Finally! The MLP Movie Trailer is out!

So this dropped recently:

I admit, I, like many, have been feeling a bit less enthused about the amazing cartoon about toys that could lately. I’m still keeping an eye on it but I’m not as excited as I was, say, even just last year at this time. This season hasn’t been bad, necessarily, it just seems like it’s been 20% less interesting than it used to be. I don’t know if its me or them (ok I’m pretty sure it’s mostly them because I still really enjoy earlier seasons). And I know, I know, it’s a show for little girls. But I also saw someone point out that the little girls this show was first written for are driving cars now. Yeah, this show has been around that long at this point.

‘Bout time we got a movie!

An actual movie. Not Equestria Girls. Those are cute, but they’re you’re typical made-for-a-tv-show movie. No no no, this movie is different. It’s big. It’s flashy. They completely changed the animation from the show for it.

The characters are still recognizable, sure, but they’re definitely a lot rounder. Not in the ‘they put on some weight’ way but they just aren’t as angular as they can be in the tv show. Their motions are so much smoother and their expressions are so much bigger and yet also far more subtle at the same time. You can easily spot traditional animation rules as you watch the trailer, like the over-exaggerated head turn one pony does right before the bad guys pop in. I’m sure they do it in the show plenty, but it was just so obvious that I actually noticed it in the trailer. I’m horrible at noticing things guys. Absolutely terrible. Watching tv shows is always a surprise even when the plots are coming miles away. (Sorry, I might be a little bit jaded that my roommate kept calling Steven Universe twists episodes before they happened. Without having looked them up. There was only one he didn’t guess and that was just because he didn’t think the show would go there because it was a cartoon.)

If you go back to my first post, you’ll see that one of the things I love is beautiful animation. It’s moving, inspiring art for me. I don’t care if it’s ‘for little kids’ – I deeply appreciate a beautifully animated movie. This trailer made me realize something else though. I’ve been missing something in this new trend. It’s something that I’d forgotten I was missing too.

3D animation is amazing, sure, but it can’t offer the same things is gorgeous 2D animation. There’s something in 2D that just can’t be replicated, and it’s something that I’ve been missing in the immense dry spell we’ve had since The Princess and the Frog. Yes, the Let it Go animation sequence made me gasp at the beauty, Hiccup and Toothless’s first flight together almost gave me those roller-coaster butterflies from how lovely they were, and of course I have previously mentioned how Judy’s arrival in Zootopia is completely awe-inspiring every time I re-watch it (though I’d love to see it on a giant screen again because omg it just feels so huge on the big screen). I think Tangled, though, was the closest to capturing that 2D…thing. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but it’s something special. And this movie looks like it’s going to have it.

And I have conflicted feelings about that fact. I already mentioned that they don’t look the same. It’s not that they look bad, but they look different enough from their show counterparts that the first thought I had after the trailer was ‘oh, that was bizarre.’ It’s kind of like the new voice cast for the new Duck Tales show. Yeah, they’re great. It’s just jarring to see (or, in the case of Duck Tales, hear – those ‘boys’ sound like teenagers at least!). Basically, it’s not going to be a deal breaker. Like I said, what is shown in the trailer is simply beautiful. It’s just different. Which takes a moment to adjust to.

The story looks a bit standard – someone wants to take over their kingdom, its up to our scrappy heroes to stop them. It also just so happens that one of our heroes this time is one of the rulers of this land fighting to take back her country for her people (and the other three rulers are, as usual, not in the hero’s party which means they probably got captured…again…which doesn’t personally bother me but I foresee a fair few more jokes about Princess Celestia failing to be a goddess in our future if this is the case). Not sure how the merponies and the merpony-ification of the mane six are going to fit in, but they got Kristen Glinda-the-Super-Singer Chenowith to voice the underwater princess so I almost don’t care. Apparently there’s an important giant windmill. Oh, and lots of hugs. Hugs are important as they are the backbone of most friendships. (Disclaimer: If your friend is a hands off sort of friend then hugs might not be as important; actually, in that case the absence of hugs might be more important.)

I also just realized that we see both the merponies and some interaction with the pirate, but the kitty cat I’ve been most excited for only shows up in some background shots. The Sia pony (I know, she has a name, but I’m gonna struggle to remember that when she’s literally pony Sia) even got some interaction time. Still, they did cram a lot into this trailer, the more I rewatch it. Some things had to be cut both for time and secrecy. Who wants to see a movie that they’ve already seen via trailer?

Oh wait we totally do that all the time with our movies and show the final plot twist right in the trailers…Hopefully the final twist wasn’t in this trailer. If there is a final twist. Honestly I also rather miss straightforward stories that don’t necessarily have final plot twists. Everyone does twists these days, so it’d be more original not to twist it up.

Honestly, all in all it looks like it’s gonna be great. It might not be the best movie ever made, but it really looks like it’s most likely going to be a fun adventure that will stick with kids. For adults, I predict something similar to the show – it’s going to bring joy. I mean, that’s why I watch the show. So I can see something happy. Something bright and cheerful with a guaranteed happy ending. Goodness knows there’s enough darkness in the world right now we could all use some sunshine.


Part 2 – Alternatives to killing a character when that character’s death is super problematic.

[Since I’m talking about character deaths here, there will be spoilers ahead.]

So, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t think about the flip side to my recent post about character death. It’s a rough topic to tackle when that character is some form of minority or typically oppressed person, even if they aren’t the only one of their ‘type’ (or one of the only pair, as is often the case in LGBT deaths these days). It’s also an emotional topic that will carry immense weight with the audience and the characters in the story, for good or for ill, no matter which character ends up filling this role. Well, I guess except red shirts. They still get remembered, but not usually because of their impact on the plot.

Yet even red shirts tend to come forth with the same goal – to shock everyone, to shift the story, and to prove that this is serious stuff. This isn’t some Disney war where only the badduns end up axed (actually, even Disney has killed a few main protagonists at this point). Now, of those three reasons, ‘shock value’ might often be the one that angers the most fans, but shock value does turn into numbers. The biggest one for me, though, is the second. A drastic shift in the story. There’s a reason the mentor almost always dies on the hero’s journey. Nothing is going to change ye younge chosen one more than losing the person who got them where they are, and now they have to strike out on their own. Or in bigger ensemble pieces, we have the loss of friends, comrades, and family to turn a once innocent child into a would-be mercenary.

But, haven’t we seen quite a lot of that lately?

Sure, death is a great motivator and a character’s death will most definitely draw attention (there is, after all, no such thing as bad press, which becomes more true every day it seems). Somehow, though, it seems like almost every show puts this into play. Even shows that don’t have to go there find some way to go out of their way to go there. Big names like Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire have set a bit of a standard for our dramas over the last several years. Even some comedies will go there if they want to be dramatic. Or sometimes they’ll go there even when they aren’t looking to be dramatic and it’ll create some of the most bizarre death episodes I’ve ever seen:

They put a laugh track over it. It’s just…so bizarre. Granted I don’t know much about Seinfeld since I never really liked it. (I also never particularly liked Friends – you may burn me at the stake later.) So maybe in the context of the whole overall show if you watch everything, maybe that scene isn’t as weird as I find it to be.

