Tangled

Tangled is my personal favorite out of all Disney Princess films, for a few reasons, but I will discuss what is problematic about it as well.

There are 0 PoC in this whole film.

There is a charismatic chameleon, but not PoC. I know a lot of people like to try to “debunk” the missing PoC in Disney due to some twisted and ignorant form of “historical accuracy” but let’s be real here. There is a chameleon that talks but no PoC. The absurd “historical accuracy” argument in regards to this film is junk.

 

A really cool aspect to this film is how it deals with toxic relationships and emotional abuse. Rapunzel’s relationship with Mother Gothel is the epitome of a toxic relationship. Gothel never actually wants to protect Rapunzel, she just wants to retain eternal youth and hold Rapunzel’s magic hair captive. Not to mention, Gothel STOLE RAPUNZEL FROM HER CRIB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Talk about a parent’s worst nightmare.

Gothel makes Rapunzel feel like she’s not good enough for anyone to love her. That staying trapped in the tower and being used by Gothel is as good as life is going to get for Rapunzel. I believe that the tower is a metaphor for the way abused victims feel while in an abusive relationship. You’re under a certain fog. The real world seems surreal and scary. You feel worthless. And all the while I was watching Tangled, I saw myself in Rapunzel.

The really cool thing about Tangled is that it breaks barriers on abusive relationships. While a lot of people think of abuse as something that happens in intimate relationships, it also happens in parent-child relationships. It’s always important to remember that. Also in this instance a woman is the abuser. While abuse IS a gendered issue, and 9 out of 10 times the abuser is a man, women can exert abusive behaviors as well.

Here is a power and control wheel, designed by the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Mother Gothel exerts many of the behaviors on this wheel in her relationship with Rapunzel.

 

Watch Gothel’s big musical number in relation to the power and control wheel. You’ll understand where I’m coming from. Seeing myself represented in this film was a major step in my recovery from a abusive parental relationship that I had. Representation in media and discussion of tough topics is so extremely important.

Feminist rating: 9/10

Passes Bechdel Test

Fails Racial Bechdel Test

 

 

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Disney’s Distortion of Awesome Princesses through Merchandise, Part 2

This is a continuation of this post here.

Mulan

Above you can see the distortion of Mulan through Disney’s revamp of its princesses. While I already dislike the marketing of Mulan in anything but soldier gear, I don’t want to hate on femininity too much, because femininity is awesome. And being feminine doesn’t mean you’re not a badass or tough or strong. But what I DO dislike about the marketing of Mulan is that Disney seems to forget that Mulan was a soldier and pretended to be a man for over half the film. She hated dressing up and being a puppet.

Disney whitened Mulan’s skin and redesigned her dress to be sparkly. Perhaps the most disgusting retouching they did of this princess is her eyes and hair. I don’t think the Mulan we know would be caught dead in something like this. So why does Disney market her like this? Because they socialize little girls to believe that being sparkly and unrealistically beautiful is what a princess should be.

 Cinderella

Cinderella is also dramatically reimagined for this newer marketing campaign. Take, for example, the difference in size of her ribcage, the enlargement of her eyes and mouth, and they narrowed her shoulders.  Cinderella has been all around shrunk to fit the current version of the beauty myth. With Cinderella already being a problematic story, there’s no reason to confuse girls even more about their place or what they’re supposed to be.

Now that I’ve shown you what to look for in the redesigns of our beloved characters, here are some more for comparison:


All in all, please do not be distracted by the sparkles and red carpet glam Disney painted these women with. Think about the images you’re surround by and how they are edited to fit a certain corporation’s agenda.

Media Literacy 101

 

This is a video post I’m sharing of Melissa Fabello, an editor of Everyday Feminism, a website dedicated to activism and education. Here she shares the importance of critically thinking about the media we consume, and how we feel after we consume it.

She jokes about how we probably don’t want to be “that friend.” The one that is constantly criticizing media for its lack of diversity in all forms (women, people of color, fat people and thin people, etc). But the reality is, we should all be that friend. We should all work to maintain media literacy.

That’s what I’ve strived for in my criticism of Disney the past few months. I’ve wanted to work on my own media literacy while educating others.

What we consume as a culture and society shapes us as individuals. What we show our children shapes them as adults. We need to educate ourselves and want something better for ourselves.

As Melissa says in the video above, all media is owned by 6 corporations. And those 6 corporations are run by straight, white men. If all of our media and stories are coming from that slim demographic, we really need to think about the stereotypes and misinformation we are consuming when we watch television or read magazines.

What I want for my children, and what I’m sure a lot of people want for their children, is to lead happy and healthy lives. I want them to love themselves and the people around them. I want them to enjoy their world and the media. I don’t want them to grow up hating themselves. So, let’s all work on media literacy.

You can find a post on educating children on media literacy here.

Aladdin

Finally, a movie with PoC! Too bad it is riddled with Western propaganda and Arab stereotypes! Let’s talk about that opening number.

Phew! What a racist doozy. “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!”

Jasmine is the only named, speaking woman in the WHOLE FILM. She is literally just a puppet that is tossed around throughout the film to further the plot of the men. Aladdin courts her to get some, Jafar mind controls the Sultan to marry her, and the Sultan (her father) needs her to get married. Everything Jasmine does centers around men. Even her tiger, Rajah, is male.

Her costume is highly sexualized for the Western male fantasy. This story, loosely influenced by One Thousand and One Nights, takes place in Persia. Persian princesses do not dress as Jasmine dresses. She is basically dressed in her underwear. But nobody in Disney gives this a second thought.

What a more accurate Persion princess might look like compared to Jasmine's sexualized look

What a more accurate Persion princess might look like compared to Jasmine’s sexualized look

To top it all off, Jasmine is as bland as characters can get (not that the white princess have anything to them but c’mon, Disney….). She shows the same independent streak that Belle, and Ariel had, but Jasmine is a victim of the Sexy Lampshade. She could be replaced with a sexy lampshade and the whole plot would remain the same. She does nothing but tempt men the whole film.

I have found another video for you enjoyment that discussed the harmful isms in Aladdin: 

Feminist rating: 0/10

Fails Bechdel Test

Passes Racial Bechdel Test

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

This is a Disney film without a single person of color.

First and foremost, this film perpetuates the belief that womenare out to get each other in terms of competing attractiveness and youth from the get go. A jealous, older, widowed step mother plots to murder her “beautiful” step daughter on the basis of a perceived threat. Not to mention the fact that a freaking mirror  relayed the message to the queen that she is no longer the “fairest in the land.” This is a control tactic patriarchy uses against women. Oppression 101, make sure the oppressed groups do it to themselves.

Snow White is another princess that embodies the so called cult of womanhood. She is forgiving, kind, thin, attractive to men, gentle, nurturing, etc. (At the very least she is not blonde). This is truly an unfair standard for our young girls to ascribe to. Women are people and not 1 dimensional things. We have thoughts, feelings, passions, tempers, etc, and that’s what make us human. We’re quite complicated, but all humans are. So why are women constantly depicted as this one standard?

 

This film dabbles in the idea of “true love’s kiss” and finding a man. Which begs the question, is this story about women really about women, or is it about the men that save the women from each other? Also, if Snow White is really dead (or in a death like slumber), the prince, like, kisses a corpse? Gross…?

Feminist rating: -10/10

Fails Bechdel Test

Fails Racial Bechdel Test