okay, so i’m starting to sort of understand the dealio with these four as a grouping, and i have to say i’m kind of liking it? one reason being that they’re a really awesome set of role models for children.
in a way, it’s sort of a new generation of “disney princesses” without actually being disney or princesses. if that makes sense. because i don’t know about you, but when i was younger my sisters and i identified with different disney princesses and while i won’t go to the extreme and say they were a driving force in who we are today, there is something influential in who we associate ourselves with and who our heroes are as children.
but we of tumblr know that while they do have strong points, there are issues with the classic disney princesses as role models (i won’t get into them here). now, i’m not saying there aren’t issues with these four (i don’t know what to call them… since they do come from different studios and half of them are not princesses) namely that all of them are white and there’s no poc representation (yet, i’m keeping my fingers crossed) but this is a great start for role models for the next generation of children.
brave says it’s ok for girls to like and excel at things not considered feminine and that their lives shouldn’t be determined by romantic relationships. brave promotes communication between daughters and mothers—how many disney princesses had living mothers, much less interaction with their mothers? even mulan’s relationship with her mother was significantly overwhelmed by her relationship with her father [[which i feel is to the movie’s detriment, mulan didn’t delve as deeply into gender issues as it could have, and i feel like mulan’s relationship with her mother could have helped facilitate that]]
tangled says that it’s ok for girls to like and excel at feminine things—it doesn’t make them weak, nor does it undermine feminism; it also removes the problematic patriarchical undertones from the little mermaid plot (and not just because it’s mother gothel as opposed to king triton) rapunzel leaves because she wants to see the lanterns (wants to see the outside world), not because she wants to be with the guy/her safe haven has been destroyed by her father. [[i would prefer not to touch the whole flynn rider romance plot for now, though you have to admit it wasn’t as significant to the story as ariel’s romance]]
and for the boys! yes, there were some disney boys (princes?) but were they really role models for the boys of our generation? [[who were the role models for the boys of our generation, anyway? i’m betting my money on heroes that were warriors/fighters]]
how to train your dragon shows the triumph of brains over brawn, diplomacy and pacifism over aggression. hiccup doesn’t fit into the idea of typical masculinity but he’s the hero because he’s willing to see things from the dragons’ point of view and because he’s willing to be different from the ideal viking by playing to his strengths. further, he saves the day by using teamwork—obviously with toothless, but also with the other kids of the village which includes girls. it’s not a brotherhood, only boys are the hero, sort of deal and the girls aren’t just token females. and while hiccup does have a crush on astrid, his rise from “zero to hero” isn’t because of her or because he gains mysteriously magic muscles like in hercules. [[oh, hey… i seem to have accidentally hit upon a theme of comparing these four with classic disney characters, so i guess i’ll just keep going with that.]]
it’s just as important that boys know that romance shouldn’t be the driving point in their lives either. boys shouldn’t be taught to save the world (and thereby the damsel in distress) so that they can have the reward of the damsel.
now, i haven’t actually seen rise of the guardians [[waiting for the dvd]] but from what i can tell, jack is also not the traditionally masculine hero. i don’t want to presume, but i’d like to draw some parallels between him and aladdin. he’s an orphan and a rogue, sly and sarcastic and charming, yes? but while aladdin consistently held himself above the law and authority, abused his new power to get the girl, jack is different. yes, we see him rebel against the other guardians—he chafes against their enforced rules at first because he’s never had any before—and he is on santa’s naughty list but he adapts his otherwise criminal-leaning skills towards good… i think. [[i really do need to watch it, maybe i’ll come back after i do and rewrite this]]
anyway, the point of this huge rant was that these four are great. they’re great role models for children and i’m glad they exist and that people are grouping them together.