Halloween Harassment

Posted by Tara Rose | Posted in | Posted on 2:15 PM

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I submitted my Halloween story to Holla Back.

I'm still sore about it. For posterity (and greater awareness), here's my story and a picture of the perp.


This was taken at the Union Square 14th St station. My friend and I were waiting for the 4 train and were dressed up for Halloween. She was fighting with her boyfriend and also quite inebriated so she sat on the platform (ew, but what can you do?). I crouched next to her to comfort her. That's when I noticed some a**hole on the opposite platform zooming in on my friend's crotch and his flash go off. He actually walked to the edge of the platform and bent to get her crotch. I tried to alert her, but she was too drunk to move. I pulled my camera out, and he immediately hid behind a metal pillar. I snapped the shot as fast as I could and shouted some choice words at him. He hid behind that damn pillar until the next train came. I wish the photo was less blurry. I was shaking with anger. It had already been a bad night and though I've been harassed before, no one's ever aimed a camera at me. It felt so violating that someone I don't know has a picture of my friend's crotch, and possibly me, is showing his stupid friends, and maybe posting it on the internet somewhere. He was a young guy, mid-twenties, with short black hair. He wasn't wearing a costume, but a maroon track jacket and jeans. It was so frustrating to just stand on the other side of the platform while that perv looked at his camera. At least there's Holla Back.

It's a parade of wallydrags!

Posted by Tara Rose | | Posted on 6:12 PM

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Sometimes stumble button entertains me far too much. It cant possibly be healthy.

Twilight Kills Brain Cells

Posted by Tara Rose | Posted in , , , , | Posted on 12:24 PM

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Sooner or later the people in my life are going to club me over the head or tape my mouth shut so I stop talking about Twilight. But my commentary is not the giggling and fan sighing usually associated with Twilight- it’s in the form of frustrated outbursts every time I pass a massive Twilight billboard or walk by a tottering stack of Breaking Dawn.

I have read so much commentary and criticism, but have yet to add my two cents, and I think, if nothing else, this will be therapeutic for me. My criticism comes from two stand points. I hold a B.A. in English, and consider myself a writer. Currently, I am working on a YA fantasy novel (40K in and rising!). I have read a helluva lot of literature, was the editor of my college paper, and have hosted many a slam poetry night. So you might say I have a passion for language. Add that to my feminism and you have just birthed Stephanie Meyer’s worst enemy.

When I first approached the Twilight series it was just gaining in popularity. As part of my “research” (read: excuse to devour fantasy fiction with my literary conscience clean) I got the series from the library and embarked on what I call “the month of the migraine.” Despite the horror of the Mary Sue, wish fulfillment, weak “heroine,” the glamorization of abusive, unhealthy relationships, HORRIBLE WRITING (grammar, spelling, thesaurus abuse), and a dues ex machina “plots,” I persevered.

One of the main arguments Twi-hards use is that Edward is a dangerous vampire and thus all the “fix the towels, bitch” stuff he does is excusable, as is the horrific writing because it’s- wait for it- fantasy. Hearing/reading that makes me imagine S. Meyer smacking me in the ovaries with Pride and Prejudice: don’t insult my intelligence as a woman, a feminist, a writer, and a lover of literature. This argument is baseless because the writing and the message are inextricably linked, as Woolf might say. S. Meyer is not capable of the literary prowess required to create a masterpiece of metaphorical fantasy. Therefore, we are peering directly into S. Meyer’s pathetic, self-hating mind with these books. There are no layers to her message: it’s all on top. The fact that Edward is a vampire is the reason the domineering relationship between Bella and Edward cannot be excused; Meyer chose to make her hero impossibly strong, handsome, and –er sparkly. She chose this dynamic because it is her belief that fulfillment for women comes through a husband and children. Her writing isn’t good enough to disguise this, and that she is a devout Mormon isn’t exactly a secret.

What is most troubling is that S. Meyer is playing on the insecurities of young women through Bella’s character. The solution to your insecurities, she implies (shoves down their throats, rather) is to become so obsessed with your overbearing boyfriend that you would DIE DIE DIE without him-as Bella says over and over; you would jump from a cliff to hear his voice in your head after he’s left you; let him dissuade you from discovering your sexuality since you are a teenage girl and therefore a slut if you do the nasty pre-marriage; fall in love with the friend who sexually assaults you; have a baby that will kill you since you will be able to –I shit you not- telepathically hear the two-week fetus’ thoughts, and guess what? It already loves mommy and daddy. In fact, the only choice Bella makes is to keep the demon spawn.

Here we are faced with standard anti-choice hypocrisy. I am reminded of Samantha B on the Daily Show’s visit to the RNC when discussing Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. The attendees refused to use the word choice because that would be admitting that she wouldn’t have had the right to choose without Roe vs. Wade. S. Meyer gives us Bella- unable to make a choice beyond when to throw herself in danger’s way so that Edward can swoop in and save her- making a choice to have a child that will kill her.

The whole series is a thinly-veiled wish-fulfillment in which Meyer pushes her anti-choice rhetoric onto a generation of young women. The poor writing is equally dangerous as the endless dialogue gives the impression of a “choose-your-own-adventure” novel with the reader in the driver’s seat. She writes a flat main character that is inexplicably loved by all, has the dashing (abusive) man and is a special little unique snowflake- although the text offers no reason as to why this is. Unfortunately this is S. Meyer’s adventure: a 1940’s house-wife clutching to her romance novels, hating herself for not being more beautiful, so as to be loved by all- and throwing in some anti-choice propaganda to boot.

Every writer has an agenda, a message, or a moral. Fantasy is known for its religious undertones. Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling all did it. Meyer, however, is incapable of undertones. She shoves gender binary down the throats of a generation of young women who are already faced with how society dictates their worth: being beautiful, and popular, and not-a-slut, capable of getting (and keeping) the guy. I am not worried about the young women who have a strong group of people around them, telling them they are capable and intelligent, and to look at life (and lit) critically. They may read Twilight, and enjoy the adventure of it- not sure how, but to each her own. Many young women will see this for themselves, support system or not- I sure didn’t have one.

For all these reasons, the popularity of the series is frustrating. All the work feminists do to empower young women, and then we’re saddled with debunking S. Meyer’s message? Move the eff over, Phyllis Schlafly. Hopefully, these young women will hear a better message through the mist. Maybe they’ll have someone hand them an Atwood or Allende (or Valenti!) novel, or maybe they will just grow up. The young women are my concern, not S. Meyer.

Although I have to say, if I ever pass her in the street, I may just be tempted to pelt her with a copy of Twilight. Just on principle.

For tips on how to write fantasy well please see Tolkien, Pierce, Lewis, Rowling (yes, effin Rowling).