Thursday, February 11, 2010

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART









Author’s notes: Instead of the usual Thursday profile, I thought I’d share an interview I did with someone over the summer, who might not be handing out Valentines this weekend. Yes it’s Terrifica, a New York City woman, who by all accounts is a “Godmother” of the modern Real Life Superhero. Her secret origin is one many of us can relate to- a broken heart.

Terrifica began appearing in bars in the early 2000’s, dressed in a blonde wig, gold mask and Valkyrie bra, crimson and pink tights and cape.
“I protect the single girl living in the big city.” Terrifica told an ABC reporter in 2002. She elaborated that she was looking to help inebriated, decision making impaired women get into taxis and home safely, much to the dismay of horndogs city wide.

To help her in this fight, her utility belt held pepper spray, a cell phone, lipstick, a camera to take pictures of alleged male predators, a logging book, Terrifica fortune cards, and Smarties.*
It’s believed she “hung up the cape,” in 2005 or 2006, but as you’ll see, she contests this. Here is my e-mail interview, in its entirety with TERRIFICA.


TERRIFICA INTERVIEWS (06/14-08/15, 2009)

When did you first decide to adopt the persona of Terrifica and what is the origin of that identity?

I have not adopted a “persona.” I am Terrifica. I have always been Terrifica. I will always be Terrifica. I was created by the universe to fulfill a great mission.

You have been influential on what is sometimes called the "Real Life Superhero" movement. In fact some "RLSHs" have cited reading articles about Terrifica as a direct inspiration to participating in the scene. Does this surprise you?

I am happy to learn that others are inspired by me to not only identify their personal missions, but to pursue them through heroic acts. I only hope that any other super humans out there have missions that are worthy and serve the better circumstances across the globe of womankind for there is still a great deal to be done.

How does it feel to be a "pioneer" of such a movement?

I was not aware of any movement before you asked me your question.

Do you have advice for the RLSHs out there?

Yes, I do. It is important for other super heroes to not only articulate their missions clearly and remain steadfast to fulfilling their purpose, but also to be brave. My mission is very dangerous, and I am frequently confronted by situations that would shock and horrify even the toughest of super humans. To fulfully [sic] fulfill one’s mission, a super human must not only be relentless in its pursuit but be willing to sacrifice all towards its end. Super humans cannot have friends for their friends will be in danger. Super humans cannot expect glory. Super humans must be prepared for a life of isolation and a public that misunderstands and condemns them. Super humans cannot be afraid to be completely alone in the world. Super humans with truly worthy missions will often be reviled. My advice is be prepared.

Unlike a lot of RLSHs who are doing general patrols…


If they are not doing patrols, how do they accomplish their missions?

…you had a more specific mission. You were looking for women who had their decision making impaired by alcohol. Why did you feel so strongly about this cause?


Because when a woman falls prey to a man who is willing to seduce her either for one night or a lifetime, she is destroyed. She is a victim of the mythologies of love and social order that men perpetrate in order to keep women in the role of servant, whore, wife, or mother.

Was your mission met with resistance?


By men? Of course. I prevent them from hurting women.

My understanding is that at some point you decided to hang up your crime fighting outfit. What was the reasoning for this decision?


That is completely false.

I will never abandon my mission until every woman in the world is empowered to make choices that will ensure that she is never a victim of a man’s manipulation and her own lack of self-esteem.

Do you still have the costume and if so, are you ever tempted to put it back on and hit the street?

I am always on the street. Every night. I am always out there. So... men... BEWARE. I will stop you. I will find you and I will stop you. If you run into me, your life will never be the same. (I have modified my uniform for undercover work. Publicity made me too well-known and undermined my success.)

I read some past articles on Terrifica. One refers to you as an "anti-cupid" in the title and another is titled "Meet the anti-sex in the city superhero." Is this accurate? Would you say you are anti-love, anti-romance, or anti-sex?


I do not know Cupid. I suspect he's just a myth. He's supposedly Aphrodite's son, right? The flying baby with the arrows? I'm surprised Greek mythology is still relevant these days. But I don't want to insult anyone's religion. So, I'll entertain the question. If Cupid is real, I would certainly not be anti-Cupid. It's wrong to be anti-baby. But I would take away his arrows.

Can you explain who Fantastico** is? In one article he seems to be portrayed as an actual single individual, and in another he seems to be more of a concept, something along the lines of "Fantastico can be any male." How can someone identify Fantastico?


Every woman who has ever had her heart broken by a cad has her own personal Fantastico. [SECRET IDENTITY DELETED] had hers. It is my job to make sure that no woman ever again suffers the consequences of getting involved with Fantastico.

FOOTNOTES

* The Smarties are for energy!
** Fantastico is mentioned in several sources as Terrifica's villainous arch enemy.

