Movie Review: Mirror Mirror*.

 

I’ll be honest: I didn’t have high hopes for Mirror Mirror, what could have been a fantastic feminist take (girl saves boy; a commentary on beauty) on the classic Snow White tale but ended up being an offensive Disney-esque been-there, done-that effort.

Actually, Mirror Mirror did incorporate some of the abovementioned themes, but not in the ways I would have liked.

Firstly, let’s start with beauty. As an older woman, Julia Roberts’ character, the Queen, believes the only way she’ll make an impression as an older woman on the newly discovered Prince Alcott (the delectable Armie Hammer) is to up the ante on her beauty regime, which includes bees stinging her lips and bird poo being massaged into her face. This is not unlike what many women do on a regular basis, but I didn’t put two and two together until later in the film, when Snow White is about to kiss the Prince to break the puppy love-for-the-Queen spell he’s under. One of her seven dwarf-bandit comrades, Napoleon, thinks she needs a bit of sprucing up before her first kiss. The message here is not only that, clearly, older women need to do more to their bodies and faces in order to compete with younger women and stay relevant, but that something along those lines also applies to younger women. If you’re engaging in intimate acts with a member of the opposite sex, you need to look and act a certain way. It seeks to cement the notion that beauty is the main virtue a woman can have. If she doesn’t have it, she’s deemed worthless. If she does, like Lily Collins’ Snow, she’s got to work even harder to maintain it and play it up.

This confining notion of beauty is also represented in the seven dwarves, who were banished from the village by the Queen for being “ugly” and “undesirable”. The film could have run with the whole non-able-bodied-people-being-excluded-from-everyday-able-bodied-society angle, but instead that was pretty much the last thing we heard about that.

There was a lot of emphasis on the Queen being “crazy” and “mad” because she clawed her way to the top and would do anything to stay there, including poisoning the Prince in order for him to fall in love with her. When Snow decides to run away from her castle prison and join the dwarves, and Prince Alcott discovers this he, too, calls her “crazy” and “mad”. So standing up for what you believe in, whether that is something that other people think is a noble pursuit or not, makes you crazy. Oh, clarification: this only applies if you’re female.

Because you won’t be taken seriously by your male nemesis if you deign to step outside the boundaries set for you by the patriarchy, don’t you know? When Prince Alcott is confronted with the militant Snow White, he refuses to “fight a girl”, much less one that also “throws like a girl” and whom he would kiss if she wasn’t trying to kill him. The Prince takes to spanking Snow with his sword as they engage in combat, which was a confusing amalgamation of offensiveness and sexiness. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to a spanking from Armie Hammer, but in a movie seemingly geared towards children with a superficial pro-heroine stance, I don’t think it was entirely appropriate nor crucial to the story.

Finally, let’s look at domestic violence and animal abuse. When the Prince is under the puppy love spell and captured by Snow and the dwarves for torture, he claims his “only pain is being absent from my wife[-to-be]”, who doesn’t treat him so well in the first place. That he’s essentially a dog in this scene makes a certain point about animal cruelty, I think: that no matter how badly you treat a dog, as man’s best friend, they’ll always come back to you. Much like battered-wife syndrome, wouldn’t you say?

On that, when one of the dwarves tries to claim that Prince Alcott is clearly in love with Snow, and another exclaims, “He tried to kill her today!” the defence is, “Of course! What do you think love is?” That kind of “love” is dubious at best.

And so was this movie.

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Image via YouTube, IMDb.

TV: Gossip Girl—Is Serena Our Generation’s Dominick Dunne?

 

That’s according to Nate, anyway, who talks up Serena’s expose on Ivy Dickens’ stealing her family’s money for The Spectator to a potential investor for the newspaper. “Serena’s writing from the inside. She’s our generation’s Dominick Dunne.”

Like Packed to the Rafters’ Julie penning a chapter for a romance novel competition and suddenly she’s a writer, Serena exploits her social butterfly standing to write a gossip column and she’s hailed as the society writer du jour. Is that my bitter blogger coming through…?

Related: Gossip Girl Thinks Bloggers Aren’t Good Enough.

The Problem with Serena van der Woodsen.

The Beautiful & the Damned: Serena Settles for Second Best.

Pretty But Dumb: Serena’s Tertiary Education Predicament.

Another City, Not My Own by Dominick Dunne Review.

The Mansions of Limbo by Dominick Dunne Review.

Image via SerenavanderWoodsen.com.

Presidential Barbie Stands on Her Own Two (Weighted) Feet.

 

Last week she went bald, this week she’s running for president (again). Is there anything Barbie can’t do?

Jezebel notes that Barbie has been running for office on and off since 1992, when she wore an evening gown. Now she wears a sensible pink suit and weighted shoes so that she can stand up on her own two feet for the first time ever. Now there’s a campaign slogan to rival Obama’s “Yes we can”.

In the spirit of inclusion, and perhaps harkening back to Obama’s historic win, the I Can Be… President Barbie, released in conjunction with The White House Project which aims to get more women running for office, comes in white, Hispanic, Asian and African American ethnicities.

Related: Bald Barbie: Actually, Barbie Won’t Be Bald At All. Instead, It’ll Be Her Best Friend.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Barbie is Running for President (Again)!

[New York Daily News] Her Dream Job! Barbie Running for President?

Image via Styleite.

