The Not-So Villainous Villainess: How Traditional Gender Roles are Challenged and Combined in Disney’s Maleficent

Abstract

Every young girl grows up with fairy tales, Disney princesses, and the ever-so-perfect happily ever after. These animated classics and short stories are viewed and read during a child’s formative years and can have a great impact on how they view themselves in society. Many scholars have discussed the impact the happy endings have on children, but have neglected to discuss the impact of the stereotypical female characters themselves. By analyzing the oppressive nature of female gender roles—specifically in relation to the treatment of the female villain—in the Charles Perrault and Grimm versions of the story of Sleeping Beauty as well as in the 1959 Disney animated film, the conclusion can be made that these stories were used as tools to teach young girls the proper way to dress and act during the time period in which they were produced. Disney’s 2014 live action film Maleficent also acts as a teaching tool, but instead of reinforcing traditional gender roles, I have found that it challenges them, reflecting the views of the new wave of feminism. It allows its viewers to see that the twenty-first century woman is a combination of both traditionally male and female characteristics and can be powerful all on her own. The title character—who was originally used to teach young viewers about the improper actions of women and the consequences that would follow the rejection of gender roles—embodies both male and female traits, creating a vision for the proper representation of women in film beyond just the beautiful damsel in distress or the ugly and evil villainess.

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The End.

For this blog post (which will be my last while I am still in Senior Seminar), I wanted to format it a little differently than what was assigned. We were asked to read David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005 and write a paragraph or two about what aspects of it surprised me or resonated with me. In all honesty, his entire speech left me speechless and amazed. I don’t know if it’s because I will be graduating in a few short weeks or if he’s yet another scholar discussing the positives of a liberal arts education, but what he talked about was simply astounding. So, for this post, I am going to include some of my favorite quotes below so that you can be astounded as well.

 

. . . I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. . .

This is definitely important to remember for any graduate preparing to become an “adult” within the next few weeks. Learning is not something that you only do in school, it is something that you do in everyday life. By learning and listening to others, you as a human being are making yourself into something meaningful and important and worthwhile.

 

. . . I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. . .

Long story short, you can’t just go through your adult life without making something out of it or else you’d be equivalent to a zombie on The Walking Dead. And I am deathly afraid of zombies so why would I want to go through life without making any connections to the outside world or creating meaning for myself? I think that is what Wallace is going for here, letting us know that our education is not frivolous and actually helps us better our future selves.

 

I want to leave this quote with you so that you can really think about yourself and your life and hopefully reevaluate it before it is too late and you are already out in the real world. Be brave, and live while you have the chance.

. . . The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time . . .

bbear

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Check out the speech here:

https://www.1843magazine.com/story/david-foster-wallace-in-his-own-words

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Reading Online is More Than Fine

As I read the article “Reading (and Writing) Online, Rather Than on the Decline” by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, I can’t help but laugh at the irony of the situation. This article is (obviously) about reading and writing online and how it is affecting the perception of the humanities as well as discussing the public’s lack of consumption of physical books, yet I am reading this article ONLINE. Not in print, not in an anthology that is physically sitting on my lap, but online. Honestly, I don’t really see a problem with reading and writing moving from mainly print based to becoming a larger online presence; I think it’s nothing short of beneficial.

giphy

(actual footage of me in a bookstore)

Personally, I love a good print book; I love to go to my local bookstore and pick out my next adventure so that I can go home and curl up on a chair with my new purchase. But, I also think that there is nothing wrong with bypassing that step and just getting your new book sent to your kindle in a matter of seconds. I used to be dead-set against digital copies of novels but when I got a kindle from my parents this past Christmas (shout out to the best parents in the world, HOLLA), I realized that they were actually feeding my reading addiction by giving me instant access to novels rather than stunting it. If anything, the move from print to online is fairly beneficial for the authors since their work is able to be read by an audience more vast than before when their work was purely print. The ease of access to all of these sources is also pretty nice because as a college student, I don’t have to search for hours trying to find one article in an anthology that might have something to do with a paper that I am writing; I can just search it online and have a scholarly work on my laptop within minutes.

Now I’m not saying that reading and writing should just abandon its roots and completely get rid of the printing process to just strictly be online. I truly believe that there should be a balance between both and that books should continue to gain a larger presence online so that everyone—not just those fortunate enough to have a bookstore or a library right around the corner from them—can be able to access them. YAY LITERATURE!

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

 

Check out Fitzpatrick’s article here!

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “Reading (and Writing) Online, Rather than On the Decline.” Profession (2012): 41-52.

GIF: Giphy

The End is Nigh . . . Uh Oh

For a college senior, the month of April and the graduation that comes right after it can be both exciting and stressful. It is exciting because, hey, the sun is shining and it’s warm (but apparently not in Scranton) and we don’t have to go to school anymore and deal with mass amounts of homework that keep us up until 2 am (unless of course, you are going to grad school right after, and if you do, then Godspeed to you, you precious soul). While I am excited about what is to come after graduation, I am definitely feeling the stress that April brings, and that stress is fueled by my job search. Luckily for me, good ol’ Lindsey Pollak and her book Getting from College to Career have provided me with some advice so I don’t feel so bad about myself and my fruitless job search.

