- Anonymous asked
Tiana was the first African American Disney princess in 72 years and the only African American princess ever.
- Mulan was the first East Asian Disney princess in 61 years and the only East Asian princess ever.
- Pocahontas was the first Native American princess in 58 years and the only Native American princess ever.
- Jasmine was the first Middle Eastern-analogue princess in 55 years, the first princess of color in 55 years, and the only Middle Eastern-esque since.
- These four, plus Princess Kida, are the only princesses who are not white.
- The only Asian princess is Mulan, who’s from China.
- The only Native American princess is Pocahontas, who’s Powhatan.
- The only Black princess is Tiana, who’s American.
- The only Middle-Eastern princess is Jasmine, who’s from Agrabah.
- The only white princesses are Snow White who’s from Germany, and Cinderella who’s French, and Aurora who’s maybe French or German or British, and Ariel who’s from the ocean but moves to Denmark, and Belle who’s French, and Rapunzel who’s German, and Merida who’s Scottish, and Anna who’s Scandinavian, and Elsa who’s Scandinavian.
One of the most disturbing scenes in Disney’s “Aladdin” is when Jasmine must pretend to seduce Jaffar in order to distract him. The clothing that the animators chose to put her in, complete with the shackles, are all a white, colonial wet dream. And she’s the only Disney princess who’s had to use her body in this way to distract someone. Then there’s this scene in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” where Esmeralda is shimmying her hips and breasts and basically ends with a pole-dance sequence: a far cry from the delicate waltzes and pirouettes that Belle and Aurora dance. The simultaneous fascination and revulsion that Whiteness has for WOC bodies are unmistakably evident in Disney’s posturing of Jasmine and Esmeralda.
Let me tell you a story. Once at a party, I had all the little girls sitting around me and I was asking them about their favorite parts of all the princess movies. The birthday girl was sitting next to me, and tells me, “Princess, your skin is the same color as mine.” I smile and agree, and try to move the game along, but she interrupts and says, “Your skin is brown and you’re a princess. It’s the same color as mine, but you’re a princess.”
“Well, if my skin is brown and your skin is brown, and I’m a princess, then you must be a princess too.” I tell her. And then I spent the next 10 minutes assuring all the black girls at the party that yes, they have lovely skin and yes, they can be princesses with me.
This happens at most of the parties I go to. I have had my arm stroked, my hair patted, my skin color commented on more times than I can remember. I am not simply hired out to entertain a bunch of cute little girls dressed in poofy skirts who want to play with a big girl in a poofier skirt. I am hired out because I am an affirmation. For these little black girls (and boys! I’ve dazzled a few of them too) Princess Tiana is proof that for once, they can be special BECAUSE of the color of their skin, not IN SPITE OF.
Adding some of her pictures for emphasis.
We’ve featured pictures of this lovely Tiana before, but I wanted to add this post to the blog as well :)
- just-a-simple-monk asked
Look it can’t even paint with more than one, it just splatters the other colors into a giant mess and tries to pass it off as painting.
Where’s that post that points out Rapunzel was Disney’s first white princess in 20 years??
While it’s true there’s not representation of every ethnicity yet, it’s not true that they only “paint with one color.” And I gotta say I find it ironic that the quote used for this reference was sang by a Native American (hint: not white) princess.
Bottom line: I’d love to see Disney do a Hispanic princess, a mixed race couple, a movie where the princess is the one saving the prince, a same-sex couple as much as the next person. But making false claims about the diversity in their movies isn’t going to get us there.
I assume that post is hiding in embarrassment because even if Rapunzel was Disney’s first white princess in 20 years (not withstanding with the pile of Cinderella sequels that home video spat out, and the giant castles that Disney has erected to memorialize three different white princesses, etc.) that’s a pretty sad statistic.
Sure, we went 20 years without a new white princess. Let’s be thoughtful about this:
So this argument that ooh, Rapunzel was the first white Disney princess in 20 years? When there were six white princesses before her? Rapunzel has only been out since 2010, and since then Disney has added THREE more white princesses.
That’s four white princesses in the past three years.
Disney can crown four princesses, all of the same same race, in three years, when they are white.
Yet, as your own fancy statistic attests, it took them six times as long to crown four princesses of color, of different races—each from films with questionable racial stereotypes.
Trying to minimize Disney’s terrible track record isn’t going to get us there either.
- ileikturtles asked
Hi there, the original story was written by Hans Christian Andersen, the same Danish author that wrote ‘the Little Mermaid’ and as such it is not a Saami story at all.
In the original story however, the main character Gerda meets a Saami woman who helps her finding her way to the Snow Queen’s palace by writing a message on a piece of dried fish that she tells Gerda to bring to a Finnish woman in the far north of Finland. This part of the story is a mere paragraph long, so the only reason why Disney has chosen to call Kristoff Saami is to add a bit of exotic flair to the film itself.
Disney’s understanding of our many and different cultures is non-existent, they haven’t used any Saami advisors in the process of making the film, Kristoff is a vendor of ice with a pet reindeer and the only inclusion of a Saami voice in the film is through the opening song, which is a yoik written by a South Saami composer. This yoik is not performed by Saami artists, however, so it’s not really a Saami addition to the film as much as it is a tune chosen because of how exotic it sounds. In many ways Eatnemen vuelie is not chosen because Disney wants the film to give Saami a place, it’s been chosen because it sounds like a chant not all too dissimilar from the opening song in Pocahontas.
