Anonymous said: Hi! I just saw the post where the OP talked about what they thought of the different princesses in 2010. I was just wondering how there being white princesses with different hair and eye colors wasn't counted as diversity? Yes, there should be more POC in the lineup. But white people still deserve a princess who looks like them. I don't mean to come off as ignorant, and I am pretty young so I know don't understand a lot about diversity. I was just hoping you could clear this up? Thank you!

Different hair and eye color is diversity in features, but it’s not the same as racial diversity, which is something that a lot of Disney fans will assert. Different hair and eye color doesn’t denote race, maybe ethnicity, but even then, not likely.

And in the end, hair colors like blonde and red and eye colors like green, blue and grey aren’t even exclusive to just white people; they’re just recessive genes and anyone can have them (example: my father has grey eyes and my mother has red hair; they are both non-mixed people of color). Just like the white princess have variation in their looks, we need more princesses of color who have variation theirs; not just the dark eyes/dark hair combination we’re usually regulated to.

We’re not saying that girls shouldn’t have princess who looks like them; far from it. But white girls already have an abundance of representation of their different traits in entertainment as well as the Disney princess franchise. Girls of color on the other hand, don’t. The token princesses of color only represent just one type of look for their respective ethnicities. 

-pik

10 notes

Mod Post: Pocahontas and Character Design

Reading  this confession over and over got me to thinking about how character design does affect the way we view characters as well as shape our opinions and views. I’m going to talk about character design, specifically Pocahontas’ since there’s a truck-ton of issues with it.

WARNING: MOD IS GOING TO LEARN YOU TURKEYS A THING OR TWO ABOUT CHARACTER DESIGN AND HOW PURPOSEFUL DECISIONS AFFECT MEDIA AND HOW THE AUDIENCE PERCEIVES IT

Of all of the characters in the Disney princess line, Pocahontas probably has the most problematic character design. I say this because as we know, Pocahontas is based off of the colonizing of Jamestown and the life of Matoaka, a young Powhatan woman who encountered English settlers in the 1600s

Here’s an image of what Matoaka (or Rebecca Rolfe) most likely looked like.

Now, during the settlement of Jamestown and her famous meeting with John Smith, Matoaka is said to have been between 10 and twelve. At one point, the Disney film looked like it was actually going to go with history for a second and make her the appropriate age:

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(art by Glen Keane)

But as we know, the production turned it into a love story, so obviously, they had to age up Pocahontas to sell the romance. Here are some intermediary designs, possibly in the middle of the production. I personally prefer these to her final model: her eyes are much more expressive and I just love her nose.

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But as the production progressed, Pocahontas’ design changed more and more until we have the majestic lady we all know:

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Some of the issues that come with the final model result from her look being inspired by several people. She’s partially based off of her voice actress, Irene Bedard, who is Native American. Now, this is nothing new: animators a lot of times will base their character’s features off of that of the voice actors to help make the performance more believable. But, she is also based off of Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. The designers seemed to cherry pick the most attractive traits from these women for Pocahontas rather than basing her off her real-life counterpart or at the very least, more than one Native American woman. Seeing as the character was designed by men and is based off of two super models (neither of which are Native American), particularly the lips and eyes, it makes her design a bit more dubious.

The other things that marks Pocahontas’ design is her figure. She is describes by Laura Shapiro as a “Native American Barbie”.  This is no exaggeration, seeing as Pocahontas’s waist in smaller than her head, not to mention her rather ample bosom along with shapely legs and arms. 

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Now, you may be thinking why this matters. Pocahontas’ design matters for many reasons, most of them having to do with how native women are seen through the Western lens (particularly that of the Western male). Pocahontas as a character plays into several stereotypes and tropes that have shaped attitudes towards native groups in general, not just Native Americans.

Pocahontas’ design goes hand in hand with the "Nubile Savage" trope. Considering the time period and environment, it would have been impossible for any women to look like Pocahontas. Don’t think that I am suggesting that there couldn’t have been any attractive Powhatan woman at the time; far from it. I just doubt that a Powhatan women in the 1600s would have the figure and features of a super model from the 20th/21st century.

