"I know that there are people who think that this is odd. They take their comfort other ways -- from liquor or from God. Now sometimes prayer can call me or a drink helps get me through, But nothing is so healing as the days I spend with you." -- from "My Thousand Closest Friends" (1991) by Naomi Pardue
I think it’s fascinating to observe toxic masculinity in action in Westerns.
(Some quasi-spoilers here for Shane (1953).)
In this latest example I’ve seen, the movie Shane, the boy (Joey) is desperate for a role model who can teach him to perform violent masculinity—at the start of the movie, Joey is hunting a deer, and he spends a fair bit of the movie running around with toy guns shouting “Bang! Bang! Bang!” over and over, and he insists that Shane teach him to shoot, and he keeps asking questions about who could beat up who, and he insists that Shane would never back down from a fight, and so on.
Presumably he got that model of What It Means To Be A Man from his culture. But he’s also strongly reinforcing that culture, because:
Shane keeps trying to not perform violent masculinity, but he’s pressed into it by (among other things) not wanting to let Joey down. (Same, in some ways, for Joey’s father Joe.)
So Joey is desperate to see the men in his life engage in violence and refuse to back down, and the men in his life don’t want to look bad in front of him or set him a bad example, and so there’s this vicious cycle reinforcing things.
(There’s a lot more than that going on for both Shane and Joe, of course. But Joey’s ideas seem to me to be pretty clearly a major driving factor for both of them.)
Shane tries a couple of times to gently suggest that Joey’s got the wrong idea about what a Real Man has to do, but that doesn’t work; various genre forces are conspiring toward the inevitable violent climax.
But the movie takes place (like many Westerns, I think) in this liminal period between the old violent world of the frontier and the new law-abiding world of civilization, and I feel like it’s trying to say that Shane is among the last of the old world, that he’s clearing a space for the new world to happen. But if that’s the intent, I don’t think it works. Joey doesn’t come out of the movie thinking that gunfighting is wrong; he comes out of it with all of his preexisting cultural ideas heavily reinforced.
And, of course, 125 years after the period of this story and 65 years after the movie was made, we’re still struggling with these same kinds of ideas, with boys and men striving to meet cultural expectations of masculinity and also reinforcing those expectations.
P.S.: Wikipedia says:
Stevens wanted to demonstrate to audiences “the horrors of violence”. [His] innovations, according to film historian Jay Hyams, marked the beginning of graphic violence in Western movies.
I’ll certainly believe that that was Stevens’s intent, but I’m not convinced that this movie succeeds in demonstrating the horrors of violence. I feel like it does more glorifying than horrifying.
I was thinking how I came up against that wall around the same age, a bit earlier, and went looking for "world" stuff or just anything not English, US based, "western culture" wanting to see anything possible. Anthologies were good or looking by specific country or ethnicity. I would root through any library or bookstore. Encyclopedias too. The indexes of books were super instructive. It took just years for me to have any real handle on the depth of the problems of histories but it was clear from the beginning that A LOT WAS WRONG. I didn't go into that (right now it is better if I listen to him than talk about my own thoughts)
Anyway! I'm so, so proud of Moomin and his excitement about scholarly things. I feel like no matter what he does in life he will have that kind of love of books and knowledge and stories.
He also really loved Gilgamesh so I am going to show him those awesome debates online between Hoe and Plough, Fish and Bird, etc.
I started this project with about 350 unread mass-market paperbacks on my bookshelves, and I bought about 30 more shortly after starting the project. It’s hard to decide exactly what count to start with, because I also glanced at and discarded another 100 or so at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. But let’s say I started the project with 380 unread MMPBs.
I’m now down to 179 to go, so I’m a little over halfway through.
…The numbers I have don’t add up. I’ve read (or more often glanced at and discarded, or lightly skimmed) about 60 MMPBs so far this year, plus a couple dozen books in other formats, and I got through 172 last year. I’m not quite sure how to reconcile all those numbers with each other.
But suffice it to say that after nearly two years of this project, I’m probably somewhere around halfway through, and my pace has slowed considerably over time. So it might be another two years or more before I’m done.
(And that’s not even considering the 560 or so unread books on my trade-paperback-and-hardcover shelves. I started going through those this year, very slowly, but probably won’t get serious about those until after I finish with the mass-market books.)
I continue to be glad to be doing this project. I’m not often encountering books or stories that I like, but it’s satisfying to get some closure on books that’ve been sitting on my shelves for 20+ years, and on books that I always meant to read, and on books by authors whose other work I’ve liked, and so on.
But it’s also a little demoralizing to think of continuing for the next couple years. As suggested in the abovelinked entry, I’m intentionally mixing in more recent stuff (which tends to be more to my tastes) this year, which helps; but it also slows down progress on the project.
