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

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

  1. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Yes, she's quite lovely, isn't she? Docta puella digniorque--I wouldn't have it any other way. Notice, too, how she shapes the entirety of the world to her desires, and all are bettered by it. This is noblesse oblige at its finest: remember what I said earlier about her mission civilitrice? You've pinpointed it exactly.

    It's also good of you to point out how just how full the royal treasury was. She had ample money, but choose to strain the shopkeeper, who might have then missed his payments to someone else and had his hands chops off by her viscious guards or be thrown into a debtor's prison. Your claims, too, about her rejection of dynastic statecraft are transparently false: why, then, did she fall for Prince Abubu?
  2. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

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    I definitely wouldn't say she's suddenly smitten with him. Grateful, yes. But that doesn't mean she's in love with him. As for having a superiority complex, I could see that. She definitely starts getting more friendly when he backs off his whole angry jerk role. But then again, she also starts to get more friendly because he's backing off of being an angry jerk. Though I don't think it's so much of a superiority thing as a love of knowledge, which is why she didn't clique with the townspeople so well. She starts opening up more to Beast, especially after they bond over the library and subsequently, her helping him read (see: Broadway version and the extended version of B&B). I don't think her motives were based on superiority but just eager to help him share something she was passionate about.
  3. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Point of order: the only Disney movie that gets to be abbreviated as B&B is Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
  4. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

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  5. The Musical Jedi Force Ghost

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    I guess I don't see the huge problem with this though. Given when the grand majority of these stories are set, having lost a parent (or really, anyone within the range of influence) would not have been that uncommon. Antibiotics were discovered in 1928 and weren't in wide use until the late 1930s. Children growing up then would commonly experience the death of close relatives and family friends, and of course parents aren't going to be exempt from that.
  6. Neo-Paladin Force Ghost

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    It's more of a question than a complaint. Even when the story doesn't call for dead parents, Disney takes them out of the picture (especially mothers).

    Really, the two questions I'd liked considered (after we're done debating the socio-economic superiority of the various princesses) are: Why? & Does this absence of parents (and wider parent issues exhibited by these princesses) send a message to children?
  7. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Don't most kids come from single-parent families these days?
    I'm not saying it's right, but it's a fact of life.

    Of course, in some Disney movies, it is the lack of a father or mother figure that shapes who the character is and therefore is important to the story.

    Snow White & Cinderella, both raised by evil step mothers, have a big tendancy to talk to animals and be rather idealistic in their views of the world (just listen to Snow White's wish when she has the Apple, some picture-perfect Happily Ever After senario).
    Without strong guiding influences on them, they have less of a grasp on the real world, and although they have known harships they still have a picturesque view of things.

    Ariel has no mother and therefore no female figure to look up to. Her sisters are clearly not very interested in her so she probably has little to share with them. Her father is over-protective and won't feed her curiousity of the world above her, so she rebels by doing things she knows aren't allowed.
  8. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Ariel has a mother. She's in some direct-to-video thing.
  9. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Are any of those straight-to-DVD things proper Disney-canon?
  10. Ostrich_Stapler Force Ghost

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    Really? Because I saw a direct-to-video sequel of the Little Mermaid, and in that Ariel actually WAS the mother...the main character was her daughter, who was named Melodie or some such. Don't tell me they made it a trilogy. :oops:
  11. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    The only reason I know about the mother is because her name is Athena. But I couldn't tell you anything more than that.
  12. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Still, whatever characters they add in sequels (some of which were quite a few years after the original cinema movies) I doubt they thought of them at the time of the original movies, which means many of the parent-related issues characters have were present because they hadn't come up with the idea at the time of adding parents back in.

    Those may change now, but at the time of the movies (and bear in mind many Disney-viewing adults probably don't watch the lame straight-to-DVD sequels so they only view the characters through what they see in the original movie).
  13. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

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    Yeah but she dies! And a Disney prequel I don't count.
  14. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Miana, look at what your saying. You defeat your own argument in the same breath as you make it. Belle cannot get along with the townspeople because they are uneducated and ignorant. She instead bonds with a Prince who is uneducated and ignorant, with the latter point actually being a positive in their relationship, insofar as she uses the opportunity to share her passions with him. Why couldn't she have done the same with the townspeople, instead of sneering at them? The only difference between the scenarios is that one uneducated person is fabulously, wealthy, and the other is no richer than herself. When people who probably had little to no opportunity (no one to teach them, no time to learn while trying to earn a living, etc) are illiterate, she treats them like they are stupid scorn-worthy, because it's obviously their fault. When someone who had every occasion to do so (wealth, ample free time, a ready supply of books, social expectation of literacy) it's a cause for compassion and assistance. Face it: she judges people by their bank account, and treats them accordingly.

