feminism, films, ramblings

Why I won’t be rushing to see the new Beauty & the Beast

I remember the animated version being released – I think I was 8. We went to see it at the cinema, I had a jumper with Belle’s face on it (My cousin had the exact same one – I think my grandparents bought them), I got the video for my birthday. 

I still have a soft spot for those animated classics, there’s a fair few in my DVD collection. Of the most recent ones I enjoyed Brave, Tangled, The Princess and the Frog, and even Frozen (I have some issues of its apparent origins being Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen – a very different story.) 
However I haven’t seen any of the new “live action” films – not sure how that much CGI can be considered live. 

Pete’s Dragon is one of my favourite films and nothing will replace a cartoon dragon called Elliot for me – I saw some stills of the updated version – just no. 

A CGI Baloo just won’t cut it after the delights of the animated one and Cinderella has been done to death.

Emma Watson isn’t my ideal Belle, and that’s fine – can’t please anyone. But I saw a review calling it ‘authentic’, which I can’t agree with. 1. It’s set in France, so Belle and everyone else would speak French, 2. It’s a fable – it’s about vanity and love overcoming all odds. 3. The Beast – do I need to expand. 
Like most fairy tales this had a slightly darker heart originally, the Prince becomes a Beast because that’s what he is inside – vain, selfish, cruel, monstrous. He’s cursed to learn his lesson. But he doesn’t, he becomes even worse, hence the kidnapping of Belle’s father. 

The film versions do away with Belle’s sisters – who demand jewels and furs from their merchant father, while the youngest daughter requests a single perfect rose. There’s more than a little King Lear in this tale as the youngest daughter atones for her father’s crime. 

Watson has spoken about making the film more feminist – erm, it’s about a woman who sacrifices her freedom for her idiot father and is kept prisoner by a monster – feminism didn’t exist in 15th century France (or at all) and I just don’t get how you can make this story less twisted and more feminist while keeping that key storyline. 

Anyway, I know people are raving about how beautiful it is, how they’ve kept the songs (why no Angela Lansbury?) etc. But it just isn’t for me. Rather than keep doing this  (Mulan is up next – but with no songs, fingers crossed they at least cast Asian actors) why can’t Disney go back to making fun, musical animation? 
I hear Moana is brilliant and I will be watching that next. 

If you do want a Disney film where the female characters are aces, here’s a little list. 

⭐Brave ⭐Tangled ⭐Frozen ⭐Zootropolis ⭐Mulan ⭐Pocahontas ⭐Robin Hood (I defy you not to love Clucky) ⭐Bedknobs & Broomsticks (oh Angela Lansbury, I do think you’re marvellous) ⭐The Princess & the Frog ⭐

Let me know if I’ve missed any Disney heroines who deserve to be mentioned (tbh most of the traditional princesses are a bit hopeless). 

Are you going to see this new Beauty & the Beast? Or will you be watching the 90s classic for the millionth time like me. 

feminism, inspiration, life, tv

20 Years of Buffy

Friday was the 20th anniversary of the first airing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – one of the defining tv shows of my life. 

Final seasons Scooby Gang
I remember watching the first season on BBC2 with my little sister and my dad, and just thinking here was a show that spoke to me. I was just starting secondary school and those teenage monsters were very familiar. 

Now we were all supposed to be in love with David Boreanaz’s tortured vampire-with-a-soul Angel but I must admit I do love a bad boy – there was a huge poster of Spike (James Marsters) on my bedroom wall.

“I’m a bad rude man”

The monsters as metaphors is a construct as old as story telling but these were monsters A teenage girl with a sharp stick and a great line in quips could kill. That’s a pretty empowering thing for any young woman. 

Buffy dealt with bullies, death, a bratty sister, love, heartbreak, exams and friendships – all the things we all go through. She showed us the way. How many times did you want to quite literally stab your heart breaking ex through the heart with a wooden stake. 

And then there was the kickass soundtrack. I still have all 3 of the soundtrack cds – including the musical episode ‘Once More With Feeling’.

Mr Pointy

I have trouble picking a favourite episode, character etc but here’s my highlights. 
The silent episode ‘Hush’ was masterful. And proves the cast can all act. 

Xander and Willow’s relationship is definitely a friendship to aspire to – he saves her from becoming full on evil Willow with the power of his love for his best pal. And then there’s the Snoopy dance (bless Nicholas Brendon for still doing this at fan conventions). 

When everyone loses their memories and Spike and Giles think they’re father and son (and Spike’s called Randy) 

My ideal tea party

Faith – just too damn cool for school. But also power crazed, murderous and just a tad unhinged. 

Five by five

The Halloween episodes – vamps took the night off but all sorts of havoc would break loose. My favourite was either when everyone became their costumes (Buffy as an actual damsel in distress) or when they get trapped in a haunted house and have to defeat a fear demon – who’s about 3 inches high! 

Squished

Tara and Willow’s beautiful falling in love story. Pretty much the first sane sex couples I remember seeing on tv. Sweet, sad, romantic and tragic. 

😭😭

How much I hated Riley the cardboard soldier and that whole plotline – even more than the Glory/Dawn storyline and I really hated that. 

Eurgh
When did Buffy sleep? Demon fighting by night and school by day. What a hero, or serious caffeine habit. 

How sad I was when it all ended. 

Me too Anya, me too

This weekend I am planning a boxset binge to mark the anniversary – anyone else? 

feminism, jewellery, life, relationships, wedding

Wedding Wednesday: Why I chose to wear an engagement ring 

The other day I read a really preachy article (which I don’t have a link to) about why the writer, as a feminist, wouldn’t wear an engagement ring. 

Now I strongly believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion but the tone of the piece and the fact that she was using feminism as her reason really annoyed me. 

