First Semi-Argument, Hunger Games, and the Damsel in Distress Syndrome

Mmmm, bread. Save him for the bread!

 

Soooo, in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, as you’re still getting to know a person you try not to make any missteps. You don’t want to argue or anything, even about something trivial. But it happens. Hey, it’s how you grow right?

So the Dude and I went to see Hunger Games: Catching Fire the weekend it came out. Both of us were pumped to see it, maybe me even more so since I not only watched the first filmed but all 3 books. And plus I love anything about dystopian futures. The movie was great, and stayed more true to the books than I thought it would. I was bursting full of ideas after we left out, but one stuck more than any other, and I offhandedly mentioned it.

ME: Hmmph, so Peeta is the Damsel in Distress.
DUDE: What? No he’s not.
ME: Well, yes, he is. Katniss is the hero.
DUDE: No, that doesn’t make sense. He’s just as strong, not weaker than her. He can survive on his own. He’s not in distress.
ME: Fine. Nevermind.
DUDE: No, explain why you think that.

See, I hate arguing, well… I hate arguing with my significant other. And it wasn’t arguing, just the Dude trying to understand my theory. But sometimes, without being able to write something down it’s really hard for me to get my ideas out. And I get frustrated. And I had one of those instances of “Oh no, don’t treat me like I’m stupid like those guys in the past!”

But after realising that the Dude wasn’t like guys in the past that just thought I was stupid, and was really trying to understand me, I was able to calm and get my words out.

So, why did I decide that Peeta in the Hunger Games series was a damsel in distress? Well, look at older action/adventure movies. Superman, Indiana Jones, Popeye. Who knows why those are the first ones that pop in my head. Just keep with me here. What they have in common is a hero. even if that hero is flawed in some way, they are the hero. You know they will somehow come out on top. Katniss is that hero. We are looking through the world in her eyes. And she is not weak. She comes into the story with strength. That’s how she is able to survive the Hunger Games. Basically consider her a born hero. As the story goes along she is not trapped in the silly girly thoughts of a love triangle, at least not in the books. The movies seem to play this up a bit. But instead, she is thinking of saving those she loves, not having time for romance. That is not her main concern. She is no Bella.

On the other hand, we have Peeta taking the role usually reserved for the female lead. He ends up having to be rescued many times by Katniss, all in all is NOT as strong as her, and is ruled more by his emotions. He loves her and moons over her, and compared to her is less violent. To look at it another way, he is the submissive to her dominant. He tries to find the peaceful route, the softer way of doing things. Not to say he isn’t masculine, but if we are looking at stereotypical ways a woman and man are supposed to act, well, he’s the woman, or damsel.

Especially throughout the second movie, you could really see that the roles are reversed from the normal hollywood movie when it comes to Hero and Damsel in Distress norms. Peeta has to be saved twice, from what I remember (can’t wait to re watch). Heck, in the first movie/book he was injured for most of it. And at the end of the second movie, what happens? He is trapped with the “villains”.

I think it’s why I enjoy the series so much. Katniss isn’t a fake action girl, waiting to be saved by a man so she can go all soft and gooey. No, she IS the person who will change everything, even at the expense of losing that chance at love. She is not ruled by her emotions, or some fairytale of how things are supposed to be. This is one of the very few lead female characters that is strong all the way through without falling into the romance angle and losing all edge. Even though I am not exactly like her (I’m a romantic in my own way), I seriously appreciate her character. And I do want more of them. Not knocking the Bella’s of the world (ugh, even though I barf at that series), but I want to see more women that aren’t being strong while waiting for the right man to come along and put them in the kitchen.

Anyway, after explaining the way I thought (while we sat in the parking lot waiting for the car to warm up), the Dude understood and agreed. Then security came over and told us to stop loitering, because apparently at one in the morning you can’t be up to any good just sitting in a car having a conversation. Pffft!
BTW, Peeta is on the TV Tropes page as a Distressed Dude: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DistressedDude

Somebody agrees with me.

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My Peach Crayon and Brown Crayon Friends: Never Doubt the Pride of My Chocolateyness

Someone said something to me the other day that made twitch with WTFrackness:

“You know, even though you try to act like you’re not black, your pictures of you don’t lie.”

Sigh.

It’s the same thing I’ve heard over the years in different ways, over and over again. You act white, you sound white, you’re forgetting that you’re black. I assumed you date only white guys (with the unsaid “because you’re a oreo”). Shouldn’t you know this (because you’re black)? Or the most mind-boggling of all: oh, I forgot you were black.

*looks in the mirror*

Hmm, milk chocolate skin, non-artificial big beautiful lips, and a badonk that needs tail lights.

Hmmm, yes, I’m still coloring with the brown crayon.

I guess it all has to do with stereotypes and how people believe a black person should behave. And how I forget that I’m supposed to be a walking, talking caricature of a black female. I blame my mother.

See, the mother is Hispanic and Black. And you would think this would grace her with some innate rhythm. Uh, yeah, not so much. The only thing my mom can do is move her feet side to side. Seriously. I’ve seen her do this on the dance floor. And it’s not even always in rhythm to the song, this most basic of the basic 2-steps. So there’s strike one.

Strike 2 is that along with no rhythm, she is a geek. It doesn’t matter that she grew up in the hood until she was 20 or so. She speaks like it, much to my horror, and I constantly am correcting her. But even with only a high school education, the woman in her spare time likes to read, write poetry, create inventions for her dream kitchen, and watches sci-fi and supernatural shows. This woman produced one child that thinks she’s Japanese and draws manga, a son that can create his own video games and is a math whiz, and me who loves to write poetry, short stories and dreams of one day finishing her own supernatural book series.

