Why I Couldn’t Like Fantastic Beasts

 

 

 

This isn’t going to be a bashing article. This isn’t even going to be a negative review about a movie.

This is, plain and simple, why I could not find it in me to love the newest entry in J.K. Rowling’s ever-expanding Harry Potter franchise.

First of all, let me start off by saying that I love Harry Potter. Seriously. I’ve loved it for nearly eighteen years. Everything about it is, unequivocally and undisputably, my shit. Magic! Boarding school setting! A protagonist who’s painfully self-aware of his own forced heroism! Faithful sidekicks who aren’t just sidekicks, but are both key to the downfall of the central villain! Love, in all its pure, unselfish forms, conquers all!

Also, let me add that I loved Eddie Redmayne’s performance. (I mean, that fucking Erumpent mating dance!!!!!) I loved Newt, and Tina, and Queenie, and Jacob. I loved them as individual characters. I loved them together as a group.

But here’s where Fantastic Beast misses the mark for me.

 

Firstly, it’s white as hell.

“So is the original film series!”

Yes. So is the original series, which was started seventeen years ago. (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone only came out in 2001, but Warner Bros bought the rights and began work on the first film as early as 1999.) It’s literally a decade and a half behind Fantastic Beasts. So, yes, I can see why the original series is white as hell. Conversely, I do not understand why Fantastic Beasts is also white as hell.

Pretty much every POC that appeared in the movie had no speaking lines (save for, of course, Seraphina Picquery, President of MACUSA). Either that, or they weren’t even human. Seriously, click on the link. It explains every single one of my diversity problems with FB.

I see a lot of people defending this choice, saying stuff like ‘it was 1920s America! Segregation was a thing!’ One Tumblr user even helpfully explains that ‘The only reason there were POC in the movie at all is because the American wizarding society had their segregation based on magical heritage rather than skin color.’

Well, that’s exactly the issue, isn’t it? If the American wizarding society’s only concern was magical heritage and not skin colour, shouldn’t we have been able to spot way more POC in FB? In fact, it should’ve been overflowing with POC, since the only criteria for being part of the both the American and British wizarding societies was magic. So, thanks, my guy, but no thanks for trying to tell everyone that we should be grateful we got even a hint of non-white skin.

 

Secondly, the movie’s treatment of abuse victims was really fucking disturbing.

Look, I get that the whole Obscurus business is a loose metaphor for non-heterosexuality. It could even work as a loose metaphor for mental illness. That’s fine and dandy. I can definitely roll with that, especially when you figure that Newt’s real goal for coming to America is to study Obscurials in-depth. Two thumbs up.

But when you demonise the abuse victim and spend the entire movie building him up to be the greatest danger to both wizarding and No-Maj society, that’s not fucking okay. When you give me a climax scene that’s basically the protagonist attempting to tell the abuse victim to “chill out, man”, that’s not fucking okay.

I don’t know about you, but I did not count it as a win when Credence was killed. I did not go “phew, glad that’s over!”

There’s a lot more to be said about this issue, but just for the sake of keeping the momentum going, I’m going to move on. (Read this alternative summary of the FB plot for more on why Rowling’s treatment of Credence’s storyline was shoddy at best.)

 

Thirdly, I just didn’t see a point to it all.

You guys, I loved the whole deal with Newt’s overly-attached Bowtruckle pet. The Niffler was endearing as hell, too. I wanted to hug the Demiguise, and I’m still not sure why. That Thunderbird was so fucking beautiful, I practically drooled.

But… what exactly was the point, though?

There are to be five movies total in the FB franchise. From what I can tell, the central villain to this tangential series is Gellert Grindelwald. Now, if that is truly so, then this movie was perilously close to unnecessary.

Let this quote shed a little more light on what I mean:

Be it in the first or fourth film in the original series, every element of the world had a narrative reason to be there beyond simply superficial beauty or amusement. From Quidditch to the Phoenix or Dobby the house elf, all were wonderful, but all of them narratively motivated.