(Did you think I was going to talk about how she died? I mean, death by envelope licking is bizarre too, but knowing that it was probably the goal of the show to be as ridiculous as possible makes me care less about that than I do about how they addressed it. Besides, it is theoretically possible, even if it’s not probable.)

Those articles I linked up there talk about the whole thing much more eloquently than I’d be able to, being a barely semi-TV watcher at best, but it can all be summed up with a simple “Is death in general overdone?” Death is kind of losing it’s poignancy. A lot of people I talk to say they might not even bother with a show that’s just going to kill a ton of characters because why should they? Though there’s still many who are glued to Game of Thrones and others like it trying to pick who will die next like it’s some kind of game. So there’s that I suppose.

Of course I’m not talking about mass death in a story. I’m talking about one death – One very important character causing a very pivotal turn of events. Since it’s literature, there’s no issue of finding a way to fit or remove someone into or out of a ten year long show, there’s no fear of an actor leaving. There’s just me and the story.

Which leaves me with the biggest of all the burning questions: Is this story necessary?

I have a story with a character whom I love but who’s death would propel the story to all sorts of new levels that it will not be able to reach with her alive. Sure it could reach other levels, but are those levels that I want to explore? Are those levels strong enough? Are the plots where she dies strong and important enough? I asked why the writers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer had to go with the Tara’s-death-for-Dark-Willow plot, or why they had to do Dark Willow at all. I’ve seen a lot of people noting that in retrospect Dark Willow was one of the strongest arcs for everyone’s favorite lady-loving witch in their opinions but Tara’s death still stands out as a shot to the heart for many, many people. Myself included. That moment still bugs me to this day. And yet I find myself considering something that could be similarly painful for others in my own story.

So, given my own history and the history of an audience that I would love to garner the respect of, and given my feelings of ‘sure it might be great, but did that story have to be told?’ Is my plot absolutely necessary – isn’t there somewhere else I can go?

With that on my mind, I’ve been trying to make a list of alternatives. You know, actually trying to be creative. Try something different from what has become common place. And…well, I’ve felt that my efforts are really lackluster. Not all in part because the options seem all that bad to me but because when I look at my vast knowledge of various movies, shows, books, and so on, I remember how I feel about options similar to these and…well, they’re not amazing ways to handle things, unless they’re handled really well, and I have more faith that I could handle a death correctly than make one of these versions into a strong story.

Taking out the option of not removing any of the main cast from the story (I’m sorry, the story would just be too by-the-numbers if they stay an intact group the whole way through) there are some various contenders.

The weakest, to me, is the death-but-come-back arc. Every time I think of someone dying and coming back, I think of the Swan Princess III. Sure, it happened in the first Swan Princess movie, but that one was actually kind of sweet and slightly sensible (the bad guy who had cast a spell on her died, so she un-died). The third one, though, had her come back via the burning of papers. She literally came out of the smoke. Which, I suppose, kind of is a Greek God way to come back to life, but it was just so horrible that even child-me rolled my eyes. On another hand, I think of shows who did it a bit better, like Buffy and Steven Universe.

The key thing to those two is that it wasn’t the finale. The heroes didn’t save the day and get rewarded with someone coming back to life. The resurrections in both of those cases were the beginnings of brand new plots. In my case, I need someone out of the way until after the main plot ends. Maybe they could make it back just in time for the finale, but any sooner and it would bring me back to square one. I am Swan Princess territory on this one, so it’s just a no-go.

This also eliminates similar ideas, such as her ‘spirit being magically shattered across the vast multi-verse’ or being turned to stone. Though I’m still considering the stone one as a back up back up idea if I can come up with a way for it to not run into the frustrations mentioned above.

On the flip side of having the group and eliminating one of them, there’s the option to eliminate the relationship, but…that’s problematic in a different way. To avoid killing a lesbian character, I decided not to put her in any relationship at all? Yeah. That’s the other extreme and part of the comeback that tends to anger me the most when writer’s kill minority characters. (“Well if we can’t treat them like every other character, then we might not write them at all!” completely ignoring that certain types of characters tend to hold the immunity stick while these characters get axed.) From a purely story perspective, I just don’t like it. It’s not a plot that I as a writer want to pursue.

There is the option of having them all be together, then taking their happiness away from them. That keeps them all alive, has them together, and leaves the option for them to get back together. I’m keeping this one on the table, but…I will admit, it’s one of those ones that I don’t think I’ll do very well. I’ll either make the break up so good it won’t make sense for them to get back together or it will be so lame that everyone will hate it. I don’t have faith in myself. But lack of faith doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, so that’s why it’s not eliminated from my list of options.

There’s a plethora of other no-kill options, like kidnapping and/or brain washing. It works well enough with Bucky (The Winter Soldier), but it can also fall flat very quickly. There’s also the option of possession, which is similar to brain washing but another entity has taken over and is forcing one to do their will. The story I’m writing is not without it’s possession stories either, so in theory she could fit right in. The problem with these choices, though, is that they aren’t strong enough for the story. Large chunks of the plot and character development would have to be completely erased because the protagonist would not hold as much of the blame in the eyes of the other characters and everyone would have a goal to work towards to get the lost character back. Hope and determination are powerful motivators.

There’s one more that I’ve been toying with. It both hurts and makes sense – kill someone else in the group. Leave the leading lady and her wifey-poo alone, and kill one of the other two. The other two are both siblings to the wife, so it keeps the emotional turmoil. While it strips some layers I really want to explore (either the sister or the brother and their entire plot, since, you know, one of them would be dead), it does shift the death to someone else that’s a bit less of a minority. It adds an entirely new layer where the protagonist bears the responsibility for leading her wife’s beloved sibling to their death, and the wife could also take on some of the original plot plans from the character that died. They’re not interchangeable by a long shot, but losing a family member you care deeply about is a big enough push to cause some character changes.

This is probably the most plausible option, but…I still don’t like it. What I have planned for the protagonist, the brother, and the sister are all plots that I’ve come to adore. If I can get them to paper the way I see them in my head, I’m fairly certain people wouldn’t feel that their stories weren’t worth it. Of course, then my thoughts always circle back to Tara. I bet her writers probably felt the same way. That their story had to be told, that it was best for the plot. That it made everything that came after it worth it. I know mine won’t be worth it to many people. It never could be. At this point, I really just want it to be worth it to me. Is what I would lose, with any of these scenarios, worth the gains?

I don’t have the answers right now. I’ve kind of been working at other projects while mulling this over, but I don’t have a definite choice yet. The first step, I suppose, is just actually doing something. Then we’ll see how things go from there.


Tips for Detoxing After Finishing an Amazing Show

So I did both the greatest and worst thing for myself last week – I re-watched Avatar the Last Airbender. This show was first airing while I was in middle school and high school, and even back then it was immensely special to me. There was something extraordinary about it, even if I couldn’t put my finger on just why I loved the show. Was it all the shades of gray? The heavy topics? Oh, no wait. That’s why I still love it to this day. Nah, back then I loved it for the world-traveling adventure aspect. I do love me some globe-trotting.

