We are always writing the other, we are always writing the self. We bump into this basic, impossible riddle every time we tell stories. When we create characters from backgrounds different than our own, we’re really telling the deeper story of our own perception. We muddle through these heated discussions at panels, in comments sections, on social media, in classrooms — the intersections of power and identity, privilege and resistance. How do we respectfully write from the perspectives of others? Below are 12 guidelines to get you started.
One of the best articles I’ve read on the subject. I want to hand this out at every art & diversity panel I speak on. Seriously.
We all have that one character that you obsess over for months on end, but they slowly fade away into a special place in your heart as you discover other passions. Then the moment you re-discover that one character, the love comes back one hundred times as strong and it’s like they never left.
Imagine that at the end of Dumbledore’s speech at the beginning of the year, he asks if there are any questions, and one first year muggleborn kid raises his hand, whips out a smart phone and asks for the wifi password.
And then Dumbledore just casually says “Sherbet lemon, with a capital S”, and commences the feast like it’s no big deal while the non-muggleborns think WIFI is some sort of secret society.
Do not wear contact lenses if you are in a situation where you may be tear-gassed. When I went through basic training, we were warned that there was a possibility the tear gas they were using could melt contact lenses.
1. The Girl Who Takes Up Too Much Space, always, her shoulders too wide in stairwells, her hips too big in doorways, her voice too loud in classes. This woman does not understand the art of crumbling, of curling herself tight like the spiral of a fern, soft, delicate, unwilling to reach out the ivy of her fingers to grasp onto what should rightfully be hers. This is a beast, an elephant, a moving mountain and she is capable of flattening you, she is capable of ruining you, she is capable of making you feel as small and insignificant in her life as she is supposed to be. You are this woman’s footnote to history, you are her side note in song lyrics, you are constantly interrupted by her with a witty joke you wish you thought of. I asked what the problem was with being a steamroller instead of a sunflower and I was laughed down.
2. The Beautiful One, the long hair or the slim waist or the pretty eyes or the lips like bowstrings. This woman looks good in everything because she’s confident in whatever you put her in. She’ll cut her hair short on you no matter how you like it, she’ll wear high heels and step on your opinions, she’ll look hot as hell no matter what size she is. See, the reason you can’t trust her is because women like this don’t need your permission, they’ll do as they please and get away with it. They’ll say no to you, over and over. Teach your daughters that beautiful means dangerous, teach them to distrust women who love themselves. Equate beautiful with vapid, equate pretty with stupid, take their power from them. Say they’re vain for their makeup, refuse to see them without it. These women are snakes, they are serpents. I said maybe the problem lies with you being unable to control yourself and was told to get off my pedestal.
3. A Bitch. Women are supposed to be ladies in the street but will tear skin under sheets. I’m told: Never raise your voice. Speak gently. Submit. Hold your opinion against your lips and when you admit to it, make sure it comes out as a butterfly wing suggestion. Don’t disagree. Don’t undermine someone else’s authority, regardless of whether or not they deserve your respect. Someone touches you, just move away from them. Don’t hit. Don’t talk back. Be like the ruins of Rome, only beautiful if you can’t hear your quiet death.
4. The Needy One. I have heard how others spit when they talk about how she gave you everything and you shoved it back down her throat until she choked on it, until she came back crawling and asked you what she did, until her palms and knees were scraped for want of just a little affection - never be this woman, I’m told, because she’s a joke and the joke is that she dared to have more emotion than you did. The truth is, I’m told, the one who cares less in a partnership is the one who wins. I didn’t know this was a competition.
5. The Cock Tease, certified stripper, how dare that girl look like that and not want me to sleep with her. Lust is always personified as a lady in red with a dress slit up her thigh. Lust is sinful because it’s power, it’s not asking for attention - it’s demanding it. I’m told she is the worst kind of woman, that looking good is supposed to be some kind of shame on her kin. I’m told not to leave the house in such a short skirt, not with a shirt so low, not with a lace back, not with high heels, not dressed like that. My lipstick can’t be too red, my hair can’t be too mussed, I can’t just “turn someone on like that and then leave them wanting.” I mentioned that instant gratification actually ruins our psyche and was told that being led on was “exhausting.” I said that there was a difference between purposefully tricking someone into liking you and just being attractive or friendly. I was told there’s also a difference between coffee and tea but both result in caffeine. I said, “I’ve been turned on in class by the girls I talk to but I didn’t expect anything from them,” and they said, “It’s different, you’re not a man,” but couldn’t explain where that difference was.
6. A Slut, obviously ruined by another person’s touch. It doesn’t matter how many people she’s actually been with, it’s all about the rumors she carries with her. Easy. Harlot. You’ll still try to get with her, you’ll still take her into your bed and kiss her and say things you don’t mean - but you’ll defame her name when you talk to your buddies. My father used to say “A slut is fine for the night, but the virgin is who you take home and marry.” Maybe he didn’t know he was teaching his daughter to hate her sexuality. Maybe he didn’t know that every time she’d be kissed, her whole system would shake until she felt ready to combust, shame and self-hatred shivering against her spine. Maybe he didn’t know she’d disconnect emotions and sex because he always told her, “Boys are different, they won’t care about you.” Nobody said to her that it was okay to experiment. See, the funny thing is, I’m a dancer so I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I know how hard I’ll fall in each direction. Yet out of fear of getting hurt, I won’t let a single person inside of my bed.
