Wednesday, March 26, 2014

'austenland' and sexual assault as comedic plot device

I watched Austenland the other night. It was OK: fluffy and predictable, not exactly funny but bobbing along in that romantic comedy way. It's the lightest of light entertainment, which makes it all the more jarring that it features a sexual assault, and uses it as a plot device. (The below contains spoilers, but you should just spend an hour and a half rereading Sense and Sensibility.)

Jane (our heroine) is returning to the house at night and is accosted by Mr Wattlesbrook, who appears to be drunk. When she refuses his advances he forces himself on her and has to throw him to the ground to get him to stop.

The hero bursts in and consoles her (presumably the film is distinguishing Jane as self-sufficient because she doesn't need to be saved by him). Another, sympathetic male character helps Mr Wattlesbrook from the room telling him that he won't "cover up for" him any longer, suggesting both that this is part of a pattern and that covering up sexual assault is an honourable activity that good dudes do for their friends.

Jane doesn't call the police, or complain to the manager of Austenland (who is Mrs Wattlesbrook). Not because she is traumatised, but because the incident is seen within the film as trivial. OK, that pissed me off, but I'm used to that kind of shit in movies. What really got me going was the scene at the end where Jane threatens Mrs Wattlesbrook. She says she will lodge a complaint, and she's sure she's not the first woman he's assaulted. But she does this not because THIS ASSHOLE SHOULD BE STOPPED FROM SEXUALLY ASSAULTING WOMEN, but because she is angry that her romance was not manufactured as part of her holiday.

Then when she returns to the States and her hero comes to try to get back with her (speaking of rape culture: you rejected me in the UK, so I'll catch a plane, find out where you live, come to your door and insist you date me! Romance!) she tells him not to worry, she's not going to file a complaint. Oh good! She's not angry any more, she can drop that empty threat!

Not only is the sexual assault completely out of tone with the rest of the movie, it's treated like a joke and then a throw-away plot device. In short: fuck you, Austenland.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

how I night-weaned my one year old, part two

A Metro shaft in Gateshead 
It's been three weeks since I wrote my last baby sleep update. In that time I contracted the Sore Throat of Doom, which developed into the Hacking Cough of Despair, and I stopped recording every night of sleep. To recap: using this method, I was night weaning my baby, trying to get him to sleep through the night and go to sleep without help.

To start with: Peanut is completely weaned now, his choice. On the second night after I stopped night feeding I offered him a pre-bed feed and he just looked at me like, But we're done with this, right? Then I offered it again and he laughed at me(!) so I stopped. Since then I haven't breastfed and he's been fine with it.

Over the next week after my (painfully detailed) last update, things got better. Peanut was waking up once a night most nights. I would go in, sit by the bed and he would settle down and go back to sleep. Sometimes it would take five minutes, occasionally thirty, but he never got very upset.

Then he dropped that waking and just started sleeping through the night. Eleven hours, 6pm to 5am, every night.

Most nights he puts himself to sleep after a little cry. Occasionally I still have to go in and sit by the bed, but rarely for more than ten minutes. Hopefully as time goes on he won't need to have that cry before falling asleep, but it doesn't bother me. I've heard of magical babies who point to their crib when they want to go to sleep, but Peanut's motto is "rock and roll all night if possible, and also party every day unless you absolutely have to take a nap."

This was a very difficult journey, but it was worth it (ridiculous understatement) and I would strongly recommend it. I know that every baby is different, and I would never suggest that one method works for all babies, but I do think this one is worth a go if you want to try sleep training but don't want to (or aren't ready to) do cry-it-out.

Do you have any questions about it? Want to share your baby sleep horror stories?