Monday, December 14, 2009

Disney Princesses... Please Keep Reading :)

Dear Readers!!!!




















Today is the beginning of Disney Week. This Week I am discussing Disney. Disney is what I will be discussing. Disney Discussions will occur. Discussions concerning Disney.




(see bottom for my first youtube video) (Note: Click images of collages for a nice big view of them for further study/ enjoyment!)




I hope you haven't given up on me. Unfortunately, my tendency to make everything a mammoth work still has a hold on me, even on a blog entry on Disney Princesses!!!

My excuse for my negligence is this: I was busy taking 466 photos of Snow White, 2,248 Screen captures (as well as 209 pics I downloaded) of Cinderella,

and 2,138 combined screen captures and photos (from my camera) of Sleeping Beauty. (I got more carried away as I went on). I also watched and re-watched each movie at least three times each. You could say I have been a busy bee.

The lesson I have learned from all this self-imposed overworking is, that I ought to lighten up. I promise that I will post more frequent and shorter blog entries in future. No more of this novel/ senior thesis nonsense. So keep looking. Your curiosity will be rewarded from now on!

By the way. From the numbers I just gave you, and the entry that you are (hopefully) about to read, you might suspect I am obsessed with Disney. Nay! Or rather, I tend to be obsessed with anything I'm interested in. Detail is delicious. I'm an analytical freak, what can I say?

Prepare for a Disney overdose. Though it is nothing compared to the lovely exhaustion I've been through for the past week!


Why Disney princesses? Why Disney at all? Couldn't I have spared you? Well, no, I couldn't have. This is my damn blog and I'll do as a I please (not that I don't love you don't go! stay here and keep reading! I've worked really hard on this!). I chose the subject of Disney Princesses because there is a gender topic that has been overstressed and overdiscussed to the point where no one THINKS about it anymore. "Snow White? Hate her, the Mary Sue. Cinderella? A stunning housekeeper who knowcked the prince flat in a moment? PLEASE! Sleeping Beauty? Don't get me started on sleeping Beauty. How fast did they fall in love? And she's comatose for practically the whole movie! Disney SUCKS!!!" - you might be tempted to say, and you wouldn't be the only one. However, I mean to reevaluate some aspects of these three Disney princesses that have been grossly overlooked and underappreciated of late. Am I going to pretend that Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora are feminists? Hopefully I won't lose my sanity to that level. However, there are things on my mind that I think should be in some other people's minds as well.

I am only focusing on Snow White (1937), Cinderella (1950), and Sleeping Beauty (1959) for THIS blog entry b/c there is a thirty year gap until The Little Mermaid (1989) was made (amongst the princess films). Thirty years!!! A completely different generation.

Ok. Take a deep breath. I'm out of breath from all this WORK/fun, so you'll have to do mine for me, if you please.

I find I had a recent fb chat conversation with my best best friend recently (it mentions the more recent Disney princess movies as well)...



























[Jo Bingo]


anyway disney always works to stress something else so that girls don't think of beauty first - the little mermaid? her voice. also her vivacity. beauty and the beast? her reading and ability to appreciate what's inside. Cinderella? she "wears an air of queenly grace", is kind, and gentle, and capable of continued optimism under servitude. Snow White? she is willing to work for her room and board with the dwarves even tho she is a princess! she offered that. she has standards and takes stressful situations quite well. sleeping beauty? her voice.

6:58pm

[Jo Bingo]


actually it is funny

about the little mermaid's voice rather than beauty being stressed - b/c mermaids and sirens' power lay in their VOICE, and originally they didn't even offer sex to the sailors. they sang offers of KNOWLEDGE. anyway sirens=voice



o and if you'll remember sleeping beauty wasn't so jazzed to be told she was a princess and going to marry a prince b/c she had like her old life and she had chosen her man without knowing he was a prince


actually, that is another theme. the falling in love scenes, though they may be quick, are never based off rank or social position or money. they even made cinderella not know she was dancing with the prince!!!!!


yeah i saw the commercial. disney must be sick of being made fun of so they decided to make a princess movie that makes fun of the original fairy tale, with a new twist and all that. and a voodoo bad guy? that's gonna be cotroversial, or at least it should be. well, no solid opinions till i see it i guess. and i am curious!

