Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

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Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Fri Apr 8, 4:58 2016

The Force Awakens
Zootopia
Finding Dory
The BFG
Moana

And most recently Rogue One (also, the teaser trailer)

Of course for the boys we still have The Jungle Book, Captain America Civil War Pete's Dragon (though the description sounds like the lead might be a female reporter), and Doctor Strange.

I'm not complaining because of the leads mind you as there's still plenty of ground that needs to be made up. Though I couldn't help but jokingly think "Man, Disney sure is pushing the female angle in Star Wars". Unfortunately, many think that seriously. That said, I'm pretty excited for Rogue One now. With Zootopia & Jungle Book (based on early reviews), and Civil War and Rogue One, looks like it's going to be a big year for the company.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby geldofc » Fri Apr 8, 16:56 2016

finding nemo was fun so i'll look fwd to the sequel
I'm not sure abt the others yet :ducky:
:gf: :devil: :syringe:

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Fri Apr 8, 18:28 2016

geldofc wrote:finding nemo was fun so i'll look fwd to the sequel
I'm not sure abt the others yet :ducky:


Zootopia (aka Zootropolis aka Zoomania in certaib markets) was very good. The animation alone is worth the price.

Jungle Book is getting early rave reviews.

Civil War looks like the "hero vs hero" movie we deserve.

And I'm going with a group to see Finding Dory


One I forgot was "Through the Looking Glass". I'm very wary of that one after the first one wasn't very good.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Nerd1987 » Sun Apr 17, 13:30 2016

I really hope so. They are careful to only move forward when society is ready. They are not really heros IMO.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Isabella357 » Tue May 10, 13:48 2016

I really enjoyed the Jungle Book with my family in theaters. It was very visually pleasing and both the 5 year old and 3 year old were entertained enough to NOT try an escape. That's got to count for something.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Wed May 11, 6:41 2016

Isabella357 wrote:I really enjoyed the Jungle Book with my family in theaters. It was very visually pleasing and both the 5 year old and 3 year old were entertained enough to NOT try an escape. That's got to count for something.


It really is a must see in IMAX. The only criticism I have of it is I don't feel a certain death was earned & while one song felt natural, the other felt like an obligation.

Nerd1987 wrote:I really hope so. They are careful to only move forward when society is ready. They are not really heros IMO.


That's a fair point but on the other hand studios are about making money. That's why Disney still has princesses. Because they're marketable. I do think there are fair criticisms about the princesses, but when you take their official lineup, they're a pretty diverse cast of characters (save for race) with differing traits from one to the next. It's just unfortunate the others often get tied to the OD 3. But that's another issue. Point is studios in general will usually only take risks if as you say the public is ready for them.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Sonic# » Wed May 11, 8:22 2016

Diversity in lead characters is good. Kind of like the study I posted a few weeks ago, it also matters who surrounds the lead and even who ends up in the background.

There's this common pattern in Disney films with female leads. Have the female lead, and then surround them with a bevy of supporting characters. In smaller groups, that will tend to be all men (7 dwarves, Ariel's sea friends, Jane's father and the hunter). In larger groups, there may be one or two women (the teapot) but men outnumber them.

Geena Davis raised this point on the radio/podcast show Bullseye a week or so ago. She's entered rooms where people are congratulating themselves on their gender diversity, and then she points out things like the ratio of men to women in background crowds, and producers' jaws drop.

So in The Force Awakens we have Daisy, Leia, Maz, and Captain Phasma to Poe, Finn, Han Chewie, C-3P0, R2D2, Kylo Ren, Snoke, General Hux, and others. I haven't seen Finding Dory, but reading the role list is a typical experience: one woman, a couple of men, a woman, a few more men, a woman ... It's *better*, but the basic pattern of underrepresentation is there in the support.

I know you said it jokingly and acknowledge many people think it seriously, but it's pretty telling that still having majority male actors is "pushing the female angle" just because there's a few more women than people are used to.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Wed May 11, 17:21 2016

Sonic# wrote:Diversity in lead characters is good. Kind of like the study I posted a few weeks ago, it also matters who surrounds the lead and even who ends up in the background.

