I am in love with the movie Moana. Disney really did an amaaazeballs job with it. Some people say it’s much better than Frozen because the female protagonist isn’t a “princess” and “doesn’t fall in love” at the end. Very, very feminist. For me, I don’t believe that gender equality or feminism necessarily needs to happen in the exclusion of romantic love. I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to grow up like a princess. Sure, the stereotypical princess depicted in traditional fairy tales often lead (or lack thereof) a passive role in the making of their own destiny. They don’t choose what happens to them; instead, they are chosen. They’re also hot beyond belief which makes the noble prince goes, phew! And then he marries her and they live happily ever after. Very, very, realistic portrayal of romance. Not to mention unhealthy because it seems to be saying that you have to be pretty in order to find a handsome prince and live happily ever after.
Yeah, fairytales (especially traditional ones) are problematic, since it promotes a passive role for young girls and requires a handsome prince in order to produce their happy ending. But that’s the thing! Disney is reinventing these fairy tales, because the archetypes that this generation resonates with are changing, and so are the stories we are telling. Frozen is a princess movie, but for once the romantic aspect of it occurs after the princess has actually spent some time to get to know the guy. And though romance (or the desire of it) is a huge part in Frozen’s narrative, it’s also about the love and struggles between two sisters, who are dealing with grief, isolation, the desire for a relationship, and growing up. At least they gave Anna a reason to have a crazy “love at first sight” episode. She was all cooped up in a castle for the majority of her life, completely and utterly socially awkward. Although I find that kind of strange that she lives in a palace completely devoid of servants and other royal subjects?
But anyhoo. Let’s not go there. Back to Moana. I was watching a Youtube video about some of the story concepts that didn’t make it to the final production of the movie. Apparently, Moana was initially supposed to be competing with her siblings (nine of them), which all happen to be male. Moana tries very hard to prove herself to be better–or that she was just as good as the boys. And then later, she was required to rescue all of her brothers from various sea monsters and demons, solidifying and displaying her blatant girl power. (Woot!)
I am glad that Disney vetoed that idea. Sure, we want to teach young girls that they’re just as good as the boys and that their gender doesn’t limit them. It’s a good message, but it also sends the message that girls have to compete against boys to be worthy, or that girls have to define themselves against how they measure up to the boys around them. Yeah, not a really good message to send. I like the Moana where she is accepted by her village and her father for who she is, and who she is has nothing to do with being a girl. She is a human character who struggles to find herself, who is experimenting with her capabilities and learning what she can and cannot do. While she is paired with a powerful male protagonist, their relationship isn’t really competitive or romantic-they come to support each other and align themselves towards each other’s goals and embark on a grand adventure together.
I also like how Disney makes fun of the fact that “Moana isn’t a princess movie, despite having an animal sidekick and wearing a dress!” That’s awesome. I hope Disney makes more movies like this. Moana’s story doesn’t involve romance, but a good dose of romance never hurts, because let’s face it, how can we as human beings live without ever finding a partner? (A lot of the so-called “feminists” are really warped about their sense of “independence”. Being alone = strong? That’s sad. Instead of independence, I like the word “autonomy” better. It shows that you are in charge of your own choices, but you are also willing to be vulnerable and rely on someone for support.)
If you haven’t seen Moana, DO IT!!!! On a side note, I rewatched Tangled last night. It was such a sweet love story. Not gonna lie, it made my heart ache with longing. Where is my Flyn Rider!? Grrrr.