It's so simple to be wise.  Just think of something stupid to say, and then don't say it.     Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Enchanting "Enchanted?"

Only one posting, and I'm already getting constructive criticism from That Guy I Married.  

(If you're an "Enchanted" virgin and don't want to hear the ending, skip the rest of this posting).

He takes issue with my taking issue of the "motherless Disney-girl role model," noting that the whole twist of this movie, as is consistent with Disney's piss-take of itself, is that the princess becomes the perfect stepmother of the little girl's dreams.

(Of course, I'm far from being the only one thinking about the Disney princess issue. See princess parties regarding the general girls-as-princesses trend, and MetroDad for a summary of the what's-wrong-with-the-princess-doll arguments).

OK, so Giselle, despite her original naivite' on the subject, does show us that stepmothers do not equal monsters (dragons).  But what of her humble origins?  As she points out, no sign of a mother there... instead, she herself, with no apparent role model is (step)mother to about a thousand little animal creatures, all the while engaging in her own Disneyesque fantasies of a perfect and instantaneous romantic encounter, i.e., in typical Disney style, waiting passively for the dude to show up and sweep her away.   (See Tracee Sioux's blog for a more radical feminist view on the subject -- not one I agree with, by the way).  Again, this movie does something to "correct" that approach - Giselle rejects her original fantasy-based relationship and chooses to be with Robert and Morgan.

I've seen the movie before and so was able to warn my now nine-year-old daughter about the scary (and, in my opinion, slightly superfluous) dragon scene.  However, my primary role as supervising parent was to help her interpret the movie;  that is, to help her understand why certain elements were funny, ironic, or otherwise imbued with double meanings.  At a certain point, I found myself reframing Giselle's troubles within the context of a multi-cultural conflict In Andalasia, the norms of interpersonal relations are completely different:  old men are always a safe and comforting presence, and young men are, well, models of static perfection.  

(Women, on the other hand, are free to continue creating their own fashion statements out of found materials.  Ahh, those were the days...)

My daughter enjoyed the movie and was very impressed with Giselle and her multiple talents.  But I'm sure what she came away with was primarily a reinforced fantasy of the princess's perfect beauty and manners.    I'm curious what she thinks... her thinking has surprised me many times before.

And yes, the movie is a fun watch.  

Keep the balance, 


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