Sexualized Saturdays: Teaching Consent to Kids

Trigger warning: mentions of rape throughout.

We’ve established again and again that pop culture has issues with consent. From that horrible Jaime and Cersei sex scene that the directors insisted wasn’t rape (it was) to almost every siren-related fantasy plot ever, the one thing that’s obvious about understanding consent is apparently that no one does.

That’s kind of terrifying. It’s pretty horrible that adults just don’t get simple concepts like “no means no”, “inability to consent means no”, “the absence of a yes means no”, or “coerced consent is not consent”. And what’s worse is that, when this way of thinking lodges itself in our cultural headspace, it isn’t just adults who are on the receiving end of it. Rather, this mentality creeps its way into children’s media as well, and too often goes entirely unchallenged within that media. Kids aren’t going to go read a blog post about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty’s inability to consent while asleep after watching those movies—there needs to be some kind of message within the film (or book, or show) that shows them why it isn’t kosher. And while there’s a lot of onus on kids’ media to be didactic in some way, a lot of it still falls flat.

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Magical Mondays: Aladdin and the Future

TheGeniefromAladdinThere are a lot of theories surrounding the Disney movies, and Aladdin in particular. Specifically, no one really knows what to make of the Genie. He is one of those characters that fascinates just about everyone. Despite being a slave trapped in a lamp for over ten thousand years, he’s still upbeat and eager to help our hero out, even at the cost of his own freedom. While his mental state alone could be a post in and of itself, what really gets to people are all his pop culture references and how he seems to know so much. Coming to the rescue of all of us theorists, however, are Ron Clements and John Musker, co-directors of the movie, who recently revealed that one of the more popular theories—that Genie and the peddler are the same person—is true. While this is certainly big news indeed, it unfortunately doesn’t explain everything, specifically how Genie knows all those aforementioned pop culture references. Aladdin takes place c. 300 CE, so as Lady Geek Girl posits, Genie must have some form of omniscience, or at the very least, some form of precognition.

Another popular and plausible theory is that Aladdin takes place in the distant future, sometime after the rest of the world is wiped out by a nuclear apocalypse.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Fathers Raise Sons, but Only Protect Daughters

liam neeson takenFathers have a long and storied history in our media. Unlike mothers, who are only sometimes around in our hero’s stories, fathers are usually the rock of the family and play a large part in our protagonist’s character development. At least, that’s true if the protagonist is a guy. If the protagonist is a girl, however, fathers exist more often to protect their daughters than to raise them, giving rise to omnipresent tropes like the Overprotective Dad and the Papa Wolf. As Taken’s Liam Neeson says, if you hurt his daughter, he will look for you, find you, and kill you.

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Motherhood in Geekery

goodmorningcronoThis post is quite obviously two days late; Mother’s Day has come and gone. I’m-a apologize for that, but it kind of goes to point I want to make: mothers and motherhood get remarkably short shrift in pop culture in general and geek culture in particular.

For the most part, moms just don’t exist. Where they do, they’re either saintly and loving, or creepy and weird. Archetypes without full characterization. Which is all to say, it’s time we do better.

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Magical Mondays: Omniscience and Aladdin’s Genie

Today I am going to take a fun look at a goofy character in a kids’ movie, because my brain has been stuck on possibilities involving the Genie from Disney’s Aladdin. Mainly, the fact that the Genie references and even creates things from the future, whether it is actual physical items or transformations into pop culture references. Now I know that, really, there is no explanation for this other than that Disney thought it would be funny to have Robin Williams doing impressions, because it is. But today I have decided, against all reason, to look at how the Genie could know all of these things despite the fact that most of his references are from the future.

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Theatre Thursdays: Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway and Questions of Multiethnic Casting

Aladdin Broadway cast

Another Disney animated film has made the move to Broadway! Aladdin, which has been in development since 2010, premiered first in a Seattle production in 2011, and finally made its debut in the Big Apple in March of 2014. I was wondering if its journey to the Great White Way was going to give it a Great White Makeover, so I took a peek at the cast bio page. And well, huh. It’s certainly not entirely white-washed as I feared, and we see quite a diversity of actors: many African-American actors, a pretty decent percentage of both Latin@ and Asian actors, a few white actors, and several Ambiguously Ethnic actors. Did the casting directors purposefully say, “Let’s build a diverse cast?” or did they say, “Any brown people please”?  I will explain my concerns in more detail after the jump. Continue reading

Theatre Thursdays: Aladdin Broadway Musical and a salute to Kevin Gray

For years I’ve been clamoring for Disney Theatricals to finish up the trifecta and get the third of the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken-inspired Disney musicals onto the stage. The success of Beauty and the Beast led me to believe that both The Little Mermaid and Aladdin were just around the corner, but when critics trashed The Little Mermaid, I was afraid that Aladdin would never see the lights of Broadway.

On Jan. 22 my fears were put to rest, as Disney officially announced that Aladdin would be moving into the New Amsterdam Theater in Spring 2014.

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