An oldie but a goodie from my old blog. I still like this rant, so I’ll copypaste it in all its goodness here. BECAUSE I AM BORED AND I CAN. More to come later cos I am secretly princess-obsessed behind this facade of feminist lesbian who works with dead bodies and never wears paaaaiiiiiink. (Though I would if I had pink stuff that didn’t make me feel dumb…)
Disclaimer: I have nothing against the Disney company. In fact, it was me arguing that “Snow White” was FAR more groundbreaking than Avatarded that brought on thinking about all this. (I really hated Avatar. Don’t ask why; I don’t have to justify myself to you. Just know it was a poorly-written piece of shit, and certainly didn’t break any ground. Anyway that’s not my point here.) Just throwing that out there. That said, I have a LOT to say about the “Disney Princess” franchise, and the idea of Disney Princesses in general.
According to the Disney company the eight NINE “official” Disney princesses are Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (Aladdin), Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana (The Princess and The Frog). Let’s examine these 9, their movies, and who I like to call the “unofficial” Disney Princesses. Firstly, the thre “old” princesses: Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora. Some people think that because I am a feminist, I dislike these three movies, but that’s not really the case. I mean, these three came BEFORE 2nd-wave feminism in the 60s and 70s, so the fact that the title characters AND villains were all women was pretty cool for the time. And I have a lot of respect for the movie Snow White because, as I said before the cut, it was positively groundbreaking at the time. In 1937, there had not only never been an animated feature film, but there’d never been animation in COLOUR either. You bet your ass everyone in the business looked at Walt Disney thinking “Oh, Walt, you crazy old fuck, you gon’ go bankrupt.” See, cos without Snow White, animation as we know it today wouldn’t exist. That not only means no 2-D animation. This also means no CGI. No Pixar, no “Shrek”, no special effects as we know them. “Transformers” movies, and even the cartoon, would be nonexistant if not for li’l ole Snow. Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it. So despite that Snow herself is a little too trusting (Then again, she’s only 13 or 14, and I know I was dumb at that age), I do really like this movie because of all that. Cinderella and Aurora, though… Now it’d be unfair to look at these two with my feminist glasses on, considering it was the 50s when they came about, but that doesn’t mean I love these movies. (Though props to Sleeping Beauty for being one of few pre-feminist movies to pass the Bechdel test.) Especially Cinderella. Cinderella’s one of my least favourite Disney princesses. Despite that the sequels tried to give her a bit more background, Disney’s version of Cindy is just a boring character. She just takes all the abuse her stepfamily gives her with little complaint, and she doesn’t have any real flaws. Little girls are supposed to relate to her? Why, she’s little more than a Mary Sue. Also, the story is bland. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty had death, magic, and adventure. Cinderella’s climax was Cindy being locked in her room. But what REALLY bothers me is how she’s presented in marketing. She’s sorta become the impromptu leader of the official princesses. In fact, look:
There she is, front and centre, while Disney’s first princess Snow White is shoved off to the side. I chose this pic cos it has the official lineup before Tiana was added, but there’s lots of princess merchandise where Snow isn’t included at all while Cindy smiles front and centre. Also, notice how she’s always presented in blue. Cinderella’s magic dress in the movie was not blue, it was silver! Also, and this is just me, but she’s not even that pretty. Snow is adorable and Aurora’s effing gorgeousness personified, but I always found Cindy to be plain. Even in her own sequels, her stepsister Anastasia is a far more interesting character. I dunno, maybe I just have a grudge against this movie cos I’m a cat person and the only cat in it was evil. Aurora, while really pretty, is pretty bland too. In fact she seems kind of dumb, though in that scene she may have been under Maleficent’s spell. And yet I really like her movie, cos it has AWESOME leads. And I don’t mean Phillip or Aurora either. The real leads of the story are all female, and all kinda old too, which is awesome. I mean, of course, the fairies: Flora, Fauna, Merriweather, and evil fairy Maleficent. They do everything important in this movie. And don’t say “but Phillip defeated Maleficent!” Bullshit, he did not. The fairies supplied him with his weapons, and it was their magic that guided the sword through Maleficent’s heart. Plus as a