Monday, January 24, 2011

Are Disney Princesses Good Role Models?

When attending a seminar on women and public space, I had a talk with a fellow journo, NO from JG newspaper. Below are excerpts of the conversation.

NO: Do you ever notice the pattern in Disney animation movies? They have a major theme that is basically encouraging women to stay poor, uneducated and powerless.
Me: What do you mean?
NO: Take Cinderella for example. She is poor, uneducated and powerless, while the stepmother is rich, smart and has power. In the end, it is Cinderella who wins. So it is like encouraging women to be like Cinderella, because the poor, uneducated and powerless women will win after all. It is the same case with Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, too.

Ah so it seemed that the folk tales that was made in the past wanted to keep women as the passive ones. But I've seen a revolution in recent Disney animation. For example, Belle is portrayed as a woman who loves books while Mulan is a fighter.

The latest animation movie, Rapunzel, even goes away from the traditional damsel in distress and charming prince combo. So I am optimistic that daughters of the future will have better princesses as their role models.

Anyway, why don't we start telling our children the local folklores? There are stories on strong Indonesian women, such as Cut Nyak Dhien and Keumalahayati. Anyone still remembers the folklore of Sabai Nan Aluih? That's one strong women too:). 

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