Happy Friday, dear reader! I hope this week has been kind to you.
Lots of us have a very strong emotional attachment to Disney films, and why not? They tell magical stories using bright colours, silly voices and usually lots of marvellous songs. What’s not to love? Well, until very recently Disney seemed blissfully unaware of things like ethnic diversity, liberalism and…gosh, what was the other one? Oh yeah. Feminism.
Having said that, when they finally got round to it they did a great job, and Frozen is widely regarded as a triumph because it has two female protagonists AND was directed by a woman. Nice work, Disney. Have a biscuit.
Having re-watched it recently, I think that Tangled actually deserves similar praise. It might not have been as ground-breaking in terms of narrative format as Frozen, and it doesn’t have a talking snowman. However, given that it was the retelling of a pretty grim (geddit?) fairytale about a woman being stuck in a tower, it did a pretty good job of giving little girls and boys some excellent ideas about self-belief and how love is supposed to work. Here are some excellent lessons that Tangled teaches us:
1) It’s always worth facing your fears, no matter how scared you are. The alternative is being stuck forever in your isolated tower/comfort zone, where you are safe BUT nothing exciting happens.
2) Go on an adventure for your own reasons. Pursue things that you want. Go and find out everything you can about stuff that fascinates you. If you’re lucky and it’s right, a love interest will appear to accompany you, BUT they are incidental. Your adventure is about you, not them.
3) You can’t judge a book by its cover. A simple lesson, but one worth reiterating. Would you have expected this guy to be into baking? Me neither. But he is.
4) True friends can communicate with just a look. Pascal the chameleon doesn’t say a single word throughout the film, but you always know exactly what his opinion is. It’s definitely worth paying attention to the things your friends don’t say, as well as the things they do.
5) Don’t worry about your looks, because they seriously do not matter. If you do worry about them too much, you can end up in a very bad place. The villain of Tangled is consumed by her own vanity to the point where she kidnaps a royal baby. That’s just not cool. ALSO, (spoiler alert – although if you haven’t seen the film, I’m not sure why you’d have read this far) when Flynn/Eugene cuts off Rapunzel’s hair at the end, her looks change dramatically. Does anybody care, or even mention the fact that her most defining physical feature is no more? Nope. Because it doesn’t matter.
6) It’s always, always better to be yourself. Even if your name is Eugene Fitzherbert.
7) Girls – you can be the hero. Boys – it’s ok to need rescuing. Looking after the people you love is not a gender-specific thing. We might not have magical hair, but we all have our own resources and traits that our loved ones rely upon.
8) Always trust your own instincts over what your critics say. Someone who goes to the effort of putting you down on a regular basis is clearly trying to suppress all the awesomeness you are capable of.
9) The right person for you is the one who goes the extra mile to make you happy. People have chequered pasts and we’ve all done things that we’re not proud of, but when people truly care about you their actions will be louder than their CVs.
10) HAVE A DREAM.
Also, have a cracking weekend.