SOURCES

“Meet the Anti-Sex in the City Superhero” by Bryan Robinson, Nov. 5, 2002, ABC News website

“The Anti-Cupid: Able to stop an ill-advised hook up in a single bound.” By Grant Stoddard, New York Magazine Nov.8, 2004

Interview by Kevlex, 1/25/2006 for the World Superhero Registry site.

Series of e-mail interviews, conducted June 14- August 15, 2009

29 comments:

  1. I cannot believe that people still buy into this bullshit. It is un-founded, factless, biased hate speech at it's worst. The presumption from one jaded woman, that ALL men are collectively, or individually guilty of what she's spewing is reprehensible at best. One woman's vendetta against men, based on her one personal biased experience(s), under the guise of a "Real life superhero" a REAL superhero helps BOTH genders, regardless. Her's is a mission of hate speech and spewing forth political propoganda and hate speech. I lend ZERO support to her.

    Sentinel

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  2. Post Script: One could call into question her bad choices in her past that led her up to this "persona" to perpetaute hate speech and obvious gender bias. I am glad she's retired. Good riddance!

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  3. At the surface, her mission is good. There are a lot of predators out there looking to take advantage of intoxicated women. However, what should be called into question isn't so much her mission, but her motives. She comes across as a vindictive man-hater. I'm not sure her intentions are as honorable as she would like people to believe. I think she needs to get past her own issues and do good for the sake of doing good.

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  5. First, I'd like to say Terrifica (and Sentinel)'s opinions do not reflect my own.

    Thanks for your opinions Sentinel, and Watchman. I think that part of Terrifica's strategy is to present an overly dramatic character.
    I won't go into a long thing examination of feminism here. I don't think it's a simple thing. Like a lot of things, there's been high points and low points and a lot of different interpretation of what "feminism" means.
    Anyway, Terrifica does not go out to bars kicking guys in the nuts, poisoning their drinks, throwing red paint on them, whatever. She goes out and talks.
    Personally, if I was at a bar trying my luck with the ladies (which I do from time to time) and a woman dressed as a superhero came up and started telling me I was a scumbag, a sleazeweasel, a dirty dog, etc...I'd be like, wow, this has been an interesting night. If she continued to harass- I'd probably tell my bartender.
    "Hey Lou- get this lady dressed as a superhero off my back."

    I'm really curious to hear what women reading this think. Do you like what Terrifica is (or was) doing? Do you think women out there need that sort of intervention or protection?

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  6. Honestly, this is the kind of double standard that makes me sick.

    If a man got even CLOSE to stating that he was an activist to stop women from doing ANYTHING, in any way, everyone reading would fucking SKEWER him with feminist cannon fire. Even guys. Hell, MY first knee-jerk reaction would be to chew the guy out.

    But this woman gets accolades for stereotyping guys to the point of villainy. And she gets positive coverage.

    Terrifica, you should have stayed obscure.

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  7. No, WOMEN don't need protection... PEOPLE need protection.

    Terrifica is just using this as a platform to send out her personal brand of hate.

    I myself defend women from abuse, children from molestation and abuse, gays from violence, humans from violence... I try to protect people from nasty people.

    Why put an unnecessary twist on helping? Do what you can, for who you can.

    I'd say she's actually making the female sex look weaker by doing what she does. People need to empower themselves.

    I think most would agree that it's going to be the only way to really get this movement rolling. Not by being guardians, but by helping to teach to guard oneself.

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  8. Z is right of course. There can be no boundaries.

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  9. Terrifica patrols bars.
    Men prey on other men in bars, women prey on men, women prey on women.
    But I'm pretty certain women suffer the most sexual assaults and harrassement at bars. I fully admit I don't have any stats or reports in front of me to back that up. Also, I do know that men being assaulted is a mysterious number- many men are embarrassed or shamed about reporting incidents like that.
    I mention that because I think that's why Terrifica has to talk a tough game.

    I do agree that you should not limit who you offer help to and reach out to whoever needs it.

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  10. I fully support this fine example of Real Life Super Heroism. She truly represents this movement in all its glory.

    You go girl!

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  11. Uh oh, it's the notorious Poop Knife!
    Poopster, your opinions are valued here just like everyone else.
    The more opinions I hear on everything, the better.

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  12. I definitely think that being Terrifica might have come from the choices she made in the past and/or romance-relational issues.

    Some decisions that women make might not be all that great or smart, but it wouldn't it be annoying if a superwoman came along and stopped a person from making that decision? After all who are they hurting by making that choice? No one but themselves. A woman can choose how to act or behave and she can choose how to react to seduction. Some women are smart enough to reject it. Others go ahead and give into it. I'm just saying if she does her shtick, she's forcing women to let go of making decisions ("good" or "bad") for themselves.

