Save a Damsel in Distress

“Why does every princess need to have a prince? It’s the same old story but I’m just not convinced. Why keep on assuming men will save the day? I can be the hero and do it in my own way”

I got these lines from a parody of Disney’s Frozen. It speaks so much on how I feel towards the stereotype given to female protagonists in film, TV, music, cartoons and other forms of entertainment. What bothers me is that most of the time these platforms target young girls. I am a big fan of  arts and entertainment but wouldn’t it be nice if  ‘entertainment value’  speak for both entertainment and value? Pop songs are most of the time love songs and hyper-sexualized. Disney history has been creating female protagonists who have passive roles. I believe in Cinderella’s song: “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.” My problem is that Cinderella did not have a big ambition. To marry a prince is a dream but not a real goal that can be cultivated by talent and hard work. I just want to hear stories  that empower girls to make use of their own ability without giving up who they are. Though I do not disregard that finding the right man and following your dreams have some value in life, message of celebrating individuality, independence, and family should be given of greater emphasis. These themes reflect what we need in our society.

Frozen

Disney Frozen Elsa
photo source: http://www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/frozen_elsa-wide.jpg

I’m glad that we now have female characters in fiction and entertainment who represent real girls. Disney reinvents  their female characters that fit to our generation. And I’ll never get tired of using Frozen as an example. I love this animated film not only for the songs, and the feel-good Disney vibes, but also of its practical values.

In a world where fashion models are being looked up by most young girls, we need female characters who have flaws. Isn’t it frustrating to observe lot of fashion models trying to perfect their posture, and struggling refinement and glamour? Good thing, Anna of Frozen is clumsy, bubbly, playful. In comparison with classic Disney princesses whose happiness depend on a prince, Elsa strives to be on her own and be herself. Neither Elsa nor Anna is demure or soft-spoken.  Hence, (I appeal), let the girls be themselves, and blossom in their own pace and in their own way.

Also, how many animated films tell a story about sisters? This theme resonates to most of us, and that true love is nothing fancy or out of reach. True love is a hard concept to teach if it is defined by what most movies tell us. As corny as this may sound, but true love should be basic. I have a lot of sisters and we most probably have siblings or members of the family who have been with us since birth. Frozen has made the concept of true love more accessible to everyone.

elphaba
Photo Source: Broadway.com

Wicked
Another good example of a female fictional character is Elphaba from the musical play and novel, Wicked. When I was a small girl, I dreamed of becoming a princess. But lately I wanted to be a witch. I am a fan of Wicked. I have their songs in my play list, read the novel, watch the play on web and on real life. I like Wicked because it celebrates individuality. In reality, sometimes we are defined by our color, and other exterior features. Elphaba, the wicked witch of the West is not a typical protagonist of the story. From the title itself, she is  known wicked. She represents the minority. She goes for the unpopular belief of fighting the rights of the Animals. Alas, a female character has emerged from the male-dominated world, witchcraft. ( There seems to be a bias towards wizards and bias against witch. Major characters as witches are villains while the boy with a broomstick is adorable and not necessarily wicked). Like Frozen, the set of characters in the play are female-dominated.

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I am hoping for more films, plays, cartoons and stories  that feature women as heroes. Just like Frozen and Wicked, I hope they reach mainstream success so that more girls will receive the message of empowerment.

The best way to save a damsel in distress is  not to call for a prince but the best way is to teach her to save herself from distress. Show her true colors and be her own happiness machine. Let the storm range on and let her defy gravity. Let it go!

Girls are like Magazines and Novels

Photo Source: http://www.glamour.com/

There is no debate which is better, a novel or a magazine. Both have different target readers. The two are read for different purposes in different times. A novel is read during a quiet time in bedroom. A magazine is read during heavy traffic or while waiting one’s turn in the doctor’s clinic. A magazine is meant to entertain and to update readers. A novel is also meant to entertain but not to update readers. Magazines are for people on the rush while novels are for people who take time.

This leads me to compare girls with novels and magazines. A man who chooses a girl he will date is like a man who chooses what to buy in a bookstore. The one he chooses depends on what his needs and interests are. The man who likes to buy a novel is like a man who wants to spend a long time with his girl. The man who picks a magazine wants something that is easy and requires little time for reading like a girl who does not demand much time. If he has short attention span, he will prefer to buy a magazine. If he is a conscientious reader and pays attentions to small details, he will buy a novel.

Girls are like novels and magazines. Some are easy on the eyes and easy to love while some cannot catch a man’s attention in a swift glance. He will learn to like her with additional details. And if a novel takes a lot of time, hence he will never forget. But a magazine with its thin pages, he can neglect.

Between the two, a novel is expensive while a magazine depreciates in value over time. When a man reads a novel all over again, he will always discover something new. But when a man reads a magazine again, there is obviously nothing new. There are a lot of things that can be said about a novel and he can make a book review. But a magazine, what else can he say? Maybe he can give a brief description but not as rich as he would describe how an author writes a novel.

