Bridgerton’s Secrets

As a fan of Shonda Rimes and all that she embodies, I had to catch Bridgerton, the new series on Netflix, produced by Shondaland.

Ah, the romance, the gowns, the scenery, the diversity, and JULIE ANDREW’S voice as Lady Whistledown narrating the story’s latest revelations and scandals! What more could you ask for?

One topic of the show that has caught my attention is how sex, in relation to women, is handled during that time period.

Obviously, in the time period of the show, a woman’s worth was based on many external factors, meaning: family status, beauty, and her virtue…

AKA, her virginity.

Only a respectable woman will wait for her deflowering to be on her wedding night.

Any sooner, or in the wrong way, and she has been defiled, bringing shame upon her family.

An act that is so natural, is defined as acceptable under one light, and dirty under another.

Daphne Bridgerton, the main character, starts the show with her being introduced into society in order to get married. Her dream is to start her own family one day.

But she knows nothing about sex, or even how babies are made!

Right before her wedding to the Duke, her mother attempts to have a conversation with her about “martial relations” but the words “vagina” and “penis” never get said out loud.

Any hint of what sex is, Daphne gets from the Duke.

And she had to ask her maid exactly how she can become pregnant.

In another part of the show, Daphne’s younger sister, Eloise, conspires with her best friend, Penelope, trying to figure out how babies are made, so that they don’t end up in a situation like Marina Thompson (who is pregnant, but isn’t married or engaged or being courted).

This show hints at how sex is kept hidden from women until the very last second. Or even when it’s too late.

I’m not shocked to find out that sex was a taboo topic in those days.

What this show has made me reflect on is how sex is STILL a taboo today. We haven’t been able to move on from double standards, feeling embarrassed or shameful when sex is brought up. Not to mention, all the false facts out there that many people believe.

Learning to deconstruct thoughts and feelings about sex and then build them back up again is no small feat. Especially when it’s a whole society that needs to do it.

But if we start individually, and then with loved ones, it can eventually happen.

What has been your favorite part about Bridgerton?

New Things in the New Mulan

Over the weekend I sat down to watch the new live action Mulan on Disney+.

There were two things I liked about the remake. One was referencing qi, and the other was additional character of Xianniang, the shape shifting witch.

What interested me most about the film was how it incorporated qi (ch’i), a principal used in many Asian belief systems that is described as a vital force forming part of any living entity.

As someone who’s interested in spirituality and exploring similarities and differences between belief systems of other cultures, I was excited that a mainstream film used it as part of the story to explain what makes Mulan, Mulan.

However, I think they could have gone deeper into explaining it, or how Mulan connects to it spiritually, instead of just physically with her fighting moves.

It felt like they were too busy trying to make sure they hit all the same plot points as the animated film, rather than exploring this new aspect to Mulan’s character they added in and what it means to her.

As an example of what I’m looking for, in Avatar: the Last Airbender, there’s an episode that shows Aang learning how to connect to the Avatar state by unblocking his chakras. Chakras are another spiritual principal that is used to help someone connect to their energy force. The episode does well in explaining what chakras are and what Aang has to do for each one in order to unblock it.

I understand that a film can’t spend thirty minutes on explaining a whole new belief system, but there could have been a way from them to explain it better, and have us get to know Mulan in a way we’ve never seen before.

The second new thing I liked about the movie was Xianniang. If you remember in the animated film, Shan Yu had a pet falcon that acted like his eyes and ears. In the live-action, Xianniang replaces the falcon as a witch who can shape shift and works along side with Khan.

I love that Xianniang was meant to be Mulan’s dark counterpart. They both have powers that they’ve developed by remaining true to themselves, but have been judged and shunned by others when they use them.

This is why I wished they showed Mulan connecting to her qi in a more spiritual way, so that we can see how it compares and contrasts to Xianniang.

Obviously Xianniang has accepted who she is already, while Mulan is just learning how and what that means. But what choices did she make to get her to where she’s at? And how do those differ to Mulan’s choices?

Again, I felt like the issue was the pressure of hitting those same plot points as the animated film. It didn’t feel like there was room to explore this new character and what qi means to her.

At it’s core, the story of Mulan is about a young woman being true to herself in order to fight for what she believes in. I think adding the concept of qi and the character of Xianniang would have deepened the theme and made the live action more satisfying, if they were given more time to breath.

And I’m going to say it, I don’t think we need Mushu and the songs to fully enjoy the retelling of this story.

What did you think of the new Mulan? Are you looking forward to any more of the live action films? The Little Mermaid is the next one for me!

Happy New Year 2021!

Phew! We made it! What a relief to have a clean slate.

And a clean slate means another list of New Years resolutions.

I’ve read some posts on social media talking about not making any resolutions for this year in order to not pressure ourselves into a feeling of always needing to accomplish something, always needing to show that we’re doing something productive.

Especially with what happened in 2020, I’m sure a lot of people had to scrap some resolutions and goals they were looking forward to. I know I had to.

While I get that sentiment, I think it’s important to create resolutions and goals that are true to yourself, and not ones you think will capture the most attention from your friends or followers.

I also think that it’s important to allow ourselves grace in times when we lose sight of our goals. Grace is important so that we can give ourselves permission to come back and try again. That’s something I’ve learned year by year, with each resolution I come up with, and definitely in 2020.

And I used to be someone who didn’t like setting goals, for the fear of being disappointed in myself for not completing them.

But now that I am a person who sets goals, a few goals that I have this year are:

  • Make time for self-reflection by journaling on my current feelings at least once a month.
  • At work, problem solving for myself and use what I’ve learned before asking for guidance.
  • Make appointments with all my health professionals for routine check-ups.
  • Meditate a few times a week.

Overall, with these goals, and the others I have, I want to work towards the best version of myself. It also helps to know where I want to be in 5-10 years, so that I can create yearly goals that help me form habits to get there.

Have you made any New Year resolutions for 2021? It’s never to late to start!

Favorite Books of 2020

As a fan of books and reading, I decided to round up my favorite books I read in 2020. Maybe I can inspire your reading for next year!

Here’s my list:

Macho! By Victor Villaseñor:

I talked about this book earlier this year in my post, Brown Reflections. It’s still one of my favorites of the year and should really be read in school, at least in California.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler:

I heard about Octavia Butler earlier this year and couldn’t wait to read one of her books, especially since I realized I haven’t read too many sci-fi books by Black authors. Plus, she’s from Pasadena, CA. This one hit maybe too close to home, especially with what has happened this year, but it was really good.

Mexican Gothic by Silvana Moreno-Garcia:

I absolutely could not put this book down… but I forced myself to because I wanted to savor every scene in it. It was perfect from beginning to end and so satisfyingly horrific. Unexpectedly, I also was able to relate my ancestry to the setting of the book. Needless to say, I can’t wait to read another book by this author. I also picked up Gods of Jade and Shadow, which will be my next read.

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

To be honest, I haven’t finished this book yet, but I can already say, this is a MUST READ. It’s a book that dissects fairy tales and myths to show how a women’s spirit and soul can flourish and what prevents it from living it’s full potential. I’m surprised by how many tales I’m familiar with so far, and can also relate to a lot of what she analyzes. This is unlike any spiritual book I’ve ever read. I highly recommend.

Did you discover any new favorite books this year? Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading next year?