Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Trespassers William – “Lie in the Sound”

Music gets me through everything. This is my latest obsession, and yeah, it’s an old song that speaks to me.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Teaching Girls to Float Instead of Swim

GlockomaDisney’s The Little Mermaid is a movie that many girls enjoy watching because of the sing-along songs, colourful characters, and generous sprinkling of humour throughout.

It’s definitely one of my favourite Disney movies even today. That being said, it’s not without faults, especially when you place it on the slide under the feminist microscope and look beneath the surface.

The Little Mermaid shares a common plot with other animated films geared toward girls: an attractive and good-natured female protagonist (Ariel) falls hopelessly in love with the man of her dreams and will do anything to snatch the suckah and live the happily-ever-after life. (This is the whole Noah’s Ark Syndrome that I discussed in an earlier post.)

At face value, it’s a sugary-sweet tale of how true love exists and how it overcomes everything – even a giant Ursula with all the powers of King Triton (Ariel’s father)! But beauty is skin deep – let’s get to the interesting ugly side, shall we?

Under the Sea

GlockomaYes, movies are for entertainment purposes, but I’m a strong believer that everything contains political messages and that it’s all a matter of whether you look for them or not. So let’s keep our eyes peeled like a banana because even subtle things can have a profound impact.

First, please watch this short YouTube clip that includes the song Poor Unfortunate Souls from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I’ll discuss some alarming points of interest after.

Now for my observations!

GlockomaExhibit A: “The solution to your problem is simple. The only way to get what you want is to become a human yourself.” (Ursula, 1:09)

Analysis: What Ariel wants is the Prince who apparently is “quite a catch”. And according to the the sea witch, she can only attract his attention by compromising herself – trading in her mermaid tail for a pair of legs. Why she doesn’t ask Ursula to use her powers to transform the guy into a merperson and live with her in the sea is still a question mark for me. Seems like there is the automatic assumption that she must change for him.

GlockomaExhibit B: “And I fortunately know a little magic. It’s a talent that I always have possessed. And dear lady, please don’t laugh, I use it on behalf of the miserable, the lonely, and depressed – pathetic.” (Ursula, 1:55)

Analysis: As she says “miserable, the lonely, and depressed”, she summons a figure of a scrawny male and a chubby female from her bubbling cauldron. This visual teaches children horrible lessons on body image. Basically it says that if you are over or under the average weight, you are a ‘poor unfortunate soul’ that needs help and only a miracle can fix you.

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GlockomaExhibit C: “Poor unfortunate souls in pain…in need. This one longing to be thinner. That one wants to get the girl. And do I help them? Yes indeed.” (Ursula, 2:10)

Analysis: While the lyrics definitely show more emphasis on ‘fixing’ the physical attractiveness of the female more so than the male, the visual balances things off. When Ursula snaps her fingers, the female becomes slender and the guy becomes Mr. Beefcake 2009.

Apparently all that’s involved in finding a girlfriend/boyfriend is your looks. This part tells us to forget conversations or sharing similar interests – the only way to hook up is all superficial. If only things were so easy – interesting how we’re so willing to believe that all our problems can be solved merely by changing our appearance. (Plastic surgery, as popularized in the media, definitely paints this message in red, but that’s an opinion I have that I’ll save for another post.)

GlockomaExhibit D: “Before the sun sets on the 3rd day, you’ve got to get dear old Princey to fall in love with you – that is, he’s got to kiss you…not just any kiss – the kiss of true love! If he does kiss you before the sun sets on the 3rd day, you’ll remain human permanently. But if he doesn’t, you’ll turn back into a mermaid, and you belong to me.” (Ursula, 3:05)

Analysis: Ursula implies that being a human is what Ariel should strive to be because it’s better than being a mermaid. If we unpack this thought and stretch it a little like Gumby, it’s almost like saying how women are expected to conform to the male normative because its of a higher, respected status.

Also, Ursula makes the assumption that true love is shown through public displays of affection rather than other actions. There’s nothing wrong with kissing (it’s fun!) but why is this the only legitimate way for the Prince to prove his love of Ariel to the sea witch? Physical love doesn’t equal true love all the time.

GlockomaExhibit E: “If I become human, I’ll never be with my father or sisters again.” (Ariel, 3:40) “That’s right, but you’ll have your man. Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?” (Ursula, 3:45)

Analysis: What does this tell us? Getting the man you want involves huge sacrifices that can cut you off from other important and healthy relationships.

GlockomaExhibit F: “You’ll have your looks – your pretty face! And don’t underestimate the importance of the body language…The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber. They think a girl who gossips is a bore. Yet on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word. And after all, dear, what is idle babble for? Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation. True gentlemen avoid it when they can. But they dote and swoon and fawn on a lady who’s withdrawn – it’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man.” (Ursula, 4:26)

GlockomaAnalysis: Whoa, right? The payment Ursula demands is Ariel’s voice, and she blatantly says that men aren’t interested in what women have to say, so they may as well be mute.

The message presented here is that guys are far more likely to fall in love with a woman’s looks than her intellect and that if you want a man, ladies, you have to stifle self-expression and expect to be treated as a sex object.

And those were all from just that one short clip!

But of course, Disney isn’t stupid – they also have some parts that appeal to feminists. For instance, in Part of Your World, Ariel sings about female empowerment, wanting to learn more about the things around her, and feeding the ambition to strive for better things in life.

The next time you watch a Disney movie (or any movie, really), watch for these types of messages, and you might just be surprised what seemingly-innocent films are teaching kids!