villain, even to modern children Maleficent is terrifying. No wonder that even now Disney uses her as their MAIN villain half the time. (i.e. the Kingdom Hearts games, the book “Kingdom Keepers”, Fantasmic - even in non-Disney “The Woest Witch”!) Oh, and that’s not all of the “old” Disney princesses. There’s one more from this pre-feminist era. And no, I don’t mean Alice, the “Princess of Heart” from the first KH game. I don’t count her. Why should I? I mean a girl who was called a princess in her own movie, a girl integral to the plot of her own movie and part of Disney’s first love triangle: Princess Tiger Lily of Neverland. And really, wtf was up with KH when the villains thought Wendy was the seventh Princess of Heart? What the hell did Wendy do? Tiger Lily was the most important girl (and, not including fairies, I think the only one given a name) on all of Neverland, and Disney’s Peter Pan seemed to find her a hell of a lot more attractive than Wendy - He didn’t let Wendy kiss him but was all too happy when Tiger did it. ~sand3 on dA does a real good job of pointing this out here:
Of course, I can’t hold too much against Disney for wanting to forget. It’s difficult to watch “Peter Pan” in today’s PC era without cringing. “But wait,” you cry, “that’s the OLD princesses. What about the new ones? Surely you must like them!” Well, not all of them, no. And here I’m gonna jump forward to the Disney Renaissance - sorry, Princess Eilonwy, I feel bad for you but I never saw your movie and thus can’t really offer an opinion on it. And firstly, I’d like to say that 1989’s TLM was NOT the start of the Disney Renaissance. No, Disney’s real comeback came a year before, with 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. Now while I do like that movie (Actually, I love it. I think it’s one of the best movies of all time and if you haven’t seen it you should fix that ASAP), it didn’t have any princesses in it. Sorry, Jessica, you were AMAZING to look at, but you weren’t royalty. You didn’t even represent the princess archetype. YOUR archetype was more femme fatale. So, Ariel it is. This little ex-mermaid is without a doubt one of the most popular Disney princesses. She has three movies AND a TV series. Only Aladdin and Jasmine share that honour. But… here’s the thing, and I know someone will hate me for saying this, but it has to be said. I cannot STAND Ariel. I tried to like her. After all, I like mermaids, and her design is kinda neat, even if it seems lifted straight outta Jem. (Coincidence? Fess up, Disney - Jem came first!)
Why do I hate her so much? Well… she’s the first real “post-feminist” (I hate that word, but you know what I mean) princess. So why, I ask you, is she such a blithering idiot? I can excuse how dumb the “old” princesses are cos of when their movies were made, but Ariel?. To quote the Nostalgia Chick, “I sold my soul for a vagina and a man I don’t know!” Not only that, but my friend told me that at Disney World, when a little girl asked Ariel where her tail was, Ariel’s response was a giggly “I don’t know!” Ugh. Okay, that last one may be the cast member’s fault, but the NChick’s point still stands. And for people who are gonna protest that she wanted to see the human world anyway, yes, I understand that, but she didn’t go to Ursula until AFTER discovering Eric. (Only once, too, I might add.) And sure, Ariel got lucky that Eric did fall for her, but what if he hadn’t? What if he’d been already married? Or what if he’d been a murderous rapist? And in the final battle Ariel didn’t do shit, either. Stupid bimbo. See, this is why I prefer the original fairy tale, because the mermaid in that one (Let’s just call her Salacia, after Neptune’s wife in Roman mythology) wasn’t selling herself out for some strange man. No, in Salacia’s case, she wanted a soul because souls get to go to heaven and dead little mermaids don’t. And it was her sisters who cut off their hair so their sister could pay the sea witch, who helped Salacia by cutting out her tongue and cutting her tail into legs so that it was incredibly painful every time she took a step on land. It was only once she got on land that she met a man and fell for him, and she didn’t get him in the end anyway. Instead she DIED. But because she’d tried so damn hard and sacrificed so much, her spirit got a second chance to earn its way into heaven. Even though I’m an atheist, I can relate to this version more. Ariel just wanted to get herself some poon. Also, what’s up with Disney giving a mermaid a Hebrew name? XD Thankfully, Disney’s next princess was exponentially more awesome. I mean, of course, Belle of 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast”, and you know this movie was amazing. To this day it’s the only animated feature to ever be nominated for best feature. It was also the third-highest grossing film of 1991. No wonder Disney made it their