Tuesday, May 25, 2010

But I hope I don't get killed by a giant boulder

I’ve decided I want to be Lara Croft when I grow up.

Sure, I’d need millions of dollars to fund all the travel, equipment and training. Don’t own hiking boots. I’ve never handled a gun before. Not to mention the inevitable back problems associated with having boobs the size of cantaloupes.

BUT travelling the world discovering ancient relics and breathtaking new landscapes, exploring civilisations and ruins, climbing mountains, rappelling down gigantic mausoleums, fighting mythological creatures, burning across the desert in a quad bike, diving in search of Atlantis, collecting priceless artefacts, solving puzzles, adventure, action… WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

What’s a girl supposed to do when instead of studying, all she can think of is doing silly dangerous crap like this:

Heh, I love that. “I don’t need climbing equipment or safety gear because I’m BADASS.”

But it’s not all scaling waterfalls in a push-up bra. Lara Croft can be a hardcore jerk sometimes. She pretty much barges into these wonderful heritage sites and steals stuff and kills endangered or mythological or general minding-their-own-business animals. Most disturbing is the nonchalant way in which she executes lethal force against every human being she encounters – including the native inhabitants of the remote Pacific Islands villages she is invading. Smells a bit like Imperialism.

And more often than not, the priceless artefacts she so fiercely pursues fit into some sort of personal vendetta. She will do anything (including murdering copious amounts of people) to get a hold of items that COULD-I DUNNO-MAYBE hold clues to the mysterious and tragic disappearance of her mother.

And the gratuity? Oh, boy. If I’m ever a millionaire adventurer archaeologist trudging through tropical rainforests and deserts and the like I’m going to forgo showing off my cleavage/bellybutton for the sake of basic protection from the environment.

But for all the shady morality and being reduced to a series of sexy body parts, I can’t help being filled with childish glee every time I see pictures of Lara Croft doing something awesome. As a teen the Tomb Raider series ignited a brief interest in archaeology – although I realise now that real archaeologists must get sick of young people brought up on the likes of Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones entering the field and getting puzzled by dusty digging and time-consuming bone-collecting. What the games and the character really ignited in me was that longing for action and adventure – a longing to explore the world in my own way. The kind of recklessness I can only safely indulge in using a Playstation.

So I guess my implausible adventures will have to stay safely tucked away in my imagination as I return to the reality of essay deadlines and waiting tables on Friday nights. But who knows – maybe if I invest in some khaki hot pants, a motorcycle, and a membership at that indoor climbing place on Swanston Street, maybe I’ll at least feel a little closer to being Lara.

Off on my next adventure.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Widow's Bite

So there I was, calmly watching Ironman 2 with my sister, when Scarlett Johansson appears in her Black Widow costume and proceeds to KICK INDESCRIBABLE ASS!

"Did someone order an ass-kicking?"

I'm disappointed that she wasn't more Black Widow-y until that scene (she was "undercover" posing as a PA for most of the film, so not a whole lot to work with but I still think there could've been more of a Romanova edge). In fact I'm disappointed that halfway through the film it didn't just turn into a whole lot of action scenes starring the Black Widow kicking each and every single person in sight's arse and using her stinger bracelets and performing amazing stunts until the end. SHE WAS USING THE STINGER BRACELETS! Though you do have to wonder if carrying kilos of artillery on your wrists gets old.

Watcing female action heros on film for me is like what Skye over at Heroine Content says: "When I walk out of a movie theater after seeing a film where the heroine kicks ass, I have to admit I walk differently. I feel stronger. I feel energized."

I got that feeling after seeing the Tomb Raider films as a teen. I got it after watching Mortal Kombat (I used to jump around pretending to be Kitana when I was 13ish), Domino, the X-Men trilogy, and the prison break scene in Watchmen. Even before the films ended I'd be sitting up straighter, with a secret smile on my face like somebody had just unlocked a new world for me where I had power.

I wish I had that feeling more often. The fact that I can count the amount of times I've been noticeably affected by female power fantasies in films on one hand, compared to the shitloads of male power fantasies that drip out of every cinema, makes me sigh.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I want these so bad.

I'm pretty sure this is ACTUALLY how it happened in real life. Right down to the Brontёsaurus with barrier-breaking feminist vision and lace trim.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quite graphic now that I think about it

The Prince of Persia film is coming out soon! I'm a sucker for implausible action/adventure movies. Bonus points if they're comic/game adaptations and set in fantastical lands with magic and curses and cool costumes. Let's hope it won't be based on my experiences playing the game at age 8 - otherwise it'll be very short with Princey getting impaled straight away on the first set of spikes. I COULD NEVER GET PAST THAT PART.

8-year-old Black Cat is playing! RUN YOU FOOL!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Maguindanao Massacre

Major trigger warnings.

