He Was a She

                                               Sharla Here

Spoiler alert: If you are reading my little blog before you’ve read Twist, it may ruin a few surprises. Also, if you have not yet read it, some of this won’t make much sense. So, please read Twist before proceeding.

Well, it’s my turn on Myron’s blog again. I talked about the 1970’s and Perfect Fingers last week, but just to keep everyone on his or her toes, I am going to switch gears again, and return to Twist. So let’s talk about Kit.

Kit is a swinging kicking mystery wrapped up in a slightly crazy dark shell. In my Female Tropes blog I focused on Kit’s relationship with Adam and how that disrupts sexist themes, but today I want to talk about what her whole persona embodies. From the first time she sings, “Somewhe-e-ere over the rainbow”, I knew Kit was going to be great.

When we meet Kit we are deceived.

“He disarmed and scattered the gang of kids…He knocked me off balance…He came at me and threw me again… He dropped the knife…I saw his face. He was a she.”

Gender

For two whole pages Kit fought off street kids, pinned Adam, and of course was assumed to be a man. After hearing her high voice, Adam allows the thought  that she is a young boy defeating him enter his head. But does the idea that a woman is besting him penetrate his ego? Nope! Adam, like me, was surprised to find that this samurai was a woman. The fact that this is even a surprise to us is something to ponder. Why do we assume that a person who can fight, comes to the rescue, and is wearing dark shapeless clothing is a man? I’m sure there’s a complex, lengthy, and confusing sociology answer to that, but lets keep it simple: that’s all we ever see.

Even fictional characters tend to be confined by the conforming boxes we‘ve built into society. However, Kit is a character who takes her knife to that box.She is not a one-dimensional heroine who fights off bad guys in a tight skirt. In fact, she is wearing a shapeless black robe, and why not? It never makes sense to me in books, movies, or TV shows when a female character is fighting someone in a pushup bra, leotard, and high heels. Yes, that was a dig at you Superwoman.

Well, that’s all folks. Let me know what you think of Kit below. Also, I will be going on a little hiatus for a few weeks, but if you have any ideas for blogs to come,post here or on the Facebook Page. I will see you soon, but not too soon.

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Changing Attitudes

                                               Sharla Here

This week’s blog is going to be very different from past ones. Until now I have mainly focused on Myron’s novel, Twist; however, today I am going to introduce you to Perfect Fingers.

If you saw Myron’s post about the upcoming re-release of Perfect Fingers, you know that this novel is about a man in the 1970’s who gravitates to communes and tries to live a Zen life during that critical time when our country was convulsed by change and obsessed with self-discovery.

The 1970’s were, in many ways, the heart of the second wave of feminism: the US opened their first battered women’s shelter, colleges began offering women studies courses, the first women’s bank was opened, Title IX for equal education was passed, many organizations finally agreed to admit women, and for the first time in history more women entered college than men. While Perfect Fingers does not focus on The Women’s Rights Movement, many issues surrounding women and equality are prevalent in the novel.

One example is the way Perfect Fingers portrays sex and relationships, which mirrors society’s changing attitude toward these issues in the 1970s. In Perfect Fingers, men as well as women seek out non-monogamous sexual relationships. This idea, for women to want a sexual relationship, was taboo in the 1970’s, and still is in many circles today. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s this taboo was slowly releasing and many of the women in Perfect Fingers break out of traditional roles involving romantic relationships. However, not all of the women in the novel feel this way; some prefer monogamous relationships. Obviously, it makes sense that not all women feel the same way and want the same things. However, to use a religious metaphor, the mainstream attitude in society was that all women fell along two lines: the pure and holy Virgin Mary or the bad sinful whore Mary Magdalene. Like all dichotomies, this portrayal is over simplified and inapplicable to the real world.WomenWhile The Women’s Rights Movement sought equal pay, equal opportunities, fair treatment, and the end of inequality based on gender, they also sought to change societal attitudes toward women. By portraying women as individuals, instead of generalizing their beliefs and actions based on their gender, Perfect Fingers embodies a change in our society. This change represents a shift away from viewing humans as males and females—who must fit into a mold and only follow one path depending on their gender—and a shift toward seeing us all as human beings. Which is, in the end, the ultimate goal of anyone fighting for equality. Perfect Fingers explores the shifts of attitudes on how women and men are “supposed” to act in many more ways than just sex and relationships. However, that is a blog for another day.

That was just a taste of Perfect Fingers; hopefully, I didn’t give too much away. If you have anything to add to today’s blog please post below! Also, if you have any suggestions for next week post here or on Myron’s Facebook Page.

