The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Just a note to say:

Ella Enchanted is silly, fun - and painful in parts - but still the scenes between the leads crackle...even if they strayed from the book almost entirely. *grumble* Curious to see the packaging that Disney put on it though.

Curious, as well, to realize that this has been the year of Cinderella stories: Ella Enchanted, The Prince and Me, A Cinderella Story and did Lindsay Lohan (sp?) have one, too? I suppose Mean Girls counts. One wonders if it's Hollywood's rite of passage for young tween queens - a sad thing, since it's really one of the most asinine of all the fairy tales. Give me Thousandfurs! Give me the Twelve Dancing Princesses! The Seven Swans! The Snow Queen! The darker tales, the richer tales - or the fuller tales: Aladdin and The Little Mermaid uncut for once! Oy.

The director said something to the effect that "in all fairy tales the girl is helpless" (or unempowered - gag. I'm the first one to sit on another woman who's moping about and not doing, but I'll join the army against militant "empowerment" nonsense first, if given an option. Empowerment, my foot). Anywho, when he said that, I nearly leapt out of my chair at the screen. Heavens! Who does he think made up half the fairy tales that the Grimms brothers at best recorded? Snow White powerless? Dumb, maybe - but that's one tough chick who can run through the forest, survive an evil stepmother, and whip seven dwarves into shape! It's the guy in that story who's the pointless prize that the women who told that story gave to Snow White. Or in the original version of Sleeping Beauty, when she wakes up, she discovers that she's been raped and had twins and then the guy who did that to her comes and takes her to live with him as a servant and then his wife wants to kill her kids and put them in the stew and who comes to the rescue? Yup! Sleeping Beauty! That's who! Or, there's a great story, can't remember all the details now, basically your Evil Stepmother-Spunky Daughter story, where the girl's been locked up in the tower and the Stepmother's trying to get her to come out so she can kill her, and the girl ends up getting the best of the Stepmother by driving a poisoned dagger through the keyhole. And who saves the day in Hansel and Gretel? I thought so. You want female "empowerment," take a look at the Seven Swans - girl takes up a vow of muteness until she can make seven shirts out of brambles, is forced into a marriage since she can't say "no," is nearly burnt at the stake, manages to save her brothers, denounce the evil steward, and retain her guy. Yup. Snow Queen: demon and titular character manage to steal away guy and more or less brainwash him, who comes to the rescue? The girl. Who's nearly diverted by a band of gypsies, by the Summer Queen, and then by the guy's own brainwashed coldness. Or the girl in Bearskin who's the only virtuous character in the whole thing? Or the girl in any of those stories where one is given the gift of flowers and jewels coming out of her mouth and then her sister (or half sister), who is not polite to the old woman is cursed with toads, et al coming out of her mouth. The princess in The Frog Prince had to put up with a lot - and a lot on faith, too. The Little Mermaid gave up her own happiness for the prince's. Thumbelina was brave in the face of everyone trying to manipulate her. And don't forget all those giantesses who help all those wandering heroes when the giant fathers dole out impossible tasks. Who sleeps? The guy (granted, he's been through the ringer already). Who works? The girl.

Now all the above sounds like some sort of "empowerment" diatribe, but it isn't. Rather it's a diatribe against those who would deny the already inherent power of women. I resent these candyfloss "girl-power" movies that do not deal fairly with either sex. I resent someone telling me that to gain power, I must do the man's job. No! I needn't fear to bow to the king, because in so doing, I demand that he show me equal if not greater respect. I needn't spout a pointless polemics about a woman's absolute need for independence, when I know that she becomes herself not when she divorces herself from the world, but embraces it. Power - that is, true power, good power, not tyranny - comes from doing the right thing at the right time to the right extent. Not rushing about doing everything oneself.

I am making no sense of this. Let me consider. What is it about these "empowerment" movies that bother me so? What is it about this "empowerment" feminazi rhetoric that induces me to hurl corsets at de-habited nuns and leather-faced flower children?

First, as has been oft said, I find it reprehensible that anyone should, in the name of "liberation" seek not to find justice but to rather destroy another party. Levelling the field is no inducement to greatness.

Second, I find it insulting to be told that as a woman I am free to make up my mind about anything, so long as I make up my mind "independently" to embrace abortion, divorce, lesbianism, free sex, contraception, male-bashing, and the expungence of the use of "he" or "man" as the indefinite pronoun.

Third, I find it revolting that these tweeny movies propound the "virtue gone wild" of being, somewhat abstractly, "true to your heart" - because what that boils down to is "follow your emotions and throw logic out the window." This - this weeping and sighing and drama, this tendency towards hysteria is perhaps the one thing that I have the most difficulty with in regards to our sex. Certainly, there is a place for great emotion. And certainly, emotion is not itself a thing to be despised. However, if the heart is ungoverned by the mind, then one will make all sorts of wrong judgements and worse, one will be completely opposed to hearing any sort of reason! (Regard any of the so-called "arguments" for homosexuality, abortion, divorce - well, see the above list.)

Naturally, I do not advocate the mind divorced from the heart, for cold reason begat the Nazi genocide, and continues to today's stem cell research, wanton experiments in cloning, and who knows what other insanity. To lose either the mind or the heart is to be a hollow man. To have both, but lack in soul is to be a half-man - one of Kierkegaard's examples in Sickness unto Death.

I cannot, I will not, accept the tyranny of my sex merely by accident of my sex. I cannot, I will not, accept the tyranny of the desires over the reason of the mind. I cannot and I will not accept the tyranny of the soulless, who throw shadows on the wall and call it life.

Mood: Joan of Arc!
Music: Alas, the "True to your Heart" cover by Raven, running about my mind in leather stillettos. Aaaaaaaaaaaugh! Out, out, damn song!
Thought: What? At this hour? Yeah. Thrushbeard. Thnicka.


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