There's this common pattern in Disney films with female leads. Have the female lead, and then surround them with a bevy of supporting characters. In smaller groups, that will tend to be all men (7 dwarves, Ariel's sea friends, Jane's father and the hunter). In larger groups, there may be one or two women (the teapot) but men outnumber them.

Geena Davis raised this point on the radio/podcast show Bullseye a week or so ago. She's entered rooms where people are congratulating themselves on their gender diversity, and then she points out things like the ratio of men to women in background crowds, and producers' jaws drop.

So in The Force Awakens we have Daisy, Leia, Maz, and Captain Phasma to Poe, Finn, Han Chewie, C-3P0, R2D2, Kylo Ren, Snoke, General Hux, and others. I haven't seen Finding Dory, but reading the role list is a typical experience: one woman, a couple of men, a woman, a few more men, a woman ... It's *better*, but the basic pattern of underrepresentation is there in the support.

I know you said it jokingly and acknowledge many people think it seriously, but it's pretty telling that still having majority male actors is "pushing the female angle" just because there's a few more women than people are used to.


I'm not sure Tarzan is a fair example. It is Tarzan after all aa the lead character in a movie that takes place in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It's no surprise it would have "rare woman" syndrome considering both the era & environment.

As for the rest, that is something I can't disagree with. I have gotten better at noticing "rare woman" syndrome, and Rogue One hasn't gone unnoticed (considering who we see in the trailer).

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Nerd1987 » Fri May 13, 15:09 2016

Man in real life I don't know people who are down to talk about these issues. I was reading a really matter of fact article on the economist Facebook page about disney's recent growth and it reminds me they are not just a magical company that spreads happiness they are a business like any other.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby blackAnn » Sat May 14, 15:45 2016

I think they have a long way to go to undo the damage they caused. It's a good start, but The Little Mermaid is basically a story about how over sexualized 15 year old girls should shut up & look pretty so that you can please strange men. Then there's Snow White. People keep saying she was a female lead, but she didn't do anything. I think you have to have some personality and achieve something more than 'letting people fight over you' to be a lead. Actually a lot of old Disney films have this same exact problem.

Frozen was better, but I think it's a shame they had to make all the females look exactly the same and like dolls without imperfections. I look forward to them getting better and hope they stay on the right track. At least they took to showing that men should not be trusted.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Sun May 15, 11:50 2016

blackAnn wrote:I think they have a long way to go to undo the damage they caused. It's a good start, but The Little Mermaid is basically a story about how over sexualized 15 year old girls should shut up & look pretty so that you can please strange men. Then there's Snow White. People keep saying she was a female lead, but she didn't do anything. I think you have to have some personality and achieve something more than 'letting people fight over you' to be a lead. Actually a lot of old Disney films have this same exact problem.

Frozen was better, but I think it's a shame they had to make all the females look exactly the same and like dolls without imperfections. I look forward to them getting better and hope they stay on the right track. At least they took to showing that men should not be trusted.


I find that a bit of an unfair analysis of earlier Disney movies. Granted, in TLM, she did give up her life as a mermaid for a man (people forget she always wanted toAt least they took to showing that men should not be trusted. be part of that world even before Eric) & looks did play a part, but they didn't fall in love because she was At least they took to showing that men should not be trusted.quiet. Her personality shone through in spite of her silence. After all Eric didn't realize who she was until after she got her voice back, which speaks volumes more about how much of an idiot he is. Then there's the positive aspects of Ariel. Like standing up to her racist father and not being prejudiced against another race despite growing up in such an environment.

As for Snow White, her value doesn't come from people fighting over her. She becomes a mother to the dwarves. I'm not saying motherhood should be an inherent value in women, or that women are meant to improve men's lives. But as an individual, that is how she found value. She was content because it was within her character to be a caretaker & mother.

And that is where I find value in many of the Disney princesses. You can find archetypes that celebrate different traits of feminity or ones that throw those shackles off. You can find different positives in each of them because at their core, they're still a group of individuals ranging from mother to warrior, dreamer to adventurer, etc. Not every girl is going to be a mother or a business person or a warrior. But with critical thinking taught by responsible parents, all of these princesses have the potential to be role models (except maybe for Aurora, but she has three flitty but badass fairy godmothers). And I'm going to ignore that dig at men.

