Welcome to the fourth installment of "Ms. Opinionated," Bitch's new advice column, in which readers have questions about the pesky day-to-day choices we all face, and I give advice about how to make ones that (hopefully) best reflect our shared commitment to feminist values—as well as advice on what to do when they don't. This week, it's time to talk about those women who disappear into their relationships.
My name is Spectra, and I'll be your resident Cupid for the summer. Kinda. I'm a Nigerian writer, women's rights and media activist, and editor at the afrofeminist blog Spectra Speaks, which publishes news, opinions, and personal stories that highlight issues pertaining to gender, media, diversity, Africa, and the Diaspora. For the past ten years, my work has focused on using media to facilitate conversations around important feminist issues: gender, sexism, racism, media, etc. So when the editors at Bitch invited me to guest blog this summer, I surprised even myself when I told them I wasn't interested in writing about any of those things; instead, I wanted to write about Love.
Well, he tells non-autistic people to make lemonade, specifically. Guess who the "lemons" are in this metaphor.
Popular fiction both shapes and reflects cultural attitudes. In a previous post, I picked apart the film Adam and expressed concern over the film's troubling conclusion that people with Asperger syndrome—and by extension all autists, since Asperger's is thought of as a "mild form of autism"—are simultaneously too childlike and too threatening to maintain healthy romantic relationships.
This is a reflection of the attitude that pervades Tony Attwood's A Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, a popular nonfiction book that often serves as an introductory text to Asperger syndrome for lay readers.
Shows like The Bachelor and Millionaire Matchmaker not only reduce romance to opulent displays of consumerism and gender conformity, but they distract us from actual consideration of the role of class in relationships and the need to negotiate those differences on a real, ongoing, interpersonal level.
Common perceptions of mental illness and relationships suggest that mentally ill people do not belong in relationships, do not deserve love and affection, and are even dangerous to marry or get involved with. Not for nothing are undesirable prospective partners "crazy bitches," are former partners whom we're supposed to hate "crazy exes." It is highly unusual to see a depiction of a functional relationship with a mentally ill partner or partners; such a thing is alien to the arbiters of relationships in pop culture.
Some depictions of mental illness in pop culture suggest that we are all overflowing with libido, unable to exercise any degree of control or restraint when it comes to sexuality. The oversexed female character in particular is a very familiar stereotype; look at Brenda on Six Feet Under, who is introduced to us having sex in an airport closet. On the road with Nate to give him a ride home, she says they shouldn't pretend this is the first time either one of them has had sex with a stranger. Implication: Stranger sex is just a thing that she does, and over the course of the series, it becomes apparent that this is because of her mental illness.
The Thin Man gave us one of the wittiest crime-solving wife-husband duos of all time, retired detective Nick Charles and his wife Nora (Myrna Loy*), who spit one-liners, soak up a tremendous amount of alcohol and stumble around solving crime.
With every diagnosis comes a prognosis! We know Grey's Anatomy is back in the fall with another season, but what's going to happen, and where can the show go? The Grand Rounds crew has a few thoughts, and we bet you do too!
We reached the end of season seven of Grey's Anatomy last week with "Unaccompanied Minor," the somewhat explosive finale episode. The Grand Rounds crew is taking a look back over the seventh season today, evaluating what worked, what didn't, and how we felt overall about the season. Did Grey's accomplish what it set out to do? Did our characters develop and grow? What were the high and low points of the season?
This week, Grey's Anatomy wound viewers up for the season finale with some last minute character shuffling, a few big revelations, and a surprisingly slow and even sleepy penultimate episode. Is Shonda's promise of a mellow finale with no fireworks and more character development true, or is she setting us up for a shocker?
Find out what the Grand Rounds crew thinks after the jump, and add your two cents! Who's going to be Chief Resident? Is the Alzheimer's trial about to fall apart? And who will we be saying goodbye to next week...
This week on Grey's Anatomy: family building, surgery dramas, and escalations in the race for Chief Resident as the show gets down to the wire. With only two more episodes left to go, and a finale Rhimes promises will be mellower than usual, where is Grey's Anatomy going to take us? Be warned, we didn't hold back the snark this week!
Find out what the Grand Rounds crew thinks of things, and add your own thoughts, after the jump!