Watching Disney’s Tangled…
And it is soooo problematic.
I’ll try to keep my objections to the Disney-fied bits - I think we can agree the fairy tale itself (girl locked in a tower for her own protection until man saves her) is pretty misogynistic.
- Not even two minutes in, the narrator refers to the villain (an old woman) as “creepy” because she’s trying to get young again [by singing to a magic flower]. This is different from all of the anti-aging and “regenerist” products how? I get it loud and clear, Disney (and society): the worst thing you can be is an OLD WOMAN… and don’t you dare try to keep your youth, because that’s both creepy and what society demands of you. Catch-22? I think yes.
- Villain/kidnapper/pseudo-mother sings a song about the DANGERS of the outside world, including “men with pointy teeth,” “the plague,” etc., in a song entitled “Mother knows best.” She calls her daughter “Sloppy, underdressed, immature, clumsy, gullible, naïve, positively grubby, Ditzy and a bit, well, hmm vague, Plus, I believe, Gettin’ kinda chubby…” SO FAT-SHAMING on top of the other abusive remarks. Great.
- The male lead, introduced directly after this song) is a vagabond (of course, with a sob story), who is most distressed by the way he LOOKS in his wanted poster. Okayyyy it’s nice that you’re extending your objectifying beyond females, Disney, but this wasn’t the direction I’d hoped for.
- Male lead breaks into Rapunzel’s tower/house, and she knocks him out with a frying pan, then locks him in the closet - not before gazing at him all dreamy eyed, because OMG HE’S SO HOTTTT and HOT MEN ARE TEH BESTTTT even when breaking and entering.
- Male lead says “Here comes the smoulder.” And it’s nice that Rapunzel is unaffected (is this Pokemon?) by it, but the implication is that it’s the other, less intelligent women who would (and do) swoon at male lead, simply because he’s conventionally attractive and squints at them.
- Male lead tries to physcho analyze Rapunzel’s (natural) conflicting feelings about leaving her tower. He then tries to use reverse psychology to GUILT-trip her into not fulfilling her quest - MANIPULATION YAY!
- Rustle in the bushes. She hides behind him because DUH DAMSEL IN DISTRESS.
- There’s someone (a viking?) in the song “I’ve got a Dream” who doubts that he’s worthy of love because “scars, lumps, bruises, something that oozes, complexion, goiter, extra toes, and nose.” Thanks, Disney, for further pounding into my head the idea that the only way you’re worthy of love is if you are conventionally attractive based on western beauty ideals.
- Throughout the film, Rapunzel uses her beautiful, long, blond hair as weapon and tool - metaphor for feminine wiles, anyone?
- CUE tearful confessions by both main characters, as they are about to drown. Rapunzel is apparently too absentminded (ditzy? like her “mother” warned her?) to remember that her magic hair can get them out of this mess until the male lead prompts her. (So recap: she requires male help to remember a strength she was born with, and then she uses MAGIC HAIR - not smarts, skill, etc. - to help them get out of a tight spot.)
- “Once it’s cut, it turns brown and has to be protected. That’s why mother never let me…” She is talking about her magic hair. Did you get that blond=magic goodness, brown=ruined? Also, “Has to be protected…mother never let me” sounds like a virginity allegory to me (this part might be a stretch, but I don’t put much past Disney).
- “I even met someone.” “Yes the wanted thief I’m so proud.” Great. Categorical judgment of people you know nothing about.
- “Mother” dares Rapunzel to “give him what he wants, see how fast he leaves you,” (talking, in this case about a tiara she’s hidden from him). However, it could not be more clear that the implication is that once you give a man what he wants (sex) he’ll leave you - and that’s bad, because Disney girls NEED their man, amirite?
- Obligatory montage of the two main characters dancing around and falling for each other and moonlight boat ride because DUH HETERONORMATIVITY.
- Obligatory chase scene where the strong hero escapes his “oppressors” to rescue the fair maiden - she can’t rescue herself.
- THE KICKER. Hero is dying. Heroine’s HAIR can save him. She WANTS to save him. But no. He disregards her wishes and autonomy, and slices off her hair (which, need I remind you, is her ONLY source of power and control in her life). The hair then TURNS BROWN. Because blonds are the only ones who can be good and magical, right?
- Evil, OLD, UGLY woman falls out the window. Actually falls to her death in a puff of dust. Because once you’re old and ugly, if you’re no fairy godmother, you might as well die, right?
- But then we find out that Rapunzels TEARS are magical, and they can bring the dying hero back to life! Yay! He quips that he’s “got a thing for brunettes.” GOOD JOB, hero. Objectify your love as your first sentient act!
- AND HAPPY ENDING WITH MARRIAGE AND A CHASTE KISS.
Of course, all of the merchandise, etc. is sold with the blonde Rapunzel. Because no little girl is going to spend mommy’s $$$ on a plain jane brunette doll with a short haircut. /sarcasm
Also apologize for the heterosexism, cissexism, and total lack of minority characters generally in this discussion - it is Disney, after all. Bring on the apologists. I’M SO READY.
I agree with a lot of this but 4 really rubbed me the wrong way. Rapunzel was locked in a tower for 18 years, she doesn’t remember seeing her parents. Flynn is the first person she has seen besides Mother Gothel in 18 years. I don’t see her staring at Flynn because he is so good looking but because he is literally the first human contact she has ever had besides Gothel. Her only companion is a cameleon for heavens sake.
I wrote more about Tangled here and the child abuse in the movie.
I don’t think there was a person of color in the entire movie. Actually, I cannot think of a person in that movie who was not white.
