Just a few random thoughts on Dollhouse Ep 3 Stage Fright and BSG S4 Ep 17 Someone to Watch Over Me
Cut for Spoilers

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I love this. I love Feministing and I’ve always loved the Friday Feminist Fuck You segments. I’m not exactly proud that Montana is mentioned right off the bat this week, but I agree completely with what Miriam and Ann are saying in this installment: Anti-choicers Gone Wild!

Allow me to add some Montana specific details:

There are three bills right now that have my hackles up. First are a lovely pair of bills that have passed the Senate and will be transmitted to the House. SB 406 (Constitutionally Define a Person) and SB 46 (Protection of Unborn Life as a Compelling State Interest). You can find the bill info (who voted for or against) here SB406, SB46 and the actual bills here: SB406, SB46.

Why are these bills bad? Well, for one thing, they directly contravene the Montana Constitution’s right to privacy. Article II, Section 10 of the Montana State Constitution states: The right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest. (See what the sponsor of those bills did there?) Medical decisions between a woman and her doctor are most certainly private.

Also, defining a fetus as a person grants full rights to a fetus. This could potentially cause all kinds of craziness, including women being investigated for criminal endangerment in the case of a miscarriage. Did she eat right? Did she take any drugs that were bad for her fetus (but possibly necessary for herself)? Did she knowingly do anything that could possibly have endangered her fetus?

I’d also like to point out that Montana voters already pretty much rejected exactly this kind of legislation by failing to provide sufficient signatures for CI 100 last year.

Sen. Shockley has also introduced a rather entertaining bill, SB 497, which protects Clinic Protesters from being harassed the people entering a clinic. (Yeah, you read that right. Apparently the PROTESTERS need protection from the people entering the clinic.) The folks over at 4&20 Blackbirds have written about it. Again here is the bill info and the bill language. This bill is still in the Senate, as of this writing.

I am hoping that all of these bills fail in the state House. In the event that they pass, I have a hard time imagining that Gov. Schweitzer will sign them.

However, I don’t think it’s a good idea for any of us to sit back and expect them to fail. We must all contact our Representatives and let them know how we feel about these bills.

I know who my Senator and Representative are, and I’m lucky enough that they tend to agree with me on most things. However, if you’re not sure who your Senator and Rep are, it’s easy to find out and even easier to contact them.

1. You need to know your full zip code, which you can find here.
2. Using that zip code, the folks at Project Vote Smart will tell you who your Senator and Representatives are (scroll down).
3. Once you have that info you can go here to use the handy online form to contact your representatives. OR
3a. Between sessions you can go here to find their direct e-mail addresses.

I cannot overstate how important it is to contact your representatives to let them know that you want them to vote against these bills. Please write to them right away, even if (especially if?) you’re lucky enough to have representatives who agree with you.

And I’d like to say Thank YOU to the lovely ladies at Feministing, especially Miriam and Ann, for this week’s installment of Friday Feministing Fuck You. I hope my fellow Montanans will see it and contact their legislators right away.

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Like many feminists bloggers, I have a total crush on Sarah Haskins. Target Women is made of win.

This week, Sarah talks about beauty products and the way the ads use images and words that sort of appear to be… scientific.

Apparently I cannot figure out how to embed video on wordpress, which is weird. So for now, follow the link to current.com and I’ll figure out this whole embedding thing shortly.

Sexual Desire

February 17, 2009

Oooh, my first link post.

Via a quick hit at Feministing I found Amanda Marcotte’s blog post entitled Not Tonight, Honey, and Who Know’s Why?

Female Sexual Desire is one of those topics. Everybody talks about it but nobody seems to understand it. Ms. Marcotte puts forth some ideas regarding why so many women report low libido and how the current view of what constitutes a sexual problem is problematic. The entire article is interesting, but it was the final paragraph that really got my attention.

It’s an indicator of how male-dominated our society is that the fact that women have diminishing libidos and don’t seem to care that much about it is treated as the problem, when in fact it’s merely the symptom of a larger problem–that women feel overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, understimulated, and shamed about their bodies. If we treated the actual problems that women face, higher libidos would be the happy result, I’m sure. But in order to do that, we’d have to treat male domination like a problem to be solved, and since few people really want to do that, instead we’re left with articles that note women’s lack of libido, but carefully resist asking why.

