The Pirate Fairy

The Pirate Movie review great movie with Disney's best female role model to date

I recently attended a press screening of The Pirate Fairy, a direct-to-DVD animated feature from Disney.  The Pirate Fairy takes place in Pixie Hollow, with Tinkerbell and friends. This movie is exactly what you would expect from Disney.  It’s entertaining fluff.

But! It was a chance to take one of my girls out one-on-one, so off we went to enjoy some Fairy time, just me and Miss V.

Miss V is just so totally her very own person. She isn’t really into all the princess stuff, and never got into Barbies.  V doesn’t really go in for girly-girl, in general.  She loved Littlest Pet Shop and is obsessed with Lego City.  She wants to be a cop when she grows up, wears hats whenever she can, and shuns pink.  She plays Nerf, loved Aikido, and is a natural with a bow and arrow.  She has a breathtaking sense of self.  She knows who she is, what she wants, and what she likes.  What she likes is camo, bunnies and kitties, and Minecraft.

Fairies in general aren’t really her thing.  I was really surprised she had noticed The Pirate Fairy and wanted to go see it, honestly.  Miss C is my daughter who loves all things sparkly and well, Disneyfied.  Not V.

feminist fairies on parade

Watching the movie with her, I got it.  I know why Miss V likes Tink and her friends.  It’s because they are totally themselves, too.

The fairies each have their own natural talents, which are nurtured by those in authority- both male and female.  The fairies don’t need to attract a man and don’t think about it every second of every day, but at the same time they aren’t man haters.  The male fairies aren’t all imbeciles or cads, as is so often the case with Disney menfolk.  The boy fairies don’t have to be lessened in intelligence or character for the girls to be equal.  Girl fairies and boy fairies have the same intelligence and the same opportunities.

Each fairy is perfectly herself and everyone else is totally okay with that.  Rosette loves clothes and hair.  That’s what she enjoys, that’s who she is. She doesn’t feel compelled to change her style, even when she changes her talents. (Can you tell we have some fairy fans here? Yes, I’ve seen them all.)  Tinkerbell tinkers. It’s what she does and even when others aren’t so happy with it, she still tinkers.  She doesn’t feel like she needs to change and be like other fairies and start worrying about her shoes during her off time.

Tinkerbell and her world is Disney’s most feminist creation.

If you consider feminism- that is, respecting girls and women as distinct individuals in their own right, as equal contributors to humanity in thought and deed – then the Fairy franchise really is the most feminist of movies aimed at girls.

Disney often gets raked over the coals for their Princess promotion.  The Damsel in Distress, waiting for her Prince Charming to rescue her.  The beautiful girl whose life will be perfect if she can just get a (rich, handsome) man.  If she’s not hanging around being pretty, kind, and charming (Aurora, Cinderella), she’s falling in love with someone unsuitable (Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Rapunzel) who didn’t choose rich, handsome men to start out with.  No worries, the men will be made into Princess Marriage Material by the end of the movie. Usually there’s a fair bit of hiding who she really is (Ariel, Jasmine, Cinderella, Mulan).  Why, Ariel doesn’t even need to say a word. There’s no need for that if you have Princess love, and it’s standard that the movies all wrap up with a couple headed off into the sunset or a wedding.

The only Princess to break out of this mold was Merida, and that’s why Brave is the best movie in the genre to date.

But not so in Neverland.  It’s different with the fairies.

pirate fairy zarina tinkerbell

SPOILER ALERT- though really, you already know how The Pirate Fairy ends, don’t you?  Friends are rescued, everything works out, all’s right in the end.  It’s how they get , there that makes this movie- and the other Tinkerbell movies something different.

The plot: Zarina, a Dust Keeper fairy, is curious.  Gary Fairy (yes, that’s his name, really) can’t answer her questions, so she sets up a lab in her room to experiment on her own. (So STEM of her!)  She invents a new kind of pixie dust but it all goes horribly wrong.  Zarina gets fired, so she runs away.

