Friday, September 7, 2012

The Pretentious Disney Princess

I don't know why I felt the need to blog about this, but for some reason I get so frustrated when people don't know the correct information regarding the "Disney Princesses," or they are hateful against them. I know, I know, not everyone treated Disney as a religion like I did as a child, but I just can't help but find myself getting sooo frustrated when people first off, don't know the correct information, or they do know it but refuse to use it. Secondly, nothing makes me as angry as someone insulting the princesses with anti-feminism, or that they aren't good role models.

First, I would like to state my credentials for this argument; I minored in Child Development, and studied Children's Entertainment as my emphasis throughout College. I am also a huge feminist, and I work very hard  to support my rights as a woman, as well as all women. Finally, I analyzed Disney Movies very closely throughout my childhood and young adulthood.  Very good, let's continue.

I am going to go through every princess and their official title, then we can approach society's issue's with them.

Natural Born Princesses (In Order of their Appearances):

Snow White 1937-- Born a princess, and was raised by her step-mother "The Evil Queen." Who was actually a horrible step-mom. duh!

Aurora 1959-- Was born Princess Aurora to the King and Queen, but do to Maleficent's curse she was forced to live as a commoner.

 Ariel 1989--  The youngest born of King Trident, ruler of the Seven Seas.

Jasmine 1992-- The only daughter of the Sultan of Agrabah.

Pocahontas 1995-- The Daughter of the Chief of their Native American tribe.

Rapunzel 2010-- Born to the King and Queen and was kidnapped by Mother Gothel.

Merida 2012-- Born to the Scottish King and Queen

Married Into Royalty:

Cinderella 1950-- Her evil step-mother turned her into a slave, but luckily she snuck into the ball and convinced Prince Charming to marry her, making her Princess Cinderella.

Belle 1991-- She wanted so much more than her provincial life, and ended up in the castle with a beast. Luckily for her, that beast turned into major hottie prince and she married him, making her Princess Belle.

Tiana 2009-- She worked her butt off everyday to build a restaurant, ended up kissing a frog, who turned her into a frog, who had a weird frog romance. But thank God, in the end those Frogs turned back into humans and Prince Naveen married her, making her Princess Tiana.

Not Princesses:

Esmeralda 1996-- Gypsy. Didn't marry a prince, but didn't marry the humpback either so I don't know how I feel about her.

Mulan 1998-- Common girl turned warrior, fell in love with a General, most likely married said General in Mulan 2. Therefore is NOT a princess. However, Disney has to include her with the Princess gang to appeal to their Asian demographic.  

Jane 1999-- Common girl who married a Ape Man..... yeah. Definitely doesn't make her a princess, unless you count her a Princess of the jungle. I could maybe accept that.

Giselle 2007-- Common girl in fantasyland, who was going to marry the Fabulous Prince Edward aka James Marsden. But instead settled for Patrick Dempsey in the real world, therefore making her not a princess.

(Sorry Ladies)

Odette (Swan Princess) 1994
Thumbelina 1994
Anastasia 1997

Alrighty, now that's settled let's jump into some of the major issues that people have with the princesses.

1) They Lose Themselves/Give Up Their Life For A Man- The only princesses that have been know to do this are Ariel, Snow White, and Cinderella. But, Snow White and Cinderella's lives weren't too great to begin with, so OF COURSE they wanted something better for themselves. Not to mention marrying the loves of their lives! You also have to remember when these fairy tales were written, in the 1800's, they were mainly used to teach children lessons. The early Disney Movies, tamed them down as much as they could, but I mean when these movies were made women typically did want to get married and settle down, which would make sense that the protagonist of the stories would want the same thing that the general female society wanted. However, in none of the movies are the Princesses "Settling Down" They all are just fighting for their love, and when it comes down to it that isn't a bad thing. Which brings us to Ariel, probably the most criticized Disney Princess, for giving up her voice, home, and family for a man; However, I don't think that is as horrible as every makes it out to seem. First of all, she only moved right next to the ocean on the beach front castle, that's a whole lot closer than some kids go. I'm currently 2000 + miles away from my family. Also, the grass is always greener on the other side! She has been OBSESSED with human stuff way before she met Eric. He just really lighted the spark that she needed to actually change into a human, it was a dream come true! And all of us have altered our bodies in some way or another because we want to or think it will look better, ear piercing, hair dye, hair cuts, tanning, make-up, and so much more. She just really wanted to be a human, and I don't blame her, because if an evil witch offered me the chance to be a mermaid for 3 days in exchange for my voice, damn strait I would do it. Because we all want what we don't have! Also, I have to throw this in, she is 16 YEARS OLD. She is rebelling just as ALL teenagers do, she just happens to have a witch for an aunt that makes it a little bit more extreme. And Finally, I don't think that going after love is wrong at all. This world could use a lot more love in it and it is extremely brave and powerful that she followed her heart.

