A review of The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2)

An author’s note before we begin:
This is a social justice blog so why am I posting a book review about Norse myths, right? Well, I’m not going to lie to you, this is copy/pasted directly from my Goodreads but a lot of what I discuss and what’s featured in this review pertains to queer and Muslim representation. Shocking, right? I know, I’m super unpredictable.
This book did something super daring. It’s a children’s book! Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson books, introduced a gender-fluid character as one of the main protagonists! So yeah, I’m going to gush a little bit. And I think it deserves to be here on this blog.
The review is probably going to make little sense if you haven’t read the book and there’s some spoilers sprinkles throughout but if you’d like to see me geek out over tasteful handling of sensitive issues using fictional characters, please enjoy.

SO please bear with me as I attempt to write a coherent review and NOT scream about Alex Fierro.
I mean I’m definitely going to scream about Alex Fierro but there’s other stuff I want to talk about first.
Not a lot but definitely some stuff that’s not just me screaming about Alex Fierro.

LET’S DIVE RIGHT IN!

The world expansion in this book was just great. We had a magnificent set up in the first book – a lot of great establishing characters and setting and concepts – and when you add to a series like that, it can get to be a lot very quickly. This book was great because it took a lot of what was covered in the first book and just expanded on it. We had a taste of Hearthstone’s past in the last book but giving it more context in this one was great for world development with the elves and character development with Hearth. MY POOR BABY ELF I LOVE HIM!
Did I wish there was a little more development with Hearth and Blitz? Yes, but that’s just my Blitztone shipping heart. There were many cute hurt/comfort moments with them, a lot of worrying about each other and singular focus about each others’ safety and nothing but each others’ safety, and Blitz literally said “I love this elf” at one point, but we didn’t get a confirmation of a romantic relationship. WHY! IT’S RIGHT THERE! Provincetown, Rick? Did you not want me to pick up on that? IT’S THE ULTIMATE GAY/LESBIAN VACATION DESTINATION!

[Source]
Part of me is choosing to believe that most of the lack of confirmation is Magnus’s own obliviousness and there will be a huge ‘duh’ moment later on when he confronts his feelings about Alex but WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT YET I HAVE MORE TO SAY!
What was really beautiful in this book, character development wise, was learning more about Samirah and her religion and how that coincides with her life as a Valkyrie. I am not Muslim and admittedly don’t know that much about the religion other than the abstract so I’m kind of going with Rick in faith on this one but I appreciated the attentiveness and unapologeticness about how religious Sam was and how much she believed in it and how that was not a detriment or distraction from everything else she was. She was brave and clever and kind and loyal and a valkyrie and a hijabi and engaged to a boy who loves her and she loves back and she was all of these at the same time! That’s sensational!
Also, side note, can we talk about how HAPPY I am that we can have two main characters, a boy and a girl, where the girl likes boys and the boy likes girls (?), and the girl is in a prior relationship and there is no love triangle. Seriously, it shouldn’t be this hard to have a story like this all the time. Girl is in love with a guy she’s going to marry, makes a new guy friend, and there’s NO DRAMA! They GET ALONG! And Amir is even more present in this story and there’s no romantic tension between the three of them at all! I am OVER THE MOON about this. This story has enough going on, adding romantic tension in the form of a love triangle would have been too much and way unnecessary (@ Legend of Korra first two seasons I mean goddamn).
Of course romantic tension in the form of Magnus’s ridiculous crush on Alex is fine but WE’RE NOT QUITE THERE YET HANG ON.
I’m glad this is a trilogy because I feel like this story can be nicely wrapped up in three books. I love the Helheim out these characters and the tie in to the Greek/Roman series in the form of Annabeth hopefully means we can see more of them. I like the throwaway callouts to both ancient Norse mythology and pop culture (though I’ll never forgive you for that pinball wizard thing, Rick. Come on, know your audience, no one but me is going to catch that.) but those are pretty standard for Rick by this point, right? We can look forward to those little quips in anything he likes. But no, after this third book, I feel like these characters’ story will have been told. I mean they’re all dead and Sam is retiring. After Blitz and Hearth get married, what else is there?
Now I kind of want to call back to my review of the last book.
Yeah I focus a lot on Blitz/Hearth (How could you not it’s right there. But I did pick up on something with Magnus, too.