I think Ms. Marcotte is probably correct, in a lot of cases. However, my own experience is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I have never been one of these ladies that has low libido. I’ve always been the one in the relationship who had the higher libido, which brings about its own problems. Rather than being made to feel that I’m a bad girlfriend for not wanting sex, I’ve been shamed (directly, by boyfriends) for wanting to have sex. As a direct result of this, I have a hard time initiating sex.

It seems as though we’re shamed if we want it and shamed if we don’t.

I suspect that, in addition to the potential causes Ms. Marcotte lists in her post, a lack of communication between couples is probably a major factor. As mentioned in her post, a recent episode of Mad Men showed the men wondering what the women want, but not even thinking to ask them. As of my reading, at least one commenter suggests that asking women what they want is futile, as it results in unintelligible answers.

I don’t know what to suggest beyond keeping the dialog open. If your significant other seems to have a drastically different libido than you do, talk about it, frankly and try not to be judgemental. You may find that the issue isn’t really libido at all.

I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. I just didn’t feel like it. In years past I’ve celebrated as part of a couple, when I was in a relationship, or celebrated my happy single self with other single friends. This year I actually pondered renting a bunch of horror movies and avoiding anything remotely romantic, but didn’t follow through.

I am not one of those who hates Valentine’s Day, single or not, though I do recognize that it’s a completely artificial holiday. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a day to pay special attention to your significant other (or others), or with finding other ways to celebrate or enjoy the day.

When in a relationship, I haven’t really felt that Valentine’s Day was a day when one partner was supposed to pull out all the stops for the other. (That’s what birthdays are for. But everybody has a birthday, so that tends to work out equally. :)) Romance really should go both ways and both partners should make an effort, whether on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary or just a special surprise.

I don’t think Valentine’s Day should be the only day we stop to honor our relationships (when we have them), but I learned long ago to be suspicious of men who don’t want to celebrate the day. My experience has been that men who protest that Valentine’s Day should be ignored, in favor of making time for their girlfriend year round, don’t actually follow through. Maybe that’s just my bad luck, but to a man, the men who were good boyfriends the rest of the year didn’t express reservations about celebrating Valentine’s Day and the ones who didn’t want to celebrate the day turned out to be inattentive in general. I don’t know if same gendered couples share this experience, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

What bothered me about Valentine’s Day this year was the extent to which I was made aware of the way our society is geared towards couples and how some people seem to think that single women simply cannot be happy. It’s not that I dislike being in a relationship. Dating can suck, certainly, but having someone special to spend time with, snuggle with and all those other things is nice.

On the other hand, I have grown attached to certain aspects of being single. It’s really nice to have my space and freedom. I’m one of those people who requires a lot of “me time” and it’s often difficult to get when in a relationship, particularly a new one. It can be hard to make your significant other understand that you need some time alone. It can be difficult to even find a way to broach the subject.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn just how much better it is to be single than it is to be in an unhappy relationship. I’m not being facetious. I see so many people stay in relationships that make them miserable, even getting married to people they don’t love, simply because they are afraid of being alone.

Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but I’m holding out for the right person. Even if it takes me until I’m 60 to meet that person, I don’t want to settle. In the mean time, I may miss certain things about being in a couple, but I’m content with myself and all this me time I get. Nobody should feel bad for me or doubt that I’m happy, though I’m sure the doubters will never be convinced.

Dollhouse Ep 1: Ghost

February 13, 2009

As an ardent fan of Joss Whedon, naturally I watched tonight’s premiere episode of Dollhouse, his new show on Fox.

First, let me say that I’m terrible at reviews. This is more synopsis than review, I suppose. Let that serve as a SPOILER WARNING. If you don’t want to be seriously spoiled on the first episode of Dollhouse, read no further!

I thought the episode was good. It started out strong and kept my interest. I think it should have plenty of appeal for audiences, if it got any tonight.

And just to be safe, once again:

    SPOILER WARNING!

Now, where were we? Oh yes, Ghost. The setup is quick but hits several key points. We meet Caroline. She is in a bad situation, but we don’t know what it is. She needs out. She just wanted to make a difference in the world, but actions have consequences. The Doll recruiter (Miss DeWitt) can make it go away, but Caroline’s contract would be for 5 years.

