My Problem with “Dawn of the Dragon Racers”

I love the How to Train Your Dragon Movie and TV-franchise.

HTTYD2 and DotDR spoilers!

tumblr_static_yesLike everyone, the first movie hit me as a huge surprise. I didn’t expect it to be that good. And after the gorgeous movie, came a really well made TV series, that strechted out over 3 season so far, the 4rth one in the making. And I’ve also seen the specials, too. The one thing I haven’t touched, are the books. However, I’ve heared the Movie/TV-franchise doesn’t really follow it either way, so I don’t feel like I’m missing a huge part of the picture, because it’s more like there’re two differenet pictures to begin with.

Obviously, I’ve seen the “Dawn of the Dragon Racers” short, that was released alongside the HTTYD2 DVD/BluRay release. It was nice to know how they came to invent Dragon Racing with the rules we’ve seen in the movie, but there was one detail that really bugged me. A very major detail. Simply speaking, the skill of the riders didn’t match up, especially Hiccup. I thought it was a bit strange everyone seemed to be very balanced out, even though they all have the strong and weak points. Of course, it’s all about what you make with them, but here’s my thought:

Fishlegs is smart, but very slow. The twins are… the twins, basically as dumb as bread and hardly ever follow any rules correctly. Snotlout has a very capable dragon, but a weird relationship with ihm, he’s too focussed on himself to properly work for a team most of the time and not the lighest bulb in the kitchen either. So much about those. Then there’s Astrid, I’d say of average intelligence, very fired up, has a good sense of battle, a very capable fighter and rider with a considerable fast and spiky dragon. Lastly, you have Hiccup, who’s smart, training them all, riding the fastest dragon of them all, has been riding his dragon for the longest and has the best relationship to him.giphy

Personally… I think Hiccup should be way above the other riders and easily win the Dragon Races, which is probably because he seemed to have no desire to participate in any of the shown races in the movie. He would rather go exploring or help his townspeople rebuilding houses. The only time he participated in a race, it seemed to be of the sole reason to mess with Astrid, because she would have gotten the black sheep and won the race by herself, if Hiccup didn’t snatch the sheep away from her and put it into her basket letting her win. In other words, the one time he joined, he totally owned the rest of them and easily could have won, if he didn’t let Astrid win on purpose.

It just really bugged me Hiccup seemed to be of the same skill, when he’s clearly the most advanced of them all on the fastest and best to maneuver dragon, which gives him a huge advantage – this is a race after all. And it’s not like he looked like he was holding back in the short. It’s great to see the others advancing as well, but I just felt they took a bit too much from Hiccup in order to make this entire thing more fair/exciting/equal, especially after seeing the movie, where he was pointed out very clearly as the most capable of the dragon riders.

And I’m already totally overlooking they made Meatlog as fast as the other dragons in the short at the start of the first race held by Stoick.

All in all, it was a nice short, but I see it more as information rather than entertainment, because the level of skill of the dragon riders just really doesn’t match up. I’mk sorry, I kind of enjoyed it, but that’s all there is to it for me.

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The Gender Problem

It’s in the middle of the night, I’m eating chocolate and I’ve been watching too many videos about sexuality and gender on youtube. Actual informative and good videos. The comments were not. Either way, why would I do that? Eating chocolat in the middle of the night is super unhealthy and makes you fat! Actually, it’s not. First myth of the day bunked. Yay. Chocolate makes you happy and as long as you don’t stuff your face with it, the few extra calories left in a piece are nothing to worry about. And don’t get me started on the “eating after 6pm makes you fat” nonsense. Try teaching your body daylight saving time. Have fun! To make a long story short, it’s all about how much you eat of a certain type of food and your body seriously doesn’t care when.

Now back to the gender problem. First and foremost, I have studied Biology and Paedagogy and some Psychology as part of my teacher’s degree that I used to aim for. I’d say, I know a bit of everything, but I’m no expert in one specific topic and it’s been a while so I can’t name all the studies made by various people anymore out of memory. However, I don’t even want to hold a lecture about gender roles or feminism. I basically just want to say how fed up I’m with these uneducated opinions. In the internet, everyone has an opinion on everything and needs to slap it into your face, no matter how idiotic.

I think this entire blown up conflict of opinion has one very probelmatic key point: no man has ever been a women and no women has ever been a man. I’m leaving out transgender etc on purpose to not make this exorbitant complicated, these people have to deal with problems much greater than anything we do.

