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We Are in Love With the New She-Ra Design (And the Awful Men Hating on It Is Just a Bonus)

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Over the weekend, the first images from Netflix & Dreamwork’s upcoming She-Ra reboot showed up online. Noelle Stevenson, the Eisner-winning creator of Lumberjanes and Nimona, will be serving as showrunner and executive producer, and we’ve been anxiously waiting to see what her take on the beloved 80s character would look like. We are not disappointed.

The images were released in EW, and we’ve also gotten permission to post them here. Not only does She-Ra look amazing, but the other “Princesses of Power” look totally badass.

  • She-Ra

  • Glimmer, Bow and Adora

  • Catra and Adora

  • Bright Moon

There’s so much to be excited about. The original She-Ra told the story of Princess Adora, the long-lost twin sister of Prince Adam (aka He-Man). She’s able to transform into She-Ra via the Sword of Protection, the parallel to her brother’s Sword of Power. The show was an over-the-top 80s joy, and Stevenson is such a fantastic choice to bring us a more modern but equally fantastic version. The new animation style totally reflects that. It’s so cool to see a more realistic-looking She-Ra, with muscled arms and a more practical (but still gorgeous) outfit. Plus, in the original, Adam and Adora were 16-year-old children. I’m not sure if that will be true of the reboot, but it’s nice to see a youthful, playful-looking She-Ra.

Not everyone is happy about the new design, of course. A whole bunch of grown-ass dudes have felt the need to let us all know this new She-Ra–a character from an animated children’s show–doesn’t sufficiently impress them and their potential boners. I don’t even want to give these weirdos the attention of embedding their tweets, but boy, they are super mad that She-Ra no longer lives up to the scale of hotness they demand from what is, again, a show for children.

At its core, this anger over a lack of conventional hotness isn’t really about the character. It’s about these men not being able to handle anything, including a show that is and always has been primarily aimed at young girls, that doesn’t take their desires into account before all else. This demand to have an ownership over She-Ra’s appearance is a bit of an extreme (though not unusual) example, but it does shine a light on just how pervasive this notion is. There are far too many men who are genuinely angered by the existence of anything that treats them not even with disdain, but with indifference. Even things that are for women or girls must first and foremost appease men or risk angering or alienating them.

(image: Filmation Associates / Mattel)

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We Need To Talk About The Domestic Abuse Of Autistic Adults

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This article was originally published on theEstablishment.co and is republished with permission. Trigger Warning: Mention of sexual abuse of autistic children and of autistic adults. 

It didn’t take long for me to identify a sweeping problem that no one is talking about.

After much confusion, anguish, flashbacks, self-blame, and subsequent therapy regarding a traumatic period in my own life, it finally occurred to me that autistic adults like myself might be at heightened risk for domestic abuse within romantic relationships.

After all, there has been abundant research indicating a strikingly high prevalence among autistic people when it comes to being mistreated even by those we believe to be friends; we’re also much more liable, for example, to be bullied in school and abused as children.

Such betrayals may be associated with the typically good and trusting nature of autistic people — but they are primarily caused by the complex ableist structures and attitudes writ large in society. There is no obvious reason to think these forces wouldn’t make autistic adults more at risk for domestic abuse, as well.

Strikingly, though, when I began researching the matter, I could find almost nothing addressing the topic. In the scientific literature, a clear correlation had been found between being autistic and an increased risk for experiencing sexual violence during adulthood; a recent small-scale study detailing the general experiences of autistic females found that 9 of 14 had been sexually abused, many of them by their partners. But I found no systematic studies specifically regarding the prevalence and causes of domestic abuse within romantic relationships. It was almost as if this paradigm simply hadn’t occurred to researchers as something to look into.

One recent study found that 9 of 14 autistic females had been sexually abused, many of them by their partners.

Things were even worse in the wider media. Sure, there were countless discussions among neurotypicals regarding the possibility of domestic abuse perpetrated by autistic adults, but almost nothing on the possibility of it being the other way around. Blame was automatically laid at the feet of the autistic person, rather than acknowledging that empathy and communication problems between members of different neurotypes are always relational and two-way. Notably, these discussions were also often remarkably ableist, as in this case, where autistic people are characterized as “excessive burdens.”

Given this combination of ableism and lack of research, I decided to dig further into the issue myself. I began by joining and then posting a rather tentative ad on a closed Facebook group for autistic adults, in order to ask if anyone had any relevant stories to share for an article. I didn’t think I’d get many, or even any, replies, due to the traumatic and private nature of the question.

