A Princess Like Me?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:10 am 26 comments

Princess Tiana - Closeup
Disney has a new princess!  They are retelling the story of the “Princess and the Frog” and I think I can relate…  er… somewhat.

I know you must be wondering why a middle aged matron is getting all excited about a new cartoon release.  First of all, I thoroughly enjoy modern animated films.  The computer generated graphics,  fanciful plots, and comic foils make for an enchanting experience.  Secondly, as a member of a minority, I grew up in a time when there weren’t many mainstream dolls, games, or leading movie characters depicting people who look like me. 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about or just don’t give a hoot, that’s OK.  I’m just saying that I’m happy and I know a lot of little girls just like I used to be, will be happy too.  It’s human nature to want to emulate those we admire.  You know it’s true.  That’s why Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana merchandise is flying off store shelves.  

There is a certain  amount of validation that occurs when we can relate to a popular icon.  Is this pop culture phenomenon necessary?  No.  But it feels good when it happens.  In fact, many would argue that it sends a negative message when a particular group is routinely excluded.   

Please understand that Walt Disney Studios is NOT where I look for social validation; however, I do appreciate the nod in our direction.  Although it’s several decades late, it’s now a lot easier for me to imagine myself as a princess in my very own “Once Upon a Time/Happily Ever After”.    When your hair naturally grows in a short afro and all the “beautiful princesses” have long straight flowing hair, you start to wonder.  When all the compliments for beauty are about fair alabaster skin, you are hesitant to ask “mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” , because by default, it can’t be you. No offense Snow White, you know we love you. 

Snow White with poison apple

By the way, I think you should give up apples.  Try pomegranates or acai berries – more anti oxidants.

“The Princess and the Frog” featuring African American Princess Tiana is stirring up quite a bit of controversy.  Some characters are accused of being ethnically insensitive or stereotypical, but  I can’t speak to that since I haven’t seen the film.  Another source of controversy springs from the fact that the resident prince charming is of ambiguous ethnicity.  Prince Naveen is not African American like Princess Tiana.  He is voiced by a Hispanic actor and has an East Indian name.  I guess I have to sit out  this debate too, inasmuch as I’m married to a “Srinivasan”.  Must this diversity issue be so complicated? 

Despite all of the bumps in the road, I think we are on the right path to a color blind society.  We need to have a sense of humor about ourselves and lighten up a bit.  If something is wrong, call it wrong.  But a little bit of a thick skin has to be developed also.

 When all is said and done, I just hope it’s a good movie.  After all, that’s what really counts – not whether the princess is magenta,  aquamarine, or tangerine in color.  I won’t pass any judgements or make any complaints about the movie without actually seeing it.  Until them, I’m going to enjoy my new “I can look like a princess too” status. 

Were there any iconic figures that you looked up to when you were growing up?

 Princess Tiana - Copy 


Entry filed under: Miscellaneous Stuff. Tags: , .

The Poster Post Hope I Don’t Flunk Out!

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. richajn  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:13 am

    had the same thot a few days ago.
    we were watching Hancock – Charlize Theron (?) paired up with WIll Smith – as a pair of ‘super hero Gods’. Not a single reference was made in the entire film to their color.

    I just loooved the ‘color blindness’. Hollywood earns a point in my books for that one!

    • 2. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 6:03 am

      That was a fun movie! And Charlize Theron is so effortlessly beautiful.

  • 3. Tooty Nolan  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Captain Kirk. That short run up, jump, and kick in the chest was enough to impress anyone. Oh, and “Fire photon torpedoes” and “Phasers on stun” of course.

    • 4. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 6:10 am

      Hi Tooty, nice to see you here! It’s no secret that I’m a major Star Trek fan – especially of Next Generation. The technology rocks and I really like the way they tackle most of our current social issues. It’s somehow easier to view cultural conflicts open mindedly when the two cultures are Klingon and Romulan for example. These types of issues weren’t solved in the Star Trek 24th century, but they made leaps and bounds in terms of tolerance and acceptance.

  • 5. Tony  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 6:29 am

    My wife is a Princess & she married a frog

    • 6. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 7:01 am

      Lol! Then you must be a prince now.

