In the interest of full disclosure: I really really really loved this movie. I was 20 years old when it came out, so I got my younger sister to go with me to see it (she really wanted to see it too, but sibling rivalry demands bribery) because otherwise I would have just been a really pathetic adult woman, walking into a movie theater alone on a Saturday afternoon to see a Disney movie.
This also could have looked sort of creepy.
So away we went to the theater and I had to shuffle around my list of top 5 favorite Disney films so Tangled could fit.
Unfortunately, not everyone felt that way.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse (with a frying pan?) at this point, but the biggest issue that feminists have is that they read too much into every little thing! They forget that the movies target audience is, generally speaking, children. Children who generally don’t read “euphemism for loss of virginity” into the change of Rapunzel’s hair from blonde to brown at the end.
Quite frankly the idea that the writer’s of Tangled were sitting around a table, smoking cigars and drinking brandy, while they thought up clever ways to make a Tangled be euphemistically misogynistic is pitifully laughable.
When it comes right down to it, feminists have become a parody of themselves. They’re complaints have to shift constantly.
“Snow White just cleaned up for dwarves and couldn’t take care of herself” changes to “they made Rapunzel use a frying pan as a weapon and she really only was heroic because she was cleaning up the actions of a stupid man, which is the same thing as cleaning and cooking for dwarves”. They just shift the goalposts to give themselves something to whine about.
They even manage to find misogynist concepts hidden in the concept that a woman whose never seen the outside world before (and has been emotionally manipulated into believe it’s a terrifying place…by a woman. I thought it was men that wanted women locked up at home) needs a guide to show her the world.
Yes, it would be much more feminist to just throw her to the wolves and let her figure things out all by herself. Yup, definitely.
Let’s ignore the part where she all but had to water board Flynn to force him to take her on that little journey. Rapunzel knows exactly how to get what she wants in life.
Also, apparently feminists are admitting to be virulently shallow and incapable of looking past the physical features of Rapunzel. ‘She’s too skinny, she’s too blonde, why is Mother Gothel the one with dark hair!‘* This one is my favorite:
“As a Black woman, I know all to well how complicated the issue of hair can be. Looking at the above image [of Tangled’s Rapunzel], I found that I could not see beyond her long blond hair and blue eyes. I believe that this will also become the focal point of many girls of colour. The standard of long flowing blond hair as the epitome of femininity necessarily excludes and challenges the idea that WOC are feminine, desired, and some cases loved and therefore, while Disney is creating an image of Rapunzel that we are accustomed to, her rebirth in a modern day context is problematic, because her body represents the celebration of White femininity.”
I thought we were supposed to be teaching our children to judge people by their character and actions, not the color of their skin (or the color of their hair). Very progressive of you feminists.
Maybe instead of worrying that your child (children are far better at seeing content of character than you are apparently) is going to be distraught at not having every movie featuring a hero of their race (if that’s how it’s going to be, everyone of every race is going to pissed off at some movie, sometime) maybe you could focus on discussing the positive aspects of the character? Or would that just cramp your style of hunting for some negative point to twist into a sign that all the men who work at Disney are racist sexists?
“Rapunzel uses a frying pan as a weapon”: Your problem is that a frying pan is a cooking utensil and therefore sexist if a woman is holding it. Now you can look at it that way or you can realize that she was using the nearest object that she could to defend herself (Jackie Chan does that all the time in movies, it’s hilarious) and that’s something that can be a good lesson for a child of either gender: self-defense is a good thing.
“Rapunzel helps the man of the story clean up his messes”: She has more common sense and more bravery than he does, right up until the end when he tries to sacrifice his life to save her.
FYI, she still saves his life. She and Flynn sort of trade life saving there at the end (and throughout most of the movie, hello “I have magic hair that glows when I sing” scene) when Flynn gets her kidnapper out of her hair, literally, and she finds that she still has some power left (it wasn’t all in her hair guys).
“She does chores!”: So do most children who live at home. She also reads, plays darts, does astronomy, and is endlessly creative. All without needing a TV to keep her entertained, talk about a good role model for kids.
Maybe look at this as a story about leaving the nest and following your dreams and learning to cope and fend for yourself (because if you were watching the same movie as me, Rapunzel was much better at taking care of herself than Flynn) and finding out that your parents may not always know best and sometimes you need to make decisions for yourself.
I have to ask, what would make you feminists happy finally? Is there any Disney Princess film that you couldn’t find a way to complain about?
Honestly I don’t think so, you would just move the goal posts further and complain even louder.
Could you please stop trying to ruin everyone else’s childhoods though?
*Simple explanation, color is a strongly symbolic concept in fiction. Sure we could through out generations of associations we have with different colors, but why?