Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Big Hero 6 Review (Spoilers!)

I finally got the chance to see Walt Disney Animation’s new film Big Hero 6 over the holiday weekend and wanted to write a bit about my thoughts.  This won’t be as extensive as my Frozen review, but I definitely thought it deserved a bit of analysis and reflection.  I’ll start by saying I went in not expecting much.  I lack any knowledge of the original comic, (disclaimer) and action movies are very hit or miss for me, especially Marvel films.  Captain America captivates my attention substantially more than Thor does.  I can’t pinpoint the rhyme or reason but it does.  In addition, I’ve tried to keep myself informed on trailers, concept art, and other publicity that could give me a clue as to how good this film would be, and as a result   I saw things that got me excited and things that annoyed me.  Therefore I tried to go in with an open mind and reasonable expectations, and was pleasantly surprised!

I’ll start with the positives and what I liked about Big Hero 6.  I appreciated the unconventional family portrayed, as a pair of brothers being cared for by a busy aunt.  We learn that the boys’ parents have died and Aunt Cass stepped in to provide guardianship, but nothing more about the situation.  She’s not the most adept at childcare but you can tell her heart is in the right place.  The truth is this situation isn’t as uncommon as audiences may think.  In my experience, kinship care is the preferred option for children whose parents have died, are incarcerated, or even have had their children removed by child protective services.  Oftentimes these guardians have the biological ties but are still must learn how to best care for children for a variety of reasons.  I liked seeing the dynamic between Aunt Cass and the Hamada brothers.  She seemed a bit eccentric but I like to believe she was really just doing the best she could with what she was given. 

Moving on, one of my favorite sequences (aside from the flying sequence in the middle… this floored me more than the lantern scene in Tangled!) was the introduction of Tadashi’s “nerd lab” friends to Hiro.  We meet GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, and Honey Lemon in an exciting scene in which they demonstrate their scientific contributions and unique personalities.  They entice Hiro into wanting to be a part of the program with their friendliness and brilliance.  Fred serves as the comedic relief, making the team all the more relatable to the audience. 

This team of scientists was not only exciting to see in action, they were a diverse group in more ways than one.  This has been one of the most consistent praises of the film so far, thankfully!  It boasted not one, but TWO female scientists.  I appreciated the social message this sent, as one was tough as nails and a bit tomboyish, while the other was girly, stylish, and sweet as, well, honey.  This served to open up the concept of female superheroes rather than pigeonholing one into the “strong female” trope.  It’s okay to like pink and high heels and chemistry at the same time.  It’s also okay to fight sexist language by saying “woman up!” while fighting a super villain.  I liked and appreciated that a lot. 

I was also reminded of a tweet I saw a few months ago referring to Frozen and Elsa’s popularity.  It mentioned that the reason Elsa may be so popular with girls is that she was more or less a female with awesome superpowers.   This stuck with me when I watched the action sequences in BH6, and I was cognizant of how I was entranced and even envious of their scientific “powers” so to speak.  It was awesome, and I hope filmmakers start to catch on to this obvious demand from their female audiences.  Maybe then we’ll get Marvel movies with headlining female leads rather than a few females supplementing the many male title leads. 

Last but not least, Wasabi was an ambitious, yet skeptical male character who showed that superhero dudes can be cautious and even nervous sometimes.  The film doesn’t try too hard to prove anything about gender and science and fighting, yet because of that it totally works.

While I appreciated the diversity in race and gender in our main characters, I couldn’t help but notice a lack thereof in the background characters.  For a city that is supposed to be a blend of San Francisco and Tokyo, there didn’t seem to be many Asian characters after the first scene, besides of course our protagonist siblings.  The culture and architecture were incredibly fused but I would have loved to see more representation in that regard.  Also, the use of CGI was both a blessing and a curse in my own humble opinion for this film.  For the action and scenes with flight and robotics this format excelled.  However, I’m still not sold on its ability to depict a wide range of humans in a satisfactory way.  Honey Lemon and GoGo both screamed Rapunzel and Tadashi was a cookie-cut of Hans.  It was a distraction to me, personally, and I really would like to see more risk taking in animation styles in human forms in subsequent films. 

