Old Finnish people with things on their heads. That is all.
(OK, I lied, that is not all. These are part of a funny, gorgeous photo series by Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen called Eyes As Big As Plates, and you should look at as much of it as you possibly can.)
(Also: hat tip, so to speak, to Mr. Benjamin Birdsall.)
Once upon a time there was no internet.
You kids know about this, sure. But you don’t really know.
There was no way to learn all the things you should have learned. And when you were alone, you were really really alone.
There was no info in the school library about sexuality or gender identity, about eating disorders and aspergers and depression and social anxiety, or anything to tell you that other people had these problems too, that it wasn’t just you being a fundamental failure as a human being.
If you weren’t living in a major metropolitan area there was no community for you. There was just church events and Wal-mart, and parties at people’s houses you weren’t invited to because everyone hated you, and driving around aimlessly on country roads, and that was your options for Saturday night, for every night. There was no goth club. There was no gay-straight alliance. There was no safe place for freaks and geeks except hiding in our houses not knowing how to find each other.
And maybe you got out of some hell-hole as soon as you were old enough, and even when you went somewhere better you found out that you never learned how to talk to people, you didn’t know how to go to a gay bar on your own or how to find an anime club or where you might learn how to play tabletop RPGs or any kind of social activity you would have any hope of being comfortable with, and now this prison of isolation you grew up in was going to last you the rest of your life.
Maybe the internet got here too late for you, and this hole in your heart was never going to be filled.
But that’s not going to happen to you kids. I’m glad.
The Internet age is actually GOOD
Be the good girl you always have to be: Is Frozen’s Elsa the queer heroine we need, but not the one we deserve?
Another Disney film and another wave of reviews, reading, and critisisms are beginning to hit the internet. Amid discussions of Disney’s ongoing race problems, feminist-friendly trope subversions, and the eternal question of “why the hell is that Reindeer acting like a dog?” one question stands out to me: Is Queen Elsa, well, queer?
There certainly is a compelling case for it. On the obvious level, Elsa has no love interest in the piece (her sister, Anna, gets two!) Hans himself says that “no one was making progress” with Elsa in a romantic sense. Now, I’m not about to argue that any young woman about to take control of a country who isn’t interested in a boyfriend is a lesbian. Similar comments were made about Brave’s Merida, and honestly, that in itself isn’t enough for a decent queer reading.
But with Elsa there is more. So much more.
Effectively, her ice powers are a convenient LGBTQIAP+ metaphor (much in the same vein as the X-Men’s mutant powers.)
Elsa has been born with these powers (she’s literally born that way). They are an integral part of who she is as a person, but she is forced by her parents to keep that part of her hidden. If people know, they would reject her, she would be in danger, made into a pariah by her own people. So she is made a self-exile instead. Full of fear of experiencing the isolation and discrimination that LGBTQIAP+ people know so well, Elsa hides away from everyone, even her sister.
Watching Elsa struggle to keep up her mask or normalcy is heart breaking. She wears gloves all the time, constantly afraid to touch other people. Her father’s words- her mantra is- “Conceal, Don’t Feel.” Hide who you are. Don’t follow your heart. Don’t feel your feelings. “Be the good girl you always have to be.” She is, rather obviously and metaphorically, in the closet about her true inner self.
But on the day when she comes of age- her Coronation day, when she is finally a young woman and no longer a girl- her secret is revealed.
Elsa’s “Let It Go” is an epic ballad. Transitioning from a lament, to self-acceptance, all the way to self-celebration, Elsa literally strips away her confinements (hair pieces, crowns, gloves, cloaks, sleeves) and transforms into a sparkling, confidant woman. She says “That perfect girl is gone / Here I stand in the light of day /Let the storm rage on /The cold never bothered me anyway” To deny that it sounds like a bit of a coming out ballad for those of us who have gone through the same struggle is putting it mildly.
To read Elsa as a queer heroine, to read her struggle as a queer struggle, and to see the ending where Anna proves that she loves her sister no matter what and she is able to go back home as she truly is, adds such a level of depth to an already lovely film.
Now, let me be clear: a queer reading for Elsa is easy and, for me, compelling. She may very well be the queer icon that many of us NEED right now- high profile, sparkling, with a karaoke worthy ballad.
But ultimately, Elsa isn’t the queer icon we DESERVE. Her queerness is simply an interpretation, a reading built on metaphor and subtext. She is not canonly queer. she does not give visibility and representation to the LGBTQIAP+ community.
What we DESERVE is a queer heroine who’s queerness is more than subtext. I’m talking Girl meets girl, big sweeping love ballads, true love’s first kiss, all of it. And someday, we WILL get it. Elsa just isn’t that.
Ok, I wasn’t going to see Frozen, but this might make me change my mind
Honestly I’m not holding my breath for a canonically queer heroine by Disney, in large part because I LOVE HEADCANON, but in larger part because I’m just a cynic. THAT BEING SAID: omg yes. Love this headcanon. I didn’t wanna bug my gf with this because I’m constantly headcanoning queerness, but I was thinking this in the theater, too.
Side note: I think this is the best Disney Princess film I’ve seen. After all the shitty press, I think this film is as (if not more) worth supporting than any other Disney film.
Next time a white person accuses you of #reverseracism, ask them if they have two and a half minutes to watch this
You know why women often say “nothing’s wrong” when something is definitely bothering them
It’s because men have been belittling, minimizing and mocking our emotions forever
And we are socialized to be as passive and undemanding and selfless as possible, and not to run any risk of bothering or angering a man lest he abandon or hurt us
It’s not passive aggression, it is fear
oh my god
and then its so highly regarded when men show emotions
This is not equal representation:
This is equal representation:
SAY IT AGAIN ONE MOE TIME
For those of you who criticize Janelle’s signature monochromatic look.
From her speech on “Black Girls Rock”:
“When I started my music career, I was a maid. I used to clean houses. My mother was a proud janitor. My stepfather, who raised me like his very own, worked at the post office and my father was a trashman. They all wore uniforms and that’s why I stand here today, in my black and white, and I wear my uniform to honor them.
This is a reminder that I have work to do. I have people to uplift. I have people to inspire. And today, I wear my uniform proudly as a Cover Girl. I want to be clear, young girls, I didn’t have to change who I was to become a Cover Girl. I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness.
Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.” - Janelle Monáe
I still never understand who would criticize her amazing style/look.