all 16 comments

[–]FWM 8 points9 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

Like I think Frozen is the only one to have confirmed-ish queer characters (in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment)

if you can't see the representation then it's not representation.

and one of the biggest problems people have with Frozen's whiteness is that the last few movies have been ridiculously white. They seem to have implicitly said "okay so we got the tokens out of the way back to white people". Not to mention, Princess and the Frog made the POC mains into frogs for most of the movie. same with a pretty large chunk of other POC-leading films they've made. Not all, as you've said, but it's an important point to think about. P&Frog... Brother Bear... The Emperor's New Groove...

as for the rest:

representation isn't all about whether or not they're there. a lot of it is also about what roles they're given. Think about how many villains embody negative stereotypes of a race, while the hero embodies the 'good' stereotypes. (Princess and the Frog especially)(also i've seen it pointed out that the Huns in Mulan are depicted in a super racist way) or times when even the poc good guys end up being portrayed problematically. (like how Jasmine literally seduced Jafar in a very blatant way, or of course the Hellfire scene w/ Esmeralda in Hunchback)

I've read a lot of really, really great criticisms on this topic which I wish i had saved but I ddidn't so I can't link them right now. :( I'm trying to think of how to explain the gist of it but it's tough, esp because i'm white as fuck and already have a habit of subconsciously ignoring bad things in media I like (not just bad as in problematic, but every sense of the word), and I like disney. I think it might have been on the feministdisney tumblr blog????????????

i'm looking but it's late and i've had a :/ day so I'm having trouble. hopefully someone else posts it or i can find it tomorrow? ://///////

but yeah lilo and stitch is p great

Lilo & Stitch: 4.5 stars out of 5
Disney: 4 stars out of 5

Lilo & Stitch deserves 200 stars out of 5 and disney as a whole deserves like 2. if that.

[–][deleted] 7 points8 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

really, really great criticisms on this topic

I found some articles that summarizes those things from the Daily Dot (yeah, it's the daily dot, but these are good).

Tumblr rejects Disney's Billionth White Princess

The similar appearance of the lead characters in Frozen and and Tangled only highlights the lack of racial diversity in Disney animation.

"Diversity"

With that being posted, I must say Im very happy with how the Vietnamese Dub turned out :).

[–]blackmoon[S] 1 point2 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

if you can't see the representation then it's not representation.

Like yes but also like no?

Yes it does really suck that we can't have queer characters in children's films and that really needs to be changed but when you do include queer characters, even in a minor way, you're at least pushing the boundaries of what is considered "acceptable" in a children's film and that is at least a step forward. Maybe it's only a small step in the right direction but it's a hell of alot better than nothing. (And obviously Frozen is not the only film to do this, I believe Para-Norman has had a more overt portrayal of a gay character, but when we're in a sea of children's films with almost no queer representation then this minor portrayal by one of the industry's longest-running and most respected studios IS still a step in the right direction).

But yes, I do agree with what you're saying re: POC-representation. I never wanted to say that Disney is completely free from criticism in this regard BUT I also think it's interesting that they're basically the only animated family films that you really see any racial diversity in at all. So it also seems like saying "well Disney just sucks then" (in terms of portrayal of minorities) is kind of not really fair because how many POC do you see in Dreamworks films or Pixar films?

Again, I never want to say that Disney is free from criticism because they're definitely not. But it seems like a few feminists are completely decrying Disney because they've failed to portray racial minorities but like every other major animation company has an even worse track-record (and almost always focus on male characters as well). Which is like, fine if you want to say "that's it, no more children's films for me because every company ever sucks" but that doesn't seem to be the message.

It's frustrating because it seems like things that are sort of good get criticized more harshly than things that just plain suck (in terms of diverse representation). And again, it's not that these things don't deserve criticism because nothing is perfect but I think we should all be aiming higher for a more diverse representation of people, but it sucks when it seems like the best ones (or at least, the least-bad ones) get the worst criticism.

[–]traversing 5 points6 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

I have quite literally listened to nothing but Disney soundtracks for the past few weeks now... idk seeing Frozen kind of started it and now it's like, if it's not on Disney soundtrack, I don't want to listen to it

I've been rewatching the movies too when I can, most recently Lilo and Stitch (which is amazing and made me almost cry several times) and Pocahontas (which is actually really problematic)

I have a lot of thoughts about Disney right now but I really need to get some sleep, so I'll have to just_post them later

[–]StudentRadical 3 points4 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

(Opinion time) I think that 'Disney' (while meaning their animated feature film canon) is treated way too much on SJ spaces. There are other such films that also are part of our children's diet; is Disney elevated solely because it is a mega corporation?

[–]ALL-D 1 point2 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

the jungle book is really cool.

good music, the best animation, a non-white protagonist, and no racism that i can recall.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

the jungle book is actually pretty racist though... just look at how the orangutans are portrayed, compared to the other animals. not to mention, it's based on the work of the racist Rudyard Kipling

[–]blackmoon[S] 3 points4 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

not to mention, it's based on the work of the racist Rudyard Kipling

Disney change the stories they're based on so dramatically I think this is hardly a fair criticism. To be fair I do kind of take issue with the way they take a fable or story and completely change it, I mean, as far as fairy tales go it's completely fair game to change the story, but I kind of feel that the adaptions to more recent works are a little problematic, especially since they then are forced to defend their interpretation of that story so strongly.

Obviously this is a complex topic but I think Disney do alot to differentiate their films from the works they're based on and that sort of makes them exempt from criticism that relates to the original work. With most adaptations we expect some level of accuracy to the original work and fans normally are expected to be disappointed with minor elements that might be cut or changed, but the themes of most of Disney's adaptations are so radically different from what they're based on that that criticism itself is unfair.