I’m a feminist. I believe in equality, equity of the sexes, and a woman’s right to choose what she does with her life and her body. My mum instilled these beliefs in me growing up. 

However, I don’t feel like those beliefs preclude me from wearing my engagement ring. 

I am aware of the original symbolism of wedding rings and the whole patriarchal problematic wedding traditions. But I don’t see the engagement ring on my left hand as a symbol of ownership. 

Nobody, least of all C, owns me. I am my own person, regardless of marital status. 

I see it instead as a symbol of commitment, of a promise to be a team, to stick together, to be a family. I see it as C’s love and mine for him. We’re going to get married, be together for good, legally bound and all that jazz. Not because society says so, but because we want to. 

And that doesn’t contradict my feminism. This is my choice. Isn’t that what women have been fighting for all these years – the ability to make their own choices? 

books, feminism, reviews

Book Review – Animal by Sara Pascoe

Whenever I pick up a book by a comedian I hope for humour – Pamela Stephenson’s biographies of her husband Billy Connelly spring to mind – so funny I was snorting (attractive) on a bus. 

But Sara Pascoe’s Animal is only sort-of funny. Subtitled The Autobiography of a Female Body, it intersperses moments in Pascoe’s life with scientific information about female anatomy and evolution. Bit heavy for a Friday morning commute. 

It is however a fascinating read, covering aspects of female sexuality and history with a wry tone. Pascoe looks at love, sex, reproduction and more, from the perspective of a lay person, not an expert, so it’s not a textbook but you may want to read it with a notebook at hand to jot down things to look into further. 

feminism, ramblings, thoughts

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…

Last week my dad announced he’s a feminist. He then rattled on for half an hour and didn’t let any women (me, mum) speak.

Last night we watched Bones, a show I quite enjoy, in which a men’s rights activist is murdered. A ‘meninist’. The sort of person who truly believes that ‘every job taken by a woman is a qualified white man out of work’.

Women still earn less than men for doing the same work, women of colour even more so, despite it being illegal here in the UK. Women still shoulder the vast majority of housework, chores, cooking and childcare. More women work part-time, and not necessarily because they want to.

I also watched Confirmation this week, a drama based on real events and real people, with Kerry Washington playing Anita Hill as Olivia Pope with bad suits. Hill testified against US supreme court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas in a hearing about his alleged sexual misconduct. No other women were permitted to testify. She was vilified in the press, he became a member of the supreme court.

Was the all male senate panel’s attitude towards her because she was a woman, because she was black, because she spoke up? Thomas tried to make it about race (he was African-American, as was Hill), but they didn’t buy it.

Would a man’s word have carried more weight, would his testimony been so easy to dismiss?

This week Beyonce released Lemonade, one of the themes of which seems to be infidelity. Now she hasn’t explicitly said it’s about her marriage, but the internet is alight with people trying to find out who Jay-Z cheated on her with.

But where’s the backlash against him? If he did sleep with someone other than his wife behind her back (as opposed to in an open marriage) then why aren’t people criticising him? Is it just easier to blame a woman, after all she betrayed the sisterhood, he’s just a man. And that’s what men do.

I read a recent interview with Monica Lewinsky, who had a brief affair with Bill Clinton in the 90s, he stayed president, she was humiliated and found it hard to keep her life on track. Now she runs an anti-bullying initiative, he’s supporting his wife’s White House run, but Lewinsky is still treated to vindictive comments but the married man many years her senior is just good ol’ Bill.

And you wonder why it’s hard to be a woman.

feminism, life

International Women’s Day

This month is Women’s History Month, and I’m reminded of the Virginia Woolf line “For most of history, anonymous was a woman”.

For much of our history women have toiled in the background while men filled the history books with their deeds.

So in honour of International Women’s Day, here are some of my top historical women.

Ada Lovelace – daughter of the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron, Ada’s passions were for science not poetry. She wrote some of the first computer code while working with Charles Babbage, the father of computers.

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Rosalind Franklin – the only woman in the team that first sequenced DNA, she missed out on the Nobel Prize won by her colleagues as she had died of cancer and it’s not rewarded posthumously. Then she was pretty much written out of scientific history. Which is really bad. Watson and Crick failed to thank her when they received their prize and she doesn’t feature in many textbooks.

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Boudicca (Boudicea) – queen of the Iceni tribe, scourge of the Romans, fierce and fabulous. Her statue stands at one end of Westminster Bridge to remind Parliament of the wrath of angry women. Or what happens when you try to crush the spirit of these isles.

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Marie Stopes – a controversial figure, Stopes pioneered safe abortions and taught women about contraception. Her work saved lives and continues to through the organisation named after her.

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Elizabeth I – my favourite of the small group of women to have held the British throne. She was the last female monarch to hold absolute power, famously never married and is thought to be the hand behind several anonymous poems (some to the French ambassador! Scandal!). Good Queen Bess was a tough cookie, seeing off claims to her throne, Spanish armadas and amorous attempts to control her through marriage. The last Tudor monarch was also famous for her incredibly pale skin – created by wearing lead based paint, which ate at her skin. Beauty was definitely painful.

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Which historical women inspire you?

ramblingmads

feminism, life

Inspiration

Here are some of my favourite female quotes, gather the inspiration and go!!

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman” – Virginia Woolf

“If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain” – Dolly Parton

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I get called a dumb blonde, which is funny because i ain't dumb and I ain't blonde

“Well behaved women rarely make history” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Create your own style, let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others” – Anna Wintour

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The happy girls are the prettiest girls

“Nothing in the world is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’ ” – Audrey Hepburn

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Rosie the Riveter - women can do anything

ramblingmads