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By creating powerful characters like’ Moana’, Disney is setting a trend of creating role models that focus on independence and self discovery for the youth.
When I was a child I used to think that I will grow up into an exquisite beauty and a prince will fall in love with me and we would live happily ever after. As I grew up, I accepted my looks the way they were; I believed that love is but an illusion, and that the pursuit of personal goals is important such as career and traveling.
But wouldn’t I find someone at work even if not so perfect? Or while traveling, like Simran met Raj in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge…
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I blame the fairy tales and movies that were an integral part of my childhood for embedding in my psyche that there has to be a knight in shining armour who would rescue the damsel in distress. A woman in a movie/fairytale not having a love interest is empowering yet unheard of!
And that is why Disney’s latest animated movie ‘Moana’ would be iconic. ‘Moana’, the central character embarks on a journey to fulfill the quest of her ancestors to save the world. The directors, John Musker and Ron Clements, revealed that “the story would focus on Moana finding herself, rather than finding romance“.
The recent female Disney characters like Elsa from Frozen and Merida from Brave, have also not had a quintessential Prince Charming, a prerequisite in earlier movies like Cinderella and Snow White. Women have progressed and come a long way from previous generations, and have started working, traveling, and pursuing personal interests, and while of all this has been respected and applauded, there is still a feeling that there should be a partner, not just from society but in a woman’s own frame of mind.
I don’t know if movies reflect society or society follows movies. I know that I have changed as a person from how I perceived life from childhood till now based on personal experiences. It is therefore a great step that today’s girls are being exposed to the idea of independence and self-discovery at a young age, when their ideologies are still developing.
If they grow up seeing and idolizing intelligent, strong female icons, they would probably want to be one when they grow up.
While the other characters like Cinderella were very delicate and helpless and a man helps them find their way in life, these new characters know what they want and are not afraid to get it. I hope this would influence a new generation of confident women who do not require men to complete them.
Image Source: Youtube
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Yes Tanvi, I wholly agree with you. Kids must have access to watch movies that are empowering, enabling that perpetuate equality and strength of character, rather than age old reinforced stereotypes that are both shallow and grossly gender biased. We watch a lot of kids movies along with our young daughter and we are often struck by the same thoughts you have expressed. I too, do feel that a lot of movies are inappropriate for kids simply because they fail to be empowering in their content. They are usually following a set formula pretty much like our Bollywood movies that are aimed to simply sell tickets for their cinematic appeal rather than their story and content. I too felt that movies like Zootopia, Brave etc. are far more age appropriate (I mean most 5-10year old aren’t really interested in ideas of romance and marriage ! unless a movie or advertisement puts that idea in their heads !) and empowering. My daughter herself, also now seems to enjoy these kind of movies much more. Perhaps its because they seem to make her spirit soar and provide a more broadly positive goal that can be sought and achieved. So like you say, if empowering content is available, I definitely think kids will choose to watch and internalise those positive messages with enthusiasm and this will make them stronger and better human beings.
Hi Sonia, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can relate to what you said. My niece is 8 and she loves watching these movies. I am happy that she would look up to a female character who is strong and brave. You rightly pointed out that children do not think of romance and marriage and they need not be exposed to love stories earlier than required!
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