7:11pm


...(this is just my side of the conversation, if you couldn't tell.)


Plus guys, these are based on FAIRY TALES. Try reading the original fairy tales. YIKES!!!!!



Meet the Princesses:




Snow White
(The Fairest in the Land)

Song Titles: I'm Wishing, With a Smile and a Song, Whistle While You Work, Some Day My Prince will Come

# of outfits: 2







Cinderella
(Wears an air of
Queenly
Grace)

Song Titles: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, So This is Love

# of outfits: 3 (including the wedding gown in the last minute)




Sleeping
Beauty
("will indeed grow in grace and beauty")

air time (when conscious and not a baby): 17 min out of 75, a little less than a fourth of the move (23%)

Song Titles: I Wonder, Once Upon a Dream

# of outfits: 2


Meet the Princes:

The Hottie Snow White Bagged (no name. All that matters is he came, and that he has great legs) (less of a tool than Cinderella's dude, in my opinion. Not sure why...)



Cinderella's Manly Man (My personal favorite) also nameless. But of course his name isn't important; his hair on the other hand, is. (a complete tool)

full air time: 8 min out of 75. About a tenth of the movie!!!!!

thus, he is a major tool/boy toy




Prince Phillip (wow he has a name!!!! the grabbiest of the princes. Takes aurora's hand like 5 times (before she accepts his advances)!!! A tool, but at least an active tool. Saved her butt)





Meet the Antagonists (all female):


The Evil Queen Stepmother!!!!! (I always found this the scariest moment in the film "... but to make doubly sure you do NOT fail, bring back her heart - in this") - important gender highlight for this film especially is that the queen is VAIN but super super beautiful (Fairest in the land: 2nd place. she may be dissatisfied with that, but wow). The story, and Disney, is emphasizing that beauty and focus on beauty is UGLY (thus the queen's last disguise as an old woman fits her super well, in fact, she seems to feel liberated in it b/c she laughs and smiles constantly for the first time in the entire film?) (anyhow she is a powerhouse woman. is the fairy tale indicating that women are vindictive, vain, and violent if in a place of power (since Snow White, tho a princess, is decidedly not)? I hope not. Anyhow I'm pretty sure Disney is trying to avoid just that kind of focus).


The Wicked Stepmother - "Jealous of Cinderella's charm and beauty, she was bitterly determined to forward the interests of her own two awkward daughters" - Yes, she rocks the pop open eye look like the evil queen from Snow White. The same woman who provided her voice also voiced Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Does this perhaps indicate that Disney tends to have the female antagonist have the same cast of character? Jealousy and Manipulation, coupled with abuse, are what defines this dragon of a woman (get it? same voice as maleficent, maleficent was a dragon, haha??). I have always been tempted to name her the scariest. She sets her two violent daughters on her! She locks her in a room from the inside so Cinderella cannot get out! She not only makes Cinderella do mountains of work, but also gives Cinderella false hope that she could go to the ball!!! A good summation of her character - "and I never go back on my word" - when she makes this icey speech, she is telling Cinderella and the audience that her dangerous side is hidden underneath her calm and collected demeanor ("above all, self-control"), which is scary scary scary!!!!!!!!!!! (gender danger (inherent in the original fairy tale) - ugly women are manipulative. How does Disney try to get around that? ummmm....)


Maleficent the Bad Fairy - never really referred to as "the Bad Fairy" in the movie, but once as a "witch," mostly just as "Maleficent." Why did Disney make this choice? I think they wanted to keep with the modern image of fairies as good cute winged things (even if they did decide to chub up the archetype). Interestingly she too is not an ugly female antagonist. And the horns, how awesome are those? Sarcasm is her domain. I think Disney is trying to stress her intelligence through making sarcasm her main character feature. I suppose they do not want to claim that ignorant woman=evil woman, however, the danger is that they are now indicating that intelligent woman=evil woman, since Aurora by contrast does not exhibit quite the same brainpower. Hmmmmm.


