Now that I’m officially in the middle of my summer hibernation, I have a lot of time on my hands. Lately, my summers are plethora of time that stimulates my brain into odd notions of productivity. Maybe that’s why some of my posts have been oddly inspiring. At least I think they are.
I happened to have two coupons for a free movie and enjoy a free large popcorn and soda. With the price of a movie ticket jacked up on steroids, that’s akin to winning the lottery. I decided to use those coupons to watch the movie Snow White & the Huntsman. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the free movie coupon on a recently released movie and had to wait two weeks until the movie wasn’t considered “new” anymore.
Today, I managed to pull myself together, venture out of my protective cave, and brave the summer in a small pilgrimage to the movies. After feeling like American royalty getting into the theater and getting theater food for free, I sat in a nearly empty theater (I recommend watching movies in the afternoon on a work week) and settled in to be taken out of my boring reality.
While I feel that Kristen Stewart was completely miscast, I enjoyed the movie. Yet, the character my thoughts centered on was the Evil Queen who was played by Charlize Theron. (No, I don’t think she overacted the character since and evil villain like the Queen is supposed to be overacted). What the movie explained, what the fairy tale stories neglect to add, is the driving force behind the evilness of the Evil Queen or evil step-mother.
A wise person once told me that I should never jump into a marriage and settle for a random guy because it was expected of me from society. I should wait and find the man who makes me a better person. That advice had a massive impact on me and that’s what I will look for when I am ready to have a relationship.
Keeping that positive message in mind, I thought about the antithesis while watching the movie. When the Queen was a little girl, her village was attacked, her mother killed, and she was kidnapped by the attacking King — a man who was responsible for her mother’s death and the movie hinted that the Queen was raped by the marauding King. Sure he married her and made her Queen, but the circumstances were completely out of her hands.
She eventually kills her first husband, and enacts a plan to marry Snow White’s grief-stricken father. Her goal is to rule the world and show them the same cruelty that she has known.
Before the justly feminist uprising in the early and mid twentieth century, most women were largely shaped and formed by men. They were taught to be malleable no matter their feelings about the manipulation. Yet, there were instances where the shaping had a negative impact. Largely, men wanted puppets. No matter how they try to break the will of women, there were women whose will went in a completely different and destructive direction.
Through support, encouragement, and a blatant acceptance of who a woman is rather than how malleable she can be, makes a woman a better person. It stands to reason that a man who forces his wants and needs on a woman will either break her, or turn her into a monster.
In fairy tales, a woman who was independent and strong was evil. Only women who were obedient, malleable, a doormat was considered a good and acceptable woman. Independent woman bad. Obedient woman good. A simple formula that is digestible to impressionable young girls.
If there was a back story on why the independent woman turned so wrong, than it would give those impressionable young girls something to think about.
In the twenty-first century, there are still some men who attempt to shape, shame, and force women into a particular biddable mold. Right now men are endeavoring to take away women’s rights to their own bodies through denying female healthcare and contraception access. They are making it harder for a single mother to raise her child without a male figure present. The highly patriarchal military is even protecting enlisted men who rape enlisted women. They go so far as to victimize these women twice by placing the blame on the women and allowing the enlisted male offenders to run free and sexually assault another day.
In essence, they are forcing women to be celibate, ashamed of themselves, and forcing unwanted male control into their lives.
When women resist their tyranny, they use media to publicly demean them in the eyes of society.
Two female State Legislators in Michigan, Reps. Barb Byrum and Lisa Brown, were “silenced” from speaking on the House floor because one dared to use the medical term “vagina” and another introduced an amendment to apply the same regulations to vasectomies.
A spokesperson for the Michigan GOP Leader of the House stated that the women were throwing “temper tantrums”. So how is the use of the medical term “vagina” and an amendment that would restrict men as equally as it would women “throwing a temper tantrum?” Isn’t banning the women for using medical jargon the House Leader finds embarrassing and inappropriate throwing a “temper tantrum?”
I agree with Annie-Rose Strasser with ThinkProgress when she stated in her article that the term ‘temper tantrum’ is not-so-subtly coded sexist language leveled at women to infantilize them and de-legitimize their points. In effect, attempting to publicly shame the two women for daring to be independent and speaking for their beliefs and the beliefs of their female constituents.
With anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-single mother, and anti-rape laws, the male GOP is attempting to force women to be malleable to male Conservative wishes. The women who resist the attempts are being demeaned, humiliated, and vilified.
If some men bring out the best in women, then there are evil men who bring out the strength in women, and yet more men who push some women so far that those women become monsters.
Those monstrous women were not born monsters. They are man-made monsters.