Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Article: Snow White is Smarter Than Many Politicos

Snow White (Snow White & the Huntsman)
I guess this article at The Bellingham Herald would properly be classified as political - so expect some opinions when reading it and this post - but key to the discussion is the changing aspects of fairy tale heroines and princesses* in the public mind. 

For once, Hollywood is being touted as an example and force for needed changes in social (and political) attitudes instead of perpetuating dysfunctions. This is exactly what The Arts and Entertainment are supposed to do - challenge us, get us to think, tell our stories and help us shape the world the way we truly want it to be. They've been doing that all the way along, in some manner of course, but the "princess culture" and examples of supposedly strong women who ultimately throw out their values for a pair of rare Mahnolo's (or love's first "bite") has pervaded popular entertainment more than the alternatives. Well, no more.
Elizabeth I (Elizabeth)
In 2012 we have the princess thought to be "the most passive of them all", leading a war, a girl on fire who ignites a nation and an animated leading lady making her own future that has nothing to do with princes or love. It's true it's nothing new in Entertainment - not really - but it is when contrasted with the current hot-button women's rights issues demanding attention in the political arena.
Saint Joan (Joan of Arc miniseries)
From the article by Jenee Osterheldt at the Bellingham Herald:
How did we get here? Why does it feel like the women's rights movement never happened and women are suddenly second-class citizens? Politicians will have you believe (women) are pampered princesses, damsels in distress who need to be saved from ourselves. 
And then I turn on the television and the world looks different. Somehow, it looks better for the ladies. We aren't weak on the screen. We are Hannah Horvath owning our quirks on "Girls," Kate Beckett solving crimes on "Castle," Olivia Pope fixing problems for the president on "Scandal." Even when we are princesses, we can save the day. The "Once Upon a Time" fair maidens aren't soft and whiny and hypersexual. They fight for themselves. 
In the real world, women are being stripped of their rights. But Hollywood is pushing forward an image of women as we truly are - independent, strong and brilliant. It reminds me of how "The Cosby Show" dispelled racial stereotypes and what "24" did to pave the way for the possibility of a black president.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/06/05/2550834/snow-white-is-smarter-than-many.html#storylink=cpy
You can read the rest of the article HERE.
Merida (Pixar's Brave)
While the article isn't all-encompassing as it could be and may even come across as a little naive, it does put its finger directly in the center of issues that need thinking about by women and men everywhere, no matter what country they live in or what their political leanings.
Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones)
One of the things we love about fairy tales is their ability to get to the heart of matters succinctly and unavoidably so that we can tell - and make - our own personal stories better. The word "Queen" used to be a very powerful word but is rarely used now beyond farce. The word "princess" has come to mean the exact opposite of what "Queen" used to be. Imagine reading fairy tales in which the word "princess" was a power word again! What a difference that would make.
Natalia Vodianova (fashion shoot for Bazaar)

While we don't all need to pick up a sword or wear armor plating to avoid death or imprisonment (can you imagine?!), we do need to know what we stand for and why, and to stick to our standards when the going gets tough. It's not that we don't need help - everyone does, even Queens; Kings too. What it means is that we also do our part to help ourselves even as we're helping others. When people do it's a wonder all of its own. That's my kind of story.

Alice (Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland)

*I'm including heroines in entertainment that have been romanticized, and therefore given fairy tale aspects in the public mind, such as Elizabeth the 1st and Joan of Arc, since this also blends in with issues of what the public considers to be "fairy tale" and what isn't.

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