The Future is Female

“And though she may be broken, she is not defeated. She will rise unfettered, unbeaten, unimpeded.” ~ Sara Furlong Burr, When Time Stands Still

After I wrote last week’s post, I realized I have a lot more to say about movies and the impact they have on our intellectual and emotional lives.

When Barry and I watched Captain Marvel, twice the weekend of my last post, I realized something important. Over the last few years I’ve been reading many books written by women and watching movies and TV shows with female protagonists carving out a place for themselves in a man’s world. These stories are in a variety of genres, from different time periods, and situations. The women in these stories have one thing in common, they no longer fit into the good girl/bad girl boxes dictated by society and culture. It’s refreshing to read about and see characters on the screen who are well-rounded and who represent real women.

One of most used put downs leveled at women is that we are too emotional, as if that’s the worst offense in the world. In Captain Marvel, Vers, as Carol Danvers is known by the Kree, is rebuked constantly by her mentor Yon-Rogg for being too emotional. To be a good warrior, he claims, you have to suppress your emotions.

But here’s the thing, almost every woman knows that making the best decisions requires use of both our heads and our hearts. There is a powerful montage sequence in the movie that shows Carol Danvers standing up again and again after being knocked down. She’s angry at being told she can’t do things that are considered off limits for girls. She’s stubborn enough to do what she wants no matter what. Her character represents every woman who must overcome challenges and obstacles. There have been so many women through the ages who have not let anyone define them.

Even though her determination has made her tough, she’s also emotional. When she absorbs a tremendous amount of energy from an alien power source, she’s kidnapped and taken to the Kree home world. She has lost her memory and so is manipulated by her Kree mentor. Yon-Rogg wants to use her power to advance the Kree agenda. But when she crash lands on Earth during a mission, she begins to remember who she really is. She remembers that one of the best things about being human is that we’re at our best when we integrate both sides of our nature when it comes time to making important decisions.

After Carol remembers who she really is and what happened to her, she embraces her full humanity. She says, “I’ve been fighting with one hand tied behind my back. What happens when I’m finally set free?” At that point she shows Yon-Rogg just how powerful she is. She takes back her power when she says, “I have nothing to prove to you.”

There are so many female protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet, the Crawley sisters, Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Clare Fraser, and almost any Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck movie ever made that show us how powerful and intelligent women are. They create fulfilling lives for themselves in spite of their flaws and the expectations of society.

What these fictional women show me is that something important is changing for women. I don’t know how this has come about, but I’m excited to see it happening. Women aren’t keeping silent any longer. They are not letting anyone dictate to them how to think, what to feel, or what they should do with their lives. It’s an exciting time that has been a long time coming.

I think I became a feminist because my mom worked throughout most of my childhood. She did it to supplement dad’s income so we could live in nice houses, have food on the table, and clothes to wear. It wore her out, but she did it, and we all pitched in with household chores. Because of my mom, I thought it was natural for moms to work outside the home just like dads did. And because my dad was not the macho guy who expected his wife to do everything for him, I learned what true partnership between a man and woman looked like.

I’m inspired by all the female characters, and real women who keep standing up for themselves. And I’m excited to see what the future will bring.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. I hope all of you have a spectacular weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Lessons From Unusual Places

Red Shadow Sky
Red Shadow Sky Magic Wand Sunset Cloud Girl

“Sometimes you learn, grow and give far more when your back’s against the wall.” ~ Rasheed Ogunlaru

I love movies! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that. I love them partly because watching and having nerdy conversations about them remind me of the great conversations I had with my dad about the ones we watched together. I learned a lot from those discussions.

I’ll watch a movie in almost any genre, but my favorites are the ones that make me feel good, give me a new perspective, or teach me something I can use.

This fall I’m going to be teaching my absolute favorite class of all time, dramatic structure. In the class we watch movies and analyze the stories and characters. And sometimes my students say things that blow me away. They point out things that I never thought about before.

My students always amaze me. They, or nieces and nephews, recommend movies, TV shows and books that I most likely would never consider watching or reading. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is just one example. Buffy is a kind of phenomenon. College classes have been taught about the lessons the show teaches.

When I take the advice of the young people in my life, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the depth of truth the stories they recommend tell. The characters might be in fantastic circumstances, or have unusual powers, but somehow the writers create characters with real human struggles. I love that!

This is nothing new. Storytellers have been teaching us things for centuries. There are plays from Ancient Greece that are still performed and analyzed today. Shakespeare’s plays are another example. My new friend, Dave Dahl, who is a theatre professional, said recently, “Shakespeare’s language may seem daunting, but the plays contain human emotion and that has never changed. That’s why we still perform them today.” That’s going to be true of many of the stories that are popular today.

For sometime, I’ve wanted to write a post about Captain America. He is my favorite superhero. Barry and I got hooked on superhero movies because or our youngest nephew. He’s a really intelligent kid who is already a master at analyzing the motivations of the characters in the movies he watches and thus in his real life too. Captain America is my favorite, I realized while writing this post, because he’s like my dad. He has a strong moral center that helps him when he’s faced with problems. He’s able to see what’s really going on in complicated situations as shown in Captain America: Civil War. Some of the other Avengers are manipulated by unscrupulous people with hidden agendas, but not Cap.

In story telling there are often key moments that cause everyone to reevaluate their beliefs and assumptions. This happens in real life too if we’re paying attention.

In the last two Avengers movies Thanos accomplishes his goal to wipe out half the population of the universe. He thinks he’s saving it by doing this, but the chilling thing is, he doesn’t care that he’s killing billions of beings. He doesn’t realize an act like that never brings peace.

The original Avengers are left to cope with their failure to stop Thanos. But two things happen. First, when Captain Marvel shows up in response to Nick Fury’s call for help. Rhodes asks her where she’s been, in essence accusing her of failing to prevent Thanos’ destruction. She replies by saying something like, “There are lots of other planets in the universe that needed my help. Earth has you guys.” Wow! She’s challenging them to take responsibility for what happened. That’s always painful. But she’s also challenging them to accept that they have extra-ordinary abilities and perhaps all hope is not lost.

Of course since this is a story, the second thing happens that allows the heroes to save the universe. Ant-man, previously thought to be dead, arrives with a possible solution for how to go back and defeat Thanos and set the universe right again. Well, at least, restore all those who were turned to dust. Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, has challenged the Avengers to find solutions to the big world problems once Thanos is defeated. In essence she’s saying Earth has us! We are the ones who can save the planet and ourselves.

I’ve been watching movies for a really long time. I can name any number of classic movies that surprise my students with how their themes speak to contemporary problems. It’s another of the reasons I love teaching dramatic structure. We like to think that we’ve advanced so much as a species. Then we watch a movie from the 1930s or 40s and see that we’re not so very different from our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents after all. Like Dave said, human emotions haven’t changed that much. But hopefully one day we will grow up into more compassionate, cooperative people.

I’d venture to say that’s one of the themes of the first batch of MCU movies. The superheroes learn to set aside their differences to find solutions for the huge problems they face rather than continue to assert that they are right and the others wrong.

It takes courage to admit that maybe we are wrong, that we are responsible for the mess in which we find ourselves. Alice Walker wrote the book, We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness. I’ll be reading that book because I need a push to be like all the characters in my favorite movies who had the courage to face and solve their problems. This will be a ongoing process. I have to remember that and not give up.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments and likes. Have a fantastic weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.