Here by contrast we are challenged to feel awe for CGI creations that are introduced for no real purpose relating to plot, story or emotion. Being totally inconsequential, their extravagant visibility and destruction makes no real difference to proceedings. Their sole motivation is to display the originality of a fully realised world and the CGI technique of the artists involved.

It is as if JK Rowling – who, tellingly, takes full screenwriting credit here – has fallen in love with the universe she has created, failing to understand what made it so popular and beloved in the first instance. It wasn’t the magic alone, but the connectivity of it all, the way in which it all made sense.

(from Elena Lazic’s review)

 

All of the above? All that, for me, was where Fantastic Beasts truly fell short of the magical mark set by Harry Potter. The diversity issue, the problems with depictions of abuse and mental health — all of those things can, in some way, be chalked up to generic Hollywood incompetence and ignorance.

But while the world of Harry Potter was immersive and intricate, Fantastic Beasts just felt disconnected and shallow.

Honestly, I didn’t hate Fantastic Beasts. (She says, after writing nearly a thousand words on things she didn’t like about it.)

Haha. But no, seriously. I didn’t.

Going into it, I was genuinely looking forward to how the film was going to jump start the Grindelwald arc of magical history. I mean, Grindelwald was basically the OG Voldemort, wasn’t he? Delving into his rise to power makes for interesting storytelling.

I just wish that there had been an interesting story to it.

So, yes, I didn’t hate Fantastic Beasts. But as cute and precious as Newt and all his creatures were, I just couldn’t love it.

 

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You’re Not American. Why Do You Care?

Why am I so afraid? Why am I so fucking upset, and mad, and heartbroken?

Because there’s a reason the United States of America is literally the most famous country in the world.

There probably isn’t a person on Earth who hasn’t heard of the US. That’s just how it is. That’s how widespread America’s reach is; that’s how figuratively big it is.

Yes, I am terrified for what such an oppressive, misguided presidency will mean for the US’s foreign and domestic policy, as well as the inevitable economic fallout.

But the thing that is currently, at this very moment, sending bile right up my throat, is the thought of the social repercussions.

America isn’t just a beacon of democracy. The US President isn’t just the leader of the free world.

The United States of America is the most important determinant in global popular culture and social trends.

I know it’s hard to wrap our minds around it. So many fancy words, so many unnecessary syllables, isn’t it?

So here’s an easier way of understanding it: think of the last five movies you saw. In the cinema, at home, whatever. Just think of the last five movies you watched.

Out of those five movies, how many of them were American?

Now do the same thing with the last five TV shows you watched.

Now the last five songs you listened to.

Now the last five books you read.

Do you see what I mean?

There are going to be consequences from this. We’ve seen Donald (Donald, mind you) repeatedly lash out at the media for being ‘unfair’ for doing nothing else but publishing the things he says in public, word for word. Never mind that that is literally their job. Never mind that he is the only Presidential candidate we’ve ever seen personally and heatedly criticise several journalists, by name. Never mind that he is the only Presidential candidate to openly contemplate banning specific publications from his events and rallies because they “never show crowd size or enthusiasm” (which is the whole point of discussions on foreign and domestic policy, of course), and “never discuss the real message” (which, to be fair, neither does he. They’re really just following his lead).

But what you should mind, what we should all mind, is the fact that he is literally the first person in American politics to threaten the actual First Amendment and the very freedom of the press.

Think about where this goes.

People like John Oliver, Trevor Noah, and Stephen Colbert. All of these people are no longer going to have neither the right nor the means to say what they want to say. It’s very possible that these people might not only lose their jobs and their platforms for free speech; they may very well face imprisonment, or, worse still, fucking death. Think I’m being dramatic? Let Samantha Bee take you behind the scenes of Russia’s media and journalism scene and show you why Donald’s hatred of the people who have elected him into the Oval office knowing stuff is fucking dangerous as fuck.

