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Author
Comment
AliceCEB
Registered User
(10/9/07 6:24 pm)


Re: DJ
You know, he's a troll. The thing to do is to ignore him. Completely. Every time. Really.

Edited by: AliceCEB at: 10/9/07 6:25 pm
Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(10/9/07 11:02 pm)


Re: In defense of vermin
And Derek has once again been deleted and banned. Which may make some of the other posts confusing, but I refuse to give him any size of soapbox in the archives.

When he appears again--he always does--someone feel free to shoot me an email. Derek gets banned the second I know he's back, but I don't monitor as closely now that the board is so tightly controlled by spam filters. I've been busy with completing the SurLaLune redesign as well as a book manuscript.

Sorry to everyone, especially Jane, for the slow response on my part. Good riddance to Derek!

Heidi

Edited by: Heidi Anne Heiner at: 10/10/07 9:00 am
Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(10/10/07 1:09 am)


vermin
Kindness to and from humble or repellant animals is a motif in many traditional fairytales, such as Grimms' "The Queen Bee"; a version of kind/unkind sisters from Afanasev where a mouse helps the heroine win a gave of blind mans buff from a bear; "The Mouse Princess"; a northern tale about a giant black toad; one or more in Calvino where a very dirty mouse or frog must sit on the dinner table. Mice gnaw armour or ropes in very old tales (and in Narnia). Ants help Psyche sort the lentils.

janeyolen
Registered User
(10/10/07 8:27 am)


Re: vermin
Thanks, Heidi--I didn't shoot you an email because I thought everyone was doing a good job ignoring him. (But me. But then he has always twitted me. Long story. I have no idea why.)

The thing for me about the Disney Cinderella is twofold: first in the traditional and earlier variants, she is a strong-minded, hard-working young woman. Second she is also not above manipulating her stepsisters. IE, she has the other shoe in her pocket, and she lets them go ahead and maim themselves in the vain hope to win the prince anyway.

The animals in the traditional European variants are simply animals who are turned into human avatars for transportation, or who warn the prince he has the wrong girl when he takes the bleeding stepsister on his horse. Disney moved the animals front and center--the mice and birds making the clothing, rescuing Cinderella despite the depredations of the cat. They become stand-ins for
Cinderella herself. She becomes the prize to be won by the animals, and then gifted to the prince. A thing, rather than a strong young woman.

Jane

Terri Windling
Registered User
(10/12/07 6:31 am)


Re: vermin
Jane: Sorry about the misprint in my mention of your book above (which I've now fixed). I meant to say Cinderella, not Sleeping Beauty, and I apologize for any confusion that caused.

Regarding Disney's treatment of fairy tales, here's another good take on it from Virginia Borges in an essay discussing Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" :

www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrMermaids.html

Troy Patterson
Registered User
(10/29/07 11:32 am)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
Let's look at the portrayal of women inCinderella and Sleeping Beauty from another perspective since females, and males alike can at one time / situation be passive and at another time / situation be re-active, pro-active, dominate, etc.

It's been a long time since I saw Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, but I might suggest in particular Sleeping Beauty's character is intentionally and meaningfully passive because it serves the story and the underlying message (that I drew from it) of faith and hope. That there is more to the world and our existence than our own willfulness. That we can and do find ourselves in situations where we are absolutely helpless - such as Sleeping Beauty - being asleep.

Cinderella: she is also portrayed as helpless, but this is a "dramatic" tool to evoke the viewer's feelings of helplessness which is then coupled with rescue and the message of living happily ever after. For me, this illustrated and pointed the way to the moral high road - and that good will always prevail (I pray) - I didn't see it in the least as belittlement, undermining, disempowering or anything else adverse to females or feminimity.

What I saw was Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in their respective moments of vulnerability - which can be beautiful too if coupled with hope and faith in something larger in themselves.

There are plenty of movies which place males in passive / victim roles which do not undermine (in my opinion), a man's strength.

For me, the larger message of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and the reason we as children responded to them as we did, was the underlying and more important message of hope and faith to those who felt betrayed and cheated - in this case, the female (Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty).

Without hope and faith, vulnerability is just an excuse to take the low moral road and act out on our fears against others (with like say, bombs and wars) what we don't understand about ourselves.

My two cents - with inflation, that's a twenty and change now.

Add: Along with kittens, there is no better a tool or device (certainly not easier) for a film maker to use to get the viewer to empathize and identify with, or to portray compassion, tenderness and sensitivity, than the female of our species.

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net TMP Carbs

Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 10/30/07 11:17 am
Erica Carlson
Registered User
(10/30/07 1:26 pm)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
<Add: Along with kittens, there is no better a tool or device (certainly not easier) for a film maker to use to get the viewer to empathize and identify with, or to portray compassion, tenderness and sensitivity, than the female of our species.>

This comment made me think about all the ways women in film are (or aren't) like baby animals when represented in film. I'm partly kidding here, but mostly not. Women also frequently appear in film as hated, evil, corrupt, it's-okay-to-kill-them-in-the-end-even-in-brutal-ways types of characters. And, as such characters/devices, they tend to be very effective. Of course, such women in films are usually old(er), often powerful, and frequently ugly. Whereas sympathetic types of women in film tend to be young, attractive, vulnerable, and adventurous in the sort of way that means they probably need to be rescued or looked after (very like kittens, actually).

