Finally free

I could be talking about Independence Day today…but I’m not. I’m not overly patriotic. I’m not political. I’m not a historian. I’m just an average Joe (Jill?), and I’m not that into the revolutionary aspect of the holiday. No, I’m talking about a free day off work. After working 12 days in a row, then going on a day trip, then doing laundry all day, I finally have a day off where I can do whatever.

The start of my free day? Fixing my cosplay booboo from yesterday. I got that done and all of the twill fabric pieces cut out; now comes cutting out the interfacing & lining, after which I’ll start putting the pieces together. It should prove interesting since I’m altering the pattern. I keep doing that…and so far, aside from yesterday’s disaster, it’s been turning out well. Guess I have a knack for it…or I’ve been lucky.

Now I’m taking a break from all that pinning and cutting and I’m just chilling on the computer for a while. I might take a nap. I might make some food. Or maybe I’ll just stare at this screen and do nothing.

Sometimes it’s good to take time for yourself. Burnout sucks. Sure, if I spent all day nonstop working on the coat I could probably get it finished…but is that really what I want to do with my free day? Spend the whole thing cutting and sewing until I’m sore and worn out?

Also, I’ve been having some good ideas about my dystopian/sci-fi novel. Yeah, you know the one–the one that’s been stalled since the cosplay stuff went into overdrive? Well, it’s still stalled (narrative-wise), but some new details about the world and the characters have come into my head that I think will give it some depth and diversity. It’s outside of my comfort zone, but isn’t that the point of writing sometimes? Going new places, trying new things…creating new worlds (or destroying them).

Maybe I’ll work on brainstorming today in between cosplay sessions. That sounds like a good idea.

Freedom to do what you want–gotta love it.

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Reading too much

Why would I post something with that title just a day after putting my books online for free? Well, it’s because I’m not talking about that kind of reading.

I’m talking about reading more into things than is really there, particularly in regards to TV shows.

There has been tremendous uproar in the LGBTQ (I think I’m missing some letters, but they kind of keep getting added on so it’s hard to keep up) community over the deaths of some LGBTQ characters on some fictional TV shows. And you all know my opinions on getting uptight about fictional shows.

Let’s start with the flame that started a spark that ignited a brushfire faster than a cigarette butt tossed onto the dry Arizona grass: the death of Lexa, one half of the lesbian couple known as “Clexa” to The 100 fandom. (Dont’ know what “Clexa” means? See my previous post on shipping.) The Internet was abuzz with LGBTQ fans lashing out at producers, showrunners, writers, the network…pretty much everyone involved in the making of the episode. The majority of this outrage was over the perceived notion that the network had killed off Lexa because she was a lesbian. Now I don’t watch the show, but my husband clued me in to the gist of what happened and it sounded to me like there was a valid reason for the character to die. And even if there wasn’t, why does it necessarily have to have anything to do with the character being a lesbian?

It wasn’t too long before other fandoms got caught up in the inferno. Soon every LGBTQ death on a TV show was being called into question, with accusations of bigotry flying left and right. Suddenly every fan was an activist, and they all had one message: don’t kill off any more LGBTQ characters or else.

The irony here is, the fans got so caught up in spewing their hate that they didn’t realize they were rapidly becoming as just as bigoted as the accused–more so, in fact. Every time that anything bad happened to an LGBTQ character it became viewed as an act of war, an intentional slight against the gay and lesbian community.

Guys, seriously, I doubt that show writers and producers sit in their weekly meetings and pitch various ways to injure, maim, or kill LGBTQ characters. They don’t wring their hands and cackle maniacally. They don’t have a pegboard of LGBTQ characters that they throw darts at to figure out who they’re going to kill next. It just doesn’t work like that.

TV executives are concerned with one major thing: ratings. Those are fueled by the stories they tell. If the story requires a beloved character to die, then guess what? They die, whether they’re white, black, straight, gay, young, old, thin, fat, etc. Has there been an upward trend of bad things happening to LGBTQ characters? Maybe. I sure see a lot more about it on the news and in social media. But did any of you ever consider that maybe it’s a good thing?