first of many Broadway musicals. It was also the first musical I ever saw performed, at about 7 or 8, so it holds a special place in my heart. And the thing is, I really like Belle. I always have. And, I mean, it is personal bias, but you gotta understand where I’m coming from. See, when I was a little kid, I LOVED books (still do), and I was also a bit of an outcast for awhile. I was brunette with that weird gold-brown-green eye colour. There was NO ONE on TV or in movies and books who looked or acted like me. Love interests and heroines were girly and flighty and more often than not blonde. So when my mother brought home the VHS tape (oh god remember those?) of BatB, I was thrilled. Finally there was a heroine who looked and acted like me. Also her princess dress is yellow, which has been my favourite colour my whole life. There are some people who think Belle suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, and while that’s a fascinating theory in its own right, I do think it’s false. See, because Belle doesn’t begin to fall for Prince Adam (btw, that’s his real name people. It says so in the official Disney encyclopaedia.) until he stops being such a jerk. Before that, Belle is the first person since the Enchantress who refuses to sit idly by and deal with his bullshit. My favourite exchange between the two of them illustrates this beautifully: [Belle is washing the Beast’s wounds] Beast: [roaring] Aaargh! That hurts! Belle: If you’d hold still, it wouldn’t hurt as much! Beast: Well if you hadn’t have run away, this wouldn’t have happened. Belle: If you hadn’t <i>frightened me</i>, I wouldn’t have run away! Beast: Well you shouldn’t have been in the west wing! Belle: Well, you should learn to control your temper. Now, hold still. This might sting a little. [presses cloth to wound; the Beast growls in pain] Belle: …By the way, thank you for saving my life. Disney’s next princess was Jasmine, and I’m sorry, but I just don’t have a lot to say about her. I do like her. I mean, she has a tiger! That’s awesome! I don’t like how Disney markets her at times (I recall one DVD or maybe PC game saying that a letter from Jasmine smelled like “exotic spices” - get it? Cos she’s Middle Eastern?) but I do like her well enough, even if she certainly doesn’t dress like any self-respecting Muslim girl. (I consider her of Muslim origin cos her father makes reference to Allah a few times.) And while Jasmine has the same problem as Ariel, what with being all faux action girl and all, with her I don’t have as much of a problem with it. Why? Well, two reasons. One, the movie isn’t really about Jasmine, it’s about Aladdin - the film is NAMED after him. And two, unlike the brainless little mermaid up there, Jasmine at least tries. Actually, I love that she tries to distract Jafar through seduction because it shows she is confident with her body and with her sexuality. I don’t count Nala as a princess because she isn’t human, and royalty is a human concept, but TLK is an amazing beauty. And as for other Disney females from the 90s? It’s been years since I’ve seen Pocahontas, Tarzan, or Hercules, and I’ve NEVER seen Hunchback. So once again I must not include some more girls. Sad face. (What’s really sad is most of my friends say I’d like Megara cos they think I’m a lot like her. I do like her song at least.) So… Mulan is next. A lot of people get all butthurt cos they think Mulan doesn’t belong in the “official” princess line-up because, and I’m quoting NChick again, “Bitch, you weren’t a princess!” Disney’s official stance is that the princess line is about the archetype, not about being born or marrying into a royal family. We all know the real reason is cos she’s OMG AZN. Not that this is a bad thing. I’m quite fond of her character, myself. And as a feminist I really like not only the gender roles being addressed fully (well almost fully - wonder what Mulan did during her woman week) but that Mulan saves not only her love interest, but her whole country. I don’t, however, much like how Disney always markets her in that one dress. You know the one. e
Uh, Mulan, didn’t you hate that dress? Didn’t you have a whole song about how that outfit was so not you? You know the one. “Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?” I wish Disney would put out a doll of Mulan in her crossdressing clothes, or at least the less-gaudy green dress from the end. Of course, there were princesses in Mulan 2. Granted, that movie was awful, but there were three princesses. And even though the rest of that movie sucked, these three did at least get a pretty awesome song. Starts a bit slow (though with awesome counterpoint) but MAN is it catchy as hell. You go be like other girls, princesses. You go. So the next Disney film with a princess is one of my favourite films, “Atlantis”, or if you want to go by its full