July 31, 2014
Fairy Tales: Old VS Modern
While Disney developed a formulaic approach to fairy tales (basic elements in its formula: good prevailing over evil, emotional, catchy songs, cute sidekicks for comic relief, young romance, funny jokes) it also created a formulaic approach to how young girls set goals or standards (Chan 231). The plot usually containing a story of good prevailing over evil usually occurs with an older woman who is jealous of the young princess. All of the princess movies are also turned into musicals with the princess having a beautiful sing along voice and the cute sidekicks are always around to help save the day. The young romance helps fulfill the ideal of a “Happily Ever After” life that includes the princess and her prince, and the life that they are about to embark on together. Some good morals can come out of the stories, but it often leads young girls to believe that they should just wait for their prince and that is all there is to life. As the popular culture is evolving and women are beginning to be seen as stronger figures, Disney has decided to modernize the princesses as well. These movies mock the old values of the other princess movies by making them hard working and independent woman. Children, mostly girls, can begin to grow up with a better look on what will be important to them in the future as Disney continues to create more modern princesses that can relate to all children everywhere.
Fairy Tales have been able to shape young girls’ lives. They begin to learn their morals through these enchanting stories. They should not leave all of their hope in the hands of some nonexistent prince, but should instead try to make the best of their own lives. The Princess and The Frog, is about a hardworking girl named Tiana. She wants to build her own restaurant and does whatever she can to become successful on her own. Brave is about a girl named Merida, who does not want to just get married and have that be the story of her life, but wants to live her own life going on adventures and making a difference. Frozen is about two sisters, Anna and Elsa, the two try to end a winter Elsa had caused in the middle of summer, they do this together breaking the norm of a prince that would usually come to the rescue. Through the examples of these princesses in the movies, The Princess and The Frog, Brave, and Frozen, little girls are able to learn better values in life.
Princess Tiana, in The Princess and The Frog, is the first African American princess ever to be created by Disney. It was the first movie to break some of the stereotypes of the standard princess, as described above, and teaches little girls better values, such as, independence and hard work. Her tale is not like the others. She grows up with a loving family. They truly show the culture of African Americans in New Orleans. Opening the eyes of the little girls to a whole complete different idea of what a princess can look like. This teaches them that anyone of them can be seen as a strong, beautiful, and independent princess. Tiana is this great role model because of the influence from her parents. Tiana and her father, James, loved to cook together and their dream was to one day open up a restaurant called Tiana’s Place. Unfortunately, he passed early on, but Tiana vowed to not give up on their dream. James, constantly had told Tiana that in order to achieve her dreams, wishing was only part of it, and that she would need to work hard for them. Tiana then knew that her dreams could come true, as long as she works hard, she can do it all on her own. Many people “were excited about Princess Tiana having a desire to fulfill her dreams, and they like the idea that there is not the patriarchal outlook that most other Disney films have held” (Sawyer 14). This encouraged young girls everywhere to try to fulfill their dreams as well. In the song “Almost There” she sings, “There's been trials...
Brave. Disney, 2012. Film.
Chan, Joseph. M, ―Disneyfying and Globalizing the Chinese Legend and Mulan: A Study of Transculturation‖. In Search of Boundaries: Communication,Nation- states, and Cultural Identities. Ed. Joseph M. Chan and Bryce T. McIntyre.Westport, CT: Ablex, 2002. 225- 248.
Cheung, T. Y. (2005). Reading beyond ―happily ever after‖: refiguring the disney narrative of femininity. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Philosophy, Philosophy at, Hong Kong, Japan. Retrieved from http://repository.hku.hk/bitstream/10722/41373/1/FullText.pdf
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Frozen. Walt Disney, 2013. Film
The Princess and the Frog. Walt Disney, 2009. Film.
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