Along with enforcing the trope of the Nubile Savage, Pocahontas’ design also plays into preconceived notions of native women/women of color. Native women have been stereotyped as overtly and openly sexual or “exotically alluring”; especially as it’s been used to cater to the white male gaze (as well as being a facilitation to the rape and abuse of native women). In the case of the colonization of Jamestown, texts had already been written to entice settlers with the thought of wanton, willing native women.

Pocahontas’ design, is very much informed by the white male gaze. She’s been given features that have been widely regarded as conventionally attractive/sexually inviting: full lips, thin waist, ample breasts, wide hips, long legs, etc… While not an overtly sexual character in her actions or desires, Pocahontas is still posed in relation to John Smith as an object of beauty and desire.

Think about the scene where John Smith first encounters Pocahontas: he’s ready to shoot her, but he stops when he sees how beautiful she is. For seconds, he just gazes at her, her hair flowing majestically through the wind. He cannot help but move toward her, drawn by her stoic beauty. This is probably the most gratuitous example of the male gaze that Disney has ever produced (especially considering that Pocahontas follows him around for minutes of the film and we never see him through her point of view in the same way). We only see an appraisal Pocahontas’ beauty through John Smith’s eyes: never through that of a Powhatan man (which is sort of strange seeing Kocuom did desire her in some way, but hey, we never get a chance to know the guy so who cares?)

There’s also a comment from Glen Keane regarding her design:

"Jeffery Katzenberg told me to make her the finest creature the human race has to offer"

I think that that comment alone sums up why the design is as grossly problematic as it is and yet another reason why Katzenberg is trash.

TL;DR: Pocahontas’ design has issues: it’s specifically tailored for the white male gaze not only in the context of her creation, but also in the context of them film’s narrative. These decisions have colonialist undertones as well as helping facilitate the outdated rumor that she and John Smith had a love affair, which is far from the truth. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a movie and at the end of the day, movies are there to entertain. But never forget that movies are made by people; people who have their own ideas, prejudices, agendas that they bring to the production. Don’t forget that this is a million dollar industry that also helps to condition us in many ways, ways we’re not even aware of. Remember and don’t take it for granted that along with telling us a story, filmmakers are also some of the world’s best manipulators.

40 notes

Anonymous said: a lot of the "sexism" in mulan that western feminists critique is an aspect of filial piety, which is a SPECIFICALLY EAST ASIAN cultural value, so while i'm really glad you're not trying to speak for asian ppl you kind of are westsplaining yr view of mulan here. :/

I apologize for that. I should have thought that reply through better.

-K

7 notes

persepolice said: (what about the sexualisation of yasmin and sexism in general)

Okay, so I can’t speak for the other mods, but when I read that question, I assumed this was actually a question on the story. I didn’t think the anon meant something like “what bothers you BESIDES these two issues?” so I answered based on how the story was told.

Now, about Jasmine/Yasmin…I’m going to be quite honest, I still don’t have much of a problem with her. Okay, yes, she wears some very revealing outfits that I don’t think a princess in that time or part of the world would have worn…but that falls under the ‘historical accuracy/culture’ umbrella. And actually, the characters don’t even have much reactions to what she wears. Her sexy outfits are a nonfactor. Yes, Aladdin has a male gaze moment when he first sees her but he also first saw her when she was dressed much more modestly, and all he could see was her head and hands. Jafar wants to marry her at some point, but at first it’s simply to gain the throne – and he plans to kill her right after anyways. At some point along the line it became the standard “well, she’s hot so I may as well not kill her and just have her be my slave-wife,” but I personally never thought it was because of her sexy outfits or her appearance, but rather because she was a woman.