Even more than that, the effect that’s going to ripple all throughout pop culture is something we should all damn well be afraid of and mad about. Let’s start with this:

 

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(image source)

Setting aside the fact that literally every other show on every other network could already easily be called ‘Whiteish’, this is truly a frightening forecast for what Hollywood products are going to look like if Donald has anything to say about it. Goodbye, Black-ish. Goodbye, Fresh Off the Boat. Goodbye, Jane the Virgin, Empire, Insecure, Master of None, The Fosters, Atlanta — basically any show with a focus on characters and stories from minority groups.

Think about what Kesha went through. Think about what she’s still going through. You think that’s bad? That’s nothing, compared to the amount of shit people are going to be allowed to get away with under Donald’s orange fist.

Earlier this evening, I saw screenshots from a group Whatsapp conversation going around Twitter. This was a group chat comprising classmates; a bunch of students from a very reputable, well known junior college in my country — literally the Singapore junior college equivalent of Harvard.

I was horrified to see students of this particular class crowing over Donald’s victory, not by celebrating the rise of a politician they truly believed in, but by echoing terrible sentiments from his fear-mongering campaign. Things like ‘MORE POLICE AND LESS LATINOS’ were cheered, and one student even proclaimed that ‘At least the rapid proliferation of feminazism has been prevented. Cant say how horrible my first hand experience with those creatures were’.

And did anyone in the group chat speak out to correct, rebuke, or even chide him? Well, he was responded to with exclamations of ‘HOLY SHIT LOL’ and ‘AW YEAH’. So I’m assuming that’s a hard no.

 

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(image source)

All this, from youths currently receiving some of the highest quality tertiary education my nation has to offer. All this, from youths currently attending one of the finest schools in a nation so focused on racial harmony that we even have a day to commemorate it. All this, from youths brought up in a nation that espouses equality and democracy as two of its five core values.

America’s problems are not just America’s problems. It’s impossible to fully quantify just how pervasive the US influence is over the rest of the world — or any corner of it with a WiFi connection.

That is why I am afraid, and mad, and devastated over the events of November 8th, 2016.

And that is why you should be, too.

 


You can find out more about Mel on her author page

11 Severely Underrated TV Shows You Should Watch

There’s been a lot of drama in TV Land this year.

(Not TV Land the channel. Like, the land of TV. Ha.)

Without calling out any shows or networks by name, this week, in particular, has been especially very trying. I watch certain shows that I’ve always watched, and now, instead of being Excited and Fulfilled, I’m just Tired and Done. So I log on to Twitter, or Tumblr, seeking some kind of lighthearted distraction from my TV fatigue, only to find out that that’s pretty much the worst strategy ever, considering the fact that social media platforms are basically overflowing with people who are just as Tired and Done as I am.

So you know what? Instead of bitching and moaning on every social networking website about how our old faves have done us wrong and everything sucks, HERE, let’s all focus on some Good Shit together:

 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

 

 

Sharp comedy, heartwarming/wrenching drama, impressive musical numbers that careen from feel-good satire to okay-little-bit-TOO-real. If you’re thinking this is just another let’s-laugh-at-the-white-girl’s-self-indulgent-sob-story type deal, think again. The show’s been praised for the non-stereotypical inclusion of POC in its main cast, as well as its realistic portrayal of Filipino customs. I mean, for once in our lives, the dreamy hot person everyone’s going ga-ga over – listen closely now – ISN’T! WHITE!

Also, Rachel Bloom is a creative goddess who is a serious triple threat as well as important af representation for body posi, self-confidence, and mental issues, and we all need to worship at her toe-tapping feet RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

 

Documentary Now!

 

 

Fred Armisen and Bill Hader team up to spoof a bunch of famous documentaries. What more can I say? Oh, and, Helen fucking Mirren hosts this shit, so you KNOW it’s good.  

 

The Get Down

 

 

Stylistic but raw, gritty but abstract. This 1970s-set show does a fantastic job balancing social issues like race and poverty with positive themes of hope and friendship, all with a killer soundtrack that’s groovy af. It’s also one of, like, three shows I’ve ever seen in my life where I legitimately have to squint to try and catch a glimpse of white skin. Plus, Justice Smith knocks it outta the fucking park with his first lead role as wordsmith Ezekiel Figuero. This really is Baz Luhrmann like you’ve never experienced him before – down and dirty.

