New Disney princess outrage: Is 'Frozen' only for 'pretty' girls? (+video)
The next Disney princess film, 'Frozen,' will debut Nov. 27. But an animator has caused a small revolt online by saying of the lead female characters: 'you have to keep them pretty.'
The head of animation for Disney's upcoming film "Frozen" has leaked the secret of the studio's princess success, and it is shocking.Skip to next paragraph
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"Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, ’cause they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to – you can get them off-model very quickly," Lino Disalvo told Fanvoice.
I'll pause for a moment to allow you to take in the momentous revelation that Disney has historically liked its princesses to be pretty.
Actually, it's fair to say that the word "pretty" is probably the most modest thing one could say about the appearance of Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Cinderella, or the lot. "Ideal" might be a more accurate term – or, perhaps, "impossibly perfect." Even Merida, the supposedly liberated and down-to-earth princess of Pixar's "Brave" was probably still shopping in the petites section (even before her wasp-waisted marketing transformation).
Still, that hasn't stopped an internet-fueled backlash against Mr. Disalvo's words. One commenter asked: "Why can't women and girls just look human? Why is beauty their most important feature?"
The question, of course, is central to the Disney Princess Dilemma: Is this really the message we want to be sending to our daughters (and ourselves) about beauty and feminine body image?
Disney has made some progress over the years on the matter of making women actual characters instead of merely human topiary (see, "Sleeping Beauty"). But the idea of a plus-size princess – or at least one without a button nose who looks like she has adequate space for all her organs – has so far seemed a bridge too far.
There are reasons for that, of course. Disney's animated films are not indie flicks filmed for a few hundred thousand dollars and then edited on some 20-something's sofa between episodes of "Breaking Bad." Animation of the highest order (which Disney aspires to) takes years of painstaking work and budgets can run into the hundreds of millions. To cast an "untraditional" princess would seem to be an enormous financial risk.