Can I be a princess? Thanks Disney!

In my introductory post to my individual research journal I focused on Dexter’s Laboratory, a cartoon I, and I am sure most people of this generation, watched when we were younger. While the appeal of analyzing each and every episode of the cartoon is not lost on me, I came across a Disney movie I have yet to see and thought would be much more interesting given its “revolutionary” content. While ravaging my brains for a cartoon to focus on for this journal, I gleefully delved back into my cartoon-watching days and searched for a film I could analyze without completely ruining it for me. Mulan, Pocahantas, the Quest for Camelot, and the Lion King were all out. I could not kill my childhood like that. Instead, given my 8 year old sister’s propensity for watching movies and cartoons based on princesses, I decided to analyze the Princess and the Frog. I have yet to see the film, so this is going to be a wonderful journey for me.

Given Disney’s past in racism and the depiction of princesses (women) and what they should be over the years (Here, Barthes ‘Striptease‘ comes to mind), the analysis of this particular film will explore whether Disney did justice to the “new black princess” and whether the depiction of said princess does, in fact, erase the racial/sexist/stereotypical dynamic of many Disney movies.

Instead of delving into the actual film right now (I don’t want to jump the gun here), I will be providing examples of past Disney female characters and their role in shaping young, especially black, ¬†girls’ perceptions of themselves. I will go from Snow White to Jasmine (the latest addition), from Cinderella to Rapunzel, from ¬†Ariel to Belle to see what these characters have in common and what they say (or not) about what makes a princess (woman).

Stay tuned on my next post for the very first princess: Snow White. Is it just me or does her very name evoke a specific image?

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