Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Not yo mama's fairy tale
Last night I finally watched Tangled, Disney's new spin on the Rapunzel fairy tale. It was the first Disney fairy tale I'd seen in quite a while. I was struck by modern take on the story and how clearly it reflected changes in culture from when Snow White first released.
The major thing I noticed was the interaction between the boy and the girl. To my recollection, Flynn (the male lead in Tangled), never actually saves Rapunzel. In fact, she saves herself and him, in spite of all his bumbling and bad intentions. Even when Flynn dashes in to save the day, he is injured and removed from the fight immediately, and she saves him. The happy ending is not their wedding, but an addendum that they got married a few years down the line.
I'm a pretty progressive person, and I definitely don't believe fairy tales are real, but it's just so interesting to see the progression from prince charming as savior to man as a loveable doofus, in spite of himself.
Many Christians are involved in the John Eldredge movement, which says that men and women have divinely seeded archetypes of gender roles, echoed in fairy tales. I have conflicted feelings. At one point I totally bought in to it, at another I was totally against it, and now I'm somewhere in the middle. My question is that if our storytelling makes this shift in a large cultural context, will that impact what the children of today expect from their romantic relationships?
Of course there are pros and cons to both, and ultimately there's probably not any movie from which you should base your expectations for life and love. And deep down I have a feeling that girls will still want to be swept off their feet, but hopefully they will also know their own strength and beauty with or without their prince. :)
*Interestingly enough (or probably not), I actually wrote a paper on this exact topic in my college film class comparing Cinderella to Ever After.