Lego needs a smack on its corporate head

They are making Lego for Girls!! BAD IDEA,LEGO! You are perpetuating the “pink” stereotype that women are trying so hard to eliminate. Don’t they pay attention to what’s going on in the the rest of the world?

What they need to do, instead of making and marketing what basically is a line of “Lego Barbies,” is to add a lot of female figures into their existing lines and market regular Lego to girls — as they did in their more enlightened era, back in 1981.

Don’t Lego idea people ever see any news items? They are 50 years behind the times. I have heard that even the business cards Lego provides to its employees (which always feature an image of a Lego figure of the employee’s choice) offer many different male figures for male employees; the females are supposed to choose between a nurse or a cheerleader.

Elsewhere in the interwebz — if those ill-informed decision makers would just look and follow links –there is a whole generation of females who are vocally and assertively trying to affect the stereotypical ways that females and female superheroes are portrayed by the comic book and fantasy game industries. Lego’s “girly” line is going against the kinds of enlightened attitudes that intelligent informed people want for their kids. (The kind of people who spend a lot of money on Lego products.)

Lego building blocks are the staple of my 9 year old grandson’s play and learning time. He and his female playmates all use the same Lego pieces (although I have had to buy extra female figures because so few come with the sets). In their play, females are cops, firefighters, construction workers, doctors, and moms; males are cops, firefighters, construction works, doctors, and dads.

Girlie Lego figures and sets are not the answer. Lego. The answer is to spend your money NOT making PINK Legos, but rather put your money into including more female figures who are professionals and then including girls in your advertising on an equal basis with boys.

Go here and email Lego a complaint about this issue.

“attention must be paid to such a person”

This title is a quote from Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” and it’s sticking in my mind after finishing a book I just couldn’t wait to finish and wish I could have memorized — Jennifer Stuller’s Inkstained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology.

Since I discovered Wonder Woman at about age 7 (1947) I have devoured all kinds of media that featured kick-ass females, and Stuller’s book brought me up to date on some of the ones who showed up over the past 20 years (when I slipped up a little on following my scholarly avocation.) Well, I didn’t slip up completely because I do know about many of those females to which she refers, from Aeon Flux to Zoe Washburn.

So here’s the challenge I would love to put out there to current fantasy/sci fi writers: create a female superhero who is older than 60 and still has powers she can and does use. (But don’t make her into a Granny Weatherwax.) Attention should be paid to such a person. IMHO. And no LOL.

Speaking of people who should be paid attention to, how come someone as social-media savvy, widely-well-read, prolifically articulate, comfortably creative, and energetically willing as The One True Bix can’t find a job??!!

HELLO, JOSS WHEDON, MUTANT ENEMY PRODUCTIONS, FANDOM INDUSTRIES, CAN YOU HEAR ME!

Attention should be paid to such a person. Certainly, a living wage should be paid to such a person.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother. Really.

_______________________________________________________

P.S. Someone should create an older female “superhero” — maybe one whose power is like that of the old “The Shadow” (“cloud men’s minds” to be able to outwit villains) and make a movie with Nichelle Nicholls as the star. She could be the mother of an existing younger female superhero. Great role model for mother-mentoring-daughter. And great counterpoint to current overly sexy female superheroes created by male fantasies. (Maybe her name could be Chhaya, which is the Hindu word for “shadow.”) Just sayin’.

One Million Pissed Off Women (OMPOW)

From here:

From breast pumps to Big Bird, and from food stamps to family planning, the GOP is waging a war on America’s women and children. Full-​fledged Republican battles against women now include anti-​abortion bills, anti-​contraception efforts, bills that literally would allow women to die in hospitals across America to protect “conscience rights” of doctors, attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, and GOP-​sponsored bills that reduce, hamper, or even attempt to eliminate women’s constitutional rights to abortion and reproductive health services.

Yes, despite the fact that 64% of Americans say unemployment and the economy in general are “the most important problems facing this country today,” the GOP has chosen to focus on effectively eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.

And so a new Facebook group has been formed:to raise awareness, consciousness, and the determination to fight back to a level where the lawmakers around the nation understand that women are 51% of the population and we are TIRED of others making our laws and decisions for us.

Founded in April of 2011, OMPOW’s Goal is to take action to bring about equality for all women. OMPOW plans to bring the Public Spotlight on Elected Officials and our Political Parties through accountability for their actions directly impacting women. We intend to work to eliminate discrimination and harassment against all women, in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

So, join OMPOW, and share the following with anyone and everyone who needs to read it.

From here:

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

Roots and Wings

(for lack of anything else to say, I’m posting here a poem a day)

I asked my mother to give me roots.
She smiled and left the cord uncut,
its far end snaking through
a lineage of cords untouched.
I clawed against its tether,
searching desperately for swords.

I asked my father to give me wings.
He stood away,
arms pressed heavy to his sides.
“Fly, fly!” his strained voice cried.
I raised my naked arms
and walked into the wind.

I asked my husband to share
with me the things he knew
of roots and wings.
He showed me scars
where his own still pressed
from deep below old broken skin.
I stumbled away,
a stolen blade tucked in my boot.