This is "old news" I suppose; truthfully I haven't had the strength to post about it until now. I kept getting too upset and not being about to write.

On the island of Mindanao in the Philippines on November 23rd last year, in the approaching Maguindanao provincial election (part of the national elections in the Philippines), vice mayor of Buluan town Esmael Mangudadatu was attempting to file a certificate of candidacy. Mangudadatu was politically challenging mayor of Datu Unsay, Andal Ampatuan Jr., running for governor and patriarch of the powerful Ampatuan family. After death threats from the Ampatuan family, Mangudadatu organised a convey of female family members, lawyers, aides and journalists to file the certificate for him, believing the women would not be harmed and that the strong media presence would be an added protection.

57 members of Mangudadatu's convey were butchered, murdered and buried in mass graves after an ambush by 100 armed men.

Of the 57 massacred, 22 Filipina women suffered brutal rapes and sexual torture before their murders. Some had their genitals slashed and bullets fired into their private parts. Mangudadatu's wife, three sisters, female cousin and aunt, died in this way. Two female human rights defenders, Attorney Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and Attorney Cynthia Oquendo, were among the victims, as well journalists and one woman whose car was mistaken as part of the convoy.

From Filipinaimages.com:
The massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao goes beyond a rido or clan war. The sheer scope of barbarity, the brazenness of the murders betrays the perpetrators’ belief in being beyond the reach of the law. Women, lawyers and journalists – no one escaped the butchers’ wrath. Fifty-seven people killed in broad daylight. The murderers had planned the deed, down to the mass burial of victims. That is the mark of the untouchable.

"Untouchable"? Oh, we'll see about that, murderers. I might just be an angry little Filipino-Australian woman on her computer, while you might be an evil monster with a thousand faces and thousands of arms and legs, used to brutalising women like they're extensions of your enemies in your clan wars, supported by firearms, rich families and a culture where you enjoy raw power. I might just be getting started in this world, while you've been festering and growing and terrorising for generations. But I will find a way to fight you.

Starting with raising awareness outside of your world, where you can't silence me or those I love.

Show your indignation and protest by signing an online petition on Strike against Impunity, Strike for Peace and Democracy.

I condemn the brutality of the Maguindanao Massacre. I will NOT let this pass. I want the whole the world to know, especially the Arroyo government that we will not stop until justice is delivered to the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre (otherwise known as Maguindanao massacre) . I grieve for all the women, journalists and other innocent victims who suffered extreme violence and the brutal slaying.

I will make sure you did not die in vain. We should not let allow this to happen again and we cannot allow this climate of impunity to reign.

For more information read the Filipina Images coverage here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What the FUCK?!

Trigger warnings.

A Sydney jury has cast doubts during a sexual assault trial, claiming the victim's skinny jeans could not have been removed easily unless there was some "sort of collaboration".

What the unholy FUCK?!

I wear skinny jeans. I'm an Australian size six, and last I checked I weighed 40 kilograms. Since my jeans are the cheap stretchy kind you buy from factory outlets for $25, let me tell YOU, you disgusting misogynist pieces of shit jury-duty arsehole rape apologists, it is extraordinarily easy for me to take my jeans on and off. They SLIP on and off.

But according to you ignorant scumbuckets, I'm virtually unrapeable when wearing them. OH MY GOD, you guys, why didn't women think of this before? All this time we've struggled for hours trying to get into our skinny jeans ('cos all women, like the SIZE SIX rape victim, are such FATTY-FAT-FATS and couldn't POSSIBLY get skinny jeans on and off without lying on the bed, shaking our love handles around, wriggling, twisting, jumping, getting out a chisel, entering the pin code...) we never ONCE considered the possibility of skinny jeans as magical rape-preventors! GEE. WOW.

Maybe instead of donating time and resources to sexual assault prevention on a local, national and international scale, we should instead issue every woman everywhere with SKINNY JEANS. They're just like a RAPE VACCINATION!

And how could poor defenceless men with their poor man-brains EVER figure out something so profoundly difficult like how to undo somebody's jeans and take them off? CLEARLY, when skinny jeans are involved, THERE IS COLLABORATION. Case solved!

What other items of clothing could magically help ward off rape, I wonder? Those wet look leggings that are all the rage this winter? They're much more of a pain in the arse to wriggle into and out of than skinny jeans. Or what about those jeans with buttons lining the fly instead of a zipper? Talk about FIDDLY. Or how about tricky bling-type belts? "Why, the victim was wearing that chainy-belt-with-multiple-buckles-thing; how exactly did the defendant get it off without some sort of COLLABORATION? I hear there were even DOUBLE-KNOTS involved!"