Now, he doesn’t do the obvious thing, when does he ever, but by the end of the book, Magnus still doesn’t have an obvious love interest. By the end of The Lightning Thief, we at least knew Percy and Annabeth were going to be a thing… So if Magnus was going to be a thing with any character we’ve been introduced to so far, we’d know already. This possibility of Magnus being queer is still wide open. And I am overjoyed.

So, even though Magnus’s attraction to Alex doesn’t confirm anything for us directly about his sexuality, I would just like to say that I CALLED IIIITTTTTTT!!!!
I know I shouldn’t be bragging about picking up on subtext designed for children but my brother was particularly contrary to this point so I just want to take this opportunity to say IN YOUR FACE MICHAEL THE GAY IS REAL FREAKING SUCK IT!

*ahem*
Anyway

Magnus continued to be the least hetero protagonist (barring Apollo, of course. NO ONE is less hetero than Apollo) by throwing out constant commentary about the beautiful and handsome faces of literally every male he comes across. EVEN A GIANT! Like… honeybear…

And we have finally arrived at Alex Fierro.
ALEX MOTHERFREAKING FIERRO!
You can see my building hype in my tweets:

So yeah, to no one’s surprise, Alex Fierro is the most important character in this book and my favorite.
I’m going to continue to gush about Alex but first let me address how AMAZING it is that a character like this was added to this narrative. For this audience!
We all thought Nico was groundbreaking. WELL! MY BUDDY! MY GUY! GET READY!
The conversations opened up by a gender fluid character being introduced EVEN AMONG THE OTHER CHARACTERS! Astounding! We get a look at what non-gender-conforming people look like in different cultures. Magnus provides the western perspective by talking about the trans kids he saw on the streets (and bringing up queer homeless teens? RICK!) and then the two-spirit Mother William from the Lenape tribe. THAT’S A THING! I LEARNED ABOUT THAT IN MY QUEER HISTORY CLASS! And argr? I mean, the term is problematic, (AS POINTED OUT BY ALEX! “I’ll decide what’s unmanly.” YES YOU WILL, SUGAR, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!) but the fact that there’s a WORD in NORSE to embody this concept is just something amazing that Rick brings to the table. This sentence is one of my literal favorite things about this book, brought to us by ‘an enlightened modern man from the year 865 C.E.’: “Gender-fluid people are hardly a new thing, Magnus.”
YOU’RE GODDAMNED RIGHT!
So yeah, Alex is important.
Even without the gender identity stuff, though, s/he would still be my favorite character. (Sidenote: can I talk about how AWESOME it is that it is CANONICALLY ADDRESSED WITHIN THE TEXT that Alex doesn’t like ‘they’ as a pronoun when referring to him/herself? Like WE DON’T HAVE TO WONDER! THE CHARACTER HAS CONFIRMED! THAT’S AMAZING!) I love Alex because s/he is funny and snarky and unapologetic and knows him/herself well enough that s/he can just whip out a lecture whenever it’s called for. And yeah, s/he gets defensive and guarded but it’s compelling. Because this character isn’t mean just to be mean and moody for its own sake. Alex bonds relatively quickly to Sam and Magnus’s floor-mates. S/he isn’t standoffish for very long, agreeing to be Sam’s male relative chaperone after A DAY of knowing her. S/he snaps at people who disrespect him/her but s/he’s upfront and doesn’t beat around what’s upsetting him/her. And s/he’s critical to the narrative!
Without Alex, this story wouldn’t have worked. That’s the trick to knowing whether or not a character is ‘token’. Without Alex in the wedding dress, not following Loki’s orders, the plan would have failed. Without Alex, changing into that elephant and winning the bowling challenge, the gang wouldn’t have gotten out alive. Without Alex to teach Sam how to control her own will over Loki’s, there would be no going forward for Sam’s narrative. So genuine a character! So important in representation and in the new relationships s/he contributes to the narrative! NOT JUST A LOVE INTEREST! NOT JUST A TOKEN QUEER/TRANS REP!
I am so looking forward to seeing fanart of this character and SO looking forward seeing more of him/her in the next/last book. Rick did his job, I’m hype.
AND NOW I HAVE TO WAIT A WHOLE ‘NOTHER YEAR OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO.
RIP me, tbh.

