Identity and Societal Issues in Zootopia: Disney Doing It Right

 

I like the direction Disney is heading into lately. While caucasian princesses and male superheroes singing jolly songs and going on quirky adventures are as popular as ever, Disney’s Studios show that they are also capable of addressing more serious issues – in a non-threatening, more cuddly way.

An example of this is the new movie Zootopia, which takes place in an alternate universe entirely populated by anthropomorphic animals. Zootropolis, the main capital, is a cleverly constructed metropolis of various microclimates (rainforest, desert, arctic) in which the human-like animals work, play and live together, prey and predators alike. Continue reading “Identity and Societal Issues in Zootopia: Disney Doing It Right”

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Celebrating Mental Illness

There is a new trend going on in Media Land, and it is called Mental Illness. Nowadays, in more and more movies and series our protagonists are haunted and troubled by one or another psychological disorder. Be it depression, autism, AD(H)D, or – a very popular one – social anxiety. Another common feature of our heroes is that they are often very, very smart (a fetish our whole society seems to share), and likely start their introduction dialogue with something along the lines of: “I wish I was normal, but I am not.” Continue reading “Celebrating Mental Illness”

Intolerance

Let’s talk about food. No, not the delicious new hamburger joint around the corner, the fact that your mom makes the best nasi goreng in town, or how much you like that particular chocolate ice cream they sell at that particular supermarket. Let’s talk about what food actually means to us, aside from how it tickles our taste buds and delights our senses.

After a few weeks of vague symptoms (nausea, bloating and unexplainable random stomach-aches) my doctor told me that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, in short IBS. It basically means that your bowels are or have become oversensitive for various components within the food products we daily consume. Nearly 10 percent of the inhabitants of the Netherlands have it – including me. Continue reading “Intolerance”

Unnecessarily Gendered

As a feminist and someone who is interested in gender theory, I like to observe how gender plays out in our society. A while ago, I found an advertisement on the internet for – yes – manly detergent. The ad was an overdose of robust, dark colours, earthy patterns and vintage pictures of men in suits drinking whiskey. Amused, I read it through: “We grew tired of using brightly coloured detergent bottles with classically feminine scents like ‘spring breeze’ and ‘meadows and rain,’” it said. While I was entertained by their motivation, I turned thoughtful when I read the comments under the post of the advertisement: “Protect your fragile masculinity with manly laundry detergent!” one comment stated. Continue reading “Unnecessarily Gendered”

The Heart of a Writer

Last summer, two things happened. Firstly, one of my all-time favourite childhood heroes, Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo, passed away. As a gamer and an enormous Nintendo fan, I mourn his death, and with me many others. Across various social media, one of Iwata’s most famous quotes was posted over and over again:

“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.”


This quote got me thinking. We all apply different versions of ourselves towards the outside world. For example, we are students, employees, dog-lovers, gamers, artists, language-enthusiasts, procrastinators. All these versions of us have different functions in several situations. However, if we had to pick one word that had to define us, what would it be? In other words, who are we “in our hearts”?
After pondering for a while, I felt that I identified most with the word “writer”. I am a writer. I see the world around me and I think of how I want to put her into words, how I want to describe her mysterious but also ordinary ways. The things that I see, hear, and experience inspire endless streams of stories in my head. I am a writer.

However, the second occurrence I wanted to mention changed my view on this. This other event was as much as a facebook post from a very dear friend and classmate of mine, who is now studying abroad for a year.
In her post, she speaks of one of her first classes on writing, in which the lecturer started out with the words: “A writer writes.” – and that is true.
As my friend already said further on in her post, writing shouldn’t derive from some kind of divine inspiration, and having talent is not everything. A writer writes, exercises everyday. Continue reading “The Heart of a Writer”