Contrary to popular opinion, I am not a bra-burning, cut-off-my-right-breast feminist.
I am an equal opportunity pessimist. Men suck, yes, and women suck as well. I merely like to point out, regardless of whichever side the diss-er is spewing, that the other side sucks as well. Just so happens, that I have the company of males who like to suckify females, so in the end I come out to be a feminist. Brother Dick and I once had a conversation that went along the lines of this:
BD: You're a sexist.
L: And so are you.
BD: But I don't defend men! I defend women against men! I openly proclaim men as scum! How does that make me sexist?!
L: *thinks: It could just mean that you are sexist against your own sex, dumbass.* If you say so.
BD: You see, you are sexist because you are against men, and defend women.
L: *thinks: Then aren't I exactly like you? Then what makes me a sexist is simply because I am a female? Brilliant logic, BD.* If you believe it to be as such.
The older I get, the theory that I was picked up at a dumpster gets increasingly appealing.
Honestly, in this day and age, I am not sure what it means to be a feminist. I'm not certain that most feminists can define it either. Generally, we can tell the differences between the 1st Wave and 2nd Wave Feminist Movement, but mention 3rd Wave and we're left delicately scratching our coiffures and tapping our Manolos in puzzlement. Do I support women rights? Yep. Do I support paid maternity leave? Do I snarl at physical/emotional/psychological abuse of women? You betcha. But does that make me a feminist?
Hell if I know.
One thing is for sure, when I came across these images of well-known fairy tale princesses in modern day scenarios taken by Dina Goldstein, something deep and dark inside stirred, and emitted a high pitch cackle.
Cinderella, who lost her Prince to her ugly stepsister, is left trawling dark pubs for men and company...
Snow White goes from taking care of seven little men to caring for seven beings. (The Prince counts as two.)
Rapunzel loses her hair in her fight against a disease...and loses her Pantene career as well...
'Little' Red Riding Hood succumbs to the siren call of fast food...like all other kids...
Sleeping Beauty would rather sleep than awake to the Prince's kiss...(wise choice, if you ask me)
Jasmine picks up weapons to defend her kingdom against terrorists.(..and probably Americans as well.)
Belle, is under pressure to retain her 'Beauty' status - undergoes a process that is beastly.
(photos by Dina Goldstein, www.jpgmag.com)
Cheap puns and thin jokes aside, I love these photos. Since young, we've grown used to the idea of these Fairy Tale princesses who possess the qualities that we are supposed to cultivate in ourselves. Beauty, honor, courage, integrity.....and waiting around for the Prince aka The One, to save us. I've always wondered what it would have been like if they were placed in our world today, how long would they be able to maintain their colgate smile and never-say-die attitude, before ultimately calling a Pest Buster to get rid of the singing birds and insects, or enrolling into college because they grew tired of the Prince's constant "Like you would know..." snarky remarks.
Or as how Dina put it,
"The project was inspired by my observation of three-year-old girls, who were developing an interest in Disney's Fairy tales. As a new mother I have been able to get a close up look at the phenomenon of young girls fascinated with Princesses and their desire to dress up like them. The Disney versions almost always have sad beginning, with an overbearing female villain, and the end is predictably a happy one. The Prince usually saves the day and makes the victimized young beauty into a Princess."
To be honest, the first fairy tales I was exposed to was from an old book of Grimm's Fairy Tales, which if you don't know, have the original sinister versions. Cinderella's sisters cut off their toes to try to fit their feet into the shoe, causing it to be filled with blood, and afterwards the evil villains are thrown into a barrel with stakes driven into them, and tied to the back of a horse.
I can actually remember the first time I caught the Disney version of Cinderella.....and wondering where was the cutting off of toes that I had been eagerly anticipating for. And then getting horrified looks from fellow kindergarten students and my teacher when I asked outloud about it. And then getting sent to the Quiet Corner. Ah, great memories.
Its a charming coincidence that I came across this song by Sara Bareilles, 'Fairy Tales', which is also in the same vein of reworked fairy tales. Listen for a giggle. "The tall blonde lets out a cry of despair says, Would have cut it myself if I knew men could climb hair. I'll have to find another tower somewhere and keep away from the windows."
My final thought to you is this: If the fairy tale princesses were our ideals.....to them, we're all villains of some kind - for drinking, for having failed relationships, for not wanting to get married and having children at the age of 21, for competing with men for jobs, for not looking beautiful 24/7 - and since deep down inside, we recognise that we are villains....perhaps that accounts for why we constantly feel bad about ourselves, the Fallen Princesses.
(for the full article, go here)