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Can Men Write Women?

Can Men Write Women?

Feb 26

Writers: stop (writing dumb things?)

Imagine you are a different person.

Not just a different version of yourself, maybe smarter, or stronger, or with magic powers, but a different person entirely. A different gender, race, sexuality, religion. Imagine you grew up rich, or dirt poor. Imagine you are an Armenia teenager who helps his widower father run a stall at a fish market. Imagine you are your next door neighbour. Imagine you are China’s first transgender ballerina. Imagine you grew up consuming different media, fancying different people, being called by different pronouns.

Can you imagine the entire inner and outer life of a person whose experience is completely different from yours?

This is the exercise that writers are asked to undertake. Unless we choose to write very true to our own experiences, then we have to be able to get inside the heads of people who are different to us. Sometimes these characters need little more than a basic wire framework of experience and personality. However, central characters need to be more than just a cardboard cutout. They need life, and that life generally requires some note of authenticity.

There are some very basic tenants or characterisation that any not-completely-awful writer will know; things like not reducing a character to a single trait or quirk, not making them a stereotype, and ideally, not defining them entirely through their relationship to another character. It can be a little more difficult to write ‘authentic’ emotions, but this is where the writer employs both their own experience and their ability to empathise (fairly essential to the majority of quality writing). As long as the author has experienced a reasonably wide range of emotions – happiness, anger, embarrassment, grief – they should be able to project their emotions onto their characters.

There are some emotional experiences, however, that can be extremely difficult to write accurately if the author has never experienced them. Empathy can only extend so far when it comes to accurately representing experiences such as: being an adopted Asian child growing up in a white Australian family; depression, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness; the tension of being a woman walking alone at night or the constant feeling of being watched and judged that comes with being female; the body dysmorphia that many trans people experience; being a homosexual child trying to figure out their crushes and whether or not they are ‘normal’.

Even if these experiences do not occur within the story itself, they will affect the lives of the characters, their personalities and how they behave. Can a writer who has not had these experiences convincingly write a character who has inevitably had them as a part of their life?

It is not impossible for an author to write outside of their own emotional experiences. Many writers do it well. But it is far, far easier for a queer woman to write a straight male than it is for a straight male to write a queer woman. Why?

The stories of straight, white, cisgender men are everywhere.

Big beefy male action heroes, skinny male nerds, sensitive male musicians, wise, elderly male professors, unhinged male psychopaths, compelling male assholes, evil male villains, average joes, guys-next-door, male athletes, male politicians… the narrative landscape of our society is a veritable cock forest. Just about every possible model for ‘straight, white, cis dude’ has been done a hundred thousand times. Churning out a male character becomes almost second nature given just how often audiences are expected to identify with each and every one of them. That doesn’t mean they are bad characters, or that writing them is inherently lazy – rather that it is much easier to write a good male character with so many variations to build upon.

The dearth of other narratives means that writers must build much more on experiences that may be alien to them in order to create their characters. This requires a good deal of empathy and skill, and is often where many writers can tend to fall flat on their faces.

Because of the lack of wide variation in, say, female characters, writers who learn from those who’ve come before them can often end up regurgitating sexist tropes. Female characters can end up having their personalities revolve around the fact that they are female, i.e. they exhibit only traits associated with stereotypes of femininity (irrational moodiness, superficiality, mothering, etc.). While not always bad, these sorts of characters are usually pretty terrible and can bring down a narrative with otherwise well-written (male) characters. (The best way around this, of course, is to recognise the fact that women are multi-faceted people who can possess a variety of strengths and personalities and still  be interesting, well-rounded people. Game of Thrones is an excellent example of a show which contains a wide range of unique, powerful women.)

