Book Review: CYCLOPEDIA EXOTICA by Aminder Dhaliwal (2021)
(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)
CYCLOPEDIA EXOTICA begins as an encyclopedia entry on Cyclops: a totally real subspecies of "archaic humans" that originated in Italy and settled in western Eurasia, only to emerge from an isolated existence in caves and volcanoes ~120 years ago. Their efforts to integrate into "Two-Eyed" societies were often thwarted; Cyclopses were relegated to sheep herding, their traditional vocation, or recruited into circuses. All this changed with a nudie magazine called Playclops, which in 1978 featured a model named Etna on its cover.
At which point Etna comes to life and invites the reader to learn about Cyclops through their own stories. The comic strips in CYCLOPEDIA EXOTICA revolve around a large cast of Cyclops characters, loosely connected Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon style. There's Pari and Tim, an interspecies couple about to welcome their first child into the world; Latea, an aspiring model and actress; Pol, a romantic whose optimism is slowly but surely being drained by the dating scene; Bron, one of the first Cyclops to undergo experimental two-eye surgery, and who once again lives with one functioning eye; Arj, a vibrating ball of anxiety still haunted by his childhood bully; Grae and Jian, twin sisters in an avant garde artistic partnership; and, of course, former cover model Etna, now an activist, counterbalanced by Vy, who for a time was the face of the "lift and separator" bra, and now teaches media literacy to impressionable young Cyclopses.
The characters' life experiences and relationships with one another hint at some of the many topics Dhaliwal explores: fetishization, representation (including #ownvoices), unrealistic (and speciesist) beauty standards, police bias, hate crimes, capitalism, scientific speciesism, microaggressions, maternal mortality, etc.
Among my favorite panels are parents-to-be Pari and Tim declaring that they don't care whether their baby has one eyes or two, as long as they're healthy - and a boy (!);
and Arj, confronting his childhood bully Eric Wood.
CYCLOPEDIA EXOTICA is an insightful, entertaining read, though it gave me all kinds of mixed feelings. Dhaliwal uses a mythical creature to interrogate racism, xenophobia, and misogyny - and, while I think it mostly works, the idea itself makes me uncomfortable: what does it say about the collective we, if we're better able to relate to or sympathize with a fictional creature than, say, Black people or immigrants? I guess you could argue that fantastical setting and comedic setup might lower the audience's guard, making them more susceptible to your message. And yeah, this is probably true, to an extent. But this makes me wonder how many readers will actually connect the dots, especially as Dhaliwal tends to end each strip with a lighthearted joke rather than doubling down on her point.
Either way, I enjoyed CYCLOPEDIA EXOTICA (even more so on the second reading), and can't wait to dive into her freshman book, WOMAN WORLD.
"OMG! Moffat doesn't know how to write women! Also he kills off his queer characters! He's such a sexist and a homophobe!"
He writes his female characters with their own past, personalities, qualities and flaws and tastes, makes them proactive throughout their whole story arc and he made his queer characters IMMORTAL!
Next to that, we have in the 13th Doctor arc a fucking disgusting "pro-life" episode and the only interesting female characters are either dead or star in only one episode! Sorry but 13th Doc and Yaz are the blandest, most boring and substance-less female characters I've ever seen. We could easily replace them with any random it wouldn't change a thing in the plot! Making the Doctor a woman doesn't make the series "more" feminist or progressist! As keeping the Doctor a man doesn't make it "less" feminist! It's called "feminism-washing."
"OMG! Black Widow says she saw herself as a monster cause she's sterile! Whedon is so sexist!"
Sorry WHAT?? Joss Whedon, the same who created fucking Buffy, the vampire slayer?? Are you kidding? Also Tasha thinks she's a monster cause she was trained to be the perfect assassin, and forced sterilization was a part of that training and so it constantly reminds her of that training.
Watch/Read what you accuse of being sexist or queerphobe before throwing curses in the air!
