Thawing: One Reason Why Frozen Is So Important for Little Girls

My first impressions of Disney’s Frozen were positive, although not glowing. While it didn’t leave me with the same dreamy wonder of Beauty and the Beast, or even the madcap zip of Tangled, I enjoyed its premise and the ingenuitive way that it placed more importance on the relationship between two sisters than on romantic subplots. While it wasn’t my favorite Disney movie, something about Frozen crept its way into my heart and stayed there. Now almost two months after its premiere, the film is still on my mind, and I think I’m beginning to understand the reasons why. Continue reading

A Matter of Perspective: POV WTF

I tried to write about what happened in Boston and I can’t. It feels appropriative to do so, when I’ve never been to Boston and I know only a few people who live there. So instead, I’ll just say that I’m hoping that they apprehend who is responsible as soon as they can, and that everyone affected by this tragedy finds comfort, and move on to a subject I do know: what I hate about some modern literature.

There are about eight billion “rules” about writing different perspectives, and I tend to think that all of them can be successfully thrown out the window.  If you don’t know the difference between third person and first person point of view (POV), here is a handy link that describes the difference (I’m not going to do it; ain’t nobody got time for that).  For the most part, I’ll roll with any POV if the story’s interesting enough.  However, there is a popular character in first person narration that drives me up the freaking wall. I’m sure you’ve read this book before, but I’ll describe it:

The narrator is female.  Coming of age, or only just out of teens.  She’s quiet and intelligent, but socially awkward with her peers because she’s not sure exactly what to say all the time.  She doesn’t like parties and she doesn’t drink or have boyfriends, generally. She doesn’t think she’s pretty.  She dislikes the “in crowd”, regardless if they’re cheerleaders or bolder young women in her acquaintance.  She likes school, but she’s pretty average – but she’s WAY smarter than most of the other young adults, she tells us. She says her life is pretty boring, actually… until [insert big life-changing event] happens.

What book did I just describe? Could be a few, right?  Twilight? 50 Shades of Gray? A Discovery of Witches? A(ny) Cassandra Clare novel?  A(ny) current Young Adult novel geared toward young women, actually, with the exception of a precious few?

Readers.  Readers. How do we keep reading this shit? That description above isn’t a character; it’s a pastel self-insert with all the qualities women sans self-esteem wish they would possess: shyness, virtue, and a razor-sharp judgment of any woman who actually has the balls to enjoy life. Oh, and while this character is super “average”, she assures us, there are always a few suitors fresh off restraining orders from their ex-girlfriends waiting in the wings.  Because that [insert big life-changing event] I referenced? It’s nearly always a guy. Which is fine if I pick up a romance novel, but this is EVERY GENRE. Sci fi! Dystopia! Historical lit!  I’m pretty sure that if I picked up a freaking cookbook in Barnes and Noble it’d have a demon flashing me his pecs on the cover with the tagline “Jeanie Smith had a normal life… until she ate his crème brûlée”.

And up until recently, this character happened every few books, but now?  I pick up a YA book and if I see first person female POV, I put that book back on the shelf. Because that first person is more likely than not that self-involved, twatty little idiot who can’t survive for five seconds without having someone save the day.

Ladies. Gentlemen. We’ve got to stop this.  We can’t keep letting this allegory-of-a-person be our window into fantastic worlds.  The the Bellas of the world, the Anas and Dianas and the Clarys… they’ve got to die. I want a book with a fearless heroine who sleeps around and makes bad decisions and doesn’t give a shit what other women do and thinks her ass needs work, but on the whole, she thinks she’s one hot momma – AND she’s still smart and in the middle of Big Shit when [enter big life-changing event] happens because you know what?  When big life-changing stuff happens, your life is never empty. You’re never waiting for it. You’ve got Big Things happening to you anyway and then here comes One More.

Am I going to have to write this book?  Or can someone recommend a book where the main first-person POV female actually is a real person and not a plot device?

Back in Time: My Hypothetical Life as a Riot Grrl

Regarding the age-old party question “if you could go back in time and live during a certain era, what would it be?”: one answer is the 1920s, but only if I’m an amazing flapper straight from ‘Boardwalk Empire’ who dies of a gin overdose utterly FABULOUSLY before the Great Depression kicks off. Another answer is Ancient Rome so I can do Julius Caesar, even if he was gross, because think of how that’d set you up for life:

“Hey Whit, guess what – I got a new car today!”

“Whatever; I did Julius Caesar.”

More seriously: my MAIN answer to the question is that I’d go back for the birth of the Riot Grrl movement.

Continue reading

Bang bang; my ability to politically blend-in is dead.

Next week, I get my Florida driver’s license changed to an Alabama driver’s license in the same office as where they give out gun permits. The handwritten sign (Sharpie on pink construction paper) on the office door says so.

I don’t know why I’m surprised, but this little fact blew my mind (or, if you prefer, shot my head off).  Surely – surely – fewer people get gun permits than driver’s licenses in this state?  Continue reading

In Which I Have a Rant about Body Hair

I examined whether or not I wanted to write extremely personal things on this blog, considering it’s hooked up to my Facebook and people of all backgrounds in my life read it.  And after a lot of worry, low-level panic, constant thrumming concern, and two glasses of wine, I decided (to put it philosophically): “fuck it”. I’ve seen some of the horrific things people have used for statuses on Facebook, and besides that, I tend to believe that the act of writing shouldn’t be comfortable or cozy – that if you want to say something, you need to worry about saying it.  Consequently, if I’m writing about subjects that some in my “real world” bubble might find uncomfortable, I’ll simply put a warning in front of the entry and if they choose to continue, their horror, disgust, or moral outrage is entirely on them.

Consequently, here is your warning: this entry is about women and body hair. If you don’t want to deal with it, don’t keep reading.

Are you still with me?  Are the hatches battened?  Okay.  Here we go:

I am hairy despite my best efforts. Continue reading