick some ass. She’s ripped.

Twisted Princess: Pocahontas by ~jeftoon01 on deviantART

This is from his Twisted Princess series, which you all should totally check out.

Stay Shiny

I entered a poetry competition a few months ago and then completely lost track on the competition for various reasons. Over the weekend, I received an email announcing the winners of The Royal Berkshire Poetry Competition.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, not so fast. I didn’t actually win anything. As a matter of fact, I was really confused when I saw the email, because for about thirty seconds, I didn’t remember what poem I had entered or if it was for this particular competition. After a bit of digging and a Google search, I remembered.

The competition was unique in that all participants poems’ were posted anonymously on the site as part of a popular vote portion–so, my poem, “Shine” was posted on the TRBPC website. I want to say it was published, but I suppose technically it was “released.” At any rate, I didn’t post it on my blog and I didn’t receive hate mail from the judges, so I am totally counting this as a win.

Any publicity is good publicity, right?

Now, the first prize winner of the competition is a beautiful sestina by Ann Beecher called “Birdsong.” I love sestinas in general, and I am in love with this one. Be sure to check out the other winners (who are published in Glow Magazine), too!

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go eat a cookie.

SAUSALITO, BITCHES.

SAUSALITO, BITCHES.

The ocean both terrifies and inspires

I have long been an advocate of the ocean. Its shores are a place to relax, its depths something to protect, its creatures something to admire. Almost all of the ocean is unexplored. It is the unknown—and, much the same with my opinion of space—that fact fills me with wonder and hope. It inspires me.

Our world, our culture is one of finite terms. There is the possible and the impossible, the probable and the improbable, the no and the yes. You either can or you can’t. We’re told, as a global society from birth, what we are likely or unlikely to achieve based on religion, sexuality, gender, and class.

We know what we know and ignore the things we don’t understand. It’s an epidemic. And this prevalent attitude is why I absolutely adore the ocean, in all of its unknown, freakish glory.

Because there is so much unknown about the ocean, and things that are known about it somehow defy logic on a regular basis, that means, to me, that this whole possible/impossible shit is entirely relative.

The ocean is an example. We don’t actually know what is impossible. We don’t actually know, with any degree of certainty, if society would fall apart when a poor transsexual man befriends an evangelist Christian celebrity. We can’t actually say that being born in a certain class means we have to stay there.

Nature, Earth, space—the whole of the universe itself challenges global societal beliefs simply by existing.

What is impossible is only impossible because you believe it is so.

Allow the ocean to blow your mind a little when you click on the link and then come back for one final thought. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

whistles

Back? Good. So, you know how the stuff you just saw kind of defies your perceptions a tad? Yeah, hold on to that feeling. Cherish that wonkiness. Go out into the world feeling slightly off-balance in a good way.

Question, challenge, and disagree.

Fight.

David the Disappeared

You know what’s quite annoying? Waking from a dream at a crucial moment and not knowing what happens.

I’m not talking saved-by-the-alarm-bell moments, like where you’re about to die/get eaten/are falling in your dream and your alarm jerks you awake just in time to avert a tragic dream end. No, I’m talking about the kinds where you’re on a quest and don’t find the object before the dream ends or something.

You go to sleep the next night (or back to sleep if you deciding to ignore your alarm) and hope the dream continues, and it doesn’t.

That ticks me off.

I have an example. I’m going to call it “The Fairy Tale.”

Setting: Nighttime in a random field surrounded by woods. In this giant field is some kind log cabin off to one side, and in the center is a giant wooden tower. This tower resembles the shape of those big honking industrial power line supports. It is also surrounded by briar. And the top of it is on fire.

The dream starts. I am around fifteen to twenty feet away from the edge of the tower. I have two friends behind me, who are personified as Belle and Aurora–but the versions from the show Once Upon a Time, not the Disney cartoons. Someone is entering the tower, pushing through the briar. It’s a man, with dark hair, dressed in modern clothes. His back is to me.

I am screaming at the top of my lungs for him to stop. “David!” (That was weird, the fact the he had a recognizable name that I said, versus just an implied persona) I screamed for him a couple of times, but he couldn’t hear me, and Belle and Aurora where holding me back.

The tower, apparently, was evil. It turns your friends against you. David was going in to get his brothers as part of a quest of some kind, something only he and his brothers could complete. He enters the tower and I freak right on out, shaking off the girls and scrambling after him.

I chase him up the tower, Belle and Aurora on my heels–no one wanted anyone else to get hurt, so we all ended up in the tower. I stop on the platform just below the flaming platform at the top and see David and his two brothers, now dressed as fairy tale princes, complete with swords, leap from the top of the tower. They disappear into the ether. I start back down the tower.

About half way down the tower, Belle and Aurora turn against me. I sprint down the stairs, yelling for help because these girls went all axe-murderer on me. I get to the bottom of the towering, dash across the field and make it in to the house. I manage to trap both my assailants in closets. David’s two brothers show up–we’ll call them Adam and Philip, because they each went to a closet and removed their respective girlfriends, breaking the towers curse. I knew the curse was broken because both of them appeared in Disney costumes for their respective characters. Belle in the gold dress, Aurora in the pink, but still real people, not cartoons.

No sign of David. I was worried, and then I heard my alarm going off.

The end.

Um, David? Hello?

Um, David? Hello?

…  …

WHAT HAPPENED TO DAVID?!

Seriously, Unconscious Mind, what have you done to the dream-love-of-my-life? I was distraught about him going into this tower, and then he jumps off it to help his idiot brothers—seriously, who jumps off a tower waving swords around—and then the losers turn up without him. What in the actual fuck?

David, if you can hear me in there, don’t go back to that tower. Meet me at the house.

DO YOU HEAR ME, DAVID? MEET ME AT THE HOUSE!

In other news, I may be the only one that gets this attached to my own figments of imagination.