Chegg Champ Commisions

Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's about freakin' time!

The Walt Disney Co. has set into production an animated film that will finally featured a Black princess!

I'll say it again: It's about freakin' time!!

Let's take a look back at past Disney princesses to see what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks (Hey, we are talking about family-friendly Disney!) took them so long:

1937: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the first full-length animated motion picture to hit the big screen. She later becomes the first in the extremely marketable "Disney Princesses" line of toys, clothes, books, DVDs, games, etc.

We should all know the story by now: Evil witch/stepmother is jealous of SW's beauty and hires hunter to kill her. Hunter is too enchanted by SW to go through with it (punk), so SW runs away and shacks up with 7 old men. Evil witch finds SW, poisons her, and Prince Charming saves SW's life with a kiss. Happily ever after.

First of all, let's start with the name: Snow White. Yes, I know that the original story was written in Europe hundreds of years ago, but gag me! If the name doesn't get to you, then her singing voice will.

And how misogynist is this tale?! Stepmother is so petty that she puts out a hit on her stepdaughter for being too pretty. And the girl runs to the protection of the seven dwarfs only to be rescued by the handsome prince! (By the way, if I open my eyes and the first thing I see is some guy hovering over me, I'm gonna start swinging. But that's just me...)

Is there a moral to this story? Umm...If you're on the run from an old White woman with a shiny apple, seek help from the nearest Prince Charming.

1950: Cinderella, the 2nd Disney Princess, makes her debut. This story, dear children, is all about the bling. (Ew, I can't believe I used the word bling.)

Evil stepmother makes poor Cindy do all the housework while her less attractive stepsisters get to have all the fun. The word gets around that the prince (total hottie!) is throwing a party and everyone who's anyone will be there. You see, Prince's Papa is worried that he won't get any grandchildren, so he set this thing up so his son can get married and move out of his damn castle. (It's like "Flavor of Love" except no one shat on the floor.)

Aw, poor Cindy can't go! Ta-dah! Fairy godmother to the rescue! (Where can I get a fairy godmother? Is there an agency? A union?) Fairy-G gives Cindy hot new dress and a pair of killer, glass Manolos. She arrives and the Prince is like "Daaayuuuum!" and everyone else is like "Oh no, she dii'int!" So, they're partying until Cindy suddenly remembers her midnight curfew. On her way out, she drops one of her shoes. (What does she expect? You can't run on glass!) But the Prince has a thing for feet, so he goes from door to door looking for just the right foot cuz he's freaky like that. Eventually, he finds her, moves her in. Happily ever after.

Moral: Old White women help poor White girls find rich husbands.

1959: Aurora, the "Sleeping Beauty". Disney Princess #3. There really isn't that much to say about her. Cursed when she was born by a jealous witch who wasn't invited to a party. (The hell?) Prince Charming (or was he actually given a name in this one?) saves the day.

Moral: Be sure to invite everyone to your birthday party. Even the freaks. And, as always, a Prince will come and save the day!

1989: The beginning of the Disney musical revival with Ariel, Disney Princess #4, in "The Little Mermaid".

Believe it or not, I actually like this movie. It's one of my favorite movies of all time! I love the music, the characters, the story - this is great, fun, movie! But...

Ariel is sixteen years-old in this movie. Sixteen! At sixteen she swaps her voice to a sea witch for a pair of legs so she can meet - guess what? - a Prince! She gives her up her life, her home, and her voice for this dude she meets on a boat! At sixteen!

The moral: Talk amongst yourselves. I'm too tired for this one.

1991: Belle, Disney Princess #5, in "Beauty and The Beast".
Okay. We're starting get somewhere: Belle is not only attractive, but she's smart and a bookworm. She doesn't fall for the hottest guy in the village. It turns out he's a pompous jerk and Belle, being the intelligent, independent woman that she is don't need no man all up in her bizness. Mm-hmm!

I'm glad that the writers at Disney chose to characterize Belle as a smart, independent woman, rather than the meek little girl portrayed in the original story. However, when Belle is traded off to the Beast/Prince (Another one!), it's almost as if she's being treated as property. He keeps her locked away in his castle, and Gaston (aka: pompous jerk) rounds up an army to reclaim what he believes to be his - Belle.

In the end, it's actually Belle who saves the Prince. But was it just me, or did anyone else like him better as the Beast?

The moral (and it's a good one): Smart girls, outcasts, and misfits don't have to settle. Love will find a way.

1992: "Aladdin" debuts with Princess Jasmine, Disney Princess #6.

Before I even saw this movie in the theater, I knew every song by heart! I sang along through the entire movie! Alas, I know not what I've done with that soundtrack. Or "The Lion King's", for that matter. (Makes a quick dash to place soundtracks on Amazon wishlist.)

Okay, I'm back!

Did I forget to mention that - Omigawd! - they've added some color! Yes! Princess Jasmine is the first Disney heroine who was not White! And she was a hit! So, guess what, Disney? It can be done!

Jasmine is classy, but tough. Agile, yet sophisticated. She doesn't fit into any particular mold, and that's why she is such a good character.

