kay barrett

honor both and release what doesn’t serve you. hold your ancestors close and their intentions even closer. remember: self-love is an artistic and community investment. you don’t have to inherit trends of heartbreak, you can undo them too. the broken in you can be beautiful. allow those to love you when you are lost/hurt/grieving. to embrace your limitations and your goals are strengths not to be ignored. being as present as possible is unlearning colonization.
—  kay ulanday barrett

anonymous asked:

What's your opinion on gerda and Kai and romantic love? I know sometimes it seems like they end up together when they grow up, but I feel like most people get very aggressive over whether or not it should be like that.

Looks like you founds yourself some Andersen purists, anon. xD Now, before we assume they’re overreacting, we have to think of several factors that work against the ship… especially the canon and Andersen’s intention as a writer.

  • Kai and Gerda are officially ‘siblings’

This isn’t news if you’re familiar with the story. While they’re not related, Andersen explicitly relates their relationship to siblings:

“They were not brother and sister, but they loved each other almost as much as if they had been”

And Gerda herself mentions Kay is “her adopted brother”. If you wanted a completely unchanged story, you’d be shipping some major indirect incest! And ignore the Westermark effect altogether!

  • Gerda is (canonically) aesexual. 

This might be news to some, but a popular consensus (and one you can even find on SurLaLune!) that, by throwing her red shoes away, Gerda rejects sex - and is chaste and free from carnal desire and urges. This is a contrast to Kay who is a slave to his admiration for the Snow Queen. 

Zipes is one biographer of Andersen who didn’t believe he was bisexual, or even gay, but that he struggled relating to women sexually and this shows in his work, as “a defense against the erotic drive".

Women are consistently punished for sex in his stories - the most gruesome is Karen’s feet being chopped off after she finds she can’t remove her sexy cursed shoes. Her red shoes. Once again, we see red shoes on Karen, which come to represent her wanton sexually-charged partygoing lifestyle. Harold Bloom explicitly notes the symbolism of the Red Shoes “hints at what Freud called over-determination, and renders Karen into the antithesis of Gerda”. 

  • We might be sick of romance. 

Another problem, and one I’m sure people have raised to you, is that Romance is literally everywhere. Billions of dollars, if not trillions, are pumped annually into the overused genre of romance movies, and books, and god forbid, love songs. Deaugh. And, if you know the contents of a romance novel before you’ve even finished reading the blurb on the back, it’s quite possible your audiences have become jaded with romance too. 

Remember that Hayao Miyazaki (one of the biggest anti-romance proponents) cites the 1957 Snow Queen was the one film that inspired him to animate again. And that film’s screenplay explictly calls Kay and Gerda “sworn brother” and “sworn sister”. 

So, there you have it. People can get defensive and aggressive when it comes to shipping Kay and Gerda… but please always remember that they’re not wrong. They might actually be the most right. 

Does that mean you are for wanting to ship them? I certainly hope not! Romance isn’t dead, so long as you know what you’re doing. ;) Now remember the following:

Gerda is asexual. She is NOT aromantic. 

Nowhere in the story is Gerda stated to be incapable of love. In fact, quite the opposite. Gerda’s relationships to the Reindeer, the Robber Girl, and the Old Woman who knows Witchcraft, are all loving - and it’s love that makes allies out of her strangers. It follows that I don’t think it’s possible to believe Gerda’s incapable of romantic love. 

…I know Gerda and the Little Robber Girl is a popular slash pairing. xD It’s not something Andersen would’ve liked (he believed women got together to scheme behind his back!), but I think it’s cute. I could ship it. 

  • Our interpretation is always subjective:

Our understanding of Andersen is, at best, a guess into a his weird, oddly shiny, head - we can’t say for certain which biographer is right or who is wrong. And though I feel their educated guesses are more or less on the dot, folklorist Patsy Maritz has a different… interesting interpretation of Gerda:

Gerda has a counterpart in the real world. This young woman commits herself to a young man from an early age. He is her childhood sweetheart but rejects her when he goes through a very difficult adolescence. He suffers a deep form of identity crisis and perhaps becomes a gangster or a drug addict, involving himself in a destructive relationship. He attaches his sleigh to that of the snow queen, a femme fatale. However, he is rescued by his first love, returns home as a prodigal and continues his life, carrying out his moral obligations.

This is supported by doctors Carol Miller and John Boe who relates Kay’s emotional state to that of an textbook case of abused children, trying to rationalize their trauma, but suffering an identity crisis as they do so: “The little boy sees the Snow Queen (who is freezing him to death) as beautiful, representing the way an abused child delusionally holds onto the good image of the parent, blaming themselves as evil or ugly for the abuse while maintaining the parent is really good.”

I think the best novel that really captures the sense of despair and identity crisis the Snow Queen represents is Michael Cunningham’s Snow Queen, where he gives us two ‘Kays’, Barrett and Tyler, who both find normal life a drab miserable place without creativity and love. It’s worth a read if you like to think of Kay’s character as a deeply damaged psyche and Gerda as a loving ‘cure’. 

And, finally, my last point:

  • There are some Gerda and Kai pairings that are seriously cute as a couple. 



So fly forth, my pretties. Use your knowledge wisely and ship as your please. Make Gerda and Kay’s love what you want it to be; just remember to make us love Gerda and Kay.