Disney Princess Feminists

Disney goes fashion II by Sashiiko-Anti

Take a look at the top-voted answer by Shannon:

In this answer I will evaluate the degree of gender treason committed by the following seven women, who so blithely bask in the glory of the patriarchy anointing them with the empty title “princess”, thereby condemning innocent little girls worldwide to a life wracked by miserable, insatiable lust for a crown, a ballgown, and a 17-inch waist…

Then a countering view by Anna:

there is a lot of feminist criticism to be made of the disney princesses, but that’s not where feminist analysis has to end. these are still children’s movies about women’s choices, y’all. there are not a lot of those these days.

Finally, this observation:

What i really love about this is that it engages that a text is authorial intent, BUT also the reader’s interpretation. Disney movies are definitely problematical narratives, but what the watcher chooses to take from it may not be at all the intended message. It’s an interaction, not an imposition, and what’s just as important as giving children a greater variety of texts to choose from is giving them the tools to take them apart and internalize the messages that strengthen them.

Obviously, YMMV will always apply on the Internet, and this is not a surprise.

Some Quora threads are not so end-all and be-all “expert” as they appear, especially if there is not one dissenting opinion in the mix. Yes, more exciting debates go on in other threads, but it seems to be on topics tailored towards Quora’s initial audience: adult, predominantly male, technology industry background.

On the other hand, people shouldn’t dismiss the Tumblr experience as mindless and amateur. What is wrong with developing tastes and maintaining a “hobby blog” that can potentially drive lifelong passions and hone skills? I have a feeling, however, that its closed system prevents people from discovering and understanding it further.

I contacted Anna and let her know about the discussion on Quora, wondering if she’d be interested to throw her hat into the ring, as I would have loved to see how she could shift the discussion, but said no thanks. Their hatred towards femininity and closed-mindedness turned her off, not to mention the requirement to login with Facebook.

So smart, opinionated people on Tumblr could potentially contribute a fresh demographic and perspective to a place like Quora, but there’s a very real generation/values gap at play here. I completely understand both sides. The identity barrier to entry attempts to curb the spam and pins the quality of posting on the reputation one has to uphold, but even seasoned users of the service don’t like this tactic. I myself avoid connecting accounts as much as possible.

Then of course there is feminism. My foray into fandoms renders this clinical, dismissive attitude of entertainment exhibiting anti-feminist principles all too familiar. The content is always well-meaning: we just want to be respected and treated well. But the problem is sometimes films and shows don’t actually have the eroding effect they claim to have, subconsciously or not. Worse, the attitude most of these advocates adapt is intimidating, demeaning even. Why not choose to champion its redeeming values (like what Anna did) and frame the discussion in that context? Once a female reaches a certain age, does she really have to condemn Disney fairytales as harmful to impressionable young minds or else do a disservice to the whole gender? Will people simply not acknowledge alternative approaches to reading text?

I find it really interesting how three elements converged like that, social network audiences and their disconnect via Disney princesses and feminism, albeit a little disheartening seeing how my interests are incompatible on certain levels, when they all boil down to geeking out.

Illustration is Disney goes fashion by *Sashiiko-Anti on DeviantArt. Check out the whole thing, it’s brilliant.

⋆ Hi! Thanks for stopping by ⋆

Design × Code × Words for a better Web,
made in the Philippines by Sophia Lucero.