This post (and another that I’ll probably work on later today) has been rattling around in my head for days, but I was having trouble figuring out how to put it all down without being too offensive. I finally just decided I don’t really care if someone takes offense.
I know a couple feminists. I’m not talking about the ladies who believe that women should be treated equally in society. I’m all for that. Makes sense to me. We live in a society that claims to demand equality for all its citizens, and not allowing women who want it to be treated equally makes us hypocrites. So give them equality, I say. (Obviously, that’s not my only reason.)
I’m talking about the ladies who insist on working outside the home because being at home, barefoot and in the kitchen is sexist. Make damn certain that the household chores are shared, right down to taking out the trash, so as not to draw any gender specific lines. Refuse to operate on any other level than one that allows them to be a part of the decision-making process.
They usually have bumper stickers that say something stupid like, “I am woman. Hear me roar!” and their man-hating levels are through the roof. Occasionally, they’re victims who buy into victim mentality. Once in a while, they’re just impressionable ladyfolk who’ve been fed a bunch of bullshit. I used to be an impressionable ladyfolk who was fed a bunch of bullshit, too.
Whether you like it or not, it wouldn’t be a stereotype if it wasn’t, at some point in time, how the vocal majority behaved. Once upon a time, women were soft, impressionable and easily swayed. Or, at least, they acted like they were to win favors from their men.
I have a few fanatical feminist readers, which kinda cracks me up. I mean, it sort of confuses me. These are the women who will tell me that I enjoy allowing M to be head of household because I’ve been indoctrinated by our patriarchal society. Who would, in a heartbeat, rip me out of my happy home and loving marriage, throw M in prison and commit me until I no longer wanted to be controlled. Who are fighting to do away with the oppression of women, rather than giving women the right to choose.
Yet, they can’t look away. I wonder why that is.
I get really frustrated with the fanatical feminists. They ignore anything that might throw a wrench in what they believe. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Or, if it’s too over-the-top blatant for that, they’ll excuse it away as something men have trained us feeble-minded women folk to believe, not realizing that they’re making the chauvinists’ argument for them.
This portrayal of the Disney princesses is a perfect example.
I’ve always hated Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Snow White’s situation reminded me far too much of the women I’ve known over the years, and Sleeping Beauty just never made sense to me. Why would some random prince kiss some woman he’s never met – In fact, a princess no one alive knows because she’s been asleep for a hundred years! – to save her and her kingdom? Why wouldn’t he just pack up her constituents, put them all in some museum somewhere and take the land by force?
Jasmine: Jasmine’s situation, right down to being enslaved by Jafar when he took control of Agrabah, is pretty much in line with the culture of her time, governmental structure and country. Many monarchies over the years have had very specific laws regarding how the crown could be passed around. Not only for the women, but for the men as well. The people who made the laws felt it was the only way to ensure their country is run by the right people for all eternity.
Are we really willing to tell people in the entertainment business they’re not allowed to portray the realities of situations in their work? Does that really sound like a good idea to you? It doesn’t to me. To me, it sounds kind of retarded.
I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with being saved by an intelligent poor person. Or is it that the feminist who made this picture is scoffing at the idea of an intelligent poor person?
In any case, Jasmine advocated for being allowed to marry for the right reasons, and not because the law said she had to. In time, her father actually heard what she had to say, agreed with her and changed the law. Aladdin, contrary to what seems to be the artist’s belief, fell in love with Jasmine because, in addition to her aesthetic beauty, she showed she had a beautiful soul when she tried to help the starving boy in the market place. And then she showed she had a brain by railing against the way she was made to live.
Jasmine was portrayed as an intelligent, capable woman who didn’t need a man to save her. And in the end, while ultimately it was Aladdin’s quick thinking that saved them, everyone worked together to free Jasmine and her father from Jafar’s control.
Ariel: First and foremost, Ariel did not change her appearance to become more attractive to Eric. Ariel didn’t have a problem with the aesthetic value of her fin, so much as its complete lack of functionality on land. She asked for legs because it was impossible for her to be with Eric, otherwise. It was against “mer-law” for any merfolk to interact with humans.
You think inter-racial and/or long distance relationships are hard? Try inter-species, with a father who has lost more than a few friends to your soul mate’s hook.
