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nothing says hope quite like flowers growing through the cracks in concrete

(Source: jonnovstheinternet)

The Difference between Unlikable Characters and Characters You Just Don’t Like

youngadultescent:

When we talk about Unlikable Characters, we tend to conflate truly abhorrent behavior that violates societal norms and decision making that we don’t like. When I think of Unlikable Characters, my mind immediately goes to characters who are violent or deceitful or cruel and that behavior seems to be justified within the narrative. Walter White, Frank Underwood (or really almost all of the characters on House of Cards, if I’m being honest), Professor Snape, Draco Malfoy, President Snow, Gale Hawthorne, etc.  are all characters that I would say are Unlikable Characters, and most of them are male, and most of them have been very well received by audiences. And while I wouldn’t want to be friends with any of those characters, I think their stories are compelling and good and worth reading about. Their likability does not hinder my ability to enjoy the source material.

However, Goodreads and other Book People seem to use Unlikable Character to mean that a character, usually a young lady protagonist, doesn’t behave the way that the reader would in any given situation. Like, a character who lies to her parents or doesn’t think for herself enough. Or a character who skips school or a character who spends too much time doing homework. There’s a whole list of conflicting characteristics here. But there are two problems with labeling all of these girls as Unlikable, and I think the second reason gets left out of a lot of conversations about these types of books. The first problem is that good books with good writing are unfairly criticized as being bad books, when in reality it could just be that the book does not perfectly fit a reader’s very specific tastes. But the second problem is that these characters are realistic and nuanced and reflect the behavior of actual girls and calling these characters Unlikable is the equivalent of saying that Actual Girls Who Don’t Have Everything Figured Out Yet are bad people.

During the last round of Reblog Book Club, we read The Impossible Knife of Memory, and almost everyone posting in the tag called Hayley an Unlikable Character. When I first heard that we would be reading a Laurie Halse Anderson book about mental illness and substance abuse, I was so excited to get into nuanced discussions about the realities of mental illness and how it affects childhood development, but the internet really let me down. I saw a lot of myself in Hayley. I understood all of her reasoning and thought processes, and it was very cathartic to see that part of my past reflected in a book. I didn’t know it while I was living it, but everything I felt in high school and everything that Hayley feels in the book are textbook reactions to living with someone who uses substances to self-medicate. Nothing about the way the story is constructed is meant to show that Hayley is an awful person who deserves to be miserable, but that was the attitude I was seeing over and over in the discussions. So many people who were posting about the book said Hayley was unmotivated, whiny, too present to think about her future, stubborn, and all around too Unlikable to enjoy the book. I heard that I was not a person who deserved friends or a nice family or a boyfriend or a hopeful future or a happy ending. The message we send when we describe young lady protagonists as Unlikable is that real girls who are similar to these characters are Unlikable too.

Male protagonists are not treated the same way by audiences. They just aren’t. Literary dude-bros can have the same characteristics as Unlikable Female Characters, but readers react positively to them. Holden Caulfield is whiny and obnoxious and a trouble maker, but Catcher in the Rye is still respected in almost every literary circle. Salinger made a career out of writing about whiny, pretentious young adults. Hamlet is a huge self-absorbed, indecisive douchebag, but it’s widely accepted that the play permanently changed the way literature is written. I love-love-love the men in Junot Diaz’s books, but I don’t think anyone would say that they’re particularly good people. I certainly wouldn’t want to date Yunior or Oscar. I think The Spectacular Now is the best recent-ish YA example of this phenomenon.  The book is very dark, and Sutter is definitely an alcoholic, and his behavior is dangerous, but he’s an incredibly charming character, and the book seems to be pretty well-received on Goodreads, and there was enough critical and commercial support for the story that a movie adaptation was produced.