7. The Soulmate. Never love romance more than you love being cynical. Never show weakness, never like pink, never think maybe you might find someone nice and settle down with them. Someone will find you, I was told, And if you’re lucky, he’ll put up with you when you start getting old. Never be the woman who believes in happily ever after, never be dumb enough to think maybe someone could love you after all of your mistakes. It has nothing to do with whether or not a family is important to you and you’re in a good place where a relationship would make your life better - you’re not a princess. You don’t get married, you settle.
8. The Girl With Strength, who can outrun everyone and who is stronger than her boyfriend. “See the thing about boys,” says my daddy, “Is that you have to let them win.” I sat at home and read stories about Artemis and wanted to become the huntress, too. I wanted to howl at the moon, I wanted to slay the beasts that bested me, I wanted to rule my kingdom with bloody fists. But girls are never athletes, never supposed to be “built,” regardless of the fact civilizations were constructed on our spines and we made homes in war by the steel of our ribs. Never be strong. We are supposed to wilt.
9. The Lady CEO: because if you choose work over family, are you really a girl? How dare you fight your way to the top through every pair of eyes that bore through your blouse, through every meeting where you were hushed by the sound of someone else talking, through every time someone called you “sweetie,” how dare you yearn for something. Is your husband the stay-at-home one? I can’t imagine how that is going. He’s not a real man, after all. I don’t give it long before the divorce. How dare you decide you’re happy being single. Don’t you know you’re supposed to bear children. Where is your honor? Where is your wisdom? Who cares if you are the leader, the best suited for your position, the quickest-thinking, the one who makes the hardest clients come back again. Don’t you see? Across history, women have been terrible at success. They always lose their man in the end. (When I said, “I would rather be a famous author than a mediocre mother,” I was told, “No, don’t worry, you’ll be a fine mommy.”)
10. THE GIRL I AM: FIRECRACKER AND DON’T YOU FUCKING FORGET IT I’LL RIP YOU TO SHREDS AND I WON’T FUCKING REGRET IT I’M NOT YOUR PRETTY GIRL I’M NOT YOUR ANYTHING I’M PERFECT, MOTHERFUCKER, AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP WHAT I’M DOING. I DON’T WANT TO BE “LADYLIKE” THAT LITERALLY MEANS NOTHING I’M NOT GOING TO STOP STANDING UP AND DEMANDING WHAT’S COMING TO ME. I’M GONNA BE SOMEBODY. I’M GONNA MAKE THEM REMEMBER ME. I REFUSE TO BE OVERSHADOWED IN HISTORY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CREATE BUT YOU MADE ME A DRAGON YOU PUT ME IN THE FIRE AND WHEN I STOPPED BURNING I LEARNED HOW TO GLOW DON’T THINK YOU CAN STOP ME YOU CAN’T TAME A TORNADO.
“next time someone demands your digits and you want to get out of the situation, you can give them this number: (669) 221-6251.
when the person calls, an automatically-generated quotation from feminist writer bell hooks will respond for you.
protect your privacy while dropping some feminist knowledge when your unwanted “suitor” calls or texts.
* * * * * * because we’re raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.
because we’re raised to know that evasion or rejection can be met with violence.
because women are still threatened and punished for rejecting advances.
because (669) UGH-ASIF, WTF-DUDE, and MAJR-SHADE were taken.
because why give any old fake number, when you can have bell hooks screen your calls?
so next time, just give out this number: (669) 221-6251
tech to protect.
* * * * * * * *
a note to friends and comrades!
when we started this phone line, we had no idea that it would receive thousands of calls in the first day, with no signs of slowing down.
if you would like to help sustain this service please consider donating, however modestly. any money raised beyond the cost of paying the phone bill will be donated to the The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
many thanks! http://bit.ly/FeministPhonelineDonations* * * * * * * * * thanks to your requests, we are pleased to now offer Feminist Phone Intervention numbers in each US time zone and in the UK, Canada, Israel, and Mexico: New York, NY: +1 917 512 2833
Chicago, IL: +1 312 697 1778
London, GB: +44 20 3095 4193
Toronto, ON: +1 647 496 0921
Montreal, QC: (438) 793-7247 (in French!)