    And yeah-- sometimes women are the actual villains. I've read about articles where men have been raped by women. There are female pedophiles as well. She can't just run around thinking that the women are the weaker sex and ought to be protected by the cruel, devious men.

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  13. I'd like to make the point that yes, men do get raped. Most men I know don't have a fear that they will be raped when they go to a bar or pass a dark alley. Women do.

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  14. Personally I have no issues with someone trying to protect women from dangerous predators or raising public awareness on this issue. However, if I were single at at a bar and me and another woman were having some drinks and a good time in each others company and Terrifica came up to us and started going off for no reason I'd be pretty pissed off. It sounds a bit like Terrifica assumes that every guy that's tossing back a few drinks with a woman has a boatload of bad intentions behind them and that is patently false. Secondly, while she is out to protect women what about an individual womans right to choose the company she keeps? Not every guy who hooks up with a woman is out to do them harm. It really seems like Terrifica's past has colored her views and that's unfortunate. However, I would have no problem with Terrifica confronting a guy who she saw slipping something into another womans drink or verbally or physically coercing a woman into doing something she was uncomfortable with then I'd be cool with that.

    Sometimes bad things happen as a result of the choices we make in life but ultimately that is no excuse to inhibit a persons right to choose. I like that she wants to protect women but at least in the article this protective desire also seems to come with a heightened sense of spite towards men and I don't that that's conducive to her mission.

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  15. Harbinger said:
    "She can't just run around thinking that the women are the weaker sex and ought to be protected by the cruel, devious men."

    Uh-huh. A woman defending other women sends the message that women are weak? So, were the Black Panthers also perpetuating the stereotype that black people are lazy because they were relying on the Black Panthers to defend them? Sorry, I don't buy it.

    I don't know that much about Terrifica. This is actually the first time I've heard of her. But from reading Tea's blog, I don't get the impression that she's just out there trying to be the lady-equivalent of a cock blocker. (A box blocker? Ha, ha, I'm funny! Anyhoo...) It looks to me like she's out to stop women from getting sexually assaulted. How is that a bad thing?

    I DO get the impression, however, that she's got all y'alls jockstraps in a twist, and that makes her interesting to me. I'm particularly interested in the way that any woman who's out there claiming that she's looking out for her sisters is always slapped with the ol' Anti-Man Feminazi Ballbuster label before you can say "Objectification." And then, of course, there's the ridiculous backlash of the "reverse discrimination" argument.

    At no point in this interview does Terrifica suggest that women are "the weaker sex". She does say that she feels a need to protect inebriated, judgment-impaired women from predators. If that is indeed the case, then she's not doing anything that a campus safe-ride program wouldn't do.

    Sure, men get sexually assaulted, too. But let's jump to the stats, shall we, gentlemen? According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, as opposed to 1 in 33 men. So, yes, men do get raped, but not nearly, no, NOT NEARLY at the rate that women do. Do I think that women get raped more because they are weaker than men? Of course not. I think it's obvious to any thinking person that these appaling satistics are the unholy fruit of our misogynistic culture.

    Personally, I think Terrifica has a point, and it's pretty disingenuous of you all to pretend as though she's somehow just out there stopping women from having fantastic sex with worthy but horribly vilified Prince Charmings while meanwhile, all the poor male rape victims are piling up in the alley next door crying out for vengeance.

    Her desire to protect women from sexual assault may indeed come from her own experiences, but to suggest that this means she has some kind of anti-man bias is as ridiculous of accusing someone of not caring about homeless people because they donated money to the Sierra Club.

    Anyway, she's not out to bust the balls of ALL men, just the predatory ones. (And I know you're proud of your gender and all, but there are SOME bad men out there, aren't there?) Why would you do yourself the disservice of aligning yourself with men who are predators?

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  16. Terrifica needs to learn a lesson that is hard but true:

    If you fight for people, their rights and defend them, you will get a nod of appreciation AT BEST. The women she defends will hate her because its human nature. It doesn't matter if it is male or female. People don't become stronger and better people by protecting them... in fact just the opposite. No one wants to be weak. It's not something they consciously want, but it's what our evolutionary instinct is programmed for.

    So the best thing to do is let them make mistakes and laugh at their misfortune as they would laugh at you should you have saved them.

    Me and Terrifica would could be great allies, if should would accept these facts.

    As for right now, I have 0 respect for her, or certain women who are aggressive enough to be predators themselves.

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  17. I'm coming to this thread late too-- I'd assumed that this was a valentine's day fluff piece-- but I'm leaning towards the guys' side on this one... at least in spirit if not phrasing.