-JM

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Indirect Messaging

One of my favorite things as a writer and as an observer of general human behavior is to examine why people do and say things. What feelings, experiences, or previous biases inspired someone to say or something? Would this dialogue be in character for this person? If it’s not, what has changed to make them say something like this?

Obviously, it’s not as easy to dissect things without the person’s entire backstory, like we might get from books. When dealing with real people, we have to substitute a lot of what we know of them personally to things we can guess about them from social factors.

This practice comes in handy when someone says something that’s racially charged. They probably don’t mean to make it sound like that, but they never thought of how it would sound to someone who didn’t already have those underlying racial prejudices.

An example of this happened to me the other day: I mentioned a dude I used to have a crush on, using his name ‘Dayvon’. My friend, who I only met relatively recently thank to my new job, responded with “Oh, I didn’t know you liked black guys.”

Which was a weird thing to say.

I was left feeling mildly offended but mostly uncomfortable by his comment. Which I know he didn’t intend and which I know he didn’t even think about that deeply.

But this is what I mean: a lot of the messaging we’re putting out stems from some uncomfortable pre-conceptions or biases. And we need to be aware of those.

What really inspired this post was something I saw on Facebook yesterday. The a capella group, Pentatonix, recently put out a cover of “Jolene” with Dolly Parton.

Please watch it, it’s really good.

I am a huge fan of Pentatonix and also of this song, so this cover was an absolute delight to me. It was marred to me, though, because of how this one girl from high school presented it on Facebook.

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Like, why? Why did you have to do that? When appreciating the talent of one artist, why do people feel it’s necessary to put down other artists? Especially poc artists?

I’m trying to think why she picked these artists in comparison to all of the popular artists of the day. What do these artists have in common?

I bet you can guess.

I know this person personally (or at least I went to high school with her) and I know she didn’t mean anything by it. She probably didn’t think she was being racist.

But taking these prominent black artists – possibly the most prominent black artists (barring Beyonce, but no one could argue the talent of Beyonce) – and dumping on them, unprovoked,to prop up a predominantly white group is just so messed up.

It didn’t sit well with me, and now I can’t enjoy this song as I might have otherwise because I’ll always be thinking about how someone is using it to preach the inferiority of black performers.

So why do we say these things? Why do people bring up race or religion or sex or sexual orientation as if it was something other and shocking? Is it because of messaging we received growing up? Probably. Is it because of messaging so ingrained in the American psyche that people think Kylo Ren is a better love interest for Rey than Finn?* That’s also likely.

We can’t control what messaging we experience or internalize, but we can examine ourselves and control what messaging comes from us.

Don’t be that guy.

-JM

*Yes, I know, I couldn’t make it through an entire blog post without bringing fictional characters into this. But look at all of the fanfiction websites! The fact that more people ship a heroine with her actual abuser rather than the love interest narratively set up for her just because Kylo is white is actually staggering. And why? Because of messaging that tells us interracial couples aren’t normal. Boom.

Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

Guess who wants to talk about movies and media again.

I know I talk about this kind of a lot but my world is media. A lot of people’s world is media! We, as a culture, internalize and express ourselves through media. Therefore it is worthy of our attention and reflection and dissection.

Today’s subject: Ghostbusters (2016)

I know how a lot of people feel about remakes. And I know why! There are a few things everyone is mostly in agreement on when it comes to remakes.

  • It’s never going to live up to the original.
  • It’s just a cash grab.
  • Is Hollywood running out of ideas?
  • This is the end of culture.

