not really and that’s why i compiled a response
Can we get off the race rant, please?! Here’s my problem. When people say “white,” they are seeing a huge population as one color, just as people had done to those of darker complexions. So let’s take a third look at those white princesses:
- Snow White: Bavarian
- Cinderella: French
- Belle: French
- Aurora: English
- Ellonwy: Welsh
- Ariel: “Atlantian,” but listed also as Danish.
- Megara: Greek
- Merida: Scottish
- Rapunzel: Not listed, going to say German based on the source material.
- Anna and Elsa: Source material is Danish (Hans Christian Anderson). No word on actual nationality or suggested nationality.
- Kida: Given that “Atlantis” stems from it’s Greek roots, I’m giving this one to the Greeks.
(Vanellope and Giselle are harder, because Vanellope is a white character from a Japanese video game, and Giselle is a parody of Disney Princesses in general.)
It’s as if I said that Jamaicans, Africans, and Haitians were all the same because of their skin tone. Look, I know it’s important to have a diverse group of characters, and it’s important to me when I’m writing characters, as well. But bringing race into it like it’s all about the skin color is just as bad as bringing hair color into it. I don’t care that Belle and Merida are both white, they’re from two very different parts of the world, and the stories reflect that. Some stem from the idea that these fairy tales and stories were from a certain part of the world, like Denmark or Germany. And some take a tale and turn it on it’s side: The Lion King stems from an English story, but it’s set in Africa with lions (That story by the way is Hamlet). Technically, Kiara is a princess, you know (and that movie was Romeo and Juliet).
I hate the idea that people constantly bring up race in this fight, it just forces the fact that we’re different and separates us even more. Disney has had so many people attack them for their alleged racism, yet while those people have been argued against by people much smarter than I, they still whine that Disney is racist.
And look at that line in the Disney Renaissance: Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, Megara, Kiara (I’m counting it!): 3 women of color (from 3 different parts of the world), 3 white women (from three different parts of Europe), and one Lion. They keep on going through to make many different characters from all different countries and backgrounds. Ok, if you add Esmeralda to that list as a female main character you get 4 white women, but Hunchback of Notre Dame was set in France, and had to take place in France. It’s still quite a great balance, and during that time, and even to this day, Disney continues to make interesting characters and settings that anyone can sit down and enjoy, regardless of the color of their skin. So please, just calm down with this Disney hate. There are plenty of talented, awesome people at Disney who have many ideas to share with the world, and I’m sure quite a few of those ideas have just what you’re looking for. But it takes time, and committing to those projects is a huge job. And hey, there’s even more diversity in other movies that came out at or around that time by other studios. Titan A.E. had a kickass Asian woman who could hold her own, made her own decisions, and whom the male lead put trust in numerous times. What?! That’s that whole awesome character from Pacific Rim YEARS before that was a glint in Guillermo del Toro’s eye. Go Don Bluth. Anastasia, while not very good overall, set a story in Russia, a place where not many people make animated movies of. Again, Go Don Bluth. And Prince of Egypt not only set a story in Egypt, but went out of their way to depict the Egyptians and the Hebrews differently (two races of Middle Eastern descent, so…not white, either), not just as a different shade on a color palette, while also sticking to their idea of making them look similar to the Egyptian art of the time.
So my question is, where do you see this drastic lack of diverse characters in animation, including but not limited to Disney Animation?
The ‘but the white princesses are all from different countries!’ is a weak argument. The Europe you see in a Disney film is a very Americanized version of Europe (i.e. pretty much every pop culture reference). And ultimately, the actual settings are downplayed to make their films friendlier to American audiences. Ultimately, film goers will ID the princess as white from a vaguely European country.
The thing is this: everytime Disney picks a European country for their setting, it’s furthering the idea that fairy tales are for white people only. It’s flooding the markets and TVs and theaters with yet another white woman as the standard of beauty and virtue. And the Disney versions of these fairy tales aren’t meant to pay tribute to to any European culture, but rather entertain and sells toys to young girls. It’s also a cheap excuse for Disney to have white only casts, since medieval Europe was TOTALLY only white people (it wasn’t).
You’re demonstrating why ‘color blind’ thinking is harmful. Young WoC need role models and people who look like them, too. Creating another world of nothing but white people is hardly inclusive.
(I’m not sure how Don Bluth et al. factor into this at all? We’re discussing Disney.)
(And I LOVE Disney, my favorite film is The Lion King. Please don’t tell me that the only way to be a fan is to enthusiastically embrace any/all decisions.)
