I’ve never really been a fan of the Disney Princess franchise, not even as a kid. I loved the catchy songs, and the bold and cheerful animation, but the films never sat well with me, and as a child, I didn’t really have the analytical skills nor the vocabulary to explain why. So when a few girls from Aussie Nails decided to embark on a Disney Princesses Nail Art Challenge, I decided to join in and moan about my gripes with the undisputed king franchise of childhood entertainment. (There are nails at the end of this post, I promise!)
In all the animated Disney Princess films, there’s an overwhelming theme of light = good and dark = bad, which is a convenient motif when your target audience is under 8, but pretty depressing when you’re one of two Asian kids in your grade. Added to that, all these princesses have some sort of weird fetish with animals. They sing and woodland creatures stop eating each other and run at them, they get dressed by birds.
Birds divebomb me, and wild furry animals STINK. I have terribly hay fever, and I am mosquito all-you-can-eat. Nature and I just don’t get along. And according to Disney, that makes me… not a person. Even the bad guys are awesome with nature.
These aren’t the root of my problems with Disney, they just add to the general unease I have with the whole shebang. The most irritating aspect for me are the bizarre storylines. Disney massages the usually traditional tales into what they perceive to be “good” and simple enough to understand for kids, but the lessons they teach – I can only interpret them as effed up, and it bewilders me how half of them make it through that many adult executives without raising a billion red flags.
Sadly, this week’s theme is Aladdin‘s Jasmine, and the storyline is actually not that bad, possibly because it’s a relatively recent one (1992). Aladdin came right when Disney suddenly realised that they could pillage cultures belonging to other skin colours for their films, huzzah! (Naturally, this came after they exhausted their animal canon. Because it’s harder for kids to empathise with other cultures than other species.)
Jasmine is a surprisingly well-developed character – less shallow than Aladdin, smart and sensible, if naive. She owns a tiger, which automatically makes her a pretty damn cool cat lady spinster.
I don’t really have any objections to the storyline – unlike a lot of other Disney movies, it’s not Jasmine’s Quest to Land a Man and Go on a Honeymoon of Scrolling Credits as Scenery. They fall in love at first sight, yes, but teenagers. There’s a gentle message of being loved for being true to yourself, which is fine by me.
What’s less fine, is that the “good” characters are lighter-skinned, have Europeanised features (Aladdin is a tan Tom Cruise) and speak with inexplicable American accents, next to the background cast of bearded, sword bearing, funny-voiced, funny-eyed darkies. Apparently that’s to help young audiences work out who’s good and who’s bad. Kids, remember – accents are EVIL. Dark skin is evil. Ugly people – super evil.
I’ve also seen complaints about the barbaric depiction of the Middle East (chopping off a hand for stealing etc.), but I’m not too bothered about that – it was the Middle Ages, no one looked good then (except every part of China, according to my charmingly dotty racist-old-person grandmother).
Also, every woman in the film is a sexy belly dancer, all day err day. Especially Princess Jasmine – her tiny tiny belleh needs to breathe! Because it’s hot, you know. But not too hot for men to wear All The Things (if they can afford it).
After all that: here’s my manicure inspired by Jasmine. I love the green of her stripperiffic everyday Princess outfit (maybe they’re breakaway pants?), so I based it on that:
The accent nail is the beautiful Loki’s Lacquer Good News Everyone. The other nails are ulta3 Pacific Fever (an oldie but a goodie), with OPI Pirouette My Whistle on top.
Come back in the next few weeks for further installments of ranty-flavoured Michelle and Disney-inspired nails! Also check out the other ladies doing this challenge (with more nails, less moaning):