Another critique I have is the portrayal of Baymax as a fat comic relief character at times.  I adored Baymax in general but there were several fat gags that made me uncomfortable, especially when I heard the theater laughing around me.  The initial trailer showed him trying to chase a ball that he couldn't reach due to his body shape.  While this was not in the actual film, the first draft of body armor definitely set him up to be a source of humor rather than an intimidating fighter.  While I know this isn't the most atrocious joke, and Baymax ends up having more depth as a character than just a fat comedian, I still think these small aspects could be eliminated altogether for the benefit of promoting healthy body image and confidence.

To finish on a positive note (sort of), I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the excellent character development around the concept of grief and loss.  It’s not like Disney hasn’t covered this area before.  Parental death has almost become the running joke and is almost more expected than unexpected by this point.  And it’s no surprise it happens here but we also get the added death of Tadashi.  While death itself isn’t new it is covered in a unique way.  Hiro grieves along with his aunt and Tadashi’s group of friends but very separately.  He’s only 13 and since his parents died when he was very young I can deduce that he didn’t really establish effective coping skills.  He takes his time grieving while Aunt Cass and his friends voice concern and encourage him to begin moving on.  In reality seeing someone hurting so much is painful in itself, so it’s natural to want to give them a little extra push.  However, it’s important to remember the process is different for everyone and this pushing can actually make some people retreat even more. 

The nice thing of introducing Baymax at this turning point in the film is his “personality” of robotic innocence.  His friendly nature is inquisitive, effectively asking Hiro to think more about his grief and pain while explaining it to the healthcare companion.  I love that Hiro’s emotional health is what’s important in this film rather than a physical ailment.  This positive message about his grief and depression has the potential to help change the way people think about mental and emotional health.  It is just as real and important and needs unique attention to begin healing.  In this film Baymax acts as a collaborator, a conduit for internal inspection, and most importantly, a literal representation of his brother’s spirit and love. 

My favorite scene in the film, as mentioned earlier, was the scene in which Hiro and Baymax test out his new flying feature and soar high above the gorgeous city of San Fransokyo.  While experiencing pure bliss in the literal ability of flight, there was a short moment where he looked at his reflection holding onto Baymax in a window with a huge smile on his face – this was a flashback to earlier in the film when he looked at his reflection holding onto Tadashi while on an exciting chase from the police.  It was such a short symbolic moment but it hit me pretty hard.  Hiro had found a way to cope with his grief and discovered a friend in which he could see his brother’s legacy live on.  The ending sequence where Baymax’s sacrifice to save Hiro and Abigail shadowed Tadashi’s sacrifice to save Callaghan made the symbolism all the more clear.  The emotionality of this film felt genuine, and this is something I was definitely not expecting going in.

Well, this post ended up being much longer than I initially expected, but it seems appropriate for a film that pleasantly surprised me.  I know I’m limited in my background knowledge of this comic so I’m interested to learn more about it and how Disney honored its origin while adding its own touch.  As always, I’m glad to see steps forward in racial and gender diversity, and hope it fans the flame to encourage more of this obviously needed progression in the future.  While the storyline was formulaic of its superhero genre, the visuals and added depth of grief, family, and friendship helped it feel more complete. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sometimes Crazy Ideas Come True

Earlier this year I had a crazy idea.  I was really nervous to try it and put myself out there but decided to throw caution to the wind and try anyway.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have quite a few blog supporters and friends who know what I’m going through this year as I carry out my internship and complete my graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.  Well, I’m proud to announce that the end is near and I have about ONE MORE MONTH left in my therapy internship before moving on to the next chapter in my life.   I could say it’s flown by, but that would not be entirely true.  It’s had its ups and downs, its confidence-boosters and its humiliation, and its rewards and challenges, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.  I feel more ready than ever to start pursuing this as my lifetime career, and you guys as my followers have definitely helped contribute to that.

I am still completely floored by how many showed their generosity and support by contributing to my play therapy wishlist over the past year.  I have reached so many kids through these gifts and for that I am truly grateful.  I was able to witness children diagnosed with ADHD sit and concentrate on removing a peg from Jenga while teaching them why it’s important.  I have communicated with small children through puppets and animal figures while they tell me about their cultural traditions.  I have utilized books about feelings and tricky situations to show kids they’re not alone and there is hope.  I have used simple art supplies like crayons and colored pencils to create metaphors for anxiety and self-esteem, as well as to calm little kids’ nerves during an initial session.   I hope I’m driving the point home here that every single gift has been put to good use and helped me have an impact on a child or family in need. 