Either way, when I read discussions about gender roles, stereotypes and equality for women, it’s usually men vs women and that’s because neither men nor women have a good understanding what living the life of the other is like. Men suffer from social pressure just as much women, just a different kind. It’s important to try and properly look at the other side of the fence before claiming the gras on that side better than the gras on your side, because often it’s not. I can only speak from a woman’s perspective and I really don’t think I know what it’s like to be a man, but I know what it’s like to be a woman, an educated woman, and some opinions really hurt. My own step-father thinks I’m incapable of anything realated to electronics and modern technology and I often need to reming him I’m very well aware of the functionality of a TV remote. And how I can manage my TV-programms with it. Or that I don’t need help with my computer. You get the point.

I try not to claim someone guilty, I try to understand where these opinions come from and I think many misconceptions come simpy from being uninformed about social roles and the effect society has on yourself. Let’s make this simple: most people think they’re individual and that’s true, everyone’s different, but we are not who we are, because we are born with it. Sure, our genetics play a huge role in what makes us who we are, but I’m under the impression the roles of society, norms and just general surroundings are often heavly underrated. This might have something to do with the fact we humans like to believe we are special. You wouldn’t believe how many of my classmates in my biology advanced curse refused to believe their entire existence is literally nothing but a gigantic fluke. You think winning the lottery makes you lucky? Dude, the fact that you’re even alive was much more of a gamble. A lot of things in evolution happen because of accidents and the fact you are alive is a very fortunate accident. This is hard to digest for many people, because it means there’s no special reason you as that specific person exist.

What in the world does this have to do with feminism and gender? Simple: just has people have a problem digesting their own existence as an accident, people have a problem accepting their identity is heavly influenced by the society they grew up in. Japanese are not different than Dutch, because they’re of japanese heritage. They look different, because of their genetical heritage, but they behave different, because japanese society is very different from dutch society. We are what we are, because of who wanted us to be who we are. If you’re raised to be a musical genius, you will become a very good musician and be praised as a genius. Even without any special talent. On the other hand, if the true genius never receives the proper care and influence, he’ll never even know what he might be capable of. If the musical talaned one is brought up to be a genius, he’ll be the next Mozart. Other than our genes, the influences of society and the people around us, heavly influences what we are.

One argument that usually hurts me the most is men claiming, women want stereotypes to exist. They support and even enforce them, by actively searching for a certain type of man they find attractive. This line of thought is too superficial to even argue with. The question is: WHY do women choose the tall, muscular type of men? On the oder hand, did these guys ever ask themselves why most men like the well-proportionized curvy type of women? The answer to both questions is simple and can be answered from both a biological and a social point of view. Biological: From a evolutionary point of view we as living beings are nothing but fancy packages to ensure your genes make it into the next generation. Women and man of certain types fullfill the criteria to promise healthy offsprings and this makes them attractive to us. Social: Every society has it’s own beauty standarts. Society tells us what we have to like and this goes as far as telling us what body criteria have to be fullfilled to be considered “beautiful” or “desirable”.

What I’m trying to say is, in order to properly communicate with eath other as men and women, we need a proper understanding what differences come from a genetical background and what differences come from a social background. For example, men are build to be physically stronger than women and women are build to have children. These are things we can’t change, we have to live with them and deal with them. Gender equality doesn’t mean men giving birth, it means treating men and women with the same respect and to get rid of genderstereotypes enforced by society. We are our society, in order to achieve gender equality we need to get rid of century old customs and that’s very hard for every side. In developed western countries, women have a much better standpoint compared to other countries and regions and this has many reasons.

What men often don’t see, from my experience,  is that even though it’s better compared to somewhere else, we’re still living in a world heavly dominated by men and male ideas. Take Germany for example, you all know Angela Merkel. As cancellor of Germany she’s officially the 5th most powerful person in the world and the single most powerful woman in the world. You’d think in a country ruled by a woman for 10 years, gender equality is no big deal? Think again. The difference in salary between men and women in Germany was 23% in 2013. This means, a man and a woman both work with the same qualifications in the same job, but the man gets 23% more money for the same work the woman does. These 23% are actually one of the highest percentages in Europe. That’s sad. This is just one example that shows we still need to do so much more to achieve true equality between men and women, because there are a lot of thing both genders can do just as good.

We’re all stuck in social roles and amongst other things, they determ who we are. Men have to suffer a lot social pressure as well, but I think we’re far from opressing men. If anything, classic male gender roles are what is opressing men. Some feminists take the entire debate to the extreme, but we need those loud voices, because these people keep us talking and hopefully one day we have a better understanding of each other and are truly equal within out biological limitations. That’s how I see it and that’s why I want to slap guys left and right when I hear them whining about being opressed by women or claim only women keep generstereotypes alive. That’s just as wrong as wanting to have more advantages as a woman only because of my gender.  I want to slap extreme feminists just as hard, that much you can believe.