my articles

Van Dyne vs Danvers: One Fan’s (Mostly) Unpopular Opinion

Let’s start by saying, I reject the notion that because Carol Danvers is female, I, as a female, have to like her, nay, fawn over her, like she is the end all be all of comic book heroes. The idea that I don’t support females or feminism because Carol Danvers isn’t my new favorite superhero is ridiculous.

In the last year, Marvel has given us two female superheroes in two new movies (I’m not counting Endgame), Hope Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, and Carol Danvers, the one and only Captain Marvel. One can’t help but make comparisons between the two, not when we so infrequently get a female superhero worthy of our attentions.

I, for one, love Hope Van Dyne. She’s strong, yet vulnerable, wicked smart, sassy, irresistibly loyal, and, in my humble opinion, gorgeous. She was all of those things in Ant-Man, but she took it to a whole new level in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Hope doesn’t take any crap off of anyone, not her father, not Scott, not even Sonny Burch, who treats her like she’s no better than the table salt at his fancy restaurant. She is confident in her abilities, knows that she can do what needs to be done, and she gets it done. She uses her vulnerabilities to make her better, stronger, to drive her. She’s not afraid to go after what she wants and she’s not afraid to let others know how she feels. She doesn’t hide her feelings or bury her emotions under mountains of “I don’t give a shit” attitude. Hope Van Dyne is the hero I can get behind.

“What about Carol?” some of you may be asking. I haven’t forgotten the newest hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Carol Danvers, Vers, or Captain Marvel, is the most recent entry to the superhero world, a female superhero in a world that badly needs them. She is one of the most powerful heroes Marvel has introduced, with abilities not seen before, including the ability to fly and shoot photon blasters from her hands. She may be just what the Avengers need to save the universe from Thanos.

Now comes that unpopular opinion I mentioned. I’m not a fan of Captain Marvel. I like my female superheroes to be emotional, to show a sense of vulnerability, to be relatable. I didn’t feel that with Carol. I know that part of her storyline involved her squashing her emotions in order to make herself stronger, but that is a fallacy used far too often in far too many stories. I strongly believe that it’s okay for female characters to be emotional, shoot, it’s okay for all characters, male and female, to be emotional. Humans are emotional, all of us, it’s what makes us human, and sometimes, being emotional is what makes us strong. Fighting your emotions to make you stronger actually makes you weaker. Give women, even super women, the freedom to use their emotions to make the world better. For me, taking that away from Carol made it hard for me to like her.

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Author, Wife, Mother, Fangirl

Author. Wife. Mother. Fangirl.

These are the monikers I use most often to describe myself. There are many more, a million more, but these are the ones I use the most. There are days that I am more one than the other.

Today, Mother jumped to the front of the line. Don’t get me wrong, I am always a mother. Always. I have been a mother for 23+ years and I am damn proud of that particular moniker. But my children are grown or almost grown – 2 adult daughters, 23 and 21, and a 17-almost-18-year-old son who is off to the military in a few short months – so I don’t find myself wearing my mother hat 24/7 like I did when they were little. I pull it out every now and then, but I’ve worked hard to make my children be self-sufficient, so more often than not, I step back and let them figure it out on their own.

But today, The Boy, my baby (who isn’t really a baby, not at 6 feet and 150 pounds of pure muscle), sliced open his finger at school. He called me as he made his way to the nurse’s office, panic in his voice, immediately putting me on edge as he talked about his finger “gushing blood.” Ten minutes later the school nurse called me and suggested he go for stitches. She did comment that he was bleeding A LOT and she was concerned because the cut was on the joint. Basically, every time he moved his finger, the cut reopened and started bleeding anew.

I made arrangements to leave work, then hurried to school to pick up The Boy. I was in full MOTHER mode, making an appointment to get him into the urgent care by our house, talking to the school nurse, and letting his dad know what happened.

Three hours later, he is stitched and splinted and none the worse for wear. He’ll probably have a gnarly scar, but no big deal. It’s not the first and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I’ve been in full AUTHOR mode for a couple of weeks now, ever since I got Private Lives ready for pre-order. It has been on my mind constantly. I wake up in the middle of the night and think of something new to do for release day, I wake up wondering if it’s any good, I fuss over every little thing. But today, MOTHER mode took over and for a few hours, I didn’t even think about my book.

Isn’t it fascinating how we can shift gears in our lives so quickly? How we can toss one hat aside for another, then minutes later put on yet another hat? I love it. I love that I can be so many things at once and every single one of those monikers I have – author, wife, mother, fangirl – can co-exist peacefully in one person. And those are just the tip of the iceberg. I can be so much more, do so much more.

There are no limits.

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Let’s Talk About Fanfiction

My name is Mimi and I write fanfiction.

Fanfiction – fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, television, movies, etc. (dictionary.com); when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, television show, movie, etc., and creates their own story based on it (Urban Dictionary).

I used to be ashamed to admit it, like it was a dirty secret. People everywhere make fun of it; there have been panels at conventions specifically set up to mock it; celebrities have fanfiction thrown in their faces during interviews, Q & A panels, and conventions, and it’s usually meant to mock or embarrass them, and published authors have been known to denigrate those who write it on their Twitter, Facebook, or websites. If you write it, you’re a pariah.

Do you see why I was afraid to admit that I’m a fanfiction writer?

Not to mention, I’m a 40ish-year-old wife and mother. According to the younger generation, I’m “too old” to be writing it. Because, you know, being a fan of something and enjoying it enough to express yourself creatively because of it, is for people under the age of 25. So say a lot of people under 25.

But, I’m not ashamed to admit that I write fanfiction anymore. If it wasn’t for fanfiction, I never would have been brave enough to write either of my books. Fanfiction and the people who read it made me believe in myself for the first time in 40-odd-years. Writing fanfiction has brought some amazing people into my life, people I now call friends, people who have supported me and stood by me while I went on this crazy journey. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have written either of my books and I definitely wouldn’t have published them.

Writing fanfiction made me brave. For that I will always be grateful.