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Snow White Puts Her Big Boy Pants On: What this Princess’s Media Makeover Says About Modern-Day Femininity

Disney’s Snow White (1937) and Once Upon a Time’s Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) (2012)

Everyone knows the story of Snow White:  a young princess is forced to flee from a wicked, vain queen and finds herself in the company of a group of tiny dwarf miners, until her prince comes along and saves her from her poison-apple-induced sleep.  For years, children worldwide have watched the iconic Disney film and seen its characters plastered on every type of merchandise imaginable.  And the message this burned into the memory of little girls everywhere is clear: true love conquers all.

But take note, girls: Snow White has had a total media makeover— the sheepish, innocent girl of fairytale lore has been transformed into a fierce, lethal warrior princess, now more princely than girly, and is fully equipped to save not only herself, but her entire kingdom.  As the star of two major feature films, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, as well as ABC’s highly popular, hour-long drama Once Upon a Time, she is not likely to be doing the dishes with her woodland friends or making seven tiny beds each morning.  Instead, she is now determined to win back her kingdom from the evil queen who banished her, raising the stakes from simply living out her life in the eternal bliss of true love to directly challenging the queen for supremacy.  Snow White, with her new, almost blind determination toward her goal, is not just more aggressive in this incarnation; she’s practically oozing testosterone.  The new Snow White— in pants, no less! — represents a shrinking gender divide, enforcing the idea that a woman can only become truly successful by losing her feminine traits.

Snow White’s transformation from an inactive princess to a fearsome warrior is a product of our society and what movie executives know will sell.  Ultimately, this new manifestation of a nostalgic character may serve to “empower” modern women by changing Snow White into a self-sufficient fighter, but it also disparages them by turning the heroine essentially into the male archetypal champion, the new and improved fairytale maintains the same clichéd message of the original story about true love.

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The JOBS Act: Economic Boon or Peril?

On February 18, entrepreneur William Pryor successfully raised a £30,000 funding round for his U.K.-based oriental rugs business, Oriental Rugs of Bath. In return for the money, Pryor offered the 36 individuals who invested in Oriental Rugs of Bath a share of the company’s equity, divvying out 10% of the enterprise’s stock in total. This entire transaction took place online through an equity-based crowdfunding platform called Crowdcube.

This type of investing is currently illegal in America — but not for long.

Signed into law by President Obama on April 5, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act legalizes crowdfund investing in the United States. When the Securities and Exchange Commission’s nine-month legislative review process concludes, entrepreneurs across the country will be able to solicit and collect investments for their startups and small businesses via the Internet. But is the JOBS Act a beneficial piece of legislation for the average American? The bill’s ardent supporters argue it will democratize finance for the 99 percent and ameliorate the United States’ sputtering economy, while its loudest critics claim it will pave the way for another financial crisis. Whether the JOBS Act improves or depresses the American economy, it will fundamentally alter the country’s business ecosystem. It is, as President Obama called it, a “game-changer.”

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Dissension from their own

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Through what has progressed of my research, writing and editing, I have come to the conclusion that the thesis of my piece is going to be that The Conservative Teen, in its inaugural glory, serves to represent all that is wrong with conservative attempts to reach out to youth.  There is a ton of information about youth voting upon which I can draw to substantiate this point.  However, I am going to focus more on the fact that the mission of the Conservative Teen magazine is completely misguided in its efforts.  I am in the process of restructuring my piece so that it is more cogently presented.

There are several great comments about The Conservative Teen which I have yet to include in my piece.  They include:

William R. Smith, TCT Publisher:  “Do you have a teenage child or grandchild? Are you concerned about their future and the kind of America they will inherit? The liberal agenda has long dominated our educational institutions, news media, and entertainment industries and so it’s imperative we counter by teaching our teen children conservative values. For just $19.95, your teen can receive 4 quarterly issues of The Conservative Teen. Written by industry professionals and leading academic experts, this unique publication is full of high-quality content emphasizing the full spectrum of conservative principles.

Our goal at The Conservative Teen is to foster the next generation of conservatives. A subscription to our magazine will ensure your teen builds honorable moral character and an in-depth understanding of all issues from the conservative perspective.”

Jordan Bloom, The Conservative Magazine:  (in regard to the message that TCT is trying to send its readers) “Woe betide ye, Millenials! Your depravity and moral rootlessness hath offended the Almighty and imperiled the American way of life! Turn away from your blogs and your cable TV! Lay waste to your RSS readers and sow conservative media commentary in its barren furrows! Smite the deceivers! Forget the lamestream news, what you really need is an article about ‘How to Draw Obama,’ and ‘Ronald Reagan: Our First Black President.’”

Wonkette:  (some criticism of the magazine) Except with The Conservative Teen, what we have is not product-touting, but idea-touting. IDEAS. Finally, some ideas. Like how to always have a baby at any time. And to never watch Glee. And of course, because the titular reader of this magazine doesn’t know anything because they are home-schooled in a patient manner, the articles in The Conservative Teen are written by grownups, who all happen to be involved with either The Heritage Foundation, Fox Business News, the Family Research Council or the Media Research Center. Fun fun fun!