I asked my lover to show me
what he thought of roots and wings.
He climbed upon a fence
and sat away the days.

So I called the stones
to coil at my feet,
sharpened my blade to womansword,
and carved a path that spiraled
through a horizontal rain.

And the roots became wings.
And the wings became roots.

And now I flow among the sands,
cold and knowing;
I rise, unbridled,
light among the dust.

c elf 1980s

turnaround fantasy

The following is my response to the visual prompt of Magpie Tales #58. Go to the site for links to the responses of other writers.

Turnaround Fantasy

In my dreams I saw a warrior,
caped in scarlet velvet,
with eyes as green as spring mischief
and legs as strong as the golden mare they rode.

The warrior ranged the ragged cliffs
above a raging sea,
rescuing damsels in distress
and returning ancient thrones
to rightful heirs.

And when the moon was full,
the warrior would ride to the village
and make music, and laughter, and
even, love.

And, one one of those moonfull nights
I asked the warrior:
‘What do you seek?”

And the warrior answered:
“I seek a knight in shining armor,
with eyes as daring as the autumn seas
and hands as gentle
as the brush of his stallion’s silver mane —

A knight who rides the wooded hillsides
and rain-washed valleys
rescuing damsels in distress
and returning ancient thrones
to rightful heirs.”

Then,
in the startling shadows,
I saw a dark longing
drown the mischief in her eyes,
as the warrior turned
to face the moon.

(copyright Elaine Frankonis)

The Real Wonder Woman
vs David E. Kelley

If you’re not a member of the fandom community, you probably don’t know about the growing criticism of NBC for choosing David E. Kelley to write the script for a new series about Wonder Woman. (Just Google “Wonder Woman David E. Kelley” and you’ll find out more than you really want to know).

As a more than half-century fan of Wonder Woman, and as a shorter term fan of Kelley’s previous tv scripts, there’s something I want to say.

It’s a matter of “awe.”

Kelley’s female characters, such as Allie McBeal, have been criticized for being anti-feminist. I maintain that those characters are not meant to be “archetypes” or “heroes.” Neither inspiration nor role models, rather they emerge from some small portion of female idiosyncrasies with which many of us identify and also recognize as not necessarily the best of what we are. Actually, his male characters develop the same way, portrayed as flawed and human in ways that make us smile with poignant understanding.

But that’s not what Wonder Woman was ever meant to be. Wonder Woman was never meant to be fully human. As I blogged once before and quoted from here:

From her inception, Wonder Woman was not out to just stop criminals, but to reform them. On a small island off Paradise Island was Transformation Island, a rehabilitation complex created by the Amazons to house and reform criminals.

Armed with her bulletproof bracelets, magic lasso, and her amazonian training, Princess Diana was the archetype of the perfect woman from the mind of her creator, William Moulton Marston. She was beautiful, intelligent, strong, but still possessed a soft side. At that time, her powers came from ‘Amazon Concentration,’ not as a gift from the gods.

Wonder Woman’s magic lasso was supposedly forged from the Magic Girdle of Aphrodite, which Queen Hippolyta (Wonder Woman’s) mother was bequeathed by the Goddess. Hephastateus borrowed the belt, removed links from it, and that is where the magic lasso came from. It was unbreakable, infinitely stretchable, and could make all who are encircled in it tell the truth.

That was the Wonder Woman who inspired me as a 7-year old who felt that she never did fit into her family of origin, the pre-teener and teenager who yearned for a role as an adult that didn’t fit into the 50s mentality.

While Allie McBeal made us smile because we see part of ourselves in her antics, Wonder Woman makes us dream about what we might still become. Male or female, we need awesome and inspiring mythologies to propel us out of the ordinary and problematic parts of ourselves that characters like Allie so touchingly reflect.

Kelley’s “Harry’s Law” starring Kathy Bates is my new favorite show (even though the part was originally written for a male.) But Harriet is not an archetype either. She’s a very specific kind of individual with very human personality traits. We might find her inspiring, but not really “awesome.”

We females need Wonder Woman as the awesome myth she originally was intended to be — connected to other mythic females on Paradise Island more than she is to the mundane human world in which she has to find a place. Her struggle is to fulfill her destiny while still finding a way to make and enjoy her place in the everyday world.

Because isn’t that what so many of us still feel is our psychological destiny — to feel the power of our mythic history and to use that power to make the world a better place for others and for ourselves?

Maybe David E. Kelley can write Wonder Woman the way she deserves to be written. Maybe. But I can’t help feeling that Joss Whedon (who understood why we were awed by his Buffy) would have been a much better choice.

Please, Mr. Kelley, don’t dilute the awesomeness of Wonder Woman. She doesn’t deserve it. And neither do we.

The History of the Universe
as Told By Wonder Woman

The production of an independent film, titled above, depends on the filmmakers raising $10,000 by the end of the month. As a Wonder Woman fan since 1957, I’m looking forward to seeing this film, and I even donated. You can too.

