The Princess Can Save Herself, Thank You

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26 Responses to “The Princess Can Save Herself, Thank You”

  1. Zac says:

    You know, I actually think The Little Mermaid is easily a better movie than Brave, even if you are just considering the gender aspect.

    Ariel is an active character. She is clear about her desires, pursues them, and doesn’t let anyone stop her. Sure that desire happens to be a man, but how many movies with male protagonists feature a woman as the ultimate goal? Pretty much all of them. And Prince What’s-His-Name is a complete nobody. He exists only to be Ariel’s object of desire. He kills Ursula at the end, but that is pretty much his one accomplishment the whole movie.

    Meanwhile, in Brave, Princess What’s-Her-Name (seriously, what was her name?), rejects relationships in favor of being an independent free-spirit. Which is fine, not every movie needs to be about building a relationship, but why is it always the strong female heroines that have to be the “free-spirits”? I feel like in an attempt to pursue gender balance, we are establishing a false dichotomy where we tell girls that the only way for them to be self-realized is to be celibate.

    Sorry for the tangent. Super excited about these projects!

    • mccrum says:

      All you need to get the guy is to be silent and look good?  That’s Ariels’ only tool in the box once she loses her voice.  I mean, once Ursula looks similar and has the same voice, what happens to Ariel?  She’s working a rowboat to go stop a wedding, not seen as the girl this guy fell in love with.  

      Not exactly what I’d want a daughter looking up to.

      • Zac says:

        She gives up her most precious possession in order to achieve her goals. It’s a story of self sacrifice. I do see what you are saying about the keep-your-mouth-shut-and-look-pretty angle. It is definitely an unfortunate cultural cliche.

        But the Prince doesn’t fall in love with Ariel because of how she looks, he loves her because SHE rescued HIM. Then, after the rescue he hears her singing and falls in love. This is why Ariel has so much trouble when all she can rely on is her looks.  And when the Prince abandons her it is because of that voice he fell in love with (and magic), and nobody’s looks.

        Additionally, Ariel is forced into that situation by Ursula against her better judgement, and the movie’s narrative clearly establishes that it is a negative, not a positive.

        And yeah, she gets in a mothereffing rowboat and rows her heart out, because she’ll be damned if an oceanic wedding and a lack of fins are going to stop her (they don’t).

        If anything, the most objectionable theme in that film is that in the end Ariel must change who she is (a mermaid) and give up her life in order to conform to her man’s way of living. Still, it’s not the major thrust of the film. The Little Mermaid is one of the first films I’d buy for my daughter. After Mulan. Brave would be much lower on the list.

        • mccrum says:

          Yeah, it’s the unfortunate fact of having a daughter, Miyazaki is currently the only children’s movie director we have let into our house.

          • Zac says:

            Can’t go wrong with Miyazaki.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You must not have seen Ponyo.

          • mccrum says:

            The third act is a bit of a mess, but it’s certainly beautiful.  In heavy rotation these days around here.  Except the part in the tunnel, that’s scary.  And the part with her dad.  Any of the parts with her dad.

          • Lady Viridis says:

             Ponyo is a film meant pretty strictly for very young children, which is why there isn’t a plot, it’s basically just small children running around going ‘wheee adventures!’ I have NO idea why they marketed it in the US as an ‘epic like Spirited Away.’ (I was in Japan when it came out and the marketing there was exactly like the marketing for their children’s shows.)

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            While I was watching it, I wondered if Ponyo was Japanese for “phoned it in.”

          • L_Mariachi says:

            No Brad Bird or Andrew Stanton? Tim Burton? Jean-Pierre Jeunet?

          • mccrum says:

            I have a lot of Brad Bird (except IM4, but we all take bad steps), but given her current worries about *any* rising tension, there’s no way she could watch it, let alone Tim Burton.  The first three minutes of Finding Nemo would result in  a refusal to watch any movies ever.  And Jennet is something that is, again, on our shelf, but come on, she’s four.

            So I suppose I should say we have a lot of other children’s movies, but she’s just not ready for them. We tried Star Wars once. Vader’s entrance was enough. The Muppet Movie? No Doc Hopper, please. Even Animal was a bit much.

