I hadn’t been planning to write a blog post tonight, but the significance of today is too important to ignore. So, here goes, and forgive me if the thoughts I want to communicate don’t come out perfect: Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day. Basically, this is a date to commemorate the progress women have made throughout the world, honor the women who pushed for that progress, and recognize the progress that still needs to be gained to ensure that women worldwide have equal rights and opportunities.
For most of this week so far, I’ve been trying to write an epic post inspired by a certain site’s writing prompt. I’ve had a hard time trying to formulate a response to that post, in part because I’m taking a look at the subject with a far-too-broad scope. So, to keep my writing spirits up, I’ll fall back on another subject I’ve had percolating. Take a look at the following quote I came across a while back from the famous actress Marlene Dietrich:
“I am at heart a gentleman.”
Ms. Dietrich was a woman known for defying sexual and gender roles. I mean, she looked just as glamorous in a top hat and tails as she did in a cocktail dress, not to mention having dalliances with both men and women. You could consider that quote a summary of Marlene blurring those gender and sexual lines.
Reading her quote, I took it to heart in a somewhat similar way, in that beneath all the wigs, blouses, skirts, dresses, pantyhose, and heels I may wear is a gentleman. No, I’m don’t mean the “bro” type of gentleman who would drive a truck, down a beer or two (or several), root for the home team at the top of their lungs, and treat women as some sex object. Au contraire, mes amis (or should I say, Im Gegenteil, meine Freunde to acknowledge Ms. Dietrich’s German background), for I try to emphasize the “gentle” in “gentleman.”
I consider myself the type who treats women of all stripes — young and old; black, white, or other; cis-gender or trans — with respect and dignity. I feel it comes from the strong women I’ve encountered throughout my life, from those in my family to those in my places of employment. I’d dare say some of it comes from dressing up as a woman, too. While I may sometimes dress in an alluring and eye-catching way, I do it with the intention of presenting my feminine side in a respective way.
So, if you were to come across me somewhere (online, in person, however), know that while I may present myself as female, know that I am, at heart, a true gentleman.
Perhaps you’ve heard by now about a little series on Hulu called The Handmaid’s Tale. The show, whose first season is being released episode-by-episode as of this writing and which has been renewed for a second season, is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel set in a dystopian future where religious autocrats have taken over what used to be the United States; have stripped away human rights in general and women’s rights in particular; and have subjugated fertile women into a life in which they’re nothing more than, uh, baby-making machines for the privileged (and barren) upper class.
So far, The Handmaid’s Tale has been critically well received, and has certainly gained notice from those like… uh, [sheepishly raises hand] me who do not have a Hulu subscription (note to self: buy it on DVD if and when it comes out) for what have been described as powerful and engrossing acting, writing, and visuals. Of course, one other reason for that notice is how it seems to be an ominous warning. Even though Season 1 went into production well before You Know Who was elected You Know What, the show seems to serve as an advisory for what may lie ahead for society while You Know Who’s cronies desire to take away rights and make America in their own misguided image. It’s part of the reason one critic has labeled the show the most important of this spring.
With The Handmaid’s Tale having such a dark tone and provocative subject matter, one would think it would not be ripe for parody by a satirical outlet such as, say, Saturday Night Live. Well… one would be wrong.
I really, really wanted to write about another topic in this post, but it’s a somewhat complex topic that can wait for another day. But I will be able here to clear out a couple of bookmarks related to..
Yep, Supergirl! I must be upfront that although I will watch an episode or two of a comic book-inspired show or motion picture on television, I don’t make a regular habit of tuning in, Supergirl included. (Note to self: It’s good to diversify your TV habits away from all sports all the time.) Part of the reason is that I’m preoccupied by other adult things, sorry. However, I must single out Supergirl for the route it has taken in its second and current season, with episodes obliquely or downright directly tackling real life issues we mortal earthlings are currently facing. Earlier this month, Supergirl aired an episode that had vividly clear and unadulterated parallels to the real life issue of welcoming and tolerating immigrants in the United States. And back in November — right after You Know Who was elected You Know What — one of the show’s significant characters, Alex Danvers (AKA the adoptive sister of Kara/Supergirl), disclosed her attraction for another woman in an episode that was a real pick-me-up from a distressing and horribly impacting election.
My previous post was rather obliquely about the Women’s March that occurred here in Madison last Saturday (January 21), but… wait, you thought the only Women’s March occurred in Washington last weekend? I’ll just presume you weren’t paying attention to the news, because in nearly 600 locales here in the United States and worldwide, millions of people took to the streets to highlight very important issues in society, including but not limited to health care, environment, and women’s and racial issues, as well as stand up to the very ugly, hateful, and misogynistic culture that the new leadership the U.S., fronted by a certain thin-orange-skinned leader, is so easily propagating.
Well, tomorrow (January 20), You Know Who will ascend to you know what. Oh, don’t deny that you know who I’m referring to; we all know what’s been going down the past 2+ months and what will go down tomorrow. It has been and will be an earth-shattering adjustment we’ll all have to deal with.
If there’s one word that’s been running through my mind the past couple of months, it’s “uncertainty.” We know there will be damage done over the next 4 years; we just don’t know what kind of damage, nor do we know how much or how severe it will be.
I think it’s human nature for uncertainty to plague a person’s mind. I think it’s also natural to give uncertainty a physical, or at least visual, representation.
“The Great Unknown”
I enjoyed these years of warmth
I loved being bathed in all this happiness
I wish I could enjoy it more
But I can’t
It’s not that I don’t want to stay out here
And enjoy more of this warmth
It’s just that I have to go inside
Where it’s very cold
Honestly, I can’t see what’s in there
But I’ve heard of what does await me:
Hate towards me
Hate towards others like me
All because we’re not like them
The “them” that await inside
No, I can’t see what’s inside
But I know for sure what’s inside:
Capital D “Darkness”
Darkness upon Darkness
Absolute, unadulterated Darkness
Darkness we can’t yet see with our eyes
I am afraid
I am truly afraid
Afraid of how this Darkness will hurt me
And how it will hurt others like me
For this Darkness is just waiting to attack us
And destroy us
Until it’s victorious
And sees nothing that “threatens” them
I know, I know
I must go into this Darkness
But I can’t go
At least not without you
You are just like me
Or at least supportive of me
As I am supportive of you
So take my hand
Please, take my hand
We can’t survive alone
In that dark, dark Great Unknown
But I know we’ll be stronger
And make it through much better
If we go in there united and together
A warning before I go any further: This is a hard post for me to write, not just because I struggled with how to write it out but because of references (albeit as indirect as possible) to details of a brief yet dark and ugly moment in history, a moment where the legacy of those who were lost or affected should be recognized and remembered. It’s because of the references to that moment that you may find this post hard to digest. So, if you want to hit your browser’s “back” button and read some other post, I perfectly understand. But if you wish to read on, proceed with caution after the jump.