And those points are fair based on the history of remakes we’ve seen in Hollywood. They’re boring, not as good as the originals, wastes of time and money. But there are ways to do film remakes without falling into this pit.

What do a lot of remakes have in common? Ignoring Spider-Man (whose main issue is that studios can’t decide who even owns him as a character), films are generally remade because technology allows for better graphics, right? So the same story is re-hashed with similar actors and a similar premise, just with CGI.

When movies are remade just because modern technology allows for more fancy on-screen tricks, the audience is left feeling disappointed. There was nothing of the film to compel them to invest themselves in it. They don’t care how realistic an explosion looked or how well that CGI character interacted with live actors. Have you seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Literally no movie will ever surpass the brilliance.

So if you want to remake a movie: you’ve got to make it relevant. Make it different. Make people care.

Some attempts have been made recently in this regard: Marvel superheroes have had people of color take up the title in comics, there have been more female protagonists in Star Wars adaptations, it’s been revealed that Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise will have a husband in the newest edition to the Star Trek film remakes: Star Trek: Beyond, and Annie (2014) featured a young black girl as its eponymous character. Granted some of these have been more successful than others (I heard Annie was a flop and I didn’t see it myself but I support it), but it’s definitely more interesting when you give the original source material an upgrade. When you show it through a different lens.

Enter Ghostbusters. They’re here. They ain’t afraid of no ghosts. And they’re women.

Now I know some people are thinking “What does it matter if they’re women?” And let me just tell you: E V E R Y T H I N G.

How often do you see women who are heroes? How often do you see women with stories that don’t revolve around them being women? How often do you see four, complex, diverse women on screen at the same time?

Here’s just a short list of tests the new Ghostbusters passes:

  • Bechdel Test: All the women have a lot of conversations about things other than men. Like ghosts, and cadavers, and technobabble.
  • Sexy Lamp Test: None of the women can be replaced by a sexy lamp and have the plot remain intact.
  • Mako Mori Test: All the women have a narrative arc about busting ghosts and gaining respect, with the separate arc of Erin and Abby re-gaining their friendship, and neither arc supports a man’s story.
  • Furiosa Test: The movie makes a lot of manbabies* on the internet angry.**

Not a fat joke was made, these women were allowed to eat on screen, no woman was made to seem unattractive. It’s a low bar but you’d be surprised how little media meets it.

This is a story of women as women. A story as women as scientists. A story of women as heroes.

Says one original Ghostbusters enthusiast and father, after he’d taken his daughter to go see it: “So my daughter asks me the next day if we are gonna see the movie again. I said sure, why did you like it that much? She said yes. She liked that they were girls that were heroes. Honestly up until that point I really didn’t think much of the role genders played in the movie. My daughter looked up to these 4 women and it got to me” (x).

Representation is important. And this movie was funny and entertaining all the way through. I paid homage to the original for sure, but this updated Ghostbusters is something for a new generation of moviegoers to enjoy. And the best part? It’s for everyone.

-JM

*I didn’t want to dedicate too much time to this point because it’s exhausting being around so much negativity but I felt it would be disingenuous not to mention it. If the term ‘manbabies’ offends you, allow me to clarify: A manbaby is someone who doesn’t like the movie because it’s ‘ruining their childhood.’ Someone who thinks casting women as the main characters makes this a ‘chick movie.’ Someone who has sent hate messages to any of the actresses on Twitter. And if the hate message was calling Leslie Jones a gorilla, congrats! You’re also racist. A manbaby is someone who says this adaptation looks ‘dumb’ but is pumped to see Dr. Strange in November. 
Basically, if you were offended by any of those descriptions and/or are mad about this movie: Congratulations! You’re a manbaby.

**Totally stolen from this tumblr post.

Myths about bisexuality

Lately I have been seeing a lot of talk against those who are bisexual. Unfortunately, pretty much of this talk has come from fellow members of the LGBTQIA community itself. For some reason, there is a lot of stigmatization around identifying oneself as bisexual and it is often not taken seriously. This happens a large amount in grade school, but the stigma never really dissolves. I’m going to address myths that I’ve encountered.