This is how the filmmakers describe their project:

The goal of the film is to explore how female heroes have fared in popular culture. We’re using Wonder Woman as the central figure in this story, as she’s the rare example of a female hero who doesn’t require rescue and determines her own actions and adventures. The film not only serves as an inquiry into our evolving values about women as agents of strength, authority and leadership, but also reminds us of our common need — no matter our gender, race, class or sexual orientation — for stories that tell us we can all be heroes.

You can donate as little as a dollar or as much as you want. $35 or more gets you a free signed DVD of the completed movie. Watch the trailer. You’ll be hooked.

Where Goes Wonder Woman??

I am a year older than Wonder Woman, and she was my favorite comic book character beginning on the day I first walked into Mr. Wellman’s candy store and discovered her on the shelves.

wonder woman

But today’s comic publisher is going to turn her into something she was never meant to be, and I, personally resent the insulting “updating.”

My Wonder Woman had a past, a “backstory” worthy of her mythic and iconic stature. From here:

From her inception, Wonder Woman was not out to just stop criminals, but to reform them. On a small island off Paradise Island was Transformation Island, a rehabilitation complex created by the Amazons to house and reform criminals.

Armed with her bulletproof bracelets, magic lasso, and her amazonian training, Princess Diana was the archetype of the perfect woman from the mind of her creator, William Moulton Marston. She was beautiful, intelligent, strong, but still possessed a soft side. At that time, her powers came from ‘Amazon Concentration,’ not as a gift from the gods.

Wonder Woman’s magic lasso was supposedly forged from the Magic Girdle of Aphrodite, which Queen Hippolyta (Wonder Woman’s) mother was bequeathed by the Goddess. Hephastateus borrowed the belt, removed links from it, and that is where the magic lasso came from. It was unbreakable, infinitely stretchable, and could make all who are encircled in it tell the truth.

I first become interested in Greek and Roman mythology because of that original Wonder Woman story.

But now “they” are going to change all that — make her a Superman Clone.

They are taking the awesome “wonder” out of Wonder Woman, and I don’t like it at all.

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No, neither I nor my keyboard has gone completely haywire.

The above are the first lines of the results of geneticists’ efforts to sequence the genes of the swine flu (renamed H1N1).

I don’t understand any of that scientific mumbo jumbo. I also don’t understand why (from Harper’s Weekly):

Egypt, which has no cases of the flu, ordered all its pigs killed, especially slum pigs; police at Manshiyat Nasr slum fired tear gas and rubber bullets at rioting Coptic Christian pig farmers.

Well, I guess I do understand why. I just think it’s stupid.

Some sciences might be awfully hard for lots of people to understand, but, I swear, even more often, I find it hard to understand the people who don’t understand.

I watch my home-schooled grandson as he moves each day toward understanding more. While he already knows “where babies come from,” my daughter has been waiting for him to ask how they got there. And he finally did, the other day.

Using videos on the web and available books designed to help children understand the process of conception, gestation, and birth, my daughter is helping her son to begin to grasp the complexity of it all.

While I am unswervingly Pro Choice, I also understand the awesomeness of fetal development. And that’s why I don’t understand why those who oppose abortion don’t make a big deal of disseminating information about how babies come to be and how “sacred” (see 5th definition here) and amazing the actual, factual process is. I wonder, if young children were instilled with awe while explained the facts, would they be more likely, as teenagers, to avoid unwanted pregnancies — not out of fear of some god, but rather because they would value life more. Maybe it shouldn’t be called “sex education.” Maybe it should be called something more scientific, like “human procreation.”

C’mon, even Sarah Palin’s daughter admits that abstinence doesn’t work. She certainly has learned that from her own experience.

Knowledge and understanding can sidetrack many bad decisions, and “knowing” and “understanding” are not the same thing. If children truly were helped to understand the scientific marvel that they are as human organisms — right from the very beginning — perhaps as they mature, they would have more respect for themselves and for other living things. And then, maybe, abortions wouldn’t be necessary except in extreme cases.

Of course, I’m just speculating. What do I know? I’m just a little ol’ grandma raising hell at the keyboard and trying to understand this world that seems to be “going to hell in a handbasket.” (Hmm. Why a handbasket, I wonder.)

Some extreme things that are happening I understand and accept, some I understand but despise, and some I just don’t understand. All of the above are reflected in the following, again lifted from Harper’s Weekly Review:

Sweden recognized same-sex marriages.

A food-service industry survey found that schoolchildren would like to replace lunch ladies with robots.

Kenyan women’s organizations called for wives to boycott sex, and for prostitutes to be paid not to work, until leaders in the coalition government stop feuding.

South Korea bioengineered four fluorescent beagles

A senior Buddhist monk in Thailand named Phra Maha Wudhijaya Vajiramedhi vowed to teach gay and transgender Thai monks better manners, which would include the elimination of their pink purses, their sculpted eyebrows, and their revealingly tight robes.

Officials in New Delhi were investigating the case of Shanno Khan, an 11-year-old girl whose teacher allegedly forced her to stand in the hot sun for two hours as a punishment for not doing her homework, ignoring Khan when she promised to learn her alphabet and begged for water. The girl fainted and was hospitalized. “I never want to go to school again,” she told her mother, and died a day later.