Hmm probably will be around as long as sexist people try to hold all men to the actions of a few. Until we achieve equality as a society I suppose. Sorry to have caught you saying something shitty and making you explain your sexist comment to me - someone which you wish to influence. But wall up your echo chamber and stay in your safe space that’s surely how one achieves growth.
let’s talk about the Sports Department Gets All the Money and Music Has None™️ trope, because I, personally, don’t think it’s actuate.
First let me say that I know this is usually a fic trope and, while definitely present in todays society, is not actually a representation of the normal American high school. Also, I am both a part of the music department and the sports department in my high school, so I think I can give some insight.
The sports department specifically is not getting all the money. There is one sport, maybe two, that are getting all the money. At my school these sports are football and baseball, both male dominated sports. The football team has their own stadium and separate practice field. Baseball has a giant field with a enclosed batting cage that they get to use when it rains. Softball (The sport I played, a female dominated sport) has a batting cage made out of nets and some tees with broken nets. When baseball couldn’t use their field we let them use ours, but when it rains we don’t get to use their cage. We go into the “team room” or we get a hallway. Yes, a hallway for 27 girls to work out in. Football regularly uses the indoor stadium and, when anyone else wants to use the weight room, takes up all but two of the weights.
So, yes, some extra money might go to sports. But not the smaller sports and certainly not the female sports. Thanks for listening.
Fuck your culture, your nation, your religion.
You picked NONE OF IT, at all. WHY be proud?
god damn, it's a simple philosophical point: how can you be proud of something you were literally indoctrinated to since you were born?
It's not like at birth most parents go 'well, we're moving out of the country, and changing religions. Then letting our child have any opportunity for original critical thought.'
No. Most times they force you to believe and obey both their country and their religion, usually intertwined.
Just...I am so fucking tired of seeing these religious pride posts. YOU did not pick your religion...89% of the time (it's usually based on where you're born. They got maps to prove it!) Unless you CRITICALLY analyzed EVERY SINGLE RELIGION, along with but not being limited to their faults, being written by imperfect humans, and how they have been used more for control & manipulation than enlightenment, FUCK YOUR IGNORANT 'YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING TO ATTAIN IT' PRIDE!
and btw, if you think I am thinking of a particular religion when I say this-nope. Fuck y'all. Even a lot of atheists; y'all some egotistical douchebags. 'I found there is NO god, so I am better than you.' Nope, still sound like a religious cunt.
ps-also, over MAJORITY of all religions practiced today have some level of racism and/or sexism and have not attempted to fix it. sorry, not sorry.
You know I would try to grow my hair out again one day
But as soon as I'd see some sort of positive feedback of "ah yes longer hair on a short seemingly female person this makes sense" I would fill up with rage and cut it all off again
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Someone sent this weird message to my friend, so I’m warning some of y’all just in case.
Every reblog/share counts!!
Women’s sports have been banned.
Women’s shelters have been banned.
The use of the word “woman” has been banned, unless you’re talking about men.
Women have been banned from assembling without men.
Women are being fired in droves for saying women are real.
I never would’ve thought I would live in this... cesspit of hatred of women.
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No, it's not all men. But it's a vast majority, although less than the almost 100% of women.
THIS IS TRUE ISLAM
I’ve had enough of people saying that islam is not against women and that men and women have equal rights/respect in islam, BECAUSE THEY DO NOT.
And before you throw a bunch of articles at me claiming that I should learn about the “real islam”, let me make it very clear that I was a muslim myself with a practicing family. I was never that close to islam, and never studied it in depth, but I could tell that my parents wanted me to. To my parents, I still am a muslim, but after finally doing that in depth study that they had suggested me for so long, this religion has truly disgusted me. TRULY.
I can’t believe that people can follow this bunch of crap. Islam promotes the inequality between men and women, treats women as “properties” of their husbands and men as “owners” of their wives. To a point where I think it’s difficult, almost impossible to differentiate between a slave and a wife. Islam treats women’s body like it’s only made for sexualization. Men has multiple rights that women doesn’t— all because men are defined as the owners of their wives. Fucking owners. People that follow this religion and believe in this crap should be ashamed of themselves and get their brains checked properly.