1. Bisexuals are more promiscuous.

  • False. Liking more than one sex does not make you promiscuous. Sexual orientation does not make you more promiscuous, gender does not make you more promiscuous. Sure you have a wider pool of potentials, but that doesn’t automatically make someone more promiscuous.

2. Because bisexuals are more promiscuous, they are more likely to cheat.

  • As previously mentioned, bisexuality has no correlation with promiscuity and, believe it or not, has absolutely no correlation with cheating. People cheat because they are bad people, not because of their sexuality. Another myth that goes hand in hand with this is that those who identify as bisexual are “greedy”, making them cheat because they like a lot of people at once. However, emotions work the same in people regardless of sexuality. I can’t speak for everyone but liking someone usually eliminates the likeage of other people, regardless of how you identify your sexuality.

3. Just pick a side.

  • Sure, sometimes bisexuality is used as a label before a person really discovers their true sexual orientation, but that doesn’t invalidate the label. Sexuality is fluid and coming out as gay is scary and experimentation is ok and you have no say in the validation of someone’s label. This idea of “picking a side” is so problematic. It erases the identity of bisexuality, making it mythical. Bisexuality is a real thing, not some in between. It may be for some people, but that doesn’t make it not true at the time. It’s ok to change the way that you identify. However, there are some people who identify as bisexual for their entire life.

4. Monogamous relationships make you straight or gay.

  • Along with thinking that bisexuals need to “pick a side”, people also refuse to acknowledge that bisexuality is real even when one is in a monogamous relationship. A lot of the time, their identity is reduced to the relationship that they are currently involved in. However, it is entirely possible to continue to identify as bisexual whether you are with the same or a different sex.

5. You are only interested in threesomes.

  • This is actually infuriating because I can’t tell you how many times I was greeted with “Do you want a threesome then?” when my sexuality came to light. Your sexual orientation has no relation to the desire to have a threesome. Please for the love of god stop sexualizing everything and making it about your pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with being bi and wanting a threesome, there’s nothing wrong with being straight and wanting a threesome, but please get rid of the association between being bisexual and only wanting to have threesomes!!

6. Can’t identify as bi if they haven’t been with ____

  • This isn’t only used against those who identify as bisexual, but I see it used a lot. People come out as bisexual and “Have you  been with the opposite gender? How do you know?” are some of the first things asked. However, you don’t need to intimately be with a person to know that you are attracted to them. How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never been with someone of the opposite gender? It’s just something you feel, and crushes are a thing that happen. You can identify as bisexual no matter who you have or haven’t been with.

7. Means you like only boys or girls, and equally.

  • There are a few things wrong with this. First, being bisexual isn’t only limited to male and female. Being bisexual means being attracted to two OR MORE genders. I know what you’re thinking, bi means two!! It has to be two!! You are wrong. Most bisexuals welcome all guys, gals, and nonbinary pals. Second, bisexuality isn’t an equal thing all the time. You can be mentally attracted to a certain gender while physically attracted to another gender, you can be both physically and mentally attracted to different genders, you can like one gender more than all the rest and STILL identify as bisexual.

Basically what I’m trying to get across is that sexuality is fluid and the only person who can dictate your sexuality is yourself. Those who identify as bisexual are valid and you have no place trying to tell them that they aren’t. Stay out of other’s sexualities and PLEASE reevaluate the biases that you hold within yourself.

-JB

Orlando

Forgive me for the lack of eloquence in this post.

For those of you who don’t know: A gunman killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday.

50 dead. 53 injured. That’s twenty more than Virginia Tech, making it officially the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
174th mass shooting in the U.S this year, 13th this month, seventh since Monday.

Gun control laws are a different post. That’s a part of this. June is pride month. That’s a part of this. Trans rights have been in the media lately and last night was Latin night at that particular club with trans headliners. That’s a part of this.

I’m just tired. I’m tired and I’m scared and I’ve been crying all day.

