Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.


Filtering by Tag: feminism

Imogen's Disney Books

Paul Luikart

26 Princesses I love to read to my kids. Imogen, my eldest daughter, has a particular set of Disney books. They’re uber-condensed versions of Disney’s biggest animated movies—Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and several others. The set, though, came with a reader. It’s this little push-pad device that lets you choose which of the books you want to read and then there’s this syrupy voice that reads whatever book you chose. You have to push certain buttons on the device to cue the voice that you’re done with one page and that it can start reading the next one. Concurrently, you physically turn the book’s pages. But even though the voice does my job for me, Imogen always wants me to sit with her while it reads to her. Or to us. (That she wants me to sit with her warms the cockles of my father-heart, by the way. This I will cherish when she is sixteen and curses me because I won’t let her date “Octopus the Maladjusted Senior*.”) Because I’m not doing the reading, I find myself paying attention to the books in a way that I don’t when I am reading them.

I’ll be the first to admit that I know jack about feminism. I think men and women should be treated equally, and that’s about all I know. I wish I could give you a smart-sounding dissertation on gender roles. I can’t. But I noticed something in Imogen's books. In some of the books, the female protagonist, the princess, is functionally a mannequin. Like, Cinderella? Nothing that happens in the story is her fault, whether for good or bad. She doesn’t cause anything. She doesn’t choose to go to the ball, for example. The prince invites all the ladies in the kingdom to the ball to, essentially, celebrate him. Cinderella doesn’t choose a fairy godmother. Rather, one just shows up and, without really asking Cinderella’s opinion of any of it, bibbity bobbity boo’s all that glass slipper business right down on top of her. After the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella runs away, the prince finds her; she doesn’t go out looking for him. What I’m saying is that Cinderella is about 98% purely passive.

It’s different in, specifically, Beauty and the Beast. Really, Belle is the hero in that one. There’s Gaston, whose advances she keeps at bay. She’s not falling for his expectorating hunter bullshit. She reads books like a house on fire, so she’s smart and has real opinions on stuff. Then there’s her father, a bumbling old guy who means well, but is…way too bumbling. Belle is the brave one who takes her father’s place as the Beast’s captive, and it’s out of sheer love that she does it. Even the Beast, as big and strong as he is, ends up dead. It's Belle who chooses to love him. Her active choice of love a.) saves him and b.) turns him back into a man. (Which, personally, would have pissed me off. “My horns! My sweet fangs! NOOO!”)

I want my daughters—I have Ingrid as well as Imogen—to be opinionated and active and brave. That doesn’t mean I want them to be manly, whatever that means. (Maybe Gaston is manly, spitting and hunting and all of that.) Above all, I want them to be loving. Loving in the real sense. How could Cinderella, poor girl, be loving? I predict divorce for her and the prince within six months after the prince finds out she doesn’t. Do. Anything. He probably has to feed her. “I’m outta here, Cinderella. I’m tired of shoving figs in your mouth and then working your jaw for you.” Loving as in sacrificial. Loving as in making hard choices. Loving as in putting other people’s well-being ahead of their own. You get what I’m saying. Loving as in Belle-ish-ness.


*Don’t even think about stealing “Octopus the Maladjusted Senior.” I’m going to write a rock opera about him. Don’t touch.

Gender Bending in Shakespeare’s“Twelfe Night, or What You Will”

John Hodges

Richard III Belasco Theatre Joseph Timms Mark Rylance

Broadway’s all-male production of Shakespeare’s comedy of gender confusion closes in February.  One critic says, the “. . . performance brings to funny and delicious life the play’s message of the power of love and desire to transcend the limitations of gender.”  Wait, what?  Is that what Shakespeare’s point was? 

It is simply the Bard’s genius to create a love triangle that serves as a love circle.  Viola loves the Duke, the Duke, Olivia, but Olivia can close the circle and love Viola because Viola appears in the guise of a man, Cessario.  This makes for some wonderful comedy onstage and off, that is, among the critics.

It is popular now in universities to think in “politically correct” terms about classics.  A feminist perspective (that women have no significant power unless it is through a man) finds traction in this play as Viola is powerless and insignificant until she takes up the livery of a man.  Olivia lends support as an empowered woman, head of her household, who scorns the Duke’s proposals and resists the attempts by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Malvolio to tame her to their wishes.  With her newfound freedom of choice, however, she pursues Cessario, not knowing that Cessario is really the girl Viola, and this aspect of the plot lends credence to a popular homosexual perspective, that men and women have latent erotic tendencies toward their own genders.  To further this notion, there are  the sparks of attraction the Duke seems to feel toward Cessario (again not knowing she is a girl), and the love of Antonio proclaims for Sebastian (Viola’s twin brother) without any mistaken identity.

However, while Viola may gain some power and position when she is taken for a man, her decision to dress and act like a man was for security not power. She thought it was dangerous for a woman to go around in an unknown territory alone, a problem that is timeless.  While she IS a man, pining for the Duke and avoiding Olivia’s advances, she wishes she were NOT a man, and we know that she won’t be satisfied until she can again safely appear in public as a woman.

Sad is an “empowerment” that grants security but makes love impossible.  The homosexual argument falls apart by simply recalling the biblical distinctions between erotic love and brotherly love.  Olivia’s attraction to Viola is humorous only when it is taken as misguided eros, and the Duke’s attraction to Cessario is likewise funny when it is seen as misguided philia.  If either had known what both Viola and the audience know, these pursuits would end.  Additionally, the love of Antonio for Sebastian is proper philia (as is that of Jonathan and David in the bible) and, if mistaken for eros, spoils the happy ending we want for Olivia with Sebastian.

These feminist and homosexual interpretations are not only invalid (in that they fail to account for the play as a play), but they turn out to oppose the clarity of the biblical categories of love and gender which are the very things that make the play funny.  The comedy in Twelfe Night is lost on those who refuse to take such categories seriously.  Just another example of how political correctness has no sense of humor, and, if taken seriously, tends to rob the rest of us of ours.