  • 7. Camille  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I too am delighted that Disney finally created a non-alabaster princess. But why oh why does she have to spend virtually the entire movie as a frog? Couldn’t they have picked a better movie – one where she’d actually be a human the whole time – to introduce a black princess? I would have thought the Disney folks would have been a bit brighter than that. They must be receiving some flak about that, because I’m certainly hearing it from my non-alabaster mom friends.

    I’m not complaining though! Baby steps, baby steps.

    It’s funny about the whole “alabaster skin” thing … for those of us who have that – which we not-so affectionately call fish-belly-white or white-as-a-dead-chicken skin – it was always a curse (well, for me anyway). I guess being a lilly-white princess involves tons of lemon juice (for lightening the freckles, dontcha know), gallons of sunscreen, lots of wide-brimmed hats, and mole checks by her ladies in waiting.

    • 8. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 10:14 am

      Lol, I guess beauty has its price. Your alternate descriptions for alabaster skin had me cracking up. I have also heard the flack about the princess being a frog for most of the movie, but I want to see the movie before picking it apart. I read a book with the same premis a couple of years ago – spell backfiring and the princess turning into a frog – and the story itself was a funny twist on a classic. So I’m hoping that Disney works their story telling magic to make a wonderful movie. If they don’t, then I have another topic for a post.

  • 9. Gary  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:55 am

    “When all is said and done, I just hope it’s a good movie. After all, that’s what really counts – not whether the princess is magenta, aquamarine, or tangerine in color”.

    Those two sentences say it all for me. As long as it’s a good movie, who cares about the rest? I watch a movie to be entertained…PERIOD!

    Were there any iconic figures that you looked up to when you were growing up?

    OH YES! Professional baseball players….ALL of them! 🙂

    • 10. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

      I hear ya. I really liked tennis players Chris Evert Lloyd and Martina Navratilova.

  • 11. Jean Has Been Shopping  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I saw this beautiful princess doll at Target! Thank you for explaining who she is.

    I looked up to Farrah Fawcett. I wanted her hair!

    • 12. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:17 am

      She did have fabulous hair.

    • 13. Gary  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm

      I liked Farrah Fawcett too when I was a kid! I wanted her uhhhhhh, hair like Jean said. LOL

      • 14. Era  |  Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:50 am

        Lol! Sure you did Gary.

  • 15. cindy  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    it’s amazing how there have been middle-eastern princesses (jasmine), native american princesses (pocahontas), white princesses, etc and still, somehow, someone at disney missed the african princess. it was truly long overdue that someone did something about this.

    • 16. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 7:32 pm

      It’s taken long enough, now I just hope they did a good job 🙂

  • 17. Doraz  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    “By the way, I think you should give up apples. Try pomegranates or acai berries – more anti oxidants.” LOVE THAT!!! I hope you enjoy the movie and it is a good one. That is what counts. 🙂

    • 18. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • 19. Hannah  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Naveen? Like Naveen Andrews on LOST? (My one show; I guess I get obsessive.) Always wondered what kind of name that was.
    What is it with Disney Princesses and the disproportionately huge, come-hither eyes? No offense if you have huge, come-hither eyes. Just sayin.’
    But yes, I agree with you, it’s refreshing that they’ve departed from the blue-eyed blondes in recent years!

    • 20. Era  |  Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:49 am

      I would like to have huge come-hither eyes, but they are the squinty I can’t see to well at my age eyes.

  • 21. Tooty Nolan  |  Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Richajn mentioned ‘color blindness’: You know I didn’t bat an eyelid when Morgan Freeman was the president of the USA in Deep Impact. The significance of his colour just eluded me completely – until I read about it somewhere. But ironically the middle-aged, handsome, white president in National Treasure 2 jarred a little. The election of Obama seems to have changed the rules. Who next – Will Smith? No – let’s go for George Takei!

    • 22. Era  |  Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 9:05 am

      George Takei sounds like a good choice – I am a huge Star Trek fan as it is.

      • 23. S. Le  |  Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

        I think all the ultra conservatives would die if we had a gay asian president, don’t you?

        • 24. Era  |  Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm

          That would cause a riot, lol.

  • 25. S. Le  |  Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I grew up watching telly and wanted to be a spy, a doctor, an entertainer… you name it and I probably wanted to be it at some point.

    Star Trek is a long time fave but I love Sherlock Holmes and House MD as well.

    • 26. Era  |  Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:53 pm

      Aside from his brilliance, I like House’s I don’t care what you think about me attitude and his fearless approach. And as for Star Trek – live long and prosper.


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