Tuesday, 19 May 2015

I'm Sick To Death Of Talking About Rape Tropes In Fiction

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) in Game of Thrones S5 E6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

I'm sick of talking about rape.

Forcible rape, date rape, grey rape, acquaintance rape, spousal rape, statutory rape and now fictional rape. I'm sick to death of explaining why the callous rape of women and girls in media is a very bad thing for our culture and why we should cut it out. *wags finger*

This Game of Thrones storyline is just the latest in a long line of excuses and equivocations for why the depiction of brutal and gendered violence against women is a storytelling necessity. People are sticking their heels in on both sides but to me the moral position is clear: there is nothing to be gained from lazy representations of rape in a media landscape that already devalues women and reduces them to objects and property.

Now I've read the arguments in favour of the narrative value of Sansa's rape. That it showed that Ramsay was a sadist. That it would help Theon come back to himself and help Sansa escape. That it would motivate Sansa to seek vengeance. But it's all bullshit.

What did that scene add that we didn't already know? Did the writers think that cutting Theon's penis off was too subtle to indicate Ramsay's sadism? Did they think the brutal murder of her mother and brother were not strong enough motivators for Sansa to want revenge against the Boltons? Could they not conceive of a single other way in which Theon might be able to mentally recenter himself? What about this particular rape scene added such probative narrative value that it had to be transposed from one character to another even as the original victim is excised from the story? All it was is more rape on a show already replete with rape, for the sake of having rape. None of this is new information.

And it's not that rape should never be represented in fiction. Rape is everywhere. It's unfortunately an all too real danger of the world we live in. But it's not as though there is some dearth of rape representation in media. Using rape as a narrative tool is lazy, and especially so when it's invoked this many times in the same show. We are now at three female characters (all of whom are considered major point of view characters in the novels) who have been raped in the series, two of whom weren't raped in the source material. It's just rapes on rapes on rapes up in this bitch...

Sunday, 3 May 2015

'Bago Chronicles: By The Beach

Yesterday morning, I got up around 8am, made my bed and then walked my ass to the beach. Just because I could. Literally at the end of the street that I now live on, is a gorgeous beach, and I decided that since I don't start work until next week, there's no reason I shouldn't take advantage while I can. How lucky am I that I live just steps away from one of Tobago's most gorgeous beaches? It would basically be treason not to get up early and go experience it.


A photo posted by NinjaCate (@battymamzelle) on

I only stayed for about half an hour because go figure, the water is pretty cold at 8am. But it was really fun to be in the ocean that early. The beach was beautiful and I love the smell of the ocean, even if I detest sand more than life itself. You'd think that having lived 90% of my life on an island, the novelty of the beach would have worn off by now, but it hasn't. Perhaps it's simply the proximity that's encouraged my new enthusiasm because I am notorious sand (and therefore beach) hater.

After that I spent most of the day studying, since move or not, I'm still in grad school. I haven't brought my desk up from Trinidad yet, but my tiny little kitchen table is a more than adequate substitute. Then of course I spent a solid hour or two procrastinating by cleaning my tiny kitchen because why not? 

A photo posted by NinjaCate (@battymamzelle) on

My little appliance corner is my favourite part of the kitchen. Appliances are just something I associate with adulthood. Maybe it has to do with the whole "gifting appliances when you marry" thing, but naturally with my feminazi lesbian shitass sensibilities, I skipped the line. The microwave and toaster came with the place, which is why they look a little dingy, but I'm positively obsessed with my blender and kettle. I have been wanting to make a fruit smoothie for the better part of a year and I may have already run through my weekly supply of fruit...

I'm also a little obnoxious about collecting a variety of brightly coloured things (much to the chagrin of my HGTV-loving, everything-must-have-a-colour-scheme mother) but the kettle was the one thing we were able to agree on since the colour scheme of the kitchen is red and yellow. The only downside is that it's not an electric kettle, which forces me to risk blowing myself on the gas stove every time I want a cup of tea. Which is often. Because I don't drink coffee.

That's the other thing: this my first time using a gas stove. I've managed to master lighting the thing without burning myself, but too much television has left me absolutely paranoid that I'm going to leave the gas on one day and set the place on fire. (Victoria Grayson just did it on Revenge last week!) My mother claims that this is only a possibility if I leave the burner on which I don't do, but I don't trust the damn thing. There's a reason human beings try to avoid open flames.

All in all, I really am enjoying having my own space. It's a little lonely since I don't have any neighbours close by, and the lack of background noise just might drive me up a wall. Conversely, I'm convinced that everything that goes bump in the night is an axe-murderer/serial killer/rapist, so that's no fun... but I'm really appreciating being on my own so far. It remains to be seen if I'll feel the same way in 3 months.


A photo posted by NinjaCate (@battymamzelle) on

In the meantime, I think I'm just going to enjoy the sea breezes and the quiet. My next project will be successfully completing some of the recipes in the Naparima Girls Cookbook. Wish me luck. I'll probably need it...


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

'Bago Chronicles: Moving Day

I'm here! It took all of today and there's more to do tomorrow, but as of right this second, I'm officially (mostly) moved into my new studio apartment in Tobago. #OfficiallyAdulting. It's a small studio apartment in Black Rock, and it's perfect. The area itself is gorgeous and breezy. There are chickens running around by the neighbors and a few more iguana that I'm comfortable with, but all in all, it's a perfect combination of the Tobago I remember from growing up, and the Tobago I need it to be as a ~*tWeNtY sOmEtHiNg PrOfEsSiOnAl*~

A photo posted by NinjaCate (@battymamzelle) on

Truthfully, I'm very nervous. I've moved here for a new job and for the first time I will be wholly responsible for myself. It's mildly terrifying but also weirdly freeing. No one ever really teaches you how to be an adult and I'm kind of beginning to realize that it's sink or swim. You're never going to be ready. You just have to strike out and hope you don't end up on the street. It'll take some adjusting, I'm sure I'll manage. I have to learn how to do everything on my own again. From navigating the island to learning to cook for one, to learning how to shop for one, I'm really going to have to dedicate some time to figuring out how to live on my own. 

But Tobago moves at such a relaxing pace that I think it may have already tricked me into thinking there is no sense of urgency. I've been to Tobago many times but I don't think I ever noticed how truly gorgeous it is until now. So much of the landscape is still unsullied, and even where there is evidence of people, the green space is always there, reminding you there are more important things in life. My apartment is literally two houses down from the beach. I can see the ocean every time I pull my car out of the garage. It's a little mind-blowing. 

I start at my new position in two weeks, so I have lots of time to acclimatize. I'm looking forward to decorating and making this space my own. It's small and cozy, but more than enough space for me. I'm kind of excited to have my first place. This is the start of another chapter of my life and I'm terrified, but open to possibilities. Let's see how things go...

I think I'm going to like it here.