Sunday, July 25, 2010

Well, hello!

Ah, the first post! This really puts on the pressure. It's supposed to be this monumental welcome to keep readers begging for more. It's not going to be that. It's going to be the typical blah, explaining what this is, who it's for, and what inspired it in the first place.

This is The Click, a new project I've embarked on with the hopes of inspiring young women and men alike to "surf the third wave" -- to join a social justice movement which affects not only women, but affects each and every one of us. It's a critique of our culture, as well as haven from mainstream media which misrepresents feminism and lacks the insight of women. Hopefully, it will serve as an inspiration for those of us who are already self-proclaimed feminists, as well as those who are scared by the infamous "F-word," using humor to reel them in. In other words, it's a trap. We're trying to force-feed you crazy man-hating propaganda. Run while you can.

To your left, you will see a movie I begrudgingly viewed just the other day. It, in essence, convinced me to start a zine, so it's worth mentioning here. This piece of work will bring any feminist to tears... and not the good kind.

It all begins with a sixteen year-old girl whose hair suddenly turns pink in a surfing competition. This leads her to discover she's part mermaid. She's a princess, in fact, and she must save the undersea world from an evil hag-of-a-dictator, who is her jealous aunt (a spinster who stole the throne, obviously). It's this same, envious, childless aunt that imprisons Barbie's mother. Talk about family drama!

How will she save the magical world of Oceania?...By locating a magical comb, and stealing a necklace. Yes, I fucking know. A comb and a necklace. I think at one point she even exclaims, "Look! I have the royal comb!"

I'm happy to inform you, however, the film really depicts reality incredibly well. It is "racially sensitive," at least! Look, they threw in a bunch of nameless colored folks, and even gave two individuals the opportunity to speak! It also encourages a healthy body image, as every single person, including adults, is exactly the same body size, which is, of course, thin. What's also great is that no one ages. This is obviously how life works. In a scene depicting the orphaning of Barbie, as well as the reunion with her mother sixteen years later, Barbie's mother looks exactly the same. But remember, it's the ocean water. The ocean water does WONDERS for one's complexion.

A lot of emphasis is placed upon looking good, shopping, getting a tan, and hanging at the beach. There is no mention of individual aspirations, apart from being "queen of the waves" -- the best surfer which, I'll admit, isn't such a horrible aspiration. But beyond this, Barbie is not given any identity whatsoever. We are given no insight into who she is, apart from her initial selfishness in the beginning of the movie. When she is told that Oceania is being run by a crazy dictator, she states that she doesn't want to "deal with it" -- that she prefers her rockin' Malibu life of privilege, until a realization later in the film that she also digs being a princess. She is guilted into taking the trip to Oceania not because of the suffering of the people living there, but after seeing an image of her mother (not a bad motivation, but still, why play favorites?).

Why does she love Malibu so dearly? How did she meet her friends? What did she hope and dream of? What does she like and dislike? What is the most important lesson she's learned? Who is her role model? We are given no picture of her as an individual -- merely as a beautiful young girl who loves Malibu, surfing, and later on, Oceania.

What wonderful insights are missing if all young girls are told to do is to be, in essence, walking, talking, mindless dolls? I won't put this film down entirely -- the lesson of compassion does come across as Barbie seeks to help those in Oceania after understanding their plight. However, the insane representations of women as young, shopping-obsessed, pretty (by societal definitions), heterosexual, privileged, fresh-from-the-size-zero-cookie-cutter beings is a primitive view of women at best.

Not to mention, women are perfectly capable of saving the world and kicking some ass without the use of a comb or necklace.

Just saying.

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