The Strain- Episode 3

We open with opera and Eichorst’s freaky face. He applies silicone, makeup, hair, dentures and contact lenses to blend in as a human. He tells his reflection that he is almost done hiding. 

Eph and Nora are trying to find out what happened to the bodies. No jumping to conclusions. Did another agency take the bodies to hide the autopsy results? Was the military involved with the deaths? 

One of the survivors, Ansel, is fighting symptoms, his gums painful and bleeding, his throat sore. He has pain in his neck and ringing in his ears. His spouse is upset, she is worried for his health.

Captain Redform is in an incubator, Eph makes promises he can’t keep about how they will find out what is infecting him. And it’s Nora who recalls “the old man they had arrested at the airport.” Abraham warned them. Not sounding so crazy now.

Jim from the CDC, who was involved with allowing Augustin to leave with the coffin, meets with Eichorst who tries to pay him. Jim demands to know what was in the box. Eichorst, obviously, won’t reveal and Jim says he is going to the police. Eichorst brings up Jim’s dying wife. Ohhh, the dying wife motivation ZzzzzzzzzZzzz…. Anyway, Eichorst says that he can get Jim’s wife into a limited drug trial that could mean her salvation on top of the money. Now Jim is entirely under his thumb.

Abraham is at his hearing for the nuisance charge of tresspassing. The judge is perturbed by Abraham’s sword cane. He plays for feeble. Nora confronts him outside, Abraham says that the survivors must be destroyed. Nora is freaked out.

Ephraim’s family drama hits the fan. Zach says he wants to live with his mom, every other week with his dad. “Because his dad has a really important job.” Eph lashes out verbally (out of earshot from his son) but the ex blames it all on him, but sh says it’s not too late. That Zach and Eph can be closer, but that he has to show it, not just say it. Then it’s back to work.

Gabriel is not into rehearsal or video shoots. Apathy.

The board of health dude is visiting the home of a child who was bitten by a rat at the mouth. He catches the patriarch smoking Cuban cigars. He says that rats like cigars too. “this place has changed hands 5 times in seven years and now you know why.” Outside he hears hoards of rats.

Jim’s wife gives him the news that she’s gotten into the drug trial after all. Ansel’s dog grows suspicious of him. Then he drinks beef blood. His wife catches him. RUN FOR THE HILLS.

Gabriel’s balls are falling off. His personal doc encourages him to go to the hospital but he’s scared he’ll end up on TMZ.

Abraham employs an industrious young techie chick to find the passenger list from the plane in exchange for a video game console.

Eph and Nora are with Redform who ominously says “He’s here.”

Zach is at home watching his dad save the world on his iPad. Then he goes down stairs to see his mom. His mom is tearfully flipping through a photo album. 

Eichorst kills someone. There’s too many people on this show.

Gabriel’s hair is falling out. One of his eyes is bloodshot. Then his dick falls off.

wteq

Jim delivers news to Nora and Eph that his wife is accepted into the drug trial. They are overjoyed, but Jim cannot take the same joy; knowing how this came to be. Redform has escaped. They go on the search. Jim finds him in the basement eating raw meat. Jim alerts the others that he’s found the Captain, they rush in while the pilot attacks them, that tentacle thing coming out of his mouth. Eph bashes the vampire’s head in. But, now those at the CDC can’t deny that something truly bizarre is happening here.

Let us take a brief moment to acknowledge the stereotypes involved that allowed Eichorst to employ people to spread the epidemic. Augustin, a gang member, was bribed/blackmailed over his brother’s criminal record and his mother’s immigration status. However, a large demographic of Hispanics in NY are Puerto Rican. PR, of course, being part of the US. Why so many people forget this is baffling to me. Now, Augustin could be Central American of Cuban, I don’t know, I didn’t see that it was noted, if it was when Eichorst showed the documents then feel free to correct. But portrayals that lead to the equation: poor + Hispanic = illegal is problematic as all fuck. Because chances are they’d be Nuyorican. (And yes, I am pointing this out even though del Toro is Mexican, it’s still a stereotype regardless)

And then of course we have Jim’s dying wife. A wife invented so that feeble Jim would have motivation for betraying his title and dooming the US to vampirism. A wife that will do nothing else to advance the plot in anyway, if I had to venture a guess.

But on the good? Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown, 2004’s Day of the Dead) gets a bit more sympathetic. And Nora and Eph don’t have untimely makeout sessions. Wooo! 

But there are too many people on this show. And not enough Abraham. 

Hemlock Grove: Season 2 *SPOILERS*

I did a video review for this

it’s posted on the youtube page for the radio show I co-host, Radio Of Horror. Watch it, subscribe (there’s clips from our show, video reviews for films and interviews that won’t usually be cross posted here) and you can give us a “like” on the facebook.

But there was a few thing I wanted to elaborate on a little more. That’s why you’re here right.
one major gripe I had was that the didn’t show the threesome

And as discussed in the video, this is NOT family entertainment. In general, there’s several murders, gore, plenty of sex. Hell, there is rape. Roman rapes someone and then erases her memory in season one. Through out the series they really play up this “bromance’ between Roman and Peter (I don’t like to read it that way, it makes sense that they get along since really no one would understand them) but when Miranda falls for the both of them and initiates a threeway… …there’s a blank space between when Roman follows Miranda and Peter upstairs that lasts until they are fully clothed the next day having coffee.
Oh fuck you, Netflix.

You think it’s okay to show a teenager being raped but not consensual polyamorous sex?
Fuck you. Fucking rape culture at it’s finest.
And a prime example of sexism. On two counts.
ONE) that we were shown a young woman being victimized, but an adult woman taking charge and insisting on what she want sexually (two hot men that she has romantic affection for as well as physical attraction to) results in something that is considered too taboo for it’s audience.
TWO) the friendship between the two creeps, the alternated jealousy and tenderness they have for eachother falls into the bromance trope. but sweet jesus forbid that we see that their male parts go anywhere near each other. Why play around like that then? We saw Clementine getting out of bed with a woman in season one, so homosexual relationships have been (vaguely) shown. But two men? better not. It would destroy the “manliness” or someshit. fuck that.

On the GIRL POWER
Destiny Rumancek plays a much larger role this season. She immediately gets involved with helping Peter get Lynda out of jail and is no longer hanging around just to weave some mystical shit and lead the MCs in the right direction. She has her own agenda, goals and relationships even if they are not central to the plot. Without her to use her psychic powers and kick some ass they’d have been screwed. Destiny is played by Mohawk actress Kaniehtiio Horn. She gets to shove a dagger in someone’s balls. She looks out for Peter. She hooked up with a (probably) hitman. It’s good.

Shelley also gets a more central role. Before she was sort of an accessory. She caused Olivia discomfort. She made Roman seem more likeable and human, he treated her with kindness and she brought out that goodness and light in an otherwise creepy and psychopathic character. This season she was really out on her own, she made friends on her own, she made decisions for herself (although she was somewhat betrayed by those around her while making them). She has a sweetness and understanding that remains uncorrupted despite the horrible conniving people around her, but it’s not (all) out of naivete, she understands why her mother is the way she is and accepts that.

Olivia gets some depth. Instead of the bored icequeen she becomes more empathetic. Famke Janssen delivers Olivia’s lines impeccably. While she is being treated after her near death she begins to become more human. And she fucking hates it. But then it becomes who she is. She decides to cause less suffering. She decides to do the maternal thing and save Shelley instead of herself. She wants to be good, but when Norman and Roman don’t forgive her previous misdeeds she quickly reverts to a baby snatching crazy lady. But hey, that’s self preservation. You don’t live centuries without that drive.

Why is “gypsy” a slur?
Ok, because I have heard “I don’t understand how ‘gypsy’ is racist” a few times. Usually followed by “how come no one is mad about it then?”

“Gypsy” is an ethnic slur towards the Romani people. They have been discriminated against since the 1500s. They were banned from England because Romani were seen as godless/devilish accused of witchcraft and they were evicted. 1700s saw the Romani hung without trial, mutilated by branding or having their ears cut off to identify Romani in Austria and the surrounding areas. They were murdered en masse, including children. They were slaves in Romania until 1856. In WWII, the Nazi regime saw them on par as enemies to the Aryan race along with Jewish people and blacks. The number of Romani wiped out is unclear because of different branches and lack of record keeping but is somewhere about half a million and below a million and a half Romani. In 1997, some Romani immigrated to Canada (legally, as refugees) and there was protest from neo-nazis. As recently as 2007 Romani children were forcibly segregated in Slovakian schools.
We’re talking about people who have been mistreated, profiled, discriminated against, victimized, denied education, maimed and killed because of their heritage.
And the word “Gypsy” is connected to the word “gypped” -meaning robbed, ripped off, screwed, fucked over. But really it’s the Romani who have been fucked over. so remember that next time you’re packing for vacation and hashtag your photo #gypsylife.
really? that’s not “Gypsy life” in the least.
So now you know.

Comic book Catch-up #5 -DC Edition!

Forever Evil #7 (thank gods that is over!) & Future’s End #3 + #4!

Forever Evil #7

Batman is still strangling Luthor and Catwoman is trying to stop him. She says “this lightning rod is from the future, maybe we can use it to, I don’t know, save him or something!” 

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DO CPR!!!! What the Hell?! 

Wait. It get’s worse. Luthor zaps Batman with electricity (Catwoman still does nothing) and then he reveals that he flatlined Dick after, get this, giving him a pill that would paralyze the muscles around his heart… he needs a shot of adrenaline NOW. He gets the shot and wakes up. A sweet moment is had between Nightwing and Batman (and Luthor and Bizarro) and then Cyborg busts in, he took out Grid. blah blah. Ultraman and Deathstorm debate about what to do now that Mazahs is free. The theorize that they can use Superwoman’s lasso of submission. But she’s not here.

“Is she with Owlman?” Ultraman questions.

Nope. She’s with Mazash. And pregnant with HIS child. And Ultraman gasps, “Lois? You traitorous witch, why?” and she says, “Because Alex is stronger than you, Clark.” Cause all women are either hoes or incompetent in this piece. 

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A million middle fingers for Geoff Johns. 

Ultraman and Mazahs duke it out and Deathstorm confronts Superwoman, “You manipulated us all.” and she calls them “Stupid men.” (Hay awesome, her secret weapon is manipulating men, hahaha… ugh) but she gets him wrapped up in her lasso and Mazahs prepares to feed on his nuclear power. 

Mazahs kills Bizarro. Luthor kills Mazahs. Owlman joins the Batfamily. Sinestro and Black Adam move the moon so that the sun weakens Ultraman (what? how was the moon there that whole time? This is stupid) And all of the exiled heroes from this world climb out of Firestorm (again.. what?) but Superman is dying. Luthor pulls the sliver of kryptonite out of his head. Well, that’s unlikely. He also meets Ted Kord and doesn’t buy Kord industries and encourages Ted. He knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and it ends with an apocalypse baby, Darkseid returning and the Antimonitor vowing to consume him. So it ended. With the heroes coming back which was a huge “duh” because there is no way that all DC’s heavy hitters would get roasted. And then a not real ending. Suck.

Futures End #3

This one is actually getting good, we get backstory on Grifter and Firestorm (who are fighting against each other) the stories flow cohesively between Firestorm giving some ladies a sunny day, to the same babes at a bar where they get harassed by someone who just won a celebrity death pool with the death of Green Arrow. They get bounced by… Red Robin. Lois’s mysterious package lead her there and she immediately knows who she’s looking at. Meanwhile, Mr Terrific knows that Batman (but not which Batman) is looking into him. Light on Batman, good amount of backstory on DC’s B-List. Still not a lot of women, but at least the ones there aren’t bimbos. Thumbs up.

Futures End #4

Frankenstein confronts SHADE about why they are trying to kill him. They just wanted his attention, turns out. Who the fuck is SHADE? run by Father Time (now inhabiting a young girl) SHADE fights against monsters.. with even worse monsters. Bad asses. Fathertime calls attention to the destroyed Stormwatch space ship. The theorize again that THE storm is coming. Red Robin/Cal Corcoran is out for a jog with the babely Madison Payne. He won’t talk about his past, she’s suspicious they’ve done this dance before. Cal lays eyes on the new Batman and it’s clear that he has a grudge against Batman’s Batfamily. Lois is trailing them in a get up that no one has worn since 1990 and no one would wear in the future. Plastique and Key lure Coil out of retirement with a “grail mission” the “last job.” That Grail? It’s in Terrifitech. Grifter is hunting Daemonites and other aliens that prey on addicts when Faraday catches up with him. Faraday paralyzes Grifter, and says he’ll reverse it if Grifter comes and works for him. 

Red Sonja #9

This was an interesting issue. Sonja is collecting the third artisan for the dying pharoah’s last party. This time, the person that she is seeking is a high priced prostitute. Sonja’s been all work and no play and the beautiful specimens in the brothel are a sight for the travel worn, cold and horny Sonja. But the madam tosses out Sonja’s muddy, saddle-rashed arse. Sonja has recently been robbed and can’t afford to pay.

Sonja scales the wall and breaks into Aneva’s room. She momentarily reflects that Aneva is the “Princess of Passion” that she sells her body. “I suppose it’s not much different than what I do, what any soldier does.” And the truth of that really struck me. The complaints about sex work are usually: “but that’s selling your body” (as if at any job you are not selling a piece of yourself), “You’re opening yourself up to violence/injury or disease”. The comparison is also made often between sex work and modelling or athletics, but in the case of expected violence: soldier would be a closer match. 

Obviously, I have thought about this before, but for those who haven’t it is intriguing.

Aneva is hesitant to leave, she’s trying to unionize the escorts so that they can protect themselves from exploitation, theft and assault. 

Sonja tells Aneva about the pharaoh and his slaves. She needs Aneva’s help to see that the slaves are freed. Aneva agrees and they set out. 

Sonja’s been feeling the negative effects of herown life style and agrees to let Aneva give her a makeover. Sonja is distraught, she could have been this beautiful if her tribe wasn’t killed, if she wasn’t enslaved, if she wasn’t driven to the life she leads. The pair get caught up and when the greedy and vengeful Ferox arrives. Ferox is the man who claims to protect the prostitutes but abuses them himself and takes a cut of their income. He sees Sonja dolled up and assumes she is another “plaything.”

“My name, you lackwit doughy-faced ape. Is Red Sonja.”

A melee ensues and Sonja strikes down Ferox’s men, but it is Aneva who takes out Ferox himself. 

Turns out Aneva was named Toa, she grew up on a farm and her brothers taught her how to fight. She was born poor, a skinny kid who worked herself to the bone. Sex work was a way out, but she always dreamed of a life like Sonja’s, of prestige, of rescuing damsels.

So the two had more in common than they thought.

Issue #9 touched on a few interesting sociological concepts. Legitimizing sex work, appearance/beauty norms and sexism, the myth of free will.

If sex workers were able to unionize it would be viewed differently. If sex work was viewed as work instead of criminal behavior, victims of abuse, robbery or harrassment would be able to report without fear of repercussion from law enforcement or reporting from health care workers. Sex work is just that: work. Many people in entry level jobs find their employment exclusionary, exploitative and leaving them with low chance for social mobility.  So how different is it

And in regards to my statement “the myth of free will” how much of a choice do people have in their own destiny? Now this isn’t dire, and this isn’t 100% BUT, as referenced by Sonja and Toa. Aneva is at risk of abuse and exploitation in the brothel, correctly; she places the fault on the abuser and not the victims and seeks to improve working conditions. Her alternative, the way she was raised, saw her already as hungry, struggling and at risk for victimhood by theft. Sonja never got to be feminine, nurturing or excessive because of the tragedies that befell her family. In flashback in earlier issues, we saw that she was not born to be lethal, in fact she wouldn’t kill a rabbit for supper. She would have been soft, but her life circumstances wouldn’t allow it. Both women became who they are because it necessary for their own survival. So there’s a little musing on agency vs destiny. Free will is a myth because everything we go through influences the way our brains make decisions, we don’t have as many options as some would want us to believe. That’s why after Sonja’s family was killed she didn’t decide “Oh hey, I’m going to be a high priced escort”

And on to sexism and conventionally beauty norms, this is actually coming full circle: this discussion came up recently in regards to Lara Croft’s “breast reduction” -what girl’s with big boobs can’t have adventures and PhDs? or in the case of the Big Bang Theory’s bubbly dreamer airhead and pretty girl Penny versus the genius and frumpy Farrah Fowler, or actual Farrah Fowler actress Mayim Bailik versus pretty redhead science mascot Kari Byron (both here). Or: in the actual world, Iowa Supreme Court ruled it was legal for a dentist to fire his assistant because she was too beautiful. So from both men or women, as a society conventionally attractive women are view as being less smart, less capable and beauty becomes a liability in professional careers. Sonja can still sling a sword even after her Cinderella makeover (if Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother were a sex worker).

Think about it.

Forever Evil #6

If you’ve been reading my reviews here, you know that I have not quite been enjoying this series. And that I think Geoff Johns is a racist/sexist ass. issue 6 has my man Nightwing on the cover and maybe we’ll get to the point for some of this instead of in-fighting between egotistical villains and inexplicably helpless females.

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I love Nightwing.

Luthor and Batman both argue and bond over their paranoia against the justice league as they infiltrate their fortress. catwoman’s wishy washy behvior prompts Batman to ask whose side she’s really on. Once inside, Batman, catwoman and Luthor stumble on nightwing who has been held in “the Murder Machine” a cell designed to hold Doomsday it’s a bomb with impenetrable walls. Meanwhile, Sinestro, Manta, Black Adam and Captain Cold throwdown against the Justice League’s evil alteregos. Highlights here are Owlman’s waivering allegiance and Black Adam’s mumbling through his broken jaw. 

Epically, the bomb only disarms if nightwing’s heart stops. He dies or they all die. we all know that Batman can’t make that call so Lex Luthor takes matters into his own hands… specifically, he Grayson’s airways into his hands after disarming Batman with his lasers and Bizzaro grabs Catwoman’s whip and apparently that’s as hard as she was willing to fight (FUCK YOU).

Nightwing’s heart stops, Batman beats the crap out of Luthor because apparently no one remembers what CPR is. That was really predictable. So stupid. 

Geoff Johns is such an asshole. everyone here is white as rice (except the aliens -doesn’t count!) and the women are dingbats. Since when is Catwoman not decisive? Superwoman didn’t even talk, sadly that might be for the best. Atomica is usually pretty wicked, but this time she was useless and helplessly watched as Johnny Quick got maimed. Captain Cold was the biggest badass. I’ll give them that though, that part was good. It was also, like, A page. 

Mazahs is now escaped. That’s alternate Shazam, it’s also Shazam spelled backwards, I’m also rubbing my head wondering how I started reading this. So the “good” and “not as evil” guys are in for more trouble.

Also, I knew Nightwing wasn’t going to die. 

The 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech post

Lately I’ve been watching Under the Dome, right? That shows, like 40% of my blog hits. It’s crazy. This show is problematic beyond all belief. You can read the recaps if you want to know about the plethora of problems… but specifically, for my point today: All of the people of color have disappeared, or frequently do not appear and no one seems to notice, or they show up here and there to do a favor for a white lead and then fall off the screen. Dodee shows up here and there (all though, she was absent during the meningitis episode and no one noticed) has gadgets and special talents to save everyone’s ass (but no story of her own), Phil was missing for 2 episodes, showed up long enough to have one line and get shot, then disappeared for 2 episodes. Carolyn’s wife died, and she’s been grieving off camera for 2 episodes. And Ben, who was written as a wacky side kick for Joe, has been absent since standing up to Angie’s abusive and unstable boyfriend… for three episodes. Carolyn and Ben used to be in every episode. They were not the most well formed, multidimensional characters (which was shitty enough), but they were there… and now they are not there. WTF? Where are you?

Have you seen me?

Have you seen me?

I’m actually really worried about Ben. If Junior killed him and threw him in a ditch we should have at least seen him go down fighting.

The only PoC who gets any screen time is Linda, a cop who’s defacto sheriff (and she frequently gives her authority to Barbie, a white male).

No. really. It’s jacked up.

I saw 3 movies over the weekend… of the three… there were two PoC. As minor characters. And they were in the same film.

The comics I’ve been reading lately have been doing a better job at being diverse (The Movement, The X-Men, Lazarus) and looking like an actual microcosm/representation of a city. But I’ve been reading some good comics.

By and large, people of color are hugely under represented in the area of science fiction, superheros, fantasy and speculative fiction. Most of this is due to institutional racism that has been impacting fandom for decades upon decades. And because PoC are stereotyped into non complex roles and are only shown as background players.  Women of color are often highly exoticized and are often only used to further the white male protagonist.

Pretty much because the writers who are accepted into the archaic sci-fi boy’s club write a bunch of wish fulfillment garbage and can’t even be bothered to talk to someone who isn’t of their general social description.

It’s terrible.

Erasure is racism. Just admit it.

Links! from people who write better than me and will enlighten you so you don’t shoot your mouth off like an over privileged asshat as often, please:

Fangs for the Fantasy: What will you do in a dystopian?

Dennis R Upkins: Geek Culture is for White People

“Girls Don’t Like Comic Books” & other hot nonsense

This post has been brewing in my cranium for a while. More so since last week when I went to pick up my comics and this dumb dumb behind me said “I can’t believe girls by comic books” in front of me with my stack and the girl working there. And he follows up with: “Cute girls, too.”  And this isn’t that surprising, it happens all the time. The stereotype that how people happen to look has to have some effect on the kind of things they are supposed to like. Of course Mr. I-have-no-goddamn-social-skills-and-have-no-idea-about-what-girls-like is feeding into his own comic book nerd stereotype, but I digress.

I didn’t read comics for years. Years and years.

And then this:

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And I said, “Oh HELL YEAH!” (even though I will say that I got PO’d at comments on CNN.com where dudes were all “feminists better support this, they say they want equality but then they don’t like Women’s MMA, women won’t read this” here’s the deal: feminists and ALL WOMEN and really ALL HUMANS like different assortments of things. I don’t have to like everything. I don’t have to like something because an empowered woman is there if it’s not the type of thing I would otherwise like. I don’t watch MMA. You know what feminists don’t love? When men tell them they HAVE TO love something. Seriously.)

But since I was at the comic book store, I found some other stuff to dig:

rsv2-01-cov-scottadnvshslazarus_001_cover_color_logo_text_sizedMovement-2-0coverchew-vol6-webanathema_vol__1_trade_cover_by_theironrachel-d618tcd ExtinctionParade1

 

Now look at these. Look at all the females! And they are all different!

When people bring up female fronted comic books that fail, someone undoubtedly says “Red SheHulk is cancelled” Red She-Hulk is a knock off of a knock of. Red Sonja is a fierce Barbarian and adventurer, Cassie Hack is a serial killer killer out for revenge, sharp tongued enough to keep Ash to his toes. While both females are scantily clad and quick witted no one would mistake one for the other. Toni Chu bites people to see the future and works for NASA, the females of Extinction Parade bite because their vampires, Mercy wolfs out to save the soul of her dead lover. Lazarus main protag Forever Carlyle who was considered “too butch” for one male fan (who got schooled hard by Greg Rucka) would surely not be raiding Sonja or Cassie’s closets, she’s a genetic experiment who can take bullets and barely miss a beat, she isn’t funny like Cassie or serious and experienced like Sonja… because women aren’t all the same.

That why “the all girl X-men” is so frigging good. The characters have different strengths, speak differently, have their own faults, interact in ways that you think they would based on previous events. Not just “I’d better like it because there are women there.”

And then today I read this in which rape and victimization of women that are so present in comics is passed off a “okay” because it’s not “for women.” The author of the article rightly points out that it is not okay for men and young boys to be repeatedly shown rape scenes because it normalizes this behavior and, frankly, women should be concerned if men enjoy reading unadulterated rape scenes.

…”comic creators Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Gerry Conway (The Punisher) have unabashedly inferred that it doesn’t matter how they portray women in their comic creations, because comic books are not for women, anyway. “…

WHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTT? No, jackasses… your books are not for women, who you have no respect for, clearly. But there are plenty of good female centered comics out right now (some by women and some not). Why creators are trying to appeal to less of the population instead of more, I don’t know. But if you write like crap… I won’t read it. And if you build it, they will come, fuckers. “Women liking comic books” isn’t the responsibility of the women. I won’t like a female character who’s a default knock off, or who has no relationships with other women. I will not like a book that uses rape to advance the plot. I will not read one dimensional characters.

It’s like I expect you to write good or something.