Doctor Who Takes One Step Forward For Women, and One Giant Leap Forward for Transgendered/Transsexual’s

On Sunday it was announced that a female actress will be the new Doctor Who. For most Americans, you might not understand the significance of this. Doctor Who is a decidedly British show. It started in the 1960’s, and has become a British institution. Perhaps this is the reason the British love it so much. It has bonded generation together, over a love for the eccentric Doctor.
If I could give you a summary of Doctor Who, I would. But, I’ve only begun to watch it the last few years and I only view it sporadically. The gist of the show is about an odd Doctor who can travel through time and space, and he helps beings whether they be human or alien or animals. He always has a sidekick who is usually a stereo-typically beautiful woman that keeps him from going crazy from all of his travels. The Doctor can heal from most injuries, and he regenerates into new versions of himself if he is mortally wounded. Those are the main points of Doctor Who that you need to understand to see the implication of the casting alteration.
It’s the regeneration that enables the show to continue production. When the male actor becomes bored, or too old to continue playing Doctor Who, they simply make the doctor regenerate. And after he does, it’s a new actor and a new Doctor Who, and all new story lines can begin! From a marketing and financial point, it’s a brilliant strategy to ensure the show maintains interest and longevity.

credit to images below
The last season of Doctor Who was the most liberal yet. His side kick was completely different from previous ones. The girl (Bill) was poor, black, and gay, with heavy emphasis on being a lesbian in episodes. I think the show producers realized that Doctor Who was a bit dated and needed to be brought into 2017. So, they incorporated the liberal world we now live in, into the story line.
Now, when I saw this change in the apprentice, I knew that Doctor Who was turning a corner. So, early on this season, I predicted that when the Doctor regenerated, it would be into a female form. And as was revealed on Sunday, I was right! The Doctor in season 11 will be a female.
Now the main character will be Doctor Who as a woman. This demonstrates that the show is ready to embrace a more powerful female voice. That is what the media seems to be focusing on. I agree that it is great that a woman is going to be the star, and likely a man will be her assistant (although a female assistant would make an epic statement about feminism). But I think there is a more deeply embedded theme that is worth examining.
Let’s analyze the fact that the doctor can regenerate into a new being, and it can be either male or female. I suggest this hints at the idea that Doctor Who is more liberal than people might have perceived. Some might even view this as a one of the first gender fluid characters in main stream television. A being that can be either male or female at different points in their lifespan. Within the show, there already exists gender fluid being like this, but it has never gotten much attention. Another person from the same planet as the Doctor who regenerated from a male to female and thrived. That character has since died, and now Doctor Who will be the one that has transformed from male to female.
Doctor Who will now normalize the idea that a man can “regenerate” and turn into a woman and vice versa. If people take this at face value, it might seem insignificant, just a plot twist. But it is quite the opposite! Seven years ago, the fact that trans-gendered people existed was not well known or accepted. In fact, many people thought it impossible for a man to be born with male genitalia, but within their brain, feel female. Now, there are genderless bathrooms, and widespread education/support for the trans-gendered and transsexual population.

credit to images below
Doctor Who is more groundbreaking than people might believe. Doctor Who had already suggested that the Doctor could change into a woman, but remain the Doctor, and remain themselves. Now the show has progressed from mere suggestion to physically turning the Doctor from a man to a woman. And this is exactly what the trans-gendered/transsexual movement is. A person born a female, but feeling that they are a man, are not different people when they embrace their masculinity. They still hold the same memories and beliefs, they just show an altered physical form of themselves to the world. That is what the Doctor will be doing in the new season. The Doctor will have morphed from a male, into female. But the Doctor will still help people, still be weird, and still be the same person they were before they became transsexual.

It is commendable that the show’s creators have put a female as the lead role in a previously male dominated show. But when digging deeper into the shows meaning, it shows support to the certainty that the gender/sex you are born doesn’t mean that gender/sex is the one you must remain. Or that by altering gender/sex, you change who a person is within themselves. The Doctor and transgender/transsexual people’s inner essence remains the identical. What is more groundbreaking about Doctor Who is the concept that it demonstrates, explains, publicizes and supports trans-gendered/transsexual people. 





male image taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/doctorwhospoilers/15043061762
-image edited and changed using picmonkey.com
-image edited and changed using picmonkey,com

The Best Way To Blow Someone Off

imgflip.com
(Major awesome points to whoever can correctly identify the movie quote in my blog title. Comment if you know it)
 
