Disney, Disenchantment, and Representation in Contemporary Fairytales
Adri Gleaton
21

Very poignant and (unfortunately) true article! However while focusing on Disney makes sense, the article makes it seem like Disney is the sole offender here.

Disney was either the first, nor the last company to white wash characters. The unfortunate trend goes back to even before the 19th century, since picture books depicted the heroes and heroines of fairy tales as exclusively white before that. I once read an interesting article on how children’s media, especially fairy tale adaptations had been used (whether wittingly or unwittingly) for suppressing native culture in Latin America in the 19th and early 20th century. Unfortunately I absolutely cannot remember the name of the essay anymore, but I’ll make sure to edit my comment should I find it.

Disney in and of itself is actually only a symptom of a larger problem. Even today picture books that portray afairy tale hero or heroine of color are few and far between. Both Live-Action and animated adaptations of fairytale star white lead characters. When Mattel created Monster High, they made the clever decision to color their dolls in fantastic colors like blue or pink to make it easier for young girls of all ethnities to identify with them, but when they created the partner line Ever After High, that featured fairy tale characters instead of monsters, all dolls were of an almost pasty white. Disney may be the most prominent and easily identifiable target, but I don’t agree with the article’s stance of singling it out as the only one. However, as Disney is one of the biggest names in children’s entertainment and serves as a trend setter for smaller studios, watching them and their decisions especially closely does make sense.

A minor detail that you got wrong: Actually only Snow White is adapted from a Grimm’s fairy tale, the other Disney fairy tales are based on a variety of sources.

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