The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
We have done this. In fact, we are this. Because we are asexual and we don’t like alcohol so we never drink, we have gone with friends to parties/places where our sole job was to keep an eye out for everyone and be the permanent ‘aggressive man-sheild.’ Not one of our female friends has ever questioned this or found it all strange. In fact, often once they realized we were willing to do it, it would be pre-arranged. Every guy friend we ever did this in front of or tried to explain to looked flabbergasted. They had no idea that this was a) an intentional thing, b) a planned ahead thing, or c) universal.
Rape culture is the fact that every woman understands this. Male privilege is the fact that no guy on earth seems to know or understand.
I’ve been asked to pretend to be my friend’s girlfriend every time we go out at night, just because she wears clothes that show off her curves and guys won’t leave her alone. They only back off when I put my arm around her and act as if we’re together romantically, and sometimes not even then.
i once ran interference for a friend, only to receive the unwanted advances myself. he wouldn’t back off until my (male) friend literally wrapped me up in his arms and acted as if he was my S.O.
It happens online too. A guy I know started Facebook-stalking me after a recent interaction, and my roommate immediately got on Facebook and told him she was my girlfriend. He thankfully backed off after that.
I can’t count the number of times I have pretended to be somebody’s girlfriend or sister in a bar when a guy wouldn’t leave her alone. Both with friends and strangers.
After reading these, I feel like taking a shower. Because I’m the designated driver pretty much every time, not being a big fan of alcohol, but I rarely, if ever, intervene. And yeah, I’m small and pretty physically weak, but I could put my foot down verbally if it came down to it. I’m just too scared.
You’re probably scared of confronting the guys. And you should be. That’s what this whole post is about. Rape culture is so prevalent and socially accepted as the rule of the land that if someone confronts a guy and tells him directly to back off, someone is getting hurt. That’s why all of the testimonies here are examples of how to deflect. How women all learn methods of pulling a woman away from a situation with a guy who isn’t allowing her to say no, by making up some lie that will get the guy to let her go without sending him into a rage and deciding to teach you both a lesson about knowing your place and submitting to rape culture. Men are dangerous in these situations because all of society backs them up as just a nice guy who deserves a chance, and vilifies any woman who refuses to give him a chance. Women are not allowed to say no. So other women have to rescue the women saying no and pull them away with some made up excuse. Otherwise the situation will escalate and the ones who get hurt are always the women.
Women absolutely have to learn rescue tactics for each other, but it’s kind of funny how we describe really obvious facial expressions and body language as “secret signals.” The reality is that women telegraph disinterest in these aggressive men, making it super obvious, but men choose to ignore it. Total strangers who are just sitting nearby or happen to glance their way will be able to see that the woman isn’t interested, but the guy making the advances is somehow oblivious? Unlikely.
And perceived physical power of the woman doesn’t matter either, I have had to do this for other rollergirls. Even after bouts where they are bruised, sweaty, and partying with a bunch of other built women in the same jersey.
Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (via swaghavad—gita)
we learned about this in our Geography, Land and Peoples of Latin America, like how there was this “pristine” theory put forward by Europeans that began in the 19th century but that’s only because it took roughly 300 years for the landscape throughout the tropics to recover from indigenous use after the mass depopulation caused by Europeans.
QUEEN (kwēn); noun:
1. The female ruler of an independent state, esp. one who inherits the position by right of birth.
2. The most powerful chess piece that each player has, able to move any number of unobstructed squares in any direction along a rank, file, or diagonal on which it stand.
Hair adornment for Queen Margaery (I found this on pintrest but didn’t save the link, I wish I had because it is so lovely)
apparently next year I’ll be living on the fourth floor of my dorm
let’s take bets on whether or not I’ll regret it
having an old tiny worrisome asian lady as my mother is a small burden
"i love u my dumpling"
(or why “Frozen” left me cold)This actually explains a lot. Everyone who’s raved about Frozen should read this.
This article has some good points about some of the things people are praising the movie for that it didn’t earn, but some of them… Like, wtf, was that bit about Anna? It twists everything she does into a negative light. Anna wasn’t convinced that she could talk her sister out of things because she’s vain, she was convinced because she has faith that there’s still a bond between them. She’s determined and upbeat regardless of her actual ability to accomplish whatever she’s set out to do. She’s also sort of self-absorbed in a lovestruck-teenagery way, but flaws make characters interesting.
And Elsa refuses her sister out of fear she’ll hurt her. She believes that she’s a loose canon and therefore can’t be around anyone or she’ll ruin anything. She’s depressive and that comes with it a tendency to harbor illogical thoughts. I was really happy to see a character that was somewhat like me, struggling with similar issues and eventually overcoming them with help, but nope, apparently that means she doesn’t get to be a strong character. >_> Sorry depressed people aren’t perfect and powerful, person who wrote that article.
