Watch This: Once Upon A Time

photo of once upon a time pictures
You guys, my Super Best Friend has only recently started watching Once Upon A Time. He and I tend to watch a lot of different television shows and put off watching others or giving others a try. When we finally do, the result is usually similar to Squidward’s first time tasting a Krabby Patty on SpongeBog Squarepants: “All the wasted years!”

I mean, he’s the guy who first got me to watch Gossip Girl, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Dante’s Cove, Titan Maximum, and Gundam Wing. And, soon, Revenge, which I know is totally up my alley. “This is not a story about forgiveness.” That line could be the blurb under my biography.

Right, so, the show comes on ABC on Sunday nights and, honestly, I was not all that impressed when I watched the first few episodes. Well, the first episode. It’s one of those shows that has an awkward beginning but gets better and better until you can no longer remember a time when you were not in love with the show. Every week slows to a crawl as you anticipate the arrival of the next episode.

Yeah. This show also has a very rabid fandom.

I want to talk about the women on the show. Women have not, historically, had the best roles in fairy tales. They tend to be the villains or the helpless damsels. And while Disney “villains” are typically the most interesting parts of the films (and ABC is a part of Disney, so there are overt references on the show to Disney’s interpretations of a few fairytales. Jiminy Cricket is a character, the “Evil Fairy” from Sleeping Beauty is called “Maleficent,” etc), the princesses did not really possess a great deal of agency until more recent years.

Regina Mills is, as far as I am concerned, the main character. In season one, the writers try to make her out to be the primary antagonist, but …

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Spoof of Belle Really Funny … But Brings up Some Serious Points

So a recent YouTube craze involves “Advice From a Cartoon Princess,” which takes themes from “princess” films and plays them up in a way that makes the movies themselves—and the heroines portrayed therein—utterly ridiculous.

A few months ago, we ran a piece on the arguably misogynistic message sent by Disney princesses, which are not exactly empowering to women. Through the wonders of YouTube, this is being brought to the next level.

I should probably start out here by saying that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. First, Belle has brown hair, not the more traditional blonde or raven locks usually idealized by the stereotypical damsel in distress. Also, she’s a bookworm—totally love Belle.

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Disney Princesses Play into Gender Stereotypes, Set Bad Examples for Little Girls

photo of disney princesses

Humorous cartoons bring to light some rather harsh truths about the portrayal of so-called “Disney Princesses” in many movies made by the Walt Disney Company. One depicts the perspective of the princesses while the other looks at it from the princes’ sides.

The Little Mermaid
Ariel, a mermaid obsessed with the human world, falls in love with Prince Eric after saving his life at sea. She trades her voice to the evil sea witch in exchange for human legs, and is of course not able to tell Eric the truth about who she is (although she is capable of writing her name when she signs Ursula’s scroll, but whatevs).

Ariel: “It’s okay to abandon your family, drastically change your body, and give up your strongest talent in order to get your man. Once he sees your pretty face, only a witch’s spell could draw his eyes away from you.”
Eric: “Women have nothing important to say.”

While Eric is taken in by Ariel’s pretty face and sweet ways, he doesn’t seem bothered by her silence—in fact, he might even prefer it. And the fact that Ariel gave up every ounce of her true self—singing voice, fins, sisters, the little crab/fish combo she chillaxes with—for a man is really pretty disconcerting.

Snow White
Snow White is sent deep into the woods by a woodcutter who was supposed to kill her but lets her escape, where she finds refuge in a house of seven dwarfs. She’s pretty happy there, until the jealous queen poisons Snow White with an apple.

Snow White: “At first it may seem terrible being so beautiful that other women get jealous enough to try and kill you. But don’t worry, once your beauty attracts a man, he’ll protect you.”
The Prince: “Necrophilia is a good dating strategy.”

Yeah, it sucks to be so beautiful, Snow White. Karma, though … you’re a good person, you take care of the dwarfs in ways I don’t even want to consider, and then, okay, you end up dead for a while, but then a prince comes along so impressed by your beauty that he kisses your dead lips and voila!

Aladdin
So called ‘Street Rat’ Aladdin meets the beautiful Princess Jasmine when she leaves the palace to see the world away from her sheltered life. The two hit it off, but Aladdin is convinced that Jasmine could never love a homeless street kid. Enter Robin Williams as the Genie, and Aladdin becomes the rich and powerful Prince Ali.

Jasmine: “As a woman, your political worth is reduced to your marriageability.”
Aladdin: “Just lie, it’ll totally work.”

Yeah, Jasmine has the connection between politics and relationships figured out pretty well, all things considered. She was definitely the brains in the relationship. And Aladdin? He’s an opportunist—you lie and then smile winningly when caught, and it’ll all work out all right.
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