Seeing this colorful shelf of fun brightens every day

After this post I won’t be promoting the wishlist as a form of contributions anymore.  I have applied to several full time therapist positions and will (fingers crossed) soon have the opportunity to be compensated for my time in the therapy room rather than working for free.  I hope to have the means to start purchasing my own play toys, as well as the time to write here a little more regularly.  I really miss giving this little blog the attention it deserves and hopefully you’ll be seeing and reading more here soon.  If you’d like to contribute in the meantime, click this link and see if there is anything you’d like to send me to enhance my work with children.  To those who have already contributed, “thank you” is not sufficient enough to express my gratefulness.   You’re the best, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Until next time! ~C

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cultural Appropriation in World Showcase

If you’re like me, you’re a little sick of all the Maelstrom coverage and commentary happening in our community currently… however, if you’re also like me, you want your voice to be heard too regardless.  My stubbornness coupled with my lack of knowledge and personal experience when it comes to EPCOT, led me to join forces once again with the well-traveled and experienced Mike from the Castle to Castle podcast.  Mike and his cohost Emily had me on their podcast a few months back and we discussed many Disney topics in terms of the sociological angles we all love.   You can find that show here if you are interested!  I hadn’t planned to have two collaborative posts in a row, but my busy schedule combined with great friends who can participate in civil discourse helped it end up that way.  So welcome, Mike, and let’s get to why we feel the need to chip in on the Maelstrom mess.

Photo by Mark Willard, used with permission

Well, first off, thanks for inviting me to contribute to this discussion! We loved having you on our show, and I'm honoured to be asked along, although I can’t claim to be a Maelstrom/Norway expert. I do have opinions and ideas about the subject we're about to discuss, and the thoughts in blue are mine.

The hot topics in the most recent conversations are the two major forces at war here: Resentment over Frozen’s massive influence in Disney park management, and a love of EPCOT and its original mission and vision.  I’m not here to discount either of those feelings and so I’m not focusing on them here.  I’m fixated on the bigger problem here, - yes bigger than both Frozen and EPCOT - which should spark more concern in the grand scheme of things, which is that this situation may be a case of culture appropriation.

Kudos for framing this discussion of Maelstrom-to-Frozen (or ‘Frozenstrom’, as I’ve taken to calling it!) within the context of cultural appropriation and exchange. Most of the current discussion focuses on EPCoT purists vs. Frozen fans (which is a false dichotomy; I consider myself a bit of both!), with a sideshow of certain…less critical bloggers complaining about the complaints, and then other folks getting annoyed about that.

Good point.  Frozen vs. Maelstrom has become a binary on which we as a community have been asked to choose a side.  I, too, like both and refuse to pick a “side.”  Culture appropriation, for those of you new to the subject, is the act of taking elements of another culture and using it to further your motive of fitting in, looking cool, or meeting a surface-level desire without actually learning about and respecting the many dimensions of that culture.  The first example that pops into my mind is how ex-Disney star Miley Cyrus recently appropriated the twerking dance move from African-American culture to further her career and create a new edgy image.  It’s unclear what Miley has done to help with civil rights, racial inequality, or discrimination in return, which is why this is problematic.

So why is this different from cultural appreciation?  The concept of World Showcase promotes appreciation of different countries and their cultures.  It emphasizes uniqueness while reminding us we aren’t all that different after all.  One could go there to learn more and explore what makes Norway unique.  It’s not as commonly known as, say Mexico or Italy, so it was truly a new experience for many people.  Now that Maelstrom will be removed for a Frozen attraction and Anna and Elsa will be returning for meet and greets, it begs the question of how much actual Norwegian culture will remain. 

Photo by Mark Willard, used with permission

I reckon, if we’re going to respect World Showcase and the countries represented within, we need to be constantly mindful of the difference between cultural exchange and appropriation. You explain appropriation perfectly; cultural exchange goes beyond mutual appreciation, to where the two (or more) different cultures can share ideas and customs, without anyone getting short-changed or disrespected.

I’m concerned because children and families are missing a key opportunity here.  Media literacy, or explaining good and bad possible consequences of what we see in the media, is important for education and socialization as kids grow up.  If you can sit with your child (of a certain age) while watching Peter Pan and explain why that portrayal of Native Americans is problematic, that’s better than hiding it from them altogether.  Likewise, if you can sit with your child and explain that Arendelle is based on a country called Norway with specific cultural elements, your child will obviously learn more than viewing solo.  And taking them to the Norway pavilion, if that chance is available, would be a fantastic way to solidify that discussion and encourage cultural competency. 

