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I love Barbie

12 Ago

Barbie is, arguably, the most famous doll of Western civilization. Although critics about her body shape, general image and accusatory reports for being “gender-stereotyped” are countless, I disagree.

I grew up reading the Mexican version of Barbie Magazine and playing with different versions of the dolls: from the school teacher to the veterinarian, passing for the ballerina and the gymnast. The magazine included messages about friendship, self-esteem, problem-solving and caring for others, Barbie’s core values. But there’s more.

The story about it’s creation says Barbie was created by Ruth Handler, who was inspired by German doll Bild Lilli: a sassy, post-war woman, aware of her sexiness, wearing noticeable makeup, who earn her own money as a secretary and talked openly about sex, fashion and picked on politicians and authority in general.

Barbie, on the other hand, was a design as a children’s toy, a doll to dress, an evolution from paper dolls you cut and dress (you might be able to find some at a stationer’s shop).

Still, Barbie kept some of Lilli’s characteristics: she has a job, has a slim, curvy body, wears makeup and is a fashion icon. Actually, Barbie has had 150 professions, up until her 50th anniversary on 2009, including astronaut, racing pilot, doctor, actress, engineer, journalist and nurse. You can even check her Linkedin page now.

She has a whole line of cool stuff, from sports cars to airplanes; the best clothes and accessories, houses… I’m not thinking how much she has, but at how she depends on no one to buy her stuff. (Ken’s job is still unknown).

And yet, with so much to do she finds time to hang out with friends and boyfriend Ken, look after her younger sisters and pets while is dress for the occasion, has perfect makeup and still wears a smile.

She is telling us to assume our femininity and be whatever we want to be, who cares if it’s a “traditionally male” profession! Also, to enjoy and do our best EVERYDAY, to work smart and hard, to learn from others, to be kind and to smile Ü Because if you want something, you can get it on your terms, you are both smart and strong to decide on your own and achieve it.

Wall-E and the empowerment of women

8 Jul

So, the other day I was watching Wall-E the Pixar movie, and I’ve been watching a lot of “girl power” stuff recently, so I wasn’t surprised when I recognized different female archetypes in the movie.

But, what’s an archetype? An archetype is “the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies” (Merriam-Webster.com, 2014).

So, what does “different female archetype means?” Traditionally, women are depicted as “damsel in distress” because it fits “desirable” characteristics in women: fragile, weak, silly.

But EVE’s character in Wall-E is completely different: she’s independent and strong, smart and belongs to the elite robot board in the Axioma.

On the other hand, Wall-E is a cleaning robot, innocent, romantic and convinced of doing what’s right just because.

We can argue than EVE is a damsel in distress at some point, but it’s her ability what allows Wall-E’s survival at the end of the film.

What you think?

-“Archetype.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 6 July 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archetype&gt;

What’s a Chronotope?

14 Jun

The relation between time and space, expressed aesthetically in a novel is called chronotope. (Revista Chilena de Literatura, 2008).

This means that a chronotope is not a merely informative figure telling us both where we are and what age or era we are, but also is doing that in an artistic way.

This concept comes from the Relativity Theory of Einstein, but was introduced by Mijail Bajtin to literature and text analysis. (Revista Chilena de Literatura, 2008)

The chronotope means that time and space are linked forever, in narrative this means that, if we drastically change one of them, like King Arthur’s tale changes from Middle Age’s to nowadays, the story will have to change, it can’t be the same in such a different context.

By extension, changing the place will also change the story core. It will also allow time games. (Revista Chilena de Literatura, 2008)

An example

At Anna Gavalda’s novel, I wish someone were waiting for me somewhere, we know we’re in modern France, thanks to the car models described, the language, and more aesthetically when the man who’s writing a chronic about how he was responsible for an awful car accident at the highway.

He is in his present, he knows he did it and writes a report about what happened and how, he hopes he understands something by reading it, yet he doubts.

In his report, we realised that he was imprudent but not malicious, and that he did cause the accident. The narrative of this report is more a memory than a flashback, because the character y telling us what happened, instead of living it all again. (Gavalda, 2008).

Keep in mind that Gavalda’s novel is written as a series of short stories, and each one has their own chronotopes to share.

Sources
Revista Chilena de Literatura. (2008, November). El cronotopo de la exclusión en tres novelas de la generación del 38. Revista Chilena de Literatura, 73, 163-188. Retrieved from http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0718-22952008000200007&script=sci_arttext

Gavalda, Anna. (2008). I Wish Someone Were Waiting for me Somewhere. Amazon.

[Analysis] The Rape of Africa, by David Lachapelle

13 Jun The Rape of Africa

A brief analysis of “The Rape of Africa” by David Lachapelle

This image breaks the narrative we normally have about Africa and consumerism, because Africa is represented by a beautiful, strong woman who just raped the Western civilization, despite of what the consumerism is doing to her and the territory that she represents.
This photo is constructed by a simulacrum, based on Sandro Boticelli’s “Venus and Marte”. We know the man represents the Western civilization because beside him there are lots of gold and weapons, even a broken skull. The fabric that covers his body looks soft and shiny, like silk, and is light blue, as the lamp over his head.

The two kids that are immediately by his sides, both carry symbols of the Western, and more accurately United States symbols, like guns, a crown representing power and a football helmet. The boy who is in between the man and Africa wears a helmet that represents colonialism, as he holds, and plays?, with a missile.
On the other hand, Africa wears a long, light-purple dress, is seated on a blood-like red fabric and wears several gold accessories, like a necklace and a bracelet, representing the richness that belongs to her, and everything that is left on her. She is accompanied by a sheep and a hen, representing the main economical activity at Africa. Behind her, there is an off light bulb, and over her head a neon pink lamp.