 

The Good Place

 

 

Kristen Bell is fucking back, my guys. She’s teamed up with Michael fucking Schur (The Office! Parks and Rec!) to bring us this legitimately hilarious satire on Heaven and the afterlife. It’s pretty obvious some of the cast are still finding their feet, but the writing is sharp as fuck, and Kristen Bell is fucking enjoyable as fuck, plus it’s the AFTERLIFE so everyone’s technically ALREADY DEAD anyway, so fucking watch this and have a goddamn laugh.

 

The Last Man on Earth

 

the-last-man-on-earth

 

This show is well into its third season, and I can count the number of times I’ve seen an edit or gifset of it pop up on my Tumblr dashboard on one fucking hand. That’s fucking insane, considering the amount of comedic AND dramatic talent that’s practically overloaded into this one little lifeboat of a Fox show (Will Forte! Kristen Schaal! January Jones! Mary Steenburgen!). If you want an post-apocalyptic show that doesn’t constantly get fucking high off its own ultraviolent drama, THIS IS THE FUCKING SHOW TO WATCH.

 

Lucifer

 

cats

 

I fully expected this show to be bad. It is not.

Yes it is another grumpy by-the-book detective reluctantly teams up with constantly-smirking-wickedly civilian ‘consultant’ show, but fuck me, the two leads’ chemistry is seriously worth watching. Throw in DB Woodside as Lucifer’s stern, stickler older brother and Lesley-Ann Brandt as Lucifer’s demon protector/sidekick who actively rejects being reduced to just playing the sidekick role and seeks to find her own purpose in life, and honestly, every episode is one hell of a good time. (Also, Tom Ellis is finally getting worked to his full potential, and I could not be more proud.)

 

Pitch

 

pitch

 

FIRST FEMALE PITCHER JOINS THE RANKS OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. Need I even go on??????

I don’t, actually. Because you can find more of my ramblings on why this show is important here.

(Seriously, friends. WATCH THIS SHOW. DO NOT LET IT GET CANCELLED.)

 

Please Like Me

 

please-like-me-31-1

 

To me, PLM has always been the Original (and far superior) Gangster to Looking. It’s an Australian comedy-drama that does a fucking brilliant job with making you wheeze with laughter and bawl your eyes out, all within the span of twenty-two minutes. All the cast is really great, and nothing ever feels inorganic.

On a more serious note, there’s a lot of shit we talk on social media about how much we want a show with an LGBT lead that’s positive LGBT rep and also normalises LGBT interactions and struggles and other important mental issues like anxiety and depression but is still genuinely funny and sharp and manages to warm the cockles of our hearts. If y’all fucking mean it, y’all better fucking watch PLM.

 

Superstore

 

 

Like The Office / Parks and Recreation / Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but in a superstore!

Tbh, this isn’t the slickest of comedies, but it’s definitely getting better and more confident as it goes on. Plus, it features the first sitcom male-female will-they-won’t-they pairing that I wouldn’t actually mind finishing up in ‘won’t they’ territory. The two leads (America Ferrera, Ben Feldman) play it so fucking well that they could easily pull off both.

 

You’re the Worst

 

 

If you’re not already watching this, wyd??????????

This show is, at first glance, an asshole of a comedy. Seriously. It revels in showing the very worst parts of self-absorbed characters who are already kind of terrible to begin with. But ultimately, it really is just holding up a big, fat, magnifying mirror to society, and that’s why it’s so fucking good. It doesn’t shy away from difficult topics about romance and friendship, the social and personal ennui and boredom that leads to increasingly self-sabotaging and -destructive tendencies of our ego-swollen generation, and also heavyweight stuff like PTSD and depression. The writers throw everything they’ve got at an exceedingly talented, game cast, and every episode is truly a fucking Ride. The show consistently gets raved over by critics and fans alike, and I just don’t understand why I never hear anyone talking about it outside of articles and episode reviews.

