Where are the Women in Doctor Strange?

Where are the Women in Doctor Strange?


Well. For the most basic, formulaic, over-used origin story ever, Doctor Strange was really good. Deadpool was the only Marvel movie I’ve really enjoyed over the past couple of years, so I was expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised.

The writing was actually solid, the special effects were amazing, and it made me laugh out loud at more than one point.

However the women were…. okay. It didn’t pass the Bechdel test. There were barely even two named female characters. Does “The Ancient One” count as a name?

The women had a lot of potential, I guess. But they sort of fell flat.

The Ancient One had the most possibility for coolness. I love Tilda Swinton and I love the idea of an older woman (Swinton is 56) being the trainer and spiritual leader and being seen as a formidable opponent. She has this cool bald, androgynous thing going on, which I also loved. But she dies at the end. Leaving only one established female character for a sequel.

The whole white-washing thing also kinda ruined it for me. I understand that the director wanted to avoid casting an asian woman because he didn’t want to perpetuate the “Dragon Lady” stereotype. It’s just very frustrating that instead of writing a better, three-dimensional character that wasn’t a stereotype, he decided to avoid starring any asian women in the film at all. Even the female henchmen were white.

Also, on that note: I’m 100% all for female henchmen. I love them. Kill Bill Volume 1 is a great example of women being seamlessly grafted into a story arch as formidable henchmen and worth opponents.

Kaecilius’s female henchmen don’t get names, lines, or even the dignity of being the boss battle. They are not real threats. They don’t even get thrown the comedy bone. The male henchmen gets the laughs. He’s the mini boss battle that Strange actually has to work to defeat. The women are so nondescript  and boring that the credits refer to them as “blonde zealot” and “brunette zealot” because even though they appear on screen multiple times, their is literally no other way to label them.

I appreciate the fact that they at least tried. It was nice to see some evil female fighters.

Now on to my biggest disappointment of the movie: Rachel McAdams’ character Christine. Christine is so cool. She’s an emergency room surgeon who has dedicated her life to saving lives. If only she was actually ever shown as a competent doctor. She saves nobody on screen. She’s not the one who reassembles Strange’s hands. When Strange gets stabbed, he has to guide her through saving him, even though SHE’S the emergency room surgeon. She is incapable of saving The Ancient One. She does nothing.

So yet again, Marvel has created a fun movie with a cool cast of characters and totally screwed over the women.



Hannah’s Helpful Hints – Supplies

I have a serious problem with over-preparing. I think on my first day of CreComm I brought literally all of my worldly possessions.

And so, I give to you my tried and true list of supplies that you might not know you need
This isn’t a complete list, it doesn’t include stuff on the CreComm recommended list (laptop, ethernet cord, camera, ect.) I just hope it’ll make things easier in your first couple weeks.

A stapler – Buy one. Even a tiny one. Just pay the three bucks at Staples and make your life infinitely easier. (Bonus: having one is an awesome way to make friends)
A big binder – My binder wasn’t small. It was like, regular sized and it barely lasted me a semester before it was too full to use.
Looseleaf in your binder – Another great way to make friends
A water bottle – Keep yourself hydrated. You’ll feel less tired and it’ll force you to get up and walk around on breaks (which helps you concentrate more during class)
A pair of headphones (not earbuds) – Editing audio just really sucks with earbuds. You’ll think it sounds one way and then on big speakers it’ll sound totally different.
Some hi-lighters in different colours – Super useful for copy editing, you can either hi-light words you want to be able to check quickly, or edits you want to make.
Lots of pens – Or pencils, if that’s your jam.
Also at least a few pencils – Spoiler Alert: you’re going to be writing outside in the winter. Pens freeze very quickly and it sucks.
An eraser – Another Spoiler Alert: sometimes you have to draw things and you’ll need it.

BONUS: Things that I didn’t need but increased my comfort significantly
A travel mug Your bank account will thank you. There’s also free hot water at the Grab-n-Go, so you can bring your own tea or hot chocolate.
A charging port and cord  Both for your laptop and your phone.
A USB mouse – I know some people in my class did design class with the trackpad, but it was literal torture for me.
A sweater – Some of the classrooms get really cold. I generally always wear sweaters, but I kept an emergency one in my locker just in case and I needed it a few times.