On same-sex antagonists (as protagonists) - I think the women against women thing (again, inherent in the fairy tale, I'm talking about how Disney portrays it) is ok in the sense that, since Disney is a strictly heterosexual world, there is no sexual tension, sexual dominion, and no battle-of-the-sexes stuff. However, who defeats these women? Not the princesses themselves. Men. That put me a step back. Of course, Disney took care that the men couldn't finish the job on their own - the dwarves have help from the lightening bolt that sent the Queen and the rather sizeable rock that would have crushed them down the cliff, the prince/the king/ the Duke save Cinderella in a sense, but then the animals are the ones who got the key, and Prince Phillip might have
escaped from the forbidden mountain and slayed the dragon, but every 3 seconds or so the three good fairies save his life on something that would have killed him like *snap* that.


Okay, so before I really go nuts, I'll show you some relevant collages (don't forget you can click to enlarge any of these collages to REALLY appreciate them!:



Snow White Body Image

The most realistically proportioned of the princesses. Also moderately flat-chested (the only princess with that trait...). Her waist is larger in circumference than her neck; her arms are not too skinny, her face is nice and round and full even. The Queen is much more curvy, and taller, and wears make-up. All the female evil-doers wear make-up. I think it is supposed to indicate that they are false or something. Not "natural." (I think the indication is that they are over-makeup-ed.)


Cinderella Body Image

Cinderella's body is usually sized normal, but Disney is now starting to make frame-by-frame images of her and others change shape and proportion sometimes, especially for movement, so there are some moments of hmmmmmm that's too skinny. The step-sisters' breed of ugliness is an interesting choice. They are flat-chested and their faces (especially anastasia's) are full of wrinkles and they are constantly wrenching their expressions this way and that. So they are freak-shows, but in a way, believable freak shows (not quasi-modos). The Stepmother is the proper hourglass shape, I think the implication is she wears a corset from the period style dresses she wears. She is full-bosomed, and unlike Cinderella's fairy godmother, does NOT have kankles. She reminds me of Jane Eyre's Aunt Reed - a sturdy healthy built woman, with a piercing stare and an implacable dislike.


Sleeping Beauty Body Image

Aurora is BY FAR THE WORST proportioned princess. Perhaps even worse, to get ahead of myself, than Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Her waist is tiny and her hips are huge!!!!!!! I explain this to myself in this manner: this movie is separate from other Disney films because they chose to extensively follow the illumination manuscript type genre (just look at the trees, the castles, the people of the kingdom, the pages of the book) - proportionality wasn't even a skill when they made manuscripts, the images were a guesture, an idea, rather than a likeness. Also, Aurora is different from the other princesses because her beauty is fairy given. It is otherworldy. One presumes that she would have been pretty anyway, but now it is an unearthly beauty ("too beautiful to be real" as the prince says about her voice, the 2nd fairy gift). Of course, the very fact that the gift of beauty is an absolute ('"beauty" looks like this folks') is hard to swallow so I'm not going to pretend I'm jazzed about it.
Aurora is an issue in general because she receives little to no character development and spends very little time on screen. That is another reason why I think that Disney chose to emphasize the stylized "fairy tale manuscript medieval" aspect - because the original fairy tale doesn't leave too much wiggle room to allow Aurora to grow in something other than grace and beauty, they choose to emphasize the story itself rather than the girl.


Snow White Dainty "Feminine" Body Language

Snow White is the most exaggerated for this. Everywhere she walks she has her hands lifted all gentle, relaxed and yet poised. I think this was done a)because she's a princess and b)because (you knew I'd mention this eventually) the time period this film was made.

I really do think the hands held up like that thing is supposed to make it believable she is royalty - to make the story really feel like a fairy tale.


Cinderella Elegant "Feminine" Body Language

Cinderella is the most elegant hands down. Hands. Down. I think it is because the character trait they are stressing so as NOT to focus on her beauty is "wears an air of queenly grace" - from the song in the opening credits. Everything she does is gentle and not overdone at all. Not r
igid but not lollygagging loose. She puts her hands up in front of her like snow wh
ite occasionally, but only for a short moment, unlike snow white.


