Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Letter to Walt Disney, or Another Post on Female Body Image

Dear Mr. Disney, 
Please come back from the dead so that Disney can make another good movie again, without relying on Pixar or live action.  Disney hasn't made an animated film that wasn't computerized in Ages.  Now, they ("they" meaning the internet) tell me Disney has a new animated film called The Princess and the Frog.  It's cool that the company is trying to be ethnically diverse, but I'm a little confused.  I've watched the preview and the princess is African American, is wearing a slightly more provocative version of something Cinderella wears (in your version) and has a tiara.  I guess it's silly to notice or comment on these things, as the story is a children's fantasy, but I'm just not too intrigued by the looks of it.  It doesn't look original or funny, like some of the older Disney movies.  It just looks like a pale, shadowy echo of an era of Disney movies that has seemingly  moved to the cemetery. 

The Princess and the Frog

What I Really didn't like about the preview, and the thing that gets my goat to some extent is the way the princess looks in the movie.  In the movies that were made when you were still around, the women looked natural to some degree.  However, the films that came out around the time I was born and when I was a small child featured animated women who seemed to be modeled after Barbie dolls.  I make no exaggeration.  Their bulbous eyes, ten inch waists and large breasts make them absolutely absurd depictions of human beings.  The men might be comically muscular (ex: Gaston in Beauty and the Beast) or short and round (ex:Belle's father in Beauty and the Beast), but this isn't something seen in the hero of the tale.  These are supporting characters.

I think the best example of the preposterous representation of the female body can be observed in The Little Mermaid.  Pardon me for being crass, but Ariel sort of looks like a doll (please catch my drift as I'd rather not explain what sort of doll she looks like).  Women are sexualized in our culture and sometimes it's fun to play up sexuality to a degree, but I wish women didn't have to be shown an unreachable, unnatural pedestal of feminine beauty, even in children's films.

Ariel in The Little Mermaid

In the News: Emaciated mermaid devours sea horse friends after five-month long fast.

Mr. Disney, I remember Your movies.  I remember Snow White and Peter Pan.  Tinkerbell was sexy and had a Large bottom (I think she and I are distantly related...my great great aunt was half-pixie). Snow White was an itsy bit cherubic, but she looked healthy and pretty. Please, please reconsider coming back to earth.  I don't expect you to wear a "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt or anything drastic.  I'd just love it if you got some funny, talented people to work for you, along with artists who draw based on real-live women and their real-life beauty.  I miss you.  Hope you're resting easy.


PS Are you really frozen somewhere or did they make that up?

PPS I'm truly sorry if the last question was out of line.  I was just curious, and I thought since I was writing the letter, I might as well ask.  Again, I'm sorry.  Have a nice day.

In the news: Snow White says a gooseberry pie now and then will not hurt your figure.

Sure, Tink's clothes have to be custom-tailored, but who wants to fit a mold, anyway?

1 comment:

Kelsy said...

"In the News: Emaciated mermaid devours sea horse friends after five-month long fast."