Thursday, December 24, 2009

What a nice Welcome Home present :) Just another one of the myriad of things that make me want to jump ship.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Free Women"

Sometimes, the irony (inconvenience?) that hits me most of all when reading some feminist texts, is that biology has not equipped my sex to fight and fuck with indifference

Friday, December 11, 2009

NY times article: What´s wrong with Cinderella?

I would write more about this but I´m currently wading through an oline presentation and need to actually go home and eat and sleep soon, so for now I will have to keep my thoughts succinct.

Suffice to say, I thought this was a really interesting article, in particular this bit:

The princess as superhero is not irrelevant. Some scholars I spoke with say that given its post-9/11 timing, princess mania is a response to a newly dangerous world. “Historically, princess worship has emerged during periods of uncertainty and profound social change,” observes Miriam Forman-Brunell, a historian at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Francis Hodgson Burnett’s original“Little Princess” was published at a time of rapid urbanization, immigration and poverty; Shirley Temple’s film version was a hit during the Great Depression. “The original folk tales themselves,” Forman-Brunell says, “spring from medieval and early modern European culture that faced all kinds of economic and demographic and social upheaval — famine, war, disease, terror of wolves. Girls play savior during times of economic crisis and instability.” That’s a heavy burden for little shoulders. Perhaps that’s why the magic wand has become an essential part of the princess get-up. In the original stories — even the Disney versions of them — it’s not the girl herself who’s magic; it’s the fairy godmother. Now if Forman-Brunell is right, we adults have become the cursed creatures whom girls have the thaumaturgic power to transform.

The first few lines of this paragraph caught my attention because they reminded me of part of Susan Faludi´s thesis in her book "The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America", which I was flicking through a few weeks ago. The part of her thesis that interested me most was the aspect which dealt with

Basically, in this book she asserts that post 9\11 America is a nation in a state of crisis and in order to assuage the fear is harkening back to it´s frontier roots. America was founded on expansionist mentalities; this involved strong, powerful, burly men; feminine, gentle, cherishable women; a wholesome and worthy homestead to protect and finally a looming and everpresent threat of "Us" and "Them." I could go into more detail here about the take of modern(ish) Sociologists on this but I think it might just confuse the matter, however basically this mentality was integral to America´s emergence as a nation state. Faludi makes a convincing argument for the reappearance of these aspects of the American myth - "us and them" is fairly obvious; Faludi provides an interesting analysis of the 2004 election campaign in with both Bush and (surprisingly?) Kerry arranged numerous high profile media appearances shooting, manning around and generally attempting to align themselves with the frontiersman archtype; and finally there were a number of examples of the recent trend towards increasingly constricted feminine values (mostly in the direction of the infantilised, beautiful but simpering princess variety.)

So it is in light of this assertion, poorly paraphrased by myself above, that I viewed the paragraph quoted above. Personally I tend towards the school of thought that cultural phenomena should not be viewed in a vacuum (by their very nature this would be misguided!) and i found it interesting to see another example of the materialisation of one fragment of a larger, more all-encompassing myth - one with significant ramifications for the direction taken by the worlds largest economic super power whose cultural values spill over into our own a little bit more every day.