A valid rebuttal of those particular points! I couldn’t quite put my own thoughts into words, but I had a similar feeling. I just like reading contrasting perspectives.
Yeah to be honest this linked article really got me angry, because it starts out pretty reasonable and rapidly devolves into … really unnecessary judgments on the character traits of the two main characters. I kind of really want to respond.
For the record, I wasn’t actually enormously fond of Frozen; it had some cute moments and some of the songs were pretty catchy, but the narrative was a mess, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be the great voice for feminism that some have called it. But I was pretty gobsmacked by some of the issues this author raised with the two female characters — while I had some issues with them, these were not those issues.
So, the first thing that she argues is that the characters have no definable goals. Elsa, she says, can’t be driven by the desire to control her power, because she doesn’t seem to “study” it. I’m not sure exactly what it would mean to “study” this power, since she doesn’t seem to be given any resources, but she is definitely making huge efforts through the beginning sequences of the film; largely because of the advice of her parents, she has come to believe that the key to controlling her powers is concealing and suppressing her own emotions, and so she spends her entire childhood trying to do exactly that. Just because it doesn’t work (
just because her parents are giving horrible advice) doesn’t mean she isn’t trying.
However, I’d argue that her main goal is to protect those she loves. This is obviously a big theme, as the greatest fear she has linked to her powers is stemming from the injury she did to her sister back when they were kids, and whenever somebody comes close, her response is something along the lines of “I don’t want to hurt you.” When she is no longer able to do this by hiding her powers, she physically removes herself from human company, hoping that this will make them safe from her. You’ll note that it’s once she believes she has put herself in a position where she can’t hurt anybody that she decides to “let it go” and (briefly) embrace her new-found freedom; she thinks that isolation is the only way she can be herself. It’s not healthy, but it defines love, very clearly, as her central concern. I’ll come back to that in a bit.
Now, what about Anna? Her goal is pretty tragically straightforward, but it’s not to get married or find True Love. That’s actually her backup plan, if you look at it carefully.
Anna’s goal is, plainly put, not to be alone anymore. More specifically, her main desire in the film seems to be to rediscover the close bond she once had with her sister. I think Dani’s claim that she clearly wasn’t that isolated is based more on logic than on the facts presented by the film; it might not make a lot of sense in the Real World, but it’s pretty clearly implied that Anna has been on her own basically since the moment her parents decided to shut the gates. She’s shown playing on her own, whenever she’s not begging Elsa to join, and even talking to paintings in an attempt to ease her loneliness. It’s also pretty heavily implied that her parents, being completely caught up in trying to help Elsa, are neglecting Anna pretty seriously during this time. And all of this happens very suddenly, without any explanation; at a very young age, Anna essentially just sees her world transform into something strange and lonely, and nobody ever gives her a reason why. It’s kind of shocking that she’s not a lot more traumatized by that, I’d think.
Anna states her goal pretty clearly on a number of occasions. First, we have that whole snowman song at the beginning, where she goes from begging Elsa to play to telling her that they are all that either of them has left. She’s very clearly stating her goal here: she wants a family again.
It’s only after this has apparently failed that she gets all wrapped up in the idea of True Love. Her song leading up to the coronation is not so much about finding love as it is about finding company and affection: she starts by merely being delighted that she won’t “be alone” anymore, and then begins to rhapsodize about how wonderful it would be if she made a real connection with somebody. She’s essentially looking for a different kind of chance at finding or making a family, as far as I can tell; and to be honest, I have trouble blaming her for making this her goal.
So, to reiterate, we have two main characters (and I’d say that deciding whether Elsa is a “protagonist” or an “antagonist” is kind of pointless when she’s clearly intended to be a sympathetic character in either case) who are driven primarily by different goals associated with the concept of love. I’d say, in fact, that love is intended to be the central theme of Frozen. This isn’t anything new for Disney stories; for example, The Little Mermaid is all about making sacrifices for love (Ariel gives up her voice for a chance to meet her prince; King Triton ultimately “gives up” Ariel so that she can live in the human world). Really, love is a pretty central theme in most, if not all, of the Disney stories. But that doesn’t make it any less true here, and I think that in this, Frozen actually manages to represent the theme quite neatly in the four main characters.
Elsa represents a sort of … misguided love. She’s been trained since childhood to believe that her best way of protecting her loved ones is by isolating and repressing her fundamental being, and she does this with great dedication. A lot of the narrative is leading us towards the obvious conclusion, which she comes to at the very end, that she cannot really be herself or engage in love successfully (the key to her powers, as we discover) without letting go of that fear, and giving herself over freely to emotion. I won’t even go into Dani’s apparent issues with having a female character with anxiety/depression issues, because it’s already addressed in a previous response and I think it’s a painfully misguided complaint in the first place.
