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Fata Morgana
2011-05-05 17:31
and while we're on the subject ...
stellae pointed out a blog with two posts relevant to my Tuesday post on Pixar, the Smurfette Principle, and the Bechdel test. First, a script writer explains how she and others in her profession are specifically told not to pass the Bechdel test. Second, there's a critical analysis of female characters in Disney movies, particularly Tangled and Beauty and the Beast.
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Leora: ouroboros
2011-05-06 01:14 (UTC)
(no subject)
Good links, although I think there is more to Beauty and the Beast. The Beast had to do three things in order to be redeemed, and it really only mentions one of them (win Beauty's love). He also had to learn to truly love her (this is made more explicit in the Broadway musical, but I think it's also reasonably clear in the movie, and he he had to let her go. The Beast releases her, and allows her to be free, giving up his own chance for her benefit. She chooses to come back, and he isn't freed until she comes back purely of her own free will. I think that's important.

I didn't see Tangled, but it sounds like Gothel neither truly loves Rapunzel nor releases her for her own good. So, that would be a pretty significant difference.

It is hard to think of stepmothers who are portrayed well though, which saddens me. I had read something about this recently, but I don't recall. Hmm, actually, I think it was more about sometimes portraying adoptive parents as good, rather than always making them evil, which is important too. But I do think it is quite unfair to step-parents. The closest I can think of to trying to meet the challenge, and it's a stretch, is Hansel and Gretel. The story isn't entirely female-centric though as Hansel does play a pretty important role. And I cannot remember the version of the story where the mother is changed into a step-mother, only the motivation in the version where the parents are still both biological. So, I'm just not sure. I'm fairly sure they did make her more evil when they stepified her.

I do think part of the point of both replacing mothers with stepmothers and of making them evil was to try to make the stories less scary. They tried to replace realistic scary things (like poverty and hunger) with less realistic things (like cartoon villains). But it's annoying that so many stories take the mother out or put in an evil stepmother when an evil stepfather would work just as well. And I do think it's bad to have too many portrayals of evil stepparents, since so many children will have actual stepparents, and lots of stepparents are fine people.
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Fata Morgana
2011-05-06 03:17 (UTC)
(no subject)
Great points. I was trying to think of stories with good stepparents (or foster parents), and there are *sort of* some -- Lilo's sister (as corpsefairy mentioned in the last thread) is one, and one could argue that Pinocchio, The Jungle Book, Wendy in Peter Pan (sort of ...), Sleeping Beauty, and at least the story of Tarzan (never saw the Disney version) at least include benevolent parentlike-figures who aren't actual parents to the main character, though most of them aren't that central to the story. :~) But yeah.
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2011-05-06 08:26 (UTC)
(no subject)
Sleeping Beauty is a great example, because the fairies are definitely her foster parents.

Tarzan's ape parents (especially his mom) are definitely benevolent.

The only evil stepfather I can think of is Frollo. Are there any others?
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