And just so you know(not that it matters), my favorites are Rapunzel (the Renaissance woman), Mulan (the Warrior), & Tiana (the businessperson).

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby melsbells » Sun May 15, 14:51 2016

I have to agree with blackAnn, though I haven't seen any recent Disney flicks. I think it's a stretch of the imagination to say that it was Ariel's personality shining through silence and questionable to say that the king was racist, the merfolk would have been the subjugated species. Speciesist? But even then, it seems reasonable to wnat your half fish daughter to stay safe away from fishers. Then you say Snow White is a mother figure to the drarves? They are adults. Even with your reading, the dynamic disturbs me.

I watched a lot of Disney animation growing up, but I haven't been commenting on these (all too frequent) Disney threads because I'm disgusted by the company's social politics, such as the racism and sexism I didn't realize I was being indoctrinated with while I was happily watching things like Dumbo.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby blackAnn » Sun May 15, 16:08 2016

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:I find that a bit of an unfair analysis of earlier Disney movies.

That's fine. I'm not the grand master of movies who's voice is to be carved in stone. That's just how I see things. Heck, I haven't even seen them all.

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:(people forget she always wanted toAt least they took to showing that men should not be trusted. be part of that world even before Eric)

Here's the thing that bugs me. She doesn't want anything. The writers made her want to throw everything away for some strange man and it's weird. What kind of 15 year old girl is so obsessed with romance that she's willing to give up her voice and her family to be with him? That kind of thing shouldn't be encouraged in films.

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:Like standing up to her racist father and not being prejudiced against another race despite growing up in such an environment.

Sure. That's a good point. I agree. I just don't think it was enough to save the film. I personally feel like the main point of the story is "shut up and look pretty" so even if there's some good stuff mixed in I'm not happy about the movie.

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:As for Snow White, her value doesn't come from people fighting over her. She becomes a mother to the dwarves.

I didn't see that, but ok, even then. This is another one of those things. If she was a real person this would be fine, but as a character written by men this is just weird. To me It's the difference between a woman offering to make her husband a sandwich and a husband telling his wife that she belongs in the kitchen.

Disney has a job to encourage the right kinds of behaviour in future generations and I think they have been doing horribly at it.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Mon May 16, 5:31 2016

melsbells wrote:I have to agree with blackAnn, though I haven't seen any recent Disney flicks. I think it's a stretch of the imagination to say that it was Ariel's personality shining through silence and questionable to say that the king was racist, the merfolk would have been the subjugated species. Speciesist? But even then, it seems reasonable to wnat your half fish daughter to stay safe away from fishers. Then you say Snow White is a mother figure to the drarves? They are adults. Even with your reading, the dynamic disturbs me.


I'm not so sure it's that much of a stretch. We know she's the curious adventurous type and we see that in the montage. There's a similar scene in Tangled in which Rapunzel & Flynn are exploring Corona during a festival. She still has her voice but there is no dialogue. Conversation is implied but you see her taking in everything she can just as Ariel does. You get to see a side of them no one else in that world got to see until those scenes. As for the Triton issue, he does not clearly provide Ariel with any basis of his fear. He just calls them prejudiced words like "fisheaters" without givinh her any context on why they're dangerous. It's no wonder Ariel rebels and goes to the sea witch after Triton destroya the grotto.

As for Snow White, those are adults who clearly can't take care of themselves. She is a positive influence in their lives. Woman in general shouldn't have to be, but if they find themselves that they would be happiest in such a role, then let them have it.

blackAnn wrote:Here's the thing that bugs me. She doesn't want anything. The writers made her want to throw everything away for some strange man and it's weird. What kind of 15 year old girl is so obsessed with romance that she's willing to give up her voice and her family to be with him? That kind of thing shouldn't be encouraged in films.


Except that's not true. Her very first song is about how she wanted to be part of this world and learn more about us. And isn't learning about other cultures/species admirable? The only reason she gives up everything is because Triton destroyed all of her human things. She would have been content with the statue but by doing what he did, he pushed her out.