An alternative to this can be to write a character with a neutral model. This is sometimes done in films and video games, and has been responsible for some excellent female characters (Ripley from the Alien films was written this way, and she frequently ranks highly on feminists’ lists of best female characters). However, there is a limit to the sorts of narratives these ‘neutral’ characters can inhabit; sometimes plots are about a character’s gender, or race, or sexuality, and while gender may be irrelevant in a sci-fi or dystopia, it probably makes a difference in stories about the American Civil War or a romantic dramedy set in a Catholic high school (these are also stories in which gender by necessity intersects with issues of race/sexuality/etc., other issues generally irrelevant to the narrative of the straight, white, cis dude). Gender and race are also usually fairly visible in ways other traits may not be. While no character should be defined by their sexuality or their gender identity or their faith, these issues shouldn’t be invisible; the “Dumbledore was gay all along” model is a fairly lazy method of representation and is unlikely to get your writing a tick from anyone other than well-meaning straight people.

Ultimately, the best way to write a character outside of our own experiences is to do a lot of research, and never presume to be able to tell the story of someone with different experiences to us better than someone who has had those experiences. If you think it’s too much effort to research what it’s like to be trans and think you do a better job all on your own (looking at you, Jeffrey Eugenides), then think about the amount of time you’ve spent researching the Middle Ages, or how planes work, or how to dispose of a body, or how to survive a gunshot wound, all for the sake of a throwaway line in a story you stuck in a drawer. If we can do all that to provide authentic details, then we can research a character at least well enough that we aren’t going to misrepresent and offend an entire group of people.

It may be impossible to write a character that isn’t you in a way that is truly convincing. That doesn’t make you a bad writer. Writers are also not necessarily obligated to write characters who aren’t straight, white, cisgender males. We don’t have to write anything we don’t want to write. But if we really want to try to be good writers, then we probably should.

[Image: flickr]

Why I Am Anti-Guns

Why I Am Anti-Guns

Feb 03

Before I start this article, I am going to say outright that this is a personal opinion based on personal experiences. I have heard pro-gun arguments, but I have yet to be convinced. This isn’t a commentary on if gun controls would or would not work, it’s just an opinion of why I believe guns should not be allowed to civilians. If you feel offended by anti-gun opinions, I’m not going to ask you to leave. I want you to stay and hopefully give you another side to weigh in, and if you feel that I have not considered something or agree with the tone of this article, please comment (nicely) below.

One disclaimer later.

When I was fourteen I was in Europe for their winter. We had already stayed at my grandmother’s house for 2 months and my brother and I were bored out of our skulls (we didn’t know anyone, weren’t old enough to go outside by ourselves ).

My dad had a childhood friend visit him over this period, who happened to be in the police force, he invited my brother (who was 12 at the time) to go into the mountains to do some shooting. I insisted that I go as well because it sounded cool and had nothing else to do.

So a week later I found myself in the mountains, in the freezing weather, orange vest and mufflers donned, a pistol in hand and a rifle in the boot of the car. I remembered being surprised at how heavy the pistol felt in my hand. I fired the pistol and was a fair shot for a fourteen year old first timer, who sucked at first person shooter games. My brother had great aim and hit most of the beer cans and shot the centre of circular targets. At that point I thought nothing of it; it was just aim and pull the trigger. When we switched over to rifles that’s when my whole view of guns changed.

I had terrible aim and couldn’t control the rifle properly. I would hit the target as often as I had missed it. It was then I saw the power that it had as it splintered through trees. My shoulder was starting to get sore, so we took a 20/30 minute break to warm ourselves up with some tea and warm water. When we came back from the break my shoulder was still sore, but I was determined to get it right. I took aim, resolved to get it in the centre of the target. From the corner of my eye I saw something moving, but before my mind had registered that there was a living animal, I had already fired. Luckily I missed her and by a long shot too.

