The F Word: Cinderella

Are Disney Princesses really that irredeemable? As a child did I even notice all the bad things adults are now saying they stand for?  

There will always be room at the table for more diverse stories about women and girls but I see some value in the stories already told.

Cinderella is definitely no and Snow White (who I covered last week). She is very much the epitome of a hormonal teenager (as is the Prince I may add). She is obedient and will do her chores as is required, but she will react negatively if prodded. You can see this in her interactions with her animal companions, letting them know she will not put up with everything (her moaning about the clock in the morning is #relatable). Also when the invitation comes for the ball, Cinderella defiantly asks her stepmother “why not?” when told she could not attend. You could argue that this is her past life as a spoiled child breaking free every so often, which gives her character some dimension.

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*Get the Fuck Off My Dick by Vince Staples playing muffled in distance*

A Prince also features in Cinderella and as much as we all love to moan about a woman needing a man to better her situation in these films, looking at it in 2018 surely is eye opening. The opening credits song tells Cinderella not to worry, her dream of finding love will come true. However, Cinderella may not be that obsessed with finding a man. She first mentions her “dream” when woken up by her bird friends but will not tell anyone what that dream was because she would jinx it. When invited to the ball, she never mentions her intent to meet the Prince, and when she has reigned herself to the fact that she can’t go,  she guesses that it might be boring anyway.

To top everything off, she spends a wonderful night dancing with the Prince, and even sings a duet about love. The problem is, she does not know who he is. She even talks about how she adored the man she spent the night with but is disappointed he was not the Prince! She then convinces herself that maybe the he isn’t all that and she gets back to her life. Let me tell you though, when she finds out she had been dancing with the Prince, you can almost see that coin flash across her eyes. I understand, in a perfect world, Cinderella would have coin from a dressmaking business but her circumstances do not allow it. I say, you do you Cinderella, at least we know you like the man.

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I’m not sure I put Cinderella in a good light here but all I’m saying is that she’s no pushover.

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The F Word: Snow White

Are Disney Princesses really that irredeemable? As a child did I even notice all the bad things adults are now saying they stand for?  

There will always be room at the table for more diverse stories about women and girls but I see some value in the stories already told.

Snow White as a character is one that is easy to write off because her beauty is the main crux on which the entire plot centres itself on. If we look beyond that we can see some other traits. Snow White is kind to all she meets, animal and human alike. Her naivety does ultimately lead to her (temporary) death, which is a lesson in being too trusting. However, because she did take time to foster friendships she had a team to back her up when she did get into trouble. We all need a support network at times.

When she was without support, she ran by herself through a big dark forest, she may have screamed all the way through it, but she kept on going. It is a testament to her resilience that when she gets to the other side she apologises to the woodland creatures for frightening them, telling them she has had a rough day and that she will “get along somehow.” Snow White then consults with her woodland friends as to how she can make herself feel better. This arguably kills the interpretation that she does not want to bother anyone with her troubles.

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A cutie

It is true that Snow White is sweet and gentle, but she can give as good as she gets. In her first meeting with Grumpy, she correctly guesses his name by folding her arms and speaking in a mocking tone. Snow White is also hardworking and collaborative. She offers to pay her keep by cooking and cleaning for the dwarves, as is her skillset (I know some would prefer if she was slogging it down in the mine with the dwarves but have you seen the pie she made? Art). To do this she enlists the help of her woodland friends to split the work. She also does not let the dwarves off so lightly and refuses to feed them until they display some basic hygiene. One of the dwarves, Doc, teaches his housemates how to wash properly so that Snow White can focus on her task for the evening. The dwarves also contribute by providing some entertainment after dinner.

