One the best role models among the princesses has to be Tiana from
. This movie made waves by featuring Disney’s first black princess. Of course, it stirred up a lot of controversy. Although Disney put a lot of work into making sure they portrayed African-Americans in a positive light, there’s just no pleasing some people.
I often will put whiny-toned complaints in quotations representing criticisms I’ve heard from several sources throughout the years. For this post, all the complaints are direct quotes. First, we’ll start with the questions concerning race because that’s the main thing critics were up in arms about when this film came out.
“Why was Tiana’s prince given an ambiguous name and suspiciously light skin?” Excuse me, what? “Suspiciously light skin?” Suspicious how? Why on earth would the color of his skin raise suspicions? Prince Naveen isn’t black, if that’s what they mean. Maybe people are just confused because he isn’t white either. Naveen is from a made up country and the movie doesn’t say where it is located so I’m not sure of his race exactly. He has a charming, European accent that I can’t quite place. But who really cares? Tiana doesn’t have to end up with a black guy just because she is black.
“Why set the film in New Orleans, home to a largely black community still reeling from Hurricane Katrina?” I really don’t see what Hurricane Katrina has to do with this. I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt that the citizens of New Orleans would somehow be hurt by this movie being set there. I think it makes a great setting for this movie! It’s the only Disney movie based on a classic fairy tale to be set in the United States. The architecture, beignets, Mardi Gras, etc. is really fun because it’s a very recognizable setting. I think it worked well.
“What’s with the voodoo theme?” If you’ve ever been to New Orleans you’ve seen that voodoo is a significant part of the culture there. It’s makes sense to have the villain be involved in voodoo. People act like this movie made black people seem scary because of this. Are you kidding? First of all, Tiana is all sorts of wonderful and she’s black. Her mother and father and Mama Odie are all awesome people. Somehow that is all cancelled out by having a black villain? That’s just silly. If you think about it, people would also freak out if the villain was white. Doctor Facilier is super cool, everyone calm down.
Moving away from the race issue, the other complaint you hear about this movie sounds like this: “the whole message is that she needs to stop being such a career bitch and make sure that she has the most important thing (a man) before accomplishing her less important goals (restaurant)” Wait, what movie were you watching? The moral of the story was definitely
that she put her career aside to get the guy. There are times where Tiana is reminded that it’s okay to have a little fun. The poor thing was working multiple jobs and completely gave up on having any sort of social life so that she could get that restaurant. I love and admire her ambition and determination. Nothing compares to this girl’s work ethic. But she was running herself into the ground and needed to let herself relax sometimes. That’s okay. That’s not at all anti-feminist or anything.
The thing I love about Tiana and Naveen’s relationship is how much they impact each other and help one another to grow and succeed. Naveen started as a good-for-nothing party boy and Tiana taught him responsibility. Naveen helps Tiana to realize her dream of owning her own restaurant. He first says that he’ll marry Charlotte to get Tiana the money she needs to buy her restaurant. When he marries Tiana he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work helping her build it. This is the guy that never worked a day in his life, but he does it for her. It’s really sweet.
What I’ll leave you with is what I think is the biggest take away from this movie. The biggest message that we learn from Tiana is that yes, dreams do come true, if you put in the work to achieve them. That is such an important piece of the puzzle that far too often gets forgotten. Tiana got her happily ever after because she completely dedicated herself to accomplishing her goal. Good for her. If you have a dream, take the hint from Tiana and go get it.
Posted on Thursday, August 22 2013. Tagged with: tianaprincessDisneyDisney Princessrole modelsheroinefairy talenaveendreamgoalsHard Workingprincess tianafrogprincess and the frogafrican americanblackracecriticismanalysisdefensedisney moviecontroversy
lornrocks reblogged this from angelshizuka and added:
I have always been an avid Disney princess fan. Lately I\'ve been saddened to see so many criticisms and attacks toward the princesses. This blog is devoted to their defense.
This is also a feminist blog. Beyond Disney, it is dedicated to the defense and celebration of all women.
I also have a Harry Potter blog! http://whatscurious.tumblr.com/