So a working hypothesis could be that the more women in film are like fluffy baby animals, the easier it is to sympathize with them, but the more they appear as, say, cougars rather than kittens, the easier it is for audiences to hate and deride them. There are lots of holes one could pound into this hypothesis, but I'm afraid it holds up well to a lot of Disney movies.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(10/30/07 10:27 pm)


kittens
I do not identify with kittens.

Honestly, associating women with helpless baby animals pretty much the problem. Can you imagine anything more passive and helpless than kitten?

Troy Patterson
Registered User
(10/30/07 10:54 pm)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
I'd have to agree with you, Erica. That's why I evaluate movies based upon the message they convey, if any. The less profound the message, the less value the depiction of it's characters, and the more likely the writer(s) and director(s) will use crude stereo types that are progressively less accurate or true to reality - to the shagrin of more intelligent people.

Men can and are compared or associated with tools and brainless, lifeless objects. Personallty, I don't feel that it reflects negatively on me or males, so I don't take offense on that basis.

What is offensive to my sensibilities, not me personally, is the dissemination of half truths, misconceptions and flat out lies represented (to further some manipulative person or groups agenda) as fact or factual.

A "version" of the truth such as all too often is represented in courts of law as conclusive evidence, is a lie. Truth has no "versions" to interpret. The truth is overlooked by ignorance (of self and life) and twisted imaginations. Poorly written, directed and acted movies, whether it's depicting males or females, or females or males, fall into the same catagory as a "version of the truth" which in my opinion, is garbage.

This should have been a new post - oh well.

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net TMP Carbs

Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 10/31/07 10:44 am
Troy Patterson
Registered User
(10/31/07 9:20 am)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
Veronica, just think, that cute cuddly helpless little kitten could become a full grown Cheetah with a 150 + IQ. :) Love the kittens!

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net TMP Carbs

Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 11/7/07 11:17 am
Erica Carlson
Registered User
(10/31/07 10:54 am)


Re: kittens
I should have added that I find the hypothesis to be a pretty distressing one. Not only are kittens helpless, they're destructive in a thoughtless sort of way.

Troy Patterson
Registered User
(11/7/07 11:28 am)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
I see your point; kittens are significantly easier to love; they are affectionate; give unconditional love; they don't judge; for as independent as they are, they're equallty dependent without resentment - it was a bad analogy for sure.

Maybe Bambi is a better analogy!? Along with Bambi and the female of our species...

In case it isn't evident, I said this with tongue in cheek.

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net TMP Carbs



Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 11/11/07 1:04 am
Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/9/07 5:50 am)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
[[ Sleeping Beauty's character is intentionally and meaningfully passive because it serves the story and the underlying message (that I drew from it) of faith and hope. That there is more to the world and our existence than our own willfulness. ]]

This sounds like one of the 'stages' Joseph Campbell talked about. I've forgotten what he called it, but in Star Wars 'A New Hope' it's where Luke is pulled underwater by a monster, who soon throws him back to the surface with a dumb look on his face (Luke's face, not the monster's). Campbell connects this with a motif in low-brow adventure fiction: the hero quite often gets into a helpless sitaution from which he is saved by luck.

Troy Patterson
Registered User
(11/10/07 1:04 pm)


Re: kittens
Ouch! Low-brow? :eek

Star Wars bit low-brow perhaps, but not Campbell. Indiana Jones low-brow? Sure.

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net TMP Carbs

Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 11/10/07 2:12 pm
Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/10/07 3:56 pm)


low-brow
Campbell isn't low-brow, but I know he talked about that motif (hero rendered passive, saved by luck) and I seem to recall him saying it survived in very low-brow adventure stories -- eg the movie serials of the early 20th century.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(11/10/07 7:51 pm)


Re: Classic Disney Heroines are not passive???
Do you really think that bit in the trash compactor qualifies, though? It's really blink-and-you'll-miss-it, and the snake-eyeball-creature lets Luke go because it's sensed that the compacting is about to start. I guess you could call that luck...of a sort.

God, I used to love that scene. When I was a kid, I'd put on my boots and muck about in slush puddles pretending to be Han Solo in the trash compactor.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/13/07 5:03 am)


Campbell, compactor
It's been years since I was studying Campbell, but that compactor scene fitted several of his points. The clashing rocks, Leia the female got them down into the fertile swamp, and the passive hero saved by luck (being invisible under the water may have been part of the Campbell thing too, iirc). I don't remember whether Campbell had any of these combined. As for blink and miss it, 'saved by dumb luck' became a cliche, so how else would you get it into something more serious than an old pulp novel or Saturday serial?

Edited by: Rosemary Lake at: 11/15/07 3:49 am
Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(11/13/07 9:35 am)


Re: Campbell, compactor
I probably wouldn't, actually, because I don't find it very compelling.

But I don't really see a Scylla and Charybdis thing happening, unless all water monsters are Scylla and Charybdis, which I think is a stretch. Is being saved by the trash compactor the same thing as being saved by dumb luck? And is <i>Star Wars</i> really supposed to be more serious than an old pulp novel or serial? I thought it was supposed to be an homage to those genres.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/15/07 3:56 am)


Re: Campbell, compactor
I'm sorry, I meant the closing sides of the compactor were the 'clashing rocks' which Campbell talks a lot about. (I've corrected my post.) I supposed the monster threw Luke back up because he wasn't appetizing, but the coincidence of the compaction starting could also be the dumb luck.

I agree that Star Wars 'New Hope' deliberately included a lot of the 'good old stuff.' But it was considerably more coherent than the serials and the pulps, and too many blatant incidents of a hero in a hopeless situation saved by luck would have been too strong.

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