JCC A critical analysis of socio-cultural tropes as presented by Disney characters

Discussion in 'Community' started by GrandAdmiralJello, May 28, 2009.

  1. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    The JCC is in need of some elevation and serious business, or something. So here we go.

    This whole idea came to me when I saw some random post somewhere with an argument between two feminists about Beauty and the Beast. One argued that the film demeaned women because Belle was made fun of for reading, she was thought of as quite odd. The other said that this was rubbish, because we are obviously meant to sympathize with her.

    I decided to watch the film again, having not seen it in years, to ascertain the truth. As that first song began, I could see how the villagers were criticizing her--but she would have none of it, and repeatedly called them provincial. She wanted something greater than the drudgery of small-town life. Indeed, these paragons of normality had their own problems: disorder, illiteracy, muddy streets, husbands seeking lusty trollops, that sort of thing. Their champion, of course, is Gaston: a man's man, muscular, with a heroic voice and profile, a great hunter, eater of red meat, etc.

    This is obviously a Republican constituency.

    Gaston is clearly a hero in the old mold, and this is how Disney turns the head on its previous stories. He has everything those previous princes had; except he is vile and terrible. The Beast, though a prince, is a horrible creature and must be awakened by the mission civilitrice of Belle. The heroine breaks down his coarse exterior and helps bring about his inner nobility--which is a message that belies the usual superficiality of Disney heroes. And while it's true that it's a literary trope that the wellborn will have this inner grace, it's not particularly important here.

    Gaston goes after him by fear-mongering: the peasantry is roused against the Beast by horror stories. And since he looks differently and lives differently from them, he's easy to villify. His populism leads him straight to the castle, where the Beast's loyal retainers fight off everyone save for Gaston: who persecutes the good Beast and taunts him for not being a barbarian like he is.

    Belle, then, is the agent of culture and civil society: she is the catalyst of this story, gently taming the horrid beast (cf. Virgil, bella! horrida bella!). She is the champion of the good and the noble against the common and the provincial. It would be a lesson we would learn well today: value the gentle littérateuse over the rambunctious jock.

    It's a fascinating film, really, mostly since it mocks Disney itself--Gaston wanted a wife who was barefoot and pregnant, and that didn't really happen here. Instead, she became... well, she should have become a countess, but for some stupid reason the Beast is a prince. I blame Carmen. She became a different sort of princess, one that wasn't subordinate to her "man"--indeed, he was utterly whipped.

    Do you agree? Disagree? Present your findings here, and we can broaden the thread by discussing other Disney characters as well. By doing so, we will broaden our minds as well.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Oct 15, 2014
  2. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    The one thing I learned from watching Beauty and the Beast: when you have your enemy at your mercy, just go ahead and kill him already. Sure, it's noble to banish him, all that "leave now and never return" jazz, but you and I both know that he's just going to stab you in the back or kick embers in your face. So just go ahead, drop him to his demise and get it over with.

    rumsmuggler and GenAntilles like this.
  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Aren't the embers from Lion King? :p
  4. PicardGroupie Jedi Grand Master

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  5. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I know! I was conceding that you were right. I just mean that the movie is wrong. They should fix it. :p
  6. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    Yes. But the principle of the thing is the same. If you are in a life-and-death struggle at a high altitude, be it enchanted palace, Parisian cathedral, African rock formation, etc....just go ahead and chuck the bastard.
  7. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    So much for the advantage of holding the high ground, then.
  8. QueenMother_LK Jedi Master

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    Ariel was my favorite princess.
  9. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    I'm highly amused by the Republican thing.



    Gaston was a maverick!
  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    How is she a princess? Isn't she more appropriately termed a goddess, seeing as how Neptune is her father? Also, what is with the complete lack of her mother's presence? Is this ever explained in the film? Shouldn't we find this the least bit disconcerting? And didn't she just extinguish the royal line, since she is no longer a mermaid, and her father apparently has no other children?
  11. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    Actually Ariel had a good number of sisters, all introduced in the first musical act of the movie. She was the youngest.
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Triton is her father, not Neptune, and he is identified as a king. This makes Ariel a princess--additionally, she married a prince.

    She does have a mother, which features in a terrible, terrible prequel story.

    And Ariel has plenty of sisters in the original film, so the line is not extinguished.
  13. QueenMother_LK Jedi Master

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    No she had all those sisters, remember? So the royal /godly blood won't die yet. Plus, she married and procreated with a sailor-prince (best kind, amirite) so there's that bloodline. And I just called her a princess because they are referred to as the "disney princesses".

    I just said procreated in reference to a disney movie. lol
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Actually, the Little Mermaid is one of the most prurient of all Disney films. It featured nudity for a significant stretch of the film.
  15. QueenMother_LK Jedi Master

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  16. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    Cheap sequel movies don't count. Disney Company itself said so.

    Which is why they are rebooting their feature animation studios with....The Princess and the Frog.
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Remember when Ursula turned her human? They could have given her magic clothes or something, but nooo.

    When I used to work for Disney, they told me about an auction in '91 of the original film cels of TLM. Because artists usually draw beyond the edges of what appear on the screen, there existed inappropriate shots of Ariel from that sequence. These sold at auction.

    You'd think Disney would have locked those up, or something.
  18. PrincessKenobi New Films Manager of DOOM

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    First in Ariel Beginnings, you find out her mom got killed by some fisherman and the King outlawed singing and fun. Then some wackiness happened. Ariel met Flounder and all was good again. This is why the King really hates humans too.

    Not really, every little girl is a daddy's girl usually.

    See Little Mermaid 2 when her daughter wants to be a mermaid so she goes back to the kingdom. lol

    Actually he does. They just don't get more of a voice till the Saturday Morning cartoon.


    ....


    And I officially know to much about the Little Mermaid.

    ~PK~



  19. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    When she first turned into a human and is walking around on the beach. Apparently, they later auctioned of the original cells of her crotch from those scenes.

    . . .
  20. The Musical Jedi Force Ghost

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    I don't know... It seems to me that, at least to some degree, Disney has encouraged the strong female archetype. Jasmine had to save her kingdom from Jafar after he took over, Pocahontus saves Captain Smith and keeps her tribe and the English from going to war (albeit, it happens inevitably anyway), Ariel decides to risk everything and her voice to try to meet that prince, Nala and Simba's mother hold their pride together despite Scar's poor leading skills, Lady helps rescue the Tramp from being put down... It's not that uncommon of a theme.

    And if you want to go for Disney mocking Disney, I think Enchanted is a much better choice. :p
  21. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    If Uncle Walt were around, those would have been shredded and burned and the artists responsible would have their heads on a platter.

    I mean, this is the guy who once fired an animator for simply *joking* about drawing Snow White topless.
  22. QueenMother_LK Jedi Master

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    [face_laugh]
  23. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    It does beg the old curtains-and-drapes question though.
  24. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    TMJ: Every single one of those examples is from a film made AFTER Beauty and the Beast, except for Lady and the Tramp. And you have to compare that single scene with the rest of the film. I love that movie, but the messages contained in it are pretty disturbing. You need to see the scorn Chris Eigemen heaps on that film in Last Days of Disco.

    Lee: Nine Years Old.
  25. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    Ariel was legal. I remember one scene in particular where she says she's 18 and not a child anymore, to which Triton throws a fit and blows up the statue of the prince. So ha!