Archive of ‘Watching’ category

Nerdy Thursday: Joss Whedon, the feminist

Today, I am feeling particularly inspired by one of my favorite writers of all time: Joss Whedon. And though I could go on and on and on and on about the ways he inspires me, I’m going to focus on one reason in particular. Here it is:


And here it is again:






And again! f8052b704453d3858a5b2e53f40a6076






Yes, today, I am thinking back on all the women I know and love from Whedon’s work, and am feeling not only inspired by them, but honored. Because you see, I can imagine myself among them.

These women are unique and varied. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors. They work in different areas, have a spectrum of expertise, and live into a wide range of roles, but they share some essential qualities:

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They are strong. They are intelligent. They are loving. They are flawed. They are learning, growing, evolving. They are self-aware.

7c4e66a679419b5ef1f39153793f039dInara-FireflyThese are qualities that I recognize. I know them to be true of myself. They are qualities that people of all races, ages, and genders can relate to.

It is refreshing to experience characters that reflect myself–they affirm my identity, but challenge me to be more than what I am. I can learn with them and from them.

So, for that gentle genius, Fred, and the bookish, compassionate Willow; for the stoic and fierce, yet down-to-earth Zoe, and the loyal, ass-kicking Natasha; for the graceful, nurturing Inara, and the kind, smart Kaylee: I give thanks.

1000px-WillowS7-1-And thanks, Joss, for your dedication to creating female characters with dignity and depth. Keep up the good work!



*Check out my take on Black Widow from AVENGERS 2: AGE OF ULTRON, posted here through Reel World TheologyAvengers_Black_Widow





Nerdy Thursday: The What’s Underneath Project

I stumbled across these videos on YouTube last summer and was utterly moved by the wonderful, uncomfortable vulnerability of each interview, created by literal and figurative nakedness. In a climate that is increasingly dishonest, secretive, and inauthentic when it comes to body image, this project is profoundly counter-cultural. It swings a spotlight onto the harmful messages that bombard people of all shapes, colors, and sizes, and dares to suppose there is another way to see the self.

The most deeply felt effect this project has on me comes from watching a diversity of individuals stripped down to a common core: a desire to be known, loved, and accepted. When I watch these people bravely stepping into vulnerability both emotionally and physically, I see with such clarity the stereotypes that control me and those I use to control others. But I also see the utter strength and beauty of the whole human being.

As stated in their mission video, StyleLikeU is “an attempt to bring fashion back to the heart that it really should be.” Their method is to focus on the Individual and the Authentic.
“We’re showing how style is an art, and it’s an art that everybody should be able to access in themselves. We’re on a crusade to help awaken people to that idea again.”

Sneakpeek (4): Who-ology Review (S1: 9,10)

I love writing these Doctor Who reviews. Here’s a piece from my upoming review, which you can find over at Reel World Theology sometime this month. Follow me on Twitter @Laura_Fissel, or Reel World Theology @ReelWorldTheo to make sure you catch the whole thing when it’s released! BE WARNED: SPOILERS GALORE. 

CHILD [OC]: Mummy? Mummy? Please let me in, mummy. Please let me in, mummy.
(A little hand comes through the letter box.)
DOCTOR: Are you all right?
CHILD [OC]: Please let me in.
(Nancy throws something that breaks, and the hand withdraws.)
NANCY: You mustn’t let him touch you!
DOCTOR: What happens if he touches me?
NANCY: He’ll make you like him.
DOCTOR: And what’s he like?
NANCY: I’ve got to go.
DOCTOR: Nancy, what’s he like?
NANCY: He’s empty.
This is the fulcrum of the story. Our “big bad” here (Whedon reference: check) is this child, once a little boy named Jamie. Nancy warns the Doctor that though the boy looks alive, he is actually a hollow, dangerous thing that can pass his condition to others by touch. Throughout the episode, we watch as this “empty child” searches for his origin (“are you my mummy?”). Each time he instinctively reaches out to connect, he only manages to spread his emptiness. The Doctor discovers a whole hospital full of people to whom this has happened. They all bear the same head-trauma, scar on their hand, and gas mask that is not covering their face as much as it has become their face. They are an extension of “Jamie,” who unwittingly controls them all.

What better setting to explore real-world brokeness than WWII-era London, at the height of the London Blitz? The city is dark and dust-covered. Sirens are wailing, warning people to get to bomb shelters. The troubled Nancy is surrounded by starving kids. The four-year-old Jamie, now our “empty child,” was killed. Even as Moffat takes us into a fictional story about aliens and time travel, the historical setting presents the undeniable reality that mankind’s brokenness has catastrophic consequences.

Nerdy Thursday: “Your elusive creative genius” by Elizabeth Gilbert

In this TEDtalk, Gilbert speaks on the act of creating. How do we motivate ourselves to create when we are in the dark days of the process, the art feels out of our hands–directionless, purposeless, and the doubt and anger and depression we feel there is transferring into other areas of our lives? To address this, she goes to the Greeks, comparing their concept of the creative “Genius” with the one most prevalent today. The difference is both fascinating and supremely helpful.

This is a piece I keep coming back to, again and again, and it never loses its wonder, connectivity, and empowerment. I feel confident to say that you will not regret a single moment you spent watching this.