Defending Disney Part Two: The Little Mermaid

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Author’s Note

I need to say a few things about Defending Disney Part One: I personally don’t think it was my best piece of work. Not after reading comments (because, come on, not all of them were negative to begin with), but pretty much since I pressed ‘submit for review’ I was on the fence about it. It wasn’t researched very well and the arguments weren’t very good. I’m glad that some of you lovely ladies seemed to have liked it, but I do feel the need to say that the article was written quite some time ago, and my feelings towards a majority of those Disney princesses have changed. In short, I’m starting to agree with the ‘offenders’ these days, but that doesn’t mean I’m letting negative views ruin my fun when watching the movies. Every story does have a basic moral to it that the intended audience can grasp fairly easily (ex. Beauty and the Beast- don’t judge someone based on their appearance). And honestly, I work with a multitude of children day and night and watch them grow up as the years go on: none of them seemed to be all that ruined by the ‘subtext’ of any Walt Disney film to begin with.

Someone did mention that Disney didn’t even come up with these stories to begin with, that they just took folk tales and books and turned them into 90 minute movies, which is certainly something to take into consideration when forming an opinion. It is also important to remember that Disney didn’t go word-for-word on said fairytales, and the way they portray the story differs from the way that the original author intended it to be.

All of that being said, there is one princess I will probably defend to the death, because this movie alone definitely taught me things that make me who I am today. What I learned when I was five, what I learned re-watching it at seventeen, and all the years in between, all components of the person I call ‘me’. So without further rambling, I give you the actual article:

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Defending Ariel

” Why is Ariel on your list of inspiration people? She was stubborn, irresponsible, selfish, and put her entire kingdom in danger. Not to mention she basically gave up her ability to speak and voice an option for a boy.”

These are all very valid points. However, I feel like all of these things really do tie into a positive manner that we can all relate to. (This point I will discuss later)

Now, obviously this post was brought up after I received inquires about my new red tresses, but I’ve been meaning to defend Ariel as a role model for quite some time. One thing you absolutely have to understand was she was always my favorite disney princess, since I was old enough to comprehend what a princess was. Literally, I stood in front of the tv, and when she moved her hand, I moved my hand. When she sang, I sang. On cue. Every day. So these points I’m about to make are clearly biased to an extreme extent. Then again, all we’re really talking about is whether or not she’s a good role model, a concept which is based on opinion alone, and all opinions are biased. I’m not going to get into the logistics of it.

The predominant reason I find Ariel to be just an outstanding person that she has a dream and she goes for it. She doesn’t dilly dally, she doesn’t ‘go with the flow” and wait to see what happens, she doesn’t wait for the opportunity to come to her. She sees something that she wants, and she goes out to get it. It doesn’t matter if we, the audience, think her dream is stupid, if Sebastian and her father is consistently trying to deter her, she goes for it. And she not only did she have to go out way out of her comfort zone (have you seen Ursula’s Cove? SKETCHY), but she also had to break boundaries and take a huge risk  in order to achieve what she had set out to do.

And I feel like that’s something a lot of us don’t do. We want to be risky, but we also don’t want to get hurt. We want to take the chance, but we don’t want to face the consequence if things don’t turn our way. We want to break boundaries, but it’s hard with everyone bringing us down. So we wind up complacent and stagnant and waiting for an opportunity. Ariel didn’t do that, she made the opportunity for herself, she took the chance, and she faced the consequences when things didn’t turn out the way she had planned.

Another small thing I really love about Ariel is her pursuit of knowledge and understanding of a culture that is different from her own, that contradicts her father’s beliefs and what he had taught her. I feel like this is, on a small scale, a demonstration that she does have a mind of her own and will not settle for hearsay before forming an opinion.

Lastly, and this is the part that I had mentioned in the beginning, she may very well have been stubborn. She very well may have bee irresponsible and selfish. And her actions very well may have put her entire kingdom into danger. This is clearly extreme Disney dramatization, because what’s a plot without a little conflict? And while all of these things appear to be negative, they have only taught me one thing: It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to have flaws. When we’re young, we idealize these princesses and when we get older we become cynical and point out their flaws because they’re not as perfect as we thought they were. And then we stop liking them because they’re people too (in a sense).

We do this with real life people all the time. We make friends, we find about about a few seedy things they may have said and done, and then we’re not as close to them, or we’re slightly off put. So it really doesn’t come as a surprise to me that we do this with fictional characters as well. But the point being that Ariel had some flaws and made some poor choices, big whoop.

