There is a Reason Why the First Disney Princess Tiana is Turned into a Frog, and to Find her Prince is not it.
“The franchise invites girls of color to try their luck at adopting a princessly role only to insist that their princesshood be different from the one experienced by white girls. Princesses of color are expected to be more rugged, more earthy, and less cultured and refined than their white counterparts due to their greater degree of animality, their greater kinship to the beast within.” Megan Condis. p. 7
In Disney films, it is common to see animals as the benevolent friends serving the princess's needs and helping them overcome difficult tasks. The placement of the vulgar animals that usually appear to be uncivilized distinguishes the more superior human, or in this case the princesses from the savage animals. Meanwhile, by demonstrating the differences between animals and princesses, Disney attempts to perpetuate the binary opposition that divides civilization and barbarism. As the quote suggests that many princesses of colours not only are represented in the movies as being equal stature with their animal companions, but also possess savage, animal-like characteristics. Aside from that, Disney even turns its first African American princess, Tiana into a frog and made her spend majority of her time on screen trapped in an animal body. According to this, the quote resonates with the main argument in Condis’s reading, and facilitates her to illustrate that the ways in which people of colours are depicted with discrimination and biases in cultural reproduction.
In addition, the quote also implies the notion of binary opposition that Condis pinpoints in her article. Through associating animal identities with people of colours, popular culture reproduction essentially generates this sense of difference between white people and people of colours, which might reinforce the misconceptions of the latter and further disempower this marginalized group of people.
Moreover, according to the passage that “princesses are expected to be more rugged…” in Disney movies, Condis confirms Adorno’s cultural theory that popular culture has largely been standardized, in the sense which, the structures and story lines of Disney franchise appear to be similar if not entirely the same. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that princesses of colours who share some types of barbaric traits, hanging out with their animal friends as their equal counterparts in all of the themed Disney movies.
To demonstrate Condis’s idea, the blog draws on the examples of the misrepresentation of women of colours in advertising industry. Moschino, Macy’s and a number of other fashion brands feature African American women in their advertising as animals, wearing animal skins.These ads constantly associate African American women with typical African animals, such as zebras, cheetah and monkey, which draws connections between them and savage, uncivilized wild animals. According to this, by attaching the wild instinct of animals to African American women, it creates otherness and boundary, which separate them from civilized dominant group. The media example of advertisement provides insights that reveals rather similar concept as Condis’s passage discusses, which is drawing distinctions between different racial group to maintain dominant group, and disempower the marginalized group of people. Nevertheless, in the advertising, many African American models are naked or exposing their body parts in an erotic manner. Thus the blog suggests that the misrepresentations through advertising not only over sexualize black women, but also perpetuate the women of colour’s wild sexual identity.