Thursday, March 10, 2011
In the dream, I got into the office around 9:00 am, an hour or so before I expected Wil to come in. Someone had left a bunch of product (I don't know what position Wil was supposed to hold here or what product line we worked on. It wasn't all that important to the dream.) that I was supposed to put away at my desk and in his office. I spent the beginning part of the dream putting things away, thinking about where they should go, and being proud that I found a place for it all. I can't wait to tell Wil, I thought, I'm proud I found room for all this stuff. About an hour later, Wil walked in.
“Good morning, Angie.”
“Good morning, Wil.” I turned around to follow him into his office so I could tell him about the product I organized and put away and talk to him about what the rest of his day looked like. When I walked into his office, I saw that the entire rest of the building had managed to beat me to him. It was completely packed. Oh, I thought, it's going to be one of those days.
I hugged the wall and squeezed into his office. Just about everyone was talking to him, handing him things to sign, etc. At first it seemed normal. Busy, yes, but normal. Then I noticed that everyone was having him sign way too many things for a normal day at the office. Looking carefully, I saw that everyone was handing him personal items to sign – pictures, books, dvds – and they were all just chatting about his non-SJ work. What the hell is this?! I thought. This isn't a damn autograph line at a con; this is an office!
I looked at Wil. He looked tired. His desk was full of work, and I could tell he just wanted to have a moment of peace and quiet. He'd actually managed to sit down, but his bag was hanging open and I could see what was supposed to be his lunch/breakfast in it. Whatever it was, it was supposed to be warm and it had quickly cooled during the impromptu signing/meet & greet session. I tried to say something, but no one could hear me. He totally needs to eat something, I thought.
At that point our marketing director stuck his head in Wil's office and said, “Meeting at 11.” I flicked my eyes up at the wall clock: 10:55. I looked over at Wil. He just stared numbly at the clock and nodded. I looked down, upset that I couldn't do anything to help, and noticed that I was holding a cold, crisp, beautifully crafted salad. It was the best-looking pre-packaged salad I'd ever seen. I realized immediately what I had to do.
“WIL!” I declared. “I bought you a salad!”
I looked straight at my co-workers as I put the salad on Wil's desk. It was clear that they'd gotten the message. Slowly, one by one, they all got up and left. When the last person left the room, I closed the door and turned back towards Wil. He was staring at the salad. Slowly he looked up at me and grinned.
1. My real life coworkers would never be that rude in real life. Sure, folks would be giddy if Wil Wheaton actually showed up to work at SJ, but I don't think anyone would harass him like this on work hours. But, dreams are dreams. My dream-land coworkers simply have boundary issues.
2. I clearly think too much about work in my off-time.
3. While no one has harassed Andrew for his autograph here at the office, this exact morning has happened more than once, down to the times Andrew and I get into the office and what makes up our morning routines. We're a busy place, what can I say? (I've never actually bought him a salad to make things better, though. Hmm...)
4. I think my brain was still processing this picture of Wil collating paper: http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2011/03/this-is-for-thebloggess.html
5. I love that even in my dreams I'm someone's assistant. That said, being Wil Wheaton's administrative assistant sounds like it would be an awesome job.
6. If I thought for a moment that declaring, "I've bought a salad!" would actually help in real life situations, I'd do it more.
7. I remember distinctly feeling bad in the dream that I couldn't bring Wil something more substantial than a garden salad from the store. But it was a pretty nice salad, and after being bombarded with questions for an hour, I think dream-land Wil was happy with any kind of food.
8. I woke up from this dream around 3:00 am. I spent the rest of my dreams reminding myself of this story so that I could share it with the internet today.
9. I got up at 7am to type this up before work.
10. Now I kind of want a salad for lunch.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
My grandmother died this morning.
My grandmother died this morning and I've been sitting here, staring at my computer screen for the past hour, trying to make the words that sounded so good in my head come out of my fingers and on to this page. My grandmother died this morning and I can't decide whether I'm sad, mad, or not that surprised. I think I'm all three.