We need to stand together. We need to care for each other. We need to not let this shooting go by without reform like every other shooting has gone by.

I want to still believe humans are fundamentally good.

Days like this make it so hard.

-JM

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Why, Aria, why?

So I just received a bit of disturbing news…

But first, a hypothetical situation:

Sixteen year old girl, back in her home town after a year long leave of absence, sneaks into a bar. She looks mature for her age and no one’s seen her around so she gets away with it. In this bar, she meets this young looking guy, very attractive, and clearly interested in her. Now she’s sixteen and he’s old enough to patron a bar so we already know he’s too old for her, but they flirt anyway. They both love poetry and have an intellectual conversation about literature and they’re clearly compatible and attractive and attracted to each other. When they later find out the next day that he’s her high school English teacher, it adds a forbidden element to the whole affair. It becomes more dangerous, more enticing. They continue to see each other, despite it being illegal and they go on to have a relationship and have sex and all that jazz.

I lied, this is not a hypothetical situation, this is the plot for one of the main characters of Pretty Little Liars: Aria Montgomery and Ezra Fitz.

In the pilot episode when Aria and Ezra first met, Lucy Hale (Aria) was actually 21 years old. That meant standing next to 24-year-old Ian Harding wasn’t shocking to the sense like a teacher/student relationship should be.

PLL-Couples-Ezra-Aria-charmed-and-pretty-little-liars-32263581-500-375

That looks okay, right? We’re not immediately up in arms about this because they don’t look like teacher and student even though the show told us they are.

This, and the tragic romance of their whole story-arc, created a really creepy perspective in high school girls that dating older men isn’t just forbidden and exciting but desirable. Look at how pretty and acceptable this couple is! Wouldn’t you want the same thing?

Now I don’t know how many young girls this couple actually influenced into dating older men, but considering the popularity of the show, especially in young women of high school age, I can imagine there’s been a spike in age-inappropriate dating.

Now back to my disturbing news from the beginning of the post.

I have a friend who is now dating her high school English teacher.

It’s worth noting that she’s out of high school now: she’s twenty years old. So while the relationship isn’t illegal, it’s still very creepy and very off-putting.

Because here’s the thing about the teacher, let’s call him Mr. Shakespeare: He’s not young, or even young-looking like Ian Harding. He’s mid-forties, at least, and divorced. And guess who his divorcee is… ANOTHER ex-student.

There have been girls in high school who would complain about Mr. Shakespeare. That he would be staring at their chests or down their shirts. That he got too close, touched their arms or whatever when he passed. My brother’s friend literally threatened Mr. Shakespeare to stay away from his girlfriend because he wasn’t comfortable with how close Mr. Shakespeare was getting to her. He likes them young.

As far as I know, he’s never done anything illegal. He waits til they’re out of high school to marry them. But he’s still a predator. That first wife… my theory is she got too old. So he divorced her. Now he’s got another bright-eyed Shakespeare fan just wanting to be his muse. He practices photography. Takes pictures of her. How is this not the grossest thing you’ve ever heard?

To her it’s romantic. They’re both a bit quirky, it makes sense they’d get together. That’s what some of the kids have been saying.

And I don’t want to undermine her choice by saying this – I don’t, she’s an adult and she’s free to go out with whoever she wants – but I have a bad feeling about this. I don’t like the power-dynamic. I don’t like the age difference. I don’t like his history or methods.

This is a predatory relationship. And she’s just repeating what she saw on TV.

-JM

Mansplaining

Some of you may have heard this word, others may not have. Mansplaining is basically when a man tries to “explain” something to a woman in a derogatory and/or condescending way, only speaking over her, telling her she’s wrong even though they have no real knowledge of the information at hand. Yesterday I was mansplained. Hard. By my doctor. Now, I know that this is more of a personal story but things like this happen all the time and I feel that light needs to be shed on the way that privileged, straight, white, old, rich men speak down to women and others in less of a power position than themselves.

 

Yesterday was not a great day for me. I was in excruciating pain from yet another kidney stone and that pain lasted me two and a half grueling hours. While I was in all of this pain I called my eurologist to figure out what to do and he told me to come to his office to figure out what was going on after getting some tests to show where the stones were.

