Author Topic: Literary, cultural, fairytale, feminist ramblings (and other clever stuff too)  (Read 22550 times)


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oh, see, i always thought i was being unoriginal with the assumption of forest = pubis in sleeping beauty and that a million feminist scholars must have got there before me.

it always just seems such a coming into sexuality story. phallic spindle. drop of blood = menstrual blood. instead of blossoming into sexuality, girl goes into coma state. growth of pubic hair. (though i suppose the nicer spin on it would be the forest and trees as her protectors.) and along comes the prince ready to break through. :-\
i always read the banning of spindles as though theoretically for the princess' own protection, on a deeper level, a refusal to allow her her right to bleed. so keeping her with an appearance of bloodlessness, statue-like. or a supression of any suggestion of menstrual bleeding. 

'pubic tree' would be an excellent title of something though. sleeping beauty should have ended up with a particularly splendid tree, shouldn't she? i'd love to see her say 'nah, bollocks' to her 'rescuing' prince. i suppose it's quite interesting if the forest is seen as an extension of her anatomy. it's real dark, labyrinthian psyche stuff. (as opposed to her being meant to be the perfect princess, disallowed from shedding a drop of blood lest she die.)


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Hm, after I typed that I wonder about what I put. I suppose the drop of blood at the spindle is more overtly hymen breaking than menstrual blood? Though I'm sure both interpretations work.


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^ I'm with you re the spindle & the blood. And indeed the prince breaking through:-\  It's a difficult one to reclaim.
Ive just had a quick look to see what Marina Warner makes of it. Apparently it goes back to a late mediaeval tale - actually, first printed only a few decades later than the flying witches above, and the Malleus Maleficarum. 1528. The other side of the coin from the unbridled, flying-about witches - a tale of tamed womanhood?
Which hinges on a princess pricking (indeed) herself on somethig (a length of flax in the oldest version, not a distaff, but still penetration and blood) and falling into a death-like sleep. Enter Prince, etc. And there's also a Wicked Woman in there - the wife of said Prince (he'd already married in one version) or his mother in another. Evil wife/mother-in-law gets shifted to Wicked Fairy.
So there's still an echo of a witch in there.
But I'm puzzled by that sleep.

I think you're right about it being a coming-into-sexuality story.

I suppose, if one wanted to be fanciful, it could be a very garbled version of a rite of passage into puberty? At the onset of bleeding. Going into the wilderness, losing oneself, finding oneself? Altho that would require the dropping of the prince. And the assorted evil women.


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i wonder about that sleep as a saving grace for the story. to me, it's quite disassociative-seeming. so. princess trapped in this very prescriptive world. her father who is supposed to be keeping her safe strikes me on some level as her captor.

however? say she chooses that sleep. (though i know part of the story is that it's already fated for her.) i wonder if she doesn't get to reclaim and repossess her reality by creating a preferable one? it's a whole different kind of remoteness. and clearly one that's very threatening, as it's possessed by her alone. 

my other wonder is if there's a masturbation echo in there, in terms of the princess pricking herself on the spindle. so i suppose a real pivot there could be the coma as orgasm.

for me, any element of reclamation needs to pivot on the restoration of choice within that story. but yes. it's a troubling story whatever.

Offline Evan

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Female Parts - Written by Dario Fo and Franca Rame

In turns comic and deeply moving, Female Parts is a series of four monologues dealing with female oppression. Fo and Rame's theatrical collaboration gives us a popular approach to feminism, an engaging blend of mime, story-telling, burlesque and stand-up comedy.

"Not a play, or a drama, or even a farce. They are bits and pieces of reality that fly through the air and land on us, eliciting wry smiles and uncomfortable admissions."

S. Borelli, L'Unita

These plays contain explicit references to adult situations and contain language and imagery that may cause offence.

Plays Female Parts

Originally entitled 'Tutta casa, letto e chiesa', these four monologues were written on 1977 and first performed that year in Palazzina Liberty, Italy. They received their UK debut in London in 1982 in the original Italian with Franca Rame performing. The English translation - 'Female Parts', was performed for the first time, (also in 1982) by Yvonne Bryceland at the National Theatre.

A Woman Alone

A prisoner in her own home, a prisoner in her own life, a housewife finds liberation through a journey of fear, farce and fumblings.


A Medea for our times. This is a Medea abandoned and in despair, but who comes to realise that she is a victim of centuries of male oppression rather than a pawn in the hands of the Fate. Accordingly, her children must die in order to break the chains of oppression.

The Same Old Story

A woman bearing an unwanted child and an uncaring lover tells a scatological children's story of a little girl with a foul-mouthed dolly. Sexual exploitation and exploding engineers follow with girls everywhere telling "the same old story".

Rise and Shine

You know the feeling. You're late. The baby needs feeding. You can't find your keys. The baby needs changing. Last nights row is buzzing round your head. The baby needs changing again. And then, the final straw...

« Last Edit: Apr 05, 2011, 11:42:06 PM by Thor »
Earth my body
Water my blood
Air my breath
And fire by spirit!

Offline Lust for Life

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I feel a little bit of a traitor re-opening this thread to discuss a female character written by a man, but I was hoping to get some discussion about The Woman in White - actually, her half-sister, the character of Marian Halcombe.  The book was written for serialisation in a weekly magazine and a year later was published in book form, in 1860.

I haven't even finished the book yet (though I know the outline of how it ends, assuming the BBC weren't too brutal with their 4-part audio adaptation) and am just blown away by the character of Marian.  Almost a bit in love with her really!  Anyone else?  I mean, of course, anyone else impressed by this very strong female character in a Victorian novel? ;)

Offline Baku

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Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, Red Shoes comes to mind.
Iím touched and impressed by good-heartedness, generosity, humour and a good outlook on life.