Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cuz that's a great message!

Sometimes I go against the grain.  Not in a cool, edgy way, more of a comes off as an asshole kind of thing really.  I don't mean to be, but I am.

Kid shows tend to bring out my inner asshole like nothing else.  Particularly Disney things.  Not all Disney things.  But some.  So while it will be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am about to express disappointment in a Disney show, I was deeply surprised by the level of "duh" I think Disney expressed.  

Jake and the Neverland Pirates is a very popular show with the Beans.  I am, myself, a big Peter Pan fan and even in spite of the glaring inappropriate stuff in the original Disney film happen to have a weak spot for it.  But this episode has come up at least twice now and I am just as horrified on the second watching as I was the first.  

I will summarize the deeply engaging plot for you and provide background first.  The Pirate Princess was once turned into a gold statue by the Sea Witch but Jake and his crew --primarily Izzy in a carefully constructed girl powerish episode -- saved her.  In this episode, however, the Sea Witch is at it again so ultimately they decide they need to change her from a bad witch into a good witch.  

Simple enough, and they do just that.  

So what's the problem?  Simple.  Here is the Bad Sea Witch ....

and here she is after she has become the Good Sea Witch.

Not only has she lost some weight and gone from green to a lovely tan, she also had a voice change and is ever so lovely now.  

Because fat, ugly people are ALWAYS evil and skinny, pretty people are ALWAYS good!  You can pet their puppies, take their candy, and why the hell not, go ahead and get in their vans with blacked-out windows because they can't possibly be BAD if they are good-looking!!!!  They must be trustworthy if they are are easy on the eyes! 

I mean, I was willing to try to accept that they were trying to overcome some of the glaring gender bias in the original Disney-take on Peter Pan.  I mean, it is surely unintentional, and I am clearly over-reading a children's show, that the only girl pirate has the pixie dust and therefore relies on the power of someone else rather than her own physical abilities (as Jake does) or intelligence (as Cubby does).  Surely the whole flamboyant use of the word "emergency" is just me being uber sensitive and a total goober.  

The show buys me peace and quiet in thirty minute intervals and is now on Netflix, lessening my outrage at them but only marginally.  So I try to overlook things.  But hello, can you make the message any more superficial and misleading?!  She is fat and ugly, so she is the bad guy ... little bit of magic and she is skinny and pretty so now she must be good!  Yay for pretty people, fat ones are all soo baaaaad!  They could have changed her from green to any other color, altered the way she spoke, changed her clothes ... it all would have been enough.  But they had to remove 20 lbs and make her dramatically prettier to really drive the bad to good transformation point home.  

So bravo Disney.  I am so glad that you can figure out how to continue to subtly perpetuate superficiality, sexism, and gender bias in a candy coated way.   


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