Wednesday, February 8, 2017

It's not Just about the Tiny Waist; It's About the Tiny Boxes.

An engineer, biologist, personal fitness trainer, and a salesman walk into a bar... 
not really, but it sounds like a good one, right? They come into play later I swear, so stay tuned!

Belle Gets a Waist
Having coffee with a friend the other day I was asked if I had any interest in seeing the new Beauty and the Beast in theater. In reply I said I'd probably wait until it came out on DVD (since it was based off the classic Disney movie and I've already seen that). Not that I didn't enjoy it, but more because I'm not paying money to see a show about a girl who was kidnapped after refusing to marry the disgusting, chauvinistic Gaston.

Image result for BelleImage result for disney cinderella

Then, my feminist activist friend says, "Did you know she refused to wear a corset for the film?" Well, that certainly caught my attention. After all, did you see the number they did on the new Cinderella in 2015, with her real life itsy bitsy fairy tale waist? Now check out the difference on Belle's new real world waist. Emma Watson seems to be challenging the status quo on the physical appearance of a princess, and it's about damn time.

Image result for belle 2017Image result for cinderella 2015

It's one thing to have animation portray unrealistic body types and I think there is a line. A line to draw when you bring it into the real world and further say, this is what a female body should look like. Try to explain the difference to a child and an animation is easier to explain, "oh that's just the way the artist drew the character" vs. dealing with a real life body and say, "well that's what they thought her character should look like. Also, Cinderella seems to be showing a bit more cleavage in 2015 than in 1991 (even for her animated version).

However, now in 2017 we have Emma Watson taking a stand in Hollywood saying it's ok to have a princess with a waist. Because a princess is more than her waist, more than her color, more than just a female. One princess does not represent a whole mass culture! One culture is all that's ever shown in most of the Disney films (except Princess and the Frog and Pocahontas).

The problem with Disney dividing it's princesses into races is that those movies are subconsciously sending messages to extremely influential young audiences. (Even if Disney is just in it for the money.) Which is why keeping princesses in boxes of culture differences is a huge problem. By continually keeping a princess within her own culture and never cross into different cultures, you keep the society in its own cultural boxes. Image result for all disney princesses 2014

We are given only a tiny unrealistic stereotypical view of a specific culture, which means children only see the same thing. It further prolongs ignorance to the masses. Ignorance that cultures don't overlap in society. That you are born into a culture and only seen this way as a child, so you grow up with that ideology that those characters are real representations of a whole culture. That culture doesn't cross over. One movie and one culture and one ideology to be divided and separated for all. Not inviting, not encompassing, not empathetic, and not open-minded of others ideologies. We cannot afford to continue giving such small views of whole cultures anymore, even if its just a children's movie. Children watch so much TV and so many movies these days, it would be ridiculous to say they weren't learning or being influenced from it.

Boxes We Put Ourselves In
I think kids are learning to be put into boxes when they watch these films. They are the princess, the prince and then they identify with the one they relate to most. So they relate to the culture most familiar with them and then they learn about how to act within that culture based off the character in the film. Then you learn to put yourself into a box when you start making friends. Then you and your friends get put into another box at school to become the nerds, jocks, burnouts, etc.

The Nationality Box Unveiled
So first we put ourselves in boxes from how we let ourselves be labeled and then we find out we've put ourselves in our own cultural boxes. We learn to hate other cultures based off of what? Movies, social media, etc. What would happen if we discovered what our DNA was made of and the nationalities we come from. Then maybe we'd stop thinking boxes were so important and movies could have more than one race portrayed in the whole movie. 
When You Take the Box Away
I went on an adventure with some friends the other week by hiking up a mountain 1500 ft. and then doing a bout 12 repels down to get to the bottom again. It wasn't until over half way back that we ran into another group of people. We chatted for a few minutes and found out they all worked for one of the National Forests in our area. When they asked what we did the answer was different a different story. As far as professions go, we really didn't have a common link. 

Instead you had: an engineer, a biologist, a personal fitness trainer, and a salesman. 

Because when you take all of those boxes away you stop giving yourself restrictions on how you think about yourself or feel like you should act and behave. You finally just get to start to be. When you do that, you can be friends with anyone and the boxes don't exist anymore. Which is what we need! Throw the boxes out and don't make new ones.

Questions for you: 
What would you define your box to be and what's the biggest thing that keeps you in it?

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