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Today I shaved my head after helping raise money for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (you can still donate here if you’re interested).
I’ve been incredibly excited about it ever since my friend Alaina asked me if I would be interested in participating. Especially since my mother had a cancer scare over winter break. I realized that not everyone is so lucky. Many aren’t so lucky and they have to go through treatments and lose their energy and face their own mortality. I figured if I could so some small thing to help then I should. I ended up raising $340 dollars.
My excitement turned to anxiety on Friday. I’ve been worried ever since. I’ve been stressed since I woke up this morning. Finally 7 pm came and I went over to Brian and Alaina’s. I was fine most of the time until the actual head shaving commenced an hour later. Steve went first and I started shaking. I nearly started crying at one point. I was lucky enough to have a ton of friends with me who were incredibly supportive <3
It all got me thinking. For women, hair is part of our identity. At least, that’s what we’re told through nearly every aspect of society. My dad hates the fact that I shaved my head. Women with shaved heads are assumed to be lesbians, and even more than that, “dykes.” There’s nothing wrong with being these things, of course, but it’s not me. I spend my life fighting all kinds of -isms, phobias, and stereotypes, but I’m not the type of person that can handle doing sexuality or gender bending.
I’m still not sure how I feel. It’s all very conflicting. I’m going to try to write more about things tomorrow…
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…and I’m finding it’s really hard to find a school with a good Women’s/Gender Studies program in an area that I’m willing to go. What is even more limiting is that I want to find a school with an active chapter of my (co-ed service) fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. So far that gives me UB, UCLA, and Ohio State. What’s more is I need to contact each of these chapters and find out how they deal with Grad students because I would really like to be active in the fraternity throughout Grad school (and really, for the rest of my life).
I won’t be going to Grad school until fall 2013, mainly because it’s too late to apply for everything now, but also because I’m totally lacking on funds. I’m also waiting for Josh to graduate because he is picking up and going with me, wherever it is I end up.
If anyone out there knows of any awesome programs at other schools with an APO chapter, let me know! I’m a bit limited on where I’m willing to move, but maybe I’ve missed something.
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As a woman and a gamer I have been incredibly excited ever since I heard about Lollipop Chainsaw. I mean who doesn’t love a woman that can kick some zombie ass?
However, I can’t help but notice various problems with the way the game is being presented. The first thing we see in the trailer is a colorful sky ungulfing the WB water tower which quickly changes to darker, but still feminine colors with a giant heart in the middle of the screen. Then we get our first glimpse of Juliet, our player. We see her pulling the wrapper of a lollipop off with her teeth, seductively licking it followed by a clip of her ass as she walks, skirt swaying side to side followed by the words “Meet Juliet”. Well I’ve met her mouth and her ass so far. Finally, she bites the lollipop. We still haven’t seen her entire face.
This is a problem. We are presented with this character, the woman we are supposed to be respecting, and we know nothing about her. She is nothing but an object so far, her mouth and behind being shown off as if they are for sale (then again - they are). One could argue that her biting the lollipop is meant to signal castration, making Juliet incredibly powerful and someone men should fear.
Next we get a better shot of Juliet flipping her hair, followed by the words “A Cheerleader.” Ok, so we know her name is Juliet and she is a cheerleader. That still doesn’t tell us much about our character here. Oh, wait, we’ve met her ass and her mouth as well, maybe we do know enough (insert eye-roll here). This is followed by ground level shots of Juliet jumping around, giving us glimpses up her shirt (yes, you can see breast) and skirt. Then we find out she has “a Big Secret.” Finally, out come the zombies and we see Juliet with a chainsaw. It’s not just any chainsaw, though, this chainsaw has a heart cut out of the blade! At one point she is attacked by a zombie and, while she kills it, he lands on top of her which conjures quite the sexual imagery. Numerous scenes follow of Juliet kicking ass and sending blood and guts flying everywhere. Among the blood and gore, however, hearts and glitter float around. We’re treated to another shot of Juliet jumping, this time over a banister with her crotch in direct view of the camera.
The trailer tells us this is “The story of a zombie hunter with all the right
curves moves” with the word “curves” being smashed by the word “moves.” While the word “curves” is clearly referencing Juliet’s body and telling the viewer that we should be attracted to her, the word “moves” can be contrued in different ways. One could make the argument that “all the right moves” is referencing her ability to kick ass but you can’t deny the phrase is often in reference to having the right kind of sexual prowess.
Finally, we get a title screen with a rainbow and a blonde, pig-tailed skull with hearts for eyes over the words Lollipop Chainsaw. This is followed by a screen that tells us the game is full of “Sex Blood and Rock & Roll.” Juliet then kills a zombie by lifting her chainsaw up between a male zombie’s legs (he then splits in half with a *pop* and a rainbow). This is the second fairly blatant reference to castration.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t find anything wrong with wearing short skirts and thigh high socks or anything else women want to wear. I wear those things too. I like makeup, styling my hair, feeling sexy and a million other things that are stereotypically feminine. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that we don’t have many strong women who don’t conform to those stereotypes.
I just can’t figure out what they’re trying to do here. Are the developers trying to throw femininity in our faces and say “here, deal with this!” or is Juliet feminine because gamer culture (and our society in general) can’t handle a strong female lead with androgynous/masculine characteristics? My instincts say the latter. The excessive use of her body as an object tells me that this game isn’t about throwing femininity in people’s faces, but about arousing men (and women) by using a woman that can kick your ass, but still keeping her innocent enough with the hearts and glitter to make her less threatening. Women that don’t fit into these feminine roles are often assumed to be lesbians, threatening male gamers’ masculinity. That wouldn’t sell, now, would it?
The choice of music also serves to keep Juliet less than threatening. Using The Chordettes’ upbeat Lollipop harkens back to “the old days” when women were submissive and stayed in the Sphere of Domesticity and men were out in the public sphere. The music itself conjures images of sweetness and innocent. We do get a break from the upbeat song in the form of rock as Juliet is shown killing zombies, but the trailer still finishes with the song Lollipop. Finishing will Lollipop ensures that the viewer is reminded that she’s still just a girl; one that we should be lusting after at that.