“I can’t believe she blew me off like that!”
A quote from a recent conversation I had with some friends over curry. They reacted to my words with inappropriate giggling. I didn’t get why. I was quite upset that my best gal pal elected to not go to a movie with me and used a lame excuse days later. I didn’t comprehend what was laughable about my situation. Then someone finally asked what “blow me off” meant.
I stared at them blankly. Of course “blow off” means to have someone cancel or ignore you. In my case a friend ignored plans to go to a movie. It is a phrase I frequently say.
Understandable stuff, right? Wrong! The reason my mature, fully grown adult, friends were giggling like teenage boys was because in England, “blow off” means to perform a blow job or oral sex. Naturally, they were confused and amused that I might say my girl friend blew me off. Cue my cheeks turning bright red and me sputtering out the American definition.
American definition
Blow off: To ignore someone or something or to cancel on plans in a abrupt/rude manner
British definition (according to my friends)
Blow off: To perform oral sex on a male
 
British definition (according to Urban dictionary, this is the fifth most common definition of the phrase, so it isn’t widely used)
Blow off: To fart or pass gas

 

(all meme images were made at imgflip.com)

‘Merican Made: How to Celebrate the 4th of July in UK

The 4th of July is a special day to us Americans. It symbolises a celebration of our freedom, our independence from Britain and our birth as a separate country. I love the 4th of July.
 I have no bad memories of the holiday. I have celebrated it around the world, China, Britain, USA. I have celebrated it multiple different ways. As a child it was always a family + friend holiday, we would spend it BBQ’ing in the backyard or tailgating in a grocery store parking lot. As night fell we would watch the fireworks light up the nights sky and I would fall asleep as the adults talked.
As a teenager, I would go to my friends and light small fireworks, at least until I had an accident. When parents say, ‘don’t blow yourself up’ they mean it! Because I actually did it. I was down the street at a neighbours house, throwing “buffalo bombs” into an empty garbage can full of water. I was so focused on aiming into the can that I didn’t pay attention to how much time I had before the firework went off. So, it exploded in my hand. And the first thought that popped into my head was ‘Oh My God! My mom was right! How did she know?’ My hand was numb for the rest of the night, and I haven’t tried to play with fireworks again. I happily pay for them and let other people do the dangerous part.
As an adult I’ve had to work on the holiday. But that never bothered me because my colleagues and I were always in fantastic moods and acted like comrades because it was our nations holiday! No matter where I worked, I knew my employer would offer us good food and make sure our shift was fun.
4th of July in China was about educating people about the holiday and enjoying our mutual admiration and love for America. The Chinese embraced it, and even helped us find fireworks for the occasion.
But the same can’t be said for Britain. The more 4th of July’s I spend in England, the more depressing it is. I never fail to hear people say ‘you are all just a bunch of ungrateful colonials’. And they gripe about how they didn’t try very hard during the American Revolution to keep us as a colony of Britain. The last thing they want to do is celebrate our independence. The 4th of July is actually quite a sore subject with Brits.
Their history lessons about how America became independent and ours is very different. They didn’t see us as oppressed citizens. The Brits saw themselves as fair, benevolent leaders, charging us tax to raise money for the home nation. They didn’t consider how harmful it was to us. And when we rebelled, it was shocking! How could we not want to be British! The UK still view’s itself in the light of glory. They revel in their history as world conquerors and ignore the parts where they burdened other nations. America wasn’t fight back against injustice, it was being ungrateful to their generosity of giving us lands. So, our winning our independence was almost a betrayal that they have never forgiven us for.
I’ve never been treated as less than another person until I came to England. I feel that I am regularly judged and looked down upon for being an American. I think it is residual resentment for us earning our freedom, and the huge success we have had as our own country. But, people frequently are negative towards me just because I am from the USA.
Well to them I say, I’m American and damn proud of it! I do not try and pronounce things the British way, I don’t strive to use the British slang. I don’t put on a faux British accent to try and assimilate. I respect the British but I’m still a loud, opinionated American, and I will scream that from the roof tops. I know my country isn’t perfect, but I won’t deny it as my own.

Spending Independence Day in the country that my ancestors fought to gain independence from is awkward. In past years, I haven’t gone all out to celebrate. But not this year. I wore red white and blue makeup, painted my nails, had hot dogs and watched Captain America. No one will put me down today for being an ungrateful colonial. If they dare, I’ll just go American on their ass. Today is my 4th of July and Britain’s don’t get to take that away from me because they are petty.  