When the sultan, Jafar, and Aladdin (disguised as Prince Ali) argued over who she was going to marry, Jasmine was quick to let them know: "I am not some prize to be won!"

One thing that I can't really remember and I'll have to watch the movie again to find out: Did Jasmine first fall for Aladdin when she thought he was a prince, or was it when he was a "street rat", or was it in spite of not being a prince?

Moral: I can't think of any right now. I've got that image in my head of Jasmine kissing Jafar and all that drool. Yecch!

1995: Pocahontas in "Pocahontas". Even though she's offically a princess because she's the daughter of a chief, she's usually not included in the Disney Princess collections. What? Is a fringed leather dress not glam enough for a princess?

I offer this advice to Disney, free of charge: Never, EVER do another animated movie based on true events. You really dropped the ball on this one.

First of all, as most people know, Pocahontas was a pre-teen (maybe 11 or 12 years-old) when these events took place. Does that look a 12 year-old to you, Disney?

Also, there was no romance between her and John Smith. Disney, it is not necessary to tie in a sappy love story into every single movie! Stop it! Stop it now!

And of course, the story of the Powhatans and the colonists was condensed for time and "family friendliness". There are also too many other inaccuracies to point out here.

Moral: Just stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

2009: Maddy in "The Frog Princess".

It took them long enough, didn't it? Seventy-two years before Disney created a film with a Black princess! Not only that, but Disney is going back to it's 2D format. Not that I don't love Pixar; it's just nice to see good ol' cel animation again.

I've only got one thing to say to Dsiney about this project:

It better not suck.

Y'know, I really had fun getting nostaligic with the Disney Princesses. So much fun that I'll add a part two in the near future. I'll call it "The Non-Princess Club"!

Click on the pic for full-size cuteness!
(With apologies to and sincere admiration for mimi-na.)


Doug S. said...

Jasmine liked Alladin when she first met him when he was a street rat. When he tried to act like he thought a prince was supposed to act, she stopped liking him.

Oh, and Belle is awesome. Beauty and the Beast is, oddly enough, the most "realistic" romance among the Disney princess movies. There's no love at first sight and the "Prince" is clearly far from perfect, but they eventually do fall for each other in spite of everything. I'm sure I'm not the only one for which Belle's fondness for reading made her seem even more attractive! ;)

Katie said...

I agree its about time. I'm definantly looking forward to this film and have been using my Disney employment to soak up every bit of information I can about it - I have very high hopes!

I don't think I agree with your "moral of the story" on alot of them.

Yeah, the earlier Princesses were white but they were adapted from classic stories written decades before in countries populated by white people so....

I definantly think its about time for there to be a black princess, especially since its become such a lucrative franchise, but i don't blame Disney or their older movies for having white characters.

Princess Jasmine was fantastic, as was Mulan (who isn't really a Princess at all but sometimes counts in their merch). Just because these characters weren't black doesn't mean they don't count towards diversity.

Jessica said...

I really enjoyed you post (and excerpted it on my blog). It's really exciting that Disney is going to have a black princess. I am also hoping against all hope that they don't fall on their faces this time.

Angel H. said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by!

Katie: I realize that these stories were written in Europe ages ago, but so was the story "The Frog Prince" on which the newest movie was based. Also, there are volumes upon volumes of African, Asian, and Native American folktales (and thousands of other stories from other lands) that Disney could have used in their films that would have made wonderful movies.

As to my little "morals": Long ago, I've lost the ability to tell the difference between what's funny and just plain corny! ;) If anybody else has any other ideas, I would be glad to hear them.

belledame222 said...

Moral: Be sure to invite everyone to your birthday party. Even the freaks.


the villains were always way more interesting than the heroines anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Yes, the princesses were written to be white, but still! At least their broadening their horizons. And a question on the picture...who's the one with the pink dress and blond hair?

Angel H. said...

And a question on the picture...who's the one with the pink dress and blond hair?

According to the artist, that's Eilonwy from "Black Cauldron".

majo said...

hey, i dont believe in discrimination, but it was obvious that disney wasnt going to make an afroamerican princess untill now, as princesses, royalty and that stuff was in europe,and maybe in asia.
im latinamerican, and i know that there isnt a latinamerican princess, cos in latinamerica there wasnt any royalty,kings, queens, etc.

its not racism, its logical.

Angel H. said...

Majo, with all due respect:

That's some of the dumbest shit I have ever heard!

Of course there were princess in Latin America! The Maya, Mexica (Aztec), and other native peoples were ruled by kings and chiefs. Which, of course, would make their daughters princesses! Not to mention the queens and chieftesses who were the sovereign rulers throughout the Americas! Even England acknowledged Pocahontas' royal blood: "daughter to the mighty Prince Powhatan Emperour of Attanoughkomouck als virginia". There were also queens and princesses in Nubia, Egypt, Ethiopia and all across the continent of Africa. As a matter of fact, actress Megalyn Echikunwoke from the series "The 4400" is a Nigerian princess on her father's side.

Please, leave the logical thinking to the ones who are being, well, logical.

With all due respect.