2) Stockholm Syndrome Belle- Ughhh... This one really gets my goat! First off here are the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome according to Medical Symptoms Online:

Stockholm syndrome does not affect all hostages (or persons in comparable situations); in fact, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) study of over 1200 hostage-taking incidents found that 92% of the hostages did notdevelop Stockholm syndrome. FBI researchers then interviewed flight attendants who had been taken hostage during airplane hijackings, and concluded that three factors are necessary for the syndrome to develop:
  • The crisis situation lasts for several days or longer.
  • The hostage takers remain in contact with the hostages; that is, the hostages are not placed in a separate room.
  • The hostage takers show some kindness toward the hostages or at least refrain from harming them. Hostages abused by captors typically feel anger toward them and do not usually develop the syndrome.
In addition, people who often feel helpless in other stressful life situations or are willing to do anything in order to survive seem to be more susceptible to developing Stockholm syndrome if they are taken hostage.
People with Stockholm syndrome report the same symptoms as those diagnosed with posttraumatic stressdisorder (PTSD): insomnia, nightmares, general irritability, difficulty concentrating, being easily startled, feelings of unreality or confusion, inability to enjoy previously pleasurable experiences, increased distrust of others, and flashbacks.

So, yes there are similarities between Stockholm Syndrome and Belle's situation, but there is so much more depth to her situation. First of all, she wasn't taken hostage at gun point or against her will. She volunteered to save her father. That is a very noble thing and the Beast recognized that and responded to it. Secondly, he placed her in her own room away from him, and he moped around the West Wing for a good portion of the movie. Belle is with the talking objects way more than she is with the Beast.  The Beast isn't a bad guy, he just doesn't know how to act properly. He held her father captive because he is French Royalty, that's what you do when someone breaks the law in your country. He only took her in place of her father because he thought she was cute and might be able to fall in love with her to break the curse. There was no other motive, she would have no other reason to sympathize with him for keeping her (which is generally what Stockholm syndrome is, more of a emotional sympathy for your captor, not love) but she did sympathize with him in his situation in life, that he was cursed to be a beast. In Fact, she was pretty pissed off in the beginning and stood up for herself just fine! Belle has no other symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome besides that she fell in love with him. She fell in love with the man behind the curse, she was able to look past his beastly appearance and see that he was a human being with a kind heart and soul, and was capable of love.

This movie is has one of the best moral themes of all time, and that's not to judge someone on the outside, but to look past the exterior and see who the person is on the inside. All of us as humans and as a society have trouble with that! Look at all girls with eating disorders, and the magazines in this country. There is such pressure on outwardly appearances that people are DYING to fit the part. And of course people look at this movie and go "Of course Belle has a psychological disorder, she couldn't have really fallen in love with a beast" and that's what is so sad about people who think this way, this movie is trying to teach good values and to show that there is more to people than the way they look, and yet people can't accept  it. 

3) Unnatural Hair Expectations- They are animated, get over it. Of course their hair is awesome, I would have been pretty pissed as a little girl if the princess on the TV didn't have awesome hair. Besides, its way more fun to play with the barbies of princesses who have long thick hair. 

4) Body Images-  I'm not even going to defend the Princesses perfect bodies, but I will say that the are cartoons. In animation there is always a bit of exaggeration, so naturally their eyes are bigger, and they have thin waist and curvy hips. But again, as a little girl watching these movies they aren't looking at them and comparing their own bodies to the princesses, because they are cartoons! There is no way they are close to a real girls body and young children understand that more than we give them credit for. It is much more harmful for them to see the real models of today than to see the princesses. 