I was wrong.

The very next day, I found my inbox flooded with message requests from autistic people who had been continually subjected to domestic abuse, and who felt their abuse hadn’t been taken seriously. The response was so overwhelming that, over the following days, I was compelled to continue digging deeper — speaking, in the end, to literally dozens of survivors, as well as to experts and clinicians.

The personal stories were harrowing. One autistic woman told me of being punched in the stomach by her abuser when she was eight months pregnant, while neurotypical people looked on without saying anything. An autistic man told me about how a narcissist moved into his house and convinced him to look after her young children while she stole his disability allowance, before racking up thousands of pounds worth of bills and then suddenly leaving him — penniless.

Some, especially females, but also males, feared for their lives due to threats and acts of violence. Many reported developing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress — including flashbacks, anxiety, and suicidal ideation — after ending their relationship.

Listening to the stories of autistic abuse survivors, it was not hard to begin spotting recurring patterns, with three things (beyond physical and sexual physical violence, which were slightly less common) striking me as particularly prominent.

The first common theme regarded the abuser using the typically unassuming and trusting nature of autistic individuals to gain control over them, and to then begin to, slowly and subtly, use this control for the abuser’s own ends. The survivors I spoke to said their abusers were also attracted to them for more legitimate reasons — autistic people, after all, typically make for very good friends, have a strong commitment to honesty and social justice, and are often highly rational and talented in a variety of ways — but noted that they often felt targeted for being trusting.

As one autistic woman — Rebecca* — put it, “being autistic we find it difficult to read between the lines,” which attracts those who “can sense a more vulnerable person almost like a bird of prey catching its next meal.” Another person I spoke with, Gary, seconded this, noting that when it comes to identifying vulnerabilities, those with a need to control and dominate others “can always sniff it out.”

Listening to the stories of autistic abuse survivors, it was not too hard to begin spotting recurring patterns.

In turn, a second common theme was being subjected to “gaslighting.” This refers to a subtle yet pervasive and deeply traumatic form of psychological manipulation, used to make the victim systematically doubt their own lived reality, often including the validity of their feelings in relation to the abuse itself.

In this regard, there were many reports of the victims being repeatedly told they were, as one man put it, “just too sensitive.” They also talked about having their suffering systematically dismissed or ridiculed, to the point where they began to distrust their own perceptions. “The brainwashing convinced me it was all my fault,” said Ruth. “I still question myself about that now after all these years.”

Luke emphasized how “the person I was involved with certainly made me feel that he was the victim.” In this sense, the burden of blame — especially when the abuser manifested narcissistic tendencies — came to weigh down the victim rather than abuser, leading to an ever-increasing spiral of confusion and despair.

Perhaps most worrying of all was the third theme that emerged: abuse that was being reported went unnoticed, overlooked, or not taken seriously — even in one case where it was reported to the police. Many thought this was partly due to the relatively superior ability of the non-autistic abuser to subtly control the wider public perception of the relationship, with abusers often using their superior social fluency to make the abuse seem trivial or nonexistent.

As Vicky, who was both emotionally and physically abused, explained, “Everybody on the outside of the relationship thought he was charming and would never do anything wrong.” Other abusers convinced friends and family that the autistic partner was the controlling one in order to either hide or justify the abuse, sometimes by playing on misleading stereotypes regarding autism — a theme I’ll return to below.

At this point, I should stress that my findings are without the scope or methodological precision of a large-scale scientific study. Notably, too, my own experience of unnoticed emotional abuse (followed by the emergence of what I have now been told is a fairly textbook case of Narcissist Victim Syndrome coupled with post traumatic stress) may have influenced my interpretation of the patterns.

Nonetheless, what I found echoes what world-renowned clinician Doctor Tony Atwood— who has over 40 years of experience working with autistic people — later told me.

“I do think that people with autism are susceptible and vulnerable to domestic abuse in a relationship. We have yet to determine precisely why, but those with autism seem to be a magnet which attracts predators, not only from bullying and teasing at school, but also relationship predators. There can be a tendency for such events to be occurring behind closed doors and great difficulty and courage needed to disclose what is happening. One of the inhibitors of disclosure can be self-blame and thinking something is wrong with yourself rather than realizing that you have been a victim of abuse.”