Maybe my philosophy on narratives is wrong, but I thought stories were meant to teach us how to sympathize when we don’t have the experience to empathize. I don’t think that it’s important to agree with every decision a character makes, but I think there needs to be a distinction between a really Unlikable Character (like, say, murderers) and normal girls. Is that character really Unlikable? Why do you think that the character is Unlikable? Is there an indefinable quality that rubs you the wrong way? Just because you and a character don’t mesh, that doesn’t mean that character is Unlikable, and maybe it would be better to move on to the next book without prioritizing your opinion over the self-esteem of real girls who identify with the character you hate for no real reason.

womenrockscience:

Meet Mary Sherman Morgan, rocket scientist, munitions and chemical engineer and one of the most instrumental players in the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer I (shown above). According to her colleagues she “single-handedly saved America’s space programme”.
Mary started out life as a poor farm girl in North Dakota, her parents chose not to educate her by choice so that she could work on the farm. Eventually, she managed to graduate high school and then ran away from home to go to college and study chemical engineering.
During her studies, WWII broke out and there was a shortage of chemists in the country. Mary was offered a “Top Secret” job at a factory and had to accept without being told what the factory made or what her job would be. It turned out it was a munitions factory – Mary was put in charge of the manufacture of 3 different types of explosive. In her tenure the factory produced over 1 billion pounds of ordnance for WWII.
With the war behind her and after graduating her degree she started working for Rocketdyne under Dr Silverman. In the 1950’s the US was in a race to launch its first satellite into space. American rockets were just not successful, they either couldn’t accelerate to the necessary speed or would blow up on the launch pad. Out of dozens of other engineers Dr Silverman put Mary in charge of solving this problem. She invented Hydyne, a brand new and powerful liquid fuel. In 1958 Explorer I was successfully launched into space using Jupiter-C rockets powered by Hydyne fuel.
Shortly after this success, Mary left the world of work to become a stay at home mum. Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person - she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme.  It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. “Mary single-handedly saved America’s space programme” he said “and nobody knows but a handful of old men”
Sources: Sherman-Morgan, BBC

womenrockscience:

Meet Mary Sherman Morgan, rocket scientist, munitions and chemical engineer and one of the most instrumental players in the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer I (shown above). According to her colleagues she “single-handedly saved America’s space programme”.

Mary started out life as a poor farm girl in North Dakota, her parents chose not to educate her by choice so that she could work on the farm. Eventually, she managed to graduate high school and then ran away from home to go to college and study chemical engineering.

During her studies, WWII broke out and there was a shortage of chemists in the country. Mary was offered a “Top Secret” job at a factory and had to accept without being told what the factory made or what her job would be. It turned out it was a munitions factory – Mary was put in charge of the manufacture of 3 different types of explosive. In her tenure the factory produced over 1 billion pounds of ordnance for WWII.

With the war behind her and after graduating her degree she started working for Rocketdyne under Dr Silverman. In the 1950’s the US was in a race to launch its first satellite into space. American rockets were just not successful, they either couldn’t accelerate to the necessary speed or would blow up on the launch pad. Out of dozens of other engineers Dr Silverman put Mary in charge of solving this problem. She invented Hydyne, a brand new and powerful liquid fuel. In 1958 Explorer I was successfully launched into space using Jupiter-C rockets powered by Hydyne fuel.

Shortly after this success, Mary left the world of work to become a stay at home mum. Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person - she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme.  It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. “Mary single-handedly saved America’s space programme” he said “and nobody knows but a handful of old men”

Sources: Sherman-Morgan, BBC

I just saw Captain America : The Winter Soldier and I just realized….

shorm:

iamthedukeofurl:

cassieisnotapie:

Peggy Carter helped found SHIELD after Steve “died”. 

It was founded at the camp that Steve trained at.

On marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Agent Ward says “Someone really wanted our initials to spell SHIELD”

Guys. 

Peggy created and named the entire spy organization after STEVE’S SHIELD. 

OH MY FREAKING GOD.

it gets better.

Peggy Carter was motivated to further acts of heroism by the death of her love interest.

In the Peggy Carter story, Steve Rodgers got Fridged. 

adrienne no

Libraries tend to become more cozy, relaxing and communicative places. Other than public spaces like museums, they have a certain private character, which makes them a living room for their community.

- CNN debunks the myth that libraries are dying. Complement with this wonderful photographic love letter to public libraries.  (via explore-blog)

scribe-proxy-and-deadpan-snarker:

Easter Eggs around the World (1/3)

Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans. Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth. In Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus: though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches from it with life; similarly, the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe will also experience eternal life.

The practice of decorating eggshell is ancient, pre-dating Christian traditions. Ostrich eggs with engraved decoration that are 60,000 years old have been found in Africa. Decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as early as 5,000 years ago. [x]

Distracted by the fact that the Chinese one that says “duck” (gold writing on black background) is right side up but the one that says “chicken” is upside-down.