And it's that departure from those original stories that does frustrate me because they present these pre-existing stories in a way that doesn't at all represent the original work and is, in my opinion, blatantly disregarding the original author's work, as well as presenting real events in a "family friendly" way that is even more insulting and degrading to minority groups that are already oppressed (ie. Mulan and Pocahontas).

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

i admit, it wasn't fair to take a shot at its connection to Rudyard Kipling, but I still have a problem seeing an animated movie based on a British colonizer's romanticized and completely made up version of India as being anything less than problematic. the jungle book is no folk or fairy tale, especially not of any South Asian cultures or communities, and i admit that i would have a problem with any adaptation of the book that wasn't clearly critical of or sufficiently a departure from the source material, which i personally don't think disney's movie manages to do.

i agree with your point about how frustrating it can be to have poc narratives whitewashed for "family friendly" audiences. and yet sometimes very problematic representation can be better (arguably) than no representation for the children who are always looking for people who look like them in media. it's definitely complicated.

[–]StudentRadical 2 points3 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

Their adaptation of The Once and Future King is a prime example.

[–]ALL-D 3 points4 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

kipling was totally racist, but the orangutans aren't singing "i wanna be like you" to a white kid, and king louie wasn't meant to sound black. he was portrayed by Louis Prima, a lounge singer, who did it all in his normal voice.

it's also the first disney film with a black animator, and theres an interview with the director where he says that the swing element came from apes swinging on trees.

i know that my second paragraph doesn't matter if the final product is still racist, but i think it just gets a bad reputation because its a disney film and those had a history which included things like song of the south and jim and the other crows in dumbo.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

it doesn't have to be intentionally racist to be racist. i agree that the creators probably didn't intend to make racist connotations, but those connotations are still there and have impacted children of color growing up.

Swing is a music form that was created by African Americans, and while it has been appropriated by and for non-black communities, it is still strongly associated, imo, with African American culture. i'm not an expert on swing or swing history, so i acknowledge that i may be completely off the mark, but this is the context given by my own experiences.

and i don't think that connection was completely unanticipated by the producers, who had actually at first intended to give the role to Louis Armstrong instead of Louis Prima, but, according to wikipedia, changed the casting to avoid the racist implication.

so you have a bunch of "jive talking" (quoted from the interview you linked), swinging apes who sing about wanting to be human (not specifically like Mowgli, and in fact, since what they are after is human control of fire, which Mowgli doesn't have, they actually don't want to be like the brown kid raised by wolves). and you see no problem?

and as a person of color who grew up on disney movies and still has a complicated relationship with them, disney doesn't deserve your defense of its reputation. yes, it may try harder for diverse representation than other animation companies, but you also have to keep in mind just how much influence and power disney has in controlling and molding how children grow up to see the world. and it's not just children in the US, people love and consume disney worldwide. this is important. it's not just entertainment. it's children's perceptions of themselves and other people of color. it's affecting their self esteem and self worth. it matters, and i will not apologize for expecting more from disney.

[–]ALL-D 1 point2 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

I watched that interview a few years ago and didn't remember him saying the monkeys were "jive talking." I think you're right about it being racist and I was just stuck on the fact that I really like that movie and I don't think they intended to be racist at all, which is not the case with most racism in disney films.

The song pretty clearly has Louie singing directly to Mowgli though. He doesn't realize that the kid can't make fire, and I think one of the better aspects of the film is that it doesn't treat Mowgli as uncivilized compared to other people which is how most other characters like this are handled.

I'm not sure where you got the sense that I was defending Disney's reputation as a whole, or that I expected you to apologize for something.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

I'm sorry if my reply was too aggressive. i meant "apologize" more in the sense of excusing disney for any intentional or unintentional racism, not that you expected me to apologize for my opinions or anything.

as for the reference to jive talking in the interview, it happens right at the beginning, when he's describing the portrayal of the orangutans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV8HrpOu1FA#t=6s

personally, i don't really care as much about the distinction between intended and unintended racism in media as much as i do about pointing out and critiquing the racism in them. i personally believe that probably most instances of such racism are, to some extent, unintentional, and while the intent may soften my feelings towards the creators, it doesn't really do much for the people it affects.

and i disagree with your interpretation of Louie's song, but i'll also admit you have a good point. i haven't seen the movie in a while, and i don't think the interpretation of the song really changes the fact that the portrayal of the orangutans is still racist, so i'll concede on that. and i don't remember any other important humans in the film, so I'm not sure how they could portray Mowgli as uncivilized, unless it's in comparison to the animals he's grown up with? but again, my memory may be rusty, and i don't really care to watch it again. :)

[–]ALL-D 1 point2 points ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

i don't think the interpretation of the song really changes the fact that the portrayal of the orangutans is still racist

Yeah it's racist either way. I think some of my defense was because people hold on to this as one of the worst examples of racism in a Disney film, and assumes it was some white guy putting on a "black voice" like in Dumbo and that always strikes me as weird given that Mickey Mouse was based on damn minstrel characters, etc., etc.

i don't remember any other important humans in the film, so I'm not sure how they could portray Mowgli as uncivilized

That was sort of my point. When Mowgli meets another human at the end he just runs after her and they don't show him trying to assimilate into that world. They make it clear throughout the movie that his place is with humans and not the jungle animals, and then it is just natural for him to go off with the humans.

[–]ChrisTheRapper 0 points1 point ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on

lilo and stitch was like the first disney movie where they got how kids act right

she wasn't some "too smart for her age" or "she knows more than a kid does"

she was just a kid