I don't have a big family, so I haven't gone through this kind of loss before. My grandfather passed away some years ago, but we hadn't talked since I was ten. My great grandmother, my Nana, died a few years ago, too, but I didn't cry. But my grandmother? I was close to her. And it's tearing me up inside.
She'd been sick for years. She had her first stroke when I was 10. It happened as we were leaving the theatre after seeing Aladdin. She stumbled and fell onto a trash can. I helped her up and she said she was fine. She drove me home, drove herself home, and then called my mother and aunt for help. I don't know why she didn't just call for help from the theatre. I think she wanted to get me home safely. I like to think that she was trying to avoid scaring me. She was like that; she tended to do for others before herself. I wish she hadn't bothered; I was scared.
She'd been in a nursing home full time since my late teens. She'd gone through phases of doing well with her myriad of conditions – diabetes, high blood pressure, etc – and doing poorly. I haven't seen her as often as I should have or would have liked to due to the fact that she's hundreds of miles away. The last time I saw her, it was winter. I hope it won't always be winter when I think of her.
My grandmother was always there for me. She was the one who took me roller skating every Saturday and sat on the hard benches in the food court while I spent two hours skating in a circle and playing video games. I used to wave to her every time I passed her. She was the one who took me to Alladin's Castle, the only video game arcade in town, and sat on the benches outside the arcade while I spent my last penny each week pretending I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a paper delivery boy, or an Italian plumber. It was her house I walked to after school everyday from the fourth grade through the ninth; where I watched the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; where I had my first kiss, and promptly told her about it because I was embarrassed and mortified by the whole thing. My grandmother loved me and I loved her. It will never be the same without her.
Rest in Peace, Grandma. I love you.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Jan. 4, 1992
Nothing really happened today, so back to yesterday. At Pizza Hut after the pizza I wanted to play the games, but two boys were on them. So I waited. One boy asked me if I would play his game for him while he went to get more change. I lost. The other boy said “You play pretty well” and went back to playing. The boy who asked me to play wasn't even mad! After a while the 2nd boy (The one who didn't ask me to play) said, “What's your name?” I told him. “That's a pretty name” Went back to playing. Then the 1rst boy asked “Do you want to play,” he said handing me two quarters. I played. Soon, their pizza was ready. They let two boys play their game so they could eat. As I was leaving I waved at them, they waved back! Wow! The dentist wasn't different except the floride treatment I got a ring there.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Now, first of all, I don't want to even indicate that I have a problem with communities that are comprised of women using “girls” in their titles. I think that we all make decisions what words to use to describe ourselves and everyone's opinions are valid. There are times when I still use “girl” myself. And I regularly follow some groups that do use “girls” in their names (Here's where I give a shout out to Geek Girls Network). And this article isn't meant to look at groups that have participants who cover a large age range (and, thus, might actually be girls). But I think that, as women, there's a line we walk between calling ourselves girls and calling ourselves women.
At one point in history, the line between girl and woman was pretty firm and obvious. The life phases of girls in medieval northwestern Europe were “ultimately marked by bodily-sexual and social factors such as the possession of an intact hymen and the loss of it, the occurrence of the first menstruation (menarche) and the (first) pregnancy and childbirth, the state of daughter-ship, of wife-ship, of motherhood, and of widow-ship” (De Ras 149). Basically, you're a girl until you have your first period. Then, you get married and have a baby and now you're a woman. Done. In fact, according to De Ras, as a girl you weren't even a “girl”, you were a “daughter” “maiden” or “virgin”; “girl” emerged as a word in the sixteenth century (De Ras 152). It was around this time, the fifteenth and sixteenth century, that urban cultures started to develop. Immigration from the country-side into cities lead to an influx of “marriageable youngsters” in those cities and an expanded educational system meant more girls and young women entered schools and the labor market instead of being married off young or sent a convent (150). All of this leads ultimately leads to a new period in girls' (and boys') lives known as adolescence – where you're neither a child nor an adult.
