Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Okay, so everyone knows the story of Snow White is probably the stupidest fairy tale there is. In the first place, Snow White does almost nothing in the story. The entire plot is acted out by the people around her; she is just the catalyst for their actions. In the second place, she's way too young to get married; in the third place, the prince just happens upon her dead in a coffin and decides that she's the one he wants to marry (their seconds-long meeting at the beginning of the Disney movie is not part of the original story). In the fourth place, it's pretty ridiculous that a woman would be so jealous of her seven-year-old stepdaughter's beauty that she would have her killed and eat her heart. This whole situation is pretty bad news all around.
However, I have never before read an adaptation of the story that made me so acutely aware of just how awful the story is. The picture book that holds this high honor is the adaptation illustrated by Quentin Greban.
Page one: several lines about a good queen who sat by her window, pricking her finger and wishing she had a child with "skin white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as this ebony embroidery frame," which is a pretty weird wish in the first place, but whatever, okay, good queen. Wish granted. Then the queen dies, and there's this one sentence: "After a year had passed, the king took another wife." Remember this for later.
So the queen does her "mirror mirror" business. "Every day she stood before it and asked, 'Looking glass upon the wall, who is fairest of us all?" And then one day it's not her, so she sends Snow White to be killed.
In this adaptation, no mention is made of Snow White's age, although you can tell she's quite young. I didn't think about it consciously, but probably assumed she was supposed to be around fourteen, which is her age in the Disney movie. She wanders through the forest, she comes across the little house, and she goes inside, where everything is "small but very neat and clean." She's starving but doesn't want to finish anyone's food, so she eats a little from each plate. She's exhausted but none of the beds fit right, so she tries them all until she gets to the last one and falls asleep; then the dwarfs come home, and we have a Goldilocks moment. But when they find Snow White asleep in the last bed, she's so beautiful that they're too full of joy to wake her.
In the morning, the dwarfs hear her story and tell her that if she'll keep house for them, she can live with them. So, my question is: Why do these dwarfs need Snow White to keep house for them in exchange for their not turning her out to be killed by her stepmother? Remember how "very neat and clean" everything was when she got there? They're obviously doing fine on their own. At this point I have to give it to Disney for, if not changing that dumb plot point, at least making the dwarfs filthy eccentrics so it makes sense.
So the dwarfs tell Snow White that she must never let anyone into the house while they're gone all day. Since this adaptation doesn't specify her age, I was picturing marriageable Snow White, and it occurred to me that this is actually pretty obnoxious and/or creepy of the dwarfs, who are essentially imprisoning Snow White in their house. If she's seven years old, that makes perfect sense. But in the version where she just gets married at the end—well, come on, people. You have to make a choice here. Either she's old enough to get married and open the door if she wants to, or she's young enough to be hidden in the house and not get married. (And also not be left alone all day to cook and clean for seven grown men... But whatever.)
Anyway: The queen finds out she's alive. She brings the corset and the poisoned comb. Snow White keeps stupidly accepting gifts from strange women in forests, dying, and being saved by the dwarfs. Then the queen brings the apple, and Snow White dies for real. Now here is one of my favorite pages. Just look at it yourself, and see if you can figure out what's been bothering me.
Yes. That is, in fact, a hand mirror. And it has been a hand mirror the entire time, ever since the mirror is first depicted. Even as the queen is saying, "Looking glass upon the wall," she is holding the mirror in her hand. Come on, Quentin. Seriously? That one is all on you.
The dwarfs put Snow White in a glass coffin. (Why?) She's still so beautiful that they can't bear to put her in the ground. (Ugh.) So they put the coffin in the woods and take turns keeping watch. And do you know what they've written on the coffin? "This is Snow White, Daughter of a King." If you'll remember the beginning of my post, I pointed out that several lines are devoted to the queen, the one who wished for a very-specifically-designed daughter, gave birth to her, and then died. The king gets one sentence, and it is for the sole purpose of introducing the new queen, who drives the rest of the story. So why, I ask you—why did that epitaph not read "This is Snow White, Daughter of a Queen"?