A year later Zarina comes back, but not to make amends.  She needs special pixie dust to complete her latest experiment, making a pirate ship fly, so she steals it.  The pirates are younger versions of the Neverland pirates; Captain James Hook (voiced by Tom Hiddleston) has both hands but is still treacherous.  He double crosses Zarina, Tinkerbell and crew rescue her, then they join together to get back the stolen pixie dust and save the day.  And of course the day is saved, as it always is, because that is the point of fairy tales, isn’t it?

Tinkerbell and friends, however, are a different sort of Disney heroine.  There are no love triangles.  The six female Fairies devise their own plans, and improvise as needed.  They don’t seek out the guidance of their superiors (who are all asleep) or look for guidance from the mystical and mythological.  No sea witches, future tellers, magic trees, or talking mirrors here- the Fairies know what needs to be done and figure out how to do it, by working together.

They all lean in, and no one is called bossy.

The fairies powers get mixed up, so Tinkerbell becomes a Water Fairy; the Light Fairy, Sunflower, becomes a Garden Fairy, the Garden Fairy, Rosette, becomes an Animal Fairy, and so on.  They work together. They help each other out. They stick together no matter what. They use their natural talents, shoring up each others’ weaknesses, supporting each other and the overall mission (get the pixie dust and save Pixie Hollow.)  They do not flirt or use sex appeal to get their way or to trick people.

Even Zarina, for all her flaws, makes her own choices.  When faced with being dismissed from Dust service, she chooses to leave rather than remain in Pixie Hollow without meaningful work.  She convinced the Pirates to take her on and lead the ship for a year.  She invents and masters different types of pixie dust, creates a plan to steal the Fairies’ prized possession, and puts it into action on her own while the menfolk wait behind.  Later, she uses her knowledge of pixie dust to turn the tables on the Pirates and ultimately save the day.

Tom Hiddleston captain hook

There’s not a lot of nuanced discussion about the Pirates.  They are assumed “bad” because they oppose the fairies, and because they are pirates (duh.) They sing about stealing things and toss around swords.

The Fairies don’t stand on a moral high ground; they seem ambivalent about the Pirates’ plan to steal everything from every port.  In this movie, the Pirates are bad because they took the Pixie dust and were faithless friends to Zarina, not because they plan to loot and pillage.  Don’t look for any righteous life lessons here, unless it’s that when someone is overly flattering watch out for treachery (not a bad thing to know, actually.)

Oh, and Tom Hiddleston.  He sings adequately.  Don’t go see this movie thinking you’re going to get some Tom Hiddleston goodness here. He does the best he can, I suppose, with a flat two-dimensional Disneyfied villain who seems to be an afterthought.  Smee is here, as is the crocodile and his clock.

OK, I think I’ve officially spent way too much time pondering the feminist manifesto of Disney characters, and I’m not even in a women’s studies class.  Am I alone in this?

Which Disney “Princess” do you think is the best role model for girls?   I can’t decide between Fairies (ok, that’s multiple characters) and Merida.

P.S. – my girls go crazy for a good printable, so here are someThe Pirate Fairy coloring sheets!

The Pirate Fairy hasn’t hit Redbox yet but it’s in stores and on Amazon now. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Weekend Love March 28

My husband started a new job recently, and they are working him like crazy.  He put in 80 hours last week, and will finish this week out with 84, having worked 14 days straight.  I am so thankful he works so hard. But I want my husband back!

He did get out a little early this week so we could watch a press screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  My thoughts on that will be up next week).

Tom used to own a comic book shop, and he is loving the new Marvel movie line and how they all tie together.  I gets lots of little side tidbits about character’s pasts and alternate universes and parallel story lines.  My favorites are the ones who aren’t really superheroes/mutants/gods at all, but normal humans who are just really good at what they do.  Black Widow, I’m looking at you.  (OK let’s be honest. My MOST favorite is Loki, of course.)


This Week on the Web

Get ready for April Fool’s day with this easy craft prank.

50 Meatless Meals for Lent. We still have a few weeks to go!

It’s been a month of losses among family and friends this March. Here’s how to Help When Someone Is Hurting (hint: don’t offer to help. Just start helping.)