And while giving up her voice for a pair of leg is very well indeed one of those poor choices, I think it paints a pretty realistic picture. You have to sacrifice things to get what you want. However, when I was just a little girl, who was being ‘ruined’ with all this ‘disney subtext’ by being told by this movie my opinion doesn’t matter,  I always thought that the reasoning behind Ariel sacrificing her voice was not to illustrate that she has nothing of importance to say, but that actions speak louder then words and talk is cheap, so Ariel was unable to win him with words and talk her way into Eric’s heart, rather she had to show him that she was something special. An when I was seventeen, watching it yet again, I noticed that the movie’s villian was the one who openly endorsed the idea that ladies should be seen and not heard, and we’re not supposed to agree with the movie’s villian. 
And if he was smart enough to see how fantastic she is, awesome. If he didn’t, then she probably wouldn’t want to be with him in the long run anyway. Who wants to be with someone that doesn’t notice how amazing you are? Exactly.

Granted, if she doesn’t get him to fall in love with here in a mere three days she turns to some shrub in Ursula’s cove, but the chances of some little girl being in that situation is slim, said little girl will have a choice a to whether or not to pursue a relationship with someone that won’t possibly end in her turning into a sea plant or whatever.

And Eric didn’t fall in love with her at first. He fell in love with her voice. Hence he was easily tricked and put under a spell by Ursula/Vanessa, because he was too busy trying to find the girl with the girl with the voice instead of realizing what a prize he had right in front of him.

I would hope that we are at a stage in life where we have an understanding of things that should and shouldn’t be given up in that circumstance and don’t make life descisions based directly from the plot of Disney’s  Little Mermaid, but I do think there are quite a few wonderful things that she can teach girls of all generations.

What is a Zine? And Why is it Not Called a Booklet or Magazine?

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This little collage article is especially for my HUSBAND and my DAUGHTER (7) who continually question why I say “zine” instead of “book” or “magazine.”
I’ve tried repeatedly to explain it to them (but maybe I need your help?).
They of course seem to have been born BEFORE and AFTER the girl “grrl” zine boom that I was so affected by.
They don’t seem to like the word.
They act as though I made the word up.
I didn’t.
We both know that.

A Brief Definition of Each

  • BOOK – a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. The Old English word originally meant any written document.
  • MAGAZINE – a periodical publication containing articles and illustrations, typically covering a particular subject or area of interest.
  • PAMPHLET – a small booklet or leaflet containing information or arguments about a single subject.
  • ZINE – most commonly a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Usually zines are the product of a single person, or of a very small group.

Could these words be interchangeable?
Sure.
I can buy a chicken by searching for chickens on Craigslist.
However if I want to buy a rooster specifically, I will have a hell of a time finding one by searching “chicken.”
So while you might say a zine is a type of book or magazine, it is categorized as a zine.
A word I did not make up to be cute.
To be fair, I make up a lot of words.
Generally speaking, these words are used to communicate my aesthetic appreciation for our animals.
So yes, they could also be referred to as forms of baby talk.
(I’m sure you understand.)

As Issuu says:

Let’s start off by defining magazines. Magazines are a print or digital periodical publication featuring a collection of content. Typically, magazines tend to have one specific focus across all of their issues –– fashion magazines focus centrally on fashion, food magazines on food, etc. Magazines have been around since the 1600s and have taken many forms: free or paid; weekly, monthly or quarterly; digital or print.

So if “zine” is short for “magazine,” are they in fact just shorter magazines? Upon first glance, one would likely say yes. But there is much more — and much less — that defines a zine.

Historically, zines have been self-published as pamphlets or leaflets as early as the 1700s. They were circulated independently by socially-marginalized groups to give voice to their opinions and beliefs. Over time this developed into an array of other topics, with the first “boom” of zines starting in the 1930s. Known as “fanzines” and “perzines,” these were started by fans of science fiction magazines who self-published zines about both science fiction and the connected fandoms behind them.

Zines boomed again in the 1970s during the rise of punk subculture, and by the 1980s the concept of zines as an art form emerged. This was heightened by “Factsheet Five,” a publication that reviewed any zine sent to it, which created a network of “zinesters.” In the 1990s came “girl zines,” originating from the riot grrrl movement. These have carried over prominently into present day zine culture.

Zines boomed again in the 1970s during the rise of punk subculture, and by the 1980s the concept of zines as an art form emerged. This was heightened by “Factsheet Five,” a publication that reviewed any zine sent to it, which created a network of “zinesters.” In the 1990s came “girl zines,” originating from the riot grrrl movement. These have carried over prominently into present day zine culture.

The New York Times explains why the internet didn’t kill zines:

Millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of posts are published to social-media sites each day. And yet somehow, it can feel impossible to engage with new ideas, even as our compulsive inability to stop scrolling exposes us to an unending stream of new content. Yes, you can catch tweetstorms on Twitter, watch someone’s life unfold on Instagram, do deep dives into hashtags on Tumblr or watch video diaries on YouTube that explore diverse perspectives, but the clutter of everything else happening at the same time online can make it difficult to really digest and absorb the perspective being offered.

