Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two Things...

So, first off.  I recently noticed the words to a  song from the much played Mulan.  Behold: "I'll Make a Man Out of You".

And the lyrics:
"Mulan" is copyright (c) 1998
Walt Disney Music Company. All rights reserved.
Music by Matthew Wilder, lyrics by David Zippel
Let's get down to business - to defeat the Huns
Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?   (Acknowledging that there ARE 
You're the saddest bunch I ever met                         differences between boys & girls,
But you can bet before we're through                    sometimes being a boy is preferred.)
Mister, I'll make a man out of you

Tranquil as a forest                               (Calm, Cool, Collected, & Successful.  Not bad.)
But on fire within
Once you find your center
You are sure to win
You're a spineless, pale, pathetic lot         (Definitely no cowards or individuals who
And you haven't got a clue                                   lack physical prowess.)
Somehow I'll make a man out of you

I'm never gonna catch my breath
Say good-bye to those who knew me
Boy, I was a fool in school for cutting gym
The guy's got 'em scared to death
Hope he doesn't see right through me
Now I really wish that I knew how to swim

(Be a man)                                             (Do I have to say anything here? This is awesome!)
We must be swift as the coursing river.
(Be a man)
With all the force of a great typhoon
(Be a man)
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the darkside of the moon.

Time is racing toward us till the Huns arrive
Heed my every order and you might survive
You're unsuited for the rage of war
So pack up, go home you're through
How could I make a man out of you?

Chorus 2X'

So, on the 50,000th or so time that I've heard this song, I have an epiphany:  this song is praising "traditionally male" traits like physical strength, passion(fire), mystery, silence, success, courage, and even rage.  Yes, rage is normal and natural and is far more pronounced in the male of the species.  Why the fuck am I waning poetic about a Disney song, you might ask?  Off the top of your head, can you think of any other kid songs praising manhood?  I couldn't either.  I know lots of songs about being a smart girl, a strong girl, and most importantly an independent girl who follows her heart.  It really got me thinking about the emphasis we've put on feminism and teaching girls to dream a little.  And then on to how it is just assumed that without tons of help from everywhere, boys will grow up just fine in a country with 26% of children being raised in single parent house holds and 84% of those headed by mothers, and a culture that can't figure out if males and females originated on the same planet or if they exactly are the same.  So that's about 22% of the children in America are being raised by strong, intelligent, caring mothers.  Now if we assume that there are roughly the same number of little boys and little girls, that means 22% of boys today will grow up without fathers to teach them what it means to be men.  Some of them will be lucky and someone will step in and do that job, but just as many boys in "traditional" families will have father issues that don't show up in the census.  In fact, the boys with the best manners come from mom only homes, I think.  There are well rounded boys from lots of homes but there is an increasing number of boys who can't figure out how to ask a girl out, much less whether or not they should pay the tab.  There is a marked lack of masculinity in my generation of American men.  There are also high levels of anxiety and a lack of confidence in who they are supposed to be.  They rely on countless sources to piece together exactly what they are aiming at, including Disney movies, teachers, neighbors, relatives, books, music, etc.  And normally I am so against most kinds of censoring, even in the case of children (note I said most, not all).  I don't mean for this to be yet another rant about how delicate our children are and how it's the world's job to censor out anything that might offend our ethnocentric sensibilities.  But, REALLY!? If we are gonna take every cartoon and turn it into a personal improvement seminar, then can we really say that boys today need any less guidance than girls?

Okay, on to the second thing...what was the second thing?  Oh yeah, I really need some motivation to clean my house.  I got about half-way through a second attempt at a spring cleaning and my back gave out on me!  And then I stopped for a while and can't seem to get started again.  Preacher'sDaughter is coming over on the weekend after July 4th to do some all natural soap making.  Got a fabulous recipe for liquid castile soap that from start to finish takes less than 24 hours and can be altered to make body wash, shampoo, handsoap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent (I'm not sure this will work...), and laundry detergent.  I will share the whole bit after I've tried it!  New homemade soap would inspire me to clean, but I think that's too long to sit on my ass (just by a day or two).

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