Here’s someone explaining and fucking rationalizing that men are the owners aka masters of their wives, and women are their properties.
i’m using this explanation so i don’t have to write it all again. this sums it up pretty well.
So from here, let’s see the things that are true for islam.
1. A man is permitted to have sexual relationships with his concubine, consensually, and can marry her as well, which is deeply encouraged in fact. Contrary to that, a woman cannot engage in sexual relationship with a male concubine or her slave. Why? Because the mistress has ownership over the man. A that has ownership over his wife, she is his “property”, whereas a woman cannot have ownership over her husband. A husband is a master of his wife, and she’s somewhat like a prisoner :)
Conclusion: Men owns their wives in islam. Women are properties of their husbands, treated like an object that can be possessed. Essentially, husbands are the masters of wives, like he’d be a master of his slave.
Based on this logic, the following things are permissible and non permissible in islam.
2. Men can marry non muslim women, but women cannot marry a non muslim men. Why? Because a muslim man can own a non muslim women, he’d be her master and she’d be his pet. A muslim woman cannot marry a non muslim man, because husbands in islam are “owners” of their wives, slaves or pets, whatever you wanna call them, and it is not permissible in islam for the woman to be owned by a non muslim, because other religions are seen as inferior.
3. This verse is controversial— it says that husbands can punish their wives by beating them to get them to submit. I don’t know Arabic myself, so I can’t tell whatever it is saying, since apparently there’s no good enough word in English to describe that “beating part”. HOWEVER. Even if that part is neglected— the part of punishment remains. Husbands can punish their wives, one of which is by denying them bed. A woman can never deny her husband in bed however, because she is obligated to fulfill his needs, once again, because he is her master and her owner.
4. Since the woman is owned by her husband, is a puppet of his will, there is no concept of rape in islam within marriage. Men can deny their wives in bed, but women can never deny their husbands. Rape is nonexistent, hence if the man wants sexual intercourse, the woman is obligated. I’m not sure what would happen if a woman forces herself on men aka rape. Since he is allowed to punish her because of disobedience, I guess we all can see where this would lead. Muslim women raping men is however a thing I’ve never seen in my life. It might happen, but it’s very rare.
5. Muslim men can have four wives, but a muslim woman can only have one husband. Why? Because a master can have several slaves, which is limited to four in this case, but a slave can only have one master. All of the wives will be obedient and serve their “master” or husband, whichever you prefer, but the slave can only be obedient to one master. If the wife has several husbands, there would be a problem if the husbands disagrees on what she should do, since they are the ones that will dictate her actions. If the husband has several wives; well, then he gets to own four slaves and dictate their actions, and of course, take care of their financial needs as well lmfao. That’s all i hear from people whenever this topic is brought up— like taking care of financial needs is worse than submitting yourself as a slave. Are you people serious? :)
6. A muslim man’s prayer will not be valid if it’s lead by a woman. Why? Because men are the leaders, the owners, and women are made to be owned. If his prayer is lead by an inferior being, whose existence purpose is to be owned, breed and fulfill the sexual desires of a man, such prayer is not valid. Men are leaders and the superior beings, hence a man’s prayer would only be valid if it’s lead by another man.
7. Women’s bodies are sexualized beyond belief. I’ve heard the statement a lot of times— “that if you let sweet things out in the open, the bugs will attack it” or something along those lines. Firstly, women are treated as “things”, that can be “owned”, and that should be hidden from vile eyes. Their bodies are sexualized to an unbelievable point. Second of, how can men be leaders and rightful owners when they can’t control something as simple as fucking sexual desire according to islam? I think that’s very fucking disrespectful towards men to compare them to instinctual animals and bugs, and treat them as such in topics related to sexuality. Men are reasonable beings, as are women, and yes, some people rape and, but that can never be generalized to all. And if, in islam, men are so uncontrollable, that they can’t even control their desires like a human, then by rational thinking, they should be ones “owned” and treated as pets, because such behavior calls for it. Animals act on pure instinct, and that’s why are treated as such. Humans don’t. However, men are NOT like that. Islam claims the man to be the leader and an animal of instinct at the same time, both of which is wrong.