 

Younger

 

 

As downright weird as the premise initially sounded to me (40-year-old woman poses as a 26-year-old in order to get a job in a publishing house), the show itself is just so fucking great that by the end of the first ep, I clean forgot how reluctant I was to start it in the first place. Sutton Foster is literally the only person imaginable who could even begin to pull off a role like this, and the issues her character struggles with in trying to pass off as a ~millennial~ go a lot deeper than just trying to work out who even uses Facebook anymore. This is one of those shows that doesn’t need to rely on huge, over-dramatic plot twists every twenty minutes to create good drama that keeps you engaged, and everyone needs to watch it.

 

And a bonus,

Atelier

 

 

Despite also being called Underwear, this is also easily the least risqué offering on this entire list. It’s a Japanese-language Netflix original, and it’s basically the Asian cousin to The Devil Wears Prada – if Miranda and Andy had a relationship that was actually healthy, that is. It’s a little slow at times, but on the whole, it’s a refreshing change from the usual spiteful drama or emotional angst that we’re so used to seeing in office-based TV shows. There’s no jealousy or Mean Girls-esque cliques, and everyone is so fucking passionate and committed to the work that they share that it legitimately brought tears to my eyes, on more than one occasion. Also, the lead actress Mirei Kiritani is an actual cupcake of a person, and you just can’t help but root for her to achieve all her fluffy cupcake lingerie-related dreams. (Not those kind of dreams, ya nasties.)

So why is this a bonus? Because the show is only available on Netflix as far as I can tell, I was a little reluctant to include it. But in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave it out entirely. Seriously, watch this whatever way you can get it!

 


You can find out more about Mel on her author page.

And you can follow Loud and Alive on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter!

Watch the Game? I’d Rather Win It

Sex and the City. Desperate Housewives. Girls.

Q: What do these shows all have in common?

A: They are all wonderful, female-driven TV shows that I don’t relate to, at all.

In fact, it seems like all TV networks have some inexplicable, paralysing fear of showing girls being physically kick-ass — unless it’s justified by some far-out premise, like they’re a super-trio of witches (Charmed), or the one chosen conqueror of supernatural evil (Buffy, Sleepy Hollow), or a ~superhero~, à la Jessica Jones or Supergirl. There’s also the ever so popular niche category of female superspies who have undergone some over-the-top, pervasive training and usually some traumatic experience that has emotionally damaged or stunted them in some way (Alias, Dark Angel, Nikita). Networks love these types of shows, and it’s no coincidence that every single one of these inevitably features multiple scenes in which the female superspy lead has to don a form-fitting, body-hugging, or straight up revealing outfit. Because undercover espionage.

Those are the only occasions in which a female is allowed to be physically badass.

But the everyday woman?

The everyday woman works in a colourfully quirky or excessively boring office. The everyday woman meets up with her everyday women friends for champagne brunches or cocktails at a bar. The everyday woman builds her friendships with other women through complaining about her job, or her boss, or her co-workers, or and this is a clear favourite of TV writers her relationship drama.

As for the everyday girl?

The everyday girl wakes up every morning, hair and makeup already perfectly done, but sometimes a few minutes past her alarm so we can relate.

The everyday girl is almost always in a rush, so she usually throws on the first thing she finds in her closet, which just somehow always ends up being, by some completely unexpected coincidence,  a perfectly coordinated, matched outfit.

The everyday girl meets up with her everyday girl friends on the school yard or in the hallways, and talks about whether or not she’s going to go for that party on Friday night because I heard Kelly might be there, and me and Kelly aren’t talking anymore since she became a cheerleader and popular.

By the way, I’m willing to bet good money that throughout that entire description, the everyday girl you were picturing had white skin.

That’s not the life I had growing up. Not even close.

But the message from TV execs is clear: Everyday girls are strong, and beautiful but they don’t kick ass on a physical playing field.

This is why Pitch is so important.

