Suicide Squad: Deadshot and Morality

Suicide Squad, is perhaps the first movie I’ve ever walked away from saying, “That was not a good movie, but it was worth seeing.”

Without any spoilers, the plot had no structure and we spent time getting to know the characters through useless (and excessive) flashbacks. There were characters who had no purpose in the film, except to haphazardly flesh out the sprinting world of the DC Cinematic Universe. I swear Captain Boomerang was only there for laughable appearance by the Flash.

But what did work?

indexDeadshot. Will Smith’s Deadshot is the moral center of this film. Arguably, as a hit-man, he is the most villainous of the main characters by profession. He has not reformed nor makes any pretenses that he will give up the assassin’s game anytime soon.

Suicide Squad focuses on the character development of only a few characters: Harley Quinn, el Diablo, and Deadshot. Deadshot is the center piece. It is his story and his relationship with his daughter that grounds the character. Deadshot is the one talking about honor among thieves and the importance of the team’s survival.

To make it clear: a movie starring a black man featured said black man as a complicated protagonist and loving father who is the moral center of the film.

And in a media culture that only upholds the stories of white men (straight, cis, able bodied white men), this is huge. Every day people quote the racist (and downright false) argument that “there are more black men in prison than in college” as if there is a moral deficiency in black men naturally. As if black men do not want to be there for their families and for their children.

Yes, Deadshot is a criminal. He is a comic book villain. He kills people for money. But he is also a black character who is a loving father and a moral compass in a movie that desperately needs a moral center. He stands out in a media industry that needs  representations of black men who live to see the ending credits.

 

 

How to Say No

About a month ago I walked into a bread shop and got offered a job. They needed someone in their kitchen and I bake bread far more often than I need to (there are three loaves of bread in my freezer right now and my fridge is half populated by bagels, rolls and the end of a challah). How could I say no?

Except, they needed someone from 11pm to 4am and I work full time from 8am to 4pm. I said, “Can I have time to think about it?”

I’ve thought about it. I keep thinking about it. But I haven’t responded to their email about whether I will take the job. The answer is no, I can’t take the job. But on some level, I can take the job.

I get off work at 4 and get home by 4:30. I could sleep until 10:30pm or so, get up and go to the bakery until 4am, get writing done until 6am then get ready for my day job.

I’m not going to do this. I need to remind myself every day that I’m not going to do this.

But it’s an impossible task to admit I can’t add something new to my plate. It’s an impossible task to say  no. I work full time and hold 4 different writing positions. I’m manage the blog for Luna Station Quarterly, write literary magazine reviews each month for New Pages, read fiction for Five on the Fifth, and am an editor for Polychrome Ink.

I can’t say no. As women, we must work twice as hard to earn half the recognition as men, and saying no to a professional opportunity is a stupid move. You’re backing out before you’ve even tried! You’re selling yourself short! You are admitting defeat.

My goal is always excellence. My goal is to be the best. But my goal must also be to be kind to myself.

And saying no, in any and every context, is a matter of consent. Being a feminist is not about competing with the boys to show you’re just as capable. It’s about trusting yourself and listening to your voice, even when no one else will notice you’re speaking. It’s about learning to say no and taking control of your life.

Saying no, even to an opportunity, is a feminist decision.

Mothers are People Too

A friendly reminder as we celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow: Mothers are people too!

Before they gave birth to you, adopted you or took on a mothering role, they were (and are) human beings. Yes, mothering is a nurturing position, but a mother’s life cannot revolve just around serving those around her.

Girls are encouraged to marry men, encouraged to have children, encouraged to put those children first above all else. So long as mothering is an action considered specific to women, motherhood is another way women are told to put themselves last.

It’s wonderful that we celebrate mothers! For a 24/7 job that is unpaid and unfairly relegated to one gender, mothers deserve recognition. But Mother’s Day cards and gifts reflect the same gendered mindset that places this burden on women in the first place.