And really, how could she have anything of value to say to Eric? They live in two entirely different worlds, and her only teacher is a seagull who has no idea what he’s talking about! They didn’t portray Ariel as stupid. She was living in a different world with different tools and a different culture. Any and all contact with the human world was forbidden, so it’s only natural that she knows very little about it.
For the record, it was Ariel’s voice, not her beauty, Eric was in love with in the beginning. Which makes sense, considering mermaid legend holds that mermaids can enchant people with their voices.
Ariel was curious and eager to learn. She was talented, friendly and kind. She was headstrong and determind. And she was willing to give up her voice because she believed she would be able to find other ways to communicate with Eric and win his love. And she did. She was able to let her amazing personality shine through without the use of her enchanting vocal chords. Until Ursula spelled Eric with Ariel’s magic voice and almost ruined the day.
In the end, Ariel chooses to keep her legs so she can remain on land with the man she loves, not because they make her more attractive.
Belle: To say Belle’s only asset was sexuality is kind of ridiculous. Belle was the only person in her town who read books, besides the bookstore owner. Thinking was considered a “dangerous pass-time” for everyone in this tale, not just women. That’s a direct quote from the duet sung by Gaston and Lefou. But that’s not her only virtue.
She has strong family values, as is evident in her search for her father. She is kind and caring and tries to be polite, which is proven by how she handles Gaston in the beginning. And she’s willing to sacrifice her own safety and well-being for the safety of another.
The legend says that the beast could only be saved by true love’s first kiss. That the beast must first find a way to get the person he loved to see past his beastly exterior and love the person inside. Ironically, this meant the beast had to change the person inside because he was vain, selfish and cruel.
The entire message of this story is “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”! We’d be bitching just as much if the female character was Medusa and the male character a dazzlingly attractive prince. Then we’d be complaining about the implications of an ugly woman having to find a way to win the love of an attractive man.
Cinderella: Cinderella met her prince more than once. And the first time, he didn’t talk to her because she was beautiful. He spoke with her because she showed him kindness. Instead of kicking him off her father’s land, she offered him and his men water from her well.
Everyone loved Cinderella, which was a major point of contention with her stepmother and stepsisters. They loved her not because of her beauty, but because despite the fact that she lived in oppression, she was a good woman. She was kind and loving and caring and treated people with respect. And regardless of how bad her situation got, she remained optimistic.
The prince falling in love with her, to me, was portrayed as her deserving something wonderful and finally getting it.
Disney: First, let’s remember Disney didn’t write the majority of these stories. They just took out the parts parents wouldn’t approve of and made them into cartoons.
For as long as I can remember, the cartoon (and amusement park) part of Disney has been about family values. About giving kids something fun to watch while teaching them life’s lessons. About letting them be kids a little while longer. About keeping magic – and hope – alive.
Using beautiful people on television and the big screen, once upon a time, was our way of saying “Everyone is beautiful in their own way.” not “You have to be beautiful to be taken seriously.” And to be honest, generally speaking, beautiful men and women aren’t taken seriously. Even when they’re ridiculously intelligent. So the discrimination goes both ways.
It’s really sad that Americans, in general, have become so bored with life that we have to pick apart something that tries to be good for us and make it into something bad.
I, personally, don’t see anything wrong with girls aspiring to be princesses. I don’t see anything wrong with them wanting to live happily ever after. Who cares if they end up housewives who dote on their husbands night and day, and care for their children instead of working, and cook and clean instead of mowing the lawn and mending the fence? If it makes them happy, who cares? Wouldn’t you rather your daughters be happy living a life you wouldn’t have chosen for them than unhappy living inside this new box we’re trying to build for women?
Because that is the path feminism is walking now. The vocal majority is saying all women have to be strong and work outside the home and stand on their own two feet and have contempt for anyone who believes differently. It’s done a complete 180. Now, preferring to be home taking care of your children, cooking and cleaning for your man, is wrong.
When did feminism cease being about giving women a choice? Why can’t it just be about giving us a choice? Why does it have to be about forcing us all to live how a select group of women think we should live? Why does it have to be about castrating our men?
I have a friend who is a raging man-hating feminist. And usually, I just ignore her or smile and nod when she goes off on her “This is why men suck.” tirades. But she’s teaching her kid to believe the same things. And that sort of makes me nauseous. Cause from where I sit, it’s the same thing as teaching a kid to be racist. And that’s just disgusting.