(I probably won’t get a chance to write another blog entry before July 1st, so I’ll take this time now to wish my fellow Canadians a Happy Canada Day! And for my American readers, hope you have a great 4th of July! All others, enjoy your day, and thanks for visiting. Please come back again soon!)

Singled Out for Being Alone: The One Who Doesn’t Board Noah’s Ark

GlockomaTurn on the radio at any time, and listen to five songs. Chances are that at least one was a mushy love song.

And if you’ve followed Mariah Carey’s musical career (like I have), you’ve come to the conclusion that she just can’t sing about anything besides love. (Think Vision of Love, Always Be My Baby, Dreamlover, I Stay in Love, etc.)

(Watch The Raveonette’s music video, That Great Love Sound, for a different albeit morbid/psychotic twist. They’re one of my favourites, and I really like what they’ve done in the video because it’s not what you would expect if you just heard the lyrics.)

We live in a society where walking hand-in-hand to board Noah’s Ark is considered The Right Path in Life. The increasing popularity of online dating services speaks volumes of how prevalent the love ideal is. “Find your match today!”, they say. Or, “The only thing you have to lose is your loneliness.”

The same thing I say about computers holds true for relationships – they’re only good when they work. But probably my favourite personal quotation I’ve come up with is this: “A good boyfriend isĀ  like a good bra – supportive.”

Truth be told, love is wonderful, exciting, and all-consuming. Whenever I fall in love, I’m giddy 24/7, I can’t wipe the smile off my face, and I want to devote all my time helping that Special Someone.

But they don’t call it falling in love for nothing. Sometimes the fall is so hard and fast that we get emotional bruises – some of which we feel will never ever fade but that will just get bigger and more painful. And sometimes the scrapes leave behind scars that we pick at later on in life, only to have them bleed like brand-new injuries. (I think Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton convey this well in Crowd Surf off a Cliff. Sip some red wine with this one.)

Is One Really the Loneliest Number?

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GlockomaLately I’ve been doing lots of thinking about the single life because I got out of a serious relationship a couple of days before Valentine’s Day this year and just in time to completely ruin my birthday celebration later that month. (But at least he didn’t dump me like a total dick such as the one Jon Lajoie parodies.)

He and I had been dating for over 2 years. And it was more fucking intense than being married because not only did we live together, but we worked together, too. We were practically like Siamese twins doing everything together. And we felt invincible against the glaring statistics telling us that couples who live together have lower chances of getting married.

Reality crashes down like a hailstorm of serrated daggers sometimes. Now we both live separately and alone, but we still work together (although that will change). We’re trying to salvage a friendship because we want to build bridges instead of walls, but the task is probably more overwhelming than either of us imagined.

I thought he was my soulmate. (Who else would find my insecurities charming?) But to keep my sanity, I have to retrain my brain into thinking of him as only a friend.

As a feminist, I believe that women don’t require men to be happy, but I find myself floundering in depression without the one man I truly loved, trusted, and admired. This dissonance concerns and confuses me. What should I do? How can I move on? What if I never find The One? Can I be happy as a single female?

The Balancing Act

GlockomaBeing single has also forced me to notice how differently single women are perceived compared to single men. And it’s not fair. But life’s not fair, and the sooner we all accept that, the sooner we can suck it up, and become stronger, smarter individuals.

Unfortunately, these are the common descriptions associated with single females versus single males:

Single Female

  • Lonely
  • Sad
  • Shy
  • Physically Unattractive

Single Male

  • Independent
  • Strong
  • Powerful
  • Confident

Why does the man come out on top? I believe that all 8 descriptions can apply to both genders. But in lots of research I’ve read while studying psychology in university, they seem to suggest that the woman often is perceived more negatively.

Married to the Mob

GlockomaGlockomaAs I’m in my late 20’s, I find myself thinking more and more about marriage. Yes, I pictured it all – I was going to wear a black-and-crimson dress, the reception decor would have a glam Old-Hollywood/gothic theme, the guest list would be very intimate, and the DJ would spin records on a vintage phonograph. There wouldn’t be white anywhere, except for maybe the walls or plates.

But now it’s back to the drawing board. Win, Lose, or Draw…

I jumped right into a serious relationship after I ended my previous one, so it has been a long time since I’ve experienced singledom.

My heart still stings. And my eyes still get fucking flooded with tears at the drop of a hat despite me trying to keep them at bay. Is this weakness? Is this cathartic? It’s been months since the break-up, yet my emotions are as strong as Day One.

The Sweet Hereafter

GlockomaNow that everything’s still raw, I’m confronting these issues:

  • Source of Happiness: Why do I rely so much on other people to make me happy?
  • Self-Exploration: What can I learn about myself now that I can’t ‘lean on’ someone?
  • Fighting Loneliness: What can I do to keep myself busy & foster positive thinking?
  • Future Relationships: How will I ever be able to trust someone again?
  • Time to Say Goodbye: If he cuts me completely out of his life, will I be able to cope?
  • Exciting Opportunities: How can I make the most of this time?

Here’s what I’ll be actively doing to get my life back on track:

  • Hanging out with friends more & making new ones
  • Working on my humourous office-politics book & eventually attempting to have it published
  • Hitting the gym to work off some steam
  • Pursing new hobbies to keep myself entertained & happy
  • Reducing my intake of booze – I am a hardcore tequila enthusiast, but I can’t continue to feed the flame & make my liver suffer

Hopefully if I make all these changes, in a few months’ time, I will start feeling happy and good about myself again.

Have you been through a bad break-up? How did you deal with it? Did you stoop really low before rising up? I’d love for you to share your stories with me.

Until next time, glock ’til you drop!

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