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by | April 24, 2012 · 11:05 am

Caution: When Korean Plastic Surgery Goes Wrong


(Han Mi OK before and after injecting the oil)

(Japanese Magazine KEJ on Korean plastic surgery)

            As mentioned in my previous blog, foreigners invest thousands of dollars in plastic surgery in Korea. However, as much as other Asian countries desire the same Korean look, there are Asian magazines and TV programs criticizing and raising awareness of the blooming trend, especially in Japan. In 2009, a famous Japanese magazine, “Asahi,” published an article regarding the dangers of plastic surgery in Korea, targeting Korean entertainer Han Mi Ok as its main example. Han Mi Ok, also known as “fan lady,” first drew attention to herself by making an appearance on a Korean show called “The Things That Happen in This World.” There, she spoke of her addiction to plastic surgery, which ultimately led to the active injection of cooking oil in her face. As a result, her face expanded outwards, much like a fan, thus her nickname. The magazine warned Japanese readers that cheap plastic surgery in Korea can result in extreme distortions of the face, much like the case of Han Mi Ok. According to a Korean news site Kukinews, Japanese netizens (internet citizens) also responded by criticizing Korean plastic surgery, claiming that the procedure is dangerous and that it can lead to severe side effects. Japanese TV programs are also focusing on the plastic surgery fad in Korea, asking random Korean women on the street whether they have undergone plastic surgery.

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The Alienation of Satire

While The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are quintessential examples of television satire, they are two shows on a medium that tends to shy away from the genre. TV doesn’t like to alienate viewers. A higher Nielsen rating = more money and advertising revenue. This keeps the executives happy, which keeps programming on the air. “TV is the least confident of media, most afraid of rejection in the form of the audience reaching for the remote,” write Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey P. Jones, and Ethan Thompson in their 2009 book Satire TV. Satire is an openly critical genre, and “critical” is almost a synonym for “alienating” in the world of television because satire publically displays anger, frustration, indignation, righteousness, and malevolence. These are not the most pleasant of human emotions, and viewers who watch TV to be relieved of their frustration tend to avoid programming that capitalizes on the world’s terribleness.

Therefore, an aggressive, resentful attack on the follies and vices of others doesn’t always bode well on network television. It usually doesn’t even get the chance to bode at all. But Comedy Central, a basic cable channel, doesn’t seem to mind taking the risk of alienating viewers (case in point: Tosh.O). So Colbert and Stewart are free to be as angry and frustrated as they please. They are part of the few, the proud, the lucky enough to belong to a channel that allows animated fourth graders to say the word “shit” — uncensored — 162 times in 22 minutes.

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by | April 23, 2012 · 6:22 pm

Insert Coin To Continue

Heroes in the half shell -- screengrab from "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time"

Excerpted from a working draft:

                In some ways, this new crop of games is a throwback to gaming’s early roots in the arcade, and not just in their relative simplicity.  Take my favorite cabinet classic for instance: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.  It only costs a quarter or two, each, for up to four players to take control of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo in the side-scrolling basher.  Compare that to the cost of the same game on a Super Nintendo cartridge for about $50.  But then, one of you would succumb to the Foot Clan’s flurry of kung-fu kicks and throwing stars, and the flashing Insert Coin To Continue would replace your character’s depleted health bar.

                One of my best memories involves spending $13 over the course of a rainy afternoon reviving fallen Turtles.  I was not playing the game.  I was watching other, older kids play, using my precious quarters to continue their quest.  Arguably, they should have known better than to take advantage of an 11-year-old with spending cash.  This was on a Boy Scout camping trip, by the way. Continue reading

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Snow White, Warrior Princess: Be a Man!

“Fantasize about that wedding, four-year-olds! Doesn’t matter how young you are, you get those priorities in line early!…But really now, I think there’s just something insidious about getting little girls to fixate on romance so early. I mean this is one of those things which freaking rules your life as an adult, must we start on it before [they hit puberty]?”

The above quote is from a video by the Nostalgia Chick concerning Disney Princesses. This quote touches on exactly the issue about burrowing certain ideas and priorities into the heads of little girls, and why at the heart of the problem, nothing has changed with these new interpretations. The message lingers on, just in a less potent form.

But enough about that, let’s talk about pants. Or at least Snow White’s relationship to pants in these media.

What is it about being in a dress that just makes a woman go, “Nope, it’s frilly dress-up time. No rough-and-tumble today”? Is it just an accepted fact that once a character slips into anything but pants, she’s reduced to little more than dead weight with a smile?

One of these girls is less active than the others. Guess which.

Many gamers refer to it as the “Zelda Principle” – in the Legend of Zelda games, when Princess Zelda is in her pretty Hyrulian dress, she’s about as useful as a jar of marmalade is to a serving of fries most of the time. But when she puts on a pair of pants and masquerades as a man called Shiek, she can take on any enemy, do almost any task, and essentially save herself. And then we have an even more confusing conundrum with Tetra, a pirate queen who’s an expert thief, marksman, and overall master of the high-seas, but the second it’s discovered she’s Princess Zelda, she apparently forgets all her skills and needs rescuing. All this from the tri-force of wisdom, mind you! And there are no other major reoccurring female characters but her – the game’s even named after her despite the fact that she does next to nothing.

Yes, if you are a lady and you want to be a hero, pants are essential.  But it’s not just the garment itself, it’s the attitude associated with the garment. You have to act like a man as much as you dress like one, while retaining your femininity so the audience can relate to you. Often, these portrayals fall into one of two ways: too masculine, or too feminine.

Once Upon a Time’s Snow White is ping-pong match of both. When she’s in her dress, she’s shy, sweet, kind but ultimately a thing to be protected. Her strength is purely internal and emotional. But when she’s wearing pants, she’s tough, athletic, overly aggressive, borderline obsessed with victory. Mirror Mirror’s Snow White slouches, spits, grunts, and even fights like what one would expect of a man – but she’s still overtly feminine. Even Snow White and the Huntsman version of the character is so androgynous-looking that she could be easily mistaken for a man, even though her personality remains mostly unknown.

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