 5) Racism/ Ethnicity - Obviously this is a HUGE issue, which is why I saved it for last. I cannot and will not defend the racism that is already known at Disney. However, I will say that they are making improvements, slowly but surely. Yes, the majority of their princesses are blue-eyed Caucasians, but they have in the past 2 decades introduced 5 minority  ethinities into the Disney Princess family. With the most recent one being African American. I will state that I don't agree with the fact that the first African American Princess they had was a frog for 2/3rds of the movie, but I do think that Tiana is an adorable character and great personality to add the to Disney Princess gang and I hope they have many more African American and different Ethnicity princesses to come. I would even LOVE to have a bi-racial couple or even a homosexual one. I do believe that in the future the racism will only diminish and more beautiful different Ethnicity Princesses will continue to join the Disney Princess family.

If you have made it through this long rant, wow, I really can't believe anyone is going to make it through this whole blog. Haha but if you have congratulations, I would love to know your thoughts! Please tell me if you disagree or agree or have another issue you would like addressed!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Camelittle- Episode 2

As many of you know, last year I created (along with a few other talented students, Ryan Etter and Sarah Queen) an animated children's television show for my College's student run organization AVW, called Camelittle. After graduating I left it in the hands of some very young, yet capable students. I didn't expect anything too over the top from them, afterall AVW is supposed to be a learning place and Camelittle is the only animated show available, so I thought at best it would help some more willing students learn the ways to animate and run a animated TV show. Which was always the goal we had last year during Camelittle. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. When Tiara Brown (the new Director/ Producer) contacted me, telling me they had completed a 12 minute episode, I was in shock! If you know anything about animation, it takes a long, long time to animate, so 12 minutes is AMAZING. Then I watched the episode and I couldn't believe it. It was so so GREAT. I  was so thrilled with the quality of the animation, the artwork, the photoshop and the whole episode. All of it was at a SUPERB level.  What was even more of a joy to me is that they used a script that I had written for Camelittle before I had graduated. As a writer one of the hardest parts of watching something you've written is that it isn't what you imagined, or it wasn't told they way you wanted it to be. Well, again that is not the case in this instance! They animated/ directed it EXACTLY the way I imagined it, even better at times. The jokes were funny, the direction was fantastic, especially the jousting scene which I imagine was extremely difficult to animate. Overall, I cannot express how proud I am of all the students who worked on Camelittle, and made it as wonderful as it is. I never thought this little idea I had a few years ago would turn into what it is today. Thank you to everyone who works on the show and made it what it is, it couldn't have been done without you. I look forward to watching the future of Camelittle, and the talent of OU students to grow as the years continue. I cannot say enough how proud I am of everyone!

Here is the link to  the new episode, I recommend you all watch it :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I know what you are all thinking, Ashley internet presence has disappeared for the past 6 months!! Except if we are facebook friends you know that's not true. I have just been lazy with my blogging, but never fear I am back!! (at least for this post) The past half year has been AMAZING, I have had great oppurtunities as well as loving life! My friends came to visit, my two great boy friends are living with me now, my parent and my grandpa is visiting next week, all and all its been GREAT.

Wish there was more to really say but for now this is it, maybe in my next post I will write a short story, or a poem, or both?!

Ttfn ta ta for now!


Monday, January 23, 2012

2011- The Recap

So I realize its been a few weeks since the new year but I didn't get a chance to recap the events of my life, which I would really like to do because boy was this year a big one! Lets recap in bullet points and pictures because I love making lists:

  • Graduated College

  • Moved to LA

  • Interned 

  • Got hired 

  • Began life as a full-time working adult 

Can you say WHAT! In the terms of my life, things have been relatively not exciting. I mean I did go away from home for college, but I was in the same state. So moving 2,000+ miles across the country to start an unpaid internship was quite a leap for me. Luckily, I have the GREATEST support group of all time. My best friends and family have been 100% behind me in all my endeavors and this one was no different. Even though I am 2000 + miles away from everyone, which makes things very difficult at times, I know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing: Living my dream in the big city and its so great to have their love and support!