And that is where the weakness of the movie really is. As the main protagonist it should be Ariel's "hero's journey" to learn the lesson. Instead it's a lesson for Triton to be accepting and listening to his kid. Now I'm not saying we listen to 15 year old girls and let them run off with the first man they meet. I'm saying it's a lesson that parents need to be armed with the proper way to deal with surprises that come from their teen & do it so that the child isn't pushed away.

As for Snow White, yes, if you take into account only her story, then yes it is just white men saying a woman's place is in the kitchen. The view I'm taking is that Snow White is not the only story that has been told. The Disney Princess brand has 11 (eventually 14 with Anna, Elsa, & the upcoming Moana) all with their own traits and qualities that anyone should admire & look up to. Really, the only one I don't feel is redeemable is Sleeping Beauty (though her movie I think is arguably more progressive than Maleficent).

The following is about how the Disney Princesses have the potential to be feminist role models:

http://boingboing.net/2014/10/24/disney-princesses-are-my-impe.html

I find their mention of Rapunzel lacking because the villain's methods are far more insidious than most people realize. Still, it offers an analysis on the positives of most of the characters and discusses the unfortunate connection to the original three. I like this quote, which suns up nicely where I'm coming from:

Taken as a whole, the Disney princess line offers a surprisingly diverse view of the female experience, ranging from the traditionally feminine Cinderella to the more traditionally masculine Mulan.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby blackAnn » Mon May 16, 6:19 2016

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:Except that's not true. Her very first song is about how she wanted to be part of this world and learn more about us. And isn't learning about other cultures/species admirable? The only reason she gives up everything is because Triton destroyed all of her human things. She would have been content with the statue but by doing what he did, he pushed her out.


Learning about other cultures is something to value, but in this case the culture is our and it's told from someone in a bad situation because of her culture. I can't imagine anyone looking at a story about a repressive bigoted father and a girl that's willing to throw away her life at the drop of a hat to join our culture and learning the lesson that other cultures are great.

But I still don't see why what she wants should matter except as far as the discussion about why they chose to make her want that. They could just as well chosen to make her want to live her life as an explorer that enjoys seeing new places and meeting new people. They story would be essentially the same, but for some reason we got a person that's obsessed with some guy she knows nothing about. Why?

It's great that you see the story this way, but I don't think it's an objective view of the Disney stories. To me the evidence stacks up nicely that someone has taken the time to carefully write sexist story lines and teach future generations that a woman is a man's accessory. Like the quote you have about how diverse they are. Can you name one that's not attached to a man? The only possible reason is that someone realized it was a good way to control the population.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Wed May 18, 7:24 2016

blackAnn wrote:
Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:Except that's not true. Her very first song is about how she wanted to be part of this world and learn more about us. And isn't learning about other cultures/species admirable? The only reason she gives up everything is because Triton destroyed all of her human things. She would have been content with the statue but by doing what he did, he pushed her out.


Learning about other cultures is something to value, but in this case the culture is our and it's told from someone in a bad situation because of her culture. I can't imagine anyone looking at a story about a repressive bigoted father and a girl that's willing to throw away her life at the drop of a hat to join our culture and learning the lesson that other cultures are great.

But I still don't see why what she wants should matter except as far as the discussion about why they chose to make her want that. They could just as well chosen to make her want to live her life as an explorer that enjoys seeing new places and meeting new people. They story would be essentially the same, but for some reason we got a person that's obsessed with some guy she knows nothing about. Why?

It's great that you see the story this way, but I don't think it's an objective view of the Disney stories. To me the evidence stacks up nicely that someone has taken the time to carefully write sexist story lines and teach future generations that a woman is a man's accessory. Like the quote you have about how diverse they are. Can you name one that's not attached to a man? The only possible reason is that someone realized it was a good way to control the population.


Merida, Elsa, Mulan (ignoring Mulan II), & Pocohontas (ignoring Pocahontas II) all don't end up attached. I guess you could argue it's hinted Mulan starts a relationship with Shang after the credits & Pocohontas does have a romantic relationship that is interrupted by Smith getting shot.