Lastly, Myron is having a contest and offering a FREE copy of Perfect Fingers, before the public release. Click here to read more about it. Well, that’s all for me today, I will see you next week.

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$32 Billion And 2.4 Million People

                                                              Sharla Here!

Spoiler alert: If you are reading my little blog before you’ve read Twist, it may ruin a few surprises. Also, if you have not yet read it, some of this won’t make much sense. So, please read Twist before proceeding!

Human Trafficking

It’s Wednesday, so here I am again to offer my 2¢. Today I read an article about a thriving international business that earns $32 billion a year. This business is illegal, harmful, and ruins lives. How many of you jumped straight to drugs? Then maybe firearms? Wrong on both accounts. One of the largest black market businesses is human trafficking. So, today this is what I will be talking about.

While the bulk of modern slavery is often women and girls, thousands of men and children, all around the world, are victims as well. It is estimated that over 2.4 million people are shackled to this industry.

Despite the obvious illegality, inhumanity, and cruelty of this business, internationally, there has been a lack of investment to combat it. Does any of this sound familiar to Twist readers? Homeless children being lied to about a better future, being kidnaped, and used. If you’ve read Twist, you know human trafficking is still alive and well in Myron’s dystopian future. In Twist, Montrose was aware of the atrocities being done in his city, yet he refused to act against them. Adam Twist confronts Montrose, and finds out the truth:

“You knew about that?”

“I suspected,” said Montrose…

“You knew about the private little hunting lodge down below. And what’s in there?”

“There were rumors”

“You went along with it?”

“You don’t understand. I couldn’t stop him. There was nothing I could do.”

“C’mon. You’re the man in charge.”

This exchange is one I can easily see playing out in the real world. I fear if we do not do something soon about human trafficking, the corruption of 2075 is one we, in the present, will face. While following over $32 billion dollars across the world to find and end modern slavery is a difficult task, it is one that needs to be done. If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking, here is a resource about national human trafficking, and one about international human trafficking.

Well that’s all for today folks. I will be back next week to talk more about issues surrounding women in the real world and in Myron’s. Don’t be shy, comment below to talk about this week’s blog. Also, if you have any ideas for next week post below or to Myron’s Facebook page.

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Overused Female Tropes

                                                        Sharla Here!

Spoiler alert: If you are reading my little blog before you’ve read Twist, it may ruin a few surprises. Also, if you have not yet read it, some of this won’t make sense. So, please read Twist before proceeding!

Hello again everyone! Last week, I talked about domestic violence, and the character Sal. Today, I’m going to be taking a slightly different angle, and will be blogging about how gender relationships are portrayed in Twist, as well as other media outlets.

Women

All too often in films, comics, novels, and video games men’s relationships with women are two-dimensional. Here is a link to a video blogger who entertainingly, talks about the unhealthy way women are portrayed in the media. Below are some of the repeated absurd themes we all know too well.

  • Men as the hero and as women the damsel in distress
  • Women as the hyper sexualized sub character to be conquered
  • Women as the evil seductress

Now, taking these three common tropes, let’s explore Adam Twist’s relationships with women. As I read Twist, I originally feared Dora would fall into the 1st category. However, I was greatly relieved when this wasn’t the case. While Dora is a woman in
trouble and Adam does help save her, she is not a helpless woman. She runs away from her home to escape Calley’s abuse. Even though her escape attempt lands her in another abusive relationship, she was not a woman who simply sat by and waited to be rescued. She took action to get out of her situation.

How about Sal? At first, readers may assume that Sal and Adam’s relationship is also an example of the first trope, but if you read a little further, the truth is revealed. Adam disapproves of how Sal’s husband treats her, yet he refuses to embrace the hero stereotype and step in gun’s blazing. Instead, in the end of the novel, Sal becomes her own hero.

Let’s talk about Kit, my favorite character. She is described as beautiful, young, and can kick anyone’s ass, although she is also a little crazy. I have seen far too many stories develop this character: a sexy, strong and independent women who the male protagonist chases after, and in the end, of course, she sees the error of her headstrong and cold ways and falls for the male hero. Thankfully, this is not the case with Kit.

“We could have fallen into the rustling grass and gotten naked and brought the two sad halves of ourselves together…But we didn’t. ‘Better get going.’ I(Adam) said.”

You’re so prepared for the cliche to play out, yet the relationship between Kit and Adam remains, mostly innocent. No conquest of the attractive, fierce heroine. In fact, the only one who tries to initiate any sexual relationship is Kit.

