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Author Archives: MythMason

Fairytale Makeovers, or How to Ruin a Good Thing.

Over at the website Change.org, there is a new petition requesting that Disney, in there infinite wisdom, not make the questionable cosmetic changes to their most recent heroine and soon to be Disney Princess, Merida from the movie Brave.

I signed the petition. It was quick and easy. Here is what I wrote.

     They have taken away her strength, along with her loveable flaws (if they can be considered such), and the symbols of her independence and reduced her to the shallow westernized stereotype that few girls can identify with or would want to. If they want to make all Disney princesses similar in some way, go back and add characteristics of strength, intelligence and independence to the old 20th century, prince-dependent, sexualized caricatures of “girl-hood” instead of lowering the bar. At least let their demographic decide which is better.

 However, a friend questioned the need. They felt that “real-life” heroes for little girls, as represented by their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers were far more important. I replied to their opinion and have yet to hear from them; however, I thought I would share, with a little editing, what I said here.

(That is kind of the purpose of this whole blog thing.)

    While I would never argue the importance of real heroes in the lives of our children, it is careless to assume that every little girl has a mother, aunt, grandmother, or any woman in their life, whom possesses those positive qualities that we as a society may want to see someone aspire to emulate. Regardless of the real heroes we may or may not have in our lives, the fictional heroes of our children’s dreams and fantasies can and do have a significant influence on the lives of not only girls but also all children. The representation of heroes in fairy tales can affect their self-image (i.e. body image) in the same way music and dance do, reinforcing ideas, both positively and negatively of what we expect of them or how we want them to think of themselves and each other. During the early development of children, these characters are the first to influence their young minds, long before they have reached the maturity to see the real heroes and villains in the people around them. We should do what we can to make sure these early childhood heroes represent what is best, important, “noble” and real (again, body image) about humanity.

Art is the most primal indication of sentient existence and whether that art takes form in the guise of music, dance, images, or words, it is the foundation of all creativity that leads to innovation and discovery. Advances in our combined knowledge (i.e., science, medicine, mathematics, engineering, philosophy), all begin with wondering about things beyond the immediate and what currently exist. It benefits us as a society and species to pay attention to what those early influences of wonder and imagination are made of.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Pop Culture

 

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Holding out for Wonder Woman

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While I do not collect comics any more, I do my best to keep up on what is happening in the DC Universe and its various titles. I have to admit that while I like the new world of Wonder Woman that straddles between gods and man, the fact that the focus on Diana seems to have been lost and she appears to have become a minor character in her own comic, is not lost on me or apparently other readers. It is almost as if there is a deliberate attempt to turn her title into an ensemble piece.

I have often wondered why so many writers seem to stereotype physically powerful characters. It is as if they cannot amend themselves to the idea that characters like WW and Superman can be both physically powerful and intelligent. I sometimes wonder if they are trapped, re-living some high school trauma were “jock” equals stupid.

There should have been more detail on how Diana was kept in the dark for so many years about the (new) circumstance of her own birth and the method by which the Amazons kept their culture and society populated. As things stand now, the level of naivety and gullibility needed runs directly counter to everything Diana represents. It is blindingly apparent based on the criticisms,  that this new reality has not been adequately explained and not enough effort has been spent on clarifying Wonder Woman’s place in the world nor her interactions with it. What is her life about?

As pointed out by Michael Franzese in the comments section of the piece by Erica Peterman  http://girls-gone-geek.com/2013/04/15/goodbye-for-now-diana/ , by now we should be reading about a more experienced Diana who should be “…as intelligent, strong and uncompromising as Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator.” Instead, we get Diana losing to the mechanization’s of the gods, and falling back to her physical abilities to come out ahead. It reeks of the old Superman/Lex Luthor, brawn verses brains dynamic instead of the newer intellect verses intellect dynamic that is refreshing to see. Where are the warrior tactician, the strategist, the princess trained in games and hazards of politics?

wonder-woman-gets-slapped

I promised myself I would not go into the butt smack, however…

Orion could have gotten DNA any number of other ways. If Diana had grabbed his hand before it connected, Orion would have still gotten the sample and still came off as a jerk. I can only assume the purpose of the scene was to show Diana as being vulnerable or even inferior.

Is it really that difficult to write for a character that represents what is best in half of the world’s population? Every good character should have flaws. Flaws allow us to have empathy for the character and care about what happens to them. However, those flaws should be something that defines the essence of the character instead of stripping away our belief in them.

As I stated at the beginning I no longer collect comics. That does not mean I stopped caring for the characters. Comics are a business based on belief, but once we stop believing or caring, we stop buying.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Comics

 

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Beginnings

Thoughts on a new year.

In my wanderings across the vast wasteland of the internet I came across a simple little exercise in New Year’s resolutions and accomplishing goals. The individual in question had made their creative goals public by publishing them on a commonly used website for artist. By doing so he submitted to a certain amount of accountability since other artist would be able to see his list and call him on the state of his endeavors.

I think that this could be a wonderful motivator. Similar to making a promise with someone in front of others, you’ll inevitably feel the need to make a serious effort to follow through or lose credibility with your peers.

Of course, it’s the accountability that makes publicly declaring your resolutions so unappealing. No one likes to fail, especially in front of others, however success in never guaranteed. Everyone knows that…or should. It’s only the petty, the shallow, or the envious who fail to acknowledge genuine effort.

I’m not sure if I’ll do the same. It’s a tempting yet uncomfortable idea.

Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in New Year