However, the noise of the rifle had frightened her and she froze, covering my target. She was a doe. I remembered thinking she was bigger than what I imagined a doe would be, but I didn’t think much else. From the outside it probably looked like we were holding a staring contest. Both of us frozen, not knowing what to do. She was scared, her ribs were contracting and expanding rapidly and all I felt in that moment was horrible guilt. I knew I wasn’t trying to shoot her, I knew that my bullet went nowhere near her. But she didn’t know and I felt such tremendous helplessness at not being able to communicate this. Even though I was holding a rifle in hand, I felt all of 2 inches tall. Yet at the same time, I felt like a savage with an oversized club. It was then my whole thinking about guns changed. Guns aren’t cool, they aren’t fun. They are weapons, designed to hurt and kill. It doesn’t matter what reason goes behind shooting one, they have one function.

I’ve also come to realise that guns are the weapons of the weak. They are weapons of those who are at the end of the rope, who have to take things by force and who want to oppress others. Guns show you the insecurities people have and how they hold their own lives, livelihood and people in higher regard than others’. Guns only make you strong, if you are weak.

I have heard the argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That is true enough but why give people that option? Why make it easy for heated arguments to turn fatal? Why make it easier for perpetrators to assault or even kill us? Does a gun in the house mean anything once there is a gun to your head? It is only too easy for people to do the wrong thing with a gun, or to have an accident with one. Also, what gives anyone the right to hold another person’s life in their hands?

preschool500

People who pose with guns to me are the biggest tools. To me they clearly don’t have the responsibility to be holding one. “Yeah, look at me; I’m so cool holding a gun”. No you aren’t cool, you are holding a weapon that can kill. Grow up. And if it is yours I don’t want to be near you. Don’t own or even look at a weapon unless you understand the consequences of shooting it. One of the main reasons I don’t like shooting galleries is that they are there because people think it’s so great that they can hold a gun. They are there for people to get the chance to take the “cool perspective” photo, without ever thinking of the terrible damage it does. Do you really think holding a gun makes you look cool? Oh so you’ve held a gun. Whoop dee doo. Aren’t you special? Now that I know you are insecure enough to need a gun photo in your life, can we move on? Also there is something very sick about giving these people guns to shoot at people-shaped targets.

Nerf guns, paintball, console games and laser tag are completely different. They don’t have real life consequences, nor can they pose future threats of fatality (unless you are really creative). I have no problems with games that simulate guns, you can play with friends, have a laugh while no one gets hurt (at least most of the time). It is a form of make believe and play. This is my stance and until the zombie virus breaks out, I’m going to stick to it.

What about you? What are your stances? If you are pro-gun why? If you aren’t, why not? Leave a comment below!

{Image source: moveon}

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Do we like the kick-ass feminism?

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Do we like the kick-ass feminism?

Jan 07

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While the spin-off show from Once Upon a Time hasn’t been getting the greatest reviews, I think there’s something to be said for the feminism in the last episode I watched. Yes, it’s been awhile since it aired, but I’m just catching up now! It’s been a busy year.

Let’s back-track for the non-Once Upon a Time watchers out there. Basically, the initial show involves fairytale characters who had been thrown back into the real world because of the evil queen’s nasty spell that she cast to punish Snow White because she hates her so. The show flicks back and forth through time and fairy tale worlds, weaving together all the Disney fairy tales rather cleverly. At first I was really disappointed that the show didn’t take more from original fairy tales instead of drawing on Disney’s bastardisation of them – then I realised the show is actually made by Disney.

And they did make Mulan bisexual, so hey, let’s leave that be for now.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was a sort-of spin-off. I say sort-of because we haven’t actually seen any characters from the original show here, not even any cameos or mentions of them (apart from a brief mention of the Mad Hatter, who appears in a few Once Upon a Time episodes). However, it uses the same sort of cannon – Alice has been to Wonderland, one of the many fairy realms. In fact, she’s been there twice, since the second time she wanted to come back with proof. Instead, she fell in love with a genie called Cyrus, who was being hunted by the Queen of Hearts and Jafar (yep, Aladdin’s Jafar from Agraba).

When Cyrus was captured, Alice returned to the real world without proof and was thrown into a mental institution. Where, of course, the white rabbit and the Knave of Hearts come and rescue her…back to Wonderland to rescue Cyrus.