8. In islam, the ownership of wives is not only allowed, but a MUST. Men are supposed to own their wives and take care of their financial needs. Women are supposed to obedient to their masters aka husbands, and always fulfill their sexual desires. If they disobey, they should expect punishment, because the islam does not only permits, but suggests the husband to teach his wife a lesson through punishment if she’s being disobedient.
9. OH. And my absolutely favorite one. In islam, men “gives” divorce to their wives whereas women “asks” for divorce to their husband. Whenever this is brought up, I’ve heard people telling me that “of course she’d get divorce if she asks for it. The court will be on her side and it is her right to be divorced if she wants that” NO SHIT SHERLOCK. That’s not the problem here. The problem is that man gives, but a woman has to ASK. Once again, why? It all leads down to one thing. Because men owns their wives. That’s why, a wife cannot “give” him divorce, she doesn’t has the right. She has to ask, like the good obedient wife she is :)
Men owns their wives, and a woman can never own her husband. The explanation is given above.
Based on this, it should be clear even for a completely blind person, that men are seen as the superior beings while women are inferior.
Islam is based on inequality and sexism.
DON’T come at me with the argument that rationalizes this and says “because this is how nature”, because it’s fucking not. If you think like that, get your brain checked. Don’t tell me that men and women are equal, but with different rights in islam, because a slave is never equal to a master. In islam, husbands owns their wives— this humiliating action alone is proof enough that women are not equal to men. That women are treated as properties and objects, that can be owned and dictated, and are supposed to obedient to their husbands or else they’d get punished. If someone can’t see this, they are the biggest fucking brick head, full of bullshit, stupidity and discrimination between sexes.
Like come on, if you follow this religion and are sexist AF, at least accept the reality of islam. I’m tired of people practicing it and claiming that women and men are treated equally in it, because they are not. You wanna be a slave to your husband, or own your wife, good for you. But don’t rationalize sexism as a part of the “nature” and fucking accept what you believe in. All muslims are sexists, because that’s the very base of their religion. It’s completely based on mastery and slavery.
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i can’t go on a fucking walk and listen to angsty ship playlists just vibing without getting hit on (in an uncomfortable way) by three separate groups of men. two in a car, one by himself...hate how women and fem presenting nb people have to police what we wear, because i don’t think i feel comfortable wearing that kinda dress again lol. hoping someone would see the obviously on display pride flag mask im wearing and think im a lesbian or something (aka--not attracted to them) but no you just gotta keep looking at my ass and calling to me even though i clearly have earbuds in and am singing to my little song i hate it hereeee
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I wonder how much the whole ‘survival of the fittest’ myth plays into how much rabid capitalists bat for the obviously broken system. And in turn how much sexism/racism/etc feeds into that narrative and upholds it for them
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Just gonna leave this here
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Sen. Mike Lee used his time for questioning to try to imply that she pressured the Justice Department not to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in 2008. Clarke testified that she had nothing to do with that prosecution and wasn’t at the DOJ when it was dropped. (She left the department in 2006 to join the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.) Lee then tried to read her a list of American institutions he believes she hates. She noted that she has in fact worked for several of them and that they are staffed by dedicated lawyers who adhere to the law. Sen. Ted Cruz shouted at her about the headline of a Newsweek piece she wrote after George Floyd was killed in which she expressly did not call for defunding the police willy-nilly, and in fact argued for a more complicated strategy: “I advocate for defunding policing operations that have made African Americans more vulnerable to police violence and contributed to mass incarceration, while investing more in programs and policies that address critical community needs.” Clarke had to explain several times to Cruz that she doesn’t write her own headlines and that her view—in line with that of many nonradical police reform groups—is that the police have taken on roles they were never intended to handle and “have too much contact with communities on issues they were never equipped to address.” As she put it in response to Cruz: “I do not support defunding the police. I do support finding strategies to ensure that law enforcement can carry out their jobs more safely and effectively and channeling resources to emotional health treatment and other severely underresourced areas.”