Given how many people I easily found so eager to share their experiences, and the various common themes that emerged, the domestic abuse of autistic people began to seem to me like something terrible, systematic, pervasive, and yet — shockingly — strangely ignored. As soon as I thought to look, I found it everywhere, and yet nobody was really noticing it, let alone talking about it.

Bearing this in mind, the questions of why autistic people might be particularly susceptible, why such abuse has seemingly been overlooked, and what we can do about it, emerged as particularly pressing.

Regarding the possibility of heightened vulnerability, some survivors I spoke to noted the relevance of factors they took to be characteristic of being autistic. Sarah stressed how the fact that “we want to see the best in everyone, especially those we care about,” might be a factor in both being seduced into, and then staying in, abusive relationships.

Another survivor, George, hypothesized that “a lot of on-the-spectrum people will take others at their word” before being made to “wonder if they are the crazy one for feeling unloved” when actions and words don’t line up. Another survivor, David, mused that “we might be more easily gaslighted, because some of us can be very emotionally sensitive, so it can lead us to wonder if [we’re] overreacting.”

Significantly, though, others pointed to wider social factors in regards to how autistic people are treated, which might also contribute. In the words of Karl, “due to years of conditioning I automatically think a problem is my fault and try to fix it, to be less of a burden or inconvenience to those around me. [This is] something that maybe other autistics can relate to since we’ve been conditioned to believe we’re burdens.” In other words: Society already systematically gaslights autistic people, and so we can internalize this oppression and thus become more susceptible to the same tactic from manipulative individuals.

The domestic abuse of autistic people—I found it everywhere but nobody was really noticing it.

Others suggested they simply hadn’t been taught to identify abuse: One woman, for example, had been emotionally abused and raped by her husband for 20 years before finding out during a work presentation that consent must be given for sex to not count as rape. This resonates with some researchers’ suggestions that the heightened susceptibility of sexual abuse among the autistic population may partly come down to insufficient relevant education being offered to autistic persons. It stands to reason that it may be the same when it comes to all forms of domestic abuse as well.

The reasons behind this phenomenon are, then, both complex and deeply intertwined with wider social structures that lead to the disablement of autistic populations. But this doesn’t answer the other question at hand: Why has this dangerous dynamic gone largely unnoticed among both the public and researchers?

“I am not sure why no one has looked at this area,” said Doctor Atwood, “but I do encourage further investigation and hope that one day, someone will conduct research into this area.”

For my own part, I initially suspected the reason might be that it just never occurred to researchers or the general public that autistic people often can and like to have romantic relationships. After all, despite the fact that there is little difference between autistic and non-autistic adults in regards to physical desire and/or companionship, until fairly recently it was widely (totally wrongly) assumed that autistic people were cold, emotionless, and uninterested in love or sex.

Beyond this, survivors I interviewed offered further relevant factors in explanation. Worryingly, some thought that their abuse was not taken seriously because they were male. As Wayne put it to me, “as a male presenting person, nobody either cares or believes you if you’ve been abused like that.” Part of this deeply gendered issue undeniably revolves around the prevalence of men occupying the abuser role; the lack of research may be predicated on the belief that male victims are too much of an anomaly to be studied. (Although autism is currently diagnosed in roughly five men for every one woman.)

PIxabay

Another reason highlighted was that, due to ever-present and deeply misleading media representations that couple autism with violence — including what one victim called “the autistic rage stereotype” — it’s often assumed that the autistic partner is more likely to be the problematic one in a relationship. (Some survivors thought such stereotypes helped their abuser make themselves out to be the victim.) All this despite the fact that the media-generated association with violence is vastly exaggerated, and the further fact that autistic persons are more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than its perpetrators.

Finally, others stressed that some symptoms of abuse were mistaken for (what are often assumed to be) characteristics of autism — anxiety and withdrawal, for example — rather than stemming from traumatic external factors. Notably, this conflation is in line with how symptoms of sexual abuse among autistic children have often been mistaken for baseline characteristics of autism. It should come as no surprise that this dynamic might be occurring in cases of domestic abuse as well.

So what are we to do about all this?