Now, adolescence (or being a “teenager”) as a life phase is a relatively new phenomenon. It has it's roots in the college-aged flappers of the 1920s, and really came into it's own in the 1940s during WWII. In the aftermath of the war, the United States changed its educational standards and started mandating compulsory education through a certain age (source: The notes from my kick-ass “Girls' Media Culture” class). All those post-menarche young women (and men) developed a youth culture that turned into the “teenage years” we know today. (I know this frames “adolescence” and “teenhood” as an explicitly American event. I'm not a childhood/adolescence scholar and only have so much information to go on). But why am I going on about adolescence?
I think women's tendency to use “girl” in social settings comes from the notion of extended adolescence. It's hard to pinpoint when girls become women and boys become men and many of us adults don't run our lives in accordance to what has usually been the markers of adulthood – getting married, having kids, buying a house. A lot of us who are younger still don't identify completely as adults (I'd be rich if I had a dollar for every time I heard a fellow twenty- or thirty-something say, “Gosh, I still feel like I'm 16. When did I become [insert age here]?”) so we still feel, even in our twenties, thirties and forties, that we're still “kids”. Add to that the fact that our culture is obsessed with youth and many folks will do whatever they can to stay young. “Girl” implies youth, vivaciousness, cuteness, innocence; “woman” implies maturity and formality.
“Woman” is a powerful word. “Adult” had power over “child”, so “woman” has a certain amount of linguistic power over “girl”. So does “man” over “boy”. Men get around this power struggle by being called “dudes” or “guys”, but women are left with “girls” (or “gals”). If you don't want to be a girl, you have to exert the sometimes scary power of claiming “woman”. And exerting that power is not something that our culture really likes to stress. Sure, we've had “Girl Power!” But think about it: isn't it more fun to say “girl power” than “woman power”? Don't those two phrases imply different ideologies? “Girl Power!” is fun; “Woman Power!” is... strident. And goodness knows we don't want women to be strident. This is a general cultural problem, but it's sometimes worse in geek culture. There's a notion, and it's not universal but it is important to note, that “computer culture has become linked to a characteristically masculine expertise, such that women too often feel thy need to choose between the cultural associations of 'femininity' and those of 'computer'” (Heeter, et al 76). If we geek women want to be feminine then we have to be “girls”.
Let me give you an example of the girl/woman power struggle. About a month ago I went to a popular South Western comic convention. I was talking to a fellow geek, male, and showing him my geeky tattoos. He was looking at my forearm tattoos, but saw my first tattoo on my upper arm. It's the popular symbol for “woman/female” but has been redone to look like a blue, glowing computer power button. I got it to help motivate me to finish my degree in Women's and Gender Studies. It means, unsurprisingly, “woman power” (My tattoos are fun, but not the deepest things in the world). My fellow geek saw this tattoo and said, without a pause, “Oh, cool! Girl power!” I nodded at him, meekly, and agreed that's what I meant by the tattoo. I wanted to tell him that, at age 28, I'm far from a girl and that it's woman power, but I didn't. We were in the middle of the exhibition hall and there were a lot of people around us and I didn't want to be – wait for it – that woman. You know, the strident one who insists on correcting guys on the difference between “girls” and “women”. I was afraid of pissing this guy off and was slightly intimidated by the power aspect of asserting that I'm a woman, not a girl.
This isn't an exhaustive study of why we geek girls/gals/women often forfeit our adult statuses to call ourselves girls. I'm not a sociologist and I've not interviewed other groups of geeky girls/gals/women to get their take on why they chose “girls” for themselves instead of “women”. But I hope that I've begun to scratch the surface of the power choices we make when we choose labels for ourselves. And I'm interested in your take: are you a girl, gal, woman, all three? Does it matter to you?
P.S. Dudes/guys/men - feel free to chime in, too.
De Ras, Marrion. “Female Youth: Gender and Life Phase from a Historical and Socio-Cultural Perspective.” Women's Studies Journal. 15.2 (1999): 147-160. Print.