One side effect worth mentioning: When I’m particularly interested in a given book, I’ve been buying it in ebook form, which lets me read it in more places and lets me highlight and search and so on.
(I am continuing to buy other books, too, of course. But most of my book-buying is ebooks these days. I’m avoiding thinking about the number of unread ebooks on my virtual bookshelves. I’m definitely reading/skimming books faster than I’m buying them, so at least the total unread number is going down over time.)
Anyway, mostly just posting this for my own future reference; I got curious today about numbers over time, and found that I hadn’t posted enough updates to be able to reconstruct various things, so I figured it was time for an update.
Edited a few minutes later to add: it’s definitely nice to watch the physical progress of this project, as the section of my bookshelves devoted to unread MMPBs gradually diminishes. It’s down to a little over five shelves now (well, four and two half-shelves), and after I get through another 20 or so books, it’ll free up a whole shelf for me to move old sf magazines onto, which will in turn free up more space in the larger-books-that-I’ve-read section. I have a whole plan about what moves to where as more space frees up over time.
One significant adjustment I made was that I went back to the lens I used last year – my cherished AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D – instead of the new AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E. I struggled with focus and field of view with the 105mm lens, and I had great success with the 85mm in previous years. I reviewed some of the photos from 2016 and noted how I failed earlier this month.
I’m still trying to get to where I can reset the filename prefix on D810/302, and with only 36 pictures to go, there wasn’t enough headroom to photograph an event. So I brought D810/306.
The game on Friday started at 6 pm instead of the 7 pm start two weeks ago. I added a little extra time because I wanted to stop at the OSU Beaver Store before the game. That meant I needed to leave my home at 2:30 pm. I planned to leave the office at 2:10 pm – and I was pretty close to that. My target arrival time for Corvallis was 4:30 pm – and I hit that on the nose. Traffic was surprisingly free on Hwy 217 south, but it did bog down at I-5 – near the 217 interchange – and also near Wilsonville. Google Maps said it would take 1:54 from my house to Corvallis, and since I didn’t leave until 2:35 pm, the numbers were right on.
I had a quick, light dinner at McDonalds… then went to the OSU Beaver Store. The clothing was pretty much what the online catalog had, so there wasn’t anything I wanted to add to my wardrobe. I did look at all the fan items – but saw nothing really interesting. It was about 5:10 pm when I walked across the street to Gill Coliseum. I learned that I qualified (just barely) for the Senior price for general admission tickets ($7 instead of $9). Sure, I’ll take that.
I stationed myself lower (row 2; row 1 is reserved) and farther away from the net. When the team came out for warm up drills, they were wearing Pink DAM Cancer T-shirts. The band and the cheerleaders and many people in the stands were wearing the same t-shirts. It turned out this was the annual DAM Cancer match for the volleyball team. A portion of the proceeds from the t-shirts goes to cancer research. Also, the t-shirt gets you free admission to the DAM Cancer events (volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, swimming).
What really surprised me when the team returned to the court at game time was that their playing jerseys were also pink! Way cool! I had been hoping for white jerseys, but this was even better!
The first set was suspenseful… back and forth… back and forth. We lost 27-29. I was more tense than I am usually, and this was not a good sign. I ended up being tense the entire evening as each set was a see-saw. Thankfully, we won the match 3-1! Yay!
As always Mary-Kate Marshall was a powerhouse. I love watching her in action. But I was also super pleased with the play from two Oregonian freshmen – Haylie Bennett and Grace Massey. These two will be great in coming years.
One thing I did differently was that I switched locations after each set. I’ve switched locations before, but I had stayed on the same side of the court. That meant that some shots had the Beavers facing to my right, and other shots had the Beavers facing to my left. What I decided was I should cross over diagonally to the opposite side of the court. That way all the photos had the same perspective. We played four sets, so I spent two sets on the southeast portion of the court and two sets on the northwest portion of the court. When I was on the southeast side, I actually roamed away from the seat and along the court floor. I couldn’t do that on the northwest corner.
The AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens performed superbly with the D810 in Group Focus mode. I had almost no focus misses. (The few misses were because I couldn’t get the focus area on the target fast enough with some players in the way.) Plus the 85mm field of view was pretty much ideal for what I was trying to do within my limited access to the court area. I shot at f/2 at ISO 1600; this has been consistent for the past couple of years. I was pleased with how the pictures turned out – they were much, much better than two weeks ago!
DAM Cancer event • Gill Coliseum • Corvallis, Oregon
October 20, 2017
The match ended around 8:20 pm. On the way out of town I stopped at McDonalds for my traditional soft serve cone – but the place was again a mess with a long drive-thru line and a long line at the order register. I decided to bail. As I drove on the bridge across the Willamette, I thought about alternatives. A milkshake at Burgerville in Albany? That seemed like too much of a detour. Maybe another McDonalds? I didn’t know where they were in Salem, but I knew there was one at the Woodburn interchange.