Some of the survivors I spoke to offered advice to other autistic persons, notably highlighting the need to trust actions over words. “Believe nothing said, and everything done,” said Eric, while Jonathan emphasized, “If you tell them something makes you feel uncomfortable and they don’t change their behavior, something is wrong.” Others stressed the need for people with autistic friends or family members to regularly check whether there might be a possibility of abuse, even if the relationship seems very happy from the outside. In the words of Mary: “Be aware of the signs of manipulation and abuse. Always listen and speak up and tell the person that what they’re experiencing isn’t normal or healthy.”

But since the problems aren’t just individual, but societal, the change can’t stop there. I suggest these three initial steps toward dealing with the issue of domestic abuse on a systemic level:

1/ As individuals and as a society, we need to begin learning to listen to autistic people more attentively, and to empathize with autistic suffering.

As another interviewee, Sammy, noted, we often forget that autistic people “all have the same feelings as the next person.”

2/ Those in positions of power need to fund and/or carry out research designed to identify and prevent such abuse; we need hard data to expand our understanding of the worries explored in this article.

And we need to examine them as social rather than individual medical issues, in order to get to the wider causes of the problem and to avoid victim blaming.

3/ We then need to imbue entities —including the police and social services — with the power to implement policy and training based on the findings of this research.

In-depth investigation must be paired with tangible policies and action.

Above all, what we cannot do is go on pretending that domestic abuse of autistic people doesn’t happen. For the issue is widespread, systemic, and, for anyone who cares to look — clear to see.

All the names of abuse survivors have been changed

*

Robert Chapmam – Neurodiversity advocate, PhD student at the University of Essex, and teacher at King’s College London.
[Feature Image: A person is photographed as they hold their hands over their face. flickr / The Advocacy Project]
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Waitress body-slams male patron who groped her, to the delight of women everywhere

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Who among us has not fantasized being that woman? The badass avenger who brutally — even savagely, if necessary — takes down that gnarly, obnoxious guy who invades your space and brazenly tries to take liberties with your body?

Emelia Holden got to live out all of our dreams.

For the 21-year old waitress and college student, it happened in a coffee shop, although some of us might have had a similar experience at school or on an escalator, or at the local mall.

Holden was on the job at the Vinnie Van Go-Go’s pizza restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, working her regular shift. She had just finished taking an order when she felt her backside being squeezed by a male patron as he passed behind her.

The restaurant’s surveillance footage captured the moment, and since has gone viral — not because of the butt-grab, but because of what happened next.

According to news reports No sooner had Ryan Cherwinski, 31, released Holden’s butt cheek than she grabbed him by the shirt collar and slammed him into a counter. He then fell to the ground and remained there, looking somewhat dazed.

“I looked at him and I said, ‘You don’t touch me, motherf__!’ ” Holden told People magazine. “I didn’t even think, I just reacted. I don’t know how I reacted the way I did. I’ve never done that before.”

The diminutive Holden, who tips the scales at 115 pounds, said she surprised herself with her strength in taking down her assaulter.

“I didn’t even know I could do that!” she told People recounting the incident that occurred late last month.

“When I felt that happen, my first thought was that it was one of my friends … it was a really intimate touch,” she says. “His hand went further than it should have so I was thinking, ‘There’s no way a stranger just did that.’ ” she told the magazine,

News reports said Cherwinksi was arrested at the restaurant a short time later, in front of his wife and two kids. CBS reported that he was charged with misdemeanor count of sexual battery.

“To see them put him in handcuffs — that was nice,” Holden told Inside Edition.




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Ezra Miller’s Sexy Toadette Costume Was the Best Part of the Fantastic Beasts Comic Con Panel

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ezra miller

One of the most anticipated panels at San Diego Comic Con this year was for Warner Bros. latest entry into the Potterverse, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The stars of the film were all in attendance, including Newt Scamander himself Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, and Dan Fogler. Ezra Miller however, stood out from the crowd with his brilliant sexy Toadette cosplay. This isn’t the first time Miller has cosplayed at the convention. The erstwhile Barry Allen has been rocking some cosplay for the past three years, including last year’s Edward Elric costume from Fullmetal Alchemist and a LOTR-inspired getup.

Later on, when the cast was asked what they would do if they actually did possess magical powers, Miller said he would “destroy the patriarchy.” Zoe Kravitz said she would “impeach Trump.” You and me both, girl. The panel also premiered the latest trailer for the upcoming film, which gives us a look at young Newt Scamander in Young Dumbledore’s Defense Against the Dark Arts course. As students practice their Riddikulus spells on a boggart, we see that young Newt’s greatest fear is working in an office:

The trailer shows Newt, Tina, Jacob and Queenie as they gather in Paris to defend the wizarding world from Grindelwald’s growing power. We also get sneak peeks at Zoe Kravitz, who plays Leta Lestrange, Newt’s long lost love, as well as the immortal alchemist and father of the Philosopher’s stone, Nicolas Flammel.

