Amazing what one finds when cleaning out the old blogreader in the post-holiday lull! The Feministing blog has a nice piece about The Princess and the Frog, going so far as to call it a feminist fairytale.
The more rumors I heard about Disney’s Tiana, the more I was turned off. But as finals week died down and the reviews came in from trusted peers, I decided to look past the whole princess/amphibian bit to see for myself what the first black princess was really all about.And… I really enjoyed myself. That’s because the themes of entrepreneurship and division of labor in the household were so crucial to the film it was kryptonite for any red-blooded feminist. The idea that men can and should play a role in food preparation and that women can own their own business while building viable, healthy relationships was so groundbreaking for a movie with the word “princess” in the title. For this, Disney deserves their props.
I second that emotion.
The Princess and the Frog busts open the old “someday my prince will come.” Instead, we are given a heroine who many of us can identify with, who wishes on a star, while still saving her tips in coffee cans to work towards that dream. We’re shown a relationship between equals, where she teaches him to work, and he teaches her to dance. And despite the hard work and pragmatism, we’re still treated to a healthy dose of voodoo magic, including one of the most enjoyable villains in recent years.
I can’t help but believe that the increased scrutiny Disney reasonably expected for their first African-American princess led to an improved process in character development. But however this came about, I’m glad it did.