Hans is kind of boring in this theme, but he does fit. He’s pretty much representing false, manipulative love; he uses Anna’s love for his own gain, etc. etc. etc.
But Anna is more interesting. To be honest, one of the things that stunned me the most in the original post was that Dani characterizes Anna as selfish. To me, Anna is defined very much by her selflessness. When she accidentally triggers Elsa’s outburst, she does not hesitate to take the blame; not once does she think to join the others in accusing Elsa of being dangerous, and she immediately goes after her, trusting completely that Elsa will respond if Anna talks to her. Oh, right, and at the end of the film, she runs directly away from her own salvation and right in front of a falling sword to save her sister’s life — without any weapon or shield — and it’s only by pure coincidence that she is transformed into solid ice at that very moment instead of being sliced in half. I have trouble finding selfishness in this. She’s impulsive, yes, and dashes off into the snow without changing into proper winter gear (which, I’d say, is at least somewhat understandable given that it was only just summer, and I don’t think anybody knows the extent of this artificial winter yet.
But I digress. In any case, after Elsa nearly puts her sister’s big shiny Disney eye out with spikes of ice and then flees the castle without explaining her rather unexpected powers, Anna takes the blame and leaps right on a horse to follow her. She doesn’t send anybody else; she doesn’t try to make this anybody else’s problem or responsibility. This is all the more shocking if you consider that she’s a teenager who is reacting to an unexpected outburst from her older sister who has ignored her (and gotten most of the parental attention!!!) for most of her life, and just completely rejected her (admittedly ill-advised) engagement! Knowing anything at all about teenaged siblings, I’d have thought we were all expecting her to be a lot less mature about the whole thing. But the fact of the matter is, Anna never once even considers fearing Elsa, rejecting Elsa, or relinquishing any of her trust in her, and to me, that’s an incredibly powerful thing.
Anna is impulsive, very much so, but she has a great strength in her ability to love without hesitation or fear. And when she loves somebody, she is able to trust them absolutely, for better or worse. This is her greatest flaw (she trusts Hans far too quickly) but also her greatest strength, since it’s what leads her, again and again, to reach out to Elsa, when she logically shouldn’t expect anything except rejection and possibly more scary ice magic.
Kristoff gets this, by the way. It’s pretty heavily implied (and I wish it had been more thoroughly developed) that it’s this fearlessness and trust that makes him like Anna. Kristoff is pretty clearly set up as Anna’s opposite; the first time we’re introduced to him, he gets a whole little song about how he doesn’t trust anybody except his weird reindeer buddy. He has reacted to social isolation in exactly the way Anna hasn’t.
For him, trust seems to be something rare and reluctantly given, and it’s pretty clear that Anna’s way of loving starts to seem pretty amazing to him. After the (ridiculous) mountain-climbing scene, when Anna throws herself down from the mountain with a “catch me!” (a pretty obvious reference back to the games she used to play with Elsa), he catches her; and when she casually laughs and says it was “like a crazy trust exercise,” it’s the first time he gets that dazed, well-gawrsh look that all Disney fellas get when they start falling for the girl. He’s purely and simply awed by her willingness to trust.
Even the trolls play into this love theme. For the most part the trolls were just kind of weird and a wee bit unnecessary, but there is a point to their fixer-upper song which I think can easily get missed. Sure, it is mostly a rather awkward comedic event in which they play the role of overzealous relatives trying to set up their beloved kid with a nice girl so he can go off and have his happily-ever-after, but if you pay attention to a nice section of it, you’ll realize that in the context it’s really meant to refer to Elsa.
We aren’t saying you can change him
'Cause people don't really change
We’re only saying that love’s a force that’s powerful and strange
People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed
But throw a little love their way, and you’ll bring out their best
True love brings out the best
Everyone’s a bit of a fixer upper
That’s what it’s all about
Father, sister, brother
We need each other
To raise us up and round us out
This is obviously predicting the ultimate ending, in which the true love between Anna and Elsa is the main theme, and in which Anna’s love for Elsa allows Elsa not to change, but to bring out the best in her gift. It’s a pretty clever little moment, and I like that the YOU-GUYS-SHOULD-GET-TOGETHER song is secretly a message about the sister relationship (although I’d have preferred that it be done more obviously).
In any case, I don’t really get Dani’s repeated accusation that Anna is “stupid” and an “idiot.” I mean, sure, she doesn’t do anything that sets her apart as particularly intellectually gifted, but that’s pretty obviously not supposed to be one of her defining character traits. And the examples that Dani gives to prove her “idiocy” — her impulsive engagement, her impulsive ride into the woods without proper winter gear — look more to me like innocence than idiocy, more like the actions of a young and rather unexperienced girl who wants to throw herself into love, who is a little bit too fearless, and who trusts, sometimes quite a bit too easily. And if that isn’t a set of character traits you’d want to admire, then you and I have very different priorities.