 

“Follow every rainbow” (233).

I don’t think that there is any better advice for people in my position than this one right here. Pollak uses this analogy to tell her readers to take every opportunity that presents itself to them when it comes to job offers because really, who knows where those opportunities will take you. I know that as I look for jobs, I am applying for all sorts of things that I believe that I have the ability to perform well and that whenever I get an offer (which I hope will be soon!), I will definitely jump at the opportunity to show my future employer what I’ve got. BAM.

“Go with the flow” (298).

Pollak offers this piece of advice for those going into an interview with a potential employer. She says that while it is important to have an idea of what you would want to say for certain questions that might be asked, you shouldn’t be caught off guard if the employer asks you something that you haven’t prepared a word for word answer for. Pollak suggests that we “go with the flow” and be ourselves, because employers are looking for someone who stands out rather than stays with the crowd.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

 

Pollak, Lindsey. Getting from College to Career. Revised ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.

Revision . . . ugh

I’m going to start this post off with a fairly blunt statement: I HATE REVISING. I don’t know what it is about the process of revising that I can’t stand but it just makes me crazy. Maybe it’s due to the fact that after writing a bajillion page paper for class, I just don’t want to look at it any more after the first time I write it. Maybe it’s because after writing, I think that I wrote my paper well enough the first time and if I change it, it’s going to sound awful. Unfortunately, revising is a necessary evil. But to make it better, my homeboys Booth, Colomb, and Williams wrote a ton of stuff about revision and finding the perfect attention-grabbing title in The Craft of Research.

 

“. . . revising for readers doesn’t mean pandering to them. In fact, you only improve your ideas when you imagine drawing readers into an amiable conversation in which they engage your beliefs as you engage theirs” (203).

After reading this statement, I realized that I just have to suck it up and revise my work because in all actuality, what my readers get out of my work is what really matters. Currently, I am at the revising stage of my capstone paper and will be getting my paper peer-reviewed tomorrow. While I haven’t started revising it yet (because really, what student in their last semester of college actually gets work done before the night before it’s due), I am sure to keep this idea in mind and really look at my work from an outside perspective to get the best (first) revision that I can get!

 

“The first thing readers read—and the last thing that you should write—is your title” (248).

I know that I am not the only one that struggles with coming up with a snazzy title. I used to try to force myself to come up with one right from the get-go but I realized that doing that is near impossible. I agree with the advice from my homeboys; don’t write a title until the end because then you’ll actually know what your paper is about and can create an effective title that way.

 

“Readers will accept your claim only if they understand your argument, but they won’t understand your argument if they can’t understand your sentences” (249).

Basically, make sure that you have some awesome, grammatically correct, sentences so that your reader knows what the heck is going on. Clarity is key when creating a convincing argument!

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Third ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.

Haters Gonna Hate

This week, I read Cathy N. Davidson’s article “Humanities 2.0: Promises, Perils, Predictions”  which was all about the inequality between the humanities and the technological age and how both need to be able to coexist. While I do see Davidson’s point, I honestly believe that the humanities are something that need recognize that while technology does enhance it, it is fully capable of being a force of nature on its own (I know that the humanities are not a physical being, but that is really the only way I feel like I can express my opinion.). While there are some humanists out there making the necessary connections between advancing technology and the humanities, many are not and spinning a tale of “woe is me” and lamenting about the ignorance of the technological age towards the humanities. What I say is this: buck up and recognize the fact that you’re better than everything else in the whole wide world.  😉

In relation to my undergrad studies, I can totally see where Davidson is coming from by demanding a higher recognition for the humanities. After switching from a technical program like interior architecture to a humanities-based major like English, the amount of questions about what I am going to do with an English degree and if I know that and English degree won’t get me anywhere started pouring in. In all honesty, this freaked me out a bit; after being in a program for three years where I already had a predetermined career path to switching in my final year of college to something that would allow me to choose almost any career that I wanted,  I had zero answer for any of those questions. But now I realize that those that bash the humanities don’t need an answer and that haters are gonna hate but at least I know that I value everything I have learned in this past school year more so than in my first three years of college.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Davidson, Cathy. “Humanities 2.0: Promise, Perils, Predictions.” PMLA 123.3 (2008): 707-17.

Intros and Conclusions . . . Yay!

Hey everyone! Guess what time it is. No really, guess. I’ll give you a hint: I talk about this book a lot. Like A LOT. If you said The Craft of Research then you are correct! (and I really hope you did because you didn’t have many options to choose from . . .) Anyway, here are some quotes about intros and conclusions that I hope help you as much as they helped me:

 

“To convince readers that they should take your problem seriously, you must state the cost  they will pay if it is not resolved or the benefits  they gain if it is” (239).

