Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Has Anyone Asked Rapunzel What She Thinks?

Disney Tangled Featuring Rapunzel Grow & Style Doll

It's a really slow week news wise when it comes to fairy tales.  With this week and next being two of the biggest vacation weeks of the year here in the states, I imagine it will continue to be slow.  I have lists of things I could post here, but I am still busily working on the upcoming Sleeping Beauties.  Pouring through even more files is not thrilling at the moment.  My new computer is handling all of the many, many files I have open to work, but opening more may test my mental limits if not the computer's.

So here's something to shake things up.  From Has Anyone Asked Rapunzel What She Thinks? by Mary Rose Somarriba:

It seems like for any traditional story of prince and princess to fly these days, the princess has to outdo the prince. When’s the last time you’ve seen a princess saved by her prince? These days, she has to win the battle instead of him, or else, well, or else it will look like a patriarchal fairy-tale story that tells girls they’re dependent on men. Or so say many womens-studies departments.

So here we have the charming story of how Rapunzel meets her prince: She beats him up. I don’t know about you, but movies that take the manliness out of men (and the femininity out of females, for that matter) aren’t movies I’m terribly interested in.

And they say they were trying to attract boys to this movie–ha!
Having just published a collection of Rapunzel tales--Rapunzel and Other Maiden in the Tower Tales From Around the World: Fairy Tales, Myths, Legends and Other Tales About Maidens in Towers--I have a different perspective on the matter. Rapunzel is quite spunkier in many versions of the tale--as is true with many fairy tale variants.  Granted, she's not beating up her prince, but she does some interesting things none the less across her many incarnations.

If anything, the Tangled trailer is upsetting to me because Rapunzel is a supporting character in her own story.  Forget that she beats up an intruder trying to steal her stuff--this is more obvious in the foreign language versions of the trailer with extra bits in them.  Girls on the side, indeed!

And yet, having suffered through a viewing of Princess and the Frog this past weekend--it was my first time and it did not engage me nor my sister who was watching with me--I am much more interested in Tangled, I'll admit.  And, geesh, the single disc DVD is currently $6.63 on Amazon.  Wish I had paid that for it...  Which makes me sad because there was so much potential with the story, but watching a frog for most of the movie didn't really work for me.

Anyway, thoughts anyone?  I could go on much longer, but I would rather open up the discussion to the few of you who are here reading this week. 

And the image at the top is for the Disney Tangled Featuring Rapunzel Grow & Style Doll.  The Tangled merchandise is already appearing five months out, no surprise.

On a somewhat related sidenote, did anyone see Shannon Hale's excellent blog entry, "I knew he loved me when he hocked a logie at my face"?

Last week I was with a friend when her 5-year-old daughter reported that a boy her age had been pushing her consistently. Her mother comforted her by telling her that this meant the boy liked her, that when boys like girls they didn't know how to express it so they showed their affection by bullying them. Now, I was told the same thing by my mother, and I've heard that same explanation many times. I don't think I thought twice about it till I saw "He's Just Not That Into You," which starts with a similar scene. The little girl absorbs that information, then we jump forward to adult women who, still confused by all this, allow themselves to be treated horribly by men, believing that that's how men show their affection. How far do we let this go?

After reading her thoughts and the comments, I am reminded that I don't care for violence on any level, so Tangled should disturb me more than it does...I think.

Yes, a very meandering post, but hey, it is what it is today!


  1. I don't understand why fairy tale enthusiasts tend to dislike Disney so much. Or feminists for that matter. So this post seemed a little more lax in both those areas which was a little refreshing. But I actually find myself much less interested in Tangled than I was in The Princess and the Frog. It's probably because the name change still sits poorly with me, or because they wanted to guy it up, which, in the long run, are probably smaller changes than those in Princess in the Frog, it's true.

    What I don't understand is why do these film makers feel the need to practically apologize for making fairy tale movies? That's the Disney tradition, after all.

  2. Heidi, I totally agree. I saw the preview on your blog and I just have to say, Why isn't Rapunzel the main focus of this story? I mean we follow this brown headed " bad boy" into this somewhat abaonded tower,only to be beat by Rapunzel acompanied by a violent lizard. Why Is he even a thief? And what is up with the absence of Mother Gothel? Even though Disney make some entertaing plots,they seems to never be able to stick to the orignal story. And that disapoints me.

  3. I didn't care for Princess and the Frog at all. But then I didn't really like the E.D. Baker story it was supposedly "based" on.

    As for Rapunzel, the entire thing is irritating me. Disney hasn't had a great movie (other than Pixar) for years. It looks like Tangled will miss the mark, yet again.

  4. I agree with the article that it is getting annoying that every fairy tale has to be politically correct, with the princess saving the prince, again and again. It is becoming less and less goodness and fortitude being rewarded than it is a heroine screaming and beating people up to get her prince, who she will instantly choose over a non-prince.