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At Kristen Clarke’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to become the first Black woman to head up the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department—known as the “crown jewel” of the DOJ—the GOP playbook consisted of implying that a woman who has worked tirelessly within one serious institution after another is actually an institution-hating radical. Clarke, whom I’ve only ever known to be deadly serious, soft-spoken, and collaborative (I have done various public events with her over the years), faced an almost wholly unserious effort, helmed chiefly by the usual suspects, to paint her as a dangerous firebrand. Even after spending six years in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division during the George W. Bush administration, Clarke was still called out as being somehow opposed to the police and a threat to law and order—by some of the very same GOP senators who fueled efforts to set aside the results of the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Clarke, whose opening statement drew on her fears as the mother of a 16-year-old Black son, has been the focus of a Fox News/Tucker Carlson smear campaign to paint her as a wild-eyed lunatic who hates Jews, cops, and white people in about equal measure. Carlson has done at least six segments on her since January that were rife with reporting errors. He’s zeroed in on an almost-30-year-old op-ed that Clarke wrote at 19 to Harvard’s student newspaper promoting the genetic superiority of Black people. If a decades-old college piece is your best case for someone else’s racism as you’re doing Actual Racism in real time, you should probably think again. But Carlson and his followers seem to have also missed that her letter was a satirical response to The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, which started from the presumption that Black people are intellectually inferior. Clarke may indeed be so fanatically serious that her efforts weren’t actually funny, but contemporaneous reporting from Harvard knew it was satire. Yet Sen. John Cornyn seemed to miss entirely that this was satire and also that it wasn’t a strong line of attack...
The rank silliness of targeting Clarke as someone hellbent on burning down American policing, justice, voting, and civil rights systems when she has built her entire career on working within those systems was the main takeaway of today. Clarke—whose parents immigrated from Jamaica, and who grew up in a federally subsidized public housing project—might even be somewhat more justified if she were advocating for burning down entire systems than would, say, Josh Hawley—yet he’s the one who doesn’t accept the 2020 federal election results. After graduating from Harvard and Columbia Law School, she went to the Department of Justice, then joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, then served the Office of the New York State Attorney General as head of the Civil Rights Bureau. As president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, she has worked like a demon to protect voting rights, minority rights, religious and women’s rights, all in precisely the way a lawyer would: through bold lawsuits and advocacy. I’ve argued that targeting civil rights lawyers for strongly worded tweets and advocacy evinces a shocking double standard for women of color in public life. But when the white men who are targeting a Black female lawyer as lawless and reckless and dangerous still won’t accept the results of the last presidential election and take no responsibility for the property damage and loss of life their words have caused, it just feels like cynicism for its own sake. That cynicism is the point. That this conversation is happening as the country is again roiled to the breaking point over racist police violence is why this transcends cynicism to become simply gross.
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Normilized Sexism on Media
I get so pissed with normilized sexism, I'm someone who sees a lot of content creators and it's not hard to notice how hard if for a female content creator to grow. Not only that but they recieve so much nasty and pervert comments, and so little people talk about that. BUT ONE TIME a male content creator gets a pervert comment, "TEENAGE WOMEN ARE JUST SO HORNY". LIKE, COME ON!!
Not only that but I feel that if you want to talk about this stuff on the internet, you HAVE to be a man, because if you are a woman, you are a crazy feminist.
How do I know all this? Friends and Family. Just so many sexist comments from my own mother to my sister. Like, why, you should get this.
The Acrilic Painted Diary
“Other Girls”™️ are sometimes actually women, and sexism is transgenerational
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