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Art

Finally we need to discuss the biggest turn off in these traditional princess stories, the Prince. I won’t lie, he’s a weirdo and it’s a weird set-up for “ever after.” I like to think that it is not the first time they met, Snow White was just startled when he jumped over the wall and snaked up to sing in her ear. I mean why else would she run away but then calm down and be down for the dude? The prince in this case really is just a handy little way to close off the story. I think I can forgive Snow White for being in love, it is something many can relate to. Also, the prince didn’t even get to be explored outside of fawning over Snow White.  Can we get a meninist to tell us how useless Prince Charming is as a character?

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A weirdo

Top Film Picks For Halloween

We live in a world full of “come on kids this house will be a fresh start, ignore your sister’s demon voice” plots. Because of this, there are very few films in the horror genre that have made an impression on me. I put this mostly down to my cynicism, but also I find myself bored of bad jump scares and unnecessary gore. Below are details of films that have made an impression on me because they brought something new to the table. Perfect viewing for the Halloween bank holiday weekend.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

A spiritual successor to found-footage monster movie Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane continues the world building of the franchise. It concerns a woman, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who gets in a car accident following a fight with her partner. She is rescued by bunker owner Howard (John Goodman)  who eventually informs her that the world outside is now inhabitable. As the film unfolds, Howard becomes more and more unstable. Michelle begins to question if he is telling the truth or if he just wants to keep her and other inhabitant Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) captive.

10 Cloverfield Lane is a great pick if you enjoy a film that keeps its secrets right on up to the last second. Just when you think you have Howard’s intentions figured out, the plot opens itself up just enough to send your mind racing yet again.  John Goodman really plays the part well, sometimes hero, sometimes villain, never simple.

The Witch (2015)

A period drama soaked in supernatural goodness, The Witch is about a banished puritan family as they try settle away from the plantation they once lived in. The family welcome a fifth child into the world while on the farm but things start to go sour from then on. Teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya-Taylor Joy) takes her eyes off of her new little brother for a fraction and he disappears. A witch gets her hands on him. Slowly the family descend into a spate of paranoia and hysteria. Soon enough, mother Katherine (Kate Dickie) and father William (Ralph Inenson) begin to turn even on their own children.

This film is a slow burner, so if you are looking for something quick and easy The Witch may not be for you. However if you can handle the artfully drawn out tension throughout, you will be rewarded with a gloriously delicious conclusion.

It Follows (2014)

Many of us are familiar with that Mean Girl quote (also a real life view of some people); “Don’t have sex, you will get pregnant and die.” It Follows takes this sentiment to a whole new level. This film’s premise begins when teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) having sex with her boyfriend  Hugh (Jake Weary). Her boyfriend knowingly passes something onto her in the act, and no, it’s not chlamydia. Terrifyingly Jay has a curse passed onto her which means that death lurks around every corner. Hugh explains the deal after chloroforming Jay and tying her to a chair. If she dies at the hands of the curse, it will go back to haunting him. What a nice guy.

The most terrifying thing about It Follows is the form the horror entity takes. Not only does it appear as a friend or a random stranger, it also moves at a walking pace. It is deeply unsettling and far more effective than things popping out into your face. It is absolutely gut-wrenching and it lasts for the whole film. The premise is also fresh but familiar, an urban legend for modern times.

Paranorman (2012)

Comedy horror Paranorman follows Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) a boy more comfortable speaking with the dead than the living. An outcast among his family and his peers, he finds a friend in Neil Downe (Tucker Albrizzi) also regular recipient of bullying. Visions bring him to learn of a curse put on the town by a witch and he is informed by his uncle  Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman) that he must lift it before it is too late. This proves difficult as his peers and his family accept his powers as nothing more than Norman being a weirdo.

Although on the lightest side possible of the horror genre, Paranorman packs a real punch both emotionally and visually. It deals with very important themes such as bullying and loneliness in a way easily understood by children and adults alike. Visually, the fact that it is a stop motion film adds to its impressiveness. It also manages to be genuinely funny, with a humour that does not rely on shock value or nastiness to get its point out. This is totally summed up in a revelation about one of the characters in the end.