Heeter, Carrie, Rhonda Egidio, Punya Mishra, Brian Winn, and Jillian Winn. "Alien Games: Do Girls Prefer Game Designed by Girls?" Games and Culture. 4.1 (2009): 74-100. Print.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I have been annoyingly sick since Monday (Sunday if I were honest) and so have found myself unable to concentrate on much of anything, including the internet (I'm sorry, Internet, for not amusing you on Twitter this week. I know you've missed me so much), but mostly the work I need to get done. The sickness, coupled with some serious anxiety from the fact that my due on April 2, first draft 30+ page thesis is closer to the “not done” category than the the “done” category, has made for a pretty crappy week. What I've done with my week, though, is play Dragon Age.
I've explored about 53% of the world and managed to amass an army of dwarves, elves, and humans in some 40-odd hours of game play. It is an amazing game. I'm playing a dwarven warrior: a face-branded, casteless woman named Fréa. She looks like, well, me: short, stout, brown, pigtails. I've enjoyed playing her and living her story for the past few days and I'm excited to see where life takes Fréa and I in our battle against the darkspawn. Something happened two nights ago in the game, however, that took me beyond my normal immersion in a game.
Fréa is a Grey Warden, as any player character in Dragon Age would be, and has gathered a motley crew of followers so far: two mages, two rouges, two fighters, a golem and a dog. With her, also, is fellow Grey Warden and fighter, Alistair. While I'll try to avoid spoiling the details for those who have yet to play Dragon Age I will say that I've been trying to get my party to like me in order to unlock their special skills (the more they like me, the better leader I am and the better followers they are). While I was chatting up Alistair in Denerim the other night after a particularly nasty encounter with his half-sister (everyone has family drama in this game) I managed to, uh, flirt with Alistair enough to enter a relationship with him. It was probably when I told him that he has other people that care about him than his biological family and that I “cared for him more than he probably knew.” What read to me as “I care for you in a fond, sisterly kind of way.” the game read as “Sexytimes nao plz? Kthxbai!” So, great, Alistair and I am in a relationship. Awesome. Notice how I keep using first person pronouns? Yeah, about that...
Last night my party and I went into a ruin (naturally) in the Brecilian Woods to finish a quest that would get the Dalish (elven) army to join us against the darkspawn. After killing some skeletons and looting their bony remains I turned to my party members to touch in and see if we could talk about any new subjects. When I turned to Alistair he auto-generated a conversation about a flower he picked way back at the beginning of the game. He waxed philosophically about how it was such a beautiful rose and how he wanted to pick it so that it wouldn't be tainted and ruined by the darkspawn's not so sudden but still inevitable betrayal. Then he gave it to me, which was sweet of him. It must have indicated further growth on the “I like you” scale because after that conversation his stock greeting to me changed. Instead of a courteous “What do you need?” (or something like that) he started saying “Yeeeessss?” and squinting his eyes at me. This I, naturally, had to further investigate. I said I wanted to talk to him about something personal. He laughed nervously and said that while the ruins weren't the most private place in the world to go ahead. My options to that were “We need to end this.” and “(Kiss him.)” Kiss him? Kiss him?! I turned to my friend Ted, who was watching me play, and laughed nervously.
“Kiss him?” I asked. Ted looked up from his laptop.
“Unless you want to end the relationship.”
I felt Fréa deserved a chance at love. So I kissed Alistair. And then I felt really weird about it.
Let me take a moment to say that, of all the video game animated kisses I've seen in my day, this is the least sexy. It was emotionless (I've seen Sims have steamer encounters) and was made hilarious by the fact that, as they both went in for the kill, my dwarf was suddenly the same height as the hulking human fighter. (I think they missed a brilliant opportunity to script in a stock scene where both characters sheepishly look around for a box or chest for the shorter person to stand on. Did the thought of a dwarven female hitting on Alistair (who is only a love interest for women PCs apparently) never occur to the programmers?) Hilariousness of the kiss aside, I got some emotional pleasure from taking my character and another character's relationship to a new level. I felt embarrassed about it, though, because Ted was there. It wasn't Ted's presence specifically that made me blush about having Fréa and Alistair get some PG action on; I would have been embarrassed to do it in front of any of my friends. I realized, when the character that looks so much like me and through whose eyes I'd experienced so much kissed Alistair, how much I had internalized the character.
