Welcome to this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity.
In the past week, I suffered through a nasty winter storm and the even nastier experience of having my cat, Smokey, toss his cookies all over my 2009 MacBook Pro. No, it’s not pining for the fjords. It’s an ex-MacBook. A replacement has been made and that’s a story all by itself, one suited for Valentine’s Day.
But not having access to my word processing program this week sent me pondering and that’s how cake, the feminist comic Bitch Planet, Jill LePore’s new book on the origin of Wonder Woman, and Marvel’s Agent Carter all rolled around in my head to make me happy.
Several years ago, I flew from the East Coast to Hollywood in the middle of winter for a press junket. Now, I’m not a fussy person with traveling. I’m good with a clean, warm room, a bed, and wifi. I’ve been known to prefer Motel 6 to a Marriott because the Motel 6 doesn’t charge for wifi and they provide free breakfast.
But this press junket was all expenses paid. A limo met me at LAX and drove me to the front door of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. I was impressed but not overwhelmed because I’ve been to nice lobbies before for conferences.
But when I walked into the room at the Four Seasons, my eyes bugged out. And when I checked out the bathroom, far more luxurious than in any home I’ve ever lived, I thought, “Being rich doesn’t suck.” And now when I stay at the Motel 6 or the Holiday Inn or even at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, I know exactly what I’m missing.
The Four Seasons is the whole cake. No more crumbs.
Marvel’s Agent Carter and Bitch Planet are the whole cake to the crumbs of female story-lines doled out on The Flash or Arrow or the coherent, clear vision sometimes missing from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and definitely missing from Gotham.
They’re not just the whole cake, they’re the frosting too.
Peggy Carter is the heroine I’ve been waiting for on television, not someone occasionally pushed forward for a cool moment or two. This is her show, she owns it. Yes, there are men in the show and, yes, I find some of them fascinating (hi, Jarvis), but there are also other women, some friends of Peggy, some clearly not. Peggy showed me what I’ve been missing.
Bitch Planet is about all kinds of women, in prison, and in the real world, and it promises to be a story about them, not just how they relate to men. It showed me what feminist commentary on society’s need to curtail women’s freedoms looks like.
And, while I can do just fine staying at the Motel 6 from now on because, really, I just need a warm, clean bed and wifi when I travel, I’m no longer content with crumbs from my entertainment. It’s hard to go back to Iris West having one snarky moment, or Laurel Lance finally putting on a costume as a side character, or Barbara Kean not even being allowed to leave her room, or the female side-characters (sometimes scantily dressed) that tend to populate mainstream superhero comics after seeing what I’m missing.
I like cake. I like icing.
S’more please. And not just for me. For others who never see themselves on screen or have to wait for the bits and pieces instead of the whole cake. We need more LGBT characters in mainstream media. We need more people of color. Why? Because having just experienced what it’s like to have the whole cake, I know that everyone deserves the same feeling.
Our society is full up of main courses and desserts for those who look like the people running mainstream media.
It’s time for cake for the rest of us.