Monday, September 26, 2016

Representation Becomes Tangled

In the animated Disney movie Tangled, a young woman named Rapunzel wants only one thing for her birthday: to leave her tower and see the floating lanterns that she has been gazing at since as long as she can remember. Little does she know that those lanterns are actually for her- a plea to find the long lost princess, a victim of kidnapping as an infant. The tower she lives in is her kidnapper’s home, and she is not allowed to leave. This girl is the protagonist of the movie. When I scored the movie against the representation test, it was clear the film did not do so well. Scoring a C, Tangled does not represent minorities, LGBT people, people with disabilities, or men well nor accurately.
Overall, the diversity of the film is less than acceptable. Every single one of the characters is white. (This might have a bit to do with the setting of the film in Germany, but there is still no excuse). There are no characters represented from a minority ethnic group, race, or culture. The lead male is handsome, strong, and a criminal, all of which are characteristics we see in films all the time.
However, the strong suit of the film is the representation and portrayal of women. Rapunzel, the main character and protagonist, is a seventeen year old girl whose eighteenth birthday is coming up in a few days. She has goals and dreams that are related to more than just a man. They have significant value to her. Not surprisingly, there is indeed a side plot that does have her fall into the arms of the main male character, Flynn Rider. Although this is extremely typical of a woman in a movie to do, I still give credit to the film for accurately representing women as a whole.
Supporting characters include Rapunzel’s mother, several tough men at a bar, and two criminals trying to catch Flynn Rider. The mother is well represented, given that she is a strong female character with intentions other than finding a man to love. Unfortunately, the men in the bar come across as tough, scary, and even threatening. The two men on the hunt for Flynn Rider are muscular thieves with the intent to kill if need be. The children’s film seems to glorify violence, especially in regards to the men, which gives an inaccurate representation of men in general.
            In my personal opinion, the representation test does not measure the quality of a movie or whether or not it is necessarily “good,” but it does accurately measure the diversity of the characters in the film. The test considers women, men, race, culture, ethnicity, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, and even looks behind the scenes for misrepresentation of the society as a whole. As previously stated, the setting of the film might have given reasons to cast only white characters, as it takes place in Germany. Since it was so popular in the United States, however, one could argue that there is underrepresentation. Even though Tangled is one of my favorite movies, I can agree with the results of the representation test and say that the film does not do a good job of keeping the characters well represented in any way.

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