Tell me a story

What makes a blog post great? Tell me a story.

Don’t try to make me to “Like” your post. Don’t optimize your prose for search engines. Don’t spend time trying to pick a pinnable feature image for your post.

Just tell me a story.

It doesn’t even have to be a great story. As I reboot my writing life here on this blog and elsewhere, I know I’m going to tell my share of just “ok” stories. The most important thing that makes a story a story is that it’s real.

What’s real? Real is what you, the writer, make it.

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Dear Disney Marketing: Don’t Photoshop the Disney Princesses

Merida - Before and After. Photo: Disney/Pixar via Yahoo! News

Merida – Before and After. Photo: Disney/Pixar via Yahoo! News

Disney’s marketing department broke my heart over the decision to give Merida, of Disney/Pixar’s Brave fame, a makeover prior to her induction into the Disney Princesses. This has become sort of a ugly tradition with the Princesses; when they’re added to the line-up, they’re prepped for merchandising by having the equivalent of animation Photoshopping done to them. This new image is the one that is then plastered all over lunch boxes, notebooks, and other swag that girls will clamor over during back-to-school shopping.

Merida, a spunky, free-spirited young girl who is much more comfortable riding through the countryside on her beloved horse than sitting on a throne, was given a skinnier, curvier figure, a dress with a lower neckline, eye and lip makeup, an anti-frizz treatment in her hair, and she lost her previously always-at-her-side bow and arrow.

The Internet is up in arms about this today, including a Change.org petition with the signatures of tens of thousands of Disney fans agreeing with the statement made by the petition initiator, A Mighty Girl:

The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls’ capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.

What many don’t seem to realize is that this is just the latest manifestation of a trend that Disney marketing has been following for two decades with the Disney Princesses. And for the sake of all young girls out there, the trend must be stopped.

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