What Studio Ghibli Movies Taught Me

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Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that has been making films since 1985. They are known for creating hugely-successful anime feature films like Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi) and My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro). Many of their films are suitable for children with their whimsical characters and magical/anthropomorphic elements but they do handle some pretty tough subject matter and adults can definitely appreciate these films too.

As a big fan, I thought I’d share a few important lessons from some of my favourite Ghibli movies and a few bits of merchandise that I have!

 

A little bit of independence is a good thing

 

Many of Hayao Miyazaki’s stronger characters are women and girls. Even the younger girls have a sense of independence and act heroically or stoically at times. Take Satsuki (My Neighbor Totoro) for example. She is a great big sister to stubborn little Mei, explaining that their mother is sick in hospital and keeping Mei busy when their father is at work. Satsuki is an important role model not just for Mei but for little girls everywhere (including me when I was younger) as she faces up to having responsibilities.

Ponyo (in the titular film) is a little sea princess and wants to be independent so she goes ashore… think a bit like The Little Mermaid story! Her father is very worried about her fraternizing with a human boy but her mother (a magical sea spirit) is not as she trusts Ponyo and the boy.

 

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Image // mlkshk.com

 

Being vain/greedy/rash wont get you very far

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Image // cultbox.co.uk

In Spirited Away, we see many examples of greedy and rash characters around the bathhouse. Even in the first scene, Sen’s parents are turned into pigs for gorging on a buffet!

Another good example of this is in Howl’s Moving Castle. The wizard Howl is a troubled soul who even goes as far as to say ‘I see no point in living if I can’t be beautiful’. As his friendship with Sophie blossoms, she shows him that there is much more to who you are than what you look like!

 

Death and suffering are difficult parts of life that we cant ignore

There are some tragic deaths and scenes of suffering in Ghibli movies. I won’t spoil any of them but I think one film that really stuck out for me was The Wind Rises.

Miyazaki’s final film before his retirement in 2013, it tells the story of the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and A6M fighter aircraft and it’s a very moving one. War and disease feature in this tale but I wouldn’t discourage parents of older children from letting them watch it as it’s very thoughtfully and beautifully done.

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Image // mangauk.com

 

Friendship and supporting one another is important!

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Image // Wikipedia

In Ghibli, we see some great and unlikely friendships between humans, animals and spirits. The Cat Returns shows us the Cat Bureau, a team of detectives (two cats and a raven) who help a human girl get back home from the Cat Kingdom. In Ponyo, her and Sosuke prove their friendship to their parents in a rather interesting test involving the ocean. When Marnie Was There tells a beautiful story of how Anna, suffering with depression, finds a friend in the countryside who lifts her spirits. The young witch Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service) has a great friend in her cat Jiji but also develops a good friendship with a local boy Tombo too.

 

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We can find some comfort in nature, good food and music

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Image // BFI

The landscapes in many Ghibli movies are so beautifully detailed. Whether it’s the lights of the bathhouse in Spirited Away, the flight of the aircraft in The Wind Rises or the incredible forest in Princess Mononoke.

There is also a lot of yummy looking food shown in the films including ramen, steamed buns and herring pot pie… Buzzfeed even did an article showing you how to replicate the recipes!

The music of Joe Hisaishi really captures the magic and mystery of Ghibli. My favourite is ‘The Path Of Wind’ (also from My Neighbor Totoro because it’s just lovely) and you can listen to that being performed here.

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Do you like Studio Ghibli or any other animation?
What are your favourite films for teaching important life lessons?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
10 Life Lessons Learnt From Rupaul’s Drag Race – body positive, self-esteem boosting advice on how to slay, as told by drag queens
10 Kids Shows That Teach Kick-Ass Lessons In Morality – I get nostalgic and remember where our life lessons came from in childhood

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the empowerment playlists: volume three

I hadn’t forgotten about these bad boys, I promise!

My empowerment playlists are all about music to get you through and to remind you of your strength and beauty when you need it most.

I do take to Twitter and Facebook asking for contributions to these so feel free to drop me a message, whatever the genre of your favourite song. You’ll see, there’s quite a mix in there and I add to them whenever I find new music that fits.

Volume One of these playlists was about moving on after a relationship breaks down, and that’s tough.