There in itself, I’m pretty pleased. Yes, she’s a damsel that has had to be rescued, but she takes charge of the situation and flips it around to start a rescue mission of her own.

I’ll admit, the first few episodes didn’t really have me hooked – but I just watched the fourth episode (yes, I know I’m behind) and I’ve been mulling over the female characters here and I’m actually rather pleased.

It might become a bit more of a hefty article if I wrote EVERYTHING that I liked about the feminism in this show, so let me just explain what I think are the two most awesome bits, then you can comment if you agree/disagree/have a point to make about any of them:

Firstly, we have both a female and male villain – and, funnily enough, it is the male villain that is much more one-dimensional than the female villain. She’s not simply a woman scorned, she’s a woman who has done the scorning, and she shows frequent lapses in her evil-ness. The female villains in both this show AND the original show exhibit a much more multifaceted nature than most original Disney female villains. And a lot more motivation that simply, “I’m jealous of the prettier girl who’s going to end up killing me.” Jafar, on the other hand, is led by simple greed and revenge – which is still poor, but from the feminist lens, a refreshing take on the male villain.

Secondly, Alice is always saving men. She’s constantly saving the Knave of Hearts from sticky situations and is the clear leader of the pack. It’s her ‘quest’ and she leads the Knave around with strength and determination. She has every bit of the strength of the alpha male, without truly losing her femininity. She’s delivers a punch to the Queen of Hearts, and she hits like a girl, which is damn freaking hard!

I’m also really liking how they talk about whether Alice has become a woman or is still the little girl she used to be when she first visited Wonderland. That’s pretty awesome because they keep the vernacular feminine, while exhibiting that a woman can become tough and strong as she grows – without having to “grow balls” or “be a man” as the catch-phrases often go these days.

I’m impressed with the feminism in the show, and it’s one of the reasons I’m going to keep watching – because the visuals are definitely nothing to rave about and the story isn’t really grabbing me yet. Though genie Cyrus eye-candy is another reason to keep watching…

What do you think? Feminism in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland good or bad?

The Empty Hearse: Fanfic in Action for Sherlock Season 3

The Empty Hearse: Fanfic in Action for Sherlock Season 3

Jan 03

Spoiler Alert!

Please do not read if you want the surprises in Sherlock’s ‘The Empty Hearse’ to be fresh and new to you.

 

I’ve dragged myself away from my frantic tumblr-ing to write at length about the latest from the BBC’s Sherlock. Still reeling from farewelling my favourite Doctor a week ago, I was very anxious for the premiere of a series two years in the making. The dialogue and story were solid and seeing the cast back in the game felt like a reunion with dear friends.

Image courtesy of BBC

Image courtesy of the BBC

The third season’s long-awaited premiere, ‘The Empty Hearse’, sees our star detective return to London and reunite with the friends who thought him dead years after he apparently jumped off a city roof.

The dramatic act, having been confirmed as a faked death in the same episode, was just one of a number of major drawing points for fans eager for the program’s return. Season three arrived with the promised introduction of Dr. Watson’s fiancé, Mary Morstan.

The story of the episode did not disappoint. Two thrilling scenes involving a Guy Fawkes bonfire and a bomb in the underground train network (respectively) were thrilling to watch. Despite having the reassuring knowledge that this was only the first episode of a confirmed three-episode series, I still found myself sitting at the edge of my seat hoping that the tense situation wouldn’t spell the end for the recently reunited pair.

The cinematics were at their usual excellent standard, with some of the best scene changing I’ve ever seen occurring while Sherlock tells Mrs. Hudson just how displeased John is with his two-year deception. Scene changes between this conversation and clips of John’s ‘average day’ working as a G.P. are expertly put together to deliver laughs which just kept coming.

