Monday, February 1, 2010

Disney slammed by other minority groups... I say it's not just Disney's fault

Start out by checking out this link about disabled people begin upset about their lack of representation in Disney films.

Disney Attacked Over Lack Of Disabled Princesses

Now, I'm one for more visibility in movies and pop culture for all groups. But when you take a look at WDAS' (Walt Disney Animation Studio) endeavors although they are very hetero-normative with white leads falling for white leads, there are a decent number representing minority populations.

Coming up with these numbers I had to consider a few rules.

1. I'll only consider movies that are mostly involving humans.
2. I'm extending "Princess" to include female leads (though princesses will be denoted with a "*P" only if they are a princess by the end of the film).
3. I had to exclude Black Cauldron, Treasure Planet, Emperors New Groove and Atlantis, because I haven't seen them

Movie Year Female Lead

Snow White 1937 Snow White *P German
Cinderella 1950 Cinderella *P French
Alice In Wonderland 1951 Alice English
Peter Pan 1953 Wendy English
Sleeping Beauty 1959 Aurora *P French
The Little Mermaid 1989 Ariel *P Mermaid (but Eric is clearly European)
Beauty and the Beast 1991 Bell *P French
Aladdin 1992 Jasmin *P Middle Eastern
Pocahontas 1995 Pocahontas *P Native American
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 Esmerelda Gypsy (Romani)
Hercules 1997 Meg Greek
Mulan 1998 Mulan Chinese
Tarzan 1999 Jane English
Lilo And Stitch 2002 Lilo Island Pacific
The Princess And The Frog 2009 Tiana *P African American

Info gained from chart above:
15 movies with female leads
9 with white/mermaid leads (or about 60%)
8 movies with a Princess (about 53% off the 15 movies)
5 Princesses are white (62% of the princesses)

Yes, I can see that these numbers are high. Above 60% off all the women in this sampling of WDAS' movies are white!  And it did take nearly 70 years to create a movie with African American leads (despite already having MANY other groups represented in the "casting").

But I don't think this is just about Disney. Media as a whole doesn't give enough air time to differently-abled persons. Thinking about the shows I watch on television right now, only one person in wheel chair comes to mind: Joe Swanson - Peter Grifin's neighbor on Family Guy (and he's constantly made fun of for his chair... although everyone is made fun of on Family Guy).

But I'm not going to hold my breath for a differently-abled "Princess." Just like I'm not waiting for a lesbian princess; hell we haven't even had one that wore glasses (how cute would Bell have looked wearing classes when reading?). The media just has to step up and begin using differently-abled characters both as secondary characters and as titular characters!

Edit: One Disney titular character did have a physical abnormality, but was a man so was not included in this list. Quasimoto from Hunchback.


1 comment:

janice said...

Whatever it is..Things will put into place if it is settled in a good way of talking about the problem in an appropriate manner.

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