Social Media is Our Big Brother


Is Big Brother is watching you?

Of course not.

We’re not living in 1984.

We’re not living in a world where other people know where we are every second of every day. Where the Thought Police crucify you for things you say or do. Or where your friends and neighbours are just waiting for the chance to turn on you.

Or are we?

They don’t need to take constant photos of us if we do it ourself and upload them instantly.

They don’t need to track us, we track ourselves: constantly posting our location, whether on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Intimate details of our lives are displayed on social media for the world to see: our hobbies, our friends, our partners, our pets, our children.

We share everything with everyone, from the clothes that we wear to the food we eat, nothing is safe.

Maybe you disagree. “But Hannah,” you might say. “We’re choosing to give out that information, it doesn’t count.”

Exactly. “It doesn’t count.”

We give away copious amount of personal information and don’t think twice about it.

Because we’re addicts. We’re addicted to the notification chime. To likes. To re-tweets. To follows from strangers.

No one has to force us to hand over our lives or our thoughts or our phones because we do it willingly to feel a rush.

I’m not condemning social media, I’m still planning on posting selfies and tweeting about Star Wars, I’m just saying we need to remember that the internet is public. Everything you post can and will be held against you.

So, is Big Brother watching?

Probably not.

But everybody else is.


Where are the Women in Deadpool? Part 1

There will be spoilers.

I’ll admit I was genuinely worried about the female representation in Deadpool. Let’s take a fandom known for it’s hardcore fanboys and give them an R-rated movie. I was sure NOTHING could go wrong.

One of my favourite pet peeves in movies (super hero/action movies in particular) is when a female character dies purely to further what I call “the manpain” but is sometimes referred to as “mangst.”

When a female character’s purpose in the movie is only to cause the hero internal conflict and then to die and cause the hero excruciating pain and heartbreak, furthering his hatred of the villain and giving him an edgy, “pushed to far to care” attitude. This troupe is literally called “I Let Gwen Stacy Die.”

Some notable examples are:
Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man
Rachel in The Dark Knight
Every single female character in Ant Man
Lily Potter in Harry Potter
Most of the women in Arrow (I’ve lost track at this point)
The mom in Supernatural (does she even HAVE a name?)

You get the point. The woman’s only purpose is to cause emotional turmoil for the hero.

Wade Wilson is the perfect chance to use this troupe. He’s lost everything, the only thing he cares about is Vanessa. It would be so easy to have Francis push Wade over the edge by killing her.

We do get a little angst: “Ohhhh she’ll never love me, I’m hideous! No one could ever find me attractive, I must protect her” but for some reason I didn’t find it obnoxious or over-done.

And yes, she does get kidnapped, but it’s not due to her own stupidity. Plus, she basically rescues herself from the oxygen deprivation tank, like when’s the last time that happened?

But she also doesn’t dissolve into a sobbing mess the moment Wade leaves her side. She’s strong, grown-ass woman who continues to work and live and survive, just like she has for her entire life. Because her life doesn’t revolve around him.

So does Deadpool pass the Bechdel Test? Nope. But does it portray healthy relationships with realistic and non-damsel in distress characters? Yeah, I think it does.

Reservations Observations

For a journalism assignment I was required to go see Reservations, a play produced by Theatre Projects Manitoba and write about my experience.

I enjoy Theatre Projects Manitoba productions.  Their production of White Rabbit, Red Rabbit stands as one of the most powerful theatre experiences of my life. I appreciate their experimental theatre vibe, but experiments are hit and miss. They can either be resounding success, or miss their mark.

My experience with Reservations was the later. The show is two plays run back to back and explores indigenous issues, restitution, and CFS.

I loved the show’s lighting and projection design. Hugh Conacher did an amazing job creating a visually interesting lightscape for the stage. There was a a billowing wheat field projection that was physically billowing. It was amazing.

There was some clunky dialogue, awkward blocking, and cliche acting that pulled away from the beauty of the set.