title, “Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire”. It’s sad that Princess Kidagakash “Kida” Nadekh isn’t an “official” Disney princess because she’s quite awesome, and the movie itself didn’t do as bad at the box office as a lot of people seem to think it did. Maybe it’s cos the designs for “Atlantis” were less rounded than any other Disney films, or maybe it’s just that this movie was such an extreme departure from what the Disney company was known for. But I personally think that’s what makes it so great of a movie, because there are no other Disney movies like it. (Plus Kida is voiced by my fave VA ever, Cree Summer. Love her distinctive rasp! Mmmm!) And even if you removed Kida from the occasion, there are two more strong female characters in Helga and Audrey. Audrey is even a tomboy! And Helga does -SPOILER- save the day in the end. (Really, it’s her who killed the main villain Rourke, even if it was just revenge on her part.) “Heeeey,” you say. “You got all butthurt at Ariel and Jasmine for being faux action girls. Isn’t Kida the same?” Well, no, no she isn’t. She merged with the crystal to try and save Atlantis, and though Milo (and Helga) saved her from Rourke, it was still Crystal-Kida who saved Atlantis itself from the volcanic eruption in the end. And besides, just like Jasmine’s case, the movie isn’t about Kida. Milo is the real central character of this piece; the movie is about him from beginning to end. And I like Milo as a character too. He’s not a traditional hero, and that’s what makes him fun to root for. <strike>Also he reminds me of a human Perceptor.</strike> Also, in case my last entry didn’t clue you in, I ship Milo and Kida like woah. Always have. I mean look at them, they’re totally adorable together:
I’m skipping Giselle cos while “Enchanted” is an amazing movie you should all see, she isn’t a princess in the end, nor is she an “Official” Princess. Though the movie gets props for animating Idina Menzel:
The newest Disney princess, if you didn’t realise it by now, is Tiana, Disney’s first black princess. I’ve said before that I like her and here’s why: it’s not just that little black girls will look up to Tiana. I look up to Tiana, and so will white kids and Hispanic kids and middle eastern kids, et cetera. She’s a role model and her race has no part of that; it’s all in her personality. See, what I love about Tiana is unlike the other “new” princesses, she knows EXACTLY what she wants, she’s just about got it, and she did it all herself through hard work. And I love how she says this to Naveen: “I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve got, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. When I’m a human being, at least I’ll act like one!” Come on, how do you not love someone who tells the lazy womaniser that? And another thing, just like Belle with Adam, Tiana refuses to take any crap from Naveen, forcing him to realise he needs to wise up. Naveen has some of the best character development I’ve ever seen in any movie, and he owes it all to Tiana! Oh, and to those who cry racist at Tiana’s facial features, uh, have you SEEN her VA Anika Noni Rose? They look just alike!
Disney seems to be returning to blondes like Cindy and Aurora with their next princess, Rapunzel, but I’m reserving judgement on her til I see the movie. I know, I know, tl;dr. But if you DID get through all that, I hope it gave you something to think about.
[EDIT] I have now seen “Tangled”. I love it. Rapunzel is cute. No Tiana, but she’s cute. Plus on the topic of her hair… well… I’ll tell you all later to avoid spoilers
No, the rant wasn’t about unrealistic expectations/body-portions so much either, there’s plenty of that elsewhere on the web. Besides, I do really like Disney and their princesses, actually.
Yes, it’s me in the picture. I find it helps to have a face to put words to. (Though I’ve cut off all my hair since taking that)
Okay guys who aren’t reading this yet, I JUST got Tumblr, like, literally 5 seconds ago. And rather than do a boring “about me” post for my first post (I can always do that later if anyone has questions about me.), I found this meme.
If your life was a book, what life events would make the cut? What things were important enough to write about? And what would each chapter be called? Reblog with your own!
Okay, here’s mine…
Back in the USSR
The Little Princess
The Public Domain Child
My First Best Friend Had a Tail
Freud Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me
Private School Mindset, Public School Salary
On Palindromes and Coming Out of the Closet
Are You There God? It’s Me, Niczka
Heterosexuality is Overrated
Pretty Fly For A Straight Guy
Why the End of High School ISN’T the End of the World
The End of the World
Gynoid, or Why Long-Distance Relationships Suck Major Balls
Help! A Bear is Eating Me!
The Little Princess Grows Up
…please say hi at least so I know you all are here!