There goes my motivation to watch that movie.
I actually completely lost my faith in Disney movies since years ago.
This is going to be really long and I apologize for that. But People are making a big deal out of nothing so I’m just gonna go ahead…
Also because this coffee is making me jittery and makes me feel like i have to say something otherwise i normally wouldnt.
- He’s not calling her creepy because she wants to be young again. He’s call her creepy because she is crawling around in a dark cloak in the middle of the night, hording a magical flower to herself while someone else might die. THATS A LITTLE CREEPY. Not because she wants to be young.
- Mother Gothel is supposed to be… EVIL. Of course she is going to say what she has to say to make her feel bad and stay! She would say anything to make her stay because she doesnt want to leave. if she had said “oh yeah and you’re way to skinny to be attractive” you would have found shit with that too. But she says it… because she’s a generally bad/selfish person. not because disney was like “lol lets make people feel bad for being fat”
- Flynn cares far more about his looks than Rapunzel does. Because he’s ego-maniacal. If you had brown hair and someone drew you with blond hair- claiming this is how you looked wouldn’t you be like “what. Hey… i’m not blond what.” Its because someone drew a picture of him wrong. not like its a photo and they go “oh darnit i look so fat in this picture” /its not really the same at all/
- Again with what the person said above. She’s never seen another human being, and to see that they aren’t scary monsters with pointy teeth is interesting to her. Not because ‘oh god he’s hot its totally okay he invaded my house’ because if that were true she wouldn’t have continued to beat him with a frying pan 50 zillion times.
- ..Again. Flynn is ego maniacal. It has nothing to do with how smart a person is for that to take effect if someone finds him attractive. Its just a guy using a pick up line that he finds most useful to get what he wants. and even if that is kind of sleazy. That has nothing to do with how intelligent a girl is.
- HE DOESNT WANT HER TO BE THERE. thats what people do all the time right?? Disney creates a character- that doesnt mean they promote everything that they do! He’s just saying what he can to try and make her to go home. And as his character develops, he stops doing that because he realizes that he shouldn’t. Wohoo lessons learned.
- She hides behind him because he is the only person that she knows in the whole world and she doesnt know whats out there. Yeah she’s going to be a little bit distressed because she is confused. And even if she is behind him she still has the frying pan out in front of both of them.
- Oh wait. thats right. he does find love at the end of the film. LOOKING JUST AS HE DOES NOW. He felt bad about himself sure- but look at that. he didn’t have to change and he still found a girl soooo…
- Its not a metaphor for anything… You saw her using her hair all the time when she was alone to do things. and she goes “Hey- i did that before, I can do that again to help us! Yay i’m being helpful” I misunderstand how that is a problem…
- Wouldnt you use magic to help you? Yeah sure she’s absent minded. But if she didn’t have it- then they wouldn’t have been able to fucking see their way to the hole to get the rocks away… and they would have drowned and died. what /else/ were they supposed to do? Fondle around in the dark? Her magic hair /is/ a skill. Also. Flynn didn’t really prompt her to remember like ‘hey dont you have magic hair’ He was just telling her something secret about himself… something that he wanted her to know- and didn’t expect anything to come of that.
- I’m not even going to touch the Virginity thing. But also. It would have been the same if it was a different color. if it was blue when it was magical and then it was cut it turned red then… woho! it just shows the absense of what used to be there. it shows a state of change. Otherwise youd be like “well her hair is still blond, why doesnt it work anymore, weird.”
- Again. real people judge all the time. And again. gothel is supposed to be “evil”… of course… again… she is going to say whatever she can.
- Isnt that how protective mothers normally warn their children? they grow them up saying that if boys only want sex. and though thats not necessarily fair, thats what people do. and again, she’s “evil” thats why she is there. To make rapunzel feel bad.
And also, when she did tell flynn about the tiara he didn’t leave. (he was taken away, thats different for obvious reasons)
- Disney movies and all movies, like to use those kind of sequences to show an amount of time where they can bond and fall for each other. ((not all movies… but a lot of movies)) They don’t have time to go through the whole intricacies of human relationships. Dancing=instant bond. If it was a gay couple they probably would have done the same thing. It has nothing do with hetero.
- Oh wait. thats right. he comes to save her and then he gets stabbed so she has to save him from dying. Its happening because they care about each other and they want to take care of each other.
- didnt we already discuss how the actual color itself doesnt matter? It just means that the magic isnt in it anymore. Oh and wait, thats right- its still in her because when she cries he heals, because it was in her tears.
- She didn’t die because she was old and ugly. She dies because she was generations old and now that she no longer had anything to keep her young her body could no longer sustain itself and fast fowarded her time. Thats what she battled the whole time, and then when her magic source was gone there was nothing left to sustain her. It has nothing do to do with her being old/ugly
- mmmm lets think about his character… generally sarcastic and witty? He thinks he’s being funny. And perhaps she was uncomfortable with her hair being so short after it had been blond and long her whole life and he’s just letting her know that he still likes her the way she is, perhaps not in the most poetic fashion.
- I actually didn’t think the kiss was that chaste. Compared to some kisses. And they weren’t even married when they kissed. they kissed and he said “eventually we did get married yeah”
This is why I shouldn’t be allowed to drink coffee. Dammit miranda.
And you obviously weren’t enjoying that movie that much in the first place if you were watching it just to see if there were any minorities hidden in there. WHY DOES IT MATTER. Disney is trying to make an old musical like it used to and is just doing what disney always did. Its not there to make sure every minority is included.
…..I’m proud of this one too.
Also. helpful sight for people who want to try interesting color schemes.