The removal of Norway and implementation of Arendelle removes that opportunity and link to the real thing.  Or, at best, dilutes it.  In its place, it leaves a caricature, an Americanization of Norway and its culture.  This is a problematic trend in an increasingly progressive world.  And my question is, does Disney want to be responsible for that in this day and age?

It’s my understanding that World Showcase was conceptualised and organised with considerable thought given to exchange – but with the last word generally given to the countries involved. Not only do I think ‘Frozenstrom’ negates this good will, I think it potentially goes beyond your basic appropriation, edging perilously towards cultural imperialism.  That Americanised caricature you predict would be the result of the dominant Disney getting one over the apparently subservient Norwegians, who we’re told can’t but love the idea. After all, they’re getting all that tourism and Adventures by Disney custom!

Good thoughts, Mike.  I’m glad you brought up the point we are all fed again and again – that this is good! This is promoting tourism in Norway and they only have Disney to thank!  To be thorough, Disney has had its fair share of cultural appropriation in the past.  Think, the Indian Village at Disneyland which capitalized on the “Cowboy and Indian” craze of the 1950s.  Was Disney truly trying to educate families on Native American history and culture, or were they portraying a romanticized version families saw on their televisions each week?  We look back on that critically now and as a sign of the times, so why is it okay to do it now in the twenty-first century?  Shouldn’t we know better?  Shouldn’t Disney?

Photo from Daveland
The cultural imperialism coming to Norway – where a fictionalised version of somewhere at least half-inspired by the country will be around 60% of its representation in EPCOT – generally pales in comparison to that exacted upon more marginalised countries and cultures, like Miley’s twerking rip-off from black women (arguably, one of the most marginalised identities to have). That said, it’s a useful example of how insidious cultural entitlement can be, when the worst offenses are mostly invisible to those blessed with white privilege.

Photo from the Disney Parks Blog
Thank you for pointing that out – this isn’t the worst possible example of cultural appropriation.  But once again, this is something people are dealing with on a daily basis.  With Halloween approaching we’ll see cultural appropriation in the form of tasteless costumes that perpetuate stereotypes.  The Americanization of characters can arguably be found again in the upcoming Big Hero 6, which is troublesome and frustrating.  The Frozen/Maelstrom debacle is just another example of something Disney should know better than to do in 2014.

Thanks again to Mike from Castle to Castle for joining me on this post! I hope this angle helps some look at this issue from a different point of view, but even if not it was something I felt compelled to discuss.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Disney "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" Dilemma

While discussing Disney songs, films, and princesses with twitter friend @LeahIsMagical this week, it suddenly dawned on me that I had forgotten to write this post a while ago.  So I invited Leah to my first ever guest-collaboration post!  She graciously agreed and so this will be a little different but I’m excited to have some fun with it.  I also have a feeling this will be a controversial article so please don’t take any of it personally.  This post is not to discount any connection anyone may feel toward these characters.  Hopefully by the end this will make better sense! 

Hey all! I’m Leah of The Magical World Of, and I’m excited to work with Celeste today! I normally work with snarky comments accompanied by carefully chosen gifs, and while I enjoy the heck out of that, it’s a pleasure to take part in a more analytical, sociological approach today! I know a lot of people think it’s a waste of time to read so much into these films, but I feel it’s actually vital. Popular films, especially ones that we view as often and as young as we view Disney films, have a much larger impact on our society and individual psyches than we realize. It’s important to realize the messages we are subliminally internalizing and ask ourselves if they’re helping or hurting.

If you’ve spent any time analyzing films and television, you’ve probably heard of the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl trope.  This term was coined by Nathan Rabin in his A.V. Club article, defining it as: “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Some of the more popular examples of this character include Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown and Natalie Portman in Garden State

As women watching these MPDG characters, we tend to fall into one of two camps: we either identify with their quirky and fun personality and love them, or get frustrated with their shallow purpose and predictable characteristics and hate them.  I personally have always fallen into the latter (even before learning about the trope) and when I found out people actually write about the problematic nature of the trope, I understood why.  As interesting as these women seem, their primary purpose is to help the male protagonist rather than further their own storyline and accomplish actual things.   

Feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian makes the point that this trope “perpetuates the myth of women as caregivers at our very core.”  They bring out another side in these men so that the men can find inspiration and see the world in a different light.  They’re literally “helpers,” the default purpose of women, according to society.  She implores filmmakers to start “writing (women) as real people” with their own dimensional storylines and personalities. 

Completely agree! Regardless of whether or not it's entertaining, I find that any trope, especially of women or minorities, is problematic because it further works to simplify, dehumanize, and devalue these people rather than viewing them as complex human beings.  I personally love the “screw writing strong women” posts that have become rampant on tumblr.

If you want to see a fantastic example of a MPDG introduced but then deconstructed and revealed as an actual human being, I highly recommend (500) Days of Summer. Also read The Fault in Our Stars, which does a similar thing, but with a Manic Pixie Dream BOY! God love ya, John Green.

But back to Disney!

So how does this apply to Disney?  Well, here’s the conundrum.  Leah and I were talking about Rapunzel and how she annoys us.  Leah said she seems more like a 50’s Disney princess than a modern one.  I agreed and began to think about why she bothered me.  I have talked to many people on twitter about this character and I know so many who connect with her or elements of her storyline.  The MPDG trope came to mind once again and it made a little more sense.

Huge disclaimer: I know Rapunzel is not a true MPDG.  Neither is Anna, another Disney princess that rubs me the wrong way.  I know that they have their own unique storylines and have more backstory and depth than the true trope characters.  However, there are elements of MPDG in these characters and I’ll explain how.

Really? I love Anna! I think she’s a refreshing step forward. Oh good, we’re gonna have some interesting conversation... :)

First and foremost, look at the men they spend most of their movies with.  Flynn is an experienced criminal who brags about his greed and narcissism.  That’s his introduced character, and we see it soften and change as Rapunzel’s quirky and innocent personality inspires him to fall in love and give up his dishonest ways.  Also, Rapunzel should logically not be this free-spirited.  She is emotionally abused, manipulated, and the victim of passive aggression for her whole life.  Her unrealistic resiliency stands out, and although we see some internal turmoil as she regrets/un-regrets leaving her home and “mother,” she’s a little too perfect.  Yes, she’s the main character and doesn’t exist solely to help Flynn, but these characteristics of the trope may partly explain Leah’s and my attitude toward her.

I can see both sides of this argument, because Rapunzel is a dynamic character. I’ll give her that. She does grow from a sheltered, naïve dumbass to…a less sheltered, slightly curious dumbass who occasionally stands up for herself.

I look forward to your hate mail.

Anyway. That does keep her from being a true “trope” character of any kind, in my opinion. However, I think you hit the nail on the head by calling her a dream girl.

I mean, think about it. Rapunzel is uber sweet and uber cute, completely docile, eager to please, thoroughly dependent on her man – yeah I’ll get hate from that one too, but I stand by it -- and she totally gets you. She’s kind of…every slightly misogynistic guy’s dream girl.  Celeste even pointed out to me in a twitter conversation that the lyrics to her opening number, “When Will My Life Begin,” sets her up as the perfect domestic housewife. There is, of course, nothing wrong with liking the domestic life, if that’s what a person truly wants. 

But like Celeste said, Rapunzel’s too perfect.  But ‘perfect’ as we saw it in the 1950s. I mean, dear lord, could we have given the girl a little ambition?

The first thing any screenwriter will tell you that a character needs is a compelling goal that drives them through the movie. This goal will make them do stupid things and affect change that will create approximately ninety minutes of shenanigans that resolve into a (usually) happy ending.

So what’s Rapunzel’s deep, burning desire?

To see a light show.

Then back to the kitchen she goes!

Sorry, force of habit.

Anyway, this lackluster goal is lauded by the “thugs” of the Snuggly Ducklings while Flynn’s dream is mocked because…Rapunzel’s dream is sweeter? Or perhaps because it’s thoroughly non-threatening and in keeping with her place as subservient to men? Seriously, her lack of career goals would make Phyllis Schlafly proud

Which kind of scares me when I see how many little girls seem to idolize her, yet the much more well-rounded and driven Tiana is swept to the side…but that’s another rant for another time.  

Yay for another member of Team Tiana!

