Posts Tagged With: Dreamworks

Princess Odette: The Feminist Swan

Okay, so it’s very possible that my sisters and I were the only three children in 1994 who were singing along to Dreamworks’ obscure animated film, The Swan Princess, being that Odette was not as popular as everybody’s favorite Disney princesses. She was however, in my opinion, a feminist.

If you haven’t already seen the movie, in which (according to IMDb), “a power hungry sorcerer transforms a princess into a swan by day in this tale of everlasting love,” then I highly recommend you watch the following clip and see for yourself the provocative question Princess Odette asks Prince Derek when he appears to fall madly in love with only her beauty:

Derek’s response is a self contained question, or rather a rhetorical one: “what else is there?” One such utterance implicates to Odette that beyond beauty, nothing else matters. Of course, such meaningful things as personality, likes, dislikes, passions, fears, aspirations, etc. are all to be included within that arbitrary category of beyond. Those were the things Derek felt no compulsion to consider in his arrogant “proposal,” in which he spoke not to Odette, but rather for her:

“Arrange the marriage!”

I think it’s necessary to point out this critical turning point in the plot because it is something that is oftentimes overlooked in some of the more traditional fairytales of Walt Disney Pictures. In fact, there are many arguments surrounding the dangerous effects that the Disney industrial complex has on the self-esteems of young people everywhere. They instruct rather specific gender norms, which teach young girls that as long as they dream, (see: Cinderella‘s “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes“), their insecurities will magically be cured by a fairy God mother or a handsome prince, or both!

Animated Disney classics tend to repeat certain themes:

Men are brave, handsome saviors.

(Masculinities theorist, R. W. Connell, writes about hegemonic masculinity theory in his research on representations of ideal masculinity versus subordinate masculinities, along the lines of race, class, ability, sex, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religion.)

Women are feminine, cisgender victims of external forces of violence- from which they require external saving.

Disney Princesses adhere to a strict size 2 body and dress code.

Beauty is defined in terms of, “fairness of skin,” and quality of hair.

(See: true classics blog post on, “Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.”)

Disney villains are often distinguished according to bodily malformations, darkness of skin, advanced age and/or weight.

(Beauty and love are synonymous to lightness [of features], youth, and innocence in the wonderful world of Disney.)

But Walt Disney Pictures aren’t the only culprits in this neoconservative scheme to instruct traditional gender norms Take, for example, my girl Odette! The Swan Princess adheres to that same size 2 body and dress code, those same savior-damsel heteronormative codes of gendered behaviors and also that same racialized morality according to character’s skin pigmentation and appearance.

But instead of accepting her fate as the unthinking flower, Odette asked a critical question to Derek and to the viewing audience (i.e. ME!…& hundreds of thousands of impressionable children). She asked us to think about the intensified value we place on physical appearance versus what else there really is to a person.

Why hadn’t any other princess challenged her own occupation before? No wonder nobody has ever heard of Princess Odette.

Categories: Creative Blog Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

No place like home.

How do we start again?

A Blog of One's Own

*Hons 201: Feminism, New Media & Health

Happy Bodies

body positivity at carleton college and beyond

True Classics

Dedicated to classic film & animation

In America

- You Define America What Defines You

What Shih Said

that's what (irene) shih said

Cherryblossomlife

Meanwhile the springs are becoming more silent... (Mary Daly)

centered but not calm

delightedly outraged about the times in which we live

The Inner Woman

by Zulma Reyo

Gender Blog by Darlene Tando, LCSW

This blog is about gender and all its intricacies... I will be blogging about latest research, reflections from my work with gender non-conforming and transgender clients, as well as information about resources.

Practicing Feminism

Women's health from a Feminist perspective!

erichons201

I'm a student at Hunter College currently enrolled in a 'Feminist, New Media and Health' class. This blog is a response to that class.

Women belong in the House.... and the Senate

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Crates and Ribbons

In pursuit of gender equality

demeliou

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.

madihafmh

Feminism, New Media, & Health