Finally, the last stereotype: women as evil seductresses. This character is so over played and unoriginal that I want to throw things every time it rears its ugly head. When was the last time you saw a male character wear a v-neck, excessively tight pants, and speak slow and seductively to get his way? Oh ya… NEVER! This seductress trope, which is applied almost exclusively to women, represents a very unhealthy attitude in society. It mirrors the false idea that a woman’s main attribute is her sexuality so she must use it to get what she wants. I was ecstatic to discover that no such woman existed in Twist.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg regarding women stereotypes in mass media, and only the tip of the gender relationships in Twist; however, that is all I have time for today. Thanks for reading, and I will see you again next week. Also, don’t be shy, comment here or on Myron’s Facebook page with suggestions or questions for next week.

 

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Women in 2013 and 2075

Sharla Here!

Spoiler alert: If you are reading my little blog before you’ve read Twist, it may ruin a few surprises. Also, if you have not yet read it, some of this won’t make sense. So, please read Twist before proceeding!

Well, here I am again!  As promised, I will be blogging about women in Myron’s novels. Today, I will be focussing on Twist. While I hope to later delve into more obscure and subtle gender relationships in Myron’s works, let’s deal with the most obvious point of discussion first: violence against women. Take Sal for instance. She represents a major issue that women face, domestic violence. Sal, one of the first female characters Adam Twist interacts with, is repeatedly beaten by her husband, Dake. While a lot has changed in the dystopian future of Adam Twist, this situation is eerily familiar.

Adam cannot understand why Sal stays with her husband. He asks Sal, “Why do you let him beat you up like that?” This question is one that many victims of domestic violence often face. It is a difficult question. Here are just a few of the many and complicated reasons people stay with abusers:

1. Fear: What happens if you leave and he follows and hurts you more?
2. Love: Most people love their partner, regardless of the abuse.
3. Embarrassment: They are ashamed of what has happened and unwilling to talk about it.
4. Normality: Some people think that such a relationship is normal.
5. Reliance: Some are reliant on their abusive partner emotionally, financially or otherwise.

After exploring some of Sal’s responses, I believe she stays with Dake because of love and embarrassment; of course, you’d have to ask Myron to be sure of her motivations. Sal tells Adam her husband “had a good side, he just got in with Calley, and that bunch, and it made him crazy.” That sounds a lot like blind love to me.  Let’s appreciate Adam’s response, he says,

“Sure. Like maggots weren’t really meant to live in garbage, except they’re a little mixed up.”

He can see right through Dake and realizes his behavior is not excusable. Sal also struggles with the third reason, embarrassment. When Adam tells her he can see the remains of yellow bruises on her face, “Sal jerked her head, turning the bruised side of her face away…” and then she snaps, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” This is a common reaction, denial of the abuse and an attempt to hide it from others.

Sal’s situation is resolved, to my personal satisfaction, when she shoots her jerk of a husband. However, this is a novel — that solution is not a good or a plausible one for the real world. If you or anyone you know is dealing with domestic violence, here are some resources.

I know that was some heavy stuff, but I think it is important to talk about these issues and look at Sal’s fictional character in 2075 and how it represents the situation many women face in 2013. If you have any comments or questions please post them here!

I’ll be back next week to talk more about Women and Myron. If you have any suggestions for next week’s blog comment below! Check back here or Myron’s Facebook Page next Wednesday, to see more from me!

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Women and Myron

Sharla Here!

Hello fellow readers! So, Myron will not be blogging today, but I will! Who am I? Well, I am Sharla of course!

This might seem a little strange, to have someone else blogging on Myron’s website, but let me explain.

I have been working with Myron this summer, and am a college student majoring in Women and Gender Studies. Now, if you’ve read Twist, you know that there are a lot of women’s issues that come up. Some of the most obvious issues are the violence directed at Sal and Dora; however, Twist contains a plethora of other material to draw on. While Myron and I share some interests we are also very different — being 20 years old, a women, and a gender studies major, I obviously have different views and perspectives from Myron. All three of his novels, Twist, Perfect Fingers, and Habits intertwine gender relationships into their plot lines. After some discussion, Myron has graciously agreed to let me write a blog once a week about his novels and the female characters in them.  Are you excited yet, because I am! This blog is a chance for me, and you, to talk about the portrayals and roles of women, as well as gender relationships in Myron’s books and society. So, next week begins my segment: Women and Myron. If you have any questions or issues you would like me to discuss please comment here!  Check back on the website or Myron’s Facebook Page for updates.

I’ll see you guys next week!

women

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