Fish Sammies: An Explanation of the British Bread Complex

In general, America is the winner of the food game. We deep fry everything, Twinkies, cheese, pasta, Oreo’s, basically everything is better if deep fried. Our pizza’s are bigger, our cakes have more frosting, and we make it all over the top. But, lately, I feel like the UK might have us Yanks beat in the sandwich department.
British people take their sandwiches seriously. They even have special bread just for making toasted sandwiches, which they call “toasties”. This special bread is more aerodynamically designed to get maximum toastage while still maintaining a softer inside to bite into. It is a science, someone I work with can even tell regular sliced bread from toastie sandwich sliced bread. Apparently, all breads are not created equal. (This same person can actually smell when I am making toast at work, she stops by the kitchen to point out how nice it is, toast is like perfume to her)

I’m not joking when I write that the British have made their sandwich forming into a science form. They have even designed a method of avoiding sogginess so sandwiches last longer. In the US, if you are making a standard lunch sandwich, you would have two slices of bread, put on some meat, then maybe put on some condiments like mayo or mustard. However, by the time lunch rolls around, you might notice your sandwich has gone soggy! The horror! (Especially if you use American Wonder Bread or white bread, which British people think tastes like slices of cake.)

The Brit’s have solved the soggy sandwich problem. I wondered for over a year why people at work put butter on bread before adding their sandwich ingredients. I thought they just really like butter. Recently, my partner explained that it is because by first putting on butter, it creates a barrier between the bread and other condiments and meats! Thus, your bread won’t get soggy! My mind was blown. (And yes, I tested it and noticed the sandwiches are fresher with butter, but I still don’t like the taste enough to frequently butter my bread.)
Butter aside, the Brits put some other weird stuff on their sandwiches. They will eat straight up bread and meat, no condiments to add moisture. Bread and potato chips/crisps sandwiches. Subway here sells Indian curry meat on sandwiches. Shrimp in mayo is a popular sandwich choice. Sausage and egg on a baguette roll is a staple of my partner’s diet. But by far one of the strangest sandwich toppings I’ve seen in England is fish fingers!
Yes, the kids I work with love fish finger sandwiches. By fish fingers I am referring to the healthy replacement to chicken nuggets our parents tried to trick us with when we were kids in America. I always ate mine doused in ketchup to make it palatable. Well here, children and adults love the stuff. And as a snack or lunch option, they will make a fish finger sammie. (Sammie is British slang for sandwich). To make a fish finger sandwich you first take two slices of bread (usually white sliced bread, not necessarily toastie bread) with both slices fully buttered. Then you put on at least three fish fingers, and smash the slices of bread together to create a sammie.
I tried it for the first time at work. I enjoy the occasional fish fingers, and I kind of like bread. So, I thought I would probably enjoy the two in combination. I was wrong. I did it up right too, I had the bread slathered in spready butter. The bread combined with the bread crumbs on the fish fingers was just too much for me. It all blended into a white mess. Add in the butter and I felt like I was clogging my arteries with every bite. (This is coming from an American who once did a shot of garlic butter dip on a dare, and enjoyed it) After two bites, I took my sammie apart and just ate the fish fingers.

In conclusion, fish finger sammies are definitely a British tradition I will not be getting on board with. When it comes to sandwiches and sandwich making, American’s need to bow down to the superior knowledge of the British. And lastly, if you want to preserve your sammie, add butter!

Curry a British Person’s Tex-Mex

I’m enjoying my favorite panneer tikka

 Indian curry is to the United Kingdom as Tex-Mex cuisine is to Americans. I was raised going to the Mexican restaurant around the corner from my neighbourhood in Atlanta. My British friends were raised ordering take away from the local curry place. And similar to how Americans changed Mexican food to fit their personal tastes better (less spicy, less tomato’s, more cheese) so to have the British changed curry’s.

I would say in America the most popular Mexican food to order is taco’s. After all, we love our taco’s so much we have Chipotle and Taco Bell to make it for us faster and with a drive thru. I don’t know a single American who doesn’t love their Mexican food and with a margarita on the side. My personal favourite is chicken enchiladas with refried beans and rice. (Just writing about it makes me hungry, I CANNOT get a good Tex-Mex meal in England. And it just doesn’t taste quite as good when I make it myself.) We took the food made south of the border for us, and adopted it as our own.