I think part of it is the fact that, yes, the character looks like me and as brown, female gamer I've played almost no characters that look like me (and a shit-load of characters that look like Alistair) so my attachment to Fréa is strong because of that. (I remember feeling a similar sense of personal attachment and violation when I created a character that looked like me in On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness and got... attacked... by fruit fuckers.) But the identification with these characters is stronger than just identity politics – I really care about them because they're like real people to me (in a way). I kept saying “I went into the ruins with my party...” before because that's really how I feel about it. Dragon Age is such a large, expansive game and it feels extremely real. Fréa isn't just a character in a game – she's real, and she's me. (I get this way whenever I play a really good game of D&D, too.) It's magical when a game really makes you suspend your disbelief, especially when it's good enough to make me suspend my disbelief (a metric ton of media studies, playwriting, theatre, and film classes will give you all the tools to understand how films/television/plays/video games teach us about the world and get us to identify with certain characters but will also kind of ruin your ability to blithely watch a movie and not see how it works. I prefer understanding how stories work but it does take a lot to get me to totally forget for a moment how it's pulling me in). My embarrassment stemmed from the fact that the private moment Fréa/I had with Alistair was witnessed by someone else. I managed to get so immersed in the game world that whatever Fréa did, I did. I think that's amazing.
This incredible identification with Fréa/the other characters is also why I will never play a version of game in which I actively antagonize my fellow party members. I want them to all like “me” so much, even though they are not real in the slightest. I find it a little disconcerting that I care so much about wanting my character to have good relationships with the other NPCs for the relationship's sake alone, not the combat bonuses. But, hey, last night I got a rose from Alistair and that's the closest thing to flirting that I've encountered in quite some time. Why argue with it, eh?
So, that's where I've been this week, Internet. Cursing my sinuses, taking Benadryl, coughing up my lungs, and fighting and loving in Ferelden. I need to get better this weekend, though, because if my thesis adviser has not written me off entirely yet she will if I don't make my first draft deadline for this damn thesis.
Monday, February 8, 2010
*Note: I swear an awful lot in this post. Yes, I consider under ten swears an “awful lot”. Yes, I should put on my big person underpants and learn to make my point without swearing. No, today is not that day.
I am really, really tired of people who put down critical discussions of pop culture.
Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up...
Today is Monday and on Mondays, like all days of the week, I spend a portion of my morning catching up on a variety of websites that I find interesting/important. If you follow me on Twitter you know that one of my first reads is Jezebel.com, a sibling site of Gawker.com that focuses on, and I quote, “celebrity, sex, fashion for women. Without Airbrushing.” It is a great feminist minded website that talks about politics and entertainment in a smart and snarky way. But the comment streams are starting to bug the ever living shit out of me. It seems that some people have forgotten that they are on a website devoted to entertainment and seem to feel that feminist critical discussions on... entertainment are somehow not what the site is about.
I started the day with Jezebel's Super Bowl commercial recap. I didn't watch the Super Bowl but gathered from my Twitter stream that many of the commercials were trite, unimaginative, and downright misogynistic even to the point that I heard the word “misogynistic” used by people who I have never seen use that word in conversation before. I like Super Bowl commercial recaps because sometimes I don't watch the Super Bowl. Jezebel pretty much said whatever I had to say about the commercials and I wasn't going to think twice about the post until I started reading the comments. My friends, if I can impart to you the tiniest bit of advice regarding the internet I would impart this: Never, ever read the comment stream on the internet. In most cases it's where logic and tact go to die. (It is also where critical theorists get their sources to write papers about receptions studies without having to dick around with the IRB regarding “human subjects” for papers so comment away. God knows I do.)
