Guys, Gals, and Non-Binary Pals

Happy Trans Visibility Day!
*blows party blower*

Please check out my post from last year, as it establishes that I, as a cisgender person, am not the final word on any of this. I just like to bump the voices of people saying important things.

I’m like Darius:

But! Even though I can’t really talk about the experience of being trans, since I haven’t had that experience and don’t know much about it, I can talk about something else I know: media!

*gasps of shock from the crowd*
Yes, I know, very outside my usual wheelhouse, but I’m trying something new.

As with most posts involving media I write on this blog, I will echo this statement: Representation matters. I’m not going to delve too much into this, as I talk about it literally all the time, so I’m just going to feature some creators and content that normalizes trans identity in media.

Now, I don’t want to get into the history of trans identity or ancient Egyptian trans mummies (which totally exist)* because that’s a post for another time and this is supposed to be light-hearted and about the present. So.

I don’t have to list the most visible trans personalities in the world right now (Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox, Caitlin Jenner) but here is a trans author I like, Katie Rain Hill, reading things she wrote when she was a kid. It’s Jonas Brothers fanfiction and I love her.

That loud “YES!” after she says ‘Jonas Brothers’ is me. I was very excited.

Chris Colfer’s new Young Adult novel, Stranger Than Fanfiction, features a trans protagonist! You can read my review of the book here. Or just buy the book yourself, I’m not your mom.

We all know how I reacted to Alex Fierro in Rick Riordan’s novel, The Hammer of Thor.

And there are so many youtube and social media personalities encouraging people not to assume gender!

From this vine:

To Thomas Sanders ending every vlog with “Take it easy guys gals and non-binary pals.”

Trans identies are accessibly in media now more than ever. And we can only improve from here!

-JM
 

 

*Please excuse my lack of sources, I’ve tried looking, but I’ve literally been writing this blog post for five hours and I’m tired. I would never lie to you guys though, I swear.

World Bipolar Day

Today is World Bipolar Day, a day created to bring about awareness and show support for those suffering with the disorder. There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to bipolar disorder, and it is often used in improper context. We say that someone who is moody is bipolar, and we say that the weather is bipolar when it constantly changes, but bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that affects over 5 million adults and 2 million children each year.

There are different types of mood disorders, such as bipolar I, bipolar II, rapid cycling bipolar, etc. I’ll run through the basics of those three as they are the most common. First is bipolar I, characterized by manic and depressive episodes. Mania consists of elevated energy levels, elevated mood, grandiose thoughts, poor judgement, reckless behavior, inability to concentrate, restlessness. It can cause auditory or visual hallucinations in some cases. Each person cycles at a different rate, some faster than other, and some periods last longer than others. No experience is the same.

Bipolar II is categorized by hypomania and depressive episodes. Hypomania is very similar to mania, just less severe. However, it can be just as debilitating. The depressive episodes are relatively the same as bipolar I.

Rapid cycling bipolar disorder can occur in those with bipolar I or bipolar II, and it causes moods to change at a more advanced pace. For some, it happens daily, for others a few times a month. Surprisingly, nearly 20% of individuals diagnosed as bipolar disorder are rapid cyclers.

Now that I got the definitions out of the way, let’s discuss myths.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is the same as mood swings. However, bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance of the chemicals in one’s brain. They are more severe, longer lasting, and impede every day functioning.

Myth: Mania is always happy. Unfortunately this is not the case. There are often mixed states, in which one experiences the elevated mood of mania (or hypomania) with the depressed thoughts. There is often irritability corresponding with mania, and sometimes agitation.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is an excuse to act how you want when you want. This is a stigmatized assumption for those who wish to discount those with mental illness. Those with the disorder often have difficulty regulating their moods and the actions resulting from those moods. This is not voluntary, and can ruin many relationships be it familial, romantic, or platonic.

Myth: There is no way to treat bipolar disorder. Although it is a lifelong condition, there are ways to regulate the disorder. This could be through medication, therapy, or a mix of the two.

Managing bipolar disorder is not easy for those with the diagnosis as well as for those with a loved one who has a diagnosis. The best way to work through it is communication. Be open and honest about what you need, and be receptive to those who are expressing their needs. Be patient with yourself, and be patient with other people. Surround yourself with people who are understanding and kind, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t control your emotions. Just know that you are not alone, and that each of your emotions are valid.

– JB

A Return to International Women’s Day

Well.
We certainly are in a different place than we were last year, aren’t we?

I guess, first of all, happy first birthday to this blog! It seems crazy we’ve been going at it for a whole year. But, seeing the posts we made on this day last year, it certainly gives us an opportunity to reflect.