          • L_Mariachi says:

            Twitchy kid! Try 2001. Maybe fast forward through the ape beating.

          • mccrum says:

            Just a worrier.  She pays a lot of attention to what filmmakers are telling her through foreshadowing and music choices and then gets worried about what will happen to people.  A lot of fear about mom and dad going away, so it’s going to be a number of years before she can watch Spirited Away.

            I like 2001, but there’s going to be a lot of questions at the end about that old man and the baby.  Not to mention what HAL is doing.  As much as her mom and I love movies, we’re going to just have to bring the kid along slowly.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      how many movies with male protagonists feature a woman as the ultimate goal? Pretty much all of them.

      Huh? I’m racking my brain trying to think of movies where “getting the girl” is the protagonist’s main goal and off the top of my head all I can come up with is American Pie and 40 Year Old Virgin. Maybe Scott Pilgrim. Not exactly cultural role models.

      Most masculine protagonists get the girl as a natural side effect of their heroic quest to save the world or whatever their principal concern is. Trying to get the girl is for schmucks.

  2. Anoz says:

    I liked Brave in that it also helped show that the daughter had something to learn from the mom’s way of thinking acting, even if she didn’t understand why at the time.  And that the mom had to learn something else well is certainly a good lesson.  I know I’ve learned at least as much as my kids have, in raising them. 

    I was so pumped when I saw this announcement this morning on my KS feed though.  Princess has become one of my favorite JoCo songs over the past few months, and I really look forward to sharing it with my daughter. 

    The code monkey book is all mine though.  My preciousssssss

  3. vilain says:

    This sounds very much like the sequel to PRINCESS SMARTYPANTS, a very fun children’s book.  I wanna see this book happen.  If just for the artwork.  And every evil queen needs a makeover.

    http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Smartypants-Babette-Cole/dp/0399243984

    • Manny says:

      I’ve always liked this one: http://www.amazon.com/The-Paper-Princess-Classic-Munsch/dp/0920236162

  4. Stickarm says:

    Jonathan Coulton seems to be doing a bit of XTC here. Nice! The world is a better place when we have musicians carrying a torch for Andy Partridge’s songwriting.

  5. Chip says:

    Man, I really hope they make this stretch goal.  I have a 4 year old niece who is obsessed with everything princess, and this would be perfect for her.  If they decide to do a printed version, I’d absolutely up my pledge to get that.

  6. parfae says:

    Along the same line, there’a also Action Lab’s “Princeless”.

  7. Baldhead says:

    Still looking for the video game where the premise is that you are the princess who’s been captured and the whole point of the game is escaping. Making it a game where you don’t kill everything in sight while escaping would be a bonus, but let’s just have the core premise, shall we?

    • mccrum says:

      GAME DEVELOPERS:  I TOO WOULD PAY MONEY FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

      Seriously, Mario II was the best we can get about princesses doing something for themselves?

    • L_Mariachi says:

      It’not really the premise, since the player character is a guy, but [SPOILER] the end of Braid has a twist (heh) in that direction.

      Also there was a Donkey Kong hack mentioned on BB not long ago that swapped Mario and Peach’s roles.

      Edit: Also, Beyond Good & Evil features my favorite female videogame protagonist, although she’s not a princess.

    • Lady Viridis says:

       I suppose Portal/Portal 2 could be looked at a little bit in this light (Chell was sort of captured, and you do focus on escaping) but something a little more straightforward in this theme would definitely be welcome.

      Perhaps some small indy company should make such a game? It seems like the kind of thing that would be workable for an XBox Live/WiiWare platform.

  8. katsoulis says:

    It’s a nice song, great idea, but the chord progression, production and melody are awfully similar to “Mayor of Simpleton” by XTC. Sorry!

  9. Oh. But they’ll never meet the stretch goal of approving Mario’s risk-aversion of castle-scale-slip-joint-plumbing (or fore work) to audit the Princess Salvage. That’s okay with ‘dat illo. flyin’.

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