For those of you who have yet to hear of Pitch, the show is about Ginny Baker, the first woman to join the ranks of Major League Baseball. Even though Ginny Baker isn’t actually real, I felt absolutely compelled to follow her story. An everyday female stepping up to a physical playing field that’s not only real (i.e. not made-up), but is also dominated by men, and not only holding her own, but excelling? That’s literally never happened in the history of ever.

Stop giving me show after show about a minimally diversified group of girls working in an office, or coming to a bar for cocktails every week, or being called a bitch for rising in the ranks of their specialised, niche field, or spending half their time just dealing with ~relationship drama~.

Give me a bunch of Caucasian/Latina/Asian straight/bisexual/lesbian/pansexual girls coming together and getting down and dirty with a hard ass sport.


Trans girls. Black girls. Brown girls. Tall girls. Short girls. Skinny girls. Muscular girls. Rich girls. Girls who can’t even afford to eat lunch every day. Girls who struggle to figure themselves out, who they are, and where they fit in. Girls who don’t struggle with that at all, and are completely comfortable in their own skin.

All of these girls, from every walk of life imaginable, coming together week after week to train together, to play hard together, to push their bodies to their physical and mental limits together for no other reason besides the fact that they all love the same game.

Imagine that. Imagine the beauty of all that un-sameness, all that diversity, coming together to completely slay at a team sport. These girls, with different skin colours, different family backgrounds, different beliefs and values, different economic statuses, different personal and social identities all these different girls, who put on the same jerseys for two hours and fucking S L A Y.

Watching Viola Davis burn her way through a rainforest of fragile male egos on How to Get Away with Murder is entertaining and impressive, yes.

But you know what would be truly amazing?

Watching a whole team of different, differentiated girls learn from each other, help and support each other, guide each other, and become a family all while dominating on a physical playing field.

I want Gossip Girl, but instead of clubbing and drinking and throwing expensive, alcohol-soaked parties, when the last bell rings, these pristine, private school girls trade in their skirts and knee-high socks for jerseys and cleats, and charge out onto a soccer field.

I want One Tree Hill, but instead of Peyton, Haley and Brooke cheering Lucas and Scott on from the sidelines with their bouncy ponytails and bouncier pom-poms, I want them to be sweating it out on the court, training for their own upcoming championship games.

I want all the gritty, raw intensity of Orange Is the New Black freed from its Litchfield prison, and translated onto a varsity hockey pitch, a basketball court, a soccer field.

I want Friday Night Lights, but with an all-girls team.

The day I will be happy is the day a show like Pitch stops being important, or unique, or noteworthy.

Because and take note, TV execs everyday girls are strong, and beautiful, and we kick ass on every playing field, physical or otherwise.

 


You can find out more about Mel on her author page

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Bi Visibility Week: You Don’t Have to Choose

In honor of this year’s Bi Visibility Week (September 19-26), Loud and Alive will be publishing pieces on different experiences of different people, all of whom identify as bisexual. Stay tuned!

 

I am bisexual.

Wow. That felt so odd to say. And that wasn’t even out loud.

Which is kind of funny, considering it’s just as integral to who I am as person as, say, my gender, or my nationality, or my ethnicity.

But that probably has a lot to do with how I’ve never had to struggle with my gender being accepted as a valid, existent thing. Same with my nationality and ethnicity.

I had my first girlfriend when I was fourteen.

I liked her a lot. She liked me more, I think.

But I broke it off, seven months later, because I was starting to believe what everyone was telling me — it’s just a phase.

So I tried to focus on boys. There was no trouble with finding things about boys to be attracted to, at all.

But at the same time, I couldn’t stop feeling frustrated and annoyed with myself. Why was it so easy to find things I liked about boys when I was paying attention, and yet still just as easy to find things I liked about girls when I wasn’t?

It’s just a phase, I reminded myself. I’ll grow out of it soon enough.

And I kept on reminding myself that — for the next eight years.

‘You can’t like both,’ I told myself countless times. ‘You have to choose. You can’t play for both teams.’

