When it comes to the idea of rape culture, there are certain things everyone, including myself, can agree on. Everyone agrees that women shouldn’t be raped. Everyone agrees that women are raped far too often. Everyone agrees that rape is never an acceptable consequence for not doing the “right” thing or acting the “right” way. Everyone agrees that often women are told that they deserved to be raped because they were “asking for it”, and that that’s a terrible thing to say. And everyone agrees that rape culture has far-ranging, awful consequences that make the reality of being a woman something that is often fraught and almost always degrading. Being a woman means living in a world where you know that there is a one in six chance you will be sexually assaulted at some point in your lifetime. Being a woman means growing up constantly being a bitch, no matter what you do. Being a woman means that it is not a question of if, but when and how often, that you will be verbally harassed, or objectified, and that you will always, always be found to be somehow lacking or wrong. And I think everyone can agree that that’s just not okay. Rape culture is about blaming women, about hanging the ultimate consequence of rape over their heads to keep them in line, about finding fault in women for no other reason than because they are women, and pretty much everyone agrees that that’s a terrible thing to do.
What people often either don’t realize or cannot agree on is why that’s a bad thing to do. It isn’t just that there are, of course, people who believe that there is a “right” way to be a woman, and that the “right” way usually involves a set of impossibly high standards that leads to constant disappointment and judgment. It’s that there then develops a reactionary strain of thought that says that women are judged too harshly and therefore should never be judged at all. And this, quite frankly, is just as equally ridiculous and problematic as the first way of thinking.
I’ve been told many times over the years that my approach to cooking is weird. Namely, I view recipes the way the Pirate’s Code is viewed in Pirates of the Caribbean – I think of it more as a set of guidelines. When I’m in the mood to make something new, my method is to look up as many different variations on that recipe I can find, pick and choose the ones I like, and make the rest up. Consequently, I don’t actually have solid recipes so much as basic concepts I re-use and tweak based on what’s in my refrigerator and what I feel like eating that day. I have tried submitting these as recipes with notes like “improvise here!” and “change this for this new form of the same thing!”, but I have been roundly told that that is not how recipes work. Which, as far as I’m concerned, sucks.
One of my favorite bases is something I found online that was called “bread pudding muffins.” The idea was that you took a cupcake liner, filled it with stale bread and half an egg, and baked it. And that’s a cool enough idea, but it’s super boring and clearly demands improvisation. But after two years of using this idea as a base, it has become my favorite thing ever. I eagerly await us having enough stale bread to make this. I’ve tried every variation under the sun. Sometimes I make it in cupcake tins. Sometimes I make it in a pan as a bake. I’ll add veggies, fruits, beans, spices, bacon, or pretty much whatever I can find hiding in my refrigerator. You can do anything with this. The sky is your limit. These two years of bread pudding experimentation have been delicious ones, and I have desperately wanted to write about this, only to realize that “get bread, eggs, and improvise!” did not pass muster as a recipe. And so I held off until I found one variation on it I loved enough to post.
I am proud to announce that I have found that variation.
A few weeks ago, I made a Grandma paper doll for hitRECord’s Little Red Riding Hood Paper Doll Collaboration. I also filmed the entire process, because nothing says fun like learning how paper dolls are made. Right? Of course right.
You can watch it and check out all the additional resources I used here on hitRECord.
In addition to being a hardcore TV addict, I am a political junkie with an admitted liberal/borderline socialist bias. (My nightly routine, for example, is The Daily Show at 11, followed by what I refer to as “date night with Rachel Maddow”, where I watch the stream of her show online. This routine is absolutely sacred and non-negotiable.) I am also sadly a TV addict without access to HBO, so it took me about a week to both track down a copy of Game Changeand find time to actually watch it.
Between Meredith’s review and all the back-and-forth I’d heard about this movie, I’d fully expected to be a self-indulgent liberal wallow in Sarah Palin’s crazy with a healthy dose of “thank God we avoided that disaster, Obama 2012!” And I have to say, I watched it, and I vehemently disagree with anyone who has characterized it as such. I don’t know, maybe I watched a different version than everyone else did. Maybe going into it with the preconceived expectation I had made it so anything that didn’t fill that narrative seemed more shocking. Maybe I’m just weird. But I think the fact that people are even going into this movie going, “is it fair to Palin?” or “is it political?” are inherently going about watching this the wrong way. This movie isn’t about politics. In fact, for a political movie, it’s almost aggressively apolitical. The script never attaches value judgment to any political stances beyond discussing their relative popularity with the electorate. The only time any moralizing stance is ever taken is on the issue of race and even veiled race-baiting, which it comes down solidly against. (And if that’s a partisan or contentious issue that’s still up for debate in America, I’m quitting and moving to Antarctica to live with penguins.)
There’s been a lot of discussion on hitRECord recently surrounding the idea of portraying classic fairytale characters as different races and ethnicities. At least, if you’re not involved with hitRECord, that’s all you need to take away without knowing the whole backstory.
And while it is, of course, an interesting and important discussion to have, I sort of skipped right over that and to the part where my brain went “you should totally ignore your other responsibilities for the next few hours and draw a black Little Red Riding Hood!”
So I did. You can find her on hitRECord here.
hitRECord is currently hosting a collaboration that challenges writers to create stories entirely out of dialogue. I contributed the following two: