Iron Fist: The Weakest Link?

The new netflix series, Marvel’s Iron Fist, has been out for a few days, and as a diehard fan of the previous three heroes set up to become The Defenders, I spent the last weekend bingewatching the new episodes. There was no choice.

First, Iron Fist coming out last Friday went past me completely. Only the day after, by seeing a post on Tumblr, did I realize I had forgotten about it. Surprisingly or not, my dashboard wasn’t filled with posts of the new series. I remember when Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage had come out; I had to make sure those tags were blocked, otherwise spoilers would come through left and right. This wasn’t the case with Iron Fist, there were maybe one or two people in my feed talking about the new show, but it’s safe to say that Iron Fist didn’t blow up like the other three did.

Part of the reason that it didn’t catch on (as fast? — maybe it’s taking slower) was because of the criticism it received beforehand, something I will address later on. The other part? It’s just not as good as the previous ones. The narrative is interesting, but not compelling. It felt second rate, which is not something I’m used to from netflix original series. They’re usually so on point about every single detail, but it wasn’t the case here. I went through the series fast, but without emotion, I didn’t feel close to any of the characters and it lacked depth. As you know, Matt is a blind lawyer, Jessica is a female P.I., Luke is a Black escaped convict. Danny Rand? He’s a rich white boy, who was missing, then came back with magical powers, and is now on the path to avenge the death of his parents. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Where Daredevil, Jessica Jones, ajoywardnd Luke Cage are gritty, thought-provoking, and challenging society. Iron Fist is bland. It addresses corporate fraud, embezzlement, and how little multinationals care about the little guy, but these social issues don’t carry as big a punch as, for example, sexual assault, racism, or ableism do. Therefore, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact. This was a mistake made by the people behind the scenes. Did they overlook this fact, or did they ignore it? Did a glowing fist sound that cool, that they just had to tell this story? They could have easily fixed this by writing Danny Rand as a minority, or by adding something that gave him more depth.

Which brings me to the widespread criticism Iron Fist has received for its blatant racism. I don’t think it would have been that hard to portray Danny as biracial with a Chinese heritage. And it would have made the story that more captivating. Imagine his dad, a (biracial) Chinese American man trying to make it in a white business world, and succeeding! Also, him refusing to work with the Hand, while his greedy white partner does, behind his back? I just wrote this idea up in less than a minute, it’s not hard??!! I can hear you saying, but the original story? Yeah, yeah, the original story was written decades ago with no respect for immigrant culture, aimed at white America. This series was written for a global audience, in a multicultural society, and frankly, tdannyhe writers and producers should have known better. Perpetuating racism, and hiding behind the primary source material, does not make you less complicit in that same racism and cultural appropriation. It makes you ignorant and uncaring about racial issues, especially when you’re making money off them.

Finally, I would like to mention the parts of the series that I did like. If you’re able to overlook the racism and keep watching, it does get better by the 8th or 9th episode. There are a couple of twists in the end that surprised me. Moreover, the brightest light in this series (and all the other series to be honest) is Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple. You can decide to only watch it for her,colleen she has some pretty amazing scenes. Furthermore, the relationship between brother and sister, Ward and Joy Meachum, caught me by surprise. I wasn’t aware that episode by episode these two characters had snuck into my heart and broke it by the final scene. The last character I fell for was Colleen Wing, she’s a badass with a lot of depth, and a very good arc; but they did her so wrong pairing her with Danny, especially how their relationship started and progressed.

We’ve reached the end of my review, that turned out longer than I had planned for. Oh well. I would recommend watching it critically, especially if you’re planning on watching the Defenders that is scheduled to release mid-2017. Because I’m sure that if you don’t, you won’t have key information needed for the next instalment. Especially, since they don’t have much time for exposition and character background with only 8 episodes. All in all, Iron Fist is a good series, but when you’re coming down from Luke Cage, this one just doesn’t hit the same sweet spot.



The Only Thing I’m Asking for Is Respect

Even though this is a new blog, I’m immediately bringing out the big guns. After finishing All the Rage by Courtney Summers, I felt inspired. Coincidentally, International Women’s Day just passed as well, so there’s no better time to address this issue.

In All The Rage, Romy is sexually assaulted by the most popular guy in town. Everyone loves him, he’s the son of the sheriff and can do no wrong. The novel deals with the aftermath of her rape, how she works through the trauma while no one believes what happened to her. It’s hard to read through because of its dark honesty, Summers holds no punches. This book is very important, because it shows that rape culture is not a joke. It’s the reason why many woman and men don’t come forward after they were assaulted. Somehow, the way we, as a society, deal with rape, it’s as if the victim is responsible for the rapist’s actions. In this story Romy works up to forgiving herself, something she should never have to do, for lying, for holding in the truth, for not fighting back hard enough. But it is also about working through her trauma, and learning to live with what happened to her.

Slut-shaming is a concept tightly woven into that of Rape Culture. It’s this idea that a woman who enjoys any kind of sexual activity or is very sexually active can be summed up in one word slut, from then on that becomes her only worth, i.e. she’s always good for a lay. Even when a woman dresses provocatively, she can be branded. One of the most common questions a rape survivor is asked is What were you wearing? As if the amount of clothes someone has on automatically provides the perpetrator with some kind of justification. The sexual assault is rationalized and offenders get off easy, this is called victim-blaming. For some inexplicable reason the fault lies, not with the rapist, but with the survivor of rape, because they were asking for it. How fucked up does a community need to be to blame someone for being sexually assaulted? Honestly? It makes me want to scream bloody murder.

rosea-posey“Judgments” by Rosea Posey

Even in my own life, when I’m picking out clothes for example, I question my choices. For the longest time, I didn’t want to wear low-cut tops, because I didn’t want to show too much cleavage. Nowadays, when I want to feel sexy for myself I will put on clothes that make me feel that way, and I will stress this again I wear sexy clothing to make me feel sexy. It is for me. I changed my way of thinking, because this is learned behavior. Society taught me to cover up my skin. I can’t remember if it was ever said to me explicitly, but when we were in school, one of my best friends had to change out of her shorts once, because they were too short. The implicit reason? “It would distract the boys”. Society teaches girls to cover themselves up so that boys would be able to control themselves. Why don’t we teach boys to control themselves no matter what situation? Boys will be boys? Hell no! Boys will be taught how to respect other human beings.

I’m tired of choosing not to wear a specific kind of t-shirt or dress. Because yes, I still catch myself going for the safer option. The option that will keep me invisible when I’m trying to have fun with my friends. I work to rewire myself every day. To fix what has been ingrained in me since I was young. I’m waiting for a world that starts teaching respect at day 1.




My name is Valerie.

I started this blog, because I always liked the idea of having a blog. An online journal. So, I finally stopped finding excuses as to why not and I went for it. That being said, I’m not sure how often I’ll update this blog. I would like to say once a week, or once every two weeks, but I know myself, and I am the worst kind of procrastinator, which is why I can’t make any promises.

Content-wise, this blog will be about anything that inspires me in the moment, whether that’s a book I’ve read recently, a newly published album by a favorite artist, or just something that happened to me personally… We’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to commit to one thing, and then be stuck in that box forever. I have a hard time making decisions as it is, and I don’t want to restrict myself.

The title of my blog, Kindness Is Optional, in real life I’m known to be a kind person (if I say so myself). But I do believe that one of the most important things in life is to be kind to each other, to a stranger, to a friend, or to your family. I was especially inspired by the quote Noora had on her wall in the Norwegian Series Skam:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

And that is exactly how I want to live my life, because it’s true. At any given moment in time you do not know what someone is going through, and they don’t know how bad your day is going, so give each other a break once in a while. However, and this is why I went with kindness is optional, it’s okay to put yourself first. If being kind means you have to scrub away at a part of yourself, it’s not worth it. Stand up for what you believe in, be true to yourself. That’s what this blog is for me. What I write here will come from my heart. My soul will speak through my words. I won’t always be kind, but I will be honest.

That’s it for now!

Lots of love,