Everything Jessie and I said last year still applies: we still need more inclusive feminism, we still need more visibility, we still need to know more about women’s struggles in history. This year, we also have the additional struggle of our current POTUS.

Last year I praised Barack Obama’s outreach and empowerment.
This year we have an orange lizard man in the white house, elected after numerous accusations of sexual assault primarily by white women.

Things are different. Morale is low.

But! Since last year, we’ve also had the Women’s March, the largest outpouring of feminine support the world has ever seen. We’ve had the United States’ first ever female presidential candidate nominated by a major party, even if she didn’t win. The movie Hidden Figures spotlighted remarkable women of color and was a huge smash at the box office. lnhan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to a state legislature with her victory in Minnesota. Young women and girls everywhere are learning that there is no limit to what they can do and they are taking this with gusto, flooding the STEM fields with women and running for their local government to make sure their voices are heard.

Yes, congress is trying to repeal Roe v. Wade and repeal the healthcare that allows women accessible birth control. Yes things are horrifying with a rapist in the oval office. Yes it feels less like we can trust white women since an unbearable amount voted against their own favor and especially against the favor of non-white women.

But we can stand together and continue to make change. We can continue to educate and protest and chip away at this gender bias. We are not defeated yet.

Happy International Women’s Day.

-JM

Magnēt-no

Screenshot 2017-03-06 at 9.25.58 PM

Something we haven’t really covered much on this blog: anti-semitism.

The only reason for that is we, or at least I, think it’s pretty obvious. Nazis are bad. We try and cover subjects we feel don’t get very much coverage or recognition, you know what I mean? Representing the voiceless, those lessons we had to unlearn from elementary school about how Christopher Columbus was a rad dude and white people invented everyone except peanut butter. But you learn in elementary school all about the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing. A 13 year-old could tell you that Nazis are bad.

And yet-

You don’t need me to tell you about the rise of the alt-right and increased swastika graffiti and the vandalism of that Jewish cemetery in Philly. You probably already know about Shia Labeouff’s art installation “He Will Not Divide Us,” a live-stream in New York that was supposed to run for the entirety of the current presidency, and how it had to be taken down because there was too much anti-Semitic harassment and it was becoming unsafe. You know about the bomb threats and the punching of Richard Spencer. Punching a Nazi: as American as apple pie. So American, Superman has done it. So American, Captain America has done it.

And yet-

You might not even need me to tell you about comic book writer Nick Spencer (no relation to Richard that we know of), and how, back in May 2016, he released Steve Rogers No. 1 – a comic that revealed to us Captain America had been working for Hydra (a Nazi organization) all along. You might already know about the backlash and the criticisms and actual Captain America Chris Evans being distraught.

But what you might now know is that Nick Spencer has DONE IT AGAIN!

But this time, instead of taking this nice gentile Golden Boy and turning him rotten, this ‘writer’ has taken Marvel’s staple Jewish character, the one that survived the literal holocaust, Erik Lehnsherr or Magneto, and made him a member of Hydra.

There is no literary value in this! There was no literary value in Hydra-Cap, either. It’s shock value. It’s pandering to the grim-dark fanboys. It’s disgusting and terrible story-telling.

I didn’t write at all about the Captain America thing back in May because it already seemed like everyone was talking about it. I didn’t cover it on here because it already seemed pretty well covered. And maybe it’s because the news only broke about Magneto twelve hours ago, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is particularly bothered. Which makes no sense.

Erik is Jewish. Erik escaped Auschwitz. If Steve couldn’t be Hydra because he was an allegory to fight Nazism back in the day and was created by Jewish writers, then Erik definitely couldn’t be Hydra because he was an actual victim of nazi power. It’s not science!

Maybe it’s because Magneto is a villain. Maybe it’s because Magneto’s villainous creed includes his own form of ethnic cleansing by way of a genocide of all non-mutants. This still doesn’t mean he’s a Nazi definitely doesn’t make it okay to sensationalize the Nazi movement, especially in today’s social climate.

Comic books are important. They have a historical significance that rivals newspapers, because comics were accessible to kids and kids were the ones the built the future. These characters have a historical significance that is just being spit on and disrespected for no other reason than a guy seeing an opportunity to drop some jaws. That’s not art. That’s not entertainment. And anyway, shouldn’t the support of an already oppressed people be worth more than that?

In today’s climate, with anti-semitism becoming more and more prevalent, is now really the time to try and be edgy by making traditionally anti-nazi characters nazis?

-JM