Sleeping Beauty Graceful "Feminine" Body Language

Aurora is a sort of wild child having been raised up in a previously abandoned cottage in the middle of the woods, so I think her thing is that she is a sort of petite sprite. Very fluid movements, like her hair. Notice how they animate her
hair's locks and how they have her hair move. Her thing is that she was born a princess with 2 major fairy giifts, and even though she doesn't know she's aprincess, she still is one in her demeanor and approach to life or whatever. The "nature" argument in "nature vs. nurture." A relevant debate to bring
up in any feminist discussion.


Princesses Primping

the only instances in which the princesses are self-aware of their looks. Usually when preparing to visit or for a visitor. Cinderella appears ironically to be the most vain in the sense that she has looked at her reflection/combed her hair the most times, though her character would suggest otherwise. Ironically, and I couldn't believe this at first, Aurora never primps, not even once (the picture near the middle of the collage I included because it is the closest she gets - she is flipping her hair out from underneather her shawl. More the getting rid of an inconvenience than anything else). I put this here to stress how little the princesses look at themselves or even seem aware that they have looks. Disney really appears to be definite on this message. They have to include beauty, it seems, due to the nature of the fairy tales ("fairest in the land" "sleeping beauty), but they are saying BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT MATTERS. Of course, the style of beauty they chose to promulgate is another issue entirely, for that is what has it is presumed instigated body image complexies for some girls. Snow White primps only two times. (Notice I included the Primping "Princess" Phillip haha he was getting himself smart to meet Aurora again).


Princesses Twirling
I forgot to include Cinderella twirling while holding her mother's dress; otherwise, these are all the twirls.


Overlapping Story Threads...

Both Snow White and Cinderella Worked as Scullery Maids(not o
f their own volition) (hopefully I won't have to explain the others...)







The Princesses & Animals???






































































("tooodaaaaay!!!" my favorite snow white moment) (note: I haven't put this quote adjacent to the relevant picture. Do you know which one it is?)




Cinderella Dressing mice. Needless to say, NOT in the original fairy tale :)

I have a theory that they have the princesses bond with animals because they tend to be lonely or secluded or
oppressed (or all three), with no friends. LONELINESS!!!!! I think I am right, too.

Notice the gender classifications she assigns these mice. Worst Cinderella Quote (from a female mouse to a male mouse): "Leave the sewing to the women. You go get some trimmin'"


Aurora telling random animals about her dream. Yeah. She's lonely. (At least Cinderella drew the line there and refused to tell the birds about her dream!!!!!)

Snow White finding use in her little friends, as is the custom in fairy tales; befriend an animal, it will help you enormously later - they are going to take her for a place to sleep, at the dwarves' cottage (... technically they helped her clean the house, but she sort of had to teach them how to do it because they were kind of incompetent)


Yes. She is petting a Chipmunk. Oh. My. God. She is petting a Chipmunk. I don't care how old fashioned Snow White is. I think that Sleeping Beauty wins the chummy w/chipmunks and other animals prize.


sleeping beauty freaking out an owl (yo lady don't forget I'm just an owl I'm not ACTUALLY your dream prince!)


Cinderella Fed Up with Animals...



I don't want to wake up yet! So why don't you dumb-ass birds fly away home!!!! *Flick*


Lucifer is keeping a mouse hostage. To save a much cuter nicer animal friend, she is willing to really shake this one.


Ready to beat Lucifer (the cat): "I'm just going to have to teach you a lesson"

Housekeeping



Yes, in Disney films housekeeping is a prominent feature. Maybe because it is so easily recognizable in its mundaneness. The Princesses NEVER choose a cleaning lifestyle for themselves; Aurora never is seen cleaning except in the first shot of her where she is sort of rubbing the window, and later I guess she is hol
ding a broom but it still does not count. And even when Snow White offers to "keep house" for the dwarves, she is using skills she knows to pay for her room and board; it was not her choice to become a scullery maid, but now she is, she has standards and she's made the best of things. 2nd point: Disney cleaning never seems to be without assisstance, either by magic or animals. Male Disney characters who clean: Merlin & Arthur from the Sword and the Stone, unfortunately neither a manly man type character.