Many of these jokes tapped dangerously against the fourth wall. The brilliant opening sequence was, at least in this house, met with a spectacular mixture of horrified screams, delirious laughter and mute, mouth-gaping shock. I doubt I need to say anything beyond the loftiest of congratulations to Gatiss for creating such a ridiculous ‘explanation’ of Sherlock’s fall.

That said, if they continue to deepen my trust issues by feeding us fake stories about Sherlock’s miraculous survival, I might just have a nervous breakdown.

The pleasure I took from the episode is matched, however, by the disappointment and resentment I have for Sherlock’s co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

The overall feeling I’m taking away from ‘The Empty Hearse’ is irritation.

The episode itself was nearly faultless. In the end, I decided that it was the creators’ interaction with the fandom which soured what was otherwise an enjoyable experience.

Sherlockians have reacted with delight to the content in ‘The Empty Hearse’ which appears to have been inspired (or very coincidentally reflective) of fan headcanons. This phenomenon by itself, I think, can’t purely be a bad thing! I am stubbornly optimistic – with good reason (see Brian Fuller and Joss Whedon)! There are plenty of writers, producers and other crew working to create stories and characters because they share a common interests and passions with their audience.

Moffat and Gatiss have obviously enjoyed having a laugh with this episode and that alone is something I won’t begrudge any writer. But at more than one point during the show, I found myself wondering if they were laughing with us or if it was more a laugh at the fandom’s expense.

In this day and age, where fans can interact collectively with each other and the producers of their favourite shows with greater ease, the origin of the entertainment we consume is something I think we should be choosy about, or at the very least, be aware of.

Fans might have noticed the subtle absence of Sgt. Sally Donovan; the only female character who isn’t either a motherly figure, or a romantic interest (or wishing to be) of either John or Sherlock.

Given Moffat’s infamy for his difficulties with writing women (and his general attitude toward us as a whole), it’s hard to argue that their poor treatment is due to chance or other external factors.

It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that Donovan was merely irrelevant to the story. But it was a shame that she did not appear even in a non-speaking role; as a background character with the police, for instance; or alongside Lestrade listening to Anderson’s elaborate theories of Sherlock’s survival.

If Anderson was driven to obsession and near-insanity because of his involvement in antagonising Sherlock’s image in the first two seasons, one wonders what effect Sherlock’s apparent suicide had on Donovan; the Sergeant who was suspicious of Sherlock from Day One, and who was the primary character to bring police investigation onto him. It seems pretty doubtful that she wouldn’t have felt a little remorse over how events played out. And if she didn’t, I’d still like to know.

I wouldn’t go so far as to argue that Donovan’s M.I.A. status is a crucial flaw in the episode, nor would I argue that it is the decisive feature which proves or establishes sexist writing in Sherlock.

Thankfully, Molly Hooper and even the motherly Mrs. Hudson have strengths to their characters that aren’t wholly overridden by any determination to relegate them to ‘helpless female’ tropes. Likewise, John’s fiancé Mary Morstan had a promising start, proving herself smart (decoding a cryptic ransom text message, enlisting Sherlock’s help), witty (“I agree. I am the best thing that’s happened to you”) and charming to fans worldwide.

However, if Donovan’s exclusion was purely due to her irrelevance to the larger plot, we should ask why Moffat and Gatiss included the things that did make it to the final cut: Why it was necessary to represent Sherlock fans (in particular, female Sherlock fans) in the way which was chosen.

The slash fic mind who brought you the Sherlock/Moriarty co-conspiracy.

The mind who brought you the Sherlock/Moriarty co-conspiracy. — Image courtesy of the BBC

"On Wednesdays we wear deerstalkers."

“On Wednesdays we wear deerstalkers.” — Image courtesy of the BBC

On one hand, I had a giggle at what I was sure was Moffat’s voice coming through John’s mouth when he insisted to Mrs. Hudson, “Sherlock wasn’t my boyfriend!” and later on I laughed for a solid minute after my joking suggestion for Sherlock and Moriarty to kiss was suddenly obeyed.