Mother’s Day cards thank mothers for all that they do for others. It’s a system revolving around us: those of us who receive mothering.

In 1976, Marge Piercy wrote the sci fi feminist utopian novel Woman on the Edge of Time. Piercy imagines a utopia where mothering is an action any gender can undertake. Families have co-mothers, people of all genders who take on the nurturing role of mothering and share the responsibility. A Mother’s Day in Piercy’s imagined world would look very different from the pink Mother’s Day cards and breakfast in bed traditions we practice.

A Mother’s Day in Piercy’s world would recognize the nurturer in each of us. It would be a celebration of mothering, not the people who mother. It would be a day to acknowledge all the work and dedication that goes into putting someone else first.

Mothers are people. They deserve more than a day of thanks for what they do for those around them.

Tomorrow, when you thank a mother in your life, let them know you acknowledge not just what they do for you, but the person they are. Their life does not belong to anyone but themselves.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! MAY 2016 CARNIVAL OF ACES: QUESTIONING YOUR FAITH

For any of my fellow aces interested in submitting. 🙂

halfthoughts

Hi! I’m your host for this month’s Carnival of Aces.

The Carnival of Aces is a monthly blogging carnival run by  The Asexual Agenda. For more information check out the Carnival of Aces Masterpost.

Last month’s Carnival was hosted by A³, on the topic Be Yourself (But Stretch). Check out April’s roundup here.

For this month, I’ve chosen the theme Questioning Your Faith. Previously there was a Carnival of Aces on the topic of religion (or atheism) and asexuality. I’m interested in hearing more perspectives on the interplay between questioning one’s asexuality and questioning one’s faith.

In LGBTQA+ discourse there is a lot of validation of questioning your identity. Often questioning one aspect of your identity leads to questioning another. Exploration and experimentation is encouraged. I’m curious about how often that questioning carries over to questioning one’s faith and how that plays out, especially among the ace community.

Here…

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Call for Interviews

For all the asexual people who follow my blog and want recognition for their own art (writing, visual, dance, music, anything creative really!) take a look at Lauren Jankowski’s site and contact her for an interview.

Asexual Artists

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and…

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Goku as asexual

Goku was my first hero. He was my brother’s hero first, to be honest, but Goku was also mine. I watched the anime with my brother when he was in high school and I was in middle school and we spent our nights and weekends sparring each other as Z fighters.

My brother looks the part of a saiyan. He has black hair. He’s dedicated to training and strengthening his body. He’s male.

And yet, Goku was my hero. Even though we look nothing alike, Goku was mine. He is my belief that goodness and heroes exist. That strength of mind and discipline is just as important as strength of body. That you get back up every damn time you’re beaten down.

Dragon Ball Z perpetuates hypermasculinity. It’s a male dominated manga and anime where fighting and winning is key. As a feminist, I shouldn’t love this series. But I do. I love it more now that I’m further embracing my ace identity.

I see Goku as an asexual character.

He marries Chi-Chi and has Gohan and Goten, but he never expresses sexual interest in any sex or gender. A person can be asexual and still get married. A person can be asexual and still have sex. Sex simply isn’t that person’s primary means of navigating relationships or the world.

And while I do not believe Akira Toriyama meant to write Goku as ace, in creating a chaste hero, who (especially in Dragon Ball) has no concept of sex or sexuality, Goku can become an asexual icon. Toriyama’s intent does not matter. It is the character he created and what Goku can mean for generations of asexual people to have a hero we can see ourselves in.

This is huge for the asexual community. We do not have ace heroes of any gender to look up to! We have to scrounge and dig and create head canons just so we can claim characters as our own. I claim Goku as asexual because he’s so much more than a sexual orientation. He’s the epitome of Get Up and Try Harder. He loves his family and his friends with such an intensity that they are the world he protects. I claim Goku as asexual because love is more than sexual love and Goku is my reminder of how this love can motivate us.

Goku is my hero. One day, I hope we do not have to rely on head canons to have asexual heroes in our lives.

goku