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  • Is Maleficent A Powerful Portrayal Of Feminism?

    Is Maleficent A Powerful Portrayal Of Feminism?

    Is the film Maleficent the first introduction to Feminism for our daughters and sons? It is the other side of the story from Sleeping Beauty. The viewer leans why the fairy Maleficent casts a curse on the baby Princess. You start off seeing a innocent, powerful young fairy loving the liberation she gets from the flight with her wings. She soars through the skies with grace, joy and liberation. Innocent and joyous, she falls in love with a boy called Stephan, who visits her magical land, from the land of man. When he says the kiss he offers her is  True Love’s Kiss, she believes him.

    But as he grows up he becomes distant and distracted from her. Desperate by greed, the desire for power and the fear of her true power,  Maleficent’s ‘true love’ cuts off her wings after drugging her. The harrowing scene when she awakes makes my soul tremble.

    On the face of it, this a beautifully crafted children’s fairy tale. I love to snuggle up with my 4 year old daughter and watch it together. But just below the surface is a theme that delves into feminism in a fascinating way.

    As a consequence to having he wings cut off, the once loving and innocent Maleficent, becomes filled with hatred, anger and seeks out revenge. Once she hears of the arrival of his baby. she sees her chance and curses the child with death on her 16th birthday. Once he begs she adds that  True Love’s Kiss can awaken her. However, she is fascinated by the baby, who is now being looked after  by 3 incompetent fairies  hidden in the woods. Far from being the evil fairy she was portrayed at, she regularly saves the baby’s life.

    Touched by this film I have read a few articles about the feminism theme and they are interesting. In a Huffington Post article the author says when her wings are cut off she is essentially raped. The rest of the story is Maleficent coming to terms with the deep betrayal by the man she loves. Another well written article addresses the love angle and suggests that the feminism is weak and only telling part of the story. These are great points and very worth a read.

    However, for me, the feminism ran deeper than just betrayal of love. In my opinion, Stephan represented a patriarchal society. This is a system that has cut the wings of women and removed their liberation, freedom and joy of life. Afraid of the natural power women hold, it has served to hold women back and still their power. This can breed resentment, misery and hatred. Hatred towards life and themselves. The feeling can be imprisoning and confining, their true spirit hidden behind what the society has created them to be. The subsequent generations of females cursed with the same imprisonment of expectation passed on from their elder female role models.

    Watching an caring for the growing Princess, Maleficent represents how women deeply realise that they need address how they handle the females of the future. How is it possible to stop the patterns that women are passing on from generation to generation? Can this curse be stopped? By fulling loving the girl and showing her the true power and love a woman has to offer, awakens the girl from the metaphorical sleep that the patriarchs have placed on womankind.

    Consequently, over time, with the rise of feminism, women have gradually got more choice and freedom in many ways. Eventually, when her wings come back to her, her soul has been freed again and her joy, liberation and choice returns. My soul soars watching this scene.

    I strongly recommend watching this amazing file.  I would love to read your comments below about what you took from the film.

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