Tag Archives: Feminism

Why the Disney Princess Franchise Needs Better Video Games

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c7/DisneyPrincessLineup2013.jpg
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c7/DisneyPrincessLineup2013.jpg

There’s no denying that the Disney Princess are one of Disney’s most profitable properties. The’ve appeared on merchandise everywhere…

princessthoughtsxo.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/08_walt-disney-studios-store-071.jpg
princessthoughtsxo.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/08_walt-disney-studios-store-071.jpg

… Like direct to video movies (That people wish didn’t exist)

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d3/Disneyprincessenchantedtalescase.jpg
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d3/Disneyprincessenchantedtalescase.jpg

…had video games…

static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/enchantedjourney2_5971.jpg
static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/enchantedjourney2_5971.jpg

… and even manga!

static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Princess_Kilala_2620.jpg
static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Princess_Kilala_2620.jpg

While I grew up with them, I wouldn’t say the Disney Princess are my favorite brand. When I was younger, it was easier to believe in love at first sight, and stuff like that. Now that I’m older however, I can look back and see where there might have been some flaws.

However, that’s not the point of this post. The point is that we need better video games for this franchise!

There seems to be a stereotype that the video games girls want to play are dress up games. Not games that will challenge them. I mean, there are puzzle games, but there aren’t a lot of good games for this franchise. It seems that the developers just thought, hey, it’s for little girls, we don’t have to put our best effort into making these games.

I know that’s often true for many video games based off of  children’s properties. However, there seems to be more of an effort put into boys games than girls games.

Take the game featured up above, Magical Journey. It gained negative reviews with mainstream critics, with many saying only little girls would like it – for a little bit. However, It got some love for having solid graphics, solid gameplay, and an interesting villain, who was a wicked Princess!

static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/disneyp_9518.png
static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/disneyp_9518.png

It later had a kind of sequel called My Fairytale Adventure.  It was less well received than Enchanted Journey.

This was probably due to having a much thinner plot, a lot more handholding during gameplay, less time with the actual princesses, and the lack of an actually villain. Not that a villain is necessary, mind you, but with the game’s plot being so simple it would have made it much more interesting. 

Most of the video games fore this franchise are like this. I, for one believe, anyone who likes Disney Princess deserve better.

Games developed for little girls should use this much handholding! I’m not expecting the game to be as complicated as many games geared towards adults, but kids can handle more than you expect!

 

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/de/DisneyVillainsRevenge.jpg
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/de/DisneyVillainsRevenge.jpg

Let’s compare to one of the Disney games geared towards boys. This is an older game, yes, but it’s still is a good example. This game is called Disney’s Villans’ Revenge. The plot is that several Disney villains have taken over the endings of their stories, and the player must defeat them and return the happy endings.

I wasn’t able to find any reviews for this game, but it certainly seems more interesting than many of the Disney Princess games.

Now the games for Disney Princess don’t have to be exactly like this game, but it would be very interesting.

 

 

khwiki.com/images/4/49/Princesses_of_Heart.png
khwiki.com/images/4/49/Princesses_of_Heart.png

Personally, I’d like a game like Kingdom Hearts. The game is an RPG that merges Disney with the Final Fantasy video gameseries.

In the series, the Disney Princesses are Princess of Heart, the only beings with completely pure hearts.

Here are two commercials for the original Kingdom Hearts:

(Although the second one smacks of 2002)

youtube.com/watch?v=QNvTWohCFjI

youtube.com/watch?v=7uMMKDd1Fr0

One thing to note is that neither of the commercials bring attention to the Princesses

Why can’t we have a game like that? It would be a kid friendly RPG, where the princesses are the main characters, saving the princes? It would be the most awesome thing ever! Girls would love that!

What I’m just saying is, the developers can make better games than what is coming out right now. Just because it’s for little girls doesn’t mean that it should be half-assed.

In defense of Frozen

 

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

While surfing the internet, I found this curious article:

Mayim Bialik: Why My Sons and I Hate the Movie “Frozen”

static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/frozen_french_poster_2847.jpg
static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/frozen_french_poster_2847.jpg

The article slams the movie Frozen, and Mayim Bialik explains why she hates it.

I don’t think she’s wrong to not like the film. That’s an opinion. I just want to offer my own counterpoint to her points.

Her first point was that the film’s plot was not feminist at all. She states that the main goal of the film was another romance, like most Disney films.

My argument to that is that, no, the romance is not the main point of the film. In fact, it’s a subplot in the film!

Frozen is actually about the sisters love for each other. It is not a true love’s kiss that saves the day, but an act of sisterly love.