    And Jello what exactly did she "improve?" She frustrated the enchantresses objective by letting Beast fall in love with someone as arrogant and judgmental as himself, rather than learning the true meaning of compassion. She is directly responsible for her father's captivity, since her constant carping about how beneath her working class people were is what drove him to head out and try to market his invention in the first place, subsequently getting lost in the woods (recall that he was happy in the town). She then directly incites the conflict that leaves dozens wounded and one dead by revealing the existence of Beast. And one can scarcely imagine what sort of outrageous oppression she forced on people after becoming Princess. Even if none of this were the case, the only people who really "benefited" from the events of the film were herself, the Beast, and his house servants.

    Finally, I thought it would be obvious why Jasmine married Aladdin. First, because, unlike Belle, she does not greet her people with excoriation. She recognizes the limits of their worldview, comes to them where they are, and, with a gentle, guiding hand, takes them to where they need to be. It would be obvious to any political observer in the region that in spite of Aladdin's title as "Prince" he either represented no polity, or could bring no force to bear in a way that would change regional geo-politics. As such, she's still effectively free to pursue her new form of statecraft based on cooperation and mutual interest. At the same time, she would be fulfilling the cultural requirement for marriage and satisfying the need of her peasants and smallfolk for traditional structure. It was literally the perfect pivot between the old world and the new one she hoped to usher in. This way, she could safely introduce her countrymen to what, as she and her mate would come to call it, was "a new fantastic point of view" without inciting any of the feelings of anxiety or dislocation that often accompany rapid social change. And so she is, once more, not only more visionary, but more compassionate, intelligent and practical than your French strumpet.
  15. Neo-Paladin Force Ghost

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    Not to take sides or anything, but if Belle's town is so provincial, how does a book seller stay in business in such apparent prosperity that he can give away his stock in an age when the printing word was much more rare and much more valuable than today?
  16. Ghost Chosen One

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    Her mother dies in the prequel movie I think.
  17. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

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    Wow, and I thought I had overthought these movies. I used to like B&tB because I sympathize with the Beast at times, socially awkward, not handsome until the end, and capable of reforming his bad habits. I did give him a pass for the physical abuse before as he wasn't fully human and years of lack of real human contact may have had psychological effects. But when it comes to Belle, I have to agree that she is not a good political ruler.

    Jasmine is an independent woman, and I would have to agree that when it comes to the political situation she handles herself well. She wasn't just taken from the streets one day and put in the Palace, she was not even allowed to leave, so she can't be blamed for the socially unequal system she was born into and up until that point had no chance of changing. She obviously wasn't given an education in how to live outside the Palace, and she did steal the loaf of bread but not because of any real decision on her part, but because she was young and her entire life she was just given whatever she wanted. If she needed it, she took it, and failed to really understand the real life consequences of this.

    She was not looking the streets for her future husband, and it would have been impossible for her to find one there. If Alladin hadn't found the lamp, she would have eventually submitted to her father's will and accepted her responsiblies in the geopolitical environment she lived in. But however good her political potential was, the primary point of the movie to "be yourself" is in fact the last thing you should do if you are not in fact rich or possess powerful technology (magic). No he is not part of the landed aristocracy, but he does maintain a near monopoly on air travel. And not to mention that his faux-wealth quite literally is what opens the doors of the palace to him.

    And while we are at it, I must mention that Scar is widely seen as a poor administrator for using his mercenary hyenas after the fratricide. All he really did was increase cooperation between the two groups, and while this appeared to cause food shortages, nobody bothered to look and realize that they were in a drought, and it was pure coincidence that the return of the heir to the throne just happen to coincide with a change in the weather. Had Scar benefited from better weather patterns I'm sure some synergy could have been found in cooperation that would have assisted both groups. And if we dismiss the weather, then really what we have is the hyenas living in poverty and deprivation as outcasts from Lion ruled society who then end up bearing the brunt of any food shortages. So really it was Scar all along who should have been praised for raising up the outcast class and offering them a place of equality. I don't condone the fratricide, but with Mufasa proclaiming that their position is by divine right and perpetual, due to his inherent strength, he left Scar no peaceful alternative. And while the attempted killing of child Pumba seems cruel, in such a situation it is vitally necessary because if not, history says Pumba was not alone in returning to avenge his father and it is inevitable you will later have to confront a strong challenger.
  18. TheGuardianofArlon Force Ghost

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  19. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

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    Simba, hun. Simba. ;)
  20. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    I was gonna let that go.
  21. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Bumping, because this is suddenly more relevant.
    JoinTheSchwarz likes this.
  22. TheGuardianofArlon Force Ghost

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    Oh no...

    Brace yourselves, Star Wars Character Analysis is coming
  23. Ghost Chosen One

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    So, who's the better princess:
    Belle, Jasmine, or Leia?
  24. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Belle. Always and forever.
    MrZAP and TheGuardianofArlon like this.
  25. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Leia was a pretty terrible princess.