We’re getting into the issue of consent right away. How real was Caroline’s consent? Did she really have a choice?

From here, we jump into some action. Caroline, or whoever Caroline has been turned into, is racing a motor cycle. The guy she’s racing turns out to be a weekend fling. He has contracted her services for a perfect weekend with a girl who likes to race and enjoys a bit of bondage. Here we learn that the doll’s programming seems to include a timer. When the contract is up Caroline turns, walks out of the club and gets into a waiting van. She chats with her handler on the way back to the dollhouse and we get the impression that she was really enjoying herself. She wants to go back, after her “treatment.”

Instead, her mind is wiped and she turns back into Echo.

More action comes as we’re setup for the next part of the story. A little girl is kidnapped while on the phone with her dad.

Back in the dollhouse, Echo’s handler and doctor seem to be having their doubts. They’re not entirely comfortable with the situation. It seems clear that we’ll be getting back to this in future episodes.

We also see Echo exploring the dollhouse. Her personality is childlike. She is curious and sensitive. Echo is distressed to find another active in pain during some sort of extra tough imprinting process, but is easily distracted and guided away to her massage.

The father of the kidnapped girl contracts with the dollhouse for a negotiator, who turns out to be Echo, with a personality imprint called Ellie Penn. Ellie is nearsighted. We learn that the imprints are based on real people and come with flaws. In addition to her nearsightedness, Ellie has asthma.

Upon meeting Miss Penn, the father has his doubts. She’s a beautiful woman and he doesn’t take her seriously. Doesn’t think she can do the job. He pushes, and despite being warned not to discuss anything related to the dollhouse, he says a few things that seem to cause Ellie some distress. She has flashes of the pained active Echo saw. He also gets Ellie to admit that she was kidnapped, held and abused when she was a little girl.

Ellie negotiates the ransom and she goes with the father to the drop. There, she recognizes one of the kidnappers, freaks out a bit and has a bad asthma attack. She tells the father not to let them go and that they’re not going to give the little girl back. He gets shot and her handler shoots the lead kidnapper.

The handler goes to Ellie & suggests that she might want a treatment. Back at the dollhouse, this seems to have been the wrong thing to do. Handlers aren’t suppose to interfere. Ellie goes to get her treatment while her handler argues with Miss DeWitt that she should be allowed to finish working on the case and find the little girl. She has the knowledge. She recognized one of the kidnappers from one of the personalities in her imprint. Miss DeWitt doesn’t seem to be willing to let Ellie finish the case, but in the end, Ellie’s treatment doesn’t seem to have been a mind wipe. She’s still Ellie and they go after the girl.

We get a bit more negotiation and more violence, but the girl is saved in the end.

Throughout all of this is the side story of Paul Ballard, an agent investigating the Dollhouse. He appears to be a bit Mulderesque. He believes in the existence of the dollhouse, despite a lack of evidence and he’s crossing lines and messing up other investigations in order to get to the truth.

Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable episode. There was a lot to introduce in a short amount of time, but I think it was done effectively. I think it did a great job in revealing the central concepts of the dollhouse and how the actives work. Some of it felt a touch heavy handed, but I think it may have been done to avoid confusing the audience.

The episode included was action, mystery, ethical dilemma and really attractive actors. Something there to appeal to a lot of different viewers.

The jumps back and forth between the various story threads were well timed and added to the experience rather than making it confusing or hard to follow.

I can’t judge much of the acting yet, except for that of Eliza Dushku. She did a great job making the 4 personalities distinct from each other. And as always, she was great fun to watch.

I’ll be looking forward to more character development. The handler and doctor both seem to have back stories worth getting into. And Miss DeWitt may also prove interesting. So far she seems very cold and calculating which almost certainly means there’s a giant chink in her armour that we’ll be exploring at some point.

The overall setup was strong and will hopefully bring the audience back next week. Joss Whedon posted to Whedonesque that he’s most proud of episode 6, so I hope we get that far. The time slot isn’t the best, but hopefully people will have DVR’d the episode, or watch it on Hulu. I think Dollhouse has a lot of promise and I’d like to see it continue.