    I feel that, yes, that having a women's-only nanny patrolling the city's clubs and bars does sort of disenfranchise women. I'd be shocked and horrified if someone tried to decide for me that my male clubgoer was bad news. I haven't always chosen the most worthy men either, but I feel that it was my time to learn that even the most well-intentioned poonhound is still a poonhound and doesn't deserve my loyalty.

    But then I consider that maybe it's a different kind of city where Terrifica is. Maybe the women are as weak-willed and pliable as the men are aggressive and convincing, leading to many women feeling used. I know places like that exist, that women like that exist. I've seen meat market bars where women hope that Mister Pushy will become Mister Right in the morning, but I'm not sure a nanny is the answer to this entrenched behavior on the part of both genders.

    I think the cure for this sort of abuse of the feminine need to please is to teach women to be happy with themselves, to be powerful as individuals, and to break the cycle of male dependency (that "I'm incomplete without a boyfriend" feeling).

    I do not feel that a superhero in a mask and tights is the best model for this life lesson. A costume invests the wearer with power, but leaves those she rescues feeling weak because they could not save themselves. A superhero is not a friend, they are a stranger who singled you out as a "victim" who "needed" rescuing against their better judgement.

    Now Terrifica, I know for certain that you've prevented some real tragedy: unintended pregnancies, abusive relationships, women who wondered what happened the next morning; but something needs to happen on a wider scale to keep these women safe by empowering them. It needs to reach men too, because those men are seeking companionship too and think that pressuring women into having sex is the easiest and best way to get that companionship.

    I appreciate that you've found a way to empower yourself. Now it's time to teach women how to find their own inner Terrificas. It's going to be a difficult and time-consuming task, but I have a feeling that if anyone has the stamina to take on this quest, you do.

    Accept my apologies, Tea, I should never have doubted your nose for a good story.

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  18. I really don't see what the issue is here?

    Terrifica is a RLSH. What she is doing is no different then any other RLSH profile featured on this blog.

    She has viewed society and has found a flaw she is strongly opposed to, and has made a stand against it. It does not matter what other people think about her actions or mortal compass. She is a costumed activist and will do what she thinks needs to be done.

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  19. As hard as it is for me to say this with a straight face, "that poop knife fellow makes a good point."

    Terrifica is simply doing what is right as she sees it. While I personally feel that sometimes her message comes across a little overly strong, her mission and goals are very admirable.

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  20. I heard about this girl once. She went out and got real drunk and was with this guy. They were talking about whether they should go back to her place or his or maybe just get a room nearby. She was really into it. She'd been looking forward all week to some meaningless sex. She was on the pill. And she thought the guy was reall hot. Then this girl showed up talking like Terrifica. She started laying this heavy guilt trip on this girl. Made her feel cheap. Never mind that she was an adult fully capable of making up her own mind. But the girl came along and made her feel bad about herself. Now I'm not saying it was Terrifica. It was just someone like her. But anyway the girl was feeling cheap and bad about herself. The moment with the guy was spoiled. It doesn't even matter that he was a great guy. The moment was spoiled. So the girl left by herself. All she wanted was to go home. But, as you may recall, she had been drinking. She had been anticipating someone else taking her home. But now she was behind the wheel of a car and sauced to the gills. I'd like to tell you she got pulled over and taken to jail on a DUI. And that it ended up costing her over $10,000 and 6 months in jail. I'd like to tell you that. I really would. But you know as well as I do that there's never a cop around when you really need one. So instead she ended up in a horrible accident. Her face was smashed against the steering wheel. She was horribly disfigured for the rest of her life. And the worst part is that she ran into a bus load of school kids who were coming back from a trip to Washington DC. And they all died. Every last one of them. Dead. And now this girl has to hide her horrible mangled face by wearing a mask. She takes to the street every night. And in her twisted mind she blames the guys. That's right folks. That woman was Terrifica. And now you know the rest of the story.

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  21. stupid bitch, women are only good for fucking, that's it, nothing else!!

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  22. @ Agent B- LOL. I'm going to have to use the troll scoring system more often.

    I really had no idea that this post would generate the uh...passionate...responses it has.
    And this comment by Marq Goldberg, whoever that is...um...words escape me.

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  24. If Terrifica sees a woman in danger, I hope she intervenes. If she sees a woman enjoying herself, I hope she passes by. The specifics of her intervention criteria were not covered by this article, so I can't say much about them. I do think it's good that she wants to improve the world.

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  25. I met my wife and partner in crime-fighting, Lady Mystery, in a bar where we both showed up to see some live music (as we both knew the band, but we ourselves had never met...until that night). If there were a Terrifica-type there that night getting in the way, I think that both my future wife and I would have likely busted her chops but good.

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  26. I was looking for Advise on breaking up and found this great site www.saveabreakup.com I gotta admit its great and it worked for me and helped me a lot.

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