Friday, June 19, 2009

The Disney princess vs. the non-Disney princess

There's been a lot of talk about Disney women lately. The Princess and the Frog opens later this year, there have been a few observations on Pixar's lack of women or girls as the central or headlining character in all of its ten films, and though Disney's traditional animation features a lot of women, many of them are princesses. I don't want to dive too deep into the debate, because so many have done it better anyway. Even though I take issue with some of Disney's handling of their characters, I still love their movies. My childhood would have been very different, and a lot less memorable without them and some of the other, non-Disney films I watched.

Anyway, all this princess stuff got me thinking and I went off on all sorts of tangents. Is it only Disney that does the princess thing? And if other animation studios do the same thing are they just following Disney's lead or is there an assumption that little girls will just love to see yet another woman with a crown on her head who lives for a marriage to a bland, two-dimensional prince? For the most part it seems the other studios either did the princess charade, or made the women marry princes, or they were women from fairy tales, or all of the above. This is probably why, as a kid, I couldn't tell the difference between an animated Disney movie and a non-Disney movie. Most of the women were princesses, so I just thought - Disney.

But this still didn't make me want to write a long analytical post. I just started wondering in a fight, which woman would most likely come out on top? The Disney princess or the non-Disney princess? I narrowed the fight down to six rounds because there are fewer non-Disney princesses to choose from. Naturally, a few Don Bluth characters made the list. Anyway, follow my random mind, and we'll see who wins. To warn you, this is spoiler heavy.

Round 1: Cinderella (Cinderella) vs. Akima (Titan A.E.)

We start off with two women who aren't princesses. Of course, Cinderella ends up with a prince, so she becomes a princess. Akima is a futuristic pilot. Ultimately this might prove to be a cruel matchup. Akima would either shoot Cinderella with a laser and end her, or use her marital arts skills and beat Cinderella to a pulp. But, Cinderella wouldn't have to lift a finger to save herself because her Fairy Godmother would step in for her. The Godmother would turn Akima into a rodent or pumpkin and dispose of her until midnight.
Winner: Cinderella (Disney Princesses lead 1 - 0)

Round 2: Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) vs. Princess Odette (The Swan Princess)

I think both these women are among the worst role models for girls. In this showdown, both would have to rely on magic, rather than skill - because they have none whatsoever. Other than sing, there isn't much these women can do. Princess Aurora would rely on her fairies (again!) who do useless things like make people sing well, and fall asleep. Unless the moon was out, Princess Odette would be trapped in the form of a swan, and she would fly away before there was any danger.
Winner: Princess Odette (Tied at 1-1)

Round 3: Princess Ariel (The Little Mermaid) vs. Thumbelina (Thumbelina)

I paired these two together because both characters were voiced by Jodi Benson. This matchup isn't really fair. Princess Ariel, despite being one of Disney's biggest weaklings could easily destroy Thumbelina in a number of ways - stomping on her, tossing her into a fire, hacking her to pieces, etc. Too easy.
Winner: Princess Ariel (Disney Princesses lead 2-1)

Round 4: Belle (Beauty and the Beast) vs. Kayley (Quest for Camelot)

It's a shame Belle never learned to fight anyone (or learned how to summon fairies) because she's obviously smart, spunky, and brave because she signs up to live with the Beast in place of her father. While Kayley is no Mulan, she can hold her own, and she becomes a knight. So, sadly for Belle, Kayley would kick her ass.
Winner: Kayley (Tied at 2-2)

Round 5: Princess Pocahontas (Pocahontas) vs. Grand Duchess Anastasia (Anastasia)

I figured I'd pair up the real life princesses with each other. Pocahontas is brave (flinging yourself in front of a guy who's about to be killed is pretty damn brave), and she's almost unrealistically agile. But, Anastasia bitch slapped her boyfriend and destroyed an undead Rasputin. No contest.
Winner: Anastasia (Non-Disney princesses lead 3-2)

Round 6: Mulan (Mulan) vs. Tzipporah (The Prince of Egypt)

Both women can be found in ancient texts. One, in an ancient Chinese poem, the other in religious text. Both can hold their own in a fight. Tzipporah's skilled with a whip - even with both hands tied. Mulan, has the upper hand because she has had warrior training and is excellent with a sword. Sorry Tzipporah, but Mulan would annihilate you.
Winner: Mulan (Tied 3-3)

I wasn't expecting that outcome at all. I blame the fairies.

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