Anna’s storyline is also quite complex but her romantic plot is similar to Rapunzel’s.  Anna and Kristoff go on a journey together to figure out what happened to her sister.  They start as bickering opposites: she a naïve and, again, quirky girl while he is a serious and no-nonsense man.  Kristen Bell plays this “cutely weird” part well (probably partially explaining why I don’t care for her as an actress either).  Throughout the film they face many challenges and he finds himself falling for her.  The trolls explain in their song that if Anna throws a little love his way she’ll bring out his best (also meant to shadow Anna’s relationship with her sister, but here the focus is on Kristoff, the “fixer-upper”).  There’s that helper and caregiver element of the MPDG once again.   She also is unrealistically optimistic, considering the isolation and sisterly attachment betrayal she’s experienced growing up.  It makes her more heroic in the film sense but to those of us who are unsympathetic to the trope it makes her more aggravating. 

Oh – the “Fixer Upper” song. Yeah…that’s a problem child. Besides being a total earworm, it ruins the movie’s pacing and has a horrible message. “Don’t leave your unsatisfying partner – just love him more!” Disney, ruining your love life since 1937. But again, another rant, another day.

I agree, the Kristoff/Anna relationship is a cliché – because bickering animosity is the start of every great relationship, right!? --and potentially problematic aspect of the movie, especially since it kinda contradicts the part of the movie that tries so hard to correct those romance tropes that Disney themselves established (drinking game: take a shot every time I use the word “trope” in this article). Like my friend said as we exited the theater, this movie was a great leap forward for Disney, but they still have a ways to go.

However, I think the character of Anna herself is one of those great leaps forward. Yes, she’s absurdly optimistic. But I think that’s actually a realistic reaction to her prolonged isolation. Many people react to grief by clinging desperately to any form of hope. The great thing about this character is that her absurd optimism (that so many Disney characters have) not only has a solid reason but very real and unfortunate consequences. It almost kills herself and her sister. Yet it’s also what saved her and the kingdom in the end. Which was incredibly satisfying to see.

I don’t disagree with your points here, Leah.  I know attachment injuries can lead to either problematic avoidance OR clinginess.  Both are realistic and can be harmful to the person suffering from it.  Depending on the injury, it can take lots of therapy and learning to trust again to recover from a hurt like that.  Likewise with Rapunzel's situation, but I've already gone there.

I also have to disagree with you on her “adorkable” qualities. That was one of my favorite parts of the movie. While I adored the poised, fierce heroines of the 90’s – I would do unholy things to become Esmeralda – they just didn’t represent the people I knew and felt I was myself. Anna does. I didn’t find her “manic” or “pixie.” I found her recognizable and relatable. She was someone I wanted on my team. Which, I think, is why so many people fell in love with her. Just not Hans….

Sorry, that was cold.

I do see how some of these arguments can be turned around and used for Rapunzel, but when I think about the MPDG complex, I think about a character who is a tool and not a person. Rapunzel feels more like a tool, debatably for Eugene Titspervert (Anyone else think of that during the movie but me?), but certainly for patriarchal marketing. Anna felt like a person.

This is where we must agree to disagree, my friend. I must be immune to “adorkable-ness” and it always ends up feeling so forced to me.  But, again, there is no right or wrong here, and this just proves we’re two Disney analysts having respectful discourse and having fun with it! :)

Hopefully this sheds some light on the dilemma that is our collective feelings toward these heroines.  Again, Rapunzel and Anna are not true MPDGs and I’ve explained why.  But it’s clear that they share some traits that are reflective of the trope, and can therefore be seen as problematic under these circumstances.  Like mentioned before, it’s understandable why many people identify with these heroines and their personalities, situations, and plotlines.  This is similar to the argument I made in my Annie Leibovitz article: when it comes to Disney, some find pleasure in realism and some in escapism – neither is wrong or right.  But I hope this helps you look at them in a different light, and gives you some new ways of viewing past and future female Disney characters as well. 

Thank you for inviting me to this wonderful discussion, Celeste! I hope to do it again some time! Next time, my site? ;)

You got it!  Thank you once again for joining me, Leah!


PS: My little blog is exactly two years old!  If you would have told me two years ago how many posts I've written and how many friends I've made I would have never believed you.  So thank you to each and every one of you who reads, comments, tweets, shards, agrees, disagrees, and helps make this hobby so enjoyable.  You are truly the best.