The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Cartoons promote individuality instead of relationships

Art by Sarah Poor
Art by Sarah Poor.
Little did Snow White know that when she met those funny little men in the woods, she would make history with the seven of them.
Ever since “Snow White,” the first feature-length animated film, was released, animated films have been making strides forward in technology and artwork at incredible speed. The one thing they have only recently caught up on, however, is humanity.
In recent years, animated films have gained attention for going against the usual dependant princess needs her prince story, most recently in the case of Disney’s “Frozen,” which parents and critics alike have praised for possessing a heroine whose prince is not her true love and who spends the film trying to save her sister.
The difference is not the age of the story. The Brothers Grimm first told the story of “Snow White” in 1812, and “Frozen” is based on a Hans Christian Anderson story from 1845, “The Snow Queen.”
“I just feel like it changes with the society because, you know, we’re realizing now that women are strong; we can do anything that we want,” senior art student Alayna Tucker said. “But they’re also trying to bring families together.”
Animated films are also making a shift from romantic relationships to familial relationships, placing emphasis on independence.
“I think that Disney, as a film studio, holds a lot of responsibility being as huge of a success. … As they are, because a lot of kids and a lot of people that are watching these films are learning things or growing up with them as their primary source of entertainment,” junior Alex Isgriggs, a major animation fan said. “So it’s important to have variety and not try to sugarcoat things and often times with Disney movies they’re fantasies, you know. They’re just fun fairy tales, fantasies with princesses and stuff like that.”
When a story like Brave, Frozen or Tangled comes along, people notice. Stories that are new in that they do not follow the typical princess archetype, are instead creating real characters.
Kerri Yost, Associate Professor of Digital Film at Stephens College and Director of Programming for the Citizen Jane Film Festival, sees a lot of female driven films in her profession.
“We have been looking at the world through young boys’ eyes forever, seeing them as the heroes, and young girls as princesses and ‘passive’ in the stories. But overall, Hollywood actually values the dollar the most,” Yost said, “and it changes along with culture. So as our culture has started to see young women beyond the princess role, and we have higher expectations for them, parents want to see this in their movies and are willing to spend money.”
Yost believes when “Tangled” saw success with a stronger female character alongside her prince, who wasn’t actually a prince, it paved the way for stories like “Brave” and “Frozen,” where the prince is an afterthought.
While Yost and Isgriggs both see the change from Disney occurring in recent years, Isgriggs proposes the idea that perhaps the movement is late coming to the United States in general.
“Hayao Miyazaki, who obviously has directed a lot of Ghibli films, he is a feminist, so he always likes to showcase strong, independent female characters to kind of break that norm,” Isgriggs said, “and then John Lassiter from Pixar animation studios, is really inspired by him, Miyazaki has a friendship with him, and I know that he tries to mirror some of these things in Ghibli films in Pixar films.”
By Madison Mertz

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  • R

    Riley MartinApr 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    While I agree it is nice to see the storylines progress with the times, to me the old original disney films (especially animation) will always be my favorite. The new films haven’t had that same Disney charm and magic to them that they used to.

  • G

    Grace VFeb 24, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Its great to see that our entertainment changes with society’s view, and that Miyazaki has been creating strong, independent female characters for a long time.

  • C

    CayleaFeb 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I think it’s good that Disney is starting to make movies with the princess as the hero and not just the price. Although movies like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White are classics, Sleeping Beauty is saved by a prince from eternal sleep from a kiss, Cinderella is saved from her evil step mom by her prince, and Snow White is also woken up from her death by a kiss, from her prince. The recent Disney movies coming out now are showing young girls that they can be their own hero and that is what girls need to see now, that they don’t need someone else to save them.