Speaking of “because she’s a woman!” Mulan and sexism…I’m not Asian. I can’t speak for any Asians, let me say that right away. But the message I got from Mulan was that the sexism displayed in the movie was wrong, and by the end, more people were learning this. Yeah, it’s more of a modern, Western value but that also falls under the culture and historical accuracy discussion. Mulan is led to believe in the beginning that the only way she can bring honor to her family, the only thing she can do, is be a bride. And in the end, that turns out to be completely untrue. Several characters think a woman can’t be anything more than a wife and mother, and that’s not true, as they learn. Shang and the soldiers learn to respect Mulan, and women, and not to underestimate them because of their gender. She’s offered a high position in the Emperor’s court – and the Emperor, by the way, never has that “oh but you’re a woman” moment; he sees her as a hero from the moment of Shan Yu’s demise. Her father learns that a woman is capable of much more than he was taught to believe. Pretty much everyone in the movie learns that women are more than pretty faces to admire or brides and wives and mothers. The sexism in Mulan is wrong, sexism against women is wrong, misogyny is wrong, and both the movie and the characters convey that.

-K

10 notes

waltdisneyconfessions:



"I think Frozen would’ve really been a masterpiece, if only they had kept Elsa as the crazy, evil snow queen like she originally was. I mean, I like the finished product, but I just love the old story and the old character designs too much to move on from them. I can’t help but mourn the perfection that would’ve been."





Art by Mike Gabriel






Art by Claire Keane



Art by Minkyu Lee

waltdisneyconfessions:

"I think Frozen would’ve really been a masterpiece, if only they had kept Elsa as the crazy, evil snow queen like she originally was. I mean, I like the finished product, but I just love the old story and the old character designs too much to move on from them. I can’t help but mourn the perfection that would’ve been."

Art by Mike Gabriel

Art by Claire Keane

Art by Minkyu Lee

364 notes

waltdisneyconfessions:

"I never saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame growing up, so watching it as a young adult of Romani descent was really tough. Particularly listening to God Help the Outcasts. It broke my heart. But I know one day that, that film will be a talking point for me and my children, a way of discussing some of the issues of discrimination and racism."

waltdisneyconfessions:

"I never saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame growing up, so watching it as a young adult of Romani descent was really tough. Particularly listening to God Help the Outcasts. It broke my heart. But I know one day that, that film will be a talking point for me and my children, a way of discussing some of the issues of discrimination and racism."

243 notes

Anonymous said: is there anything you don't like about how "Mulan" or "Aladdin" were written? Not talking about race or cultural inaccuracies in this case, but whether or not there was anything you disliked about the way the story itself was written.

Not really.. That might just be my nostalgic glasses though. 

Maybe they could have fleshed out Shan-Yu more, I guess? Either way, there’s nothing in either movie that bbothers me writting wise…

-pik

Same here? Like, from a characterization or story standpoint, there’s nothing I can really say against either movie - I thought they were both fantastic. I will agree with pik, Shan Yu being more fleshed out and being someone beyond “the scary bad guy” would have made the movie even better, but aside from that, i can’t really think of anything for either movie.

- K

4 notes

an-instrumental-heart:

superhappygenki:

itsagameioftenplay:

mockeryd:

itsagameioftenplay:

tariawhoseesyou:

waltdisneyconfessions:

"It worries me how racist the Disney fandom is. Seriously, someone brings up the fact that Frozen has no POC and the racist people come out of the woodworks. It’s also upsetting that a lot of people don’t want more POC in the line up"

So true.

Do you…guys even realize where Frozen is set? Not all places have a noticeable mix. You go to certain parts of the world and start demanding white characters or poc characters and you’re going to get weird looks.

Arendelle is not a real place. It’s a fictional, magical land filled with trolls and also features a talking snowman. If you also look at the original tale, there were dark skinned characters within the story. Try again.

Frozen is set in Iceland (that’s the one, yeah?). They made up a town to go with a country. You look at any Disney movies and they stick with what the characters would look like in that time period and setting. No, it wouldn’t have common to see poc hundreds of years ago outside of slave quarters. Not exactly kid friendly. I haven’t read the story so I don’t really have a comment for that.
Edit: Scandinavia. Still stands. What makes or breaks a story is whether or not its believable. You set a story in Scandinavia and expect every sort of representation and your going to be disappointed, as much as you’d hope to see common US features set in a Chinese movie.