Monopoly House Rules!  Hasbro is going to issue a special edition. What was your favorite house rule?  Mine is “Land on Go, get $500.”  Share in the comments!


This Week in Real Life

Enjoy Life: Go Fly a Kite. You know you want to!

Clean the House: Change out your air filters for a breath of fresh air- and to make sure you trap incoming pollen.

Cook Something New: Easy 2 ingredient snack bites, great for Lent if you’ve given up sugar but still want something sweet.

Read the Classics: The Kite Runner*

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the
winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud
wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago,
but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can
bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have
been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.

Have a lovely weekend!

* Blogging with Integrity: This post contains affiliate links, marked with a *. Affliliate links help support this site, at no extra cost to you! Thank you!


Go Fly A Kite

Boys flying a kite illustration by Voltz

March is the perfect time to fly a kite, windy but not too cold. National Kite Flying month is March 29- May 4, so get out and celebrate!

Get outside and shake off cabin fever.  Mix things up and take your love to the beach for a fun date or make some memories with your kids.  You can buy kites most anywhere, from Dollar Tree to Target to Hobby Lobby.

Create your own kites from common kitchen supplies, if you like.

Have this song in your head all day.  Skipping is optional but encouraged!

Happy flying!

{ 1 comment }

Wonderful Weekend March 21

philbaby weekend roundup mar 21

This weekend we’re finishing up Spring Break.  Last night I had a wonderful meeting with the Houston Bloggers.  I can’t wait for Blog Elevated Conference next September! I love hanging out with other bloggers.  They get me. And I love talking shop.

Next Monday I have a dentist appoint for a quadrant cleaning, my first.  Sunday is a feast day and Lenten sacrifices are lifted for the day so you can be sure I will be making the most of it before I get those Novocaine injections!

Here’s a roundup of what I found helpful, beautiful, and interesting this week!

This Week on the Web

Tomatoes in containers, everything you need know from a master.

Lisa Jo-Baker on why Lost Sleep Spent Parenting is Worth It. I’m really feeling since the Philbaby likes to eat every hour on the hour this week!

Are you on Twitter? Click this link to see your first tweet.  Ah, the good old days.  (I’m on Twitter – @Milehimama)

Lego Pro.  Yes, it’s an actual job and it’s suprisingly lucrative. Life as a Lego Professional My kids are crazy for Legos, being a career Lego Master would be a dream come true for them!

mama love with Philbaby MissA MissJ

How I spend every afternoon

This Week in Real Life:

Enjoy Life: Take a walk.  With the time change, it stays light so much later but the heat of summer is still in the future.  After dinner, take a walk with someone you love.  Chat while you wander, or just keep pace in companionable silence.  Unplug from tech, leave the iPod at home.  Talk about everything and nothing.  I still remember the few walks my dad took us on around the neighborhood, way back when I was in elementary school.

Clean the house: Give your ceiling fans a good once over, and clean the glass fixtures.  You’ll be putting those fans to work before you know it.

Cook something new:  Smothered Cabbage and Rice.  The trick is to cook the cabbage until it is transformed into a new delicacy.  I’ll be trying this out tonight for meatless Friday!  (Just use vegetable stock instead of beef.)

Read the classics:  The Chosen* by Chaim Potok

 For the first fifteen years of our lives, Danny and I lived within five blocks of each other and neither of us knew of the other’s existence.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Blogging with Integrity: This post contains affiliate links, which are marked with a *.  Purchasing through affiliate links doesn’t cost you anything extra, but helps to support this site. Thank you!  




Behold, the winter is past!


Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.

The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.

Song of Solomon 2:11-13


Washi Love

washi tape fun patterns

I am in love with washi tape.

Washi is basically a colored paper tape (some are plastic, sometimes it’s called design tape.)

My washi collection started because I wanted to doll up my planner and I’m hooked!

washi tape planner page

The best place I’ve found for inexpensive washi is Dollar Tree and Joann’s, which both have washi for a dollah! Hollah!

Joann’s has some for $1 on their scrapbooking bargain end cap, but also has other designs available at different prices.  It’s such a fun little splurge!

washi tape mustache

Miss A and Miss J are washi lovers too.

