Saturday, October 15, 2011

Princess

Last week the fine folks at OverthinkingIt.com - a glorious website that takes pop culture way, way too seriously - hosted a Disney week, in which we learned that Beauty and the Beast is really about schizophrenia and class conflict, that Aladdin is an Orientalist-tinged tale glorifying inept absolute monarchies, and that Sebastian is a traitor to his Jamaican origins. However, my favorite piece was the one that argued that Disney's most positive female character was not any of the myriad Disney Princesses but Miss Bianca, musine heroine of The Rescuers. I strongly recommend that you read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt I especially enjoyed:

"Miss Bianca is a bit materialistic, a bit heteronormative, and yes, she is a mouse that wears fur (which is badass as well as creepy, if you ask me, but nobody did), but she is pretty much the awesomest person/mouse ever. Calling her to task for caring for enjoying luxury seems inappropriate given her life of sacrifice and the huge risks she so casually makes on behalf of the people who need her. She seems virtually fearless in the face of near-certain death (until actual certain death comes around, then she gets a little scared), and inspires courage and hope in all around her.

As so many, she too has a stupid love-plot where she sells herself a little short (heh mice) for a schlubby janitor. But she’s always the high-status person in the relationship, and she does seem to actually like him, so I’m not so sure it’s quite so bad to engage in some relationship choreography. Oh, and he also turns out to be the Will Hunting of janitors-turned-rescue commandos, so maybe she is just a good judge of character.

Next to Miss Bianca, the seriousness and scale of the Disney Princesses seems way off. You want to be Mulan, you play soccer as well as the boys. You want to be Belle, you read a lot and maybe marry somebody your friends don’t like. You want to be Miss Bianca, you take the foreign service exam and go on to be Secretary of State."


YES. I fully admit that Miss Bianca is both classier and badassier than I am, but I am pleased to know that I am well on the way to emulating the coolest cartoon mouse ever.

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