There are some 684 comments on the post as I write this so I'm not going to give every example of what I'm talking about but there are a slew of comments that esstially all boil down to, “With [healthcare/Sarah Palin/Haiti/etc] happening in the world we're getting upset about stupid things like commercials where guys act like jerks and insult women. Who cares what someone says about lip balm!” Very often these comments go unanswered (mostly because “feeding the trolls” is against the TOS over at Jezebel) but there are a lot of them. I'm not going to lie to you Marge, I don't know what's more aggravating – that damn Dodge commercial or people who don't know why that Dodge commercial is so wrong.
Another post from today talks about Taylor Swift and how her songs and lyrics play right into America/the West's attempt to culturally privilege “purity” and “innocence” and how she sells a brand of being a “real teen” and “outsider” while in reality she's none of those things. I don't know if I'd go so far to call Swift a “feminist nightmare” (I reserve that title for women who tell me they are “anti-feminist” and then proceed to define “feminism” so wrongly that it's not even funny) but I respect Dodai's opinion and enjoyed the piece. But even though Jezebel is mostly an entertainment blog there are many comments in the 1093 comment stream that, again, boil down to “Don't we have better things to focus on than some celebrity? Who cares what her songs and persona sell to young girls! We should worry about global warming/Sarah Palin/abstinence only education!” And, in the end, despite my opinions on critical discussions and critical thought and not shooting down opposing viewpoints, all I end up wanting so say is, “Seriously, folks, STFU and GTFO. Why the hell are you on a feminist entertainment blog if you don't. Want. To. Talk. About. Feminism. And. Entertainment?”
This binary of “real issues” and “made up issues” annoys the fuck out of me. Yes, as feminists we should be concerned about healthcare issues and comprehensive sexual education in our schools. Yes, as feminists we should be concerned about the ever present glass ceiling. Yes, as feminists we should protest in the streets and do all sorts of radical shit. But what I think a lot of the “real issue” activists don't understand is that we have laws that keep comprehensive sex education out of our schools or mandate that marriage can only be between a biological man and a biological woman, etc because our culture supports it. And our culture is, big surprise here, informed by entertainment. Sure, the Dodge commercial is just a commercial and many people think it's stupid but you know what? More people agree with it than don't. How do I know this? Because if people didn't agree with the general tone of those commercials they wouldn't exist. The advertising team that worked on that commercial didn't just make it for shits and giggles. They didn't just make it because a minority of people would inherently agree with it. They made it because a majority of people would inherently agree with it. And because a majority of people still think that commercials like the Dodge commercial are “harmless” and “funny” we, as cultural activists, need to talk about. We need to investigate the ways it informs our American culture. We need to stand up and say, “That's wrong! Here's why!” to our friends and family. We need to start changing the way people think about the world. Because changing the way people think changes the way people vote. Want the laws to change regarding healthcare, rape prosecution, abstinence only sex education? Change the way people think about women. It's hard to tell a woman she has no control over her body when you respect her. It's easy when you think she's a controlling bitch who drags you out shopping (I'm looking at you Flo TV) and think “brotastic” commercials like Dodge's are “harmless fun.”
Changing cultural opinions is just as important as changing hard laws. I'm sick to death of feeling like I'm not enough of a feminist activist because I want to talk about gender, race, sexuality, class, etc in entertainment. Both types of activism are important. Don't we have enough opposition from anti-feminists? Why do we have to fight each other for which is the “best” type of activism?
Friday, February 5, 2010
EDIT 2/10/10: I went to another Terror Tuesday tonight because I really wanted to add it back into my weekly schedule. While there were announcements of "beastiality" (a dog put its head up a woman's skirt for 30 seconds) and "transvestism" (a teenaged boy wore makeup for about 30 seconds) the two rapes in the movie went unmentioned (I actually think the beastiality and transvestism were played up for shock value but I'm not going to go there). Look, I'm not new to schlock movies (I know nude bodies will probably be involved somehow) and if I hadn't just sent an email to the Alamo about this issue I probably wouldn't have bothered talking to them about tonight's incident. But I wasn't fucking kidding; that shit needs to be announced. Forgetting to do it or just not wanting to say they don't want to do it isn't really good enough in my opinion. Everyone I talked to was very polite and I don't think (hope) it wasn't an intentional run around so I'm not saying "Rawr! I hate them! They suck!" but what needed to happened didn't happen. I love the Alamo locations. I still have fondness for Alamo Downtown. But Alamo Ritz is not the same Alamo that used to be down on Colorado.
