So, I have a bit of an infatuation with spoken word/slam poetry. It’s a pretty intense form of expression sometimes, but that can make it very effective at getting a message across. Below is a video of a poem called, “Pretty” by Katie Makkai that talks about the way that women and girls define themselves with just the word pretty, or how they are not. Warning: There is some strong language used here, which is frequently the case with spoken word. If that’s not your thing, feel free not to press play. If not, let’s hear what Katie Makkai has to say.
Be more than just “pretty,” because you are.
Apparently, there IS a fairy tale where a princess ends up happy and prince-less! Princess Bubble is a picture book for young girls where the main character is a princess who questions the traditional fairy tale ending.
It was written by Susan Johnston, who happens to be a happy single woman herself, and it’s exciting to see the book garnering some attention. I was told about the book via a link to the CNN interview that Johnston did recently and apparently Princess Bubble is rather autobiographical. Princess Bubble works as a flight attendant, helps her friends out with their weddings, tries internet dating and wears a thinking crown. Maybe she can’t quite identify with that last one, but still. The parallels between Princess Bubble’s and Susan Johnston’s happy endings are both clear and cheering. Here’s someone who’s clearly taken a look at their life and said, “Hey, I may be single, but I’m still having a really good time here.” Which is kinda cool, don’t you think?
If you want to learn more about the book (and I totally think it should be going to some little girls for Christmas) I have two links for you. 1. The official site: www.princessbubble.com and 2. The CNN interview: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2008/08/11/intv.susan.johnston.cnn?iref=videosearch
The website for a feminist magazine has an article up that talks about what “beauty” companies (although, really, they’re selling chemicals, not beauty. The chemicals and powders are interpreted as beauty… I’ll avoid a rant about the terminology. Sorry) put into their products and how there is growing consumer awareness of what’s in the things that we put on our face. Check it out here :
Also, as a side note, check around the site if you’re at all interested in feminism. Publications focusing on getting the voice and views of women are surprisingly rare, seeing as we’re supposed to believe that things like Cosmo are about getting the voice of girls heard (but since when does my “voice” consist only of sex/beauty/fashion tips?). You may find some things that you agree with and a few things that you also disagree with, but it’ll may just be a slightly different view than you’re used to seeing and that’s cool to explore. Anyway, the magazine is actually struggling financially, so it would be great to send some traffic over that way to at least show support for them in the most minimal way, in my opinion…
I recently attended a talk at the University of Calgary called “Is Beauty an Ugly Obsession?” It was a great discussion with Kirsten Pullen (professor of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University and author of Actresses and Whores: On Stage and in Society), Jenifer Merifield (CEO, founder and editor-in-chief of “Girls Can do Anything” magazine), Rebecca Sullivan (professor of Communications Studies, University of Calgary and author of Visual Habits: Nuns, Feminism, and American Postwar Popular Culture) and Kelly Streit (CEO of Mode Models).
Jenifer Merifield in particular was of interest to me because of her magazine. “Girls Can Do Anything” magazine is meant to empower girls using diverse images of the teens and positive articles; their tag line is, “Be Real. Be You.” This is a perfect example of using a form of media to spread positive messages. Check out their website at www.gcdamagazine.com.
Here’s another index card math diagram/comic by Jessica Hagy that’s commenting on how the media’s portayal of actresses affects consumerism and body image.