Volume Two told us about girl power, sticking up for ourselves and one another.

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This playlist is called ‘If You Can’t Love Yourself…’ and it’s here to remind you that despite what people might say or how you might feel sometimes, you are beautiful and worthwhile.  It’s telling us to be kind to ourselves, to love ourselves and our imperfections and not to base our self worth on what other people think.

Have you found a new favourite track?

What music empowers you to feel self love?

In a month or so’s time I’ll be creating a playlist about women’s sexuality (self love, but a bit ruder?) so if you have any suggestions for tracks, let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

If you liked this post, you should check out:

“you can’t be a feminist if…” – I quash rumours about what modern feminists can and can’t do.
why selfies are inherently feminist – viva  your self-love
or
you just keep doing other people: guest post  – a NSFW sex-positive rant from Cami

the empowerment playlists: volume two

This is the second post in a series of playlists packed with music that empowers and inspires. I do take to Twitter and Facebook asking for contributions to these so feel free to drop me a message, whatever the genre of your favourite song.

Volume Two is called ‘I’ve Got The Power’ and it’s about independent, powerful women sticking up for themselves and one another. These are songs that stir up the courage in us to face whatever challenges lie ahead.

 

Have you found a new favourite track?

What music empowers you to feel independent?

 

In a couple of weeks’ time I’ll be creating a playlist about self-love specifically so if you have any suggestions for tracks, let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

x

 

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

If you liked this post, you should check out:

 the empowerment playlists: volume one – all about relationships ending
why selfies are inherently feminist – viva  your self-love
or
you just keep doing other people: guest post  – a NSFW sex-positive rant from Cami

how to: throw a Great British Bake Off Finale party!

I’ll admit I didn’t really get the hype with the Great British Bake Off in previous years. I thought it was going to be pompous and as someone who can’t bake to save their life, the premise just didn’t interest me. I hold my hands up now and firmly swallow some humble pie (get it?) while I hereby admit on the internet that I have a new found love for GBBO and all it’s twee brilliance.

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Credits to greatbritish-bakeoff.tumblr.com

As it’s the finale this evening, I thought I would put together a few tips for anyone thinking of throwing a Bake Off party because let’s face it, when have we ever needed an excuse to eat, drink and be merry?

Food

This is the most pivotal thing to get right for your party! When watching the contestants create their masterpiece morsels or showstopping savories, your tummies will be rumbling and there’s nothing worse than hungry guests! If you’re really daring, you could try recreating some of the bakes from time gone by or perhaps adding your own twist or secret ingredient.

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Image from Digital Spy.

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Image from Yahoo News.

If you’re trying to do it on a budget, simply let people know that it’s BYOB (bring your own bake)… Someone’s bound to bring a shop bought something though!

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Image from Tesco.com.

Drink

If you’re going quintessentially British here, tea is an absolute must have for your Bake Off party. Perhaps you’ve got a cute tea set lying around that you could serve it in?

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Image by Sira Anamwong, 2014 licensed from freedigitalphotos.net.

Alternatively if you’ve got Thursday off, you could crack out a Pimms No 1. Cup in a pitcher for everyone to share. Refreshing and rather boozy!

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Decoration

For this bit, I had to head to Pinterest for inspiration as I am not very good at anything crafty!
Think a similar theme to any Jubilee party – flags of red, white and blue, bunting and cute printables for the table.

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Four above images from Pinterest and are not my own. 
Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

 

Have you held or are you having a Great British Bake Off Party?

Do you and your friends gather to watch TV shows?

 

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

 

Jenna

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If you liked this post, you should check out:
how to: commute to uni – tips and tricks for commuting to work or for education

inspiring women you should be following: part one

If your dream career lies somewhere in the midst of writing, ranting and promoting social justice as mine does then look no further than this new series of posts. I will be picking some of my favourite inspirational women each month, writing about what they do and where to follow them.

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Emerald Pellot (@EmeraldGritty)

Emerald is a pop culture writer at LittleThings and the Former Senior Editor of CollegeCandy. Her work has featured in many publications and gives a particularly feminist view of the world of celebrity. Amongst some light-hearted fashion and beauty posts, Emerald has written some deeper and more provocative work discussing race and gender.  Her portfolio can be found here.

Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff)

You may remember Mara Wilson for her childhood roles as Matilda, Natalie (Mrs Doubtfire) and Susan (Miracle on 34th Street). Now a grown woman, Mara writes plays, stories and blogs as well as working a day job at non profit company, Publicolor. In 2014, she produced a stage show called ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’ which focused on helping combat fear and anxiety using resources and expert advice. Her very popular Twitter account is a daily dose of feel-good and feisty soundbites. Oh, and she got in some serious beef with E.L. James (the author of Fifty Shades of Grey) but I’ll let you read up on that here.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (@fazlalizadeh)

An oil painter and illustrator from Brookyln, Tatyana is the creator of a great public art project with an important message about gender-based street harassment, titled Stop Telling Women To Smile. With many women participating, Tatyana has taken STWTS travelling and is working on pieces in numerous cities. Other renowned works of hers include her Mike Brown poster and The Roots Mural in Philadelphia. For her portfolio and more of her other works, visit her personal site.

The theme is "rock n roll glamour"…I accidentally came as a rock n roll spanner

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Alix Fox (@AlixFox)

A major content warning for nearly everything this lady does as being incredibly Not Safe For Work. Formerly a Front Section Editor at Bizarre magazine, the wonderfully zany Alix is a London journalist, presenter and Durex UK sex educator who writes all sorts about relationships from the PG to the X-rated. Her work has featured in the Telegraph, Men’s Fitness and Comedy Central, she has compered for events like Sexhibition and Club Antichrist and she has a way with words like no other. She’s also lovely in person!

Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia)

Mikki is an intersectional feminist and opinion writer. She is one of the editors at hoodfeminism and writes some fiction on the side with a focus on diversity and representation, including a one shot comic in the Swords of Sorrow universe called ‘Miss Fury and Lady Rawhide’. Her Twitter is a place where many a debate take place. In 2013, she launched the hashtag  #Solidarityisforwhitewomen with the intention of highlighting how race is often dismissed as ‘not a feminist issue’. This then blew up and become a very controversial topic. You dont have to love Mikki’s style of writing but you will definitely learn something reading it.

Who are your inspirations?

Have you read any of these women’s work before?

Let me know in the comments below!

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
why selfies are inherently feminist – a post about your profile pics and your self love
the empowerment playlists – a series of feel-good playlists
you just keep doing other people – a sex-positive rant from Cami

the empowerment playlists: volume one

Inspired by Zusterschap’s amazing monthly playlists, I decided that I would start a series of playlists of my own with music that empowers and inspires me. Despite being alternative in fashion, my taste in music varies dramatically and I think some of you will be pleasantly surprised by the genres in these mixes!

Volume One is called ‘I’m Better Than That‘ and it’s all about sticking a middle finger up to those who did you wrong and those who didn’t deserve you. It’s about the end of a relationship of any kind and how now in hindsight, you are stronger and better off without that idiot.

 

Have you found a new favourite track?

What post-relationship music empowers you?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
empowerment playlists: volume two – songs to remind you of your inner strength
self care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it) – a piece for Zusterschap about making me time and why that’s okay
why selfies are inherently feminist – self love in the form of a selfie

drag on a dime: jujubee

This is the second post in my series that honours the queens of #DragRace – you can see the Adore Delano style board here. This will be a regular feature on the blog because finding drag dupes has been good fun. I’ve vowed that the looks will always be as close to the outfits as possible, without costing more than £20 per piece!

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| dress | leggings | heels | headband |

This outfit screams glamour and that’s one of the reasons that I love Jujubee. The only staple item that you would need to complete the look is a black elasticated waist belt and they’re cheap as chips! Unfortunately, the picture quality wouldn’t let me zoom in enough to examine the cuff bracelet she’s wearing, but I think there are plenty of jewellery items that would work just as well.

Do you like or own any of the items in this outfit?

Do you have a favourite queen or drag look that I should check out?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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Note: The images used in the style board are not my own and have been credited via links.

If you liked this post, you should check out:
my queerness erased – a piece for Zusterschap about my experiences with LGBTQ-phobia
birthday wishlists: clothing – some cute clothes that I asked for for my birthday
drag on a dime: Adore Delano – get some drag-inspired style from a f**king Libra!
10 Life Lessons from Rupaul’s Drag Race – important mantras from your favourite queens