Superheroes and princesses: the fortunes of gendered entertainment in a socially just world

Ironically, they seem to be doing very well, at least by commercial standards.  Between them, they’ve arguably devoured American popular culture.  That’s not to say that the genres are in good health; a genre can continue making money long into its decadent phase when it lives on irony and nostalgia. When I was a kid, […]

Princess superpowers, and other disclaimers

If there’s one thing feminists and traditionalists can agree on, it’s that Hollywood needs more stories about strong, independent female monarchs. Writing about The Princess and the Frog, I was pessimistic about the long-term prospects of Disney princess movies in a hostile feminist environment, but having seen Tangled and Frozen, I see that I had […]

Princess gear

A year or two, I was taking Julie shopping for new shoes.  I thought we’d get a nice solid color, or maybe a character she would recognize like Elmo.  Then she saw the Disney princess sneakers:  three princesses stuffed together (I don’t remember which), silver glittery swaths, and the word “princess” on the side.  First […]

The new Disney princess equilibrium

My three-year old daughter Julie loves The Princess and the Frog, one of the two or three actual movies she’s seen, and I agree that it’s pretty good.  It’s actually pretty impressive how well many of the Disney animated movies turn out given the restrictions they’re under.  Everybody in the world feels that they have […]

The Romance of the Middle Ages

Political reactionaries and orthodox Catholics are often accused of engaging in nostalgia for the Middle Ages. The accusation is peculiar, for similar reasons as the accusation that American conservatives are nostalgic for the 1950s. Insofar as the Catholic prefers the Middle Ages for its religion, or the monarchist and neofeudalist prefer it for its social […]

The ways of dragons

Don’t let the cool-sounding title fool you.  This is a My Little Pony post.  In particular, this is a post about Spike the baby dragon, Twilight Sparkle’s servant and friend, a disturbingly accurate symbol of boyhood in feminist America. Imagine a world in which each person has a unique talent and destiny, and it’s conveniently […]

Die Hard: a model of the enemy’s motivation

Do you remember the original Die Hard?  Of course you do!  It gave us a distinct action movie setup:  hero is trapped with a bunch of armed terrorists who turn out not to be terrorists, has to use his cleverness and bravery to take out the bad guys one by one.  It’s a great idea […]

Star Trek and My Little Pony: Multiracial polities

Let’s compare and contrast two of my favorite TV shows:  Star Trek and My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic.

Grace and Pelagianism in movies

Some time ago, an article at the Tablet called Tree of Life “the least Jewish film ever made” for its supposed focus on grace and predestination. Film—more, perhaps, than any other medium—thrives on action. It revels in initiative. Movies demand movement, which is why their heroes take charge: Leave it to characters in novels to […]

Warrior babes: Must men lie even about what we find sexually attractive?

Many years back, I came across a show on the TV guide channel called something like “The top ten sexiest women in sci fi”, and I decided to watch it to gain some insight on early twenty-first century cultural…oh hell, you know why I was watching it.  Anyway, “science fiction” was defined broadly to include […]