Way back when I first returned from summer holidays – and before feminist fatigue set in – I was going to write a little post about a couple of children’s films me and the little monsters had been watching (and re-watching) over the summer, but I very quickly hit a language wall. No, not because we’d spent the summer watching arty French films deconstructing Foucault (or owt), but simply because of the dearth of colloquial language to accurately describe what I really wanted to describe. So I let it go because events more important than a blog post took over.
But now I have five minutes with a cup of tea, so I am suddenly re-invested in catching the language I seek.
I wanted to describe girls. I wanted to describe females who are strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart. I wanted a colloquial word or a phrase that encompassed all those traits, a word or phrase that would immediately tell you that these girls were strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart without having to spell out out that they were strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart all the time.
What I came up with was entirely inapplicable. I immediately rejected the phrase ‘she’s got it goin’ on’ because of it’s obvious sexual connotations. I then fell into ‘she’s got balls’, ‘she’s got cojones’, ‘she’s got spunk’ (in the Australian sense). I think you see my problem, right? I could go for ‘kick-ass’ I suppose but the girls I want to describe aren’t violent. Violence is not what these girls are about. They are better than that. Whilst they can use violence on occasion, hey are too smart to just be violent. These girls are not mindless. So I’m back to testicles again. Because, bizarrely, we really do understand that testicles confer more than testosterone onto a person, they confer way more than that; to have balls/cojones/a huge, swinging pair is to be strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart. You know, kind of like a man, duh. It is unfortunate that we do not confer the same qualities on to a fine pair of breasts. Actually, it’s not that unfortunate – I’m more than happy to leave the biological-things-that-hang references to the men – but I really would like a word or a phrase that brings forth the same connotations. Like, ‘she’s utterly stramsta’, or ‘she’s got tribblequong like you wouldn’t believe’.
Because as that Wittgenstein dude said: The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
But there is no word or phrase that springs readily to mind to describe a female who is fucking awesome. Not in my language. Is there in any language? Yes, I could just say, ‘these girls are fucking awesome’ (for they are, in many ways), but it’s such a dull and generic way to describe them. This post could be fucking awesome. That strawberry Angel Delight you had for pudding last night could be fucking awesome. A dog that says ‘sausages’ could be fucking awesome. Now, if anybody who reads this post actually did have strawberry Angel Delight for pudding last night or actually does have a dog who can say ‘sausages’ that really would be fucking awesome. Not relevant, but I’m just saying. That would be so awesome – and unlikely – it’d almost make me believe in god (ha ha, only kidding god – I’d need a bit more proof of existence than that. Like waking up tomorrow to find everybody talking about which of the 90-odd female world leaders had the most tribblequong).
Anyway, enough about the dearth of appropriate language, and more about what we were watching that glorious summer that seems about eleventh billion years ago.
Two films really stood out; and by ‘stood out’ I mean were re-played so often, I started to think the characters were my other children.
The first was ‘Tangled’ which was L’il Boo’s particular fave. Now, don’t get me started on how the bloody thing couldn’t just be called ‘Rapunzel’ like it’s supposed to be, and how that’s because we can’t have a girl headlining a film even when it’s her fucking film. I’m starving for some thing to celebrate, so I’m just going to skim over that kind of institutionalised misogynistic shit and go straight for the good stuff. Oh, and that does mean therefore that I won’t mention her picture-perfect features and Barbie-esque body either, but I do just have to mention her eyes. Because frankly, they creep me out. They’re so unnaturally huge I keep thinking they’re going to jump right out and eat her face whole until she’s nothing more than eyes on a neck. Creepy.
No, I am concentrating on the good stuff.
The lack of mooning for example; step-mammy may be a shit of the highest order, but at least she hasn’t told Rapunzel that happiness depends on ‘trapping’ a man. Stuck in her tower, Rapunzel occupies herself developing her art, not her artfulness.
The fact that she’s (excuse my language) kick ass, for example. Rapunzel saves Flynn as many times as he saves her; these kids are a team in the nicest sense.
The fact that her true happiness comes from finding her own destiny, for example. The end of Rapunzel’s quest is finding out where she’s from and who she is (OK, she’s a princess, but still trying to think positive); marrying Flynn is a happy add on.
I know, I know, there are still a lot of problematic things about this film, but it remains that it’s one of the few mainstream films I’ll allow my children to watch because there are at least some positives. I’ll take mild satisfaction (or at least un-rage) where I can get it. And, I’ll be honest, I love the horse.
Film number two will have to wait, despite being my favourite of the two. My cup of tea is gone and I have actual work to do.