Because that’s what it feels like sometimes, doesn’t it? Like not having a singular preference means that you fail at life — you are a Bad Human. Game over.

We’ve been fortunate enough to see bisexuality edge its way into a mainstream spotlight over the last few years. Celebs like Evan Rachel Wood, Michelle Rodriguez, and Halsey are paving the way for more and more people to feel comfortable in their own bisexuality.

But this hasn’t always been the case.

Q: Why couldn’t fourteen-year-old me accept that bisexuality was a thing?

A: Because I didn’t even know it was.

No one talked about it, plain and simple.

People were straight, people were gay, people were lesbian. No one ever came out and said “I’m bisexual”.

That’s a huge deal, considering how many of us there are out there. (For example, it’s estimated that bisexuals make up about 41% of the LGBT POC community in the United States. That’s nearly half.)

But yet, out of all these numbers, out of all these people, 39% of bisexual men and 33% of bisexual women are still not willing to disclose their sexual orientation. For comparison, only 13% of gay men, and 10% of lesbians are unwilling to do so.

As if that wasn’t discouraging enough, this statistic doesn’t pertain to coming out publicly, or even just to friends and family. This is just regarding disclosure of personal information to their medical providers.

This is a problem. Not only that, it’s a bisexual-specific one. In fact, compared to both heterosexual and homosexual adults, bisexuals are much more likely to have problems with depression, binge drinking, sexual health risks, self-harming behaviors, suicidal thoughts, and several other mental health problems. As much as we encourage youths exploring their sexuality to find adults they can trust enough to talk to about their problems, the fact remains that bisexual youth are less likely than lesbian and gay youth to report having supportive adults they could turn to.

And all of this is a direct consequence of bisexuality not being recognised and affirmed, just as much as heterosexuality or even homosexuality now is.

For all my heterosexual or homosexual friends out there, please know that I am not trying to take anything away from you. I am not equating my struggles to yours. I am not comparing my pain to your own.

I am simply saying that the only way we’re going to see a change for the better is if bisexuals start receiving the legitimacy they have been denied for far too long. It’s important for bisexuals to have pride in who they are. But it’s just as important for bisexuals to be seen, to have who they are validated not only by themselves, but by everyone else.

So, yes. I am bisexual.

It’s not the first time I’ve said it, of course. Goodness knows it won’t be the last.

I’ve never had to justify being of both Indian and Chinese descent. I’ve never had to justify being into both makeup and sports.

I don’t have to justify being attracted to both men and women.

And neither do you.

 


You can find out more about Mel on her author page.

 

Dating Is Fun! (For a Guy!)

 

by Mel

 

There’s a trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the dating world.

It’s not so much of a trend as it is a line of distinction.  

Girls can date around and they’re “fickle”, “slutty”, “flaky”.

Guys can date around and they’re just “checking out their options”.

It’s so subconscious that it’s alarming.

Just a couple weeks ago, my male friend was telling me about a girl he was interested in, but hesitant to ask out on a date because he’d heard that “she dates a different person every three months”.

Confused, I asked him what was the difference, especially when just two or three months ago, he himself was dating another girl.

He frowned, and had to actually stop to think about it for a few seconds before coming up with “Well, that’s different.”

“Why, though?” I prodded.

“Because she’s a girl,” he replied.

As soon as he said it, his eyes widened in realisation. He himself was near horrified at the double standards he’s been subscribing to all his life, without choosing to or even knowing it.

It’s everywhere, though.

Guys who proudly boast that they’ll only ever marry a virgin, or someone sexually inexperienced, as if the state of a hymen has any bearing on character.

Girls who receive judgmental looks and comments when they’re the ones who end relationships, even if they were cheated on or treated unfairly.

Parents who allow their sons to do whatever and see whoever they like, but impose curfews on their daughters and demand intimate details regarding their social activities.

People who gossip and speculate madly about girls who hang out with boys who aren’t their boyfriends, but have nothing to say about guys who do the same with girls who aren’t their girlfriends.