The Violence of the Stepsisters


Gulp. This has got to be the scariest moment in Disney history. They descended into downright physical abuse, literally teasring off her clothes. I don't even know what to say at this point, I've been blabbering on so much, but I put in this image for further thought.


Mischevious, Intelligent, or otherwise Something-Is-Going-On-In-Her-Head Shots:



"But Perhaps you have washed?"

"yes, recently"

"oh, recently"

"but when?"




"Cat got your tongue?"



This old lady is kind of sketchy. Why is she asking if the little men are here or not? I'm not supposed to let in strangers!!!!!


That damn clock! "Old Killjoy!"


This mouse is really fat. No way is this shirt fitting.


Lucifer [the cat], come HERE!


There must be something good about him [Lucifer, the cat]!


Having been shooshed and criticized unfairly the third time.



"Lucifer [the cat]!!! You mean old thing!"


Here she has said "Maybe I should interrupt the... music lesson" very sarcastically. She is aware that her stepsisters sound like shit. She is not nice in the sense that she is blind to faults!

"Oh now what do they want?"

Stepmother: But of course there will be other times, and -

Cinderella: Yes, Good Night

Translation: We both know that speech is full of crap anyway and that you hate me and arranged for this to happen so why don't we just call it a night?

i can't believe my fairy godmother almost forgot to give me a dress. What a silly old gal.

suspecting birthday plans are happening


pretty much certain a suprise will be waiting for her after she completes this unimportant uneccessary berry-picking task

Yeah, I guess I'll play along. "No, I have no idea what is going on! I guess I will pick berries now." ... Those three are so cute.


I have met someone.


Being flirtatious with the owl/dream prince. I find that Aurora had the most flirtatious faces.


In the end, it is all about how Disney had their princesses handle mandatory daily routine. They were given a raw deal (a psychotic stepmother, a psychotic royal stepmother, a psychotic curse-casting bad fairy), and they took it in stride (at least Snow White and Cinderella did. Sleeping Beauty kind of slept until it was all over haha).


One more shot of my most favorite manly man prince, the boy toy:





Song used: Paper Planes by M. I. A.

This video is also now on youtube!!! Check it out and tell friends as well as strangers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GhF1v2b5Gc

blegh! Accidentally made my youtube account name "celloqueenie" instead of "Jo Bingo"!!! Damn Damn Double Damn...



Some Disney History Blogs Kelsique (http://kelsique.blogspot.com/) recommended to me:


http://disneybooks.blogspot.com/

http://www.disneyhistoryinstitute.com/



Question of the Entry: Who do you think is the hottest prince?

4 comments:

  1. 1. The first picture brings me pure joy.
    2. There is no such thing as a Disney overdose.
    3. I forget what went down in Sleeping Beauty. It's safe to say I was traumatized by Maleficent and blocked this film out of my memory. Thank you for reminding me of possibly the single most substantial part of this movie- Prince Phillip. Does that answer your Question of the Entry?
    4. I love this entire thing... officially my second Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going to have to agree with Kelsique and say Prince Phillip is my favourite...not for his courting strategies though. No kidding he's the most grabby. At least nameless love-interest from Snow White says "Oh shit, sorry I scared ou. No no, I won't touch without consent. Yesss, you look very sweet ALL THE WAY UP THERE AT THE WINDOW."

    This was a BRILLIANT synthesis of these three movies. You though of components that have only occurred to me on the most vague subconscious level, if at all. You really had me laughing at parts too! Great screen captures! It was both funny and intuitive, Jo.

    Fantastic fantastic fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this, especially the bit on facial expressions. Now I will watch these movies in a whole new way! Isn't it funny how the men in these early movies are not real people at all, just prizes in the end? They are like objects! I mean these movies don't give you an idea of WHY they would be so happy with the prince (though I guess there is security and money and riches...there is that)! I guess it's supposed to be self-evident that he's just PERFECT (fill in your own fantasy guy here).

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is just darling! I love that so much! What a great job of pasting these Disney images together in such a great manner. You could also put other images - other than Sleeping Beauty or Snow White? Maybe Animaniacs? Lol - keep up the great work. Love the images.

    ReplyDelete