While Johnny Depp, who plays Grindelwald, was not officially part of the panel, he came out in character at the end to deliver a speech to the audience. Depp said, “The great gift of your applause is not for me, but for yourselves,” as he waved a wand over Hall H. “Magic blooms only in rare souls. It is granted to those who live for higher purposes. What a world we would make for all of humanity. We, who live for freedom, for truth, the moment has come to rise up an take our rightful place in the world.” The lights then turned on and off, and Depp had disappeared.

While Depp’s appearance in the trailer was booed by the audience, there were screams and applause when he walked onto the stage. People also questioned Warner Bros. and SDCC’s decision to have Depp in Hall H at the same time as his estranged ex-wife Amber Heard was appearing to promote Aquaman.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Missouri tragedy puts spotlight on danger of amphibious tour buses

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Four people were being treated at a hospital in Missouri on Saturday, after a tourist boat they were in capsized on a lake near Branson, Missouri, killing 17 people and injuring seven.

Two adults and two children remained at the Cox Medical Center Branson, according to ABC News. They were among 31 people, including two crew members, on the duck boat when it plunged into deep water in Table Rock Lake near Branson Thursday evening as severe thunderstorms struck the area. Duck boats are amphibious tour buses that travel on road and in water.

Nine people from one family — the Colemans, who were vacationing in Branson from Indiana — were among the 17 killed in the disaster. Two members of the family survived the accident and were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Investigators have suggested that the accident was caused by thunderstorms and high winds. The boat sank in 40 feet of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet of water.

Duck boats are known for being susceptible to sinking quickly once they begin to take on water. The fixed steel and vinyl roofs of the vehicles make it difficult to escape. Life vests are not viewed as helpful because as a person with a life vest floats upward, they find themselves trapped against either the canopy or a capsized hull, according to a Buzzfeed report.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent investigators to the site. The agency urged witnesses to share any videos or photos to help with the investigation.

A preliminary report is expected to be released on accident in about a month. The NTSB then expects to complete its full investigation by this time next year, according to CNN.

The duck boat was operated by the Ride the Ducks, a company owned by Ripley Entertainment. On its website, Ride the Ducks said it “will be closed for business while we support the investigation.”

Ripley Entertainment spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala told the Associated Press that this was the Branson company’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation.

In 2010, a Ride the Ducks boat was struck by a tugboat on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, causing the duck boat to sink. Two of the 35 passengers on board the Philadelphia duck boat were killed in the accident.

Thirteen people were killed when a duck boat with 21 people on board sank in Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1999. The boat plunged 60 feet to the bottom of the lake.

The NTSB determined the cause of the Arkansas accident to be inadequate maintenance of the vessel, which was built by the U.S. Army in 1944.




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Home Depot rehires black worker who defended himself against customer’s racist tirade

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Home Depot has reversed course and rehired Maurice Rucker. The Albany Times-Union reports that three days after firing him for verbally defending himself against racist taunts from a customer, they have offered him back his job amid a firestorm of public outrage.

The retailer had initially terminated Rucker, a black employee at its Albany, New York location, over his encounter with the racist customer. After Rucker asked the customer to put the dog he brought into the store on a leash, the customer went on a tirade.

The customer allegedly hurled racist insults his way, saying that Rucker was “from the ghetto.” The customer also apparently couldn’t help from bringing up the current president, reportedly saying, “if Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job” (Rucker, in fact, had been employed with Home Depot for a decade, far longer than Trump’s political career).

Rucker says he stood up for himself and gave a short, firm reply to the man, telling him “You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.”

Instead of defending their employee who endured racist abuse on the job, Home Depot decided that firing Rucker was the correct move.

An avalanche of criticism followed, with numerous media outlets across the country picking up the story. The public clearly sided with Rucker, and made their displeasure about his firing known. In addition, a crowdfunding campaign on his behalf has so far raised more than $2,000.

Seeing this, Home Depot quickly had a change of heart and realized that the firing was definitely the wrong move. A spokesman for the company said, “We’ve taken another look at this and we are offering Maurice his job back.”




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