 

Disney_s_Frozen_Ending_Good_QualityDisney_s_Frozen_Ending_Good_Quality-2

Both gifs made by me

And even with the romance, there’s no marriage at the end. The couple  ends up seemingly dating. And until the day comes that Disney makes a princess movie with no love interest or a same sex love interest, I think a realistic portrayal of dating is a step in the right direction.

Her second point is that it promotes man bashing.

Now before I offer my counterpoint, this below should warn you if you haven’t seen the movie.

 

img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131110022936/disney/images/6/6f/HANS2.png
img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131110022936/disney/images/6/6f/HANS2.png

Now in the movie, Anna, the main character, has been locked away all her life. So when she finally meets other people, she instantly falls in love with the first man she sees, which is Prince Hans.Hans and Anna decide to get married, which everyone else in the movie calls them out for. It looks like Disney is poking fun at itself with this.

Even with that, Hans, at first, seems to be a really awesome guy. He helps Anna, watches the kingdom while she’s off trying to find her sister, and tries to bring the sister back herself after Anna doesn’t return.

After Anna’s heart has been struck with ice, it’s stated the only an act of true love can save her. The characters assume that means true love’s kiss. Anna returns to Hans, hoping to share true love’s kiss with him.

And then this scene happens:

 

Copyright Disney

img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310203723/disney/images/5/53/Hanskillselsa.jpg
img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310203723/disney/images/5/53/Hanskillselsa.jpg

That’s right, Hans is EVIL. He’s a manipulative, back-stabbing, son of a bitch. He pretended to love her so that he could get the throne.

Mayim Bialik was annoyed at this plot twist because it implied that  men can’t be trusted, and that it was too confusing for kids.

That is where I disagree.

Hans is an example of what can happen if you try the whole “love at first sight” thing in real life. People like Hans exist. Instead of promoting something that could hurt them, like many early Disney Princess films, why don’t we show that love takes time?

 

http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20141127202932/disneyprincess/images/b/b5/Anna3.png
img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20141127202932/disneyprincess/images/b/b5/Anna3.png

Mayim Bialik’s final point was, admittedly, a fair one. She complains about how the female characters are stylized. She complains about how they have huge eyes, tiny noses, thin waits, etc. She says they look like dolls.

And true, most media do tend to portray females like that, and there is room for improvement.

However, the characters are stylized.

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Anime_eye.svg
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Anime_eye.svg

Huge eyes? Has this lady seen anime?

 

And to be truthful, the characters could be much worse. Be thankful that Anna and Elsa weren’t designed by someone like Rob Liefeld.

https://40.media.tumblr.com/5569b0ca1c2789609b9fb68096e5205a/tumblr_mgqr67ODdc1r3ppg5o1_400.jpg
https://40.media.tumblr.com/5569b0ca1c2789609b9fb68096e5205a/tumblr_mgqr67ODdc1r3ppg5o1_400.jpg

…shudder…

Again, I don’t think Mayim Bialik is wrong to not like the film. That’s her opinion. However, as a feminist, I feel like we should engage in calm, rational argument. I just wanted to offer a counterpoint.

Real Women CAN Wear Dresses (But They Don’t Have to if They Don’t Want to)

 

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

There seems to be a stigma that badass female characters can’t do anything traditionally feminine. This is a trope called Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses.

DIsney has gotten a lot of flak for this, especially with their princess line. To many people, it expresses many of the negative stereotypes of femininity. The video below puts it pretty well.

youtube.com/watch?v=jAXEQswcv44

While I must find I agree with some of the points raised in the video, it still reminds me of a pet peeve I have. One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me that strong females characters have to act a certain way.

I feel that being feminism is about equality. I want to be treated equal. It should be up to a women what kind of clothes she wears, what she likes, etc. A women can be a badass fighter who still likes pink and dressing up.

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Tangled_poster.jpg
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Tangled_poster.jpg

On the topic of Disney, let’s talk about Rapunzel of Tangled.

On first glance, she seems like a stereotypical girly girl. Long flowing blonde hair, pink dress, loves to paint, etc. Many who believe that femininity portrays a weak character.

But it doesn’t.

Rapunzel is never portrayed by just how she appears. She’s energetic, upbeat, strong-willed, and determined. It’s isn’t a big deal whether she’s feminine or not.

And she really knows how to use that frying pan.

Tangled_Frying_Pan

GIF made by me

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/96/Brave_Poster.jpg
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/96/Brave_Poster.jpg

Let’s compare and contrast that to Merida from Brave.

Merida is portrayed like a tomboy. She’d rather be doing more traditionally masculine things like mountain climbing and archery to traditional feminine things. If it weren’t for the fact that Brave is set in historical Scotland, she probably would’t be in a dress.

 brave

GIF made by me

But that’s not the main point of Merida’s story.