Before you start sending me hate messages and death threats, let me finish. Maybe the reason that we’re seeing more gay characters being hurt is that there are more gay characters being represented in TV. Isn’t that a plus?

Personally, I don’t see the rate of LGBTQ deaths/injuries/etc as being out of proportion with the deaths/injuries of straight characters. Straight characters die a lot. It’s just that no one rages over those deaths the way they react to LGBTQ deaths. It’s the same with any minority: the minority gets better representation through casting and storylines, then when the increase in minority population there’s an increase in stories–good or bad–surrounding those minority characters. It just happens to be that the current fad is to kill off characters without warning.

Don’t blame the networks, or the producers, or the writers. Think before you explode, and calmly consider whether or not the treatment of the character was part of the plot or whether it was gratuitous…and don’t base that consideration on how much you personally like the character. Be rational. No network is going to stalk fansites and other social media just to find out what LGBTQ character is the most popular just for the purpose of senselessly killing them.

If you’re going to blame anyone, blame George R. R. Martin. I mean, he kinda spearheaded the “sudden death” fad. Ever since Ned Stark, no character is safe. No character, no matter their gender/race/age/sexual orientation/etc.

(Disclaimer: Do not seriously blame George R. R. Martin. It’s not his fault the viewing public eats it up.)

Pushed too far

It happens everywhere. School, home, work, the Web. I’m talking about bullying.

People bully for different reasons. They may be imitating what they’ve seen other bullies do. They may have grown up in a household of bullies and just not know any other way to act. They may be trying to cover their own insecurities. They may just be assholes. The reasons don’t matter. All that matters is that it needs to stop.

What is the point of bullying? Does it make the bully feel cool? Does it make them feel superior? I mean, why do it? Yeah, I listed reasons above, but those aren’t real reasons. More excuses. Y’know, “I was bullied so I’m just fighting back.” “That’s what my dad does.” “They deserve it for being fat/ugly/stupid/insert lame excuse here.”

All of those excuses mean precisely squat to me. There’s no valid reason for bullying. None. All it does is hurt the targets of bullying and can potentially be harmful. Some victims of bullying resort to self-harm, some even get pushed to the point of attempting (or succeeding at) suicide. It’s extremely emotionally devastating.

So why do it? Are these bullies just racist or sexist or homophobic, or maybe just plain phobic of anything that doesn’t fit their ideal of what a person should look like or who a person should be? You hear that, bullies? Maybe you’re just scared. Pretend predators who are really just frightened little rabbits, nibbling at others’ feelings to try to feel powerful and fierce.

I don’t care what kind of power you may feel when you bully someone. I don’t care if you’re doing it due to some deep-set insecurities. If you find yourself pushing someone–physically, verbally, or emotionally–quit it. Just stop. Just fucking stop.

In short, to quote the immortal words of Wil Wheaton: “Don’t be a dick.”

Cosplay for all

I’ve noticed a slight bad pattern to my cosplay interviews for Talk Nerdy With Us. They’ve almost all been women!

Men are cosplayers just as much as women are. My solution? To the Interwebs! (Or rather, to a Facebook page for male cosplayers.) So far I have three new interviews lined up that feature male cosplayers. I’m hoping that this leads to more diverse interviews and features.

I’ve had women of color and plus-size women (neither of which seem to be prominently featured in the media, though they absolutely should be), but not many men at all. I hope to remedy this in the future, as well as seek out cosplayers of all types. I don’t want only hot women for my interviews. Yeah, they may get more views for the site, but that’s not what these segments are about. They’re about featuring cosplayers who love what they do and helping new cosplayers learn a little something about what you might need to make your own cosplays.

It’s not about equal opportunity or token races/genders. It’s about showing the diversity that’s in the cosplay world. Diversity: it’s not just for the Oscars.