For anyone who hasn’t watched Avatar either because they were witness to that-movie-which-shall-not-be-named or because it was a cartoon on Nickelodeon or they thought they were too old for that kind of thing – you’re not. It’s a very adult story, and the finale is almost…spiritual. Which is why it’s so hard to watch it. I am always excited to get to the end, even more so now that I know what happens, oddly enough. I mean I couldn’t wait to find out how things went down before, but now I go back to revisit those feelings. And those feelings can be hard to revisit. Like I said, it can be a very adult story. There are a large number of heavy topics addressed right at the beginning and they just keep building on each other.

But I’m going to try to keep from getting on an Avatar tangent, especially since this isn’t the tale that’s left me feeling a bit adrift in the best possible way when I finished it. The Hunger Games trilogy did the same thing, for example. Harry Potter had similar feelings but that was more because it was seven books that I’d spent years with coming to an end than it was crash streaming an entire story in a week (or less). Heck, one time I wrote a fanfic that really took a toll on my emotions and that needed some detoxing after finishing. Fanfiction! And these are just the ones that got to me – I’m sure you have your own that leave you staring at the ceiling for a good ten minutes before you can continue on with your own non-that life.

Conclusions are hard. Not the writing of them, though that is infamously difficult as well. They can be hard to cope with for the consumer no matter how satisfying they are. The end of a great story can be both welcomed and dreaded. These characters you love are going off into their sunset. Sometimes there will be sequels, or comic book continuations (thank you creators of Avatar!), but oftentimes we’re just left there with the end of the story.

How do we deal?

(Keep in mind this is my advice based on what works for me – you are your own person so if this isn’t your style then you do you.)

Well, you might start by staring at the ceiling.

No, seriously. If your initial feeling at the end of a show or book is to just lay there and stare at the ceiling or the wall or otherwise just stop functioning for a minute – do that. Let it sink in. Mull in those emotions. Embrace all the feels for good and for bad.

You might not necessarily stare off into space. When I finished the Hunger Games I got up and did the dishes. I had to do something with my hands after that. But I didn’t speak. I didn’t play music or put on a movie or tv show. I just did dishes in silence and let all the confusion and anger and sadness and happiness and longing and…all the things I both expected and didn’t expect.

Basically, take some time without interacting with other media to milk it all up.

A good second step might be to reach out to others who have also reached this point.

Yes, I highly recommend waiting at least a few minutes before popping onto Twitter or Reddit and freaking out about it. Now I am talking about the things that have hit you the deepest. Sure maybe you just binged on Friends and completed the whole ten seasons – good for you, that’s a pretty amazing feat! – but that last shot of the door was just an ‘eh, ok’ moment. That’s what it was for me. I finished Friends and I was fine. It was a nice show but it wasn’t one that dug deep into my spirit. Or maybe you were like a super fan and that door left you crying and empty.

If you’re the me type in this scenario, then step one might not be vital, but if you’re like the second type – or the me with Avatar – then diving right into socializing could mess with the appreciation of the feels. For me, diving in too quickly can become almost abrasive and overwhelming.

But after an appropriate amount of time has passed, talking about it with others might be just what the doctor ordered. After all, there are probably loads of other fans who are feeling the same way you are. If it’s been years since the show came out it might be harder to find current places to talk about it, but strong fandoms still exist for the weirdest things. You never know what you might find. And, if all else fails, at least you can blast your feelings to the echo-chamber that is Twitter.

Make some Fanstuffs

If you’re the type, write something or draw something or knit something in honor of the story you’ve finished. If not, maybe indulge in something someone else made. Pretty much every story that is out there has fanart and fanfiction at a minimum. The more popular (or the more diverse the fandom) the more other stuff you might have access to in order to satisfy the new hole in your soul.

Seek out something more!

I mentioned a few points up that many of these things have something else that ties in. Sometimes that something else isn’t worth the gum stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe (stupid Shyamalan butchering a good story with his stupid movie) but other times you might find something great. Avatar the Last Airbender got a truly epic sequel series in the Legend of Korra. I personally didn’t like it as much, but that’s not because it wasn’t great. I just liked the dynamics and story of the original better. The sequel is just as if not more heavy than the first though. Like, they get into some really questionable territory there. Plus Korrasami (the little ship that could between the two leading ladies of the show) paved the way for more queer characters in cartoons. Gotta love it for that alone.

Unfortunately strong sequels are hard to find. I mean, just look at the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The first movie was lots of fun. It was a sharp decline downhill after that. So you might have to settle for finding something else – and there in lies the hardest part. Things like the Hunger Games have easy alternatives, considering dystopias are a popular topic right now. Things like, oh, I dunno, Lost? That was popular right? That might be harder to replace. Friends didn’t have a hard impact on me because there’s tons of friends-in-the-big-city shows. I swear it has it’s own genre. Avatar has a deep impact because it’s really the only show of its kind. Without the comics I don’t know where I’d be.

Probably writing fanfiction. Well, probably not, since I’m not that into writing fanfics anymore, but in high school I probably would have churned out a ton of fanfics.

Rewatch. Maybe.

My roommate has watched the entirety of How I Met Your Mother at least three or four times in the last year. It kind of worries me sometimes. At the very least it’s a constant annoyance considering said roommate always sings along with the opening (and said roommate is pretty much completely tone deaf).

I don’t necessarily encourage this since it can get you stuck in one place. You gotta find something else at some point. But maybe re-watching it once in short order might be valid – especially if it was a twisty-turny show with a lot of late reveals and you’re going back to see what you missed before. And, of course, there’s also the option to re-watch years later and start this whole process all over again. Like I did. Ugh why did I do that.

(JK I know why I did it. The four-part finale gets me every time and I love that set-adrift feeling I have as it pans up to the final credits.)

Watch/read something else.

This hearkens a bit to the ‘seek out something more’ but I want to encourage you to maybe go in a completely different direction, especially if you need to be able to function and functionality has been eluding you a bit. Case in point: After I finish this I’m going to go crash-stream some Good Mythical Morning. It’s a YouTube show where two fun guys do and talk about some weird topics. They once ate a bacon ice cream bar. They’ve also tested out eating things like bark and bricks. They’ve also talked about everything from supervolcanos to haunting to weirdest houses to the weirdest nail art.

They’ve basically the exact opposite of a show that I’ve invested my emotions into. It’s lighthearted fun that keeps things moving along.

If YouTube isn’t your jam, maybe pick up the funnies (or google them, since newspapers aren’t common these days). Something that can be gobbled up in quick succession and that can be put down fairly easily. It’ll create a break between the high-investment thing you just finished and the next high-investment thing you might want to get into.

Make something completely new.

This is primarily geared towards the creative types since they’re the ones who regularly write and draw and knit and whatever. But it also applies to anyone with a passion. I had a professor in college who wrote her doctorate dissertation on something she felt passionate about: James Bond. I didn’t actually read it, but she told us about how she’d definitely gotten some side-eye from people before they actually gave it a chance. I mean, she did get her doctorate so obviously someone found it doctorate-worthy.