The British like to pretend they are so different and better than Americans, but they pull the same tricks as we do. By far the most popular curry to order in England is a “traditional” chicken tikka masala. This is mild tomato based curry dish that is flavorful but doesn’t burn your tongue off. While many people  believe it is an Indian dish, it was actually created in Birmingham (Americans did this with the fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants, they aren’t actually a Chinese tradition at all). So when coming to England, you will not be getting the full culinary experience if you do not partake in at least one curry meal, which includes at least; poppadoms for an appetizer, a tikka masala, pilau rice and naan bread. For the more brave there are several extremely hot curry dishes available as well. My go to curry eats are Panneer tikka, coconut rice, and a vegetable korma.

This is an Indian Curry restaurant that shares my name!! And makes great food!

Chuff, Chuffed, Chuffing: The Meaning Behind the Word

My horse chuffing with love

Did you know that chuffed has two different meanings? Like many words within the English language, what they mean depends where you are when the word is said. If you say “pants” in America, you mean trousers. In England it means underwear. A batch in Britain is a type of bread roll, while in America and Canada, it is a group of something. A batch of cookies for example.

My newest addition to the list of confounding words that change meaning based on geography is “chuffed”. I came across this word at work, a colleague approached me to say I “would be chuffed to hear what ____ child did”. I followed her into our daycare room with apprehension, because I really didn’t know what chuffed meant. I thought it could mean that I was going to be angry with a kid for bad behavior. Turns out instead the boy had done something good. Confusion ensued.

Chuff, Chuffed, Chuffing, Etc

Chuffed (America): The sound a horse makes in greeting, or a sound tigers occasionally make. Kind of like a vvvv vvvv noise.
My horse chuffed with affection at me.

Chuffed (United Kingdom): To be excited, proud, happy with a person of action.
You will be well chuffed with the beer I bought.

Navigating the world of vocabulary in two different countries across the world from each other can be hard.

The American Food Series: Top 5 Weird Pizza’s

One of the great American marvels in the eyes of the Brit’s is our food. Not only the portion sizes, but our never ceasing inventiveness. We have our range of deep fried foods; cheese, Twinkies, Snickers, pickles, pie, to be honest we will deep fry anything at least once. As well as our varied traditional holiday cuisine; sweet potato casserole, party corn, green bean casserole, corn bread and honey baked ham. And let us not forget our experiments with the weird such as colored ketchup (it was a big thing in the early 2000’s, I personally had a bottle of the Heinz Green), pumpkin flavored donuts, and barbeque flavored candy. America is always willing to try new things when it comes to edibles.
This is the start of a new series for the blog. I realize that a majority of my writing caters to explaining and demonstrating British culture to others, so I will now include explanations of American culture for the Brits. As America has a huge range of odd food, I decided to start the series off with something easy, our creative pizza toppings and pizza mix-ups.

In England, there is Pappa Johns, Pizza Hut and Domino’s. So the British already have some familiarity with unique pizza toppings such as the; Barbeque Pizza and Peri Peri Pizza (it is a type of seasoning and chicken) as well as putting sweet corn (regular corn kernels) in with vegetarian options or Ham and Pineapple Pizza (now that is weird to me). So the odd American flavors might not come as such a shock.
 1. Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza: It’s exactly as odd as it sounds. It has bacon, ground beef and cheese, all the makings of a burger, but on a pizza crust.
2. Taco Pizza: This was common a few years back. It had shredded beef, cheese, crunched up tortilla chips, shredded lettuce and cubed tomato, while sticking to the traditional pizza base.
3.Chicken Alfredo Pizza: Alfredo pizza is personally my absolute favorite! In replacement of the tomato sauce base, there is a white cheese sauce. Then on goes more cheese and chicken or various other toppings. It can be made perfect by having cheese stuffed crust!
4. Bacon Spinach Alfredo: Yummy Alfredo sauce with bacon and spinach. The real surprise however is that it is all on top of pretzel crust!! (American’s do like to add pretzel bread to everything, burgers, pizza, whatever you can dream of!!)
5. Philly Cheesesteak Pizza: It is a sandwich in pizza form. Shredded steak, onions and green peppers on top of a typical pizza base.
Now I know people build their own pizza’s that are a lot more unique then my list above, but these are just a sample of the different, odd, American toppings we put on our pizzas in the USA. A lot of these are only around for a few months before they disappear for something else equally odd.