Movies and TV shows and books that tell us that Tinder is basically Google for guys looking to have sex on the first date, but girls only resort to dating sites and apps when they’re desperate and afraid of ending up alone in their empty houses with seven cats. (Which sounds amazing, tbh. Though maybe not if you hate cats.)

How did we get to this?

I thought the whole point of dating apps and online dating was to make dating more accessible, more manageable, just a whole lot easier — for everyone who uses them, not just those who happen to be male.

So many of my female friends are hesitant to admit that they’re on Tinder, even though the men seem to have no qualms about talking at length about their Tinder selection process.

So many of my female friends have been criticised as being “too high-maintenance” for turning down guys eight years older than them. And yet, I can’t even begin to count the number of guys I know who have rejected romantic prospects with girls simply because these lovely ladies happen to be born a mere one or two years earlier than them.

So many of my female friends have been criticised for being “high maintenance” when they ask one too many questions about a potential match’s personality, while I watch literal groups of guys gather around a phone screen and openly debate whether or not they’d fuck a certain girl.

If a guy leaves his girlfriend for another girl, that girl’s a home-wrecker.

If a girl leaves her boyfriend for another guy, that girl’s unfaithful and untrustworthy.

It seems that when it comes to the dating game, girls can’t ever win.

Unless they’re sexy (but innocent and virginal), pretty (but don’t know it) and cool and fun (but not popular, because why the hell should they be spending time with anyone they aren’t in a relationship with?).

There will be people who read this and feel confused, or perhaps even offended. “That’s not what dating is like at all!” they’ll say. “I haven’t seen or heard any of this in my own experience with dating!”

That’s great. Truly, that’s wonderful. That’s the dating experience everyone deserves — one free of judgement, free of invisible, unfair standards and subject to no one’s whims but your own (insofar as is respectful to other parties, of course).

But that doesn’t change the fact that this is happening, every single day.

Maybe not to you.

But to someone, it is.

To several other people, to hundreds and possibly thousands others, it is.

And that’s enough to make it a problem.

 


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Yes, I Went To A Girls’ School. No, It’s Not What You Think.

By Mel

 

One of my all-time favourite shows is Ja’mie: Private School Girl.

If you’ve never seen it, the show gives audiences several great examples of high school scenarios and experiences. With the character of social queen bee Ja’mie, creator-actor Chris Lilley goes one step further, taking what audiences imagine would play out in a scene dominated and populated almost entirely by teenage girls, and not only fulfilling their pre-existing stereotypes, but also warping them completely out of loop.

One of the reasons I enjoy Ja’mie so much is because of my own experiences in an all-girls school.

I’ve always been what is commonly known as a ‘tomboy’. I spent six years of primary school surrounded by brash, loud boys and quiet, demure girls. Most of that time was spent ‘running with the boys’, as the neighbourhood mothers would cluck. When I found out I would be attending a school with no boys for the next four years, I had no idea what to expect.

I entered this weird and wonderful new land of girls’ school with wide, awestruck eyes. My twelve-year-old self was caught completely off-guard by how much freedom there was to be enjoyed.

Read the rest on our new site!

 

Ghostbusters: What’s In A Review?

by Mel
art: suitfer

Here’s Why People Wondering If the New Ghostbusters is ‘Any Good’ Are Missing The Point

There is an action scene in Ghostbusters (2016).

[There are several action scenes in Ghostbusters (2016), but this one is more important than the others.]

Without giving too much away for those who have yet to see it, the scene involves Kate McKinnon in coveralls, tinted goggles, a horde of malevolent ghosts and two proton pistols.

I was enthralled the first time I saw this scene. My jaw LITERALLY dropped, and I think I actually stopped breathing for a good eight to ten seconds.

The second time I saw it, I was just as awed. This is it, I thought, as McKinnon ducked and dodged and whipped twin proton streams around like some kind of high-tech Indiana Jones. This is THE climactic, over-the-top, slow-mo action scene that I’ve been waiting for all my life.

But this time round, I knew exactly why.

Read the rest on our new site!