In “Once Upon a Dream,” the first essay in The Male Gazed: On Hunks, Heartthrobs, and What Pop Culture Taught Me About (Desiring) Men, published in May by Catapult, Manuel Betancourt recounts the complicated feelings and moments of self-reflection that he experienced as an impressionable eight-year-old watching Disney’s classic animated 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. More captivated at first by Princess Aurora and her woodland creatures, Betancourt examines how gazing at Prince Phillip’s “slim, alluring body” startled him. “This was the first of many instances in which the silvery images on-screen kindled a growing realization that maybe I wasn’t like other boys,” he writes. Can you remember watching an animated film or television show that startled you into a new realization about yourself? Write an essay that reflects on the ways in which a particular cartoon character struck a chord with you.
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Author: Writing Prompter