It’s also important to realize that Disney has the option to not set stories in places and times where everyone is white. Just look at “The Princess and the Frog”! It’s based on a Grimm fairytale, but set in a more modern New Orleans. Granted, Disney didn’t exactly handle the race in that in the best of ways, but it’s still showing that they have strayed from their typical format before, but went right back to it for Tangled and Frozen. No, “white” shouldn’t be a monolith any more than “POC”, but when virtually every white person can point to someone in a Disney film who resembles them, but people who aren’t white are lucky to be able to find a background character in “the black Disney movie” or “the Native American Disney movie” or “the Asian Disney movie” who maybe shares a characteristic? It’s a problem of representation.
African people, not just slaves, have been in Scandinavia for centuries, even before when Frozen is supposedly set. So, to not have any even in the background which is where they stuck enough people who weren’t “conventionally pretty” that they could argue for representation there? It’s worrying because more than just white kids watch these movies and they shouldn’t only be able to find themselves in the one movie that is designated for “their” race.

Because the Vikings took many people (slaves, friends, wives, husbands, adopted children etc.) with them to Scaninavia, not only white people existed in that part of the world - not even in the medieval ages/the Viking age. And also, it is important to note how for example the Norwegian government have degraded Sami people and forced them to get rid of their own culture (for several centuries). Up until only a few decades ago, it was literally FORBIDDEN to speak the Sami language in Norwegian schools. It is truly amazing that the Sami culture still lives today, as the Norwegian government made serious attempts at forcibly removing it. Many Sami people have experienced tremendous pain because of what they experienced during their childhood/the pressure towards becoming “completely Norwegian”. Even today, there are Sami teenagers in Norway who would deny having Sami ancestors, because they see the Sami people as stupid, uneducated and ridiculous.
Btw, Frozen is set in Norway. Not in some general part of Scandinavia, but in Norway. We have a town called Arendal here, you know. Quite similar to Arendelle (which is easier for the American audience to pronounce). Many of the backgrounds in the movie are very similar to Norwegian places.
Not all Sami people look the same. Still, how about giving at least ONE of the characters dark hair and/or tanned skin? Because, you know, Sami people look like that too. Besides, they’ve never lived in castles where there are beautiful paintings on the walls. The traditional Sami clothes don’t even resemble the clothes most of the characters wear.Seriously, the representation of Sami people and Sami culture in Frozen is close to 0. Disney is shitty at representing minorities in an accurate way.

an-instrumental-heart:

superhappygenki:

itsagameioftenplay:

mockeryd:

itsagameioftenplay:

tariawhoseesyou:

waltdisneyconfessions:

"It worries me how racist the Disney fandom is. Seriously, someone brings up the fact that Frozen has no POC and the racist people come out of the woodworks. It’s also upsetting that a lot of people don’t want more POC in the line up"

So true.

Do you…guys even realize where Frozen is set? Not all places have a noticeable mix. You go to certain parts of the world and start demanding white characters or poc characters and you’re going to get weird looks.

Arendelle is not a real place. It’s a fictional, magical land filled with trolls and also features a talking snowman. If you also look at the original tale, there were dark skinned characters within the story. Try again.

Frozen is set in Iceland (that’s the one, yeah?). They made up a town to go with a country. You look at any Disney movies and they stick with what the characters would look like in that time period and setting. No, it wouldn’t have common to see poc hundreds of years ago outside of slave quarters. Not exactly kid friendly. I haven’t read the story so I don’t really have a comment for that.

Edit: Scandinavia. Still stands. What makes or breaks a story is whether or not its believable. You set a story in Scandinavia and expect every sort of representation and your going to be disappointed, as much as you’d hope to see common US features set in a Chinese movie.