This is such an important aspect of writing an introduction that really determines whether or not your reader will continue on with your paper or move on to the next one. When faced with a situation, most people want to know what is in it for them, so if you discover something that is worth reading on about, then make sure that you write your intro in a way that conveys to your reader that your topic will change their lives for the better. I hope that when I finally get around to writing the intro for my final capstone paper, I’m able to do this because my topic— the representation of gender in Disney’s Maleficent— is something that is both current and rarely talked about, so (hopefully) people will see that they will benefit from the knowledge that they would gain and act as a force to change the world for the better. Yay!

 

“You can bring your report to a graceful, even literary close with an echo of your opening fact, anecdote, or quotation” (247).

It wasn’t until last semester that I really ever tried to echo a fancy intro into an even fancier conclusion, but that was really only because I was required to for one of my classes. After doing this, however, I see how this is something that is extremely beneficial for you as a writer because it brings your paper full-circle and helps wrap it up in a neat little package with a bow on top. And then you can hand it in to your teacher like this and know that it is perfect:

Hands holding a gift box isolated on black background

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Third ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.

Image: asenat29

Continue Learning and Keep On Failing

Are you craving some inspiration after my short hiatus? Here’s some advice from Pollak’s College to Career to fulfill your every wish:

 

“Failure stinks. But make no mistake about it: real failure comes from never trying something in the first place” (181).

Right now, I am in the process of putting my cover letters together to send out to potential employers which is the last thing I need to do to start getting my foot in the door in the adult world. This might sound all fine and dandy, but I have been putting this off for a while, and when I say a while, I mean a LONG WHILE. I really think that this has to do with my fear of failure and rejection because I am too worried about not being good enough for a job. This piece of advice from Pollak is something that I really need to take into consideration and keep in mind when I am applying for jobs because in all honesty, I’m failing myself for not even trying.

 

“Keep learning” (185).

My original plan for after graduation was to go directly into graduate school. Unfortunately for me, the program that I wanted to apply for all started before my graduation date, so I had to put my plan on hold. While I do intend to go back to school in the summer of 2017, I think that Pollak has the right idea with advocating for furthering your education. Taking classes that will help you out in your profession by keeping you up to date with current trends is something that is only beneficial and will put you one step ahead of any potential competition.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Pollak, Lindsey. Getting from College to Career. Revised ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.

The Connection Cannot Be Broken

I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard people say that the humanities are useless in this day and age and how less attention should be paid to them and more to “technical” studies that will pay off in the future. I can tell you, however, that this is 100% wrong, . . . and I have proof to back it up. In the article entitled “A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age,” both Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg suggest that there is not a divide between the humanities and technical studies but a collaboration between the two: each one needs the other in order to flourish in this ever-changing world.

For the past three years up until July of 2015, I had been majoring in interior architecture rather than English. I know that from my experiences as an interior architecture student, Davidson’s and Goldberg’s idea is totally accurate. Throughout those three years, not only was I tasked to create innovative interiors, I was also tasked to create presentations for my designs which included written descriptions of my work, summaries of my process, and spoken presentations in front of established professionals. Without drawing on the humanities to accomplish these tasks would have been impossible; like Davidson and Goldberg say, technical studies and the humanities are connected and cannot be separated. I know that through my own personal experience, this statement is true and I hope that others can see that as well so that that humanities no longer suffer.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Check out the article here!

Davidson, Cathy N., and David Theo Goldberg. “A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age.” The Chronicle Review 50.23 (2004): B7-B11. Web. <http://uchri.org/media/pdfs/Manifesto_Humanities.pdf&gt;

Revision, Reputation, and Relaxation

Hey everyone! It is time yet again to impart some Craft of Research wisdom upon you, and this time it is all about drafting and citations:

 

“Most writers work best when they draft quickly, revise carefully, and toss what’s irrelevant. But draft in any way that works for you” (187-188).

For me, I was never much of a drafter; I would write up a short outline to follow while writing my essay in one night, and just hand it in the next day. Honestly, I never saw a problem with doing this because I never got bad grades on my assignments and I think that short outlines benefit me more than a draft of a paper that I have to go through and revise. Since we have been using the drafting process in my capstone class, I have been struggling a bit, but I have convinced myself while writing it to believe that my draft is my final paper and that the short outline is all I have to do to prepare for it . . . whatever works, right?

 

“Citations protect you from a charge from plagiarism, but beyond that narrow self-interest, correct citations contribute to your ethos” (195).

I have always heard from my teachers to constantly cite so that I don’t get accused of plagiarism which is true, but the fact that it adds to your credibility as a writer is sometimes looked over. I think that instead of looking at citing sources as a pain in the behind, they should be looked at as ways to show your readers that you are knowledgeable and that other more reputable sources than a senior college student think the same way which actually is pretty cool!

 

“If you’re stuck but have time . . . let your subconscious work on the problem while you do something else for a day or two” (199).

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to write my entire paper in one day and hand it in the next and suffer in silence when I get stuck in my writing. After reading this, I have realized that I really should give myself more time to get work done and work through writer’s block rather than face it head on because that is super frustrating. My mom always tells me to walk away from the problem and relax a little but I never do . . . I guess moms really do know best.

tumblr_n1dasaJLel1r0yq4zo2_r1_500

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Third ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.

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