The unknown and gender roles in “Maleficent”

Well, yesterday rather than spending the day looking for work, or going to interviews only to be disheartened or disappointed I went to the movies instead. Me and my guy went to go see Maleficent since I am all for any movie told through the “villain’s” perspective.  However, since I have been an academic my whole life it feels like I ended up analyzing the film.

The first instance that I thought was worth noting was when the humans declared worry on the fairy people in the moors. I thought this was significant because it showed the perspective of since people don’t know who or what these people are like that they are automatically deemed as marginal and bad.  However, this was contrasted by the coming together of Maleficent and Stephan from being  little kids to teenagers in that it showed that the fairies and the humans could coexist peacefully.

This ability to coexist did not last long when Maleficent and Stephan did not last long since Stephan was hell bent on gaining power and becoming king of both worlds.  Stephan in order to achieve this goal had to chop off Maleficent’s wings in the process. These wings that were a part of her identity and her freedom.  She had the freedom to move and travel to other places and spaces that humans could not reach.

I think in the beginning Stephan felt terrible for his deed but soon got lost in all the trappings of being king since he had to prove to be the old king’s successor through “killing” Maleficent , even though the old king had declared war on those living in the moors so she was trying to save her own people and land.  His other reward was that he got to marry the king’s daughter who as a wife to him ends up being an after thought throughout the whole movie. Her only purpose is to bring about the birth of her daughter aurora.  Actually, even when she is dying Stephan is too focused on enacting revenge on Maleficent.

Stephan wants to destroy Maleficent because she cursed his daughter to prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a deep sleep when she turns 16.  This is a curse so strong it can’t even be broken by her when she begins to love Aurora as she grows up in the moors away from castle life.  Maleficent while wicked in some respects still has seems to have some heart as shown by the way she treats her “raven” and Aurora.  But, she is also what feels like the only strong independent woman character in this movie. I think this is because she has too be ,or else she would lose her land, or her people, and the men of the world would attempt to conquer her territory and her. She does learn from her mistakes though, (spoiler alert) Stephan too concerned with enacting vengeance on Maleficent for ruining his life dies in the end of his own doing as far as I am concerned since he took away the one part of Maleficent that gave her freedom, her wings.

I think this movie shows two sides of women through the strong and fierce Maleficent and the after thought of a queen. While, the only concern for the men are power and ambition which leads to their downfall in the end.



The lack of female roles in stardust

I recently finished reading Stardust a couple weeks ago and I noticed that the females in this novel are lacking in notice and attention. I state this because in the beginning of the book their is very little mention of Dunstan’s wife or Tristan’s sister. Furthermore when Tristan leaves Wall these characters are never mentioned again. This is shown also with Una who is just used to procreate with Tristan and is not able to gain a strong female role until the end of the book. Additionally, women face further stigmatization through the three old witches in the book that remind me of the witches from Macbeth. These women show a portrayal of women that do not want to be old and are wanting to achieve societies standards of youth and beauty. This motif is also seen through Yvaine who is literally captured by Tristan to do as he pleases to bring her back to Victoria.

(spoiler alert) While, I know in the end that Una and Yvaine end up being Queens of stormhold to make up for their lack of power earlier in the novel, I am not sure that it justifies Una being a slave worker and Yvaine being dragged everywhere by Tristan. I know that the point of this novel is for Tristan to find himself and become a man, I just that these women were not left out in the process. Also Yvaine and Una face further stigmatization being in the land of Fraerie and a sort of racism since there seems to be some prejudice towards the people of Faerie this shown as during the fall the people from wall will never by their goods from a market fair. I do not think this fair as there should be mutual trading and benefits between the people of wall and the land of Faerie.