arseniccupcakes asked: hey there, i was just perusing your old PaTF review and i was curious what you think about charlotte/ the way she has been received? i've noticed that she seems to get a lot more love than Tiana, especially on tumblr, and it's making me think...
haha I have read a fair amount about that on here (both just the love, and critique of the love); I found it interesting as well!
I think it’s operating on several levels. First, to be fair, tumblr is full of a very… loyal Disney fandom, and I think it’s sort of natural that they might sympathize highly with basically a Disney-within-a-Disney character. Like the movie sort of pokes fun at her for “wanting to find a prince [and basically wanting to be a Disney princess],” but doesn’t actually villainize her (especially since hey, it happens to Tiana) and I think it sort of was the green light for a lot of fans being like, “I know my Disney-based desires are silly and are unrealistic, but I have them anyways and I’m going to own them.”
I think some of it was also just the way the characters were set up. Charlotte is a pretty one dimensional character- she is very set in the “bubbly jumpy” tempo and doesn’t grow or change much by the end of the movie. Tiana is a more complex character and changes a lot, and makes more mistakes/has more bad to go with the good because there is more focus on her. And she’s one of the more realistic princesses to some extent, in that she worries about responsibilities/paying bills/a job/her future and it might not appeal as much to the escapism aspect many people look for in Disney.
ON the other hand, getting back to what you were, I think, alluding to in your question, I do think it is also to some extent a result of black/white and the over-representation of white women in media/under-representation of black women. I think people are so accustomed to sympathizing and seeing themselves as similar to white lead characters, and seeing black characters as background “friend” characters that it’s going to take some adjusting. To be quite frank I don’t think Charlotte would have been quite as popular had she been the same exact character, but black, rather than a white, blond-haired Southern belle.