Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: feminism

Nudity and Purpose: Final Thoughts on Disneyanity

Do I have your attention? I’m terrible at titles and tying them in with SEO, but this is not clickbait. The post actually is about nudity and the idea of purpose, separately though. Please read on.

Have ever a read a non-fiction book, one you were so excited to read and glean from, and closed it muttering to yourself about how wrong the author is?

That’s what happened to me while reading Disneyanity by Douglas Brode.

I didn’t hate it. There were certainly a lot of very…interesting…takes on Disney movies and tv shows. I just don’t agree with most of them. Some of them seemed outright crazy to me, like maybe he was looking through a strangely distorted magnifying glass.

But then, that’s what we all do with life. The experiences we’ve had and what we’ve made of them, distorts what we see around us, unless we make a very concentrated effort to do otherwise. That’s what I tried to do while I read this book, but sometimes…wow… I wondered if we had been watching the same movies.

Sometimes I wondered what he was talking about. Maybe it was above my head? Too academic? It seemed disjointed and contradictory at times, a collection of unrelated essays. BUT I did like reading it and I found so much to think about. I even clarified some of my own “religious” thinking. I’m going through my notes, wondering what to do with them all. Such is my process, or lack thereof.

For this final post on Disneyanity, I’ll share one bit that I found magical and one that made me cringe.

First the magical one!

nudity

In All the Cats Join In (1946), a white female’s lithe body unswervingly moves to The Big Beat. She drives home, then unashamedly strips and leaps into a hot shower – female nudity on display as it would be four years later in an early sequence of Cinderella. It must be recalled that this was when post-war feminists, including France’s controversial Brigitte Bardot and America’s Marilyn Monroe, embraced nudity as “freedom.” (The concept that this indicates “exploitation” by and for men would emerge in the late-1960s.) Shortly, Disney positively portrayed his teen heroine on a dance floor, be-bopping with the boys, apparently without auteurial criticism.”

Auteurial: A creative artist, especially a film director, seen as having a specific, recognizable artistic vision, and who is seen as the single or preeminent ‘author’ of his works.

There’s a new word for me! It took me some time to figure out what he meant by “auteurial criticism.” Still, I’m wondering why he used that word. Does he mean that the creator was showing the teen girl dancing as a positive action, not a negative one?

What I really came to here to talk about was nudity. Yes! It’s something I have had a bit of an issue with for most of my life. When I was a kid, I refused to cover myself up and my mother was constantly after me about it. “You’re attracting the wrong kind of attention.” I was hot, so I wore shorts. I wanted my shoulders tanned, so I wore strappy tank tops. I was uncomfortably restrained, so I wouldn’t wear a bra. What I wore or not was about me and my comfort…until the world told me that I was attracting the wrong kind of attention. And then I only wondered what that attention was and why it was wrong.

This could be a whole blog post, couldn’t it?

I’m going to keep it short here and just say that nudity is freedom, and so are some articles of clothing.  Personally, with my fair skin, I can be outside much longer if I’m wearing a shirt, and my jeans and boots keep me from getting hurt on the trails. We need to figure out how to get around all this cultural programming that says men can walk around topless and women can’t. Men can show thigh, but women need to cover up. This is just crazy. Wear what makes you happy. Leave people alone. Clothes are for protection from the elements. Every other use is imaginary.

And now for the one that made me cringe.

“…the films, TV shows, and other storytelling forms offer variations on a theme that something deep in the human heart hungers for: The notion that each of us does indeed have a purpose in the greater cosmos. We can best realize it by wishing on a star, heeding Joseph Campbell’s call to ‘follow your bliss,’ and unwavering persistence, derived from faith and hope, to make your dream come true.

Whether you wish upon a star or any other heavenly body. Or the natural world around you.”

My note in the margin said, “I don’t WISH anything.” It reminds me of that uncouth saying, “Wish in one hand and shit in the other, see which one fills up faster.” Which, now that I think about it, is pretty good advice…figuratively. Wishing doesn’t get anything done, doing does.

And this notion of “purpose” really gets my goat lately. Do we all have some grand purpose in this world? I say, no, we don’t. Unless you consider just being here not making everyone else’s lives more difficult, a purpose. Then, yes, we all have THAT purpose.

When I wonder what my “grand purpose” is, I get depressed. This world will not know me when I’m gone. I made nothing better in the grand scheme of things. I’ve created nothing, built nothing, done nothing to better mankind in any big way. And that is the fate of 99.99% of humanity.

In my opinion, it’s sadder to think that billions of people over the millennia never found their purpose. All those serfs, slaves, farmers, peddlers, and clerics, never known by anyone but those they lived with, died penniless and alone, never leaving a mark on this existence. They didn’t even have books and movies, so they probably didn’t even know they needed a purpose other than to live and take care of themselves and the people around them…wait a minute.