This person just pretty much sated without meaning to why this conversation is important. You can name all the nationalities of all these white princesses yet women of color don’t get to have that. That’s the issue. The issue isn’t that we don’t want any white princesses just maybe can we hold off and bring some women of color who are of different nationalities i.e. Japanese, Indian, Kenyan, etc.?
This person is truly reaching for straws at this point and it’s laughable. Also, don’t bring Don Bluth when we are focusing specifically on Disney Princesses and in particular the Princess line that gets sold in stores.
Look at all those men. Let’s see, what characters were there in the original story?
Gerda, Kai, the Snow Queen, Kai’s grandmother, an old sorceress, a prince, a princess, a woman who leads a gang of robbers, the little robber girl, the Lapp woman and the Finn woman. So that’s nine female characters and two male characters in the original story. Frozen seems to be attempting to reverse that number.
But it’s totally ok guys, cause Frozen is about sisters, so it’s going to be just as feminist friendly and empowering as the original story for sure!
And don’t forget, her sister is described as the obstacle!
"What I like about doing a fairy tale today is, audiences want something big and meaty. It’s not as simple as some of the classics like ‘Cinderella.’ It’s not focusing on princess stories as much as family stories. It’s one ordinary girl’s struggle to help save the world, with her sister as the main obstacle."
Megara - friends call me Meg, at least they would if I had any friends.
Sylvia as Meg
Wait, did she pull that gun from under her wedding dress?!
I stand by my conviction that vaginas are handy dandy
Victoria’s Secret Compartments.
semi-casual reminder that john lasseter has explicitly stated that one of his wishes as a storyteller/head honcho at pixar was to make movies starring boys because his young son doesn’t have any ~positive representation~ in children’s movies
[.gif removed by @baroness-boogerface for accessibility]
is there a source for this? my google-fu sucks
I just want my rage to be founded
kind of gave up on finding the original interview bcs i only got so much energy in me to devote to reading interviews with a dude who makes me mad, but @ferrific dug up these two pieces both of which are p gross and supportive of the whole pixar is a boys’ club/pixar makes movies for boys thingamajig: nytimes / esquire
thanks so much, bb
SO THAT’S GOOD TO KNOW 8|
Personally this is my first run-in with any outright evidence of sexism from him. I haven’t thought about his career critically yet
He didn’t want to talk much about certain aspects of Pixar, like the studio’s shortage of directors who are women and female protagonists in its films.
“I typically don’t read the reviews,” he said, not exactly answering the question. “I make movies for that little boy who loves the characters so much that he wants to pack his clothes in a Lightning McQueen suitcase.”
And the BOYSFATHERSBOYS angle annoyed me too much to read it, lol.
Traditional Aurora costume, no short skirts here!
and the extra 2 feet of fabric makes it 30 bucks more than the short skirt version! Yay Capitalism!
COSPLAYERS! EVERYWHERE! AWESOME COSPLAYERS!
I keep having discussions about Disney films and how racist many of the classics are, but the subject that I most fall upon is the 1953 version of Peter Pan, which holds an absurd breadth of racial stereotypes that there are musical numbers and plot sequences directly the product of such racial stereotypes of Native Americans. Certainly, the film’s portrayal undoubtedly permeated into the pretend games of children and their perception of how Native Americans behaved - I know this movie influenced me to wear feathers in my hair, pretend to do Indian tribal dances, and say “how” over and over.
The defense I hear most often from people is that films like Peter Pan “were not racist at the time they were made.”
What they really mean is that white people didn’t think it was racist at the time they were made. The film is just as racist then just as it is now. The fact that people can say movies like Peter Pan were “products of their time” negate that actual Native Americans have been vocal about their objections to the homogenization and stereotypical portrayal of their cultures and their race for literally centuries, but white people just didn’t listen to them. The constant apologism that something “wasn’t racist back then” implies that it is white society that deems what is racist, rather than the people of color directly affected and portrayed. Again, if it is racist now, it was racist then.
Also, children buy into these stereotypes, but children didn’t make this film; grown men did. It was a grown man who wrote the original Peter Pan story and its stereotypical portrayals of Natives. People talk about white creators back then as if they were little kids who didn’t know better. We shouldn’t give them an easy reprieve because a bunch of grown men “didn’t know better” to consider that Native Americans were people and not caricatures. If you like Peter Pan, you can like it, but we shouldn’t downplay its racism nor make excuses.