I used a short story that I love (The Yellow Wallpaper – it’s ten pages, you have no excuse to not read it since it’s public domain, so go read it) to discuss something that concerns me: Solitary Confinement. It’s torture, plain and simple, and prisons use it as though it were a time out. They’ll throw just about anyone into solitary, regardless of if they’re dangerous or not. The Yellow Wallpaper comes from a time when women would be given the same treatment as, well, a medical treatment for ‘hysteria.’ I’m a big learn from our past kind of person. They made the mistakes for us, why do we have to keep repeating them? Anyway. I used the confusing feelings I had after finishing that short story (and the even more mushed up feelings I had after our class discussion on it) to turn it into a passionate plea. A non-fiction writing.

I also hope to take all the feelings I have for programs like Avatar and turn them into a passionate book. Hopefully a book series, but I’d be happy to just start with one book.

This is the ultimate form of dealing with conclusions because it takes a lot of work, but it also opens up the doors for other people who are seeking more. There might be someone out there looking for the exact thing you might offer them. Someone out there might need you like you needed the story you just finished. If you have it in you then go out and create.

You really never know who you might inspire.


When is a (fictional character’s) death not an indicator of disposability?

I want to write a story. There’s just a huge problem that keeps me from even being able to begin – the story I want to tell involves some controversial issues. I mean, there’s a lot of issues that are widely controversial that I might hit on either on purpose or accident that I’m ok with dealing with, but for the purposeful ones that’s part of the point and for the accidental ones, well, that’s an accident. I’ll try not to do anything accidentally but no human is perfect. This particular issue, though, is one where the audience I specifically want to reach out to and connect with are kind of unlikely to be ok one particular choice, and their opinions are of high importance to me.

The story I want to tell would include the death of a lesbian character.

Now, most people don’t know anything else about me (other than what you might be able to glean from my other posts and the Twits). They definitely don’t know much if anything about this story. But that statement alone without any further information has caused people to immediately treat me as a hostile entity that needs to be educated and stopped, most often because they tend to automatically assume that I am a straight person who doesn’t have a personal history with Dead Lesbian Syndrome.

And don’t get me wrong – I get that. This topic is an ongoing source of deep pain with a long history that has recently been prodded at with a thousand flaming spears. After the events of the last couple of years, it’s become abundantly clear that there’s a lot of people that still, somehow, don’t get why this topic carries so much weight and why it’s so important that the narratives change. I even have automatic defense systems that tries to take over when I talk to people I don’t know about it because I’ve also been bitten and burned by people who just don’t get it. Sometimes it’s stronger than others, depending on the story and current trends.

For example, Sam from Scream Queens was never going to elicit any kind of feeling from me no matter what happened to her or in the greater culture around the episodes she was in since she and most of the cast only existed to fulfill their trope-tastic roles and then die. Everyone I expected to die, died. Everyone I expected to live lived. On all fronts Scream Queens might as well have been called Trope Queens because the show was 90% about taking tropes to 11. It was the most watchable train wreck I’ve seen in years. Sure, despite the it being absolutely atrocious from the get-go, I loved the first season (and gave up halfway through the second out of boredom). But I had no feelings about Sam’s death because I expected everything to be offensively bad from the get-go.

On the flip side, while I don’t follow or care about most TV since it would just take way too much of my time to keep up with all the popular programming out there, even I’m deeply angry and hurt by the number of lesbian and bisexual women killed in very quick succession back in 2016. Even on shows that could justify it I deeply wish some of them just hadn’t. Sadly, though, the majority didn’t even have the excuse of being a vast wasteland where death is probably more common than a good meal. 2017 isn’t looking like it will be much better, though at least they seem to not be killing as many front-and-center characters this season. Since, you know, they’re already dead.

Now, I know those examples are in television. I’m going to talk a lot about TV here even though my goal is to write a novel or ten. TV is far more public and is more easily accessible for a lot of the population than most books, especially books about specific topics that people may have to go out of their way to seek out. After all, not every book can be the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings. And the books that do end up that readily accessible tend not to have much in the way of overt LGBT-ness.

Also, though I am ashamed to admit it, I actually haven’t read that much LGBT+ literature. I don’t like romances or books where the primary focus is definitely romance, no matter what it tries to bill itself as, and just by the nature of the topic at hand it can be kind of hard just to find LGBT+ stories that aren’t romances. Beyond that, I don’t have a ton of money, so outside of college most of my reading these last several years has been what I can find or acquire as a free PDF. While that’s great for catching up on classics that are now public domain, it’s not so good for following current trends. So please forgive me for sticking to easy examples. Before college, there wasn’t a great deal of interaction with LGBT+ media either.

I came from the kind of ‘we don’t talk about those sorts of things here’ environment. It wasn’t even a forcible kind of environment, but one where gayness just did not come up on its own, programs that it occurred on were not watched, probably not due to the gayness explicitly as much as the kind of shows we, as a family, watched didn’t often discuss LGBT+ themes, or when they did it was so sloppily done that I didn’t notice it until I was older. The topic also wasn’t ever brought up on purpose – there was no reason for it to be. Since popular media for most of my life shunned gayness outright, it just wasn’t a hard topic to avoid. In fact, outside of a few phrases thrown out by bullies that I should have asked Jeeves about but never really got around to asking, the only person I remember ever addressing gayness was my Freshman Health teacher. He told us that HIV wasn’t just for gay men and left the topic at that. No one seemed surprised by this either because no one, from what I could tell, even knew of that history. It was the mid-2000s. ‘The Gay Cancer’ hadn’t been something HIV was called since before we were born.

Until Queer Eye for the Straight Guy became a popular TV show, literally the only encounter I can recall having with anything even remotely LGBT+ related was a news story I happened to pay attention to in third grade about a little ‘boy’ my age who’s ‘mother made him wear dresses all the time.’ I don’t know if the mom was actually forcing them to wear dresses, I don’t know if it was a choice on the child’s part and she was completely supportive of him in a time where that would be considered child abuse. I didn’t have a developed enough sense of the world around me to even ask those kinds of questions then and since that was 20 years ago and I have no idea what channel it happened on I haven’t been able to actually find any history of that story. I don’t even know if it was something that happened in my childhood state or if it was something they’d picked up to talk about from another state. But the story itself is burned in my mind.

Note: I never actually saw Queer Eye for the Straight Guy until we dissected a scene from it in a media class I took in college. I was aware of its existence though, and I kind of knew what it meant even if I didn’t understand anything about it, which is a weird mental place to try to explain, especially when it’s so hard to even begin to try to comprehend what was going on in my child-brain now that I know so much more.

When I first felt non-straight attractions my immediate reaction was “oh…that’s not right…does this mean I’m a boy?” because that was the logical conclusion at the time. No, I had no idea that trans was a thing either. All I knew was that boys liked girls and there was no deviation from that, at least as far as ‘normal’ people were concerned and for some reason it seemed to me easier to just be a boy than to be a girl who liked girls. Of course, really didn’t want to be a boy because I found boys to be quite gross at that age. Instead, I just told myself ‘hey, someday you’ll grow up and be normal’ and decided to hunker down and wait until that day came. Spoiler alert: that day never came.

Outside of my family and media, the only indications I had as to what gayness was came from school bullies. I’m sure it’s pretty clear that bullies don’t exactly make you feel good about things, which is why Tara and Willow’s relationship from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was so important. Buffy wasn’t the kind of show my mom would typically be watching around that time, but I was around the age where I’d tape shows to watch later when she wasn’t home (and choosing what was on TV). Alone I watched a kick-ass girl beat down demons and vampires alongside her friends with possibly one of my favorite wise-elder characters, and alone I saw Willow…start a relationship with a girl. The exact thing that I didn’t know was possible. Willow and Tara made it possible for me.