I had to wait a long long time to see this doctor and waiting around isn’t fun in general but it’s really not fun when you feel like you’re giving birth. So I’m writhing in pain and finally get called back to see this doctor, and then have to wait another 45 minutes until he comes into the room. About 15 minutes before he comes into the room my pain subsided, and thank goodness it did or I wouldn’t have been able to keep my cool the way I did.

So he comes in and talks to me about the kidney stones for maybe 15 minutes and then asks what I’ve been up to. I told him that I recently got accepted for a job at my school’s women’s center, and his immediate response was “notice how there are always women’s centers and none for men? There need to be more men’s centers.” Of course I silently was cursing myself for even bringing this up to a straight, white, old, rich dude, but it got worse.

I explained that our center helps everyone who comes in, and has many male staff members which makes men more comfortable to come in and talk, or I tried to explain this. However, before I could even finish my sentence, this doctor interrupts me. He cut me off to tell me that advocacy is not being executed properly, and that men need more advocacy than women.

Let me stop there and break this down so far. Not only did he dismiss the work that I, and everyone that works in and is passionate about topics that I am, do, he said that we do it wrong, and that men need more advocacy than women. I completely agree that men need advocacy, but for this man to tell me that they need it more than women when he’s never worked at a domestic violence shelter in is life? And to do so when he has no idea what we do at the shelter I was talking about? Extremely uncalled for. However, that is part of mansplaining, hence the title. It doesn’t stop there.

Anyone who knows me knows that I jump at any opportunity to defend my passions and my work, but I bit my tongue. Hard. I told him that this is not a topic we should debate, and that we should move on. Who would feel comfortable debating (and by debating I mean being mansplained and cut off) by their doctor? That’s a complete power play. BUT, he decided he wasn’t done.

Somehow he moved to the topic of the election, and once again I asked him that we stop talking about this issue, and once again he ignored that request and spoke over me. He asked who represents him, a straight white male, in office. HAH. I said “probably Trump” which I guess was kind of talking back and giving sass because of the way I said it and how I meant it, which was a mistake because it enticed him to continue. But I was proud of the little come back. Anyway, He kept going.

Somehow, he ended up on the topic of abortion. Now, before I even continue, I’m going to break this down some more. I had just spent two and a half hours in excruciating pain and came to this guy to discuss my kidney stones. He first insults me and my work, talks over me every chance he can get, says that he has no representation because he is oh so oppressed, and now moves on to the topic of abortion. After I asked him MULTIPLE times to please focus on my kidney stones since that is what I was there for.

He decided he had more to say, so he kept at it. He was telling me that women shouldn’t always get the  right to choose what they do with their body and that men should have a say. Whatever, in certain circumstances I agree, but ultimately it’s the woman’s body, therefor it’s her choice. That’s a debate for another time, which is exactly what I told my doctor, but he wouldn’t stop. Every time I tried to defend a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body he would talk over me. At that point, I stopped trying. I would only speak to ask him to move on and to stop talking about this subject.

After about another 15 minutes, this guy is still going, and he is practically blocking the door so that me and my mom can’t leave. Not only did he do all of the previously mentioned, messed up things, but he physically wasn’t allowing us to leave. And what could I do in that situation? My doctor, who might have had to do surgery on me in the next few days, was mansplaining me and physically blocking the door. He was on a power trip. Eventually we got out of there and by that point me and my mom were FURIOUS, to say the least.

Once we got out of there my mom and I immediately complained to higher ups and got my doctor switched, because that was super inappropriate on so many levels and in so many ways. My lesson for this, I guess, is to not let people mansplain you but also analyze your situation. It’s ok to not always speak up, especially if you feel uncomfortable and that there is a power difference that another person is exploiting. Stay firm but also stay safe, my friends. Also, to the men reading this, please stop mansplaining. Acknowledge that you don’t know everything and that you aren’t always right. Stop talking over women.

-JB