Thursday, May 16, 2013

White Mulan and Sexy Disney

I link two earlier Disney Princess blogs in this. If you are a parent, I encourage you to read them. Thank you.

It's barely been 19 hours since Disney removed a "sexy" Merida from their website. For those who haven't seen Brave yet, Merida is almost like an anti-princess.

For starters, in the film, she looks like a regular, normal, clean, teenage girl.
Off topic, isn't it nice to see a mom who is ALIVE in a Disney film? I digress. Merida doesn't wear makeup, hardly does her hair, and doesn't wear anything revealing. Her "comfort" clothes are rather conservative when compared to other princesses, and above all, the smart young lass is all about being herself and being a warrior. In fact she's so ensconced in wanting her freedom that she is the very first Disney Princess to exist without a boyfriend. Even equally independent Tiana and Mulan have had love interests forced onto them, late into their movies, but Merida stands out as a self-sufficient heroine, that seemingly everyone adores.

So when Disney opted to change the girl into being all dolled up in cakes of makeup and skin-tight dresses, people were enraged.
Gone were her bow and arrow, replaced with a Revlon inspired remake, pointy bird nose, a badly drawn on "crazy eye" effect for what Disney approves of as "stalker whimsy" and a "Grr I have an attitude" pose for each drawing, the new look drew nothing but ire. A petition sprang up, and Disney was urged to remove the "fake" Merida at once.

But they only pulled her from the website, and added a snarky, unapologetic "SOME people just don't get it. It's ONLY for select products" response, much like a tween in need of a backhand.

But the trouble with screwing up on a royal scale like this, is that once people call you out on this one fault, they start looking for all of your others. Angry parents visited the Disney Princess website, and were shocked to find that their beloved Merida was NOT the only Princess sporting a sexier look.

Of all the remade images, I doubt it's possible to find one more offensive and insensitive than this:
A WHITE Chinese princess?? REALLY?? The only Asian girl in the line up, and you gave her blue eyes, and skin whiter than Snow White??? You can't even tell me she could be mixed-race, as we see in the film that her entire family is pure Chinese!

As I've hinted at before, Disney has been trying to Whitewash their own princesses for years. They even went so far as to remove their only mixed-race "Princess" Esmeralda, and actually blamed the cartoon character for being "too sexy". Really, what kind of crazy person blames a cartoon drawing for how she is drawn?? And if being "sexy" was really a problem, wouldn't Ariel have been drawn totally clothed in "The Little Mermaid" during the scene where Ursula turns her human?

The truth is that sexy has never been an issue for Disney. It seems that Disney has always wanted princesses they can compartmentalize. They want the princesses to all appear to be the same, but with different colored dresses. They seem bent on making every princess look as close to a fashion model as possible.
And nobody is buying it anymore, including White families.

The sentiment Disney is sending little girls is that they need to be sexy, skinny, pointy-nosed, angular and White. They need to be obedient, unquestioning, and subdued. Being anything else, makes you "unruly" and unwanted. 

This is proven by the fact that for years, the top three princesses they've been hawking are Cinderella (servant to her step-family despite owning the house they live in), Ariel (who augments her body and drops everything that makes her special for Eric) and Sleeping Beauty (who has zero initiative and lets life happen to her.) and before the holidays if you're very lucky, Snow White. (The world's cutest house maid.) The other princesses are shoved into the background. 

They produce videos, that supposedly "celebrate" little girls with ambition, yet their products paint the opposite picture. The more ambitious you are, the more like a rabid animal they make you seem:
What's more is that Disney is PROUD of all of this. Take a look at their next Princess, who is supposed to be Inuit:
Yeah, I'm about 90% sure that Eskimos and the Inuit DON'T look like that.

They've even produced sub-Princesses for international markets. Take a gander at Latina Princess, Sofia, who's mother and step-family have been on everything from backpacks to blankets:
I've met tons and tons of Hispanic families. Not even ONCE have I seen a Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican little girl with a full face of makeup, light brown hair, milky skin and blue-green eyes.

Disney also has Kilala, a Japanese princess, who had a manga sold about her through Tokyopop:
Oh c'mon Disney REALLY??? Is THAT what you think a Japanese princess should look like?!?! 

A mom started a petition about Mulan's new image, and I was all too happy to sign it. But we can't stop here. Boycott their products, start petitions for each of the princesses. SPEAK UP! We need to tell Disney that we're not going to allow them to continue to sell this kind of nonsense to little girls anymore.

UPDATE: Need more reasons? How about a song where Cinderella tells Sofia that she wishes she would have made friends with her evil step-sisters. You remember them, the two women who bullied, tortured and abused Cinderella in the 1950 film?
Or how about a passage on the Disney Princess website, where they suggest that maybe it was Belle who wasn't so pretty until after she started to live with an emotional abuser like the Beast?
Maybe I'll let Tumblr writer Nikki Ward sum it up:


  1. To be fair in Kilala's case, very few manga characters honestly look Japanese. Unless it's a character who has the defining characteristic of being "a traditional Japanese beauty", they tend to look Caucasian. Heck, I've seen cases where most of the cast look Caucasian, but when an American or European character is introduced, THEY'RE the only one who actually looks Asian.

  2. Ahem... You do know that Anna and Elsa come from scandinavia, they are norwegian, right? Just like vikings, they most definitely are not inuits. Their features are very scandinavian; light skin and hair as well as freckles and high cheekbones. I should know, I'm scandinavian myself and I was pleased to see traditional clothes and landscape from my culture for once. I just wanted to correct that one, mostly I agree with you, though.