In other words, changing Kristoff’s outfit from the horrible mismatch of things he’s currently wearing and that Disney presents as being Saami to something authentically Saami would be equally problematic because he is not Saami. Making Kristoff Saami is a way for Disney to claim that they have included minorities in their stories, rather than telling yet another boring, white Western story that has nothing new to add to the wealth of children’s films out there. His Saaminess is a tokenistic way of showing how inclusive Disney is while not being inclusive or diverse at all.
Via Jezebel…check out the article but yes, what the title says. I basically just posted this after finding the other link, but then realized this quote had more textual info than what was there.
…according to one Disney exec, female characters are harder to animate than male ones due to their having to show a “wide range of emotions” and having to “keep them pretty” in the midst of movement. Almost immediately, the internet called bullshit.
The exec, whose foot is probably by now firmly in his mouth, is one Lino Disalvo, Disney’s head of animation for film. He lauded the achievements of the animation staff who worked onFrozen to a visiting animation blogger, saying making the film look good was a unique challenge. BECAUSE LADIES.
“Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, ’cause they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”
love the comparison image they posted… & this comment:
I’ve seen other people comment on it and should have included it in posts (forgot) but it’s a good point that the implication here is ALSO that men don’t need to show as much range of emotion. Which gives credence to the stereotype that “women are emotional, while men are logical and don’t do things like cry”.
also why DO you have to keep female characters “pretty in the midst of movement”?? it’s like period commercials where I have to do white pants-ed cartwheels while I’m cramping blood out my bottom like hello it’s ok to be not pretty when you’re escaping from death or whatever
Seriously, it surprises me that people still don’t get that “whitewashing” doesn’t just mean “taking a character of color and turning them white,” but also applies to “focusing disproportionately on the stories of white people,” “glossing over or altering…
I kinda feel though that for the times, the princess’ are actually a wider spread than you’re making it sound. Yes their skin is white but theyre of different nationalities. German English French American Scottish ect. Just because the countries main population of the time when the story was written was white isnt really the fault of the tale. I mean you don’t go to African stories and myths expecting to see white people and have them be culturally diverse. Same with any other ethnicity
(Also with frozen, the upper frozen countries are whiter than white because the pigment is bleached from extended exposure to cold temperatures encouraged them not to go outside and produce melatonin which gives skin its pigment hence the white skin. Also because shes an ice fairy thing.))
That’s the thing. I go to European folk tales and myths expecting to see European people, who are predominately white (although there have been people of color in Europe for longer than white people, because there were no white people before Africans migrated to Europe, and commerce and immigration have been pretty vibrant between the two places since then)
I also go to African folk tales and myths and expect to see African people, and when I go to Asian folk tales and myths I expect to see Asian people, and when I go to Native American folk tales and myths, I expect to see Native American people, and so on for every geographical region and its respective predominate ethnic group.
Except that’s the thing. I don’t go to African stories and myths expecting to see white people. Disney doesn’t go to African stories and myths, full-stop.
Disney goes to European folk tales and uses a cast of white people, like you might expect in that region and time period. Then, they go to European folk tales and use a cast of white people, like you might expect in that region and time period. Then, they go to European folk tales and use a cast of white people, like you might expect in that region and time period. And then, they go to European folk tales and use a cast of white people, like you might expect in that region and time period.
The problem is not that the cast of any given individual movie isn’t diverse enough. The problem is that Disney continually chooses to set their stories in western and northern Europe (conveniently, where “all the characters are white” is plausible).
They might just be “being accurate to the story’s time period and location,” but the thing is, they choose the time period and location, and time after time, they always seem to choose stories written by and exclusively featuring white people.
Yeah, if they made movies set in Africa or Asia or pre-colonial Australia or pre-colonial Americas, the characters in those movies would all be African or Asian or whatever culture is indigenous to the story’s setting. The problem is that they don’t really do that. In the “Princess” collection, they have two movies set in America, one set in Asia, and one set in a made-up country that is so dissimilar to any culture that has ever existed that the closest location I can give for it is “somewhere below Russia.” Then they have eight movies set in northern/western Europe, for a total of nine white princesses who.
Of course, those nine princesses are sometimes French, sometimes Danish, sometimes German, et cetera. There’s a lot of different nationalities amongst the white princesses.
However, amongst the Asian princess, there is one nationality: Chinese. Amongst the Black princess, there is one nationality: American. Amongst the native American princess, there is one nationality: Powhatan. Amongst the Arab princess, there is less than one nationality, because Agrabah bears almost no resemblance to any one place that ever existed.
Do you see the problem? The white princesses, plural, have a great deal of diversity in their nationalities, in their appearances, in their personalities and attitudes. The princesses of color get no such diversity, because there is only one of each race.
And that’s kind of the issue. White people already have seven princess from various parts of Europe. Every other race (note: race, not nationality) has one princess, maximum, but Disney still insists on giving white people an eighth and ninth helping in one go while everybody else is still waiting on firsts and seconds.
And that is what people mean when they say it’s whitewashing.
Yeah, if they made movies set in Africa or Asia or pre-colonial Australia or pre-colonial Americas, the characters in those movies would all be African or Asian or whatever culture is indigenous to the story’s setting. The problem is that they don’t really do that.
It’s actually more problematic and racist than even that. Disney has set movies in areas with a lot of people of color like Africa and Australia—and they still feature white people—look at Tarzan, The Rescuers Down Under, etc.