And I love that the obnoxious tone of the jury is just OOZING from those notes to the judge: "[please explain] how exactly Nick took off her jeans... I doubt those kind of jeans can be removed without any sort of collaboration." Emphasis mine. Because can't you just imagine some sceptical rape apologist sneering, "How, exactly?" EXACTLY the kind of person we want on a serving on a sexual assault trial.

This "jury" and the defence counsel that ran with this shit? A fucking joke. Some people will do anything, ANY-FUCKING-THING, to blame rape victims, anything to undermine them, I swear to God. When you're grasping at straws trying to argue that a size six 42-kilogram woman could easily prevent a bigger, stronger man yanking her clothes off with brute force by virtue of her tight jeans... TRY HARDER, you slimy pathetic excuses for vertebrates.

PS: Fuck Politeness has a much more impressive post on this case without all the name-calling here.
Edit 3/5/10: The man has been aquitted thanks to those fuckers. In other news, my vigilante training intensifies.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

That was close, Cat

So after work tonight, me, Charm and Mack were on the train without valid tickets, and lo and behold, there were ticket inspectors. "FUCK," we collectively thought. "But! It is 11:30pm on a Friday night and the train is filled to the brim with drunken idiots, surely they will go for them."

They did not! The four burly inspectors made a beeline for us girls, sitting innocently with our groceries (and our invalid Metcards). Each of us had a 10x 2-hour trip Metcard with an expiration date of some hours ago. If we had bothered to swipe our tickets before boarding the train, the machine would print an expiration time of two hours from now, thus proving our tickets were valid for that trip. But we had opted for saving $3.70 in the hope that inspectors would be scarce at this time of night. Oops.

As we presented our expired tickets for inspection, the leader puffed out his chest impressively.

"AHA! This expired at 7pm! So did yours, young lady! Why didn't you validate your tickets? Where did you get on? Where are you going?"

Mack and Charm were too terrified to answer, and I was panicking myself, but I took a stand (a stand filled with lies). "We DID validate them!" I claimed, fraudulently. "We just finished work and were running for the train so maybe it didn't scan properly! We just got on at South Yarra, and we're getting off at Flinders!"

Ringleader: "If you girls validate those tickets at Flinders and they print out new times [thus proving our tickets weren't valid for the current trip], you will each get a $178 fine."


The inspectors didn't traverse any of the train, choosing instead to hover threateningly behind our seats, and I heard a group of drunk boys snickering as they jumped off at the next station scot-free. Typical! As we arrive at Flinders St station the inspectors SURROUND us three small girls, and march us to the gates like criminals (which I suppose we were) while EVERY SINGLE OTHER PASSENGER runs like the wind laughing their arses off in their escape. Poor shy Mack by this stage is almost crying.

We get to the gates and I go first, swiping my Metcard. THE TIME DOESN'T PRINT.

Charm and Mack follow. THEIRS DON'T PRINT EITHER.

The ticket inspectors snatch my ticket away and are befuddled. "This isn’t valid! The time is expired!"

Suddenly, for some reason – possibly inebriation – I jump onto my high horse and cling for dear life. "My ticket IS valid, just like I told you! You SAW me walk through the gate and validate it, for God's sake. Here, want me to show you AGAIN?!"

And I snatch the ticket back, swipe it, and the time doesn’t print.

The inspector starts to backpedal. "Well, sometimes the machine is faulty, perhaps YOUR ticket is faulty." He grabs Charm's Metcard and swipes it – the time doesn’t print.

I grin, sensing the tables turning. "I'd like to see each and every one of your colleagues' IDs, please. And what's YOUR name?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"Because you've unfairly set upon us, when we had valid tickets (LIES), and I have the right to know who I'm dealing with."


"Is there a last name that goes with that or what?"

He grimaces. "Donald Johns. Look, we're just doing our jobs, going by what we see on the tickets."

Me: "Yes, that's perfectly understandable; however in this case, you're clearly mistaken." LIES!

The group backs off. "Look fine, next time if the ticket doesn't print, take it to the station and get a replacement."

"I wasn't aware you could do that, thank you. Although it IS a little impractical to do so at this time of night, wouldn't you say?"

Female inspector, trying to maintain a shred of authority: "Well, do you still want all our names too?"

Me, airily: "Oh, it was an honest mistake, I'll let you off this time." The NERVE of you, Black Cat - you, who didn't have a ticket in the first place!

We go our separate ways. Once the inspectors are out of earshot...

Charm and Mack, crying with laughter: "HOLY SHIT CAT, HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT WOULD HAPPEN?!"


S: Answer is, I didn't.

PPS: And I don’t condone being a smart-arse to ticket inspectors when you’re actually the one in the wrong. This was pure, unmitigated luck on my behalf. What was that about Black Cats and luck, again?