Thursday, 14 January 2010

Playing princesses, Disney style

The Princess and the Frog came out this school holidays, featuring Disney's first black princess, and is perhaps the closest, plot-wise, to feminist that such a tale has got thus far.

Sadly The Princess and the Frog continues the ongoing tradition of princesses with waists so thin they would snap, eyes so big there surely wouldn't be much skull room left for brains, and a suggestion of legs so long that Princess Tiana would struggle to sit without hitting herself in the chin with her own knees:
What on earth would have been wrong with giving her proportions similar to the woman who voiced her? And yes, the Disney prince is pretty ridiculously proportioned too.

Things sure have changed since the first Disney Princess, Snow White, in 1937:


Brett Dale said...

Do you have a problem with the male hero's of these Disney cartoons being Handsome.

Or Do you think the lead male character should look like Danny Devito?

In Disney and children's fairytales more often than not, the good characters (male and Female) are good looking and the bad are ugly.

Apart from Shrek and Beauty and the beast, Im yet to see a short, fat balding dude with glasses as the hero of the story.

The same could be apply to any hollywood movie.

Tom Cruise is always the hero, and William Dafoe or Billy Bob Thorton is always the bad guy.

I wonder why??

Julie said...

Yes Brett there is a whole cultural thing about good looking = good and not so good looking = bad in art, movies etc, going back centuries. Eg. when I was studying art from Ancient Greece you generally got good women portrayed as very white of skin, with good men having darker skins. Vice versa was one sign of being the bad guy sometimes.

I don't think it's ok for male characters either. It is however significantly more pronounced for women. We have had this discussion before, quite recently, here, and I still ask where are the female equivalents to Gene Hackman or Jack Nicholson in the current Hollywood acting fraternity?

In the case however of an animated feature the characters appearance doesn't have to be limited by the acting pool available/with the required skills etc. They can draw the character anyway they want that will fit with the story. I'm yet to read anything featuring a human character that really requires that person to be portrayed as having almost no waist, eyes as big as saucers, and impossible bodily proportions in regard to limbs:torso:head size.

Brett Dale said...

There have been strong actresses in television and ther movies, Candice Bergen (Murphey Brown and Boston Legal)

Mary Lynn Rayskub (Chole O Brian)

Christina Ricci is another.

But on the whole your right.

Hugh said...

I think you've got a bingo card coming your way, Brett.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever wondered how superman could fly, Spiderman could spin webs, Barbie seemed to have an endless supply of cash, and Wonderwoman never got arrested for being a vigilante?

Well I'll let you into a little secret

Its a friggin cartoon!!!

Julie said...

Anon, and your point is what?

Fiona said...

Um Snow White was pretty, just more normally proportioned, the looks thing is one issue the barbieisation of the cartoon proportions another.
As Julie said a correctly proportioned cartoon based on the actor doing her voice would have been lovely.
My biggest issues with these cartoons was with the Beauty and the Beast one where the Beast turned into the handsome prince, the kid in the theater sitting behind summed it up perfectly "who's he?" that child had just seen the love and acceptance and didn't need the change to acceptably handsome. Yes it was a male character but along the same lines I think.

notafeminist said...

I guess what Anon's trying to say is that cartoons, duh, don't reflect reality at all. They represent a completely separate parallel world that is not derived from ours, and we can not possibly be harmed, offended, or negatively affected by it. In this parallel world, beauty equals disproportionate waistlines (complete coincidence that we have the same obsession in this universe), male heroes are never flabby and acne prone, but muscular (which is also our unrealistic version of heroes but hey, coincidence). It's a friggin cartoon, you silly feminist types that try to find problems in every single thing, gosh! Just like in our universe Spiderman can't actually spin webs, young impressionable girls can't possibly be affected by the unrealistic beauty of the heroines. This is like, SO a valid comparison.


Anonymous said...

Way to go ruining perfectly innocent cartoons, girls. There is no Disney conspiracy, it's good old fashioned innocent fun - don't turn it into something it isn't.

Brett Dale said...

I dont think people are talking about a conspiracy, Disney does though play on sterotypes with what should be good and bad.

david said...

God you girls are such bores.
You're never going to meet a guy and get married if you carry on like this.

Phoenix said...

David, who says getting married is something to aspire to?

Anonymous said...

True... these girls think marriage is a form of shackle.

Complaining about a freaking Disney film (as an "adult") generally shows we are dealing with the lower life form, who have a general need to complain about everything. Best we ignore them.

Julie said...

Dear Anon,
Your current bingo count is now 5. Would you like me to print you up a little certificate so you can put it up on your wall and do your little happy dance?