I am desperate for money themed washi, but no one seems to have any.

washi tape collection

My friends are crazy creative with their washi (upcycled bracelets, clips, custom journals)  but I haven’t tackled any fun projects yet.

Do you washi?



uses for clover in the garden

Clover is amazing.  We have a huge patch that popped up in our side yard and I couldn’t be happier.

Why?  Clover is good for the garden!

It’s a nitrogen fixer, so it improves the soil.  It’s helpful for permaculture and organic gardening, because you won’t need chemical fertilizers.  It acts like a living mulch, crowding out invasive weeds.

burr clover in the garden

Clover attracts bees and pollinating insects which help the garden produce more vegetables.  Feed the bees!

Clover feels great underfoot, and it can withstand being walked on.  You can mow over it, too.

You can eat it!  The leaves can be used in salads or made into tea, and the dried leaves can be used as a vanilla extract substitute in baked goods.  The flowers are edible, too and can make spring salads special.

We don’t use any chemicals on our lawn, so our clover is safe to eat.  Don’t eat clover growing next to your driveway, because it could have residue from car exhaust on it.

Clover is a medicinal herb.  Making a tea out of the flowers and leaves makes an especially good eyewash and clover tincture is supposed to treat gout.  Red clover has been touted as a cancer treatment and may help with coughs.

Red Clover is good for the garden and good medicine, too!

A fistful of red clover on the counter in a jelly jar, that’s how we roll.

Red clover flowers smell like spring, so fresh and sweet.  Watch out for clover with tiny yellow flowers, though. That’s burr clover and those little flowers will turn into sticky burrs!

Want to learn more about using clover sustainably?  Try Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition*

Blogging with Integrity: Links marked with a * are affiliate links.  I bought both of these books for my personal library and recommend them!


Random Ramblings {week 7 2014}

The Philbaby is 3 months old today!


Three chins at three months

Three chins at three months

He still seems so new yet it seems like he’s always been a part of our family, too.  He doubled his weight at his 2 month check up.

And Miss J is 3 years now, too.

MissJ 3 years old

And Miss E also had a birthday so I have 3 teenagers!  She used her birthday money to buy a bracelet loom, then immediately set up a shop selling bracelets.  She’s made almost $10 so far! We didn’t get a vendor’s permit. Shhh.

MissE making bracelets

Good things come in threes, right?

I’m still trying to get in the groove of things around here. Late January is a hard time for homeschoolers.  The doldrums hit, plus our winter is unusually cold, like the rest of country.  I just want to hunker down and drink hot coffee and hibernate.

I changed up our history program for the older boys a little bit, and started a YouTube playlist of documentaries.  We’re marching through the 20th century, using Peter Jenning’s book The Century.  It’s so much more interesting than dry history texts!  I don’t have time in my life for boring books, and I don’t want them to think history is stupid and boring.

Don’t be me and zone out in class and think that McKinley got assassinated because of something vaguely to do with the Teapot Dome scandal.

And speaking of Teapot Dome… who watches Downton Abbey?  My friend Melissa Wiley does awesome recaps and calls it Melrose Abbey.  She’s right, it’s basically a straight up soap opera which usually I despise but I love this one!  Is it the costumes? The historical aspect?  I don’t know! There’s so much that flat out annoys me about the show (can anyone take Cora seriously any more?  Can Mary please have more than one inflection?) but at the same time I love to watch.

And I wouldn’t mind having a Daisy or an Ivy in my own kitchen, either.


Amazon links are affiliate links, if you click through and make a purchase you help support this blog at no extra cost to you!  And we thank you!


About Milehimama

Desperately thrifty mom of 9, sharing my frugal tips, easy shortcuts, recipes, and thoughts on natural living and real food.

Subscribe to get your daily dose of big family life!

You Are Mothers – A Postpartum Manifesto

Pinterest Favorites

Take Your Blog to the Next Level

Early Bird Pricing in Effect- hurry don't miss it! Join us in Galveston in 2014

Start a blog for under $100!