Looking back I still can't believe it all happened! I am so incredibly blessed to have the opportunities I have had and the love and support! 2011 was a great year and I am thinking 2012 will be EVEN BETTER.

Sooo long 2011, you were a great year. Maybe if you are lucky someday I will have enough time to scrapbook you, but let's face it, I'm lazy and facebook is my digital scrapbook.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Loves of my Life!

10th Grade (2004) at the Hartford Fair

Jake Murphy's Wedding 2010
I have been so lucky to have some of the greatest people be a part of my life. When I was a little girl, more specifically in Mrs. Monforts' first grade class, I met two girls that would change my life forever, Mariah and Genny. Now being 6 years old at the time I don't think any of us realized what we were exactly getting ourselves into. I had just moved to Sunbury, OH the year before and went to a different kindergarten, so I had no idea who anyone was or where anything was on my first day. Thankfully Mrs. Monfort understood that and asked the class for a volunteer to show me around the school. In true Genny fashion, she raised her hand and said she would show me around but she wanted to know if Mariah could come too. At that time they thought I was a weirdo, I was wearing my little pink dress and my mom had put my hair up all cute for the first day of school, and they both were wearing overalls and probably had ponytails in. I was definitely the odd man out, but they soon grew to love me. That day I first met the two girls that would be my best friends for 16 plus years
Spring Break 2009

The day I realized that Genny was my best friend was the day I forgot to wear my Halloween shirt to school. As a class art project we had decorated a shirt to wear on Halloween and I completely forgot to wear mine. When I saw Genny wearing hers on the bus I began to cry because I was so nervous that I would get into trouble. Genny said that if I got into trouble she would switch shirts with me so I could wear hers. That act of kindness touched my little first grade heart and I knew our friendship was going to be a great one.

I don't think there was ever a particular moment that I knew Mariah was my best friend, I just knew that she was my favorite person to be around. We were kindred spirits right from the start. She was the funniest person I had ever met and could always make me laugh, she also loved everything I loved! Not to mention she would always come up with the funniest games. Mostly we loved to play twister when it was a overcast day, which was us running around pretending that a twister was coming.

Mariah, Genny and I had such a great childhood together. We were always laughing and playing, or walking to each others houses. I look back at my childhood with such fond memories, mainly because of them. We remained best friends all through Middle School, High School,  and College.

High School Graduation 2007
I recently moved to California and I find myself missing them so much. My favorite times is when we would just lay around and watch TV and eat Donatos Pizza. Its so hard that I can't just call them up and see if they want to go grab lunch, or come watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But I know that we will remain best friends for the rest of our lives, I've never had to worry about a time in my life where I wouldn't have them. I know they would be by my side in an instant if I needed them to.

I was just reminiscing about those two because Monday was Genny's birthday and Mariah just passed her boards to be a Nurse! I am so proud of both of them. They are the greatest women I know and are both destined for a wonderful life. I know if the 3 of us are together, which we will be, all of us will be very happy.

Mariah's 21st Birthday 2010
Halloween 2010

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Internship!

This past week my boss went on vacation, so I was asked to fill in for her while she was gone. Here is how  it works at Henson, my boss is the Coordinator of Children's Television and her boss is the Executive President of Children's Television. So for the past week I was assisting the Executive President of Children's Television and she was so awesome! She is one of the nicest people ever but she also is such a strong, powerful woman that kicks ass! So she asked me if I would want to sit in on a few of her meetings with her, I was like "uhhh YES!" So I got to sit in on a writers meeting, a  development meeting, and a few animation reviews with Craig Bartlett (the creator of Hey Arnold).  It was an amazing experience to witness how the industry works and to see so much creativity. I was also happy to realize that  so many of the things I was thinking during the meetings were the things they would suggest or talk about. It just really reenforced that children's entertainment is what I am supposed to do and what I truly love to do. I really can't believe I have gotten to do so much during my internship and I look forward to my last month here. Fingers crossed good things will come :)!

Dinosaur Train is the show Craig Bartlett created that I got to go to the review of.
You should all check it out on PBS :)