Maybe “purpose” isn’t just what you see in books and movies. Those are just the glorified stories, the interesting, to more than you, ones. What if your purpose is better stated as “your personal reason for getting up in the morning?” It could be as simple as, “To see what tomorrow brings.” Hmm…more to think about.

Did I love this book? Yes, and no. Yes, because it brought me a different point of view. And no because it didn’t go far enough. I guess what I wanted was a more succinct and defined “Walt Religion,” a bible of sorts, but what I got was someone’s personal thoughts on a body of creative work. All good though, and I’d recommend it.

We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters: New Read

Why in the world would I chose “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters” by Cokie Roberts? That’s a great question. I’ll give you the story…because you know there is a story.

We Are Our Mothers' Daughters

I bought this book the day that I found out there was a used bookstore in the mall. FYI: I just spent ten minutes looking back in my posts but found that I have not shared this glory with you. I could have sworn that I, at least, posted about it on my Instagram, but alas… Sad. I do know it was the same day that I entertained millions at Costco, and I did write to you about that, but I’ll tell you now that there is a used bookstore in the Moreno Valley Mall called The Dollar Book Fair and it has…ready for it… $1 and $2 books!

I do realize that you might think that if you don’t live here, it means nothing to you, but it does. If these bookstores can exist here, they can exist anywhere. We must spread the word and create more! Go my book loving business friends!

You know I went running inside this place when I saw it. And then there I was browsing the used books, looking forward to buying a few books and getting something tasty at the food court, probably a corn dog much to the dismay of my friend who thinks they are gross. In other words, I was in heaven. I went straight to the memoir section, and then history, and finally classic fiction.

Now here’s the thing about used bookstores: They are great for adding books to my TBR shelf, guilt free. I may read them, I may not. They may be the greatest books ever and they may be terrible. This is where I take chances on what I buy. This is where I think to myself, “Well…I’ve never heard of this person, but it sounds interesting.” Or “This looks like it will present me with completely different point of view and I might want to smack the author or its intended audience, but what they hell! It’s a dollar!”

The memoir section in a used bookstore is my favorite place to browse. Who knows who you will find there?! There are memoirs and autobiographies of people I would never think would have written one, people I don’t even know exist, and famous people I can’t stand. And then there are all those people that aren’t famous at all but have some story to tell that you and I might relate to or learn from.

Reading memoir is like living several lives at once.

Cokie Roberts’ book was tucked away on the memoir shelves, but it says its genre is “women’s studies.” It does have stories of her own life, but it’s more of series of stories about other women, their lives and choices. I picked it up because it seems to be written by a woman completely opposite of myself in a number of ways. Note: I did not know who she was other than the description on the back of the book. She’s a political commentator, news analyst, her mother was in congress, her sister a mayor, and an east coaster. That is a life I cannot imagine living.

Another reason I was drawn to the book is that I love books about women’s relationships with other women; mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. It’s something I struggle with, and I read in the hopes of understanding. Sitting here trying to put into words the way I feel is causing a bit of stress, so I’ll make a note to explore that idea in future post. For now, I’ll say I’m usually far more comfortable around men than most women and I’m not sure why.

I started “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters” this morning and I’m 36 pages in. Yes, I read the introduction. In memoir and autobiography, I think it’s an imperative. I’ve already teared up twice reading her stories about her mother and her sister. I have lots of little “!!” and “??” in the margins at places where I just don’t understand the point of view. I’m hoping this doesn’t end up as a rant on how women are so much better than men and how we all need to be independent of them as much as possible. I’m more of an equal partnership kind of feminist.

So, I’m jumping into “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters.” In the past, I’ve tried to write something longer each day, based on a quote from my morning read, but I’ll be doing things a little different this time in the interest of lessening the load over the holidays. I’ll be sharing quotes for each hour I read on Instagram (so be sure to follow me there) and as a “story” here. I’m not sure what that means, to be honest. I’m using the “story” button on the WordPress app on my phone, and it seems that all it does is make another blog post, but it looks like people enjoy them, so I’ll keep doing it.

One more thing before I go. I’m glad to be back here and writing again. For a few weeks, I really started to think maybe I should quit. That’s another long story I could post in the future. But something inside me won’t let me stop. What’s the point of reading all this stuff and keeping it all to myself? Seems like stingy Grinch thing to do.

Read more at
We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters #1
We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters #2
We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters #3
We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters #4
We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters #5
We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters: Final Thoughts

Women Are Equal in Nature and Need as Men, Not the “Same As”

Mythic woman quote on desert background.

“The woman is immediately mythic in herself and is experienced as such, not only as the source and giver of life, but also of the magic of her touch and presence.”

Myths to Live By” by Joseph Campbell

Women are Equal, Not the Same

I know it’s an unpopular idea, but I believe it’s true. Most of the problems of modern civilization can be traced back to the loss of the memory of who we are. Feminism has gotten us lost attempting to be the same as men, instead of equal in nature and need as a man. Instead of balancing the scales with male and female attributes and contributions, we have crowded all into one cup and knocked the whole natural system out of whack.

