The movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit is probably one of my all time favorite movies and Jessica Rabbit is definitely one of my favorite characters. In the movie, Eddie Valiant suspects Jessica of being somehow involved in a murder that Roger Rabbit, her husband, was framed for. During the movie, she is accused of being everything from a seductress, to a gold digger, to an adulteress, to a murderer, but is proven to be nothing but a loyal wife as the movie progresses. She even tells Eddie that she’s “not bad, [she’s] just drawn that way” and in that regard Jessica has a point. Throughout the movie Jessica is viewed as a bad person largely because of how she looks. It seems in animation the more sexualized a woman is or the more she engages in stereotypical feminine things like wearing makeup and sexy outfits, the more likely she is to be portrayed as evil.
Disney is probably one of the biggest perpetrators of this negative trope. While their female heroines dress mostly modestly and appear to wear little to no makeup, female villains are usually portrayed as very sexual, wearing lots of makeup and are often drawn with seductive, heavy-lidded eyes. It doesn’t take much to see what female qualities are being demonized and which lauded as virtuous.
[Fairy] tales used to be dark, moralistic stories to teach people lessons, yet as time went on, people decided that fairy tales ought to entertain children as well as educate them—they weren’t meant to please ancestors of Hannibal fans. Throughout these versions, themes of rape, adultery, and cannibalism were gradually erased from the overall plot, leaving a sanitized version behind. To fill in the blanks with respect to the characters, numerous writers used magic instead. Evil fairy solves all your problems, right? Then the king doesn’t commit adultery and the queen isn’t a heinously one-dimension villain and the princess isn’t raped, but just kissed without her consent, which is… better.
Welcome to Night Vale makes the magical mundane and the mundane magical by drawing our attention to something weird and magical, but then focusing on the mundane aspect of the event so that we cannot escape or ignore it. The magical element essentially acts as a big blinking sign pointing to the mundane and inescapable element.
Some of you who read this blog may remember me mentioning that I have an older sister. She drives me up a wall half the time, but I love her dearly, and I’m sure she feels the same about me. Here is my problem, though: I have only seen one sisterly relationship portrayed in pop culture that I can actually relate to. It’s weird, to say the least, but I think there is a reason for that. Women and stories about women are given significantly less screen time than male characters and stories about men. On the rare occasion women have starring, or even just supporting, roles, they are the lone female character. Said female has no sisters, no other female relations of note, and certainly no female friends. Either female characters’ backgrounds and never delved into, or these female characters will only have male influences in their lives. So already at least half the time women are tokenized and/or shown only associating with men. It should really come as no surprise, then, that when female relationships are present, they tend to lack the complexity that male relationships are given.
I see this a lot when sisterly relationships are portrayed. There seems to be only two possibilities for sisters: either they hate each other and can barely tolerate being in the same room together, or they love each other so super much that they are each others’ BFFs 5ver!
So when Frozen came out and everyone praised its portrayal of sisterly love I expected… well, something different than what I got, I guess.
This was not a fic I was originally going to recommend, because not only is it unfinished, I worry that it might be abandoned. But underoriginal’s The Queen’s Eyes is too good a story to pass up. Like all things, it does have its problems—personally, I think the story could expand on some of the mythology it’s introduced—but it also has a lot to offer, and I was pleasantly surprised by those things, since nothing in the story summary indicated that they would be there.
Desperate to find a way to redeem their brother, the princes of the Southern Isles send Hans back to Arrendale. Hans agrees to become a member of the elite and mysterious police force called the Queen’s Eyes. At first, he wonders why he is given so much power, but he slowly comes to realize the price. As Hans starts to wonder if he made the right choice, Anna struggles with her own powers awakening and the possibility that she may never be able to adventure again, Kristoff tries to find a way to marry a princess despite his low class even with Elsa’s blessing, and the Queen herself begins to crack under the pressure of the crown. Meanwhile, a terrible snowstorm ravaging the Southern Isles raises an even more dangerous problem; what if Elsa isn’t the only sorcerer out there?
Yes, I know, I’ve been on a Frozen binge lately. I even ended up going to see it again, and I took my boyfriend with me on my latest viewing. It was his second time watching the movie, and the first time he saw it, he was greatly perturbed that Elsa had to take her gloves off during her coronation ceremony. As he put it, making her take off the gloves is entirely senseless and has no apparent reason. Even when I first watched the movie, I noticed that, and I thought it was a cheap, pointless way to create drama. There also aren’t any underlying consequences to the scene. If she had been allowed to keep her gloves on, events still would have played out the same.
It was after my boyfriend’s second viewing that it occurred to him that magic must run in the royal family and that Elsa isn’t the first person to have been born with powers. After talking to him about this theory, I have to admit that it makes a lot of sense, and it explains a lot of things about the movie that I didn’t really notice before.
So I’ve only seen Frozen a couple times by now—five or six, but who’s counting?—and yet I’m still struck by how amazing this story is. Sure, it has some problems. I mean, nothing’s perfect, but Frozen has so many progressive themes that it’s hard to ignore what a great movie it truly is. Additionally, while being caught up in its awesomeness, it might be a little hard to articulate why certain parts of the movie are so great. I knew that I didn’t really like Elsa’s and Anna’s parents when I first saw the movie, but it wasn’t until the second or third time through that I realized I disliked them because of how abusive they were to their daughters.
Gentle readers, as you know by now, I like to keep you abreast of new happenings in the stage world, whether they involve Zach Braff, Tom Hiddleston, or Tupac. That’s what makes me so nice. I revel in the potential when a favorite actor or film or what have you crosses genres or even mediums to arrive on the stage. This is in part because I believe theatre to be a uniquely intimate medium, so when our favorite stars or stories make it to the stage, it lets us look at them in a different light. Take, for example, the hubbub when it was revealed that Daniel Radcliffe, naked no less, would be starring in a revival of Equus. Just the idea of getting closer to one your faves is rewarding, and that’s just as true for plots as people.