Yesterday’s LATimes has a piece on Disney giving up making fairy tale movies. Here’s a taste of it; click the link to read the whole piece. (Yes, this is the same one I e-mailed to the class; just making sure you see it!) What do you think is behind Disney’s decision? Are fairy tales really “playing it safe?” Do the Disney powers that be really care about female stereotyping, or are princesses just not good money any more? (And what about that upcoming royal wedding, speaking of princesses…?)
why has the clock struck midnight for Disney’s fairy tales?
Among girls, princesses and the romanticized ideal they represent — revolving around finding the man of your dreams — have a limited shelf life. With the advent of “tween” TV, the tiara-wearing ideal of femininity has been supplanted by new adolescent role models such as the Disney Channel’s Selena Gomez and Nickelodeon‘s Miranda Cosgrove.
“By the time they’re 5 or 6, they’re not interested in being princesses,” said Dafna Lemish, chairwoman of the radio and TV department at Southern Illinois University and an expert in the role of media in children’s lives. “They’re interested in being hot, in being cool. Clearly, they see this is what society values.”
In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Anne Hathaway plays Andy, a college graduate who finds a job working under the prestigious Miranda Presley, played by Meryl Streep. Andy is rudely awakened when she must perform seemingly impossible tasks that Miranda tells her to do. Not only is she constantly working, just like Cinderella, but Miranda is nasty with her arrogant and discouraging responses, just like the evil stepmother. Another similarity between “The Devil Wears Prada” and Cinderella is the physical transformation and godmother aspect. About 45 minutes into the film Andy realizes that if she really wants to commit to the job she must conform to the fashion world and pay more attention to what she looks like. The godmother character, Nigel, played by Stanley Tucci helps her do this by picking clothes out for her, as well as giving her advice along the way. Are there any other parallels in this movie to Cinderella? Are there ways in which it is opposite to Cinderella as well?
Barbie is thrown in the garbage by her owner and is left for trash, but is saved by Woody. After being saved she is placed in the box to go to a day care. When the toys reach the day care, Barbie meets Ken. How is the relationship shown similar to a Cinderella story? How does Ken and Barbie differ from the typical Cinderella and Prince relationship?
In this song, we see a Cinderella character who is judges for what is on the inside. Usually, we see how beauty is so important and so is the outfit that Cinderella wears to the ball, however, in this song we see someone who loves Cinderella even without all of these aspects? Does this absence of beauty’s importance take away from aspects of the traditional Cinderella tale?
Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson is a book that shows the lives of two parallel Cinderella’s that are neighbors and go through the same hardships, yet approach their situations differently. Edna is strong and self-willed, while Cinderella relies on her godmother for her happy ending. Although Cinderella wins the prince’s affection, Edna is happier overall. Should more fairytales focus on empowering women or do the classic Cinderella stories also teach young females positive morals?
Although Aladdin is another Disney story that has been so engrained into many of our lives, I believe that it fits the criterion of being a Cinderella story. A rags to riches story as Aladdin, a “street rat” who is living in the most poor conditions, falls in love with the Princess Jasmine at first sight. With the magical help of the Genie, Aladdin is able to attain his Princess and move from the lowest class status to that of a Prince. Though no ball-type event really takes place, there is the introduction of Aladdin as Prince-Ali, as he is disguised as a prince because the Princess must marry a prince. The difference in this story though, is Jasmine is displeased with the prospect of another prince at first, and preferred the “street rat” Aladdin she met outside the palace. Though there is no stepfamily, the Character of Jafar is the closest that there is. Although he is not going after the Princess directly, as the stepsisters typically go after the prince, but he is in fact going after the throne in his attempts to harness the Genie’s powers and as a last resort, take Jasmine as his bride-doing anything he can to gain power. For these reasons I believe that Aladdin could in fact be viewed as a Cinderella story.
This movie starts out with Carrie Bradshaw getting engaged to the Mr. Big, the love of her life. Everything is set for their extravagant wedding, but then Big backs out and leaves Carrie at the alter. He realizes that he has made a huge mistake and tries to intercept Carrie as she is fleeing the wedding, but she is too humiliated and upset and beats him with her bouquet. Months go by and Carrie refuses to answer Big’s messages, but she continues to be sad and depressed as she copes with her ailing heart. Right before Carrie goes to get the shoes she left in the apartment she and Big were to live in, she is surprised to find him there. As soon as she sees him, all the anger she had towards him is gone and they make up on the spot. He gets down on his knee and proposes again, placing her diamond encrusted shoe on her foot. Carrie finally gets her happy ever after.
Carrie is different from most other Cinderella-like figures we have seen since she is a determined, hard-working, and successful New York woman. She clearly isn’t dependent on Big financially, yet her life does not seem complete to her unless she gets married. Even though Carrie represents the modern woman who can be assertive and reliant upon herself, she still wants her Cinderella ending. Since this movie is very recent (2008), does it seem like society has really changed in that women view marriage as their ultimate achievement? Would critics like Karen Rowe praise Carrie for her self-empowerment, or is she still like most of the typical Cinderella figures we have seen?