After a while I found it patronizing more than entertaining: particularly having seen the respect with which Hannibal fans are treated by producer Bryan Fuller. Fuller, in an interview late last year for ET Online, describes an audience demographic similar to that of Sherlock‘s;

“A significant portion was young, smart, well-read women; they really responded to this show and I typically relate to young, bright ladies [laughs]. It was nice to see how enthusiastic and passionate they were.”

Fuller, of course, is well aware of the slash-fic which the ‘Fannibal’ community enjoys.

But unlike Moffat, he doesn’t make the fandom the butt of jokes (in the tv show or outside of it in interviews). He doesn’t condescend to his audience by pigeon-holing them into a caricature of what he thinks fans are like. Fuller treats the fandom as his intellectual equals;

“I feel like we’re peers and there is a mutual respect and that everybody is coming from a place of admiration [for the show].”

Dr. Lecter makes plenty of jokes which the audience can appreciate, being well aware of his dietary preferences; but Hannibal isn’t rife with declarations of “I’m not gay!” and outlandish daydream sequences serving as thinly-veiled jokes about the focus of the fandom.

Perhaps that’s because Hannibal is yet to reach its third season and, with it, the level of self-awareness enjoyed by Sherlock, nor the level of hiatus-induced madness afflicting its fandom. However, I doubt running time is the only differentiating factor between Fuller’s respect for Fannibals and Moffat’s general contempt for Sherlockians and (mostly female) Whovians. The track record for the latter, sadly, does him no favours.

Fuller should not be the exception in the plenty of opportunities which producers and writers have to give back to their audience.

There are plenty of ways to share a joke with your fandom which don’t involve belittling your fanbase.

There are plenty of ways to engage with your fandom which don’t involve ridiculous dream sequences bringing fanfiction to life. While this can be fun, the enjoyment is spoiled if your fans have to pause to wonder “is that all you think I watch this for?”

As a part of the Sherlock fandom, I personally know other fans (mostly young women my age) and I interact with even more fans online, internationally. I enjoy the jokes we share and the ships we envision – no matter how unrealistic.

But having been part of this fandom since 2011, I also know that there’s so much more to Sherlockians than our slash fics.

I’ve seen the most beautiful artwork. I’ve seen the deep thought which goes into forums analysing episodes as they come out. I’ve seen wonderfully detailed costumes worn by cosplayers who strive to bring the characters to life. I’ve seen countless fanvideos combining Sherlock with Doctor Who and Supernatural in clever, funny and heart-wrenching ways.

So when I think about the possibility that Moffat and Gatiss haven’t seen or don’t believe that this fandom is as creative, talented and smart as it is quirky and silly, it makes me sad!

A part of me wonders; is this honestly all Moffat and Gatiss think interests us? If so, is it necessarily a big deal? Is it even a problem if the show’s creators think we’re just a bunch of crazy shipping fangirls, so long as they provide us with the quality plot we thrive on?

'Virtuoso' by alicexz-d48qgre

‘Virtuoso’ by alicexz-d48qgre

There is nothing inherently harmful about having a good-natured chuckle at self-identified geeks. However, stereotypes are lazy at best and patronizing at their worst. Moffat risks alienating the very fans who support his work.

The Sherlock fandom probably seems strange to the outside eye: Our tendency to ship couples who canonically share nothing in common, or our social awkwardness, or our ‘oddball’ appearances or personalities. But I have come to expect better from Moffat, who (despite his faults) is a very clever and creative storyteller. At the very least, it’s incorrect to assume every Sherlock fan ticks all of those boxes.

While I have my reservations about how Moffat and Gatiss seem to treat the Sherlock fandom, I remain optimistic that this creator-to-consumer dialogue has been embraced in Sherlock like the way it has been in Doctor Who and Hannibal.