 I was one of those kids that people like to talk about as being affected by all these lesbian deaths. They were my only positive imagery for years. In the comments section of a lot of articles about last year’s massacre, there are people saying that those who are upset with things are just butthurt. They cite male lgbt+ characters still living in the shows as a reason we shouldn’t be upset. But that misses the point. This is specifically a conversation about girls. Or, rather, a lack of living ladies. For a girl trying to understand herself, that’s rough. It’s already a rough game out there for girls. A female lead outside of romance stories is still very much a novelty, though things have been moving towards evening out with each passing year thanks to the help of stories with multiple protagonists.

Of course, as I said, that’s just our most popular visual media of television. Movies are far, far worse. Literature, though, tends to be a bit better, but that might be due to books not being bound to timetables. They don’t have to fight for a spot on the TVGuide or to be squeezed into at least one of the limited number of showrooms in your local theater. Sure authors hope their books will be put on a shelf where they’ll be noticed and picked up, but there’s nothing to limit the number of books published in a year. Sure, movies can be released outside of theaters, but most people probably aren’t hiking to a film festival just to see something that’s lightly buzzing. We got busy lives, yo. Anyway, there’s a wide range of books. If you want something, I’m sure it’s out there by now. It might not be completely to your liking, but it exists. You can build your own literature bubble and be completely ignorant to trends outside of it very easily. We get one Harry Potter or one Hunger Games every few years. (The sparklepire and fanfic-of-sparklepire books will not be named here, understood?) Everything else is up to you, your tastes, and your willingness and ability to seek out the books that match up to your desires.

That said, the trends are a problem for a reason. When your minority character of whatever type is a disposable token, that sends a subtle message. Each time it happens in every medium the message grows a little bigger. If for every Clexa we had a Britanna maybe things would be different, but unfortunately the numbers are disproportionate. The numbers stay disproportionate for every other group, too, aside from white, straight folks. Well, men in particular, since dying wives (and mothers and daughters) are a good motivator. I mean, it can be such a moving addition to the plot that I want to use it. For my lesbian protagonist. Look, if she wasn’t such a raging lesbian she’d have a dying husband. Either way I want her spouse to be the one who dies.

So…what turns divides the disposable tokens from the moving and meaningful deaths?

They have happened, after all. And I want to write one. Perhaps it’s tied to my own history – the feeling of disposability, the feeling of being brushed aside, ignored, forgotten. I want to challenge the trope and give it meaning. (Though my ability to write is an entirely separate issue and if it turns out to be complete trash I promise I won’t even try to publish. Though you’ll have to bear in mind that ‘complete trash’ is an opinion based descriptor, so we might not be in agreement. But I do promise that I am one of my own harshest critics.)

I want a death story that isn’t a direct slap in the face, where it actually means something. I want to know that the loss of an important character is meaningful, important, that they weren’t a throw-away who ultimately won’t matter. That their loss changed the lives of the characters forever. That they weren’t just there for the shock and drama, they weren’t just removed because their part of the plot was done.

From what I have developed so far, I feel like I meet those parameters. This is a character who could have gone on in the story, she didn’t have to stop there. In a way, it’s both senseless, as any death in real life might be, and a highly meaningful game-changer. I picked the character that was most well-liked and respected by those around her. She’s still learning, but a promising student. The main villain doesn’t have a vendetta against her, she is a casualty in an inherited war. Whose death just also happens to deeply emotionally scar the protagonists. They have to deal with it, find a way to keep living, find a way to continue on together. There are consequences, deserved or not. And all of that is well and good, but whether or not it meets that criteria hinges on two things: will it be written well (I hope!) and is that what other people define as ‘meaningful’?

This is where I start to panic. I’ve gone through so many pages on TV Tropes and read through so many articles trying to figure out how I can write this story without making things worse. One article said that even full-rainbow casts shouldn’t kill LGBT+ women since it adds to the statistics. Now I know I’m not on board with that concept. That limits some potentially poignant stories to not existing since a big part of life is the end of it. That will happen. Others seem to have set criteria, but the criteria can be heavily opinion based. I mean, some things are easy. Only LGBT+ female? Nope. Not even close. Others are difficult to meet. Was it a ‘punishment’ for their happy ending? I mean, I’ll try not to, but they are married. They’ve been in a relationship for some time at this point. They are happily together. Until, well, the reaper pays a visit.

I also know that I cannot get a pass simply for being a lady-lover myself. There are so many stories about women that were written and/or produced or directed by women that are just horrible, misogynistic dribble. It happens. Easily, sometimes, when certain concepts are ingrained in society. Even things that were revolutionary in their own times would be ass-backwards if written today.

So I honestly want to know…where is the line? When is it ok? Will it ever be ok? What will it take to avoid the whole thing being horrible?

I know my own circle isn’t a fair judge. We’re a small slice of the pie. Very small. Like a sliver, at best. For the most part the opinion is ‘as long as I like it, I’m fine with it.’ Which isn’t an easy thing to gauge, because I don’t know everyone. I know the trends show that this isn’t ok right now, and worse is that it’s almost never done well. I also know that there’s no pleasing everyone – but I also also know that when a large enough portion of a group is saying the same thing then maybe it’s worth paying attention to since that’s probably a generally widespread feeling.

And, taking all of that in its own consideration, there’s also the consideration of the author. Why they wanted to tell this story. Drama? No. I mean, there’s no escaping it. It is dramatic. But it’s for the characters and what they have to go through. It’s for the other characters from other media who were butchered for the ratings. It’s for the people who had to patch up themselves as the world again told them that they were just there for the straights.

At the end of the day, no explanation is truly worthy. It’s all excuses. But is it worth it?

For this story, it really seems to be. I’ve thought a lot about what would happen if I didn’t do it. My original plans didn’t include any main character deaths. All of these roads, though, come out a little…weak. It’s just a story about two fantasy kingdoms fighting each other, with ours (the ‘good’ one) being led by relatively inexperienced royals while the other one is helmed by a centuries-old monster who’s been biding their time to ensure that when they go to war, they will win and they will retain control for the rest of eternity. Pulling out the mediator (that being the character that binds all the others together) in a very permanent way is the best answer I’ve found to break all the typical-YA-fantasy-stuffs up into something with more depth. It ruins everything in their universe, which is the best thing that can happen for a story.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I don’t double down on the emotional aspect – when thinking of deceased characters and pairings that didn’t end in happily ever after, I can only think of one that doesn’t upset me. Rose Quartz. From Steven Universe. And she most likely, despite being a female-coded sentient rock from space, was technically ‘straight.’ The character that makes it, though, is Pearl. Madly in love, almost definitely completely unrequited love, broken without her.

I know I can’t top that. Don’t think I’m trying to. I’d be happy just landing somewhere in the same ballpark.

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Taking Baby Strokes

Ok so right from the start of this whole blog-thing I’ve been doing, I’ve been talking about my art. Now I’ve made good on some of my pen-to-paper scribbles, but what I haven’t yet done is share any digital…anything. Well, that’s because I wanted something decent to show for it and for a while I most definitely didn’t have that. There’s a fair few reasons for that.