One day, a prince rides up and sees Snow White. He tries to buy her from the dwarfs. When they refuse, saying they couldn't part with her for any amount of gold, he asks them to instead part with her out of kindness, because after two seconds of looking at her, he loves her "more than anything in this world and cannot live without looking upon her." They cave, and when the prince's servants trip while carrying the coffin away, the piece of apple is thrown from Snow White's lips, and she wakes up. "Where am I?" she asks. Then this happens:
So, to sum up...
Snow White: Where am I?
Total Stranger: You are near me. Isn't that great? I mean, you've actually never seen me before in your life, so maybe you don't know that you're supposed to be comforted by this information. But it's good news, I promise. What's happened is that you died, and I fell in love with you by riding past your absurdly impractical coffin and seeing how hot you were, and the dwarfs were totally cool giving you up to a guy they've never met because I told them I couldn't live without having your dead body around to look at all the time. So now we're going to get married. Sound good?
And the next line is, "Their wedding was held with great splendor." All right, well, great. Who needs a consenting bride anyway? Then they invite the wicked queen to the wedding, give her a pair of red-hot iron shoes, and make her dance until she dies. And they all live happily ever after. Good riddance, I say, to this book and the whole stupid story.
I read a second adaptation after this, one by Charles Santore, that I just want to mention briefly. Story-wise, it's the same, with one or two small improvements (like that Snow White actually does consent to the marriage, and the mirror on the wall is actually on the wall). But there's one plot point that I just couldn't ignore.
I mentioned earlier that in the Greban adaptation, Snow White's age isn't specifically mentioned, and she's obviously the same age at the end of the book that she was at the beginning. In the Santore adaptation, however, Snow White is seven years old when she dies, and lies in the coffin for many years. In one way this is reassuring, as the Snow White who gets married is obviously no longer a small child. ---> But I find the inclusion of this plot point, whether it's from the original story or has been added later (I don't know), highly suspect. Because guys—not only is she wearing the same (thin white) dress that fit her when she was seven... She hit puberty in that coffin. That is just absurd. Not that there's any part of this entire fairy tale that is not absurd... But please. There are limits.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Why Society Still Needs Feminism
Because to men, a key is a device to open something. For women, it’s a weapon we hold between our fingers when we’re walking alone at night.
Because the biggest insult for a guy is to be called a “pussy,” a “little bitch” or a “girl.” From here on out, being called a “pussy” is an effing badge of honor.
Because last month, my politics professor asked the class if women should have equal representation in the Supreme Court, and only three out of 42 people raised their hands.
Because rape jokes are still a thing.
Because despite being equally broke college kids, guys are still expected to pay for dates, drinks and flowers.
Because as a legit student group, Campus Fellowship does not allow women to lead anything involving men. Look, I know Eve was dumb about the whole apple and snake thing, but I think we can agree having a vagina does not directly impact your ability to lead a college organization.
Because it’s assumed that if you are nice to a girl, she owes you sex — therefore, if she turns you down, she’s a bitch who’s put you in the “friend zone.” Sorry, bro, women are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.
Because only 29 percent of American women identify as feminist, and in the words of author Caitlin Moran, “What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just drunk at the time
of the survey?”
Because when people hear the term feminist, they honestly think of women burning bras. Dude, have you ever bought a bra? No one would burn them because they’re freaking expensive.
Because Rush Limbaugh.
Because we now have a record number of women in the Senate … which is a measly 20 out of 100. Congrats, USA, we’ve gone up to 78th place for women’s political representation, still below China, Rwanda and Iraq.
Because recently I had a discussion with a couple of well-meaning Drake University guys, and they literally could not fathom how catcalling a woman walking down University Avenue is creepy and sexist. Could. Not. Fathom.
Because on average, the tenured male professors at Drake make more than the tenured female professors.
Because more people on campus complain about chalked statistics regarding sexual assault than complain about the existence of sexual assault. Priorities? Have them.
