Is Merida From Pixar’s Brave The Worst Role Model For Girls Ever?

 

Princess1

Dear Reader,

The answer to the question in the title of my blog post is: No, but she is pretty bad.  Lemme set up the question first though.

I was thinking about the Disney Princess catalog recently due to an article someone posted on my wall about how Drag Queens make better role models for young girls than Princesses.

Drag Professors at RuPaul's Drag U!

Drag Professors at RuPaul’s Drag U!

It’s a sentiment I definitely have some agreement with.  I think Drag Queens are amazing, I’m looking into the possibility of becoming one myself, and RuPaul is basically my Oprah.  However, this put me in mind of the state of literature for young girls overall, and the article raised the specter of some troubling thoughts I’ve had recently regarding role models for young girls.

Specifically, what I have noticed, is that in much of the newest media, a female heroine is not highly thought of (by the sorts of people who make pronouncements about what female heroines are good and bad for girls to view) unless she is, for lack of a better word, butch.  The girls these days have to be as tough as boys, as outdoorsy as boys, as athletic as boys, as crude as boys.  It’s like all the female heroines suddenly have to be Hyenas (if you don’t get that reference, go google Hyena clitoris.  I’ll wait.)

Case in point...

Case in point…

It was something that I started thinking about, honestly though, after I saw the Pixar film Brave in theaters.  I dug up a rant I posted to my writing group about the film, and I’m polishing it up and posting it here.  It is a little late to the party, but I’d like to express the opinion nevertheless.  To see the thoughts, hit the jump! Continue reading

Upon An Anniversary: Five…wait…SIX Lessons On Living Life Freely

Dear Readers,

I know that it has been a few months since I last updated the blog, and I’m sorry for the absence.  In the past month I have literally held the hand of a dying man at the end of his life, and cradled a newborn only twelve hours after they were born.  I’d like to say that I’ve been on a journey from end to beginning, and death to rebirth, but if I’m honest, I’ve mostly been facebooking between typing bad paragraphs which I promptly delete in my novel.

However, I woke up today and realized that I had come, quite unexpectedly, to a rather important anniversary.  I haven’t talked much about it here on the blog, but readers from other sources will know that one year ago today I walked out of a ten year relationship that had become pretty toxic, and left my home in Texas to begin an unintentional period of wandering and rediscovery of self.  Today, I find that I’d like to reflect on that time period, and the lessons and adjustments I’ve made in myself.

Because I now know myself in a different way, as a writer (and have also come to detest the phrase “as a writer” as much as I use it…), of course my chosen medium is both textual and public.  How could it be anything else?  But this post, more than any of the others I have posted on the blog until now, is for me.  I’m writing it, as a letter to my future self.  But you can read along too!

Continue reading

Why should it even matter that you’re GAY?

Dear Readers,

I am gay.

I have been open about being gay for about a decade, and I have been accepting of my own homosexuality (by which I mean to say that I stopped trying to change it for Jesus) for about four years now.

I am a lot of other things as well.  I am a writer, working on my first novel.  I am a college graduate, who is very proud to call University of Texas at Austin my alma mater.  I am a home owner (see recent blog posts) and a wanderer.  I am a dabbler in Buddhism, and a practicing pagan of sorts.  I am a gamer, and a world traveler, and a coffee drinker.

But I am also gay.

priderally1

I’m SUPER gay.

The issue which has come up for me, which I didn’t expect to hit me so hard, is the recent attempt by several friends and acquaintances to reassure me that my being gay just “doesn’t matter” to them, and that it doesn’t change the way they view me as a person.

It came up first in regards to someone else, a young man I had encountered who, by my estimation of his self-expression, is likely attracted to other men.  His family, close friends of mine, when I made this observation, was very defensive, claiming that “it doesn’t matter” if he’s gay, it doesn’t change how we feel so why should we talk about it?!

It didn’t sit well with me, and I wasn’t sure why.  It was a good thing that his family didn’t devalue him because he was likely a little light in the loafers right?

Then, a few days ago, George Takei (Lord and Master of Facebook) posted a blog entry about this very subject (http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/i-dont-even-think-you-gay-well-you-should?upw).  It was regarding the recent coming out of Jodi Foster in an award acceptance speech, and the relative non-reaction it received.  In that blog, as I understand it, Mr. Takei says some things I have felt for a long time, but never spoken. He talks about the importance of the homosexual struggle for equality, and its effect on the people who have struggled in a society that doesn’t accept them as they are, and the importance of gay role models in today’s society.  I was impressed and I reposted the article to my timeline.

I got a private message from a very good friend of mine shortly after that which read:  “Not to be contrary, but it really doesn’t matter to me [that you’re gay], and it doesn’t change who you are to me.”

Let me take just one moment here to tell you about my friend, whom I will call simply Friend from now on.  He is not someone I would consider close minded.  He and I have differing political opinions, but we have helped one another on many projects, share a close circle of friends, and he has been supportive of all of my partners and my choices in life.  I wanted to start out by conveying my esteem for him personally.

However, it stuck with me that he had never once told me that it didn’t matter to him that I was a Writer, or that I was a Wizard, or that I was Caucasian.  The only characteristic he had ever “differentiated” from my identity was my sexual orientation.  I know he didn’t mean it badly, but it itched, and then burned, and then downright began aching that he felt that was somehow appropriate.

During our ensuing conversation over the subject of Mr. Takei’s blog, he also raised some difficult points, and had some honest questions.  Most of our interaction, however, flowed out of one general question: “Even if someone is clearly gay, why is it a problem to avoid the topic?”

What follows is my best attempt at a response to him, in letter form.  Click more to read it. Continue reading

Drawing Circles

The Library's orphaned children, huddled in the cold night beside my bed...

The Library’s orphaned children, huddled in the cold night beside my bed…

Dear Readers,

A circle is an interesting shape.  It is so simple, so vital, and yet somehow the creation of a circle eludes me.  I suppose I should have thought to myself, as I picked up the jigsaw tonight, “Self…if you couldn’t draw the circle on the desktop using a pencil, what makes you think that you will be able to draw it using a highly powered vibrating powertool while the unaffixed desktop threatens at every moment to bounce off it’s braces and topple to the ground?”

I did not, however, think that.  I thought to myself…sure!  Why the heck not?  LET’S GO FOR IT!

Pics after the jump.

Continue reading

Don’t Believe In Yourself

“Just who the hell do you think I am?!”
http://www.zerochan.net/172049

Dear Readers,

Wizard here.  I thought, post election wrap up, that there were some interesting theories circulating during the inevitable come down off of victory highs and defeat depressions.  And it got me thinking some.  I saw a lot of finger pointing, which isn’t uncommon before or after or during an election.  Fingers just get pointed all the time.  And some of it makes sense.  Sure, Republicans are going to have to change tactics to remain viable in an electorate that is increasingly made up of people they have traditionally demonized or blamed for problems as a way of motivating their own base.  Yes, the Democrats are going to have to find some backbone otherwise they’ll never be leaders, merely the “lesser of two stupidities”.  But during all of this, other questions were bouncing around in my head; questions that didn’t have anything to do with who sits in the White House for four more years.  I had questions about what this elections cycle reveals about humanity, and on a very personal note, what it teaches us about what it means to be human. Continue reading