Reason one: Technical Difficulties. Two-Fold.

The set up seemed easy enough at first. My intuos seemed easy enough to set up. I picked out some features for the buttons (the quick keys as they’re called). The ones on the stylus themselves weren’t really working, mostly because I kept bumping them at first, so I just disabled those and had my quick keys set to do the things I’d tried to set the stylus-buttons to do. That was fine. (At first.)

No no, the first problem came, apparently, with my choice of program. I admit I hadn’t looked too much into my options. I knew Photoshop was a thing, and I knew Gimp was your free semi-equivalent program. It…is not. Equivalent that is. It will do the job if you need a free photomanipulator and you learn how things work with it, and I have used it as such for a while. I don’t manipulate many photos extensively mind you, but I can tell you most pictures I’ve posted on this blog have been lightened. And anything on white paper was ‘whitened’ because all of the lights in my home have a yellow hue to them so it made all those drawings look weird. However as for making actual art, I very quickly ran into extensive and obnoxious glitches that had very long and complicated ‘solutions’ online. Since I can’t afford Photoshop I assumed that this was what I was stuck with and settled down for hours of troubleshooting.

Luckily that didn’t happen. In the first thirty minutes I stumbled on someone mentioning this other program that was also 100% free by it’s very design – Krita. It also, apparently, fairly recently released a very much improved version 3. It’s been fully created by kicksterter backing since the beginning, and it was specifically designed so that anyone and everyone can make digital art if they so choose.

Well there we go! A free program designed for drawing tablets and aspiring (and professional) digital artists. And it has not disappointed. But it has had a learning curve of its own. Which I will address in reason two (the learning curve).

Ok, I know this section has been long so I’ll keep the rest short: I’ve had a few problems with the tablet itself. Specifically I had to uninstall all components and re-install the drivers once in the first few days because it hadn’t installed correctly. After I did that, though, my ‘back’ option (essentially ‘undo’) no longer worked. So I uninstalled and re-installed again, among other various troubleshoots. It still doesn’t work. I’ve tried it on all the buttons on both the tablet and the stylus. Every other potential setting works. So uhm, if anyone has a solution for this, please tell me. Thank you!

Reason Two: The Learning Curve

Hooooo boy. There is a learning curve. It took me a while just to be able to make lines in a way that resembled my current skill level – which I’m well aware isn’t particularly high, but it’s not as bad as it was looking for a minute there. Basically the first couple sketches I tried to make – including my first attempts at just drawing basic shapes – looked like grade school scribbles. I mean regular kid grade school, not pro artist grade school. I’ve seen some pros put up their grade school ‘scribblings’ and even that looks great. It looks like the kind of stuff you see in movies that you just know was drawn by an adult trying to make it look like it was drawn by the kid because of how unfairly good it is. (So unfair guys.)

Then there’s learning Krita. Some things are obvious and easy if you have any knowledge of these kinds of programs. Layers work similarly to how you’d expect them to, though you might have to learn some of the more advanced options. The color selector is there, brush options, etc. But there’s so much more. But we’ll get there in a minute. First – my first attempt!

Yeah, I cannot draw a proper circle on a good day, and this was while I was still struggling with straight lines. So please for give my lumpy sphere. And just…everything. I gave up on the shapes fairly quickly, considering they never really work out well for me anyway. I know that’s not a good sign artistically, but I do know to use my shapes to build bigger pictures and…well, I have a lot of work to do as far as shading goes.

So I hope it’s fairly obvious but I started in on that without looking up any tutorials beyond basic troubleshooting. I wanted to see what I already knew and what I still needed to figure out. Turns out…I need to figure out a lot. Especially because a lot of things in Krita are significantly different from Photoshop. Like blending and, to an extent, shading. (There’s still options like ‘burn’ but, one, I had no idea where to find it at first and two, there’s better options than burn, as I found out.)

So let me give a mega shout-out to all the artists on YouTube, especially ones who uploaded how-to’s with programs other than Photoshop. There are a fair few programs out there, too, and it’s nice to get a chance to see others looked at.

Specifically there’s a channel called GDquest (and they have a Twitter too) which had a great blending tutorial which I copied a little bit on my own to create this magnificent beast:

I originally had a bright yellow sphere but that was horrible so I turned it orange and then I actually liked the outcome, even if some of my edges are a bit weird on all of them. I wasn’t too concerned about completely cleaning the edges up since this was more focused on shade/highlight/blending. These spheres give me hope.

I also found a lot of help from Jazza(Draw with Jazza)’s YouTube channel in general, though I can’t tell you specifically what videos as there’s so many and I think I’ve had them on non-stop for the last couple weeks. Well, when I’m not watching Good Mythical Morning that is. That latter one is unrelated. But it is on YouTube so kinda related? Anyway Jazza has a lot of tutorials too, but he mostly sticks to Photoshop. He also has the highest level drawing tablet (Cintriq) so sometimes some of his tutorials are a bit, well, geared towards not me. But that’s fine. There’s still plenty to learn outside the technical realm too, and watching all the different challenge videos he’s done has also been rather inspiring.

Anyway, one of the other tutorials I found was one discussing various brushes available in Krita – at least, that particular person’s favorites. While I did play through with all the different ones he suggested, I also took that time to test out literally every single brush. Which was fun, but unfortunately I don’t have anything to show for it because I didn’t change canvases as I was doing so and as such as I ran out of space I just colored over the canvass and switched colors and kept on going with the next batch until I’d done every one of them. I can easily say that I verily agree with Mart(‘s Struggling with Drawing)’s suggestions. But then, I’m also super newb so maybe I’ll eventually branch out to others. Right now, though, this feels like a good solid start point which I didn’t have with the initial attempts.

Also later in the video he made a jellyfish which I sort copied but also made my own:

One thing I very quickly noticed was how easy it can be to make things look nice. Like, if I’d had to draw this out without the options in Krita…..well, you can see my most recent efforts at drawing in previous posts. (As for how accurate that jelly is, I know it’s not at all accurate. But I’m not sharing it because it’s a super accurate realistic jellyfish. I’m sharing it because it actually looks kind of nice just as it is.)

So that’s where I am as of now, and there was some procrastination involved since I didn’t want to go and read all the long articles or watch all the 30 videos I had open (yes – I had 30 video tabs opened alone, some pertinent to beginning with Krita or as an artist, others more advanced but I was really curious, but it was 30 all the same). But when I buckled down and did it I noticed marked improvements right away. Which in turn got me really excited to make more.

And since my next effort is a bit more ambitious than my last few, I do admit I have some concern that I might get frustrated again. But I’m also immensely excited. Plus so far it doesn’t look horrid. If I stick to what I’ve learned and keep learning new things as I go, I’m certain it’ll turn out fairly decent.

I think the mock up I was making for myself up in that corner looks better than the actual picture I was trying to make. I’ll probably take it and make it it’s own picture after I finish the first one.

About Garnet, Rosie, Not-Rosie, and Reddit.

