little megan, big everything else.

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Things Megan Reads: Pre-Beach Week Summer Edition.

Read two soon-to-be-movies YA novels, IF I STAY and THE MAZE RUNNER. Liked both. Not floored by either. Will probably read the follow up the former, kind of wish the latter was a stand alone piece and not part of a big series.

Loved FANGIRL. It wasn’t as heart-wrenching as E & P, but it definitely resonated with me more. So delightful and honest and clever.

Saw the trailer for FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and decided that I finally needed to get on board with this cultural phenomenon. I think EL James has pretty much replicated the TWILIGHT books for people who actually want to read about the sex. I felt similarly about this book as I did about those books; they are fun and ridiculous, but not well written and thematically problematic.

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS was awesome. Carey writes comic books and action movies and you can feel that in his writing in a very fun way. It all feels very urgent and immediate. As someone who as read/watched a lot of products of the zombie craze, I loved that Carey’s version felt fresh. Really thrilling and surprising and enjoyable.

Stay tuned for Things Megan Reads: Beach Week Edition! Already 3 books in…

Filed under books summer reading fangirl rainbow rowell the girl with all the gifts m r carey if i stay maze runner fifty shades of grey

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Birthday cake montage! Chocolate on chocolate and pretzel crumble for my favorite person.

Birthday cake montage! Chocolate on chocolate and pretzel crumble for my favorite person.

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WARNING: Poetry and a lil’ bit of talk about sex. Use your judgement.

Here’s a little diatribe about sex and media
Yawn- I know- definitely a topic with a dumb page on wikipedia
But I’ve got thoughts bouncing around that I can’t seem to steady
So suck it up, guys, open your ears & get ready:

If you watch TV or check out a movie to be screened by teens
There are a couple of crucial possibilities nobody’s getting a chance to see
Boy meets girl- problematic and heteronormative from the start-
But maybe just as importantly the sexual exploration amounts to naught
The kids fall in love and decide they are ready
To take THAT step, run for home, lose the v card, DO IT already
And despite the fact that the viewer has only seen them hold hands
Our teenage heroes are suddenly screwing in the back of a van
Now before you stand up and call me a prude
I’m not saying no sex, shoot, I’d like us all in the mood
But for some reason the media misses a whole lot of steps
Fingering blow jobs BOOBS handies and all the delightful rest
So teenage kid ready to go all the way
Take it from a person who binge watched Pretty Little Liars in one day
You’ve gotta take everything you’re seeing with a serious mound of salt
Even thought the shitty representation is certainly not your fault
I dated a germaphobe and a mormon and stayed a virgin until 22
So trust me when I say there are other things your parts can do

But hey world- pay attention before you slut shame a girl in her teens
For the sake of modesty you’ve cut all options from the screen
So instead of criticizing teens for how early they give it up
Take a look at why they think their only option is to fuck

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You can tell that spending 2 months working through a super dense Margie A book caused me to hardcore YA-lit binge throughout and post that time. CAT’S EYE was brilliant, obviously. I want to give it to every girl I grew up to, or just everyone in the world. Reading it felt like telling a dark secret. Incredibly different from anything else I’ve read of hers. She is my favorite author. Definitely.

The entire MATCHED series was fun but nothing to write home about- it says something about both series that I was constantly confusing the details of the world in DIVERGENT with this one. Ally Conde was recommended to me by Jeff, one of Adi’s good friends who teaches middle schoolers. 

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY was haunting and quite lovely.

The Veronica Mars novel captured the tone of the show so well. Highly enjoyable- I look forward to more.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE was great even though a) it was trendy and b) I’m late to the party anyway. Love everything B writes about sea sickness.

And I’m not sure I can really talk about E & P yet. Many feelings and no eloquent way to share them. Read this book. I need to get my hands on FANGIRL.

Love books. Love my nook. Happy kid.

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They’re scenes all too familiar to any TV viewer: A woman is shoved down, she screams or sobs, her eyes grow wide and then blank as she wills herself anywhere else in the world. Lately the small screen has felt particularly thick with such moments of sexual horror, as writers have been churning out story lines in which our saints, our heroines, and our hard and cruel women too, are raped or forced to relive their nightmare of it. Try to imagine a singular abuse endured by an equivalent number of male characters. And yet it seems whenever a female character needs a juicy arc or humanizing touch, writers fall back on the easy, awful crime of rape.

In a particularly cold-blooded move, Julian Fellowes & Co. went after Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt), the beloved lady’s maid on Downton Abbey, earlier this season. Was there really nothing anyone could think to do with her character now that she and her husband, Bates, were enjoying a spot of happiness? Fans were subjected to a scene of Anna being viciously taken down by a visiting valet—a man, incidentally, her husband had repeatedly warned her against, but she was too naive and soft to heed his spider sense. We were spared a scene of Anna’s actual rape, but the before and after were brutal. Her disheveled hair and busted lip, her cry that she’d been soiled and would kill herself if she became pregnant. When she recoils from her unknowing husband’s touch, Bates assumes he must have failed her in some way. “It must be my fault, because she is incapable of fault,” he says. Yes, Anna is a flawless character, and such goodness doesn’t always make for interesting drama, so the writers opted to rip off her dress rather than peel back some layers of her decency.

No one would accuse Scandal’s First Lady, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), of being a saint, and God bless that woman for her rich and weird tangle of needs and motivations. She had established herself as one of the show’s best characters—so wounded in one moment and callous the next—when we were given a flashback episode to Fitz’s early gubernatorial run: Mellie, her eye firmly on the prize, tries to engage in a late-night strategy session with Fitz’s drunken bull of a father. Suddenly the man forces her down on the sofa and rapes her.