So, growing up that way, and being a complete and utter nerd, I didn’t learn all the stereotypes I was supposed to live up to. I can’t do the whole neck swivel thing. My rhythm is a learned thing from watching other black girls so I never looked like a complete fool on the dance floor. I’ve never owned a pair of apple bottom jeans. I can’t stand Tyler Perry movies, or the show The Game, or the so-called African-American section in the bookstore. I know more about anime than I know about BET (although I do love hip_hop, well before now; see this post:  http://dimensionthe5th.com/2013/04/04/frack-me-im-getting-old-losing-my-love-of-hip-hop/ ). I’d rather have Riesling than Moscato because Moscato is just too sweet, and I need my wine to have some kind of bite. Even though I’ve fought singing along in the past around my peach crayon friends, yes, I do know all the words to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Give me a couple of glasses of wine and I’ll stand on the table with you and sing along.

But does that make me not black? Or does that make me an individual. Contrary to belief of some, I don’t want to be white. Growing up, in the suburbs in mostly white neighborhoods did confuse me for a while, and make me pessimistic about life in general. I didn’t look like my friends. They didn’t understand that my hair wasn’t straight like theirs. That my lips were pretty much my whole face until I grew into them. But I grew up and grew to love myself and my looks. Frack, now I’m quite vain about them.

But that doesn’t make me not black. Being able to speak without slang and ebonics does not mean I’m trying to be white. It means I was taught to talk correctly by my schools, my biological sperm donor, and my mother (even with my mother’s articulation issues. I love that woman!). Just because I’m not interested in most black dramas/ comedies, etc does not mean I’m not black. Just that black people need to make more sci-fi/ fantasy stuff for me to watch!

I like myself the way I am. I’m not apologizing for it.

cup of tea

Although it makes me twitch, its YOUR (whoever you random people may be) problem for trying to fit me in a box. Nobody puts baby in a corner and all that.

Funny, this whole post reminds me of the saying “I don’t have to do nothing but stay black and die!”

Son of Donkey! Why I Stopped Cursing Years Ago

So I have a few words/sayings that I say instead of cursing. My favorites are: son of a donkey, daggone, frack, frack a doodle, shittake mushroom, be-witch, heffa, and fudge bucket in hot sauce. The only times for over almost 10 years that I actually cursed is in extreme anger, and smexy time. The funny thing is, some actually look down on me for NOT cursing. So let lead you around the long version of why I USED to swear like a Sailor, and then quit.

Once upon a time the was a little black geek girl who attended many mostly peach crayon heavy schools in the suburbs. Her ghetto extended family constantly talked about she “talked white”, like it was such a horrible thing to be educated. The little BGG didn’t really care as long as she didn’t bullied too much at school (which didn’t happen too often as other kids learned soon enough that little BGG was crazy from the day she was born, and would always be a geek that fought back). But as she grew older and those dastardly hormones kicked in, well, she wanted to fit in. Especially as the life she knew began to fall apart as her parents separated. So… She turned to those that used to make fun of her, and tried to be like them.

Hi, my name is dimensionthe5th, and long ago I was a poser.

Before splitting up my parents raised me in a pretty middle class home. My mother was soft-spoken, polite, submissive and naïve. She didn’t drink, and didn’t curse. My father was a true soldier-turned-coastie that couldn’t have a clean mouth even with a soap wash. He was the Man of the House, and everything and everyone followed his rules. The women of the house dressed the way he felt right, even to hair styles. I was raised to be an independent woman, as long as I stayed within the rules of what He considered proper.

Anyway, my parents splitting up, depression, hormones, and starting high school at an age slightly younger than average (nerd power!) made me begin to act out in the ways that went against my parents way of raising me. That meant that at 13, I started stealing my dad’s cigarettes that he left everywhere. And started smoking weed and drinking whenever I visited the bad bunch of cousins. I also began changing my mode of dress, from quirky girly (since my mom is a borderline little person I could fit her clothes by 11 and liked wearing her older pieces), and started cursing and speaking like my family members. That meant a lot of slang and cursing. And my lovely hobby of reading like a speed demon, I put it away.

I sucked at the beginning of the ghetto fabulous transformation. My cursing was off and school friends and the bad-influence-cousins made fun. But I watched, and learned, so I could fit in. Even after my son was born, I kept up with the “hood” attitude, although many could easily see right through it. Even after joining the military I wore doo-rags over my hair, baggy jeans, and always had a black n mild in hand. I drank loads of beer that first year to get used to the taste. And every sentence either had a curse word or the word “n*gga”.

The funny thing is… I never felt comfortable cursing, no many how many years I did it before I stopped. The same goes with the whole hood tough chick style. I grew up loving dresses and reading the dictionary for fun. To limit myself to a stereotype that I was not born to, well, I said before that it should always be about being true to yourself.

After evil ex boyfriends and mental health appointments, by my mid twenties I started to come back to myself. That I don’t need to dress in “Lady Thug” or “Hoochie Iz Us” brand clothing to fit in. That I could be myself and still scare the baby Jesus out of the young enlisted troops without ever uttering a curse word. That I should be proud of the way I talk, because at least I sound intelligent, and as an adult, its looked at as a good thing unlike the stupid childhood/teen years.

So when someone asks me why I do not curse, I say nicely as possible that I’d rather sound intelligent than like a common hood rat.

Also, it’s just more all around fun to make up your own curses 😉