Brave is about the relationship between Merida and her mother, who is much more traditionally feminine. Neither one really tries to understand one another. This leads to Merida making a extremely unwise decision. She goes to a witch, hoping to have her change her mother so that she would except her point of view. This ends up changing her mother into a bear.

…I wish I was kidding…   yeah.

Anyway, the point of the film is that they both need to understand one another and make compromises to return the mother to normal. Both of their views are valid, but they both have flaws. Neither being a tomboy or a girly girl is better or worse. They have to understand each other.

As you can see, Disney and Pixar definitely  portray femininity and being a tomboy in different ways. However, many hate these movies no matter what they do. They seem to always find something wrong.

But in my opinion, neither being feminine or a tomboy is better or worse. I grew up with Disney Princess films, The Lion King, the Aladdin TV series, Barbie, Star Wars, Powerpuff Girls, among others. As a kid, I was more a girly girl, yes, but I also had more tomboyish desires. But that’s not the case for everyone.

People of both genders should have the option of being who they want to be.

Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses?

Nah.

Real women CAN wear dresses (But they don’t have to if they don’t want to)

Disney and the Bechdel Test

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bf/Dykes_to_Watch_Out_For_%28Bechdel_test_origin%29.jpg

The Bechdel test was originally coined in the comic strip Dykes to Look Out For in 1985. The test can be for any media.

The test states:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it.

2. Who talk to each other.

3. About something besides a man.

The majority of films released in Hollywood fail the test. In fact, here is a video I made showing only a few of the many films fail the test.

It must be stressed that the test does not say whether the media is actually feminist. If in a film, two named females were to talk about dresses and make up, the film would technically pass the test. However that doesn’t mean that the film is actually feminist.

I decided to take several different disney films and see whether they passed or failed the test.

Snow_White_1937_poster
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/49/Snow_White_1937_poster.png

 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves:

The first full length animated film released in America.

In this film there are two named females. These are Snow White and The Evil Queen. They have only one conversation, which is at the end of the film. There is some debate about the conversation, as the ‘little men’ (the dwarves), are mentioned in passing, but the conversation is more about the poisoned apple.

This film passes the test (though it’s dubious).

abTy6ariL

clipartbest.com/cliparts/abT/y6a/abTy6ariL.png

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Lady-and-tramp-1955-poster
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/39/Lady-and-tramp-1955-poster.jpg

Lady and the Tramp:

There are multiple named females, such as Lady, Peg, Darling, and the Siamese cats who are assumed to be female based on their voice actor.

In one scene which takes place in a pound, two named females, Peg and Lady, talk to each other about Lady’s license, and how it’s Lady’s key to getting out of there.

This film passes the test.

abTy6ariL

clipartbest.com/cliparts/abT/y6a/abTy6ariL.png

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Sleeping_beauty_disney
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/43/Sleeping_beauty_disney.jpg

Sleeping Beauty:

The majority of the film’s cast are female.

The good fairies talk about about things other than men most of the time, like hiding Princess Aurora from the female villain Maleficent.

In fact, this film fails a reverse Bechdel test. the males always are talking about the females.

This film passes the test.

abTy6ariL

clipartbest.com/cliparts/abT/y6a/abTy6ariL.png

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Mousedetectposter
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a4/Mousedetectposter.jpg

The Great Mouse Detective:

There are four named females, two of whom (Olivia Flaversham and Queen Mousetoria) are important to the story. However, none of them ever have a real, back and forth conversation with each other.

This fim fails the test.

dc7eRGpc9

clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc7/eRG/dc7eRGpc9.png

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Aladdinposter
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/58/Aladdinposter.jpg

Aladdin:

There is only one named female character, Princess Jasmine, in the entire film.

This film utterly fails the test.

dc7eRGpc9

 clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc7/eRG/dc7eRGpc9.png

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The_nightmare_before_christmas_poster
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9a/The_nightmare_before_christmas_poster.jpg

The Nightmare Before Christmas:

Yes, this is technically Disney.

There are two named females, Sally and Shock. However, they never speak to one another.

This film fails the test.

dc7eRGpc9

 clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc7/eRG/dc7eRGpc9.png

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frozen_french_poster_2847
static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/frozen_french_poster_2847.jpg

Frozen:

This film sure is popular lately.

There are two named females, Anna and Elsa. They have multiple conversations about things other than men.

For example, the first conversation in the movie is about them making a snowmen. That doesn’t count as actual men.

This film passes the test.

abTy6ariL

clipartbest.com/cliparts/abT/y6a/abTy6ariL.png

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As must be stressed, the Bechdel test is not meant to indicate whether a film is feminist or not. It’s just the lowest bar possible for women representation. As you can see, Disney is pretty hit or miss with passing in test

Again, the majority of films from Hollywood fail the test. This could be pretty damming of how far we still ned to go for better gender representation.