TV: New Girl—Sexual Harassment is a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

 

This is according to New Girl, the purveyor of upholding gender stereotypes.

When Jess invites the landlord to dinner as a thanks for fixing some things around the loft, Nick is certain he’s trying to hit on her because people are generally jerks. I tend to stick with Nick on this one, but Jess isn’t so sure.

Nick is 100% right when it turns out the landlord wants to have a threesome with Jess and Nick. While there’s nothing wrong with this if all parties are consenting, Jess agrees to go along with it in the hopes that it will all work out for the best (ie. no threesome occurs) and Nick refuses to back out until Jess does.

To me, this whole scenario not only reeks of perpetrator-sympathising* (Maybe he slipped and fell. Maybe he was going through a bad breakup. Maybe he was stressed at work.**), but that the way a woman acts determines how she will be treated by the opposite sex.

Granted, in my experience and the experiences of those close to me, the female is deemed “too friendly” and that’s why she was harassed, whereas here, Jess thinks being nicer to people will lead to less bad things happening (like Nick getting a gun pulled on him in the parking lot). I believe there was also a reference in there about the way Jess looks (ie. über-feminine) influencing how she’s treated by the opposite sex. Like I haven’t heard that one before…

*To be sure, Remy the landlord is not committing sexual assault or harassment here, but I think he serves as a good metaphor.

**This refers to strictly male-on-female harassment and assault, ignoring the fact that women can be perpetrators, too.

Related: Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on the New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

The Harassed and the Harassed-Nots.

The Taboos of Sexual Harassment.

I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl: Street Harassment in CLEO.

Image via VidXDen.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Ashley Judd slaps down body- (and face-) shamers. [Daily Beast]

A fictional tale (though a very realistic one) of what it’s like to promise your purity to your dad. [Jezebel]

So Tony Abbott’s sister is gay. Now what? [MamaMia]

Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton et al: don’t hate the player, hate the game. [Daily Life]

Republicans aren’t the only ones making jokes at the ladies’ expense. Obama does it too :( [Jezebel]

The Hunger Games killed it at the box office because Katniss Everdeen was portrayed as a subject as opposed to a “Fighting Fuck Toy”. [Ms. Magazine]

Following on from last week’s Rachel Hills asexuality article, Rachel Rabbit White on “graysexuality”:

“… ‘But sex itself is just a set of physical activities, it’s easy to imagine someone who’s not into them once you take all the symbolism away.’

“Sex positivity works to broaden our understanding of what sex is (e.g., not just penis in vagina, but body part + body part = pleasure). But what if we also set out to broaden our understanding of intimacy—intimacy is not just sex, but also…—perhaps a new picture would unfold. One where people realize they don’t need to have sex when what they want is intimacy. One where, maybe, there would be a little more gray in our sex-drives.” [Jezebel]

An interesting take on all the Snow White reboots. [io9]

What it’s like to be a guy who reads (or read) Judy Blume. [Jezebel]

Women don’t hate other women for being beautiful. They hate them for having delusions of grandeur, like Samantha Brick. [MamaMia]

Mia Freedman interviews Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg about Matthew Newton. Carr-Gregg seems to think we need to reexamine our views around mental illness and give Newton a fair go. Um, the kid’s been charged three times in the past year and beats up people on a regular basis. I’d say he’s been more than given a fair go. What do you think? [MamaMia]

Image via MSNBC.

Bald Barbie—Actually, Barbie Won’t Be Bald At All. Instead, It’ll Be Her Best Friend.

 

On the one hand, we need to applaud Mattel for accepting an “outside idea” for Bald & Beautiful Barbie, which aims to lessen the stigma of hair loss due to cancer treatment for young girls and their mothers who have the disease.

On the other, it’s not going to actually be Barbie who’s bald, but her bestie. Let’s just hope that this time she’ll be able to get into the Barbie Dream House, unlike the last doll they tried to make in honour of people who don’t fit the able-bodied norm: Share-a-Smile Becky, whose wheelchair didn’t fit inside the Dream House doors. Whoops!

So with this new doll, Mattel might be saying that bald is beautiful, just as long as it’s not Barbie who loses her hair. Baldness is beneath Barbie, don’t you know?

One step forward, two steps back…

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Barbie’s Friend Will Soon be Bald & Beautiful.

Image via Jezebel.

Books: Was This What Marilyn Monroe Was Really Thinking When She Was Filming The Prince & the Showgirl?

From Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe edited by Stanley Buchthal & Bernard Comment:

“Fear of giving me the lines new

maybe won’t be able to learn them

maybe I’ll make mistakes

people will either think I’m no good or

laugh or belittle me or think I can’t act.

Women looked stern and critical—

unfriendly and cold in general

afraid director won’t think I’m any good.

remembering when I couldn’t do a god

damn thing.

then trying to build myself up with the

fact that I have done things right that

were even good and have had moments

that were excellent but the bad is heavier

to carry around and feel have no confidence

depressed mad”

According to archival information, this was actually written in 1951 while The Prince & the Showgirl was released in 1957. So perhaps these weren’t Marilyn’s exact thoughts during the filming of the movie that was the basis for this year’s My Week with Marilyn, but it just goes to show she was plagued by insecurities from the beginning.

Related: My Week with Marilyn Review.

Fragments of Marilyn Monroe’s Literary Life.

All Eyes on Marilyn.

Image via The Passionate Movie Goer.