Many fans found the act a cruel device to trigger viewer compassion for a woman it isn’t always easy to like. This strikes me as problematic. One already felt so deeply for Mellie’s toxic and vulnerable brew, so why subject the audience to yet another scene of a woman’s physical humiliation? The crime here is of unnecessity. Granted, this is a show that burns through plot, but Mellie’s rape seemed like the cheap landing of a writers’-room story-line wheel. There are countless plot-generating life obstacles that don’t involve sexual assault (see: The Good Wife or, for that matter, almost any show with a male protagonist). We didn’t need to see Mellie on her back to know or like her better.

And why must female characters be likable in the first place? Take terrifying Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) from season 1 of House of Cards, for instance. You think she cares if we like her? Talk about someone who’s never complained to her book club that she’s sick of people-pleasing and doesn’t know how to take any “me” time. So how strange, how disappointing, to learn in season 2 that Claire was the victim of a rape in college. It’s not that women like Claire don’t get raped. Or that stories of abuse and survival and the cost of resilience aren’t important ones. But on the flip side, can’t we enjoy standing aghast in the face of Claire’s ruthlessness without saddling her with such an excruciating foundation? “You think I don’t want to smash things?” Claire snaps at her husband, Frank, after he flies into a rage when she identifies her attacker. “I know what that anger is more than you can imagine.”

Here’s something else to imagine: the idea that there are stories to tell about the sources of a woman’s anger, her ambition and fear, her brokenness and resolve, that don’t involve pinning her under some man’s heaving chest.

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When I was seventeen and preparing to leave for university, my mother’s only brother saw fit to give me some advice.
“Just don’t be an idiot, kid,” he told me, “and don’t ever forget that boys and girls can never just be friends.”
I laughed and answered, “I’m not too worried. And I don’t really think all guys are like that.”

When I was eighteen and the third annual advent of the common cold was rolling through residence like a pestilent fog, a friend texted me asking if there was anything he could do to help.
I told him that if he could bring me up some vitamin water that would be great, if it wasn’t too much trouble.
That semester I learned that human skin cells replace themselves every three to five weeks. I hoped that in a month, maybe I’d stop feeling the echoes of his touch; maybe my new skin would feel cleaner.
It didn’t. But I stood by what I said. Not all guys are like that.

When I was nineteen and my roommate decided the only way to celebrate the end of midterms was to get wasted at a club, I humoured her.
Four drinks, countless leers and five hands up my skirt later, I informed her I was ready to leave.
“I get why you’re upset,” she told me on the walk home, “but you have to tolerate that sort of thing if you want to have any fun. And really, not all guys are like that.”

(Age nineteen also saw me propositioned for casual sex by no fewer than three different male friends, and while I still believe that guys and girls can indeed be just friends, I was beginning to see my uncle’s point.)

When I was twenty and a stranger that started chatting to me in my usual cafe asked if he could walk with me (since we were going the same way and all), I accepted.
Before we’d even made it three blocks he was pulling me into an alleyway and trying to put his hands up my shirt. “You were staring,” he laughed when I asked what the fuck he was doing (I wasn’t), “I’m just taking pity.”
But not all guys are like that.

I am twenty one and a few days ago a friend and I were walking down the street. A car drove by with the windows down, and a young man stuck his head out and whistled as they passed. I ignored it, carrying on with the conversation.
My friend did not. “Did you know those people?” He asked.
“Not at all,” I answered.
Later when we sat down to eat he got this thoughtful look on his face. When I asked what was wrong he said, “You know not all guys do that kind of thing, right? We’re not all like that.”
As if he were imparting some great profound truth I’d never realized before. My entire life has been turned around, because now I’ve been enlightened: not all guys are like that.

No. Not all guys are. But enough are. Enough that I am uncomfortable when a man sits next to me on the bus. Enough that I will cross to the other side of the street if I see a pack of guys coming my way. Enough that even fleeting eye contact with a male stranger makes my insides crawl with unease. Enough that I cannot feel safe alone in a room with some of my male friends, even ones I’ve known for years. Enough that when I go out past dark for chips or milk or toilet paper, I carry a knife, I wear a coat that obscures my figure, I mimic a man’s gait. Enough that three years later I keep the story of that day to myself, when the only thing that saved me from being raped was a right hook to the jaw and a threat to scream in a crowded dorm, because I know what the response will be.

I live my life with the everburning anxiety that someone is going to put their hands on me regardless of my feelings on the matter, and I’m not going to be able to stop them. I live with the knowledge that statistically one in three women have experienced a sexual assault, but even a number like that can’t be trusted when we are harassed into silence. I live with the learned instinct, the ingrained compulsion to keep my mouth shut to jeers and catcalls, to swallow my anger at lewd suggestions and crude gestures, to put up my walls against insults and threats. I live in an environment that necessitates armouring myself against it just to get through a day peacefully, and I now view that as normal. I have adapted to extreme circumstances and am told to treat it as baseline. I carry this fear close to my heart, rooted into my bones, and I do so to keep myself unharmed.

So you can tell me that not all guys are like that, and you’d even be right, but that isn’t the issue anymore. My problem is not that I’m unaware of the fact that some guys are perfectly civil, decent, kind—my problem is simply this:

In a world where this cynical overcaution is the only thing that ensures my safety, I’m no longer willing to take the risk.

r.d. (via vonmoire)

(Source: elferinge, via pizza-andblowjobs)