A personal account of #WheresRey

I hated Avengers: Age of Ultron. Anyone who brings it up gets an earful. Joe only just watched it recently, which made some rants in his presence more difficult. As an aside, a coworker of his, knowing that I hated it, suggested it was because Natasha is unable to have children. Omg, that isn’t even why and I’m even more frustrated that it wasn’t clear to someone else. So, to make it clear, here is why Age of Ultron is the worst: they take the one female character that they’ve actually allowed into the franchise (save Elizabeth Olsen, who I love, obvi) and instead of being a badass Black Widow superhero, she gets kidnapped. And needs to be rescued. By a man. Who she has a crush on. SERIOUSLY MARVEL? Think of how much better the movie would have been if the Hulk would have been kidnapped instead. Natasha to the rescue! Because women can save others too. Women need not only be victims, MARVEL. I’ll save the anger of the absence of her from the cover and toys for later.

Going into Star Wars, I felt there was no hope for Disney. I assumed that unless a woman was a princess, she didn’t matter. I honestly didn’t even want to go but I’m a good fiancé and stuff so I did. Enter Rey! Wow, I loved Star Wars The Force Awakens so much. I couldn’t even stay awake for Return of the Jedi, and now I want to see The Force over and over again.

I left absolutely in love with Rey. Holy crap, talk about a fantastic character. She has the mommy/daddy issues that I can relate to, and then is powerful in response. What a great role model. Further, Finn. How many people of color have even been in any Star Wars, and now one stars in it? I love it. Also, he is that great mix of naive and sweet. He wants to be a gentleman and offer Rey a hand, but boy, she’s got it. Ahh, love the chemistry so much.

After the movie, I couldn’t wait to buy my little brother the Rey action figure. She’s clearly the star, and I love to encourage the feminist I know is in him. So guess how many Rey action figures were available at Target on December 20th. Spoiler: the answer is zero. “Were they totally sold out?” you ask? No, my friends, they were not. Finn, Kylo Ren, and Stormtroppers were fully stocked. So I looked to the app! It told me Rey was in stock the next store over. We made the trek. They were not. Turns out, Target didn’t differentiate the SKUs and it read all of the Star Wars Black Series figures as the same. Fail. Well, at least they exist, right?

I then wondered: was the Rey outage a result of supply or demand issues? My gut told me supply, Joe suggested demand. Twitter had the truth. #WheresRey surfaced all of my frustrations and more. Why the fuck isn’t Rey the dominant character within the products for The Force Awakens? Why isn’t she one of the pawns available in Monopoly? Why isn’t she include in the 6 figure sets currently on shelves?

Turns out, Disney’s answer is “spoilers.” What fucking bullshit, excuse my language. How is the existence of Rey a spoiler? How can Finn be included and have this not be a spoiler but Rey’s inclusion would be? And, if the mere existence of Rey would be a spoiler, how does that reflect on Hollywood that we can’t even have a woman be a character without it being a spoiler. Ugh, it seriously doesn’t make sense.

Because this doesn’t make sense, and because I was on my MBA Entertainment Career Trek last week, I asked. Specifically, I asked Disney’s Senior Vice President of Consumer Products why Rey didn’t have a more dominant role in their products.

I can’t say that his answer satisfied me, because I am angry and I’m not sure anything could. He basically said it was 50% Hasbro making the decision and 50% them not wanting spoilers. Mmmkay… but then how come Black Widow wasn’t featured on the cover of the DVD? As this lovely fivethirtyeight article points out, this is also the case with Gamora from Guardians. Caroline Framkie also agrees in Vox that this isn’t a “spoiler” problem, but an ongoing sexist theme in toys.

A lot has been written on this topic and I’m not necessarily trying to add anything to the conversation other than my own anger. I care about the messages the entertainment industry sends to women and I want them to change. I want to have my Rey action figures and strong female characters and less sexism too. Some day soon I hope to be able to do more than just talk about it.

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Joe, my Significant Other

So Joe will be joining the SO (significant other) club at MIT. Mainly because he is awesome, but also because we both think it will help with the transition for him to have connections too. We were chatting about housing when Joe says “oh, that reminds me, I’ve gotta reach out to the SO group!” because he is just that proactive.

So then he started researching them online a little bit more… He realized that the entire board is literally just women. He found on their website reference to events “Favorite SOS events: scavenger hunt and mani-pedi.” and all he could say was “This could be interesting.”

I suggested he could use a pedi though, which he totes could. I’m sure that there are more men involved with the club, just not at the board level though. That’s my guess.

Anyway, Joe is perfect and I’m excited that he is excited about Boston and actively looking for ways to participate in the things I’ve got going on. And create his own stuff so that when I’m busy and traveling the world I don’t have to worry about him getting bored.

In other news, my mother is staying with us this week. I’ve also realized that I don’t write as much when I’m not drinking (February was relatively successful!), but now that it is March maybe things will pick up again.

 

Jamaica: Day 5

The title I had decided on for this post before I even began to write it was “How Hanson lost a fan in Jamaica.” It was going to be a scathing post, about how no one cares about time or others or has any respect in general. Let’s just say, it was going to be a hyperbolic over-simplification of one snippet of my experience here.

So, on day four of the Jamaica experience, Hanson was hosting a photo shoot where everyone had the opportunity to get their picture taken with the three brothers. Joe and I were just having lunch when people started lining up at about 2:30pm. Joe and I thought they were a little cray-cray because they weren’t supposed to start pictures until 3pm and who would want to wait for a whole half hour during their vacation?

An hour later, Hanson finally made it to the party. At this point, at least 90% of the people in attendance of this week were in line. We sat at the bar keeping an eye on things… We assumed that, being paid attendees and all, we’d get pictures no matter what. They wouldn’t cut the line off at a private party, even if Isaac did have his solo show at 5:30.

Surprisingly, the line was moving fast. When it dropped past the original 2:30 mark, we jumped in line. 10 minutes later I was shaking hands with all three of them. They were super nice and friendly and being as it was a little after 4:30 I couldn’t believe that they were still in high spirits. Any love that was lost from them being late was regained in their cuteness and approachability.

We also got a laugh out of them. Initially, I told Joe we should do 2 pictures: 1 with just me and then one with the both of us. You know, in case we break up, I still want good solid memories of this weekend without having to trim him out. As an alternative, I said he could stand on the end. But wanting to feel the biceps of Zac as much as anyone else here, he couldn’t resist standing in the middle. So, as we were approaching, Joe told them why I needed two, just in case we broke up. If you know any of their songs, you know they understood…

And then just like that, I’m all in love again. Plus, they put on an amazing 2+ hour show last night and I did have a great weekend. I just can’t stop by wondering… do they expect to catch a plane with that time keeping?