Monterrey, MX: +52 81 4170 7141
Tel Aviv, IS: +97237630163 be well and stay tuned for new options in more world languages. UPDATE: cyber-comrades in Germany have created their own version of this project! http://telefeministinnen.tumblr.com we are excited to collaborate with people around the world! if you want help setting up a similar project in your area, or if you can submit a recording of a feminist quotation in another language, please email email@example.com we are pleased to post open-source code and detailed instructions for how you can set up your own version of the Feminist Phone Intervention! https://github.com/feminista/feminist-phone-intervention”—call (669) 221-6251 feminist phone intervention: (669) 221-6251 + please scroll down for UPDATES on open-source code and new options in the US (3 options), the UK, Canada (2 options), Israel, Mexico, Germany… (via rudegay17)
i want clint to notice everybody complaining about him and kate having the same superhero name bc “it’s confusing” so he officially changes his name to “dude hawkeye”
he even tweets it and has cap write it in the official superhero directory (he also makes cap make that a thing for this exact use) and makes everybody call him dude hawkeye on the coms and shit
and when ppl call kate ”lady hawkeye!” he just pulls out his mini-copy of the superhero directory and points to the page that says “Hawkeye: Kate Bishop” and is like “you must be mistaken friend, she’s hawkeye, i’m dude hawkeye, but there’s no lady hawkeye”
yeah i get why it’d seem more like a curse. but in my defense lots of powers seem like curses until the hero figures out how to use them for Good. but yes to living in Italy for research purposes. we have to be responsible about this, after all.
I get it, you make good sense. also it is indeed our duty to be responsible about these potential powers. we should probably travel around some more after Italy.
I mean how irresponsible would it be to conclude it’s just italy, or there aren’t powers if we’ve only tested out one country/power (I mean clearly my teleportation is better in GA than in PR. there is TESTING to be done). And what kind of magic scientists would we be if we’re only looking at geography’s effect on my powers? e.g: who knows what geography has in store for YOU?
I am reblogging your tags because they are beautiful and the world needs to see them. Mostly the last one.
But you raise some interesting points concerning my own as-yet unawakened superpowers and variations thereupon as affected by local rituals and mythologies. Surely there’s at least one grant we could get for this fascinating new field. I mean by researching this we run the risk of stumbling through a portal into another dimension, so backers should at least compensate us for our troubles. It’s a dangerous task, but someone has to do it.
Ravenclaws with huge communal bookshelfs that tower to the ceiling. It’s become tradition that when you leave Hogwarts, you leave behind a copy of your favorite book, so they have books dating back centuries.
what really fucks with me is how willing people are to throw mike brown under the bus for something he ‘might’ have done. he ‘might’ have stolen something so he definitely deserved to get shot while he was surrendering? with his hands up? like where is your humanity
and when i say people i definitely mean white people because who else is out here saying he deserved it
I’ve always really liked this idea—that they’re the exact same age, but their different lives have given them very different levels of maturity, and Luke is envious, but fascinated, and idolizes her a bit.
It’s kind of weird to think of Han as being a big influence compared to Leia. I mean, yes, they were close. But it’s made reasonably obvious that close male friends aren’t something Luke’s ever lacked. If anything, I’d say they’re mutually influential. Han’s experience and training help temper Luke’s youth and inexperience, and his cynicism demands that Luke account for his own faith. Luke, in turn, cracks Han’s shell with hope and faith, and his earnest belief that Han can be better than what he’s let himself become won’t let him crawl back into the hole he’s dug for himself.
I mean, come on. Luke’s got these vague intentions to run away and do…something. He’s dissatisfied with his home life, he’s dissatisfied with the future he sees for himself, and he resents, in an equally vague way, the expectations of his family. He thinks of joining the rebellion because he’s romanticized it. He thinks of going to the academy because it’s anywhere but where he’s at. All of his ambitions amount to this sort of nebulous, Anything But What I Have aspiration. He goes running after Kenobi on the strength of a shitty, recorded hologram because it seems exciting. He has no real idea about what this sort of mission would entail, or cost, or achieve. It’s an Adventure, and he’s bored.
Then he meets Leia, and she’s literally everything he ever had some mindless daydream about being. Only instead of being a cardboard cut-out hero in some story he’s using to distract himself from a shitty frontier subsistence-farmer life, she’s a real person who’s actually fucking doing it. She’s a leader. She’s a fighter. She’s risking life and limb for a cause she completely and utterly understands and absolutely believes in. This isn’t some thing she ran away to do because she got sick of being a princess and a senator. People look up to her, and follow her, and obey her, because she’s spent her life earning it.
He’s looking around and going “Empire bad? We blow up ships?” and she’s going “Here’s ten political treatises on why the Empire needs to go, here are the details of troop movements and expected reinforcements and supply lines for the upcoming battle, and here are the family photos of everybody in the next ten systems that are going to get stomped into bloody paste in retaliation if we fail here.” He finds her, and within five minutes she’s gone from the princess he’s rescuing because that’s what action heroes do to the person he needs to emulate if he’s ever going to make something of himself.
The old Jews rarely admitted good fortune. And if they did, they’d quickly add kinahora— let the evil eye not hear. What dummkopf would think the spirits were on our side? But even in a tropical paradise laden with sugarcane and coconut, something like the shtetl’s wariness exists. In Hawaii, I’m told, a fisherman never spoke directly, lest the gods arrive at the sea before him. Instead he’d look to the sky, the fast-moving clouds, and say, I wonder if leaves are falling in the uplands! Let us go and gather leaves. So, my love, today let’s not talk at all. Let’s be like those couples eating silently in restaurants, barely a word the entire meal. We pitied them, but now I see they were always so much smarter than we were.