As for the other issue, I would argue it's up to Disney to create escapist stories with possible lessons & it's up to the parents to decide if there are good qualities to these films. I think with good parenting healthy lessons can be taken from these movies. I'm not saying TLM is necessarily salvagable, but I don't think it should be completely discounted either.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Lou » Fri May 20, 12:54 2016

*cough* anime beats Disney in that aspect *cough*

But seriously, if you watch a ton of anime like I do, you'll quickly notice that having females in independent lead roles (and not just there for fan service or to talk about boys) is very very common. Not just that, but their stories and selves are developed and expressed very well and deeply. These aren't just anime oriented towards females, but also many many, if not most, are common very popular anime watched by guys as much as girls if not more so.

Putting the boasting aside, xD, I'm glad that Disney is playing a role in normalizing females as main full fledged characters. I liked the female lead in the new star wars movie. I can't say I'm impressed much though, really, since, again, anime beats it by a mile (forgive me if I'm being such a weeb xD), but still, progress!

(Braces for anti-anime criticism. xD)

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Fri May 20, 13:30 2016

Lou wrote:*cough* anime beats Disney in that aspect *cough*

But seriously, if you watch a ton of anime like I do, you'll quickly notice that having females in independent lead roles (and not just there for fan service or to talk about boys) is very very common. Not just that, but their stories and selves are developed and expressed very well and deeply. These aren't just anime oriented towards females, but also many many, if not most, are common very popular anime watched by guys as much as girls if not more so.

Putting the boasting aside, xD, I'm glad that Disney is playing a role in normalizing females as main full fledged characters. I liked the female lead in the new star wars movie. I can't say I'm impressed much though, really, since, again, anime beats it by a mile (forgive me if I'm being such a weeb xD), but still, progress!

(Braces for anti-anime criticism. xD)


I'm talking about in terms of western entertainment.

And Miyazaki is oveerated :P.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby Lou » Fri May 20, 13:41 2016

Oh. Ok then. *Packs my stuff and leaves* ;_;

I haven't watched any of Studio Ghibly's stuff yet though.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby blackAnn » Sat May 21, 13:51 2016

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:
blackAnn wrote:
Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:Except that's not true. Her very first song is about how she wanted to be part of this world and learn more about us. And isn't learning about other cultures/species admirable? The only reason she gives up everything is because Triton destroyed all of her human things. She would have been content with the statue but by doing what he did, he pushed her out.


Learning about other cultures is something to value, but in this case the culture is our and it's told from someone in a bad situation because of her culture. I can't imagine anyone looking at a story about a repressive bigoted father and a girl that's willing to throw away her life at the drop of a hat to join our culture and learning the lesson that other cultures are great.

But I still don't see why what she wants should matter except as far as the discussion about why they chose to make her want that. They could just as well chosen to make her want to live her life as an explorer that enjoys seeing new places and meeting new people. They story would be essentially the same, but for some reason we got a person that's obsessed with some guy she knows nothing about. Why?

It's great that you see the story this way, but I don't think it's an objective view of the Disney stories. To me the evidence stacks up nicely that someone has taken the time to carefully write sexist story lines and teach future generations that a woman is a man's accessory. Like the quote you have about how diverse they are. Can you name one that's not attached to a man? The only possible reason is that someone realized it was a good way to control the population.


Merida, Elsa, Mulan (ignoring Mulan II), & Pocohontas (ignoring Pocahontas II) all don't end up attached. I guess you could argue it's hinted Mulan starts a relationship with Shang after the credits & Pocohontas does have a romantic relationship that is interrupted by Smith getting shot.

As for the other issue, I would argue it's up to Disney to create escapist stories with possible lessons & it's up to the parents to decide if there are good qualities to these films. I think with good parenting healthy lessons can be taken from these movies. I'm not saying TLM is necessarily salvagable, but I don't think it should be completely discounted either.


Just imagine taking the guys our of those stories though. Most of them would end after the first song.

I think the same can be said of anything. You can sit around with your kids and watch American History X and take some good healthy lessons from it. (Ignore the fact some of the scenes would scar them.) But I don't think it's right to judge movies based on *IF* someone can come along and fix them for you.

You are right that there's some good to be had in even the older movies, but my point is that as a whole it's no good.

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Re: Feels like Disney's trying to be a leader in Female Leads

Postby rowan » Sun May 22, 8:28 2016

I have to agree anime has a lot more good female leads; Disney could learn a lot.
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