Permission to Admire Yourself GRANTED!

I crunched on a deliciously salty tortilla chip covered in fresh, spicey salsa and thought about how I shouldn’t be eating it. I had had a big lunch and really wasn’t that hungry for dinner, but I love Mexican food… I kept crunching and looked across the table at my date… my mom! Her day had been spent thinking about our upcoming move, her church activities, her daughters, and work. We sat in silence for a while (except for the chip crunching of course) before I asked:

“Mom, what do you admire most about yourself?” Continue reading “Permission to Admire Yourself GRANTED!”

The Oscars: A Night of Profound Beauty

oscars-2013It’s the night many of us wait for all year. It’s a night dedicated to art in some of it’s highest forms. Whether you tune in to admire the art of fashion, cinematography, music, or animation, the Oscars have something that speaks to each one of us. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate all the varied and higher beauties of this life. International author and religious leader Mary Baker Eddy says, “My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired.” Tonight’s Academy Awards are about more than glitz and glamour, the event is a representation of beauty, including dedication, diligence, and passion, that characterizes holiness. Continue reading “The Oscars: A Night of Profound Beauty”

Fighting for a Whole New World

dettoldisney.wordpress.comLike a splash of cold water, 1992’s Aladdin presented a new kind of Disney Princess—one who was ethnic and wore pants! Before we get too excited, let’s remember: she’s dressed like a belly dancer with a twig-like waist, at one point she’s literally bound in chains, and she’s only a supporting character because (get this) Aladdin is actually about Aladdin. In many ways, Jasmine is a blatant example of an objectified, ignorant “little woman” whose value depends on marriage. But before we condemn her as the worst Disney Princess role-model yet, let’s look again. Actually, no princess fights against her “supporting role” more. Perhaps if we fought against the media’s unrealistic standards of beauty and other social injustices with the consistency and passion of Jasmine we might witness more progress. Continue reading “Fighting for a Whole New World”

Belle: The People’s Princess

Belle-Wallpaper-disney-princess-28960238-1280-800The day I met Belle, I became a princess. Beauty and the Beast introduced a different kind of heroine. Unlike her predecessors, Belle didn’t have talking animal companions, didn’t grow up in a castle, didn’t have fairies to help her, and she wasn’t a mythical creature. No, Belle came from a small town, lived with a loving parent, and was quirky, sassy, and smart. Suddenly every average Jane (or Megan) with her nose in a book, who didn’t fit in, and who felt she was meant for something more had a Disney princess that represented her. What’s more, she inspired every girl to look beyond the surface to see true inner beauty. Did Disney finally create the perfect princess? Continue reading “Belle: The People’s Princess”

Wake Up Your Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty—the very title of the Disney film encapsulates a host of negative messages for women. It reflects a patriarchal view that a woman’s silence marks her value. It’s also indicative of a desire to display women as pretty, inanimate objects. The fact that Princess Aurora is only present for about twenty minutes of the entire seventy five minute movie also does nothing to support her as strong role-model for young girls and women. However, a deeper analysis puts a new spin on both the title and this princess. Continue reading “Wake Up Your Sleeping Beauty”

Cinderella’s Secrets to Success

Disney’s Cinderella: a simple rags-to-riches romance that has influenced decades of young girls and women to dream of their own “happily ever after” complete with Prince Charming. The “sweetest story ever told” seems to perpetuate the idea that salvation from life’s hardships comes through marriage and that finding “Mr. (or Mrs.) Right” transforms one from ordinary to extraordinary. However, considering the movie again, Cinderella actually illustrates a quest for sisterhood and ultimate self-actualization (a sense of oneself as a whole individual). Cinderella’s efforts prove fruitful while her stepmother and stepsisters fail.  Cinderella’s recipe for success? Respect, hard work, patient giving, and independence based on a solid sense of self-worth. Continue reading “Cinderella’s Secrets to Success”

Lessons from Snow White

snowwhite_slideChildishness, optimism, and naivety pepper the character of Princess Snow White. Her voice is high-pitched; she faces crises “with a smile and a song,” and repeatedly trusts the intentions of strangers. She also enforces unrealistic ideals of beauty with her pore-less skin, unnaturally red lips, and perfectly coifed raven hair. On the surface, Snow White seems hard to embrace as an empowering role-model or representation of women. However, a closer look at the film and this particular princess proves just the opposite. Not only is she a strong figure for women to uniquely emulate, but she’s a role-model for men and women alike.

Continue reading “Lessons from Snow White”