Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Disney characters: not great role models

It's the middle of midterms here, and everyone is sniffling and stressed out (there's a nasty cold going around - try to get enough sleep!), but I really enjoyed these cartoon. Via Feministing:

Once again, my mother is vindicated in not letting me watch Disney movies as a child. Although this doesn't actually show some of the nastiest stereotypes - Disney is totally unafraid to take on race as well as gender and come out with something incredibly offensive. From Sociological Images, the princesses we are missing (not including Tiana, the latest African-American princess, who I'm sure is a whole mess of problematic):

Pocahontas (1995) – Saves a man’s life with her two assets, her beauty and her animal companions.

Mulan (1998) – Saves a county from a racist caricature with her two assets, her intelligence and her animal companions. Picks up a boyfriend along the way.

Giselle (2007) – Taken care of by strangers because of her only asset, her beauty. Saved by a kiss from a man. Saves a man with help from her animal companions.

And if this just isn't enough for you, you can always watch Sarah Haskins' take on Disney princesses - it's old, but excellent. And for goodness' sake, can somebody tell me why Disney is so obsessed with the animal companions?

But if you thought this was a problem just for female characters, think again - Disney princes are equally vapid. Another great cartoon (thanks to Flora for the tip, via BuzzFeed):


2 Comments:

At October 27, 2009 at 10:23 PM , Anonymous Wazir said...

Because women never derive benefit from their sexuality in real life.

 
At October 29, 2009 at 2:36 AM , Blogger xockcin said...

I have one comment and one question

1. The cartoon's simplistic take on Belle cheapens and vulgarizes what is—for a Disney movie, at least—a genuinely rich and complex love story. Otherwise it's pretty much right on target.

2. This post failed to mention two notable female Disney characters from two of the best Disney movies ever: Nala from *The Lion King* and Eva from *WALL-E*. They not human but still inarguably female, and both are not nearly so fatally problematic as the classic Disney princesses. Do they do anything to complicate this post's blanket condemnation of Disney's gender politics?

*If you don't think Pixar movies count as Disney movies, fair enough; the question of Nala remains.

 

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