Because 138 House Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act. All 138 felt it shouldn’t provide support for Native women, LGBT people or immigrant women. I’m kind of confused by this, because I thought LGBT people and women of color were also human beings. Weird, right?
Because a girl was roofied last semester at a local campus bar, and I heard someone say they think she should have been more careful. Being drugged is her fault, not the fault of the person who put drugs in her drink?
Because Chris Brown beat Rihanna so badly she was hospitalized, yet he still has fans and bestselling songs and a tattoo of an abused woman on his neck.
Because out of 7 billion people on the planet, more than 1 billion women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. Women and girls have their clitorises cut out, acid thrown on them and broken bottles shoved up them as an act of war. Every second of every day. Every corner of the Earth.
Because the other day, another friend of mine told me she was raped, and I can no longer count on both my hands the number of friends who have told me they’ve been sexually assaulted. Words can’t express how scared I am that I’m getting used to this.
Because a brief survey of reality will tell you that we do not live in a world that values all people equally and that sucks in real, very scary ways. Because you know we live in a sexist world when an awesome thing with the name “feminism” has a weird connotation. Because if I have kids someday, I want my son to be able to have emotions and play dress up, and I want my daughter to climb trees and care more about what’s in her head than what’s on it. Because I don’t want her to carry keys between her fingers at night to protect herself.
Because feminism is for everybody, and this is your official invitation.
— Caitlin O’Donnell, Drake University
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
"A lot of people hear the word 'gender' and they think it means 'women'... As if men don't have a gender."
"Men have been largely erased from so much of the conversation about a subject that is centrally about men."
I've never seen a TED Talk that wasn't amazing, but this one just blows my mind. I posted it on Facebook, but honestly, it didn't seem to get much attention and I really, really think it's so important that people watch this. Part of me wants to post it all over the internet, every single day for the rest of my life. (Don't worry, I won't; but if you watch it right now, you'll help me stop even considering it.)
Can you imagine what would happen if these 19 minutes were required viewing in high schools?
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Actually, it turns out that some of those middle parts might be changing. I considered not writing this post yet, until the new plans were finalized, but then I decided it doesn't really matter.
We're moving back to Texas. We've spent a year looking for jobs that pay enough for us to move out of Mike's parents' house, and we haven't found them. Mike's old job offered him a raise to come back. And we're pretty fed up with being poor. He'll be making about $1000 more a month than the two of us are making together right now, and we decided that we just can't turn that down (especially since any job I get there is almost guaranteed to pay more than the job I have now, too). So we're doing it.
They want him to be back by the beginning of June, and it just happens that my dad's side of the family is having a reunion in Arizona over Memorial Day weekend. Maybe a more sensible person would decide to skip the reunion in light of the cross-country move that needs to happen at essentially the same time, but I guess I am not that sensible person. Considering that I was one of the ones spearheading the reunion plans in the first place, and that this side of my family only gets together once or twice a decade, it feels pretty important to me that we go. So instead of trying to cram as many days as possible in between the two trips... We're combining them.
I'm glad we'll be living near our friends and my family again, but I wish we didn't have to leave Utah yet. This wasn't going to be a permanent place to live either, but we were at least planning on more than a year. I just had enough time to get into a great routine with some friends I really, really love, and now I'll have to leave them. We're going back to our old friends, which is wonderful, but I'm still going to be sad about that.
My family Skyped yesterday, and we told Jaylee that Mike and I are coming back. She started jumping up and down and yelling, "Miri and Mike are coming! Miri and Mike are coming!" for about five minutes. It felt kind of awesome. And since that's probably the single best thing about this move, I'll leave it there for now.
Monday, April 29, 2013
you're not funny you fucking loser.. at least make an original joke and stop sucking the life out of moms sacky tits..
good luck getting a top rated comment some day, at least make up your own jokes. fucking wankeri hope you die a horrible death you fucking cuntschlicker.
[emphasis mine, because out of that whole pile of sad, sad garbage, don't you just feel like you want to cry for the person whose life goal is to get a top-rated comment on YouTube?]