Disney Restyles Rapunzel to Appeal to Boys Critique

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In “Disney restyles ‘Rapunzel’ to appeal to boys”, an article written in the Los Angeles Times, Dawn C. Chmielewski and Claudia Eller claims that Disney is slowly removing traditional “princess” features in its animations; moving towards a more gender neutral portrayal of its animations in a bid to capture a larger audience base. Despite the authors’ development of insightful perspectives through cross comparisons between animations, Disney might not be shifting gender-­‐specific features away from “princess-­‐themed” animations. Also, marketing initiatives and gender specific titles could merely be minor causes in the lack of popularity of “The Princess and the Frog”. Contrary to the authors’ claim, Disney might not be emulating the success of Pixar and removing gender-­‐specific attributes from its films. The authors have over-­‐generalized the change in Rapunzel and make the assumption that future fairytales will be portrayed similarly. However, Rapunzel could be an outlier and not a signal of Disney gearing towards abolishing gender-­‐specific features in its animations. The authors have also presented a wrong basis of comparison between “Up” and “Rapunzel” in their claim that Disney is emulating the success of Pixar. For one, the changes in “Rapunzel” was based on the reversal of gender-­‐ specific features captured from the original fairy-­‐tale, such as the transformation of Rapunzel’s character from traditional damsel in distress into a more active and aggressive female protagonist. However “Up” stemmed from an entirely new storyline, which was gender neutral and bore little similarity to the typical fairy-­‐ tale storyline of Rapunzel. Additionally, Chmielewski and Eller over-­‐emphasize the importance of a gender-­‐ specific title in catering to its audiences. The name change of Rapunzel, which takes into account “meanings beyond the obvious hair references” (2010,Para 13), may be redundant, as children would less likely take into consideration...
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