Magazines are available everywhere. He can find them in bus stop, airport, parlor, and grocery store. But a novel is not accessible all the time. Like novels, some girls are hard to reach while magazines are always within his reach. But if a man wants to brag his taste and intellect, he will display novels in his living room.

A novel is personal and intimate. A man who enjoys reading a novel, is eager to touch a new page. He smells it, sleeps with it, protects it. When a man is done reading a magazine, he leaves the magazine to others and say, “You can have it.”

A novel is something he can pass to the next generation but a magazine serves its own generation for when the trends are gone, it is lost. Some girls are like novels worth keeping for a lifetime while some are fleeting, lovely in their own time.

Dealing with Tinker Bell Syndrome

Lea Michele
Photo Source: http://broadwaystars.com

Lea Michele

Glee Star

Broadway Actor

Lea Salonga

Kim in Ms. Saigon

Tony Award Winner

Kristin chenoweth
Photo Source: http://www.listal.com

Kristen Chenoweth

Glinda in Wicked

Tony Award Winner

Charice Pempengco
Photo Source: http://www.starpulse.com

Charice Pempengo

International Sensation

me

 Jacklyn Belo

Aspiring Somebody (hehe!)

What do we have in common?

We are not tall girls.

 Of course, I’m the shortest.

In the modeling  and beauty pageant industry, 5’6″ is already short. For Caucasian girls, 5’3″ is already short. In the Philippines, 5’3″ is just the average height for girls. But whatever ruler you are going to use, I am short.  

When I was in elementary, I used to be one of the tallest girls. I was one of the last person in line during flag ceremony. Probably when I was in Grade V, I stopped growing.   And the girls who used to be first in line were moving their way to the end of the line.  Time ran too  fast that my height was not able to catch up. I knew I was not growing anymore by the number of times I was placed on the front row.

Gee, I’m not even five feet tall! Like other short girls, I battle life with Tinker Bell Syndrome. The Tinker Bell Syndrome describes a woman, despite her petite height, who is able to overcome this disadvantage and still succeed in life  ( Chictopia, 2011)

As written in Daily Mail (2010), psychologist David Lewis, director of research at Mindlab International, said that height has just as profound an effect on a woman’s character (Gordon, 2010).

This explains the success of Lady Gaga and Judy Dench who are only 5’1″ tall.  Short women find the need to prove themselves in a world where height is might.

It’s quite annoying when people keep saying, “You’re short.”  At the back of my head, Why say something that is obvious? Am I blind not to see that your chest is in front of me? Can I not feel the stretch of my neck  when I talk to you?

Eventually, my ears have adjusted. They are all part of  my daily noise (hehe). It’s part of growing up to accept that I am not growing tall at all. If  you haven’t reached your desired height yet or if you haven’t accepted our shared recessive gene,  here are some things about your height that you can be proud of.

You will always look young.

I don’t know if this is an advantage but when you reach 40, you’ll be happy with your slow growth or must I say eternal youth.

It is easy for you to hide.

When you meet someone you don’t like in the mall, it is easy to make yourself  invisible in the crowd. If by theory of evolution applied, it’s one reason why this recessive gene height was passed through many generations. It is a means of survival, a protection against enemy.

You can always find an escort.

I cannot imagine myself being as tall as Georgina Wilson, Solenn Heussaff and other top models. If  I am a six-footer woman  living in the Philippines, it will be so difficult to find someone who will visually match me in a party.   I have to visit  a basketball court or a runway in a fashion show  to find ‘the one.’

You are always on the front row.

If you are part of choir performance and theater plays, you are always in  front  regardless of your talent and your role in the presentation. You are a star!

You are environment-friendly

You are low maintenance. Your height tells other people that you do not consume  a lot of thread, cloth, pins. The length of your body also shows you do not scrub as much as tall girls do.  Hence, you save soap and water. You stockings are shorter than those who have long legs.  You are harmless  to the booming human population when it comes to supplies of commodities. When you ride a jeepney, you can squeeze in and share some space for another passenger.

Your are cute.

The word  “cute” has a vague definition. When you’re chubby, you’re cute. When you’re small, you’re cute. When you’re charming, you’re cute.  Someone told me cute means ugly but interesting. But in my life, it’s a polite way of  saying: “You are short, dear.”

It is easy to shop a new outfit. 

It does not mean you’re short, you’re slim. But when you’re short, you have short shoulder length. And this determines the size of your outfit. In Philippine setting, it is easy to pick a shirt that will fit a short girl. If you can’t  find clothes in the adult section, you can go to teens wear.

You can carry yourself.

Yes, you can carry yourself  literally and figuratively speaking.

It was not really a light; it made this light by flashing about so quickly, but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still glowing.  It was a girl called Tinker Bell, exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf…

J M Barrie, Peter Pan

If this does not comfort you, look at my favorite stars.

For your reference

http://www.chictopia.com/photo/show/450888-SHORT+GIRLS+HOW+TO+DRESS+FOR+YOUR+HEIGHT-black-calvin-klein-dress

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1294725/The-Tinker-Bell-syndrome-Can-small-stature-drive-ambition.html#ixzz29SypSE5F