Also: this is REALLY COOL.

hodge-podgery:

cuntravoid:

malformalady:

 An old tree stump with grass growing over it, Faroe Islands

are you stupid thats a unicorn

oh what I have to draw this

I love this unicorn

Oooo.

hodge-podgery:

cuntravoid:

malformalady:

An old tree stump with grass growing over it, Faroe Islands

are you stupid thats a unicorn

oh what I have to draw this

I love this unicorn

Oooo.

fateliveswithinus:

rotbtd-thebigfour:

jumpingjacktrash:

ironinomicon:

screwyou-imhilarious:

misssquare:

ferocious-fangirl-ofdisneyland:

disneyprincess10:

No thanks

A guy at a princess store in Disneyland was asking me if I related to Merida in any way and I was like

“I don’t know man. I’m more of an Elinor.”

And he busted out laughing.

What I love most about this movie is that shows that being a princess is not wearing a beautiful dress, marrying a prince and live happily ever after, but a job, a hard job with duties and responsibilities were a lot of people depend on you

being the Lady of a medieval estate was SUCH AN IMPORTANT FUCKING JOB AND SO FUCKING FULL OF HARD WORK WHICH MEDIEVAL MEN ACKNOWLEDGED TBH

(one problem with perception of medieval gender roles is that most of the people who were writing, especially those who were writing HISTORY, were CLERGYMEN who had never been married and lived in a weird situation cut off from the way the rest of the world worked and had like no actual life experience with the real world - and then popular culture’s idea of it has been heavily informed by VICTORIAN choices of who and what to translate and popularize)

upper class medieval women were expected to run and manage the entire estate that they got from their husband (or that they already had in their own right through inheritance or as their marriage portion), a job which was acknowledged as being way difficult and requiring a wife with strength and fortitude and business sense if you wanted to be a successful person

they were the HR managers of households that might have over a hundred people in, and tho a duchess or a queen would certainly not go to the store to do the household shopping, and she probably had a steward to assist her, it was ultimately her responsibility to know what things were needed for that household, to make sure that the appropriate people obtained those things, to oversee the use of the household materials, to make sure that EVERYTHING got done so that ALL those people could live and work smoothly. they wrote letters and managed the business of the estate and networked with other members of the nobility for both important game-of-thrones political reasons and for smaller more personal reasons like ‘that guy has a really nice deer chase, so if i send him some marmalade from our garden, he might send some venison back as a return gift”

even in lower class households mom managed everything and women were basically considered to be shrewder and have better heads for that particularly kind of business than men and choosing a wise wife was the best thing you could do for yourself as a man who intended to be successful

they were like hands-on CEOs and shit yo and don’t get me wrong society was sexist as fuck and they were limited as hell in what they could do and everything was classist beyond belief but no way was being a noblewoman just a matter of sitting up a tower looking pretty & the contributions that they made are so important

also, the ladies of castles were responsible for defense when their husband was away at war (which happened a lot), so while personally participating in battle was unusual (though not entirely unheard-of) they did often find themselves in strategic command. and in wartime they frequently functioned as a sort of de facto logistics officer.

oh, and has anyone mentioned diplomacy. because an arranged marriage is only the START of a princess’s diplomatic career. the alliance she forges with her marriage is one she’s responsible for maintaining her entire life. unless she decides to go ahead and take over the country; that’s been an option too from time to time. :D

suddenly i really want to see a disney movie about a princess AFTER the wedding — forging a political bond with her new husband, defending the castle, sending troops and supplies to make sure he comes home from the war, reading secret reports from her spies in the enemy’s court… *swoon*

image

YES.

And I’ve tried to touch on this with Merida, because ALL OF THIS? THIS is why Merida has absolutely ZERO desire to get married or (eventually) become Queen. Because it means her life - every second of her free time - going down the drain as she becomes more and more tangled up in running the castle AND the kingdom.

(This is also why Elinor’s such a freaking BAMF, she’s got this shit down, man.)

(Source: theladyelsa)

chroniclesofdia:

Marlowe’s Hierarchy of Writer Needs

Substitute in tea for coffee.

chroniclesofdia:

Marlowe’s Hierarchy of Writer Needs

Substitute in tea for coffee.

revolutionariess:

characters that go through hell yet still believe in the goodness of humanity, still hope for the best despite everything, refuse to let darkness consume them because someone somewhere is always going to be good are literally my favourite, because they give me that little hope too