After being so excited for season three, watching ‘The Empty Hearse’, screaming my little heart out before eventually processing what happened, I have finally been able to look at it with a more critical gaze. I still enjoyed it and I don’t regret laughing at the lingering lovers’ gaze shared between Moriarty and Sherlock. I’m very glad knowing London is in capable hands – and while my love-hate relationship with Steven Moffat continues to be tested, there’s nothing that can stop me being ready with my tea and laptop for episode two.

Cosplay: Should Body Shape Matter?

Cosplay: Should Body Shape Matter?

Dec 26

I was watching Heroes of Cosplay, giving it a try, when an interesting issue was brought up. The issue of what matters in cosplay. I believe it was the second episode when they were discussing the idea of weight and most ofHarley Quinn the cast of that episode were saying that if a guy was three hundred pounds, he probably shouldn’t cosplay as Superman. To be fair I think they were talking about it in terms of competition, but it really hit a chord with me.

I understand that when cosplaying you want to be as similar to the character as possible and that in competitions likeness is very important. But what about craftsmanship? Or stage presence/the skit performace? Or the spirit of cosplay? I mean it is very rare that a person’s body would match up with everything he or she wants to cosplay. I am going from Blondie in Suckerpunch (who has a bit of a chest) to Enma Ai (a pre-pubescent girl). The characters are worlds apart in body type, but having neither of their body types has never stopped me. I think even from a competition perspective if a person has a better costume and better stage presence that they should rank over some person with a closer body type.

I won’t deny that having the body type of your characters would help sell your cosplay a whole lot more but that should be the bonus rather than what is really essential. I mean most character body types are impossible to achieve without surgery or at the least a ridiculously strict diet and gym regime anyway.

Cosplay is all about being the character you love and having fun. If you enter into competition then there is an added level of professionalism that needs to be in the costumes but that shouldn’t eclipse the having fun part or the love of ayayahan_fighting_stance character.

Of course there will always be douche-muffins who will say horrible things about a person’s body, but they have no lives, and you should never try to let that get to you!

However, I also have to say that if you are easily hurt by what people say, or feel self-conscious in a cosplay – maybe rethink it. You having a good time is all about being comfy, so if you want to push your boundaries, might I suggest baby steps?

So in summary: do things that will make you happy~! At the end of the day you will feel a lot better for it ^-^

{Image Source: Miya Strange, Yaya Han}

Homophobic security guards fired in Melbourne

Homophobic security guards fired in Melbourne

Dec 22

gay-geeks-prahran-hotel

According to The Gay News Network, reporting news from The Age, two security guards at at pub called the Prahran Hotel were fired after ejecting a man who was complaining about homophobic slurs from another patron.

The victim was a freelance journalist, Stephen Russell, who was celebrating a birthday at the pub, and he claims the offenders he was complaining about had been taunting them all evening.

Instead of getting riled up and starting a fight (which is an all too common scene here in Aus), he approached the bouncers. “I thought I was doing the right thing by going to them to report this other punter who had been hurling abuse at us all afternoon, and to my complete shock, the bouncer started getting really aggro with me.”

Russell claims the security guards said to him, “What do you want us to do? This is not a gay bar,” before being thrown from the premises with the reasoning that “faggots weren’t welcome”.

Of course, the pub’s owners did an internal investigation which eventually led to the sacking of both security guards involved. We can at least see there justice being done.

But that man’s night was still ruined, a birthday celebration was ruined. No amount of compensation or justice will ever let them get that back.

While it’s fantastic, and I applaud and thank the Prahran Hotel for making a statement that homophobic behaviour won’t be tolerated, why did they act this way in the first place? I know the hotel cannot be held accountable for the actions of a few individuals, but why is there no screening process in place? Why are security guards not informed of the pub’s policy to not tolerate homophobic behaviour?

The skeptic in me also leads me to wonder – did the Prahran Hotel really care about the homophobia, or are they only making these statements because the word got out and they had to look good in the press?

What do you think? Comment below!

[Photo Credit: Graham Less]

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