So, empowered women love themselves some Rosie. I know I do. She got women into the factories, she got them to the jobs that they would later be remiss to give up and learn to fight for to get them back*. She played a prominent role in the history that allowed me the liberties I have today! This cover for the next issue of the re-booted Steven Universe comics made me outright squeal the first time I saw it, posted on the Steven Universe subreddit because I don’t really follow the comics that much, but I will look at one if I see it. Oh, also, take this as your spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the show.

Comics by KaBoom Studios, art by Katy Farina(? – please correct me if I am wrong on this, I couldn’t find anything actually crediting a specific artist, but she’s credited as the artist on the series).

I love this art as a work of art – everyone who creates in regards to Steven Universe is spectacular and I am quite jealous, but I also know they’ve probably been drawing a lot longer and with a lot more dedication than I have so it doesn’t make me give up hope in myself. It gives me something to aspire to. Even when characters are making ugly faces they’re still amazing.

For the concept Garnet is absolutely perfect. The original is eye-catching for the strength she conveys so effortlessly. The original poster looks like she could really mess someone up, not to mention it’s iconic status in the history of feminism. Garnet herself could easily be an icon – she is, in and of herself, the power of love. She’s also very representative of three different types of amazing women, and in all of her forms (including her further fusions with Pearl and Amethyst) she’s definitely a get-the-job-done sort. There could be a whole ten posts written on the wonders of Garnet alone, but that would be a good digression for another day. For right now I want to talk about Rosie and my recent experience on Reddit which came from this cover.

When I first stumbled into the thread on Reddit, there were a few comments, and it had only been up for about 9 (more or less) hours. There was, of course, the simple little ‘love it’ type comments, but there was one which caught my attention. It was from a person who had a different view than me. Regarding this poster. Now, below that comment had been a bit of a rough patch but that was more or less well handled. It did give me pause, however, especially because another person had already casually and chipperly addressed the main problem with the initial comment.

See, the woman credited as the inspiration for this poster, the argument went, wasn’t exactly someone that should necessarily be looked up to, considering she only worked in the factory for three days before quitting to prevent injury to her hands. For me, that in and of itself is reasonable considering her life’s work required her to have functional hands, but I do see the point there. It’s not very empowering and it’s actually kind of annoying to have such an icon actually be backed by someone who didn’t put in the kind of effort that the poster was calling for. For the record, this lady was Geraldine Hoff Doyle, and she did pass away some years ago. Also for the record, again, I completely respect her decision considering how invaluable her hands were to her everyday life. Not that everyone’s hands aren’t important, but the kind of injuries possible might have been easier for other people to get on with.

Except, as was found out fairly recently, the iconic photo that is perpetually associated with the ‘We Can Do It’ poster wasn’t of Ms. Doyle at all (she was actually still in high school when the photo was taken), but of an entirely different lady – Naomi Parker-Fraley. Also, the original article the photo was taken for was, it seems, about proper factory fashion for the women who were just coming to work at the factory for the first time. Yes, the iconic headband was important to that piece. Women gotta keep their hair from the dangerzone somehow. It definitely would not do us good if everyone was being severely maimed after all, especially considering the appropriate work clothes (like steel-toe boots) didn’t come in average female sizes at the time.

Also of important note, there wasn’t just one lady that could be credited as Rosie. There is one iconic photograph that has been up for contention (that being the photograph that the headband is supposed to have come from), but there are many ladies who contributed to the art and the mythos. Rose Will Monroe was believed to be the model for the ‘We Can Do It’ poster, and there was Rose Bonavita (and her work partner) who set a record for most rivets produced who I read was potentially the inspiration for the song, which was in turn the superhero origins for the whole existence of any fictional Rosie the Riveter. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t pay our due thanks to the many other Rosies who helped out in the war effort, both for what they did at the time and for everything that has come since. We do have those factory jobs to thank for the strides we’ve made to workplace equality today after all.

Anyway, as far as Reddit was concerned, that had already been addressed, and politely and kindly and without erupting into name-calling battles. It was honestly impressive, considering the current state of any social sphere on the internet. I can’t look at even the most innocent of pages without something seemingly turning into a verbal bloodbath. It’s almost like the concept of a debate has warped entirely from ‘here’s my opinion and argument to support it, now present yours’ to ‘my opinion is superior and you must suffer since you don’t share it.’ On one hand, that makes me more afraid than ever to engage in conversations online, considering how dangerous that can be. I created this entire blog-twitter-etc set of accounts to keep them separate from everything else I do/have done just in case, and even then I know that savvy trolls are capable of almost anything.

So with that in mind, and with my deep love for debate…I poked the conversation a bit. Now if you’re expecting something grand like a fight or a long and deeply meaningful conversation….there wasn’t one of either. There were three total posts, and two of them were mine and the comment from the other person was ‘that’s interesting, but what about this other point?’

‘This other point’ was about how they didn’t like propaganda because it was false and meant to manipulate people, which is fair, since propaganda exists purely to manipulate people – though my opinion is ‘as bad as that sounds, I’d rather be manipulated into joining a war effort across an ocean and on a continent I will probably never visit than let actual literal Hitler become Fuhrer of all of Europe.’ Of course, I have 20/20 80 years in the future hindsight to help me make that choice, but as far as the outcome of WWII I can say I’m glad that Americans helped it not go in worse directions. But that is a completely separate discussion. No no, why I bring this whole thing up is because, in trying to teach and converse with another person (who I’m not sure was actually interested in the same, since they never replied, and that’s fine), I learned something.

For the people who have gotten this far without angrily going to the comments or just closing this post in annoyance, congratulations – and thank you deeply for reading this. *See,  I put a star way back in the first paragraph on purpose, and here is where it comes into play. I found out, while double checking myself so I didn’t sound like a fool, that everything I’d known about this poster was wrong. It’s not 100% my fault, since the culture around us definitely calls her Rosie, and I’m pretty sure my history text book in high school also referred to her as part of the Rosie the Riveter campaign. But see…she’s not actually Rosie the Riveter. She wasn’t even associated with Rosie until the 1980s, which, as you may note, was decades after WWII ended. This poster actually wasn’t even widely used. In fact, it was only used in one factory and for a short period of time at that.

The painting that was widely referred to as Rosie the Riveter (and was actually widely used at the time) was actually on the cover of The Saturday Morning Post, and while she is powerful in her own way (she’s stomping on Mein Kampf with a giant piece of machinery that could definitely do some serious damage), she doesn’t look ready to punch anyone’s lights out. In fact, she’s eating a sandwich:

She also isn’t the primary Rosie, as I already mentioned. The original Rosie, as far as the fictional war propaganda character is concerned, is the one from this fun little wartime ditty:

Now this isn’t to say one is greater than the other. They are all great in their own wonderful ways. It’s just that our favorite and most remembered poster isn’t the actual Rosie which got everyone riveted to Rivet. She was an icon for one factory for about a week or two in February (1943). That factory didn’t even have riveters.

So, this poster has a long history with being muddled at best. I saw many arguments regarding her purpose as the protector of the status quo – women were working in factories as mommy-type defenders of their domestic lives, knowing they were going to give those jobs up. I know I wasn’t around then to vouch for or against anything from back then, or even for anything from the 80s, but there’s something to the social dynamics of the ever changing times. Both what they were and what they became because of the effects of the war. We still have an on-going battle today about being a stay-at-home-mommy-housewife or putting the career first. There are still so many people who believe it has to be one way or the other, that somehow both can’t qualify as valid ways of living.