I know I just posted a rape in entertainment entry but something happened this week that I just can't help but relate.
Last Tuesday Ted and I went to a screening of J.D.'s Revenge at the Alamo Ritz as part of their Terror Tuesday programming. Usually Ted can't be persuaded to watch horror movies but when they're b-level or below horror movies we'll go. From the description on the movie page and the trailer from YouTube I was expecting a terrible, dated “Blacksploitation” film. In reality it's a very good movie. It's dated by the quality of the film and it's special effects but it's well-directed, there were no weak performances and Glynn Turman gave a very nuanced performance as Ike/J.D. Walker. There is, however, a rape scene.
Now, I'm not talking about a “throw a woman on the bed and try to hit her before she scrambles up” rape scene. I mean an extended “beat her up, rip off her clothes and force her legs open repeatedly as she screams” rape scene. It comes from the violent, gangster character of J.D. Walker and while I'm not a proponent of rape scenes it didn't feel out of place for the character. I'd watch the movie again despite the scene. My only problem was that there was no announcement that the scene was in there. I was shocked by the scene and wished that someone had told the audience about it. As I said before rape scenes can be triggers and while I don't push for all-out censorship there needs to be a dialog about movies that use such scenes to further the narrative. I grumbled to myself about it for the rest of the night until I calmed down and thought to myself, “Don't dream it, be it.” What I meant by that was, “Don't hold a grudge and be cranky to yourself. Share your very valid opinion. Be the change you want to see.” So, instead of holding a grudge against the Alamo Ritz I decided to email a comment about it.
I was nervous about sending an email. I love the Original Alamo locations and Ted and I often go to regular movies and special programming at the Ritz, South Lamar, and Village locations. I didn't think that I'd get a dick response but that's always a worry. Not everyone responds well to being asked to think about avoiding or at least warning about sexual violence in entertainment (I'm looking at you Method). I just didn't know what kind of response I'd get. I didn't want to get a negative response and thus have to rethink my movie going habits. But these issues are important and if it's not worth it to me to potentially have to rethink my opinion about people/establishments I love then I don't get to call myself a feminist. I'm very happy to tell you that we can all breath easy – the Alamo Ritz staff really is as awesome as we all think.
The first response I got was from the manager who thanked me for my comment and said he'd pass it on to the programming department. “Awesome,” I thought. “Short, polite, professional response. No one called me stupid. I'm okay with this!” Later in the day I got an email from the TT programmer. It took me a few hours to open it. It could have said anything. It could tell me that they didn't see why that scene should need a special announcement since it's part of a horror film and the audience should be prepared for all sorts of horror. It could thank me for my “concern” and that they'd “look into it” - which is PR for “We disagree but want to appease you.” I could just not get any reply. These responses would be atypical for the Alamo, but one never know. What it said, though, was that they actually do make announcements when any of the films have scenes that are sexually violent or explicit like that and that, unfortunately, the programmer had forgotten there was one in this film. He apologized for the missing announcement and asserted that they are committed to being responsible about not showing misogynistic horror films (This is the truth. I've never had to comment about a previous issue like this) and to announcing films that have sexual violence in them. “Whew,” I thought. “I can still love them.”
I'm surprised that I held so much fear of the response that I would get to my email. My initial email, in my opinion, was short and polite and while I felt that it was the responsible thing to do is to make an announcement, that I wasn't upset at them and was not going to boycott them forever. But making a critical comment (Different than criticizing) about such a touchy subject can get ugly. It encourages me, though, that people and companies like the Alamo “get it”. I love you, Alamo Ritz, even though you moved to sixth street thus making me loathe finding parking to come see you.