All Animals Have Evolved (or Created)
as Male and Female

We should not feel subjugated by the differences between the sexes but empowered. A goddess is not a lesser form of a god, but an equal power that balances out another. Two is always stronger than one. And three? Well…let’s not get into that right now.

We have so forgotten our true mythic nature that we even tear down other women when we feel they are stepping out of the line. Feminists tear down traditionalists. Career women tear down housewives. Mothers tear down the intentionally childless. Lesbians tear down straight women. Chosen sex against birth sex. The list goes on and on, and the violence against the other goes both ways in all instances.

Instead of seeing our fellow goddesses as they are, we see them as competitors, a threat to our own very personal choices. Why?

Have we completely forgotten who we are? Unadorned and untutored, we are capable of so much power. We can heal with a touch, move others with a look. For crying out loud, we can bring forth other humans and feed them! And yet, here we are making ourselves small.

No one took our power away. At some point we began to give it away and continue to do so. We have taught each succeeding generation that they have no power by attacking and ridiculing any one of us that attempts to take that power back.

How do we take that power back? It cannot be by belittling men, attempting to be like them, removing them from our lives, or treating them as an enemy. As a society, I’m not sure where we could start. I only know that whatever we’re doing right now isn’t working, at least not for me.

For me, I’ve started with accepting myself as a natural being, one that has flaws and weakness that can also be strengths. I’m getting older and not hiding it. I’m a bit chubby, I’ve had children and it shows. That’s a good thing. I’m a sexual being and that’s ok, even if my parents and children are uncomfortable with that. I’ve started reading myths about the feminine from different cultures across time. I want to learn how other cultures in the past have interpreted the feminine. How do they differ? How can it shape my thinking and improve my self-image? I wish I had started this journey earlier, but maybe I did, unconsciously at first.

I’ll add one more thing before I go. I don’t hate men. In fact, I love them, possibly a little too much. I do wish more men (and women) could respect a powerfully feminine woman. What’s my definition of a powerful woman? One that knows her natural power, secure in who she is, she gives to and takes from the world around her in ways no one else can. She intentionally chooses her path, takes her time, and enjoys what comes of it fully. Other people’s opinions matter to her, but not at the cost of losing herself. She accepts others just as they are, as she does herself. She loves passionately, sings loudly, dances wildly, and stands her ground.

I am woman. I am the other side of the balance of life. And I will not be quiet about it.


Want to read this book? You can get it on Amazon HERE.
Read more of my thoughts about quotes from this book:
Are Our Cultural Differences Becoming Less Important?

Real Feminism

If you could OD on a podcast, it would have happened to me today. I started the day in a pretty shitty place mentally. It was one of those “everything I try to do sucks” kind of days, so I dropped everything and decided to put my whole heart and soul into cleaning the house. Sounds weird, I know, but that’s what I do when I need to escape, I clean.
What can you do while you dust and put things away? Listen to podcasts! And Aubrey Marcus has just really spoke to my soul lately. The second one I listened to today was this one, The Wild Woman and the Wild Man with Christine Hassler.

It blew my mind. There’s power here. I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing. It’s an hour you will not regret. The next couple of paragraphs won’t really make sense unless you do.

Listening to the feminine version of the poem, I can relate. It’s that feeling when I’m angry or sad and my husband walks away from me. My logical mind knows what he’s doing, and I understand it. He doesn’t want to see me upset because he can’t figure out how to fix it for me. But no one can be happy and satisfied all the time. In those moments, when I’m reactive or stressed, I desperately want to scream and at the same time know the person I love most won’t run away, that maybe he’d even like to see that side of me. The side that stands up and insists that I get what I want right now. When the ugly or hard side shows, I want to know I don’t have to hide it from him for fear of losing his love or respect.

And then he read the masculine version…and I broke down in tears. I wanted to yell out, “I’m here! I’ll love that!” It was powerful and touching. I wish more men were able to embrace that side of themselves, but I have a feeling we’ve killed that in them in the past couple of generations. It breaks my heart.

I’m desparately searching the internet for those poems so I can read them over and over again!

I wrote this yesterday and woke up this morning still thinking about that poem. I searched again and found it HERE. I must have already read it four times since I got up today. I really hope he posts his version. I’d love to have them side by side in my journal.

It takes courage and strength to be in a wild persons life. Luckily, I have that partner. But am I that woman? I have felt that call in my soul, but I’ve lived in a tame way, usually out of fear. That isn’t negative, it’s honesty. You can have a wild heart and live tame for a time. Eventually, if I continue to live honestly, I’ll answer that call. I think it has already begun. My only wish is that I had listened earlier, but then, would I be where I am? In this magical place?

Men and women are not enemies, we are allies, partners. One does not need to be weak to make the other strong. We walk along side each other toward common goals. We do not need each other, we want each other. We move in and out of each others lives. We create together.

It’s a lot to think about on a Wednesday morning.

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