Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Mix of thoughts inspired by Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and Laurell K. Hamilton's "Anita Blake"

The human mind has the potential, the ability to transform and create its own reality. Healing the sick, creating positive options, overcoming weakness in one's own body, all are examples of the ways our positive thoughts influence the world around us, make options available and shape reality according to desires, create potentials. Literature is a creative way for a person to shape their own reality and share it with the people around them. With enough people focusing on aspects of pieces of literature, it is possible that this will change and shape reality. Author, Laurell K. Hamilton has admitted to being shocked at the number of letters she has received from women who have left abusive relationships after reading her series, Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter. These are individuals who have internalized the reality Hamilton posits as fiction, and have created reality for themselves out of it. This reality is one that Laurell K. Hamilton (HAMILTON) and her character, Anita Blake (AB), live in, where women are treated with as much respect as men, are treated as people. The women who have written letters to HAMILTON did not formerly see this as a reality; they may have fantasized about it, but only by believing and thinking positively about the options HAMILTON proposes they should have access to be these women able to create a reality in which they are respected and not abused.

While these letters may focus on the abuse and the encouragement Hamilton provided these individuals with options outside of abuse, what is really being discussed here is the internalization of belief of self-worth. Women are battered daily with images they are expected to relate to of themselves as victims. These images come from commercials and ads to TV shows, movies, books and news. Women are mainly portrayed as victims in these mediums, and the few who step outside of their victimization pay a price; they are ostracized, ridiculed, and further abused. The women who step outside a relationship for help, looking for support from family, the law, the church often find themselves being abused more; offenders will step through whatever bounds are placed in attempts to continue control, or will begin to abuse other parts of her life that she no longer has control over: pets, children, friends, work, social life, sense of freedom. This is when the woman has healthy options outside of this oppressive relationship; often by the time she reaches out for help leaving an abusive situation, she no longer has many healthy options or alternatives to the situation she is in.

Victim blaming is a major aspect of these mediums: society is taught that the woman is to blame for being raped, abused, cut off from society. Often, individuals who find themselves abused are also at a risk of victim blaming, and may find themselves in a trap of blaming themselves for the abuse they have received. Offenders are aware of this tendency in society and individuals, and take advantage of it. As a result, victim blaming has become not only a way of life, a trope we are unable to see through, a tool utilized by offenders: victim blaming has influenced punishment for those who create the victims.

Victims are NEVER to blame. Ever. However, offenders face different types of punishments depending on how much blame can be placed on the victim. Due to an inability on my part to see the system changing, I propose that we work in the opposite way, as Hamilton has done. I would like to suggest that we encourage women to see themselves as human beings, whole, and worth protecting. Victims should no longer be able to have blame placed on them; their situation should be understood. However, in working proactively, I would like to see more women like Laurell K. Hamilton and her character, Anita Blake, valorized. As these women are treated well by their husbands, employers, friends, and challenge those who do not treat them as the humans they are asking to be recognized as, they should be honored and encouraged. Their stories and the many stories like theirs should be shared in the positive light they need, encouraging the victims who encounter these remarkable women to realize that they, too, can be treated as well as Anita Blake. The respect Anita Blake receives should no longer remain something worthy of note: this type of respect should be extended to all people in our society.

No comments:

Post a Comment