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Veteran Disney screenwriter Linda Woolverton, the studio’s first-ever female animated film scribe, started the ball rolling with Beauty and the Beast, for which she fought tooth and nail to make Belle a tomboy who pursued her own interests ahead of any man's.

And now Woolverton has created Maleficent, demonstrating her remarkable progress (having also co-authored The Lion King) in creating strong, independent female role models.

How infuriating, and frankly insulting, that in 2014 the stereotype of the evil stepmonster is still somewhat robust in film iconography, yet in our real lives it's rarely the case.

This is why I am grateful for Disney’s Maleficent, which is more than a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but a triumph for women everywhere who choose to parent children to whom they did not give birth.

Reading bell hooks is a little like talking to an eccentric, favourite aunt: you gleefully picture her ploughing into conversational niceties and laying waste to social gatherings with her almost obsessive contempt for tact.

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Early wounds have bound us in fear of letting ourselves truly love despite our deep yearnings for it and we seek to supplant this desire with nmaterial greed.— Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke So when I first read this bit, I was sure this was something that was actually, historically recorded (especially since it also apparently shows up in the TV series Taboo).Well, I was doing some research-reading today, and by pure chance, stumbled over this: Despite the benefits of Greenwich Hospital, plenty of men in seaman’s dress were to be seen begging on the streets of London."Because we are spiritually empty we try to fill up on consumerism; we may not have enough love but we can always shop." But if we are willing to turn back to our own hearts we can open ourselves up to "the transformative power of love".And there is no doubt that following hooks' counsel and "choosing to feel love" with friends, family and even strangers is one that can lift you onto a little cloud of happiness and make you wonder why you hadn't thought of it before.--Rebecca Johnson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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