Best lesson from a Disney movie
This is an underrated movie
This is a grossly underrated movie.
Can I take a minute to rant? Good. Cuz I’m gonna.
I FLOVE this movie. And I HATE all the stupid hatred it gets. For a long time the buzz was “finally a black princess yay!” and now everyone is like “Fuck this movie, first black princess and she spends the whole movie a frog.”
You know what? Fuck that. Because Ariel spent a good majority of the movie not talking. Mulan spent the majority of the move pretending to be a man. Aurora and Snow White? Asleep (Hardly in the movie at all). They’re all just plot devices, not designed to take away from the traits of the women.
And you know what else? Unlike some of the other princesses, Tiana is in control of her destiny every step of the way. When she turns into the frog does she lose hope and need rescuing? Hell naw. She busts Naveen over the head and gets the job done. She is consistently responsible and capable even after having her dreams crushed and turning into a freaking frog.
So don’t tell me that Tiana is “less than” just because she gets turned into a frog. She’s still one of the most hardworking, badass, and capable chicks in animated history and I love her like crazy cakes.
wait no one was actually mad at the movie but at the creators for the making of the story being revolved around the fact that it was a black princess who spent most of her time as animal. cause unlike the other princesses they spent their time as a FUCKING HUMAN!!!!!!!
Both commentaries are good. I feel that the creators, knowing how historic and important movie having a black princess, should have made a story where she was human! However, despite that political fuckery that took place, it is still a phenomenal movie
I’ve said this literally every time this photoset has come on my dash and I will keep saying it: I would just like everyone who constantly, uncritically praises this movie because Tiana is so hardworking and bad ass to stop and think for a moment about why it is that Disney chose the film with the first Black princess to break away from the traditional Disney narrative and send the message “you won’t get a fairy godmother, you have to work hard to achieve your dreams”. Why now, with this particular movie, with this particular Princess?
My problems with this movie go a lot deeper than just ire at the fact that the first Black princess spent most of her movie as an animal, though that is certainly worthy of criticism. (After all, in her human form, she wasn’t allowed to have natural hair either, meanwhile people fall over themselves to praise Pixar for lovingly animating every ginger curl on some white girl’s head.)
Telling girls that they have to work hard to achieve their dreams is a good message. Girls having control over their own destiny is a good message. Girls of all races and ethnicities can benefit from hearing this. But these messages can’t be divorced from the reality of oppressive expectations for Black women and how we specifically experience racialized sexism in a kyriarchal society. They can’t be divorced from the way that Black women are specifically expected to shoulder our own burdens, are not allowed to dream too much or be too carefree. And we are expected to do this by everyone—white folks, Black folks (esp. Black men), everybody of every persuasion. Black women are told from the moment we are born, by our parents and by the world, that we have to work three times as hard to be half as successful, that toil is our lot in life, and not to expect a damn bit of help with any of these burdens. Not only that, we are told we have to shoulder everyone else’s burdens, too. And we can’t have a moment of complaint or vulnerability, we have to be Strong Black Women at all times. Some of us have our dreams literally beaten out of us by parents who fear for us—they crush us before the world can do it, for our own good. Dreams and whimsy are specifically not for us as Black women, we can’t “afford” to have those things, and we certainly can’t afford to dream of being swept off our feet by Prince Charming, not in a world that denigrates and denies our beauty and desirability as women worthy of love and romantic companionship at every turn, hypersexualizing us as animalistic exotic Jezebels and de-sexualizing us as Mammies by turns.
Why is it that the first Black princess is the one who is saddled with a lazy man-child that she has to whip into shape for a prince?
And these are things that are never ever ever told to white girls, not in a million years, because they are placed on pedestals, they are told to expect Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet. The very fact that this movie is specifically set in the real world and grounded firmly in real history as opposed to a fantasy mashup only inspired by various times and places like every white Princess movie was a deliberate choice, make no mistake. It was about denying Black girls a fairytale princess like Cindy or Aurora or Ariel. Dreams and whimsy and fantastic flights of fancy are not for us. Even Tiana’s requisite cute animal sidekick died.
And in the very end, how did Tiana actually achieve her dream? It wasn’t even through all the hard work and toil and struggle that the movie kept harping on as being the way to go for her. It wasn’t even though the closest thing to a fairy godmother the movie gave us, in Mama Odie. In the end, it was through the benevolence of a rich, spoiled white woman who took pity on her.
I’m not saying don’t like the movie. It’s a good movie in a lot of ways—the animation is beautiful, the songs are amazing (esp. Mama Odie’s song), the characters are great, and it’s got way more emotional punch than most Disney movies. Tiana is truly an amazing character and one of my favorite Disney Princesses. I love Naveen, flaws and all, and I felt like their romance was probably the best one out of all of them because it felt the most genuine, even with my problems with it. And just the fact that Black children, particularly Black girls, finally have a princess to call their own and be included means the absolute world to me. All my younger relatives have PatF everything, by design, because I want them to be able to see themselves in the stories they love the way I never could when I was coming up, and my generation of Black girls had to adopt Jasmine because she was The Brown One and we figured she would be the closest thing we would ever get. I’m not saying don’t love Tiana and what she means, or don’t love the movie.
What I’m saying is think about this movie on more than just a “yay Tiana is so badass” type of level, think about what mindset went along with the message (again, a message crafted by a white corporation). What might appear on the surface to be a wholly positive message really isn’t when you look at it on a deeper level, and you place this film in its proper historical context of media messages sent about and to Black women and girls—particularly when juxtaposed against the historical context of media messages sent about and to white women and girls.
You can enjoy and appreciate the movie for what it means, especially to little black girls, while still criticizing it for the undertones of misogynoir lurking under the pretty surface. You can love Tiana while recognizing that she is a product of a society that believes Black women only exist to work hard, carry everyone around them, and then die.