Then I realized that there was a Dairy Queen in Corvallis on 3rd St. D’Oh! I should have gone there. McDonald’s has been kinda terrible recently, and I think I’m just going to switch over to DQ – next time I’m in Corvallis for a volleyball match.
I did get a cone at the Woodburn McDonald’s… so that added about 15 minutes to my travel time – I got home at 10:15 pm instead of 10:00 pm. Drive time was 90 minutes.
A 2-minute Recap of the Match is on YouTube. And… OSU’s Press Release.
And the pictures did come out better. The combined set of all volleyball pictures from October is posted in Zenfolio: OSU Volleyball 2017.10
Also when he said he thought of me in relation to her feeling like she is walking on knives..... i actually think of that sometimes so that kind of touched me.
He is also reading Gilgamesh and some Bible stuff for philosophy class and seems to be keeping up in his other math class! So nice to have him here even for a day. <3
1) a Kekistan flag, proving that you spend most of your time on porn message boards?
2) a Proud Boys flag, proclaiming that you never masturbate, and which is literally a giant cock?
3) being a cop with a Punisher water bottle that you quickly hide when CP24 cameras come around?
"Don't push that button! Jesus, Ron!
Don't push that button! Or we're gone.
I know you hate the 'Russkies,' and wish they'd go away,
But dodging falling A-bombs would just ruin our whole day!
Don't push that button! Jesus, Ron!
Don't push that button! Or we're gone.
A war would be the worst thing our world had yet endured.
Destruction would be mutu'lly assured."
-- from "H
a Question" by Roger Clendening II (to the tune of Duane Elms' "Don't Push That Button")
Writers and feminist activists Attiya Taylor and Ailyn Robles started Womanly Magazine in 2012 as a way to circulate women’s health information and resources through the lens of art.
Since its inception, the magazine has evolved to include 20 women working in various roles to build and expand this innovative online platform. They define their mission as “to bridge the gaps between generations, cultures, economic statuses, borders, and any barrier that society tells us should set us apart.”
The first issue is on sex ed and features an incredible array of video, visual art, memoir, and more, addressing topics from female sexuality in Cuba to vaginal health.
For this week’s Feministing Five, I had the pleasure of catching up with Attiya and Ailyn about the creation of the magazine, their own journeys in health awareness, why it’s so important for women of color to educate ourselves about our bodies, and more! Check out the magazine and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @WomanlyMag!
Senti Sojwal: What inspired you to marry the worlds of art and women’s health in Womanly Magazine? What is your hope for how exploring these two issue areas in an intersectional way can empower readers?
Attia Taylor: I have been working in the nonprofit world for over 10 years, and my work has been primarily focused on the empowerment of girls and women. I also have a degree in communication, and love researching the ways that people consume information and connect with each other through modern media. When I moved to New York in 2012, I landed an internship with PAPER magazine, and quickly learned during that time that there were many facets of that career track that didn’t work for me, and my passion to serve. However, I still considered print media to be this classic and historic vehicle for the consumption of information. So, after working at Planned Parenthood, I thought about how to take the accurate and valuable preventative health information provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood, and put it before the eyes of women with limited education and access to that information. The end result of that thought process is Womanly Mag. Our goal is to make learning about health and our bodies fun, and digestible for adults. We are currently seeking out ways to make sure women not only learn this information for themselves, but share it with future generations.
Ailyn Robles: I grew up the daughter of an immigrant single mother who very rarely talked about her own health issues, and who was not exposed to the sorts of conversations we aim to create with the content in Womanly. Conversations revolving around sexuality, mental health, and reproductive health were very taboo in my home, despite how much my mother believed she was doing a better job at it than her own mother. Having had to pull words out of her for most of my life, I quickly realized how necessary it was to create intergenerational opportunities where we could learn from each other. Our hope is to continue creating and highlighting captivating artwork that will spark enough attention to make someone say “Hey, Mom,” or ”Hey, Tia, can I show you something?” Being both a visual artist and visual learner taught me the importance of digesting information in different ways. One of our goals is to make the magazine as accessible as possible as we grow, including translating content, as well as adding more visual and audio components.
Senti Sojwal: Issue 1 deals with Sex Ed and features visual art, memoir, video, and more. Can you each discuss one of the pieces featured in this issue and how/why it spoke to you in particular on this issue area?
