This week's CSTS Supporter comes from Mary in Raleigh, North Carolina....
1. When was your first CSTS?
2007. Loved it so much when the 2008 rolled around, I ended up helping the local coordinator. And then got the coordinator's job when she stepped down. I did my town's 2009 CSTS, so I can say that I've seen the event from both sides. It was fun and exhilerating either way.
2. How many times have you seen Serenity?
Twice a year on the big screen since 2008. Raleigh has some dedicated Browncoats who work in the movie theatre business and twice a year we get to see it on the big screen. Once at our annual CSTS event and once in December as part of a cult classic series. ^_^ So ... that makes it roughly 6 times on the big screen since 2008. However, the first three years of Raleigh's CSTS were two night events, showing the BDM twice. So the number goes up to 8. Plus travelling to Charlotte to see it there, once. 9. And that's not counting the times I saw it in 2005 during its theatrical release (3) and on DVD (20+).
So, um. Yeah. Lots and lots of times. ^_^
3. Who's your favorite Firefly character and why?
Mal. He's had his innocence destroyed, his faith crushed, his home burned to a cinder. He's been shot, stabbed, drugged, cheated, and betrayed. He's had every reason to let that turn him into a bitter and cynical man, twisted and broken. Yet despite everything he's been through and lost, he still has his humanity. He's still capable of love and loyalty and sacrifice. He still has his wits, his indomitable will, and the fortitude to act on them. He will never say die. He will never surrender. There's a lot to admire in that and in him.
4. What does being a Browncoat mean to you?
Oooh, tough question. It means a lot of things. It's a fannish love (or obsession) of the show Firefly and the movie Serenity. It's about admiring and adopting the themes of the show and the movie--self-reliance, vigilance against tyranny, chosing to fight the good fight when the opportunity presents itself, the triumph of the human spirit against overwhelming odds, making mistakes and learning from them, forgiveness and redemption, life, love, and loyalty. The works, really. As Browncoats we celebrate all of that and try to spread it around. It's an outlook on the world. It's a willingness to change things for the better. It's finding a cause to support and believe in. It's a community of people who think and feel and act on those things. And it's also a fairly geek-intensive science fiction/western genre that likes to mix things up and have fun. Being a Browncoat means all these things because as human beings, we can encompass all these things at once.
5. Why do you support CSTS and Equality Now?
I'm sure that women's rights mean different things to different women and men, depending on where they are from and what their culture fosters or suppresses. I can only speak for myself and my upbringing and my culture (middle class, caucasian/mix, American). I support CSTS because I'm a Browncoat and a fan of all things Firefly/Serenity. I support CSTS and Equality Now because I do believe in the things Equality Now hopes to change for women around the world less fortunate than I. Because at base, men and women work best when they can work together. All humanity benefits when women are given the same scope to explore their individual freedoms and talents as the men they live beside. To chain one half of the human race in poverty, ignorance, and servitude diminishes the entirety of humanity, not just those so mistreated. It's heartbreaking to know that women and children are singled out for such horrific abuse due to custom, greed, and power--it's staggering, really. If EN can educate everyone, men and women, in alternatives to abuse and help them achieve a real and positive solution, the potential for improvement, for good, increases. Everyone benefits.
Hmm. Reading the above, it sounds like corporate BS. So I'll just say it and to hell with Political Correctness: To mutilate a woman's body for the sake of male vanity with regards to virginity is WRONG. To sequester women upon pain of death if they venture outside their homes without male escort is WRONG. To marry a woman so as to extort her family of money until they are bankrupt and killing the bride to leave you free to marry AGAIN, is WRONG. To sell women and children into slavery, oftentimes sexual slavery, is WRONG. To justify such actions as being in the best interests of its victims or because of their social class or economic worth is WRONG. These aren't merely customs or traditions, these are crimes against humanity. (Sorry for the all-caps, but truly, some things are simply outrageous and cannot be expressed any other way.)
It will take a lot of education and viable alternatives to replace such customs and traditions as FGM, dowry murders, honor killings, sex slavery, and everything else EN is fighting to change. Such practices did not become entrenched overnight and their eradication will likewise require time to accomplish. Ultimately, the power structures that rely on such practices will not change unless people refuse to practice them. People must have faith in making the change, in standing up for the alternatives, in believing that their actions have meaning and will last beyond the moment. Again, education and viable alternatives are key. Also, governments need to follow the rule of law and law enforcement needs to be honest ... but that 's a separate, though interconnected, social ill. Suffice to say, governmental/legal corruption allows human abuses to flourish, because crimes go unpunished and justice is applied unequally to abuse victims. Something else EN is fighting, btw.
If I had to narrow my response down to a single sentence I think it would be this: Once you're aware this abuse is going on and you have a chance to do something about it, no matter how small your contribution, how can you not and still consider yourself human and civilized?
In case you're wondering, I live in Raleigh, North Carolina (USA) and have been a Browncoat since August 2005. Thank you for sending me this survey and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and enthusiasm for CSTS, EN, and the Browncoat community.