It’s also important to realize that Disney has the option to not set stories in places and times where everyone is white. Just look at “The Princess and the Frog”! It’s based on a Grimm fairytale, but set in a more modern New Orleans. Granted, Disney didn’t exactly handle the race in that in the best of ways, but it’s still showing that they have strayed from their typical format before, but went right back to it for Tangled and Frozen. No, “white” shouldn’t be a monolith any more than “POC”, but when virtually every white person can point to someone in a Disney film who resembles them, but people who aren’t white are lucky to be able to find a background character in “the black Disney movie” or “the Native American Disney movie” or “the Asian Disney movie” who maybe shares a characteristic? It’s a problem of representation.

African people, not just slaves, have been in Scandinavia for centuries, even before when Frozen is supposedly set. So, to not have any even in the background which is where they stuck enough people who weren’t “conventionally pretty” that they could argue for representation there? It’s worrying because more than just white kids watch these movies and they shouldn’t only be able to find themselves in the one movie that is designated for “their” race.

Because the Vikings took many people (slaves, friends, wives, husbands, adopted children etc.) with them to Scaninavia, not only white people existed in that part of the world - not even in the medieval ages/the Viking age.
And also, it is important to note how for example the Norwegian government have degraded Sami people and forced them to get rid of their own culture (for several centuries). Up until only a few decades ago, it was literally FORBIDDEN to speak the Sami language in Norwegian schools. It is truly amazing that the Sami culture still lives today, as the Norwegian government made serious attempts at forcibly removing it. Many Sami people have experienced tremendous pain because of what they experienced during their childhood/the pressure towards becoming “completely Norwegian”. Even today, there are Sami teenagers in Norway who would deny having Sami ancestors, because they see the Sami people as stupid, uneducated and ridiculous.

Btw, Frozen is set in Norway. Not in some general part of Scandinavia, but in Norway. We have a town called Arendal here, you know. Quite similar to Arendelle (which is easier for the American audience to pronounce). Many of the backgrounds in the movie are very similar to Norwegian places.

Not all Sami people look the same. Still, how about giving at least ONE of the characters dark hair and/or tanned skin? Because, you know, Sami people look like that too. Besides, they’ve never lived in castles where there are beautiful paintings on the walls. The traditional Sami clothes don’t even resemble the clothes most of the characters wear.
Seriously, the representation of Sami people and Sami culture in Frozen is close to 0. Disney is shitty at representing minorities in an accurate way.

2,004 notes

Anonymous said: so I've just been ruminating a bit about the cosplay question (i.e. Gogo) and how it should be ok as long as they don't color their skin. I think that makes me side-eye it a tad is that as an Asian person, we already have fewer Asian characters in the Disney canon, and even doing characters that are Asian (anime for example), if a white cosplayer does it, it's given praise and "omg that's so perfect" but when a POC does it or wears a character's wig people go "eh.Good cosplay for a [enter race]"

The cosplay community can be just as toxic and racist as any other aspect of fandom. People like to act as if it is all about having fun and dressing up, but it has its own set of politics (race, body type, skill level, ableness, etc.). 

-pik

7 notes

Anonymous said: I really really hate whole "it's not about race, it's about whether the characters are well written!" argument. A lot of Disney fans say this crap, but then they worship one dimensional white side characters like Hans and ignore Disney's POC characters who actually have depth and development

Most people who say this don’t understand the visual politics of race. Because we’re conditioned to accept white as the default, we see them as the most relatable and sympathetic automatically. This, coupled with the fact that there is little racial diversity in entertainment, means that if you challenge that whiteness is in any way unrelatable or even oppressive, you somehow lack empathy. People like this are aslo telling on themselves because when a character of color comes along, they won’t give them the attention or love they would to a white character who was written the exact same way.

Also notice that people who usually say this have love almost exclusively for white characters (the MCU fandom is a good example of this). They may have one or two characters of color on their list, but once again, it’s the white characters that take center stage.

-pik

24 notes