Tangled: making genderism “comfortable.”

Sofia Afonasina discusses how the movie Tangled pretended to be a feminist story but was just a more “comfortable” form of genderism.

Here is Rapunzel’s life arch: (1) prolonged childhood where she is just an “it”, (2) loss of innocence through a man (not, say, through independent world experience), (3) caretaker. We meet her as a dreamy girl that hangs like a monkey on her freakishly long mane of hair and sings the obligatory “I want something more from my life” Disney princess song. On her way to fulfilling her dream of self-discovery, she finds that she has a new dream, namely Flynn, the thief she has talked into being her guide. From that point on, the fact that she is a long-lost princess takes a back seat to the emerging romance and is hardly ever dealt with. Instead, her ultimate self-discovery ends with her losing her previous magical powers and re-entering society. How? By Flynn violently, and without her consent, chopping off her magic hair! Until then, her long hair had only been a benefit and she never showed any desire to get rid of it. But, the hair symbolizes her wild, innocent, childish side and must be civilized…

Basically, her character arch ends with her losing the one thing that defined her throughout the entire film. Instead of learning how to deal with her unusual background and embracing her own wild side, she has to get rid of it and become normal, join a nuclear family, find a guy who cares about her and settle down. Her magical powers do come back in a different form, but only to underline her new role as a caretaker even more: she gets magical healing tears. Instead of being free and powerful, she must now resign herself to taking care of others, like a good mother and wife.

4 thoughts on “Tangled: making genderism “comfortable.”

  1. Miep December 5, 2013 at 21:46 Reply

    Based only on this post, I sooooo don’t want to watch this. It sounds like a bastardized Selkie myth, and I always root for the Selkie. “Retrieve your skin! Go back to the sea! GTFO of Dodge!”

    I actually have a netflix subscription, which is nice for old movies, as in silent or at least pre-color, but otherwise it’s a minefield. The other day I started watching a movie featuring a lesbian couple, until the director dropped them in bed watching gay male porn. WTF?

    • Francois Tremblay December 6, 2013 at 01:08 Reply

      Heh. I don’t really watch lesbian movies, but we saw Show Me Love fairly recently, which was a nice little story.

  2. David Gendron December 6, 2013 at 20:25 Reply

    • Francois Tremblay December 10, 2013 at 01:43 Reply

      I agree with the general sentiment, but there are problematic things in this video. It’s very libertarian-ish. In principle, there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with social programs. I’ll probably post this video; I’m on the fence about it, but it does attack Christians, and I can’t be mad at anyone who attacks Christiains.

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