Which might be part of the reason zines never disappeared — and are even available in abundance in 2017.

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7 Reasons We Watch Reality TV

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A guy friend recently asked if I could marinate on the question of why myself and other women he knows seem to like reality shows more than men (he despises them). I decided an awesome way to find out why would be to write an article and do some research on my blog readers and friends. First of all we’re (mis)educated women, we’re not your average trashy American who watches Jerry Springer instead of being a functioning adult. However it seriously appears ridiculous that we love our reality tv.

Girls love reality television the way that guys (and other girls) love sports which are also competitive and unscripted. These are the top reasons I have found that I really enjoy watching some reality TV shows and also reasons that you other beautiful ladies do too.

1. Automatic Fame & Status

As human beings we are very curious of the idea of a quick rise to fame and status for doing little to nothing. How curious that someone can just be chosen to appear on a reality show and be watched by millions instantly? It’s a psychological curiosity and entertaining fantasy for many human beings even if they do not want to be famous. As a child my dream careers were acting and singing.. I did both a lot.. and as a blogger if people recognize me out and about I feel a bit anxious. So it seems I am not cut out for that sort of fame if I would like to survive with any sort of sanity.. but it sure is a curiosity to see others experience it.

I don’t watch reality TV, except for British Baking, The others creep me out. I guess that I am the outlier. I have seen America’s Top Model because Tyra Banks is a genius–and I do like seeing how some of the not-so-pretty girls are gorgeous when they are made up. ~Kathy

2. Competition

Whether it’s a game show or physical competition it is compelling to watch other people competing for something on tv. Rather it be for a husband, a job or prize money everyone on the show is competing to be the most extreme personality by manipulation, backstabbing, sweetness and love. If you’re not entertaining in some way you will not get a rose, back stage pass or whatever the hell else they’re passing out to keep you on tv.

3. Voyeurism

Watching people when you feel like you’re not supposed to is a guilty pleasure for many of us humans. In the Journal of Media Psychology, Dr. Lemi Baruh distinguishes this “nosy voyeurism” from the more sexual form of voyeurism. Seeing how other people live and experience life behind closed doors is a common attraction to reality tv.

I watch them because I like seeing how other people “live”, it’s a combination of the curious part of me with comparing myself to them. A lot of the shows have competition in them too. Some are so over the top. I don’t know but I enjoy every single one of them. ~ Nicki

4. Gossip

The impulse to talk behind someone’s back is quite a common character flaw. Research shows that our brains are wired for critical gossip. “Gossip is helping you to predict who is friend and who is foe,” says Lisa Feldman Barrett, professor of psychology at Northeastern University via NPR. The human brain is wired to respond to gossip, researchers say. And it adds to the evidence that gossip helped early humans get ahead. Reality shows give us the opportunity to gossip about other people while hurting no one (unless you’re doing it openly over social media).

I get slack all the time for watching reality tv. I work in the mental health field and see enough real drama and sadness. I watch those shows just to take my mind off the real horrible things. I call it “junk food tv” because even though it’s not good for you it’s just fun and ridiculous. No I don’t want to emulate their actions I just want to peek in to their nonsense before I go back to the real world. ~Ruthie

5. Drama

You don’t have to get your fill from drama in your own life.. instead you can just wait for the family to go to bed and fill up on reality drama. When the show is over you can read about all of the legal issues, feuds and other drama involving these people you’ve gotten to know and experience on television and it’s strangely satisfying.

They’re crazy over the top and ridiculous (in comparison to my life) which humors me and yet sometimes they seem real and I’m a little touched (example: Lauren Manzo and her wedding with her parents made me teary). I’ve also been really touched by shows like Intervention and Under Cover Boss… they me every damn time. I’m not really sure… I will say sometimes its a better escape for me after a stressful day because I dont have the time or attention span for movies and shows for the most part. ~Ashley

6. We can multitask

Unlike many movies, reality shows do not require your undivided attention to enjoy them or follow what’s going on. The ability to do other things while watching television is another part of the appeal because as women we’re better at multitasking, according to a recent study in the Journal of Biomedical Science Science. My husband and I discuss this often because he knows (and sees) women are hardwired to multitask while he cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. I personally LOVE to have a cheesy reality show going on, a coffee in my hand and a snack near by while I’m blogging or designing a few collateral pieces for a client.

7. Confidence

It’s inspiring to see someone’s real flaws and struggles while also maintaining their lives in some way and also seeing women who seemingly have it all but cannot get a grip. The scripted and airbrushed women in polished media tend to make other women inadequate, so many girls look to reality TV for reassurance. Not only does the genre showcase all kinds of human inadequacies but many times you can see women without makeup, without their hair fixed and un-primped. We don’t get this opportunity in scripted shows and movies.