Attia Taylor: The piece that affirms this work and the magazine for me is, Birth Announcement For Those Who Will And Will Never Be by a close friend and artist, Emily Carris. When we started discussing and researching sex education, we had a discussion around how limited past and present education is in relation to gender, sex, and sexuality. Emily’s piece brought a history of sexual education that is much less acknowledged in these conversations. She challenges us to think of slavery and sex through the lens of Black women, and their choices in history. I love that I can represent a magazine that changes narratives, and tells the stories that never get told.
Ailyn Robles: The Things They Carried drawn by one our art residents, Singha Hon, is one of the most representative pieces of the magazine for me. It’s impactful, inclusive, and insightful, yet simple. Singha’s piece brought to life what women look like to me – being both women with penises, as well as women who carry the weight of the world.
Senti Sojwal: What were your own early experiences in learning about your health and bodies, and how has that inspired you to women’s health activism?
Attia Taylor: I grew up with little to no discussion on sex education, or my body and my growth. In seventh grade, I had my mom order a book for me called Deal With It: A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain and Life because I was naturally curious as to what was happening to my body. In school, we had very limited to no education on our bodies and health. It was the gym teacher teaching us about STDs in one or two classes. I believe that my lack of education kept my curiosity very fresh. I went on to take college courses on these issues, and spent a lot of my personal time learning about these new developments. I was a very shy and anxious kid, so I didn’t know how to ask questions about sex or women’s health at a very young age. I think my curiosity and knowledge and the disparity of education on these topics have married to create my love for women’s health activism.
Ailyn Robles: My mom would probably enjoy telling you about all the times I made her feel uncomfortable with all the questions I had growing up. I couldn’t understand why these questions were considered inappropriate, and why no one wanted to answer them clearly. I was a very curious and sexual teenager, but at the age of sixteen, our family began attending a church where I was guilted and shamed for having lost my virginity. There, I was told that women were responsible for the sins of men, and that I should not hug people because I was not aware of the sexual influence I could have over them. I had already bore witness to similar mentalities in families where young girls were blamed for the abuse by the men in their lives and so, at the age of 18 I left church, and promised myself to advocate for women in any way I could for the rest of my life.
Senti Sojwal: What are your hopes for the future of Womanly Magazine? How would you love to see it grow and evolve?
Attia Taylor: We have big plans for Womanly! There is a significant need and desire for women who look like me and my friends (and our mothers and grandmothers) to take control, learn, and educate themselves and their children on all aspects of women’s health. We will hopefully be able to reach a global audience through travel, research, and localization, and are joining an already growing community of wonderful people and organizations working to give women the opportunity to thrive and succeed in this world. Personally, I would love to have a large summit in the near future, to help forge this community, develop ideas, and come together to further our reach to those who need it most.
Ailyn Robles: We’re an ambitious bunch and know the importance of representation. Because we grew up without being able to see ourselves represented, our goal is to continue making the magazine as inclusive as possible. We also understand the strength that lies in community, and want to create more opportunities to broaden what this looks like. We want to hold workshops that are accessible to people of all backgrounds and incomes. We want to hold events where we celebrate different definitions of womanhood. And we want to continue handing over the pen to people who have historically been silenced, so that we can share the stories that so many women and people can relate to.
Senti Sojwal: Can you each share a feminist artist that you love and why?
Attia Taylor: We’ve had three Womanly Instagram “takeovers” so far, and because I curate the page, I was able to select the artists for each takeover. One of these artists was Sara Gulamali. She is a mixed media visual artist from London, whose work centers around being Muslim, Asian, and British in today’s society. I was so blown away by her takeover, and her work all-together, because she is only 19 years old, and is fearlessly making some of the most groundbreaking and thought provoking art.
Ailyn Robles: Yesika Salgado. The way she expresses not only the experience of being a first generation Latinx navigating two cultures, but also the experience of a self-made creative, I find so relatable. To be brave enough to follow what is in our hearts, and what speaks to us from a higher place is so challenging, and so admirable. She inspires me to continue inspiring myself.
Photo courtesy of Jorge Salinas
What book frightened you as a young person?
None I can remember.
If you had to become a ‘living book’ (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?
To Be of Use by Marge Piercy, poetry
What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?
The Outer Limits. I’d watch with my older sister and she told me when it was safe to lower my hands from my eyes.
What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?
Silence of the lambs et seq
Do you have any phobias?
Centipedes, millipedes, and other Myriapodae make me recoil and squeal a little.
Mediation turned into restorative justice. I’ve been journaling it out, offline.
In this weird place where my twitter account has 1800 followers but I feel like nothing I tweet is of any importance or value, so I’m surprised when something I post gets retweeted and people pay attention to it.
"Oh, take your time don't live too fast.
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman you'll find love
And don't forget son there is someone up above.
And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand [...]"
-- from "Simple Man", written by Ronnie Van Zant (b. 1948
d. 1977-10-20) and Gary Rossington (b. 1951-12-04)