Overall the performances were believable and moving. I found Tracey Nepinak’s performances as Esther and Denise particularly enjoyable.

The play’s opening involved dramatic lighting and possible symbolism that I missed entirely. I’m not a big fan of plays that open with tableaus, and Reservations did not change my mind on the matter.

I’ll admit that I’ve never seen a show that focussed on indigenous issues like Reservations did. I appreciated how the difficult content was approached and relaid to the audience. I wasn’t lost once, quite a feat when a large portion of the play revolves around Heidegger.

During the last half of the second play, however, I felt like the playwright (who also starred) was being to blunt in his writing. Instead of subtle teasing out themes in his characters and dialogue, he used  a gimmick to have one of his characters outright explain the main themes behind the plays (as well recite a number of Heidegger quotes.)

This play sparked a lot of interesting conversation with my classmates and instructors. Discussions about whether the play was entertainment or not were heated. Some people enjoyed the play’s “on-the-nose” approach, while others found it preachy.

Although I found it “on-the-nose” (using dialogue to directly communicate themes) I didn’t feel like I was being preached to. Maybe the many Fringe plays I’ve watched have numbed me to so called “preachy” scripts. Sometimes, playwrights write plays with agendas, to educate the audience, to make them think, and I don’t mind watching theatre with an agenda. I appreciate it as both an art form and an educational tool.

I appreciated that even though the script was written by a non-indigenous man, he approach the subject with respect and reverence.

The talkback session did not add to my experience. I don’t like talkback session where the show’s writer is present as the talkback usually degenerates into people trying to get the author to confirm their personal theories about the play and reveal his deepest intentions and meanings. I couldn’t hear many of the speakers and got lost about halfway through the talkback as to what was being asked or discussed as it seemed to be a single question being thrown back and forth.

Museum Geek

Dino for Blog
During the Cretaceous period, Manitoba was covered in a giant lake, home to toothy beauties like this, as shown at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. /GEHMAN

Not all fandoms are TV shows. Not all geeks are in love with Star Wars.

I mean, I love Star Wars, but I also love museums. I’ve been to The Manitoba Museum more times than I could possibly count since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and I still love it as an almost-20-year-old. There’s something seductive about the mix of history and dioramas and objects that were touched by people who lived hundreds of years ago. I could walk around in museum galleries for hours, just staring at artifacts and harvesting hundreds of non sequitur facts.

On a family vacation to Ottawa we spent a full day at the National Gallery of Canada and I cried when I saw my first real Degas. Like really cried. I was so overwhelmed by the idea that my favourite painter had looked at the piece of canvas that was in front of me and had decided to make it beautiful.

Over the weekend I got the chance to go explore Morden, which may not seem like the most exciting of weekend plans, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, largely due to the community’s two museums: the Manitoba Baseball Hall Of Fame Museum and the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre.

I got to wander around through display cases and exhibit halls taking picture and reading plaques to my heart’s content. I met Bruce, Canada’s largest Mosasaur fossil, I saw baseball jerseys from over a hundred years ago. I was in museum geek heaven: brand new museums.

So yes I’m a Star Wars nerd and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer geek, but I’m also in love with history and museums.

Which means that when I went to Star Wars Identities and saw original props and costumes from the movies,  I hyperventilated myself to a new plane of nerdom.


Sing Along with Horrible Feeling, Once More!

In honour of this year’s “Sing Along with Horrible Feeling, Once More!,” which is a screening of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and the “Once More With Feeling” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, (Check it out before they sell out) my family has decided to undertake yet another Great Family Cosplay Challenge. We’re going to dress up as the Evil League of Evil. Although the League is only seen for a brief second at the end of Dr. Horrible, the cosplay potential is extraordinary.

So stay tuned for costume updates as we attempt to recreate infamous characters such as Fury Leika, Fake Thomas Jefferson, Dead Bowie, Snakebite (this will be me), and even Bad Horse.

“The Evil League of Evil
Is watching so beware
The grade that you receive
Will be your last we swear

So make the Bad Horse gleeful
Or he’ll make you his mare…

You’re saddled up
There’s no recourse
It’s Hi-Ho Silver
Signed, Bad Horse”