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Alice in Wonderland
Role Model for Young Women?

In advance of the release of the motion picture "Alice in Wonderland," Megan Lloyd, professor of English at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has authored a chapter titled "Unruly Alice: A Feminist View of Some Adventures in Wonderland" for the book "Alice and Wonderland and Philosophy".

In a class Lloyd teaches at King's, "Unruly Women Throughout the Ages," she asked her class to defend their favorite heroine. Most students chose a Disney princess thinking they were unruly females going against the flow of male rules imposed upon them. But two students chose Alice and defended the choice saying Alice required no fairy godmother, huntsman or good fairy - just her own wits and ingenuity.

Lloyd contends that the 145-year old story by Lewis Carroll and the story's heroine, a seven-year old girl, has much to teach twenty-first century young women.

According to Lloyd, the curiosity and confidence Carroll instills in Alice connect her with other unruly women studied in the class, such as Lysistrata, Shakespeare's Kate, Emma Bovary, Marie Antoinette, Marilyn Monroe, Pandora and Eve.

"Alice's direct, candid approach to life is something to which today's college-aged women relate. They understand the story of a young woman who has the world before her, ready to embark on life, who changes herself, primarily by eating and drinking, to fit in. She encounters all types, tests herself, tastes life around her, and once she learns the right combination to fit in and be comfortable with herself, she's welcomed into a beautiful world where she possesses wisdom, power, and prestige."

"Alice rejects and frees herself from stereotypical female traits; she is not trapped by the confines of roles or requirements. She rejects the world her sister occupies; then, in her journey through Wonderland she questions the nurturing role of mother; and finally she stands up to seemingly powerful females and males alike, including the Queen of Hearts, the Duchess (wants Alice to take a "dumb blonde" approach to life), the Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter (the tea party was an all-male world), and the Cheshire Cat."

"Alice offers another world, one that needs not be dull. Hers is a reality where women author their own tales, work out their own problems, expect the extraordinary, and speak their minds. Faced with continuing mistreatment and stereotypical expectations, today's young women do well to ask themselves, what would Alice do?"

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