hair today… a rant on tangled

I’ve made no secret of my feelings for the movies di$ney puts out for kids.  I love the fun of it.  That you can get lost in their animation, songs and characters is a good thing.  They managed to hook you.  Pull you into the story and make you care about the characters.  You’re not just watching them.  You’re a part of their story.

That’s good storytelling.

In recent years there’s been a decline in the quality of the story, the animation and the songs but they still manage to engage their audience.

How do we get the children engaged?  Play on their fears.  What are they afraid of?  A parent dying.  Being kidnapped.  Being orphaned. Being lost and alone in an abandoned house-swamp-jungle-planet-tower.  It isn’t always overt.  Sometimes you’re dropped into it as a normal way of life for these characters.  Other times you’re watching a little baby deer stroll around the forest and the BAM!!!  Mom is dead.

But that’s not the only theme I’ve found upsetting. As we progress as a society I expect that our role models should progress too.  So I can’t believe that in 2011 (Tangled was released in 2010, I’m a bit behind) we’re still making films for kids that portray a female character as a helpless little slip of a thing that needs a man or a giant group of evil marauding men with hearts of gold to save her.

Repeatedly.

In the end the girl will learn her lesson and be empowered and shit.  But the journey to her empowerment is about her getting men to save her.  To complete her.  To teach us that we have to sit around and wait for someone to present a solution to our problems because we are too weak to do anything on our own except purse our lips, bat our eyelashes, smash a guy over the head with a frying pan and fall in love with the guy while he’s in the process of breaking and entering and try to make him a better man.  Because let’s face it, we should all fall in love with someone so that we can change them and make them be a completely different person than they were when we met.  Changing people works every time! And then, only then, can you be a strong empowered woman in love with a guy that forcibly cuts off all your long magical hair.  Oh and then you can marry him and presumably let said man (and the band of ruffians with hearts of gold) run your kingdom for you.

So yeah.  Let’s make movies for little girls to watch that are sexist, anti-feminist, teach us to love the criminal element and never take responsibility for our own happiness.  All with a saccharin sweet song.  Yes!  Let’s get them ready to go on Jerry Springer.  Wait, does Jerry still have a show?

In short, I saw Tangled over the weekend and I didn’t like it at all.

11 thoughts on “hair today… a rant on tangled

  1. Kim says:

    I took Alyssa to see that–I guess because I’m that much older than you I was pretty happy that she hit him over the head with the frying pan and managed to get him in the closet by himself–but it took way too many years to get a girl to do that much.

    I loved the horse. So did Alyssa–he’s the reason she wanted to see it,

  2. mom says:

    Don’t hold back, now tell us how you really feel. I must agree. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I was always the one who had to “take care” of business. It was good for me, and you learned the lesson early on that you can do what needs to be done, what has to be done. Whining doesn’t help,just do it. Remember The Paper Bag Princess. Your hero!

  3. Melissa Lion says:

    I am so glad I have a little boy. Because I would have had the same reaction to this movie that you did. I have no idea who benefits from messages in movies like this one. It isn’t the girls who just end up in the same patterns as every previous generation. And it isn’t the boys who wind up with a mixed message girls = weak, girls = strong. Girls = crazy! Blerg.

  4. mielikki says:

    Haven’t seen it. Don’t know if I really want to, now. I am glad we are having a boy, and Mustang Girl is an ass kicking girl already :)

  5. Sybil Law says:

    Haven’t seen it – no desire to, either.
    Let’s make our own movie right NOW. Meet me in the tunnel. I’m bringing pens, paper, maybe some crayons and some party goodies. You bring alcohol.

  6. camikaos says:

    Sybil: I’m bringing cheez-its too.

    Mie: What I didn’t mention was that when it wasn’t offending me it was kind of boring. Except for the horse which, as Kim pointed out, was hilarious.

    Melissa: Bingo. And the hero/male role model of that movie wasn’t someone for the boys that were watching to look up to either.

    Mom: The Paper Bag Princess should be required reading for all kids into fairy tales. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paper_Bag_Princess

    Kim: The horse was the strongest character in the film. :)

  7. divebarwife says:

    Disney movies (with the exception of Pixar films which are amazing because they don’t talk down to kids!) have always been ridiculously misogynistic and demeaning to women. It’s another one of the items on the “list of good reasons why I don’t have kids” – because I wouldn’t ever buy or take my kids to see Disney movies. No Aladdin, no Little Mermaid, no Beauty & the Beast, no Snow White or Cinderella… they’re all about the beautiful girl who needs the man to save her. Like you said – they’re try to act like it’s the female character becoming empowered, but that’s kind of like Wal-Mart saying they’ve gone green. Combine that with the fact that all the other female characters are either missing – (mothers) or evil (step mothers) – and you pretty much finish the “we hate women” theme of Disney.

  8. camikaos says:

    The story was written a lot longer ago than that, but tales are meant to be updated for the modern world as every disney remake has been. Stating that it’s based on something that happened long ago doesn’t make it right. 100 years ago in this country women couldn’t vote, there was race based segregation supported by our government and gay rights weren’t even a blip because our society was so repressed that no one would dare come forward to fight for them.

  9. Angel says:

    Its not just Disney’s animated movies that glorify the bad guy, most big-screen movie heroes are bad-boys!
    In all honesty, I love the movies, but I am glad my knucklehead had nothing to get excited and obsessed about when it came to Disney’s heroines.

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