When I watch rich housewives who are absolutely miserable, it makes me feel better about my poor, simple life. ~Kimi

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Lastly I was asked which shows I prefer because there are so many reality shows that I feel your mere preference says something about why you watch them as well. Also my favorite types of films tend to be documentaries and I feel it’s a similar thing.. I’m getting to see and understand things I can’t get from a scripted film or show.

The ones I enjoy most are Catfish (about people who find out if their online BFF or lover are true or someone else), Couples Therapy (I don’t know why but I love seeing other peoples relationship dynamics), True Life (depending on the topic), Dr. Phil (how embarrassing but I can really go for an episode while I work), Rupauls Drag Race (because the whole show is beautiful, inspiring and hilarious), Intervention, Hoarders, Walk of Shame Shuttle, America’s Next Top Model, Hell’s Kitchen (yumm), My Strange Obsession (and all the spin-offs similar to that) and I used to love Simple Life, Celebrity Rehab, Bag Girl’s Club (which I was long ago offered a part on–ack!!) and Jersey Shore (haha). I also love crime-solving shows and shows about murder which are sort of reality shows as well.

Orange is the New Black Season 2 Character Recap

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After Season 1 came out on Netflix I was working for something to watch.. I saw it was a prison show about WOMEN and I decided to give it a try. I watched the first episode and laughed a lot. Then I watched it again with David.. then I proceeded to watch every other episode until I was dying to know that there would be more.

Season 2 I watched as soon as it came out. Season 3? I’ve been watching it. I waited a bit because my kids are on summer break and I needed adult time… and now I’ve started watching it. But I’m scared to binge watch because then it’s just over as quick as it started! Ha.

I did skim through Season 1 & 2 again to see what went on before I jumped back in. The main updates on our favorite characters have been listed below. Short and sweet. (So you can get back to watching.)

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Season 2 Character Recap

Piper
Fiance (Larry) slept with her best friend Polly.
Engagement called off.
Almost got transferred but got to stay.
Realized she’s changed after attending her grandma’s funeral on the out — she’s accepting that she deserves to be in prison.

Larry
Officially out and coupled with Polly.

Alex
Got released from Prison and realized real-life is more dangerous.
Planning on skipping parole but Piper ratted her out.

Red
Got beaten (almost to death) by Vee.
Her nemesis Vee got ran over and is assumed dead.

Crazy Eyes
Used by Vee and again betrayed and left alone.

Caputo
Deputy Warden achieved with probation.
Given everything that happened including escapes it’s likely he’s not going to hold on to the job.

Figueroa
Saputo discovers evidence that Figueroa is embezzling money from the prison.
She gets blackmailed into resigning (after giving him a blowjob).

Healy
Healy’s feelings are hurt after no one shows up for his Safe Place group-therapy session.
Because he’s a jerk.

Pornstache
Fired for being framed for raping Daya.
Believes Daya loves him and her baby is his.
He will not be on Season 3.

Morello
Morello let terminally ill Rosa escape.

Miss Rosa
Chemo treatments aren’t working for her terminal cancer.
Drives off in the van, sees Vee escaping and hits her.
She speeds away as sirens blast.

Bennet
He confessed to Caputo that he is the father of Daya’s baby.
Caputo didn’t care.

Nicky
Hid the heroin — will she fall off the wagon?

BooBoo
Stuck in a tight spot with the heroin she and Nicky were smuggling in.

Soso
Soso is still adjusting to prison life.

Yoga Jones
Loses her cool and punches Janae for saying why she got incarcerated.

Taystee
Ousted Vee.
Reunited with best friend Poussey.

Poussey
Admits she has romantic feelings for Taystee which made things weird for awhile but it seems they’re friends again.

Pennsatucky
New, gold teeth.
Lost her crew and cut her hair (to join the “gay agenda”).

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The Beale’s of Grey Gardens

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I’ve always enjoyed Grey Gardens. I love documentaries and anything concerning unique individuals and their points of view on the world. Especially former socialites (relatives of Jackie O) living in isolation within a house full of cats and costumes while reading astrology, talking of gossip, singing old songs and sun bathing on the beach. What’s not to love?

For those who have yet to see the 70s documentary, Grey Gardens is a film by Albert and David Maysles who filmed the documentary in a technique which allowed the women to tell their own stories. The film depicts the everyday lives of a mother and a daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived in a fall-to-ruin, cat and raccoon-filled mansion known as Grey Gardens located in East Hampton, New York. There has also been a broadway musical and an HBO movie created about the Beales due to the cult following of this interesting film.

If you can’t get a man to propose to you, you might as well be dead.
~Little Edie

Young Little Edie

Little Edie

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Little Edie: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too in life.
Big Edie: Oh, yes, I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted.

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