Arts and Health, Sisters is devoted to exploring creative problem solving and coping strategies in our world, especially the links between artistic expression and personal and spiritual growth. It is also dedicated to honoring the value and power of women.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brief Update

I just wanted to note that I had an article accepted on Helium, so I have earned my first dollar as a writer. It's not going to show up in my bank account for some time, but I thought it ought to have a place of honor on my blog. I hope to write here more soon as well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Ironically I started this blog with some writings about looking for work, and now I myself am looking for a second job or business.

So far I've applied for a job with mental health care, have joined a medical writer's association, have started making crafts (but haven't been brave enough to try to sell them), have sold some things on eBay... I'm also going to try my hand at some public speaking which I enjoy and possibly continue with some content writing (on-line writing) as well. I'm simply trying to do something positive about my financial needs every day, even if it is a small something. It does help me feel a bit better than sitting and fretting.

Of course every solution brings its own challenges. Sometimes challenges are fun opportunities for growth and other time they are simply tiring. I am thankful that I live in an age which provides many different options for work. However I would be much more grateful if the economy was doing better, even if it meant fewer opportunities and challenges!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Princess Curse: Women Entwined Inexorably With Virtue

Recently I watched Tangled with my son and was struck by the following:

Loved the horse, or is it a dog, or what?

Loved the crazy long hair and how completely impossible everything was. Let's hear it for cartoon physics!

Three cheers for frying pans, even though I'm a Quaker!

I also thought it was a nice touch, at the start, to have a villainess who was primarily charming and manipulative as her form of aggression.

Ok, so the usual Disney Princess fare. And that's the problem. There's our Hero, who is, of course, tediously good-looking, healthy and as usual egotistical, callous, an unapologetic law-breaker and basically a no-good guy whose saving graces are being handsome, reckless, and arrogantly thoughtless. Enter our Princess who while agile (especially with the hair! Hey if mine could work as a prehensile limb, I'd never cut mine either!), creative, intelligent and deeply sensitive and caring, is also almost entirely unquestioning of authority, deeply into people-pleasing as her main source of protection (ok, she's decent with a frying pan, and don't forget her mighty chameleon side-kick) and otherwise is “as good as she is beautiful.”

By the end of the predictable if enjoyable tale, our hero has been saved by falling in love with our perfect princess (did I mention she's a size 2 soaking wet and dipped in batter?) which brings out all his finer qualities.

I have 2 objections: the first is that this plays into the myth that women are responsible for saving the world and every single man in it, one at a time, through being beautiful, good, and at most a bit whiny. The only “allowable faults” are vanity and intense emotions (excluding intense anger of course).

I want to see the other story, the one about the girl/young woman who is not “good” and who is redeemed. In thinking about this the only movie that comes to mind is “The Accused”, which is hardly appropriate for children. I found that movie deeply troubling due to the subject matter, but also refreshing, because the heroine was not a “nice girl”, or a “good girl”. Yet her bravery in confronting what was done to her through the legal system redeems her. She gets angry, she does “stupid” things, just like our “heroes”.

My second objection is the villainess. I get very tired of female villains, because they are portrayed exclusively as charming on the outside, yet totally evil on the inside. And there are so many of them. Male villains tend to be more complex and are portrayed more sympathetically. Such as the villain in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney version), However who can blame the women villains for being so shallow when the only powerful thing they feel they can do is steal youth, beauty or a wonderful singing voice. So what if I can turn people into toads, I'm not the “fairest of them all”, without which I don't have the power to seduce men and redeem them, therefore I am impotent. Can we please stop proving Freud was right? Or at least acknowledge that the lives of girls and women are more complex and worthy in their own right. And that it isn't a woman's job to “save” the man she loves (or any other man either).

I know this review is overly serious for a silly and really rather fun film, but I'm tired of girls being shown that “they can have it all”, that, yes they are smart and strong and brave and can do everything Fred Astaire does, but in high heels and backwards... that isn't liberation, it's simply a less callous version of “put another log on the fire”.  (song by T. Glaser)

Put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

Now don't I let you wash the car on Sunday?
Don't I warn you when you're gettin fat?
Ain't I a-gonna take you fishin' with me someday?
Well, a man can't love a woman more than that.
Ain't I always nice to your kid sister?
Don't I take her driving every night?
So, sit here at my feet 'cos I like you when you're sweet,
And you know it ain't feminine to fight.

So, put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
Go out to the car and lift it up and change the tyre.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

P.S. For the ultimate in the anti-heroine see http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/Storyteller.html Saki's classic “The Storyteller”.  

Rough Week

I had a rough week with lots of bad news which I won't go into. I did a bit of hiding in bed for a couple of days, but now I'm over that (for this moment) and ready to post. I have a few things I'm working on and hope to get them up today and tomorrow.