The iconic power of Rosie getting women into the factories did give weight to the grand scale changes in the work force even if the women at the time received less than half of what men made. The re-surging poster in the 80s served to unite a sisterhood to get ‘it’ done. There are a lot of things that ‘it’ could be, too. It’s the icon of rolling up your sleeves and getting to work that’s most important…even as she’s appropriated by Clorox to sell cleaning supplies to a bygone era. (Even the idea of feminism itself has been appropriated for advertising all kinds of weird things, and sometimes it’s effective, sometimes it’s horrible, and almost always whether or not it’s good or bad is entirely dependent on the viewer. After all, I kind of like a lot of the Dove commercials, aside from their weird recent one about the bottle shapes being more representative of different female body types, but a lot of people find it to be patronizing or exploitative of women’s insecurities.)

Do we need more icons? Yes we do. Do we need modern influences? You betcha. But we can’t discount the simplicity of an easy icon and the power that she wields. It’s an easy way to demonstrate strength, determination, and fearlessness. After all, I’m sure I’ve mentioned already how ready she looks to punch someone’s lights out. Whether or not that was intentional isn’t really that important. What matters now is what we’ve made of her. We have turned her into the icon of the powerful women who, lest we forget, did put in some serious backbreaking work that they probably were not accustomed to in order to do their part to defend their country. She represents those same women who were later forced out of their jobs, who found that domestic life wasn’t truly as rewarding as they’d been told it would be, the ones who pushed into the workforce and have gotten us as far as we’ve come today. She represents those of us who have to pick up the mantle and go the rest of the way (heeyy that’s what Garnet’s doing now that Rose is gone – did anyone else forget this started out as a Steven Universe post?).

Art doesn’t just stop at it’s history, or it’s original intent, or it’s appropriation. Sure it is also all those things but it is also what society molds it to be.

(On a side note, I recommend these comics. They’re interesting, lighthearted, and can be thought provoking, just like the series. They also have nothing to do with this topic aside from the awesome art of Garnet.)

Man, I’d forgotten how much I liked to essay. I’m not going to create a proper sources page at this time (sorry professors everywhere!), though I might come back and edit this. Please also don’t judge me for using Wikipedia instead of the original sources cited in Wikipedia – this isn’t some big professional presentation, Wikipedia already made the concise points that I wanted to make, and besides that, Wikipedia can be really chock full of good, truthful information as long as you’re staying away from hotly contested pages. In some cases of rare pieces of literature, Wikipedia might even be one of very few internet sources out there. My Old English professor swears by Wikipedia for learning more about Old English literature since there’s so little of it…and I’m going to stop now before I ramble about Old English literature. That shall be for another day.


Smithsonian: We Can Do It!

Wikipedia: We Can Do It!

Wikipedia: Rosie the Riveter


Naomi Parker Fraley, The Original “We Can Do It!” Gal

Steven Universe Subreddit

Kaboom Studios

Steven Universe Wiki

Norman Rockwell Complete Cover Gallery

The Many Faces of Rosie the Riveter

World Digital Library: We Can Do It!

History.com: Inspiration for Iconic Rosie the Riveter Image Dies


Sorry Beyoncé, Rosie the Riveter is no feminist icon.

Rosie the Riveter is a bogus icon of female empowerment

progress bar · Rambles

Some days things are just good.

My roommate is cranky, but aside from that I don’t really have any complaints about today. How often can people say that? I mean, I think I complained today, at times, though I didn’t mean to. But I don’t have any overall complaints. Work was fine, all the things that were going wrong seem like they’ve been fixed and I have a new supervisor that has reigned in all the mistakes of my previous one. They’ve even started my promotion paperwork (which I was told would happen over a month ago, but that was other supervisor). I’m back on track at work, and I even managed to draw Ruby multiple times and she didn’t look completely demented even once. That’s not related to work, but that’s some #artpride right there. Progress is always worth celebrating.

Actually, there is one art complaint I could easily make – I’m still struggling with the Wacom. I’ve had to uninstall/reinstall the drivers twice now, and there’s been serious trouble with registration. I also was originally trying to work with Gimp, a program I know rather well, but there were so many glitches so I tried a different program (Krita, which I’d never heard before let alone played with). I have so far played with colors and shading the basic shapes…which I know I’m not a super artist, but I’ve always been extra super bad at the shapes. Once I learn a bit more about the program itself (especially selection, layers, blending options, etc) I’m going to give them another go. I want to know a bit more before I start sharing even the scraps, though I probably will share the scraps of my first attempts after I have something I feel better about to compare it to.

But none of that is really a complaint as much as a ‘welp gotta roll with it!’ kind of thing. My goal is to learn and learn I am trying to do. Now, since I talked about drawing I don’t feel I can leave this post without some of my scraps.

First is a check-back with my old favorite – I’ve shaded a bit more and I think it looks quiet a bit better now…even if I put Steven’s shadow-arm in the wrong spot.


This is simply a sick day sketch dump. I was still really feeling awful on Monday, but I also didn’t want to not draw something, so I started working on something I thought couldn’t turn out too bad, considering I’ve drawn quite a bit of Ruby and Sapphire. Then I got mad at how it was going and started throwing down a bunch of other things. All from memory, since I couldn’t have references when I was drawing these. For not using any references at all I don’t think I did horribly. It could be a lot better, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever made. Doing a dump also gave me chances to work on a few smaller details (like attempting to draw walking…and dancing, which I have a lot of other really bad flops of attempting that pose elsewhere which are even worse than these – no I will not share them). Then I started sketching out a thought and it turned into a cute little Pearl, and then I had to give the Pearl a little story, and then that story gave me another sketchy. That being the Garnet in the bubble room sketchy there beside her.

Then I sketched her some more. I really like her actually. She could be really helpful for me developing something of my own. It’s not totally mine, I know, but it’ll help me branch out some more.
Lastly are a few pieces from a bit of a longer thing I’m making that I’ve been calling ‘Getting to Know You,’ which I’d also include the other little Ruby-Sapphire bits as well. It’s just them getting to know each other during that time between when they escape Blue and join Rose. Oh and also that one from before they come to Earth at all.

My goal is to ‘draw a little every day.’ Sometimes that becomes very little, and unfortunately for a few days there that little bit was limited to very minimal attempts at coloring in Krita. But we don’t get better if we don’t keep at it. So I’m going to keep at it. My other goal is to write a little every day. So far I’ve been doing mediocre at that, and I’m not counting twitter posts as writing since 14o characters is about the equivalent of a couple of texts. Or one text, depending on what’s going on. I’ve written some summaries of ideas but I haven’t started developing those ideas yet. If I ever want to use my writing to buy a car, or something else that it’d be nice to have extra money outside of my paycheck to buy, I know I really need to get started on that.

Oh, semi-unrelated to the art, but Cartoon Network added a clip from one of the